Saturday, 13 February 2021
Devotional by Pastor Johnson Chong
Translated by Lucy Ling
Topic: Parable of the New and the Old

Matthew 9:16~17
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Dear brothers and sisters, today is the second day of the Lunar New Year. On this big day of sending off the old and welcoming the new, I would like to wish you all – this year will be better and blessed.

For many Christians, the mixing and matching of the old and the new is very serious and common. Our Lord Jesus was talking about this problem, specifically in this parable. Many people used new cloth to mend their old clothes and used old wineskins to fill new wine, which consequently, situation worsened, and the wine leaked.

What is new cloth? Clothes represent people’s behaviour in the Bible. They are worn to be seen and conceal people’s inferiority. They also represent a person’s identity and status (Luke 16:19, there is a rich man wearing purple robe and linen clothes, endow in luxury feast daily).

Cloth is the raw material for making garments, and the raw materials are also different (Deuteronomy 22:11 do not wear clothes made of wool or fine linen). Various rules, lessons, and principles are all raw materials defining adult behaviour, so our old garment refer to our “old self” and the behaviour of the “old self” (Ephesians 4:22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires). “Old self” is passed down from ancestors and parents. After believing and accepting in the Lord Jesus, Christians should completely get rid of “old self” and put on the “new man”, that is, our Christ Jesus.

But many Christians did not remove the old self, embrace the new, also did not change on the Lord’s cross, but only adding a few pieces of new garments by accepting some lessons from the Lord, obeying some church rules, and changing some habits. Of course, these new things were not there before, they came from the religion, Christianity, and were added after believing in the Lord Jesus. But in general, the whole piece of garment has not been removed or changed – It is still the old set. It is unsuitable, uglier, and contradictory by adding a few pieces of new garments. Therefore, it is an unworkable method, we should take off the old completely, put on the new from our Christ Jesus.

The wineskins refer to our body, the new wine is the Holy Spirit, and the old wineskins refers to the old body. The old wineskins and the new wine are in conflict and cannot be reconciled (Galatians 5:17 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want). Yes, the result of putting them together are broken and unusable for both. Therefore, one must be a true Nazarite, worthy of being the temple of the Holy Spirit by truly devoting one’s body and soul as a living sacrifice. It is impossible to serve God by the flesh, but until now, some people still want to use new cloth to repair old garments and old wineskins bags to hold new wine.

In the heart of Jesus, the old wineskins refers to this group of Pharisees, and His teaching and behaviour are the new wine; what the Pharisees hold is the tradition of faith, the law and command for more than a thousand years. But what Jesus showed was an act that came from the true spirit of faith; the two were deeply separated and disagree with each other. Just as the old wineskins could not withstand the tremendous fermenting power from the new wine, the Pharisees could not realize the significance conveyed by Christ Jesus’ actions in their old thinking.

Prayer:
Lord God, I want to thank You and praise You, because You are forever the new wine. Please give us a soft heart, let us become new leather bags daily, able to bear Your new job, and let Your grace flow from us to the people around us. Because Your grace is sufficient, even more than I want and ask. Pray for the Lord Jesus to give us a humble heart, to rely completely on You in our daily life, and to regain strength from You in our service. Thank and pray in the holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

每日灵粮
星期六,2020年2月13日
题目:新旧难相合的比喻
作者:张胜牧师

马太福音 9:16~17
“16没有人把新布补在旧衣服上。因为所补上的,反带坏了那衣服,破得就更大了。17也没有人把新酒装在旧皮袋里。若是这样,皮袋就裂开,酒漏出来,连皮袋也坏了。惟独把新酒装在新皮袋里,两样就都保全了。”

亲爱的弟兄姊妹,今天是农历新年,大年初二,在这送旧迎新大日子里,我在此恭祝大家,今年胜往年、蒙恩又蒙福。

在许多基督徒的身上,新旧搀杂、搭配的情形是非常严重,也是常见的。主耶稣在这里讲的比喻就是这个问题。许多人正是将新布补助旧衣,用旧袋装新酒,结果坏的更大,酒也都漏光了。

什么是新布呢?衣服在圣经中代表人的行为,是穿在外面被人看见、遮盖人羞耻的,也是代表一个人的身份、地位(路家福音16:19有一个财主,穿着紫色袍和细麻布衣服,天天奢华宴乐)。

布是作成衣服的原料,原料也有不同 (申命记22:11不可穿羊毛,细麻两样搀杂料作的衣服。),各种规条、教训、道理都是作成人行为的原料,所以我们的旧衣服是指我们的旧人和旧人的行为(以弗所书4:22 就要脱去你们从前行为上的旧人。这旧人是因私欲的迷惑,渐渐变坏的。),是祖宗、父母所流传下来的,基督徒信主之後应当完全脱去,穿上新人,那就是披戴基督。

可是许多基督徒并没有脱去旧人,穿上新人,没有在主的十字架那里换衣服,只是加上几块新布,接受主一些教训,遵守教会一些规条,改变一些生活习惯。固然,这些新的东西是原来没有的,是从基督教来的,是信主以後才加上去的。但总体来说,整件衣服仍然未换、未变,还是老旧的那一套,如此加上几块新布,反而显得更不适衬,更难看,且有矛盾。所以这办法不行,还是应当把旧的完全脱下,穿上新人,披戴基督。
布袋是指我们的身体,新酒是圣灵,而旧布袋却是指老肉体。旧布袋与新酒是彼此相争(加拉太书5:17因为情欲和圣灵相争,圣灵和情欲相争。这两个是彼此相敌,使你们不能作所愿意作的。)、不能调和的,装在一起的结果是两者都坏了。所以必须作真拿细耳人,真正奉献身心作活祭,才配成为圣灵的殿。靠着肉体事奉神是不行的,然而直到现在,仍然有人想用新布补旧衣,用旧皮袋盛新酒。

在耶稣的心里,旧皮袋所指的就是这一群法利赛人,而祂的教导与行为便是新酒;法利赛人所把持的是千余年来的信仰传统与律法诫命,而耶稣所展现的却是从信仰真精神而来的作为;二者之间如深渊相隔,彼此不合。正如旧的皮袋无法承受从新酒而来的巨大发酵力,法利赛人在其旧有的思维中,亦无法体悟到耶稣的行动所传达的划时代意义。

祷告:主啊,我要感谢和赞美你,因你永远是新酒。求你给我们柔软的心,让我们每天成为新皮袋,能够承受你新的工作,让你的恩典从我们身上流露到周围的人群中。因为你的恩典真的够用,甚至是超过我所想所求。求主赐给我们谦卑的心,在每天生活中全然的倚靠你,在侍奉中从你那里重新得力。感谢祷告是奉主耶稣基督的圣名祈求,阿门。