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