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Monday, June 18, 2012

Old Wineskin Christian or New?


But First You Must Dump the Old Wineskin
Among Christians, and we are all guilty when we hear or see a problem or fault, it is "the other  guy", or "that church" with the problem.  We read or hear something profound and we think "boy, THEY NEED TO GET THIS!" -but meanwhile we are oblivious to the "beam in our own eye" as we seek to point out the speck in our brothers eye.

Catch-words like “factious” "trouble makers", "divisive", "Lone Ranger Christians", "carnal", "truth-rejecters", "un-loyal,  "troubled", "discord sowers" are some descriptions and labels we carelessly used.

We are all pretty good at backhanding those we disagree with.. 
After leaving our local church which we had helped establish and build, after 24 years, we found ourselves for the first time counted among with the  hundreds who had drifted through our assembly over the years.  What an eye-opener! 

We did not leave disgruntled or with a desire to return to worldly living. 
We wanted to leave in peace, quietly, and we rejected the "bon voyage" service to "honor" us for our 24 years of service.
We intended to return and visit regularly, and 3 months later had serious thought of returning thinking we had erred in leaving, and I was willing to go back and say how sorry I was for leaving.  

But the very night those thoughts went through my mind, God spoke to me twice in night visions which revealed the darkness within ourselves and our need to go into "the wilderness" which meant separation from all that we had been part of. It was like stepping off a cliff only the Lord was waiting for us to really trust Him with all of our Christianity.

From the time we left, my wife and I returned to diligent reading and study of God's Word, and prayer.  The Lord was doing a work in us that continues to this day.
We discovered much to our dismay, it was much easier to walk away from the institution of church than it was to get the institution of church out of us! -"purge out the old leaven that ye may be come a new lump". 

As we continued in God's Word, however, we continued to recognize more and more of what we left behind and the need to become "a new wineskin". 
The old wineskin had to go, but WHAT was that?

===> Becoming a new wineskin is not following a new church or pastor!
It is not changing churches, it is not about what building you fellowship in, it is not doing house church, it is not about anything outward.  It is not putting a new church label on yourself.

After 24 years of church, we found becoming a new wineskin does not happen over-night.
Wineskins are made from the flesh of animals. This represents our "beastly" nature. You know, the one that likes to be admired, heard, respected, adored, loved, followed, complimented, believed, is comfort-driven, self-centered, materialistic, angry, vengeful, selfish, lazy, and our entertainment-pleasure-loving-side.

Yet all the while, the same old "beast" dresses up in a nice suit and tie, smiles, sings Christian music, and talks about God.
The man in the mirror can sure deceive us.

It was most painful for God to reveal ourselves honestly, and most of us cannot stand what we see, when we see ourselves.
Is it because there is far too much of us and far too less of Jesus looking back at our reflection in the mirror of His Word?
Could it be we have not followed Jesus in taking up our cross?
Mat 16:24    .. Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Did He really mean it?

 I recall the impact of one verse in particular that blew apart my concepts of what I thought I should have and achieve as a Christian and church member:
Luke 14:33
So therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
We are not talking lip service here. He really meant it.

Renounce all:  literally to say adios by departing or dismissing; figuratively bid farewell, forsake, take leave, send away.

This not only means renouncing our ownership of all our "stuff', we have accumulated, 
it even means renouncing ALL OF OUR Christian doctrine and beliefs.
Is that too radical?  It was too radical for many followers of Jesus in John 6:66 also.

I am not saying all our ideas and teachings are completely wrong, what I AM saying is we must be willing to renounce them all as Jesus taught.
It is a step few Christians realize that Jesus required of us.

 If there is something worth keeping, let God affirm it to you in prayer and the Word after you renounce the teachings of men, and all manmade "Statements of Faith".
Every time I have renounced ownership of  old church doctrine and tradition, God has been able to teach me the truth right out of His Word.  Every time God revealed truth, it was different from what I had learned "in church".  And the Lord gave understanding to go with it.

The new wineskin..
Do you want to REALLY be one? -and be filled with new wine of His sweet anointed Word hidden away inside your vessel? You cannot get that blessing of a new Wineskin without throwing away, or walking away in most cases, from the entire OLD one!

What? Do you want to patch-in some old ideas, traditions, formulas, "creeds", "faith statements", words, and habits, that are not found in the Bible, and think you can still be new? 
 The New Wine will pour out through those old patches!  Forget it!

Hear the word of the Lord;
 Luke 5:36 And he spake also a parable unto them: No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth it upon an old garment; else he will rend the new, and also the piece from the new will not agree with the old.
37 And no man putteth new wine into old wine-skins; else the new wine will burst the skins, and itself will be spilled, and the skins will perish.
38 But new wine must be put into fresh wine-skins.
39 And no man having drunk old wine desires new; for he says, The old is good.

Did you know the Lord has saved THE BEST WINE for "The Last"...?
 -The best revelation of His Word, the best restoration of His power and authority, and the best revelation of Himself to us?

We must go on to renounce sin in our lives as God reveals it.
I am talking about hidden sin that must be overcome.

