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The Effect of Christianity

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A Sermon on Matthew 9:14-17

A Question About Fasting

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” (ESV)

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What is it about Christianity that brings about such strong reactions from people? In this sermon on Matthew 9:14–17 titled “The Effect of Christianity,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains how believers and unbelievers both have strong opinions on Christianity. Some are hostile to Jesus and His claims, some want to reduce Him to a mere teacher of morality, and others claim that He is the Savior of the world. All these responses were present in the days of Jesus when some believed in Him and became His disciples, while others rejected Him and ultimately put Him to death. Jesus was opposed because He contradicted the false and hypocritical religion of the day. While many were only concerned with the outward appearances and looking good, Jesus taught that true religion was a matter of the heart. No one can make themselves holy or pure before God. That is why Jesus came to die and suffer in the place of sinners. This idea of Jesus dying for sinners is as offensive today as it was in the time of Jesus. People do not want to be told that it is only by believing upon the suffering servant that they can be saved, but it is this message of a crucified King that is the only means of salvation for all who believe.

Additional Scripture Translations

Matthew 9:14-17, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Question about Fasting

14Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the groom cannot mourn as long as the groom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. 17Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Matthew 9:14-17, King James Version (KJV)

14¶ Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 16No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.