I sense this to be a time where God wants to bring the new wine of his Spirit out of his people. In order for this to happen there must a reforming of our current wine skins.
“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be destroyed. Instead new wine is poured into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22 NET
So what does this new wine skin look like? I believe Matthew 5 paints the best picture of it. Sunday I ministered out of Matthew 5 and the story of the Sermon on the Mount. The next day I sensed the new wine that would come forth as a result of obeying this kingdom message from the scriptures.
In the sermon on the mount we are invited AND challenged to look at true discipleship.
The proclamations of Jesus paint for us a picture of humility, mercy, justice but most of all -Jesus himself.
In the beatitudes we are given the instructions for how to carry it, how to be, act and represent our Lord and master, Jesus Christ to those around us.
Its the humble, broken, merciful, and contrite that carries the heart of Jesus. As we allow him to reshape us to be such carriers, we can be those new wineskins in the earth. In essence we are carrying not just “a message” but the life giving presence of Jesus himself, by His Spirit.
For sometime now many of us have believed and prayed for a revival in our nation. Any true reformation and revival must start in the church. It must begin with us repenting for our evil ways.
“if my people, who belong to me, humble themselves, pray, seek to please me, and repudiate their sinful practices, then I will respond from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NET
The depth of our repentance and godly sorrow, determines the height of such a revival. God wants us to revive the weary, downcast, broken and humble. I do believe he wants us to arise and shine for him, but we must lay down our old flames- any old way of carrying him that was void of the cross shaped life.
He wants to set us on fire with new flames of his presence, power and glory but humility and repentance are the requirements. These new flames will burn brighter and brighter the more we humble ourselves.
God is now breaking, not to harm but to reform us as we repent and return to him with our whole heart, soul mind and strength.
“He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the LORD caused the sin of all of us to attack him. He was treated harshly and afflicted, but he did not even open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block, like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not even open his mouth. He was led away after an unjust trial – but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded.” Isaiah 53:3-8 NET
This discipleship and new wineskin, will cost you your life. Your will for his will. Following Jesus means rejection, pain and suffering; it means being scoffed at, being despised and persecuted and afflicted for things you did not do. It means you will be lied upon and falsely accused.
The cross shaped life doesn’t always look pleasurable or honoring but it does have great reward. Both in this life and the world to come. But most of all we are continuing to do the work of Jesus, demonstrating who our father in heaven is, and his kingdom here on this earth.
Being new wineskins returns us to being true disciples of Jesus where our focus is his will-not ours.
We can start in our marriages by laying down our lives. St. Paul in Ephesians 5:21 says:
“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
In this passage he is teaching husbands and wives how their wills can become the means for love and not the weapons of war. This proves we are his disciples- whenever we have love one for another.
“Love is defined by a willingness to give up my will (not my will but thine be done), a voluntary crucifixion.” Eugene Peterson
Nothing we do in the exercise of our wills will ever come close to approximating what is done to us by other people’s wills. Our lives enter into what is already done; most of life is not what we do but what is done to us. Thus making the cruxiformed life even more so a challenge.
Marriage and all relationships provide us with experiences of complex realities we did not choose or make. The same people that are capable of profounding us in one minute, are intolerable to us in the next minute. We soon learn that love does not develop when we impose our will but only when we enter into sensitive responsiveness to the will of others. We lay down our lives. Thus living the cross shaped, crucible life.
I don’t know about you but this has become so real to me over the last few months.
God desires to bring new wine out of you, but it first requires a breaking and crushing of the old you.
The process of making wine requires that grapes change forms from solid to liquid-squeezing out of them what’s inside. There’s a process of crushing and waiting and crushing and waiting and crushing and waiting that’s involved in making new wine. Many of you may have been undergoing this process so hold one if that’s you.
“You heard that it was said, and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you: don’t use violence to resist evil! Instead, when someone hits you on the right cheek, turn the other one toward him. When someone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your cloak too. And when someone forces you to go 1 mile, go a second one with him. Give to anyone who asks you, don’t refuse someone who wants to borrow from you. You heard that it was said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: love your enemies! Pray for people who persecute you! That way, you’ll be children of your father in heaven! After all, he makes his sun rise on bad and good alike, and sends rain both on the upright and on the unjust. Look at it like this: if you love those who love you do you expect a special reward? Even tax collectors do that, don’t they? And if you only greet your own family, what’s so special about that, even Gentiles do that don’t they, well then: you must be perfect just as your heavenly father is perfect. “ Matthew 5:38-48
These scriptures remind us of the change of heart and mind we need so we can agree with his reshaping process. Yes it’s hard to go through this crushing and pressing but God will see you through it.
Surrender your heart and mind daily to him in this crushing process. Live in the scriptures, especially the gospels right now, listening to the words of Jesus. Yield to his presence in prayer, worship and in constant communion with his Spirit who lives inside of you. He’s not the God that is far off. He’s the God that came close and lives on the inside of us transforming us daily as we lean into his Spirit and obey the words of Jesus.
God is re-making us into vessels of honor and glory, true disciples, that he will present to those that need this new wine in the days, months and years ahead. Good wine takes time to make so don’t get weary. The king is saving the best wine for last.
“Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine left.” Jesus replied, “Woman, why are you saying this to me? My time has not yet come.” His mother told the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the water jars with water.” So they filled them up to the very top. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward,” and they did. When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!” Jesus did this as the first of his miraculous signs, in Cana of Galilee. In this way he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.” John 2:1-11 NET
We live in a time where people need to taste and see that God is good. They will taste him through you. You will be that offering of new wine as long as you surrender to his process.
There is a great freedom we experience as we surrender to Jesus in this way. There’s great power in humility and repentance as God changes the way we think.
The way up in the kingdom begins by going low first.
“Blessings on the poor in spirit! The kingdom of heaven is yours. Blessings on the mourners! You’re going to be comforted. Blessings on the Meek! You’re going to inherit the earth. Blessings on people who hunger and thirst for God‘s justice! You’re going to be satisfied. Blessings on the merciful! You’ll receive mercy yourselves. Blessings on the pure in heart! You will see God. Blessings on the peacemakers! You’ll be called God’s children. Blessings on people who are persecuted because of God’s way! The kingdom of heaven belongs to you. Blessings on you, when people slander you and persecute you, and say all kinds of wicked things about you falsely because of me! Celebrate and rejoice: there’s a great reward for you in heaven. That’s how they persecuted the prophets who went before you.” Matthew 5:3-11
We are to be servants of all. This is the kingdom model.
Surrendering with you,