Holding grudges, hurts, anger, fear, doubt, covetousness, desire to control, always be right, unbelief, self-hatred, unforgiveness,  even murmuring and complaining!
-anything that is contrary to the nature of Christ must be renounced and God's deliverance received. 

The truth is today, in most churches, you can cover just about all that corruption by attending church faithfully, giving financial support,  activity involvement, and being a nice person outwardly, -like we did.

 We know because  we lived this way, but only after leaving we found that "all we as sheep have gone astray" and "our righteousness was as filthy rags".  -all while sitting in a church pew and somehow convincing ourselves  I'm a new wineskin because I don’t party, commit adultery, or steal and "believed"...
 Will you trust God enough to renounce "all that he hath" both materially and intellectually?

It took me 2-3 weeks to pray a prayer of renouncing after seeing the truth of what Jesus said in Luke 14:33.  I also asked him to "judge me" for the many sins I have committed as a Christian. 

We can honestly say we would not trade the 8 years of our present walk with Christ outside the camp of old wineskin "Christianity" for the 24 years of servitude to the system of Christianity. Time and space will not allow to express the joy and thanks we have for God's grace in bringing us out of the old wineskin of our traditions.  

It is worth it.


  1. This is a really great piece of encouragement here, Rory. Thank you for sharing and encouraging the brethren. As I read "lone ranger Christian", I could see the system promulgators at their pulpits building a wall of false doctrine to hedge in the followers. I have seen preachers rail against other denominations. I never once saw it as anything but a way to keep people from crossing the divide to the other side (to the other tithe).

  2. And, I wanted to note (this was probably on accident), the red and blue wine skins in the graphic remind me of the red and blue pill in the Matrix.
    Take the blue pill, and remain trapped in the Matrix (=churchanity). Take the red pill (blood of Christ) and be set free forever.

  3. Easy to understand! It is confusing being out of church, this post is a big help. Amen...

  4. Luke 14:33 - NIV - "He that does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple". Yes, that verse can mean that we have to give up the doctrines that we learned in the churches and then let the Holy Spirit be out Teacher. "For you no longer have need of a teacher, for the Holy Spirit is your teacher". But it can also mean that we have to get rid of our earthly possessions - "Sell what you have, give to the poor and come, follow Me".

    In 1984 and 2005 the Lord had me get rid of virtually everything I owned, literally. Even today everything I own will fit in the front seat of my pickup truck. Do I like it? Absolutely not!!! But that is what God commanded me to do, and there is no choice but obedience. When Paul said he was a bondslave of Christ Jesus, he knew EXACTLY what he was talking about. A slave has no choice but to obey his master, his freewill is a thing of the past.

    Does God call everyone to this level of obedience? No. But you need to understand that He does require it of some. I know that Rory and his wife both understand this very intimately. Many of you will also be called to this level of obedience in the near future, do not run away from it.

  5. It is great that one should reject the institutions of Christianity, but to what end. I realize that one cannot tell it all in one paragraph, but after the call has been accepted to "come out from among them and be ye separate," one must have something, some alternative to the institutions one has come out from.

    This article says nothing, or at best, very little of what one is to come into. What is the way and what constitutes obedience to the truth. I firmly believe that to embrace truth one must first repent of the error. Once error has been rejected, what is the truth of it? What is the institution of the church and what are the godly practices one is to practice?

    We are to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. In this article you have not defined that faith nor the traditions we are to accept and follow.

  6. You put the new wine into new skins; and both then are preserved. And no man having drunk the old wine immediately desires the new; for he says, The old is better (Luk 5:38-39).

    Jesus is talking about the old religious systems that He was coming up against. He is bringing a new breath of air into the religious scene that had become so stodgy that no one could hardly stand it. Now, rather than coming in to reform that system, putting the new cloth in the old garment, or putting the new wine in the old skins, He is developing a whole new skin for this new work of God.

    Now those who are used to the old traditional ways are always upset when something new comes along. They say, "Oh, the old is better." And we see this demonstrated so often. New ideas, new thoughts are so often immediately rejected. People get caught in their old traditional ways, and they get upset if anything should come along. Well, the old wineskins burst.
    May God keep us flexible. As I grow older I know the tenancy is to get set in your ways. And I pray, "God don't let me grow old in that regards, help me to always be open to what You might want to be doing." I have observed in the history of the church how many times when God wanted to do a fresh work upon the earth, He had to go outside of the organized systems. Because the old skin couldn't handle the new wine. And so we see this glorious fresh work of God, but he had to create a new skin in order to do it. And those who come from the old systems so often are shocked and appalled at what they see. They just can't handle what God is doing, because it doesn't follow our structure. It doesn't fit into our pattern. And yet, God develops the new skins for His new wine. By the late, Chuck Smith.

  7. amen. and in terms of the Old and New Testament which is what I believe Jesus was referring to, those "patches" would be ordinances such as tithing, dietary laws, sabbath law, etc. The church system has been guilty of patching those on to the New Wineskin..