2020-06-05 Out with the Old, In with the New
Originally Published 2012-06-01
Despite the Pharisees’ hatred. we see in the prolonged, or long-term, application the action of a loving savior. Jesus wants to save the old, not just make the new. If you look in verse 38, both are preserved.
Jesus wanted to preserve Israel; the old wineskin was still precious to him. Only Luke has verse 39 in it, so it was tempting to use one of the other gospels and skip this tougher verse, but let’s really see what it says. It says our tendency is to think the old is better, not that it actually is. In fact, no judgment about which is better is ever made. Whether God saved people in the Old Testament by faith in a future event, or in the New Testament by faith in a past event – saved is still saved. However, if we look at Jesus’ first miracle, recorded in John 2:1-11, we discover that the new wine was the best wine.
But the fact is that each type of wineskin has its purpose. Putting new wine into an old skin is a bad idea, but old wine into new skin is also a bad idea, from what I have learned. Evidently, it ruins the wine. From this, we learn that everything has its time and place. Old Covenant had its time and place. New Covenant has its time and place for new people to come into.
Personal (Universal) Application
We have examined both the primary and prolonged applications, so let us now move to the more personal application. We must be open to new ways to present the same message. I grew up on lecture style Sunday School, but now as a teacher, I use discussion style. I still teach the same Bible, but the method has changed. I also grew up with hymns, but now I prefer contemporary worship songs.
In the eyes of the Pharisees, and many of us, how we adhere to the religious traditions of those who’ve gone before us is the measure of one’s spirituality. Tradition equals spirituality. Bu the real measure should be how much God we can hold in our lives. Relation equals spirituality. In john 1:17, we see that the law came through Moses, but grace came through Jesus. So many of us fall into the tradition mindset like that of one pastor who said his church people would be the first to go up in the rapture. His reason "The Bible says, ’The dead in Christ shall rise first.’" That’s old wine people, with old wine thinking.
Old Wineskin Thinking
That’s the kind of thing we want to avoid, so let’s take a look at that style of thinking for a minute. Here are a few examples of old wine thinking.
- The first way is often the seven last words of a dying church: "We’ve never done it that way before" or "We’ve always done it that way before." The Pharisees had evolved ten commandments into hundreds of nitpicky rules. Let me share a basketball story with you, to help illustrate this. The greatest basketball free-thrower in NBA history was named Rick Barry. He didn’t shoot the way that they had always done it before. His way was very unconventional. It is granny-style shooting. Rick was willing to break tradition and not be afraid to do something different, if it worked. In the nineteenth Summer Olympics held in Mexico City in 1968, an American, Dick Fosbury, set an Olympic high jump record - 7’ 4.25". He jumped backwards.. That style is now the way everyone jumps, and is named the "Fosbury Flop." He was not afraid to do something new, either, if it worked better.
- "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." The danger here is if it breaks so slowly that we don’t notice it. This is a danger for car. You have to "fix it" with oil changes, tune-ups, etcetera, to keep it from breaking. What is the danger if something else might work better? We sometimes settle for second best, thinking it is as good as it gets.
- "At least, we’re faithful." This is a sad one. Faithful to what, exactly? Faith in tradition gets you nowhere. Words like "safe," "comfortable" and "easy" weren’t words used to describe the early church; they had words like "suffering," "sacrificial" and "serving. Faithful to Jesus means "witnessing, baptizing, and discipling" – partial obedience is still disobedience. Please hear that last statement again. Partial obedience is still complete disobedience.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted.
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