In the ancient times, a wine skin was made by sewing pieces of animal skin (such as from a goat) together to form a container in which wine was stored.
Old wine skins were fine for storing old wine, but were not any good for storing new wine.
In the natural realm, if new wine was poured into an old wine skin, the internal pressure would build up and burst the wine skin, resulting in the loss of the wine and the destruction of the wine skin.
The Lord Jesus Christ used this principle in the teaching recorded in Luke 5: 37-39 NASB:
"And no one puts new wine into old wine skins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wine skins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough (Luke 5: 37-39).’”
In the spiritual realm, the wine skins represent the soul structure in which one stores up his/her individual beliefs. Every soul, be it spiritually dead or born again, has "a" structure. It is from what it stored in this structure, be it good or bad, that one makes his/her individual choices on a daily basis.
The ongoing process of maintaining a Biblically-edified soul structure is not always an easy undertaking, but is an essential part of the post salvation spiritual life. What makes it uneasy is the inevitable challenges to make changes in one's belief system that the study of the Word of God will bring.
Maintaining a soul structure requires that one reinforces the accurate information that one has accumulated while purging out the bad information that has made its way into his/her soul structure.
Discipleship initially results in spiritual growth that can be measured in "leaps and bounds," beginning with knowledge of the unadulterated Gospel Message, followed up by what Paul referred to as the “elementary principles (Heb. 5: 12 NASB)” of the faith.
As time goes on, it is usually more of a case of polishing up the doctrine that one already has, resulting in a better understanding and/or a better application of the accumulated Scripture that he/she already possesses.
God the Holy Spirit will use the same verse or passage of Scripture to teach the advancing disciple different lessons. For this reason, the daily reading and meditation of Scripture NEVER gets old. Many times it will not be the main topic of a sermon that hits home,, but some remark made along the way that "rattles one cage." triggering a later investigation. As ten members of a congregation what they got out of any given sermon, and you are likely to get ten different answers.
Every once and a while, even the most seasoned disciple will come upon a "new" (to him/her) doctrine that he/she had never heard of previously, but that will have a profound impact on the rest of his/her post salvation spiritual life here on Earth.
The answer to the “Why didn’t I see that before?” question is that he/she was not yet spiritually enough mature to do so.
Every once and a while, one’s discipleship (study of the Word of God) will be disturbing, challenging him/her to make a major change in what had been his/her understanding of God or of the things of God.
Advancing disciples are not to be swayed by every new idea that comes along (Eph. 4: 14).
“… we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Eph. 4: 14 NASB).”
At the same time, one cannot be so close-minded that he/she can no longer be edified, grow-i-n-g (an ongoing process) in the knowledge of the Lord (2Pet. 3: 18 NASB).
The ultimate source from which advancing disciples will use to determine the legitimacy and accuracy of “new” information, is its consistency with what can be Biblically substantiated (Acts 17:11). Just being able to quote a verseof Scripture does NOT necessarily mean that the concept has come from God. The devil (See Matt. 4/Luke 4) has a long history of putting a different spin on what "Scripture" has to "say." Scripture must be accurately interpreted and applied.
“ Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so (Acts 17: 11 NASB).”
"Christian Religion" (an oxymoron) has a long history of interpreting and applying Scripture through the eyes of tradition. Just like the very religious folks in (Matt. 15: 9), one can worship God in vain if his/her worship of God is based on the traditions of men rather than on the doctrines of God.
The more of a Biblically-edifed soul structure that a born again believer develops, the less of a "research" one will have to do to validate or dismiss a “new” teaching with which he/she is being presented.
If one finds him/herself in a position over a period of time in which he/she has not found the need to tweak the doctrine that he/she possesses, or the need to adjust how to better apply the doctrine that he/she has, it is because he/she is either the first person since Christ to know and to apply all that there is to know, or he/she has stopped grow-i-n-g (2Pet. 3: 18). I suspect the latter explanation to be the case.
Only the most arrogant (there are some) will believe that he/she knows “all” that there is to know concerning God and/or the things of God. Clergyman are often at the top if t his list. Nicodemus of John 3 is the classic example. He was a very "religious" man, a "teacher of Israel (John 3: 10), and a "ruler of the Jews (John 3: 1), but at least he had the discernment to know that something was missing in his theology, and the wisdom and the humility to seek it out (John 3: 2)."
