LUKE 5:37-39 And no man puts new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. (38) But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. (39) No man also having drunk old wine straightway desires new: for he says, The old is better.
‘Wine’ in scripture represents revelation. The ‘bottle’ in the natural realm would have been made from the skin of a goat. Bottle or skin in the spirit here speaks of one’s mindset, which commands our life. An old dried out skin would look all right at first glance but as soon as new wine would be poured into it, it would crack and the liquid would be lost. A pliable skin could hold a full measure of wine. The wine itself would help to keep the skin pliable, strong and working well. Today we are the wineskins with all too often some rigid mindsets. Our progress is dependent upon our ability to receive and understand the new revelation-wine, which the Holy Spirit is pouring out in this hour. It is God who makes one hungry and then He makes them teachable. Without an open and teachable spirit like the Bereans of old had in Acts 17, our lives and thinking will become very dry. We become hard and dry when there is no fresh wine in our skin. There has to be a new expression in our spiritual walk, which is brought about by being hungry (not just dissatisfied) and open to new things from the Lord.
This parable comes right on the heels of the preceding one about patching an old coat with a piece from a new coat. The message is clear that Jesus desired that His disciples, then and now, move from the old vision and ways to the new . . . from being under ‘law’ to being under ‘grace’. One does not have to ‘do’ anything in order to receive what is freely given by Christ. He desires us to receive nourishment as we chew on the ‘Bread of Life’.
Here is an up-to-date application of this parable: The Church system by and large has a dry wineskin because she has placed herself under restrictive laws and has added belief limitations for members to adhere to rather than letting the Holy Spirit teach and bring forth the progressive revelation of Christ … who He is and what He is doing. The Churches operating in the Feast of Passover and the churches operating in the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost have not embraced the new wine of the Feast of Tabernacles. Their growth is curtailed due to the boundaries imposed by man-made laws and statements of belief based upon ‘letter-word’ scriptures void of Holy Spirit teaching (John 14:26 … where the Holy Spirit will teach you ALL things). The fundamental evangelical brethren, for example, find it very hard to embrace the revelation (new-wine) that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is for all today. Their leaders having taught them that it all died out back in ‘Acts’ even though there is no ‘amen’ at the end of that book!
‘Old’ Is Good … ‘New’ Is Better
Old wine, old revelations and understandings that we have believed and walked in are hard to leave behind. Can there really be something more, something new and something better than that which we have seen to work so well? When God has changed us into new wineskins, changed our mindset, then we will be able to see, believe and enjoy the new insights. In this way we will also have patience to wait and see the full effect of the new wine in our walk.
No Going Back
The old wineskin, dried up due to walking in the natural letter-word arena only, will probably try to figure out anything new that comes across his path. Logic and reasoning of the natural mind will only end up giving one knowledge about the new wine. Knowledge will need to be turned into revelation by the work of the Spirit within. There is for most of us a big temptation to go back to the ‘comfort zone’ of our earlier testimony. Yes, it was truly great, but there is always more to receive from God who loves to give. God’s genuine dealing is unique for each one of us, for as He changes us, He builds up our confidence that we can walk in the new even though we don’t fully understand it. When God has changed our way of thinking to receive that which is new, rest assured He will keep us from turning back. Lot’s wife in Genesis still had her heart fixed on the past and it dried her up like an old wineskin (or salt-cellar!).
Over-zealous brethren who would destroy anything new with letter-word arguments devoid of spiritual understanding have hindered many desiring to grow or move on in the Lord from doing so. New wine needs to be poured into prepared and thus responsive vessels carefully. By contrast there are those who are so set in their old ways that anything new and different to their position causes them great concern. Some even go around asking others in the same state concerning what they should do! You can guess their response! Wisdom is needed so that any new revelation isn’t thrust upon folks who ‘say’ they hungry for more, but only want to argue scriptures! Tthese precious believers thus manifest cracks and all that was shared with them lost and they themselves set back due to the confusion arising in their minds. God loves each one and will gently lead each until they are changed into a new wineskin for the new wine awaiting them to be a special blessing. When you have some good wine, be sensitive to the indwelling Spirit as to when you share it with another. Keep the new wine coming in and going out of your vessel and you will not dry up for the Lord will add to that which you have experienced.
Each child of God has a unique testimony of being ‘saved’ and of being ‘filled with the Spirit’ and many times moving in the gifts of the Spirit. We do not want to take away anything from such blessings . . . that old wine is great but God has new wine, new revelation to unfold to you. The ‘Church realm’ at large are not able to embrace or receive the new wine of the Kingdom of God and even the new insights of what Father-God is really like; for example that Christ is ... the Saviour of all and the condemner of none and so on.
There is right now new wine being offered to those who are desirous of growing up into Him who is the Head of the Body (Ephesians 4:15) and entering into experiencing the Kingdom of God on earth. Through the millenniums, new wine has many times caused folk who do not want to be held back by others, to become separate. History shows this from the Catholics to Luther, to Anna-Baptists, to holiness to Pentecostal and so on. Religious defenders of the letter-word have no part in enjoying new wine until God moves on their behalf and opens their eyes and hearts. Remember He is Lord and He is in complete control.