Restored Wineskins

By

J.M. Beatty

Jesus is doing a new thing in our congregation. We are leaving the four walls of our building to bring the good news to a hurting and dying world. When God does a new thing a freshness of the Holy Spirit will also be in the midst of God’s holy work. Its exciting to envision ourselves in the midst of a new and fresh work of God. But have we considered the spiritual impact the fresh revelation of God’s Holy Spirit will have on our personal perceptions and awareness of God? Have we considered the impact God’s work will have on our personal comfort zones?

Matt 9:16-17 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. (17) Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. (KJV)

Luke 5:36-39 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. (37) And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. (38) But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. (39) No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better. (KJV)

The Bible teaches that wine is a symbol of the new testament established by the blood of Jesus for the remission of sins (Matt 26:27-29). New wine must be a symbol of a new revelation of Jesus. Church history is filled with holy revivals that shook the world (Acts 17:6). From the revival of Martin Luther to George Whitefield, from John Wesley to D.L Moody and on through the Charismatic Renewal, the new wine of revival has transformed the world.

In these verses of scripture we are warned not to put new wine into old wineskins. Why should we be concerned with this admonition?

Wineskins Explained

Wineskins - askos (as-kos'/779); from the same as 778; a leathern (or skin) bag used as a bottle: KJV-- bottle.

askos- (Thayer Greek/English Lexicon)

a leather bag or "bottle", in which water or wine was kept

Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament

[askous (grk 779)]. The English Revised Version (1885), rightly, "wine-skins," though our word bottle originally carried the true meaning, being a bottle of leather. In Spanish, "bota" means a leather bottle, a boot, and a butt. In Spain, wine is still brought to market in pig-skins. In the East, goat-skins are commonly used, with the rough side inward. When old, they break under the fermentation of the wine.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

[askous (grk 779) palaious (grk 3820)]. Not glass "bottles," but wineskins used as bottles as is true in Palestine yet, goatskins with the rough part inside. "Our word bottle originally carried the true meaning, being a bottle of leather. In Spanish bota means a leather bottle, a boot, and a butt. In Spain wine is still brought to market in pig-skins" (Vincent). The new wine will ferment and crack the dried-up old skins.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Jesus used the analogy of wineskins to show that the Jewish legalism of the Old Testament was inflexible and outdated: "No one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined" <Matt. 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37-38>. The "old wineskins" of Judaism could not contain the dynamic new faith of Christianity.

A wineskin is a leather bottle constructed from the hide of a pig or goat. These skins were designed to transport wine to market. Jesus used this symbol to warn that the old wineskins of Judaism could not contain the dynamic new faith of Christianity. Its important we understand that wineskins were made of leather. Since Jesus used this symbolism to describe our personal response to the new wine of God’s Holy Spirit, then we should apply this symbol to our personal lives.

Old Wineskins

James 1:26-27 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (KJV)

Not Flexible

These definitions clearly teach that new wine is not put into old wineskins because of the fermentation process. Old leather will dried out and loose its flexibility, therefore it will rupture when fermentation demands flexibility. In fact, the older the leather the more likely that age cracks will form because of its dryness.

To walk with God in the newness of His holy work requires flexibility in our personal lives and religious doctrine. Often the persecutors of God’s new work are the people who participated in the previous move of God. For example, fundamental denominationalism mocked and persecuted the Pentecostal movement in the early part of the twentieth century. But Pentecostalism mocked and persecuted the early followers of the Charismatic Renewal.

Matt 15:8-9 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (9) But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (KJV)

Its important we build our lives on the person of Jesus not the dogma concerning Jesus. We become inflexible when our dogma is more important than walking in the newness of the Holy Spirit. The new wine of the Holy Spirit cannot be put into the old wineskins of our religious dogma without being ruptured by the fermentation of new ideas and ministry.

Unwilling to Change

Heb 5:11-14 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. (12) In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (13) Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. (14) But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (NIV)

Matt 7:2-5 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (3) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (4) Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? (5) Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (KJV)

The recognition of our need for change is an absolute necessity in order for us to walk in the newness of the Holy Spirit. The closer we draw near to God the more we need to change and allow the cross to put to death our "Old Man" nature.

Its possible that our unwillingness to change is the result of our failure to walk in continued repentance. As people of faith, our unwillingness to change could be rooted in our personal religious self-righteousness. We are quick to see the failure in other people because our self righteousness has blinded our eyes to our own hypocrisy.

Our willingness to change is an absolute necessity when we encounter the new wine of the Holy Spirit.

Set in Self Ways

Prov 16:2-3 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. (3) Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Prov 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (KJV)

Jer 17:23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction. (KJV)

Zech 7:12-13 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry. (13) "'When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,' says the LORD Almighty. (NIV)

Rom 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (KJV)

We are old wine skins when we become set in our religious ways, and this occurs when we put expectations on the church and God’s ministry that are based on our traditional experience. Church services must be a set length of time, the preacher must preach certain type of messages only, and the color scheme of the church must be according to our taste, etc.. We become set in our ways. The Bible refers to people who are set in their ways as stiff necked and hard hearted. It’s a scary thought God may perceive us as stiff necked because of our unwillingness to change.

