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  • Pastor Steve

Change, it happens

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins." Mark 2:22

Jesus knew that his message was different. In a sense it was startlingly new. He knew that his life was drastically different from that of the orthodox rabbinic teacher. He also knew that it was difficult for his hearers to entertain such new truth. Therefore, he gave them a vivid illustration to show them how important it was to have a new perspective every day!

Jesus tells the story about the wine and the wineskins. In those days the wine was stored in animal skins. Since new wine gave off gases and expanded, it was placed in new wineskins, because they were supple, soft, elastic, and capable of expanding with the pressure. Jesus said it would never be advisable to put the new wine into old wineskins, because they were dry and brittle, and had no elasticity. Since they could not expand with the pressure, they would eventually crack open and the wine would be lost.

At some point in time old ways seem to come apart and crack. They grow brittle with time. Like old wineskins they lose their elasticity. Why is there such resistance toward becoming a new life in Christ?

One reason may be that such truth would require a change in behavior.

The old becomes familiar and comfortable, but the new brings new demands and the possibility of sacrifice. This creates an uneasiness and behavior is not easily changed without a struggle. This newness is expressed clearly by the apostle in 2 Corinthians 5:17: "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation, everything old is passed away, see, everything has become new."

For many Christians the institution became primary and the message of the gospel became secondary. Christians confused the treasure with the institution that merely housed the treasure. That is why the wine must always be placed in new wineskins that will have the elasticity and flexibility needed. It has to become new and expandable.

The message of God's love, grace and truth in Christ remains the same while the forms and structures that communicate that message are ever changing.

If not, Christianity becomes merely a creed, a polity, a form, instead of spirit and new life in Christ. We don’t change the usage for the method. My friends the message always stays the same. We need a change and that change makes us new. That newness comes from God’s love, grace and truth. You CANNOT leave any of the three out. Otherwise newness will not come. You cannot accept love without grace and truth. You cannot accept grace without love or truth. Likewise, you cannot accept truth without love and grace. If things do not change in our behavior, it is because we have dismissed one of the former out of the equation.

Want Change? Then heed the words of Christ, “pour in new.”

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