New Wine in Old Wine Skin

If you read my last blog on out of context scriptures the title of this blog may have rung a bell. Ironically I’m not writing on the traditional meaning of the story about the wine and the cloth from Matthew 9, I want to use it to present a more applicable lesson to us gentiles.

Jewish Background

So in order for you to grasp what I’m about to say you need to understand the origin and meaning of Jesus’s parables. First of all the Pharisees were always trying to catch Jesus red handed disobeying the Torah or the Law of Moses. They challenged him about his disciples not fasting, about them not washing their hands (Mat 15:2), about activities on the Sabbath (Mat12:2), about authority over demons, they bugged Jesus about sitting with sinners (Mat 9:11), about the lawfulness of divorce (Mat19:3), even Johns disciples wondered about his obedience (Mat 9:14). basically they wanted Jesus to abide by the rules of the Old Covenant.

So what’s the big deal expecting the Son of God to obey God’s law?

Jesus was the fulfillment of that very Law that God gave Moses on the mountain. It all pointed to Him and showed that mankind alone was unable to achieve perfection and atonement before God. So if we think we still have to obey the Law of the Old Covenant, we have missed the whole point of Jesus coming to us. He came to make us perfect so we could know the Father directly.

Mat 5:17 – “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Mat 5:18 – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Eph 2:15 – having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
Eph 2:16 – and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Rom 7:4 – Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Jesus + The Law does not mix

To teach the Pharisees why him and his disciples don’t obey the Law of Moses Jesus uses two parables to describe the problem of mixing of the Old Covenant with the New Covenant (Himself). First it’s like putting fresh wine in to a wineskin that has already been used to ferment a previous batch of wine. This is not a good idea. Because the wineskin (dried goatskin used as a container) has already stretched because of it’s previous fermentation of wine the elasticity of the skin is lost due to the alcohol of the previous batch. So if you put new wine (freshly pressed grape juice) in a used wineskin for fermentation the fumes will be released, the skin will expand and then break open and destroy the entire skin. This would mean 2 to 4 months of time wasted.

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Scriptures, Without Context

In my years of enjoying sermons, songs, and theology I have encountered many uses of scripture that have been taken out of context and twisted to mean something else. When something is take out of context the surrounding scriptures are ignored, surrounding stories are not mentioned, history is overlooked, and cross references are conveniently not used.
It’s like renting a movie you’ve never seen and only watching 5 minutes of it in the middle of the movie. You then claim to know the entire plot from just seeing 5 minutes of the movie! This is the leading cause of error in the Church.

“Calls those things which do not exist as though they did” – Romans 4:17

This scripture is used often by followers of the “Word of faith movement” when they instruct believers to speak things in to existence, declare and it will be done for you.

Rom 4:17- (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations” ) in the presence of Him whom he believed God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

With this scripture you don’t even have to read contextual scriptures to figure it out: it’s speaking about God, not the believer. We as God’s creations have no creative power, only He does. When we are in right relationship with God we can ask things of Him and He may do them but that is not what most Word of Faith or “Name it Claim it” teachings propose. We don’t convince God to follow our will, we follow His will. He originally gave man dominion and stewardship over the Earth but this does not mean that believers can speak money, cars, or health in to being. We put our faith in the Father, not in our faith.

“New Wine in New Wine Skins” – Matthew 9:16-17

This scripture has been used to back “new moves of God” or some new revolutionary thing that God is supposedly doing.

Mat 9:16 – “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.
Mat 9:17 – “Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

However, the message of new wine in old wineskins and new cloth on an old garment signifies the complete newness of the New Covenant. The context reveals Jesus’s reason for why His followers did not need to fast while He was present. Fasting was connected to the law heavily and the pharisees expected Jesus and His followers to follow the Law if He was truly from God. The New Covenant isn’t the Old Covenant plus Jesus and the cross it’s a whole new deal. The Old Testament was completely finished by Christ’s life death and resurrection, not partially finished as some thought who mixed Jesus’s teachings with their Judaism.
So the “new wine” (or the New Covenant) was poured in to the “new wine skin” once and for all time back at the crucifixion, not every time a local church thinks they have something new and fresh from God.

“When you have shut your door, pray to the Father” – Matthew 6:5-6

I actually had this one used against me after sharing the Gospel with a student outside of U.T. in Austin. He said “Jesus said when you pray to go in your closet and close the door and pray to God, your religion is between you and God. It’s not a public thing”.

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Do You Qualify to be Used by God?

In a previous blog I wrote about how most of America doesn’t expect much from teenagers and as a result those teenagers don’t try to achieve much. Well if you are a young adult take hope and be encouraged because not only can you do great stuff at your young age but God has an excellent track record of using young people, average people, misfits, unqualified people and sinners for great things that changed Biblical history.

God chooses to use people not based on their qualifications but based on their willingness to be used.