Self Attitude

Matt 20:27-28 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: (28) Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (KJV)

John 12:42-43 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: (43) For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (KJV)

Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (KJV)

The teachings of Jesus clearly indicate that the servant attitude is necessary for promotion in the kingdom of God. With this thought in mind, the only way we can understand the new wine of the Holy Spirit is through the servant attitude.

Notice, that among the chief rulers there were many who believed on Jesus, but they would not openly acknowledge their personal faith because they feared lose of position. These chief rulers loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

As long as our desire is to please men we cannot be the servants of Christ. Our selfish attitudes disqualify us from being servants of Christ.

Comfort Zone

We all are surrounded by a comfort zone of likes and dislikes. This comfort zone will often dictate our involvement in the work of God. When we become set in our ways it often is the result of being set in the ways of our comfort zones. Our personal comfort zone will not yield to the new wine of the Holy Spirit. We now must consider the possibility that our attachment to our comfort zones will determine our old wineskin attitudes.

New Wineskins

Flexible

Lam 3:40-41 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. (41) Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. (KJV)

A person who has a new wineskin attitude understands the need to be flexible in order to allow the new wine of the Holy Spirit to expand his or her horizons.

Willing to Change

Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Prov 16:2-3 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. (3) Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Prov 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (KJV)

To walk with God requires a constant need for change. The light of God’s countenance will expose our personal secret sins (Psa 90:8). This exposure of our secret carnal life is a progressive revelation that occurs during intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. The new wine of the Holy Spirit demands a constant personal need for change.

Seeking God’s Ways

Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (KJV)

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (KJV)

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. (KJV)

One of the basic qualities of a new wineskin attitude is the hunger to seek God’s ways. Normal religious life is a frustration, because it fails to understand the ways of God. A prerequisite of a new wineskin attitude is the willingness to seek God’s ways, and allow the Holy Spirit to change the deepest parts of the heart.

Servant Attitude

Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; (KJV)

The servant attitude is an absolute necessity that must be resident in order for the new wineskin heart to receive the new wine of the Holy Spirit. How can we hope to walk in the new wine of the Holy Spirit without obedience through servanthood.

Christ Zone

Josh 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. (KJV)

The new wineskin heart has allow the Holy Spirit to crucify the individual comfort zone. The comfort zone for a new wineskin is the zone of intimate relationship with Jesus.

Reference: Deut 5:33; 8:6; 10:12; 11:22; 19:9; 26:17; 28:9

Restored Wineskins

The question before us today is a simple one. How can the Holy Spirit restore a new wineskin heart in the midst of old wineskin attitudes? One thing must be made perfectly clear. Youthfulness is not a guarantee of a new wineskin heart. Age has some influence on our attitudes but its not the only factor, because youth has not become set in its ways.

Anointing Oil

I Jn 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (KJV)

An old wineskin looses its value when its leather dries to the point that it becomes inflexible and hard. Leather that has reached that point can only be revitalized by a gradual conditioning process. Conditioning oil must be slowly worked into the leather in order for a degree of flexibility to return.

The dryness and inflexibility of our spiritual hearts only reflect our need for the Holy Spirit to recondition our wineskin attitudes. The Holy Spirit will gradually rub into our hardened hearts his anointing oil, and he will teach us to abide in Jesus Christ.

Repentance and Confession

Ps 119:59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. (KJV)

Ps 119:168) I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee. (KJV)

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV)

In order to allow the Holy Spirit to recondition the spiritual leather of our hearts we must recognize our need for repentance and confession. Also we must realize that our inflexibility is the result of being set in our religious ways. We often hide our need for repentance behind a shroud of religious dogma. A new wineskin attitude must walk before God in honest repentance and confession. In order for an old wineskin to become a new wineskin true personal spiritual reality must be confronted. We are old wineskins because our religion about Christ has frustrated our relationship with Christ.

Return to Simplicity of Cross

1 Cor 2:1-2 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (KJV)

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (KJV)

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (KJV)

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Our religious dogma and debate often clouds our spiritual hearts with foolish denominational rhetoric. In order to enter into the new wine of the Holy Spirit we must return to the simplicity of the cross, and our being crucified with Jesus Christ. We must examine our hearts not judge the hearts of our brothers and sisters.

Cultivate Servant Attitude

Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (KJV)

Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; (KJV)

The word of God is very clear. The servant attitude is the path of true spiritual promotion in Christ’s kingdom. Christians want to pick and choose the type of service they give to the work of the kingdom. In order for the Holy Spirit to recondition our old wineskin hearts he must rub into our religious inflexibility the attitude of a true spiritual servant.

Crucify Comfort Zone

Take the time to inventory our personal comfort zones. Have we allowed our lazyboy chairs and remote controls to frustrate the revitalization of our spiritual wineskin? One point must be made very clear. In order to walk in the new wine of the Holy Spirit we must allow our comfort zones to be crucified, and we must allow the Holy Spirit access to our watches and calendars.

Can our old wineskins be restored by the Holy Spirit in order to contain the new wine of revival? I think the answer to this question is "Yes"; but the revitalization process will be difficult. The crux of this message can be summed up in this sobering thought.

Do I want to endure the process to become a new wineskin fresh for the Master’s use?

Consider this question with honest self examination.