#919. The danger of loving the old wine (13/10/23)
Today, we continue in our Luke - Exploring who Jesus is - series.
‘He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’” (Luke 5:36-39)
Lesson: Do we love the new wine of Jesus and Word-centred living, or do we love the old wine of doing things that make us feel most comfortable and respected?
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The most obvious interpretation of the ‘old wine’ is that it’s about loving the old way of doing things. Specifically, in this context, it's about loving the Jewish religion that does not recognise the significance of Jesus. These religious leaders had a growing antipathy toward Jesus and wanted nothing to do with the ‘new cloth,’ ‘new wine,’ or ‘new wineskins’ - in other words, they did not accept Jesus as their awaited Messiah.
Old wine, essentially, is Christ-less religion. It's also religion without a reliance on the Spirit for new birth and empowerment for life. Old wine represents a desire for a God who is comfortable for us. Old wine ticks all the boxes - as the annoying phrase goes - as we decide on which God we will accept and which church we will attend.
These religious leaders were offended that Jesus ate with the wrong people and didn’t fulfil their religious expectations, leading them to reject Him. We can be the same. Instead of loving the new wine of living in God’s Kingdom according to His Word, we, at our worst, can love religion that suits our preferences, temperament, and, on occasion, aligns with our perversions. At the more subtle end of the spectrum, we can become grumpy and difficult if Biblical truth is upheld but in a novel and modern style or a way that doesn’t suit us. Old wine people, essentially, are selfish rather than loving God and others.
Do we love the new wine of Jesus and Word-centred living, or do we love the old wine of doing things that make us feel most comfortable and respected?
The old way of doing things consists of our habits and traditions that are most comfortable for us. In life and our approach to worship, will we love the ‘new wine’ of His will, regardless of how unpalatable it may initially seem to us? In all aspects of our lives – salvation, worship, prayer, singleness, marriage, parenting, work – will we embrace the new wine, or will we revert to the old because we think it’s better?
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This week is our week of prayer so we won't be meeting in our Community Groups.
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