The common denominator among all of these people is that they trusted the Lord and obeyed, even with one simple decision as small as hiding two prophets in your house (Rahab), moving camp (Abram), going up a mountain with your dad (Isaac), and not forgetting about God (David).
I hope you read these short biographies and are inspired, God does not play favorites, as long as you are alive and have some faith, you have everything you need.

David – A 17 year old sheep herder who was the least of his brothers, even his dad did not see him fit to be picked by Samuel for the future King. However God called him to be the next King and he was anointed by Samuel. He defended his fold of sheep from a bear and a lion and later defended Israel against an evil giant. David did not have a clean record though, he eventually crumbled in fear of Saul, committed adultery with Bathsheeba, killed her husband to clear his tracks, disobeyed God’s commands on marriage and did not raise his children very well. Yet David’s character was one that was moldable in God’s hands, he knew the importance of repentance, and humbleness. God continued to use David even though he messed up and came from humble, unlikely beginnings. His intimate relationship with the Lord is evident in the authorship of numerous Psalms.

Josiah – After his father died he became king at 8 years old and reigned for 31 years. His passion for Judah to obey the scriptures held off the wrath of God for the peoples earlier idolatry. He removed all the pagan and idolatrous priests and objects from the temple. Josiah is one of the few Kings of Judah/Israel that is not recorded to of sinned against God by worshiping other gods.

Rahab – A gentile prostitute living in Jericho before it was destroyed. She protected 2 Israelite spies when they scoped out the land in defiance of her evil government and in turn was saved along with her family from the destruction of the city. Rahab later married one of the spies she housed earlier and in turn became David’s Great-Great-Great-Grandmother. This means Rahab was an ancestor of Jesus Christ and she wasn’t even a Jew!

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Being Completed

God is “holy”.

But what does that even mean?
The Angels call their Creator holy, the Psalmist called God holy, the Spirit of God is holy.
It’s such a cliche and an overused word especially by worship leaders who may not even know what it means!

The aspect of God’s perfection creates an unavoidable separation between us who are imperfect and God who is perfect. Simply said holiness and perfection go hand in hand.

Mat 5:48 – “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
1Pe 1:15 – but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,

Perfect

The Greek word we translate as “perfect” is hagios which means: Brought to its end, finished. Wanting nothing necessary to completeness. Full grown, adult, of full age, mature.
That is exactly what God is and what we are not. Have you ever noticed mankind always chasing after the next thing to fill, entertain, or enhance them? It’s quite obvious we are lacking something. The very fact that evil exists is evidence to our imperfect or fractured state.

Christianity (along with Judaism) stands alone amongst the religions of the world in that it recognizes the problem of the human condition – sin. No other religion says “Man is sinful, bad, and needs help to fix that eternal problem before he can get close to God”. Instead they say the opposite, many say “Man has everything he needs inside of him to get to God or to become perfect, he just has to try hard enough.” Broken man mustering up his own salvation from within his broken self is like trying to pull your own self out of sinking sand by pulling on your own arm! The only salvation man can author is broken salvation which is no salvation at all.

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The Trouble with Teenager-ism

Did you know there are no teenagers in the Bible? It’s true, read on to see the terrible ramifications of this cultural invention.

Teenager-ism

The “teenager” I am speaking of here is not simply an age range but a mindset our culture has invented, an acceptable standard (or lack thereof) of living. It seems to accommodate the individual who is too irresponsible and destructive for adulthood yet too mature for childhood. But is the cause of many teenagers immaturity due simply to their age or is it a psychological fulfillment due to our cultures endlessly low expectations for our “teens”? Centuries ago we see young people from 13-18 doing big things, taking on jobs, responsibility, success, even families and doing perhaps a much better job at it than our young adults of today.

Much of the media’s industry hinges on this age group and is continually pushing the limits of what it means to be a normal teen. Music, ads, and movies encourage more drinking, further sexual experimentation, risk taking with drugs, and disrespect towards adults. For a first hand description of this lifestyle spoken by the very mouths of those who promote it, just read the lyrics of the stars such as Katy Perry, Brittany Spears, Rihanna and Keisha. What the radio actually plays these days may surprise you.

I don’t want to stereotype the teenagers of America but instead attemept to describe the subculture that has been invented for them. It’s a lifestyle with appeal and excellent marketing. Being an American teenager is about doing whatever you want to and ignoring the long term effects of what you want to do. It’s as if they are expected to fool around with sex, drugs, drama, and other junk and when they get hurt we blow it off and say “oh they’re just teens, it’s a phase”. I think this attitude enables the young people of America to waste their younger years on things that don’t matter and will make their adult lives more difficult.

2Timothy 3:1-4
1 – But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 – For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 – unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 – traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

This scripture rings true with the todays youth culture of America all to well. In fact to the world if teens aren’t involved in these things people get concerned about them! How backward is that?

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