An Apostolic Understanding – Part Twenty-one

The end result of embracing the new wineskin that we have been looking at?

Simple – God set it out for us in the Scriptures:

Ephesians 4:11-16 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

He wants His people – the Church – to grow up and become mature

That everyone would know what they believe – the correct teachings of the Bible
That every member becomes a minister and is released into their ministry
That we reach out to the lost and see them come into the Kingdom (Ephesians 4:18)
That the Kingdom will spread and push back the spiritual darkness
That there would be unity in the local church – so He can pour out His anointing
That every part of the Church would be healthy
That every member would do their part to keep the Church healthy and whole
That the false teachings and doctrines would be defeated and removed
That everyone would come to know the real Jesus of the Scriptures
That we all become a part of the priesthood of all believers
That we all become ambassadors of Jesus Christ
That we all become ministers of reconciliation
That we form a holy nation within the nations
That we become workers in the harvest fields because the harvest is ripe / ready
That we not miss the next move of the Holy Spirit and what God is doing today

AND that we can be the new wineskin and actually contain and move with what is happening today in His Kingdom

The Church today is needing new wine – a fresh move of the Spirit of God

In many places people are praying for a fresh move of the Spirit (power, presence, peace)

They are praying for renewal, refreshing, fresh fire, revival – call it whatever you want

But God is asking:

“Where is the wineskin to hold it?”

God longs to pour out new wine, but He needs a wineskin that can and will contain it.

He has given us the job of making the new wineskin

Generally He will not pour out new wine into old wineskins

HISTORICALLY: There have been times in history when God has been gracious enough to actually pour out new wine when there was only old wineskins

The results have often been very tragic and such a waste

The best example is the Welsh Revival (and I will end with this story)….

One hundred years ago revival swept through the nation of Wales

It was one of the greatest revivals in history

The Spirit moved from county to county, region to region, and transformed the nation

People walking down the street would be hit by the power of the Holy Spirit, fall to their knees, repent, and get saved

Every part of society was affected

Drunkenness disappeared
Pubs were closed for lack of business
Crime became almost nonexistent
Jails were empty
Police forces were downsized
There were places in Wales where it was reported that there were no unsaved people left in the city
Prayer meetings happened daily – sometimes all day
Churches were packed night after night … and Sundays

Those who study revivals love to talk about the Welsh Revival, but none of them want to talk about the nation of Wales today

One would think that a revival like the Welsh Revival would bring a permanent change in a nation and in the churches of the nation
That for generations to come, people would talk about the great revival that transformed their country

But that is not the case – because the nation was not transformed and neither was the Church

The Welsh Revival was a great move of the Holy Spirit (new wine), but the Welsh Church was an old wineskin

It’s legalistic structure quickly quenched the results of revival and eventually the revival itself

If you visit Wales today, 100 years after the great revival, you will find one of the least Christian countries in Europe

Less than 5% of the Welsh people are born again

New Age, witchcraft, and Islam (Muslim faith) are growing rapidly

Most Welsh people have never heard of the great Welsh Revival

Those who have heard of it think of it as a legalistic movement that happened somewhere back in their history

The old wineskin allowed the new wine to pour out and the wineskin (church) was destroyed just as Jesus said…

Matthew 9:16-17 “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

God does not want that to happen again

God wants us to prepare a wineskin that can and will hold the new wine

That is why Jesus said, “New wine MUST be poured into new wineskins” (Luke 5:38)

The new wine is a fresh move of the Spirit restoring to the Church that which has been lost over the years…

The new wineskin is the Church that Jesus is building based upon the fivefold ministry with apostles and prophets being foundational to all that will need to happen…

Ephesians 2:19b-20 “the household of God, (the Church) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.”

1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues…”

Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”

So, we will need to be making a choice – two doors (remember the parable – An Apostolic Understanding – Part 17)

Personal choice
Choice as a church