Matthew 11:15 (NIV)

He who has ears, let him hear.
Matthew 11:15 (NIV)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What Kind of Wineskin are You?

Matthew 9:17 (NIV) Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins.  If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." 

Matthew 9:17 spoke to my heart, while I was reading my Bible, the other day.  For me, it's one of those scriptures that I hear pretty often and, because of that, can sometimes take for granted.  But this time the last four words of this scripture caused me to ask the question, "Why would you wanna preserve the old?"  So I dug into the world of wineskins to see if I could find any answers...this is what I learned: 

The process of making wineskins is GROSS!!  It's not practiced very much... you know, technology; yet in some parts of the world it's still done.  It's usually made from goat skin but other animals have been used.  The "wineskin" maker has to pull the skin off of the dead goat, while it's hanging upside down by one leg, trying not to damage the skin... ugh!  Then through a process of other things a wineskin is made and can be used for wine, water, or churning milk for butter... handy little gadget.  When new wine is placed into a wineskin it begins to ferment.  The bubbles and gases, the expanding and contracting would be too much for an old wineskin to bear and would bursts open.  Old wineskins can hold old wine, water, and pretty much anything that won't cause it to explode from it's gases and bubbles.  And so... new wine is put into a new wineskin.

From a Biblical view point, the new wine represents a new believer in Christ and the old wineskin represents old doctrine.  Trying to force all the rules and traditions from old doctrine onto a new believer would be too burdensome and possibly scare off anyone who wants to know Christ.   A new believer should be gently guided as they learn all that the Lord has for them.  (Thus... new wine into a new wineskin in order to avoid a doctrinal explosion)

Here is where those four words, I spoke about earlier, come into play... The old is still needed because it leads the way for the new; JESUS.  When Jesus came He said, Matthew 5:17 (NIV) "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  The old "wineskin" (doctrine) is still very important because by learning from the old we can appreciate the new.  
Things to keep in mind:  we can't be so focused on doctrine (old wineskin) that we forget about the believer (new wine); I call this "religion".  And we can't be so heavenly minded that we forget about reality. (I don't have a name for this one but you know where I'm going with this ... right?)  There has to be a balance of both old and new so that 'both are preserved'; I call this "relationship". Which are you:  religion or relationship?  

Have a great day in the Lord and I pray you have a beautiful relationship with Him!

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