It's Time For A New Wineskin
Luke 5:36-39 – Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better’.”
This Scripture is one that has troubled the minds of many religious folks for centuries. It’s not much different today. The religious crowd is still finding fault with those who have committed their lives to Christ and desire to follow after Him. They refuse to come out of their old way of doing things, and by doing this, they grieve the Holy Spirit of God and cause His presence to be limited in their midst. They feel satisfied with the old, and therefore, they are like rocks that have been set in cement. They are immovable and not willing to change.
True converts are becoming discouraged and frustrated with the body of Christ, because the life flow of God’s Spirit is no longer being manifested in their midst. Many are coming out of the dead, dry denominations and religions offered to society today because they are tired of going through the motions, performing the same routines, singing the same old hymns, and hearing lifeless sermons from preachers who don’t have a clue who Jesus really is. I believe we can learn much from the parables of Jesus if we will open our spiritual ears to hear what He is saying.
Most of us fully understand the concept of putting a new patch on an old garment. If a new patch is sown onto an old pair of jeans, it will ruin those jeans. When the jeans are washed, the new patch will shrink and cause a tearing to take place. The whole purpose of sewing the patch onto the jeans in the first place will be completely negated, because the individual did not follow the proper procedure to complete the task in an effective manner.
This is what I see taking place in the body of Christ today. When pastors and leaders begin to allow the “new” to come into their midst, there’s a tearing in the body of Christ, because many of the people in their congregations do not want the new. They want to continue doing things the way they have done them for the last 50 years. This can cause much division and strife between the congregation and the leadership if the people are not willing to change. And sometimes, when this type of thing happens, there is a good possibility that the church could split. Those who want the “new” will stay, and those who want the “old” will find themselves another place to fellowship.
Jesus continues His parable by stating, “No one puts new wine into old wineskins, because if they do the wineskin will burst.”
In ancient times, before wine bottles were invented, wine was stored in wineskins made of animal hide or gut. After a wineskin had been used, it would become brittle and hardened. It would no longer have the elasticity within its structure to be of any further use for the wine fermenting process. A new wineskin would be needed in order to preserve the new wine. The old wineskin would break under the pressure of the fermenting wine, because it no longer had the ability to be stretched or enlarged. The new wineskin, on the other hand, is elastic and stretches its container very effectively when the fermenting of the wine takes place.
The church of Jesus Christ must be flexible and willing to be stretched and enlarged by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus made this statement: “New wine must be put into new wineskins”. There is no other way. Those who continue to say, “The old way is better,” are still using old wineskins. They are locked solidly into tradition and will therefore place themselves in a position that will keep the move of God from coming to their church, because the old wineskin cannot hold the new wine.
If we go back and take a look at church history from 1500 A.D. to 1800 A.D., we find men like Martin Luther and John Wesley who did not intend to start new religions or denominations when they began to receive revelation from God. Their preaching stirred up the religious crowd, because it caused them to have to identify with truths that were not made known to them up to that point in time. They didn’t want the existing structure of the church to change. Therefore, the intentions of Martin Luther and John Wesley were not attained. Instead, new denominations were raised up because many of those who heard their message were not willing to allow transformation to take place in their midst.
The church must allow the Lord to bring fresh revelation and truth that will set us free from deception, religious thinking, and the traditions of men. I believe that the Lord wants to saturate His people in the new wine of His presence. It’s time to lay aside the old wineskin and replace it with the new.
Are we ready for the transition, or will we be content to continue in our old pattern of doing things? Are we willing to let go of the old and lay hold on the new? Are we willing to let go of familiarity and lay hold of those things that are not familiar to us? It’s our choice.
Let’s pray and seek the Lord regarding our future. Let’s ask Him to help us to make the right decision so that He may be glorified in our midst.
© 1999 Donna J. Kazenske