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Monday, 19 October 2009

Wayne's World...(18Oct09)

Confusing Toxic Cocktail
Wayne Duncan
Matthew 9 (also Mark 2 and Luke 5) 16No 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. 17Neither 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."
This one of the earliest parables Jesus tells, he releases into his ministry in early stages of his teaching. He wanted people to know from early on in his ministry that he was ushering in a new way  that would require new wineskins. Jesus was saying that the new and the old are not compatible. He was saying that the mixing of the old and new ways would be destructive and harmful.
Mixing the old and new, by refusing to embrace the fresh, causes two devastating effects
1)   The hurting of the individual, church, organisation.
2)   The wasting of the wine, a picture of the Holy Spirit.
It's never a good idea to grieve the Holy Spirit, and this is what we do when we mix the old and the new. This explains the reason why there is often a very low level of anointing in people and individuals who mix old and new.
Here is what Clarks commentary says about this passage:
Matthew 9:17:  New wine into old bottles]  It is still the custom,
 in the eastern countries, to make their bottles of goat skins: if
 these happened to be old, and new wine were put into them, the
 violence of the fermentation must necessarily burst them; and
 therefore newly made bottles were employed for the purpose of
 putting that wine in which had not yet gone through its state of
 fermentation.  The institutes of Christ, and those of the
 Pharisees, could never be brought to accord: an attempt to combine
 the two systems would be as absurd as it would be destructive.
 The old covenant made way for the new, which was its completion
 and its end; but with that old covenant the new cannot be
Lets look at another scripture:
2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV) And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts4Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.7Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. 12Since we have such a hope, we are very bold"
What a stunning piece of scripture.
Just take a moment to analyze this portion of scripture.
It clearly speaks of two ministries. An old ministry (of Death), and a new ministry (of Life).
Let's see what the characteristics of these two ministries are:
Ministry of Death
 Ministry of Life
V3/7 carved in letters on stone
 V3 on tablets of human hearts.
V5 For the letter kills
 V5 but the Spirit gives life
V11 11For if what was being brought to an end came with glory
 V11 , much more will what is permanent have glory
Has ended
 Is Permanent
V9 ministry of condemnation
  V9 the ministry of righteousness
V9 ministry of condemnation
 4Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
V9 ministry of condemnation
 12Since we have such a hope, we are very bold
5Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us
 but our sufficiency is from God, 6who has made us competent  to be ministers
Old Covenant
 New Covenant
Ok, so based on a basic reading of this passage we see that there is a ministry of death; that it is carved in letters of stone; it kills you; it has a fading glory; it has ended; it is a ministry of condemnation and it disqualifies you from being a competent minister.
Wow, now come on friend, do you really want to ever sit under that ministry. I don't want to receive any ministry from that ministry, and if it is so devastatingly dangerous I want to know exactly how to avoid the release of any of this ministry in my life. This is the burst wine skin. This is the torn garment that is worse off.
But then, praise God, there is another ministry. This ministry of life which is written on my heart, is spirit and life, has a permanent glory, a surpassing glory, much more glory, gives me righteousness, gives me confidence, gives me hope, gives me boldness and makes me competent to be a minister.
OK, so here are some questions (no geniuses needed).
Which ministry do you want? Which ministry is better? Which is better -  life or death?
Say it with me friends "Life….Good", "Death…Bad".
Imagine now that a person approaches the bible looking for help (which is the right thing to do), and drinks from the ministry of death. Then that person applies that death solution (or theology) to his/her situation. What will happen? There will be death, there will be condemnation. The person may become very frustrated and become totally disillusioned, finally proclaiming "The bible does not work!"
No, the bible does work, the wrong ministry was used!
Imagine the devastating consequences of ministries in churches, or pastors releasing this ministry of death?
But imagine that the person drank from the ministry of life. They would have been liberated, made confidant, assured of righteousness, tasted glory and ultimately extract the life that God wants to flow from His Word.
We need to become experts. We must rightly divide the word of God. We need to test what we know and believe to see if it passes the covenant of life test. The longer you've been a Christian the more there will be to evaluate and test.
Any and all mixture is confusing and harmful. Even a tiny bit of mixture affects the whole batch. A little doe works through the whole batch.
I like what Joseph Prince says: "what man call's balance, God calles mixture". I like what a pastor friend of mine says even more "what man calls balance, god calls vomit"
Revelation of John 3:16: So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Learn all you can about the covenants. How do they work? When did they start? Which ones are finished, which one is still in effect? How does a covenant work? What are the obligations and responsibilities? What are the rewards and punishments?
The success of walking  into the fullness of grace rests upon rightly dividing the word, and separating the covenants and then never mixing them.
One drop of arsenic in a cup of water is still the ministry of death.
God is looking for a people who will live in the fullness of the finished work of the cross.
The old is about earning and  deserving.
The new is about receiving through one who earned and deserved on our behalf, and the glorious gift of righteousness.
The old is of curses, the new of blessing.
The old is our obedience, the new is His obedience on our behalf.
The old is about right doing, the new is about right believing.
The old is in and out, the new is always in.
The old is condemnation the new is confidence.
The old is bondage, the new is freedom.
The old is open and closed heaven, the new is open heaven and an increasing glory.
Mixing the old and the new destroys anyonoe who that mixture touches.


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Grace said...

This is great. Thank you very much.
We say, If God is not in it, we are not interested.