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New wine skin...same vintage wine Mt 9; Mk 2; Lk 9

In the gospels of Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 2 and Luke chapter 9, Jesus made an illustrative spiritual point using a familiar first century material process of making wine.  He said no one would consider pouring new wine into old wine skins because the old wine skins will burst and then both the new wine and the old wine skin would be lost.

Wine skins were bags made from animal skins (most likely goats) and used for the fermenting of grape juice in the process of making wine.  The new wine was fresh grape juice which would bubble up and expand as natural gases were released in the fermentation process.  New wine skins were ideal for new wine because they still had the ability to stretch as the grape juice fermented and expanded.

As the wine and the wine skin aged together they would at some point both peak in their ability to expand and then stabilize.  At which point the wine was ready to be consumed.

But the wine skin could only be reused by placing mature wine which was no longer expanding into it.  No one would knowingly put new wine into old wine skins because the old wine skin couldn't handle any more stretching due to new fermenting of new wine.

The spiritual point Jesus is making is that the methodology of doing ministry must change (new wine skin) but the message of the gospel (vintage wine) never does.   

The Lord reminded me of the church that sold us the building  30+ years ago and moved to the suburbs.  They either could not or would not reach the neighborhood as it was changing around them.  Perhaps they were trying to pour new wine into old wine skins.  Perhaps they resisted changing methods to reach the changing community.  I don't know.  But what I do know is that we must take a good look at ourselves and our methods of evangelism and discipleship to see what if anything needs to change in our methods in order to reach our new neighbors with the same powerful life changing gospel of our loving Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me suggest that change begins in our minds/hearts in a willingness to say, "Yes Lord" to whatever He calls us to do differently.  We must continue to steward this building to the glory of God. We must continue to renovate/modernize our building to make it attractive and functional for our ministries and our community.  And we must make room in our hearts and our schedules for new relationships and new ministry outreaches so our new neighbors will know the love of God and receive Christ as Lord and Savior. We need to go to the next level of discipleship and start making disciples of others.

In the Master's service
Pastor Michael

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