New Wine - Day 11

Old Wineskin is Often Tradition.

Moving from the personal to the community, often when we speak of old wineskins, we are talking about the traditions of the church that are no longer relevant nor effective as we spread the gospel. The way that the wine was brought to us previously might not be the way future generations and different worldviews engage most effectively in the gospel. Without being willing to change how we bring the gospel to people, we might as well be leaking the wine from the old, cracked wineskins.

Of course, not all tradition is bad or ineffective. Some traditions have been with Christianity since the first century. Communion, baptism, prayer, and the disciplines have always been part of the grand Christian tradition that transcends all traditions and opinions. However, other things seem to have become traditions for churches that are not in scripture and can be looked at in a new light.

How do we look at our churches and see what is opinion, what is a sacrament, and what is ripe for change? Is there a methodology that would make sense, something that we could even take a look at in our personal lives?

Let’s start with Philippians 4:8: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

These are the principles that we begin with. Start here—worship, study, thoughtfulness, and prayer. Also, service to others and ways to increase compassion, mercy, justice, hope, and equity in the world will do us well. It will also give us a purpose that is laser-focused on the ministry and life of Christ.

Once we have fully established the direction of our thoughts and purpose, we can begin to think about the methodology that we will use. Methodology will change over the years and if we can keep the overarching principles in place as we put them into practice, we will stay true to the target that we have been trying to hit all along.

Even in our personal lives, these rules apply. We don’t simply do the same things over and over hoping for a particular outcome. Rather, we take these principles and find ways that effectively apply them into our lives.

  1. What are the things that you are interested in focusing on? 
  2. What in your life is honorable, and right, and pure and lovely? 
  3. How can you put them into practice today, in a way that is relevant to your situation? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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