Summary: If the New Year is new wine, then what wine skins should we be avoiding?
JANUARY 2nd 2005
It’s gone, finished. 2004 is just a memory as we stand on the threshold of 2005. during the first week of a new year it’s not unusual to reminisce about the past and to dream about the future. Were there things that we would change about the past 365 days if we had a chance or are we happy with the last 52 weeks of our lives. 2004 is gone; everything we did and everything we strived for are now history. December 2004 is as unobtainable as December 1994 or 1984 or 1974.
Sometimes we are tempted to try and make the New Year a copy of the old year, especially if the old year was a good year, or a successful year. If not a copy then we hold up the last year and use it for a yard stick or bench mark and compare each new event to how it had happened the previous year. We are often reluctant to let go of the past because it is something familiar. But it is the past, it’s gone and can’t be repeated. And while it is one thing to learn from the past it’s another thing to wallow in it.
James the brother of Jesus said James 4:14 How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. Well the fog of 2004 is starting to clear. We are moving into a new year and 2005 promises to be a great year in the life of Cornerstone Wesleyan Church. And as we stand just over the threshold of a year that holds so much promise maybe it would do well to reflect for a moment on 2004.
It’s been a good year, a successful year. Since we launched in 1995 we have talked about having a place of our own and it was 2004 that that dream starting taking on the form of reality. It will be a year next weekend that we introduced the Building on Faith capital campaign. And I know that not everybody embraced the concept of “Not equal giving but equal sacrifice.” But most did and were willing to make those sacrifices. And I thank you for that.
Since then we’ve done what some felt we could never do, we have raised $113,000.00 toward our new building and have commitments of another $245,000.00 to be paid over the next twenty seven months. God is good. Our dream for the past nine years has been to have a piece of property to build on, and who would have suspected a year ago that we would own property on one of the major growth corridors in the city right across from a Tim Horton’s. We are now finalizing plans and expect to begin building in the next three months.
But when everything is said and done 2004 is gone, it exists now only in our memories, and will be perpetuated forever in our record books. For all we have done, all we have accomplished, all we have struggled together for is but a mist that appeared for a little while and then vanished. If we were to stop now and go no further, then 2004 would have been a wasted effort.
Part of the Scripture that was read this morning was Mark 2: 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. The wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine needs new wineskins. “
The words are the words of Christ, found in the book of Mark, which is the second book of the New Testament. This Gospel was written by John Mark a young man whose mother’s home was a meeting place for the early church. Mark was probably recording the events of Jesus’ life from Peter’s perspective. There is an incident toward the end of Mark’s account that takes place during Christ’s arrest that is recorded only by Mark. Mark 14:50-52 Meanwhile, all his disciples deserted him and ran away. There was a young man following along behind, clothed only in a linen nightshirt. When the mob tried to grab him, they tore off his clothes, but he escaped and ran away naked. Many scholars feel that this young man was none other then Mark Himself.
This was the earliest gospel written, perhaps as early as A.D. 50 and was written primarily to non-Jewish believers. The reason it was written? To show that Jesus was the saviour of the entire world. More then forty percent of this book takes place during Christ’s last week.
This Scripture has two main premises, two distinct trains of thought. 1) New Wine and 2) Old Wineskins. Jesus had been confronted over the fact that he didn’t do some things the way other people, primarily the Pharisees and John the Baptist did the same things. As a part of his answer he draws this analogy of wineskins. Now remember a couple of things about culture 2000 years ago. First there was no refrigeration, so any liquids that were to be kept had to be fermented or they would go bad therefore wine was very much a part of their everyday life. Here’s a clue though, most of us have refrigerators. Secondly there were no bottles to carry the wine from point a to point b. So the fermented wine was kept in wineskins which were made out of leather.