| A commentary on part of the four gospels course.|
For whoever has taken this course I hope you will find this short Bible study edifying. For those who have not I hope you also find it useful.
This courses main reference was from a book called the Unvarnished Gospels which I will not refer to. I have chosen to use a New American Standard Bible. Use whatever one you wish.
The author of this course made mention of a passage in Matthew 9:14-17.
For ease of instruction the words of Jesus are all in red.
"The disciples of John came to Him (Jesus), asking, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. But no one puts a patch of un-shrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wine skins; otherwise the wine skins burst, and the wine pours out and the wine skins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wine skins, and both are preserved."
It is here that the author of the course is hoping to use this as a forum conversation starter. So I think I will try to take him up on his offer. Whoever wants to add in on the subject please feel free even if it is to tell me I don't know what I am talking about, but this is somewhat how a preacher explained this in a sermon I heard long ago and it has directed be ever since how I read my Bible.
The question the 4 gospels author is asking is, does this mean you can't teach an old dog new tricks? He doesn't seem to think so but it is a good base question to start with.
This parables theme seems to be saying "Out with the old and in with the new."
Here is how I understand it. In Christ we are a brand new creation. The old man is buried with Christ to be raised again a new man. Every now and then the old man likes to pop up and we need to metaphorically beat him on the head to put him back in the grave.
Romans 6:3-11 (Read the whole chapter to get a better picture.)
"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin."
"Jesus Christ…who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory…"
Here we have it painted quite clearly. Our old lives are buried. This is the meaning of baptism. Our old self in a tomb and raised again in Christ.
One might deduce the wine skins being spoken of in this parable would mean us.
I will get back to this point later on.
Now what is the wine?
Acts 2:4 is the day of Pentecost when everyone in the upper room was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Later on in the same chapter in vs13 when they were speaking in tongues and being full of the Holy Spirit some mocked them saying they are full of "sweet wine" or as other translations of the Bible render this "new wine."
The Holy Spirit in many cases in the Bible is compared to wine.
Ephesians 5:18 "Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…"
In Numbers 6:2-3 in the case of taking a Nazirite vow it says "he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes."
What is Numbers 6 saying here? It is saying if you want to live a life of not just devotion to God but separation to God your partying and carousing days are over.
Nowadays unless for other purposes I wouldn't take it so far as to abstain from a little alcohol but what is being said here is don't even have a hint of worldly influence in you. Leave room for the Holy Spirit to work in you by abstaining from impurities and evil.
I am not saying drinking is evil, but I sure wouldn't want to get liquored up on a Sunday morning and go to church claiming to be Spirit filled. The same goes for sexual immorality. Do not be under the influence of the world here is the message and even think you can serve God. Samson in the book of Judges could not drink alcohol or any other fermented drink because of the Holy Spirit stirring in Him. Not that he was known for obeying the rules but this one I believe he respected.
But the message of this study is the wine and the wine skins.
I would strongly say the Wine spoken of in Matthew 9 is the Holy Spirit that God promised through the prophet Joel in chapter 2 vs23.
"So rejoice O sons of Zion, and be glad in the LORD your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain. The early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil."
Then later in in vs. 28-29 he prophesies
"It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days."
The Holy Spirit is the new wine and the oil. Read Matt 25 for how the Holy Spirit is the oil. All the virgins had lamps which is the word of God but some of them didn't have any oil. The Holy Spirit is what illuminates and brings to life. It instructs, it guides and teaches. It is our anointing. It is our promise given to us of Christ's return.
1 John 2:26-27 - The Holy Spirit is our anointing; our instructor.
John 16 - He is the Spirit of truth that reveals to us what we need.
By the way as a side note. If you want to read a gospel that brings to light the deity of Jesus and what we have in Him through the Holy Spirit He sends read John.
Eph 1:13 - The Holy Spirit is our seal/pledge. We have all as Christians been sealed with it for the day of redemption. Let us only by the strength Jesus brings us submit to Him daily through prayer that we might not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
Jesus is the one who brings us this Holy Spirit.
John 14:16-17 - "I will ask the Father and He will give you ANOTHER helper, that He may be with your forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."
John 2 is the first miracle Jesus performed. The miracle at Cana. Here He took ordinary water and turned it into wine that was better than what any man could make. Even the headwaiter exclaimed "Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."
Jesus makes the old like new again. We are the wineskin and he fills us up with the wine. But as John 2:26-27 says we cannot be filled with the wine if we are of the world or still the old man, decaying and dying.
Titus 3:5 "He saved us not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit."
A sign of coming out of the world and into the new family of Jesus is the taming of the tongue.
James 3 says "The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity…the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell."
James is making it sound very dismal. Who can control the tongue but God?
We must therefore as put so well in Romans 6:12-13
"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."
And there you have it! I totally did not mean to write a sermon on Christian living, but if you are looking for the signs of God living in you and that you are submitting yourself to God and resisting the devil then this is part of what needs to happen.
I am by no means saying this happens on our strength.
I have been a Christian since I was a child. I have never known anything else. But at a point I fell away sort of. I presented by tongue and my body as instruments of unrighteousness and I had to say to God "Something just isn't working here. I need the Spirit of regeneration working in me like it did before."
Then along came a change in my attitudes; desires and the strength of God came more and more into my life. We are all people in process. Only those who have died are free from sin. But we must never give up submitting to God.
In Acts 10 Peter proclaimed the gospel message to the Gentiles, and as they heard this message. As this truth sank into their mind and their souls they became filled with the Holy Spirit. Then it was after this they were baptized with water. I use this verse for anyone who tells me a Christian is not spirit filled until they receive the water baptism for it was not before but after receiving the Holy Spirits baptism were the gentiles then baptised with water. And they were baptised into the name of Jesus Christ.
Now assuming the reader of this is a Christian and wants to know more about the baptism of the Holy Spirit here is how I think of it as being.
When you became a Christian you got a life saving drink of water. You were dying in the desert of your own sin. Along comes Jesus and says have a drink. Now that you have had a drink of water and have been partially filled you want more and more and more.
You realise you cannot live the Christian life on your own power. If you are a pastor who has not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit you will one day out of humility ask God out of humility to fill your sermons and your ministry because you will finally realise you cannot do it on your own.
Here comes a full blast of the Holy Spirit filling you right up.
John 7:37-38 "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said 'from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"
In vs. 39 the writer says "But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
If you want the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Talk to a pastor about it if you want, but I say unplug your phone and your TV set. Turn off your computer and pray and ask God for it.
You have a heavenly Father who will not give you a scorpion if you ask for an egg or a snake if they ask for a fish.
You have a perfect heavenly Father who wants to set your life on fire with His Holy Spirit so he can live out His desires through you. Not through forcefulness but by you submitting to Him.
If the reader of this is not a Christian. I am telling you there is no better life than the Christian life. If anyone disputes that I and many other spirit filled Christians have a testimony that proves otherwise. You might be putting it off for whatever reason but in this case there is no time like the present.
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