New wine in old bags (Luke 5:37)
This is the age of innovation. Everything new has to be good and
superior. It reminds me of the efficiency expert. When he died and six
men carried him off, he raised himself up and said, “Put wheels under this
thing and lay off five.” Did not some one say, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever?” (Hebrews 13:8). We are not changing Jesus; but only the way we worship and serve Him. Sounds very noble if all of us were of one age, one mind, and one body. A Church consists of different age groups, minds, and bodies. Paul would say, “I am all things to all men to reach them for Christ” (I Corinthians 9:22). He also said, “All things are lawful but not beneficial” (I Corinthians 6:12). Is there no more durability in anything anymore?
WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY?
1) “I have not come to change things but to restore and complete what God had originally
intended” (Matthew 5:17-20). Traditions had replaced the principles of God and the
people were led astray by false leaders (Mark 7:1-13). The new wine did not save
Israel and neither shall it save our age. Over the past fifty years, I too was
engaged in many attempts to improve things with changes and innovations only to
see the shrinking of denominations and disappearing of Churches. Of the seven Churches that I served, three ceased to exist and the other four Churches are just getting by.
2) Do not patch (Luke 5:36). This is the common sense principle. My
ancestors knew that a new patch would ruin a good set of older garments. This
principle is as old as the hills. Yet, when it comes to the Church, it is as
new as yesterday. New ideas are being forced into old established principles.
These new patches have torn huge holes into the old system and as a result,
both, the new and the old are now useless. Jesus represented a new patch and He
wanted it to grow and mature and not destroy the old system. The old system was not altogether bad,
except for the leadership. It had much to teach to the younger generation.
There is a reason why the old wine tastes better (Luke 5:38). It should be of
interest to us, that the people that left Egypt and died in the desert no
longer knew what Joseph represented (Exodus 1:8). It is tragic that new converts
are maturing instantly and are being placed in leadership roles (I Timothy 3:6).
Particularly, spirituality is a lengthy aging process.
3) Don’t pour new wine into old bags (Matthew 5:37). This is the principle of growth. We
fix things by merger oand division. In our Church, the new wine and the contemporary
music was not at all welcomed. It was decided to divide into a contemporary and
a traditional service. The first mistake was to assign the 11 a.m. to the
contemporaries. The traditionalists, who carried the Church financially and
otherwise were left without music and some of the major musicians. This did not
last and now both groups manage to get along. The losses that occurred shall
take some time to recoup. We learned the hard way, that we could not survive
one without the other. A healthy Church requires the old and the new wine. We
can blend, but not mix nor divide.