NEW WINE AND NEW WINESKINS
“No one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
I have heard the phrase “new wineskins” over and over in the past few years. That phrase, of course, comes from Jesus’ teaching that: “new wine must be poured into new wineskins.” Jesus was saying that it’s neither practical nor wise to try to fit a new thing into an old package.
This imagery can be very useful in helping us think about the church and its ministries. Friends, I believe that the church in America is on the verge of growing up. Where we have always thought about getting up on a Sunday morning and “going to church,” the Lord is now calling us to get up on Monday morning (and Tuesday and Wednesday) and BE the church. We always thought that “church” was all about what we did in that steepled building down the road. But the Lord is calling the church to get out of its steepled building and minister the gospel of Christ where we live and learn and work and play. We know that the church isn’t a building. The church is people who know and love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is people who are committed to walk as Jesus walked.
Yes, Jesus went to the Temple and the synagogue. He worshipped there and He taught there. But the focus of His ministry was not the people in the Temple, it was the people in the streets and in the markets – a special class of people – they were called sinners.
The other word that I hear much more often these days is “missional.” Believers are being called to recapture and reclaim the mission of the church which is to “go and make disciples.” And that first word is essential; the church has to “go” in order to fulfill its mission.
Now to make some application: You and your family may go to worship on Sunday mornings in a steepled building. Friend, that building was never designed or intended to be a fortress from the world. It was designed to be an outpost in the world; where the body of Christ can come to regroup, refresh, retrain, and then head back to the mission field ready to do the work of ministry.
Pastor Keith Andrews