Jesus uses the analogy of old and new wine skin to explain the transformation that God must make in you before you enter into a new relationship with him. A wine skin is a container for storing wine. As wine is contained in the wine skin, the wine changes the physical nature of the skin. A life without Jesus is like old wine skin which is already stretched as far as it can stretch. It cannot hold new wine because new wine will again change the physical characteristics of the material of the container causing it to burst. Jesus came to give new and abundant life – the new wine – which is more than the old container can hold. Your life (the container) must be remade to hold the new wine. Jesus must change us; he must upgrade our system to handle the new life.
Jesus is saying, “If I put the new system in you without first changing you, then you will break. I must first give you a new birth before the new covenant can be poured into you.” Be encouraged as Casey offers insight into the the transformation that Jesus offers to all who want it.
Scripture References: Matthew 9:9-18; Luke 5:37-39
Last week, Rod encouraged us to not let a known personal problem or sin stop us from pursuing God. God meets you where you are, but calls you to where he is. This week, Rod explains some ways to keep our minds on God.
The pursuit of God is a journey. In the letter to the Romans, Paul wrote of this same topic and encouraged the church at Rome to pursue God. He wrote, “…in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”.
Remember, a living sacrifice will struggle to keep it’s own life. The old life, the old attitudes, the old habits that don’t honor God will want to hold on, but because of God’s mercy you can honor God and let go of the old. It’s not about rules, it’s about the redeeming and transforming work of Jesus Christ. Not about what you do, but what you allow Christ to do in you.
The transformation to be Christ-like, a little Christ, a Christian is a journey. Once you come to Jesus you become a good work in progress.
When you think of the life of Paul, what comes to your mind? Maybe: transformation, mighty servant, passionate, zealous. He’s remembered for transformation and zeal because he once hunted for Christians because they dishonored God according to his understanding of God. At first, Paul had much knowledge about God but he missed the greatest piece of knowledge; Jesus as the Son of God. Although he knew much about God and lived a moral life, he ultimately proved that he didn’t know God because he thought Jesus was an enemy. That all changed when he encountered Jesus as the Son of God. He went from a zealous enemy of Jesus to one of the most passionate friends of Jesus.
The surprising fact is that Paul spent some three years after his encounter with Jesus before he began the work he is known for today. It’s easy to assume that Paul was an effective Christian from the first minute of meeting Jesus. As if he started writing parts of the Bible the minute he received his sight after the Damascus road incident. Yet, even he had to go through a time of basic training and growth before he became known as the great Apostle Paul.
A transformed life takes time to achieve and we often forget that. The transformation process is full victory but also full of failure and mess. As a church, we often expect a person to go from terrible sinner to perfect saint the minute after a prayer is said all the while forgetting that it took each of us many years to get to where we are currently at – still far from perfect practice. There is always a time of reorientation and learning. A transformed life is one built though many experiences that teach humility and wisdom. God walks with each of us on our own specialized learning plan to teach us who he is and how to depend on him. The Christian life doesn’t mean smooth sailing, but it does mean that God is with you and for you.
Scripture References: Acts 9:19-30. see also Galatians 1:11-24; Philippians 3:3-7