Summary: Jesus prayed and relied on the Holy Spirit for every change. Even at the times of Christ’s greatest popularity He knew that only the Spirit produces lasting change.
NEW CLOTHES ON OLD COAT__ MATT 9:16-17
NEW WINE IN OLD SKIN__LUKE 5: 36-39
Luke 5:36 “He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, `The old is better.’ "
Can All Things Be New? Well for many there is certainly a need for renewal. Many of us are reminded at New Year that we need to make change! A New Years resolution to loose weight quit smoking or perhaps read the bible more. But is dramatic change possible? For some reason most people will fight against change and some will even put up forceful resistance arguing that it is better the devil you know than the one you don’t When people claim to change, others are sceptical, particularly when someone claims a spiritual rebirth. We read so often about public figures that have claimed a spiritual rebirth and it’s usually a gimmick in order to take the heat off of something they may have done in order that the consequences of there actions may be lessened This transformation often happens while criminals are awaiting sentence or seeking parole. [Theologians might consider studying the relationship between loving God and fearing a judge.] I have also heard it said, "When the going gets tough, the tough get religion." Often, dramatic change isn’t a wish, but an absolute necessity. How many times do we here of government leaders or political figures that have been overthrown because they couldn’t implement change fast enough. The Bible says people can, and must, change. John 3:3 “In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. "
A Chinese general put it this way. "If the world is to be brought to order, my nation must first be changed. If my nation is to be changed, my hometown must be made over. If my hometown is to be reordered, my family must first be set right. If my family is to be regenerated, I myself must first be." Conversion may start small, but it has a big impact. Don’t set our limits on what God can do or on what he may want us to do.
UNDERSTANDING THE PARABLE
To understand the parable, we must understand the process of fermenting wine in the skins of goats. After the flesh and bones were removed from the inside of the goat the skin was tanned over fires of acacia wood. Then the openings were sewn shut, the neck of the goat was used for the spout, and unfermented grape juice was poured in. Afterwards the neck was sewn shut and the fermentation process began. Only a new wineskin would have the capacity to stretch during the process of fermentation and not break until the process was finished. If new wine was put in an old wineskin, because the leather skin was dry and cracked, it would probably split and both the wine and the skin would be lost. Therefore, the making of the wine required new wine in new skins for successful change to take place. Matt 9:17 “Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Jesus emphasized that change must first occur internally before external changes should be made. Like old wineskins, the Pharisees had become too rigid in their lifestyle and in their traditions; they could not accept Jesus because he would not be bound by the rules they themselves had set. It was time for change where new approaches, new traditions and new structures were required. We as Christians today must be on our guard that we don’t allow our hearts to become so rigid that we become unable to accept new ways and new approaches. We can become stale, mouldy and unpalatable and even the lost will find us undesirable; this applies particularly to our church meetings and ministries that are sometimes so structured that they prevent the Holy Spirit manifesting himself. -Our hearts must remain pliable so that we can accept new ways of thinking, new ideas and new methods. The new wine is the Gospel of Christ and the power of the Spirit. The new wine skins are those who become a new creation in Christ by being born again. 2Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!! It is not good enough just to believe in Christ, we must do as He tells us and that is what the practical and moral teachings of the New Testament are all about.