For many years, I have read about new wineskins in the
Church being described as new and creative models of ministry. There is nothing
wrong with those teachings as metaphors as long as we understand the original
intent of what Jesus was saying. Jesus was telling His listeners in Luke 5 that
He was the new wineskin. He came to replace the wineskin of an old and
expired covenant.

“And no one puts
new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it
will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put
into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”Luke 5: 37-39

The teachers of the
Law were demanding that Jesus and His disciples fit into an old wineskin that
was passing away. They were saying by their life and theology that, “The old is
good enough.” Jesus was illustrating the point that the structure of the old covenant
would not be able to contain the freshness of the new. A new spiritual
container was required to hold a new covenant, not a refurbished wineskin.

We understand at the moment of our salvation we became a new
creation – a completely new wineskin – capable of containing the expanding effects
of the wine of a new Kingdom. We now walk through culture as living containers
of God’s increasing grace not as some tired and brittle old wineskin of law
that does not have the ability to contain new life.

The Apostle Paul
said in his letter to the Philippians regarding leaving behind the old wineskin
of the Law, “For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as
garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him.” (3:8-9) In the
context of that chapter Paul first listed his significant Jewish pedigree in
the law then he said he threw it all away for Christ. He was discarding
the former wineskin to become one with the new wineskin – Jesus.

If we describe our
life and ministry as something new and culturally expressive and then call it “a new wineskin” there is nothing wrong with that as long as our model was
first formed by the life of Christ expressed in our unique context. Keep that order of
progression in mind as you create new
expressions of Jesus in culture. Once that understanding
is in place you are free to enjoy the journey and drink the new wine of a new
covenant poured freely from the Wineskin of Heaven – Jesus Christ.

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