In addition to never experiencing the need to make adjustments, another early indicator that one has stopped grow-i-n-g is when he/she begins to “get nothing” out of “going to Church.”
If the local assembly is of the type that God designed, its primary mission is to reinforce the unadulterated Gospel Message and to supply an ongoing feeding of the Word of God. If this is NOT what is taking place, it may be the root cause of one not getting anything by "going to Church."
Ib both the natural and the spiritual realm, the loss of appetite is an indicator that something has gone wrong. If one never had, or has lost his/her appetite for his/her next feeding of the Word of God, there is something gone amiss. If one’s choice of local assembly is not satisfying this appetite, something has gone amiss.
Without natural food, the natural body begins to weaken and can eventually become dysfunctional. Likewise, without spiritual food, the soul begins to weaken and can become dysfunctional in the post salvation spiritual life.
For one to that I already read/know the Bible, is like saying I had a good meal at a restaurant last month. That may be t rue and was fine for the moment, but one would be facing starvation by now if that was the last feeding he had.
The elementary principles of the faith (Heb.5: 12), such as the need and means of permanently securing salvation, are NOT open to debate. This is what Paul was referring to when he, under the inspiration of the God the Holy Spirit (2Tim. 3: 16, 27), composed his letter to the ancient local assembly in Ephesus (Eph. 4: 14).
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Eph. 4: 14 NASB).”
The foundation of the soul structure is maintained by rejecting all of the *adulterated Gospel Messages that have been around since the beginning of the Church Age (e.g. Gal.1: 6-9), and continue to be developed and promoted WITHIN what is generally considered to be a part of the Christian Community.
An *adulterated Gospel Message is one that has a-d-d-e-d (Proverbs 31: 6) a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g to faith in the Person and the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to obtain or retain salvation.
False religions (Psalms 96: 5), naming deities (gods) other than the God of the Bible as a/the true god, have been around since the earliest recordings of ancient history. It doesn't take the mind of a great theologian to identify the one who promotes ALL of them. It matters not (to the devil) which "god" one chooses to identify and follow, as long as it is NOT the God of the Bible.
In ancient Galatia, the *adulterated Gospel Message being promoted (in opposition to the true Gospel Message that they had already received) called for physical circumcision of male believers.
That issue was promptly addressed (Gal. 6: 16), but throughout the course of the Church Age, authors of “Christian Religion” have made and promoted adulterated gospel messages by adding other “requirements” beyond faith in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, necessities to be saved or to retain salvation.
Pointing out these “add-ons” will bring an advancing disciple of the Church Age into confrontation with “religious authorities,” just as the Lord found Himself in confrontation with the “religious authorities” (the Pharisees) of His day when He said:
“‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men (Matt. 15: 9 NASB).”
If you are looking for a denomination or local assembly that has is religion and tradition free, allow me to save you a lot of time by informing you that one does NOT exist. There is not one local assembly or one individual that has not been, is not now, or that will not be influenced by religion and/or the "traditions" that they have established. Some (denominations/individuals) have been more deceived than others, but as () puts it, in varying degrees, the whole world has been impacted by the devil who deceives.
When there are conflicting teachings/practices, the folks on both sides of the fence can not both be correct. In my experience, the one's that prove to be consistent with Scripture on some issues, are off the mark on other issues/practices.
The local assemblies in the ancient First Century cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea did not all have the SAME problems going on, but they all HAD problems that needed to the addressed. This was centuries BEFORE the inevitable walls of division would later go up within the Christian Community over the different and conflicting interpretations and application of Scripture found within the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant denominations.
Scripture (2Tim. 4: 1) teach that as the Church (as a whole) will go through a period of wide-spread apostasy just before the Church Age comes to its end.
True, the devil and the forces of evil will NEVER totally prevail against the Church God designed (Matt. 16: 18), but that doesn't mean that he hasn't been able to cause a lot damage in the midst of spiritual combat along the way!
Preserving the teachings and practices of Biblically-based Christianity while identifying and purging the products and practices of religon is at the heart of the spiritual warfare that takes place WITHIN what is generally referred to as the Christian Community at large. This was true in the first century of Church History, and remains to be true today.
Determining if and when it is time for any given advancing disciple to connect with a new local assembly or ministry in order to worship God as He desires to be worshiped (John 4: 23), can involve a life-long process. One can be "saved" in any place that God the Holy Spirit arranges to have him/her presented with the Gospel Message. It may or may not be "in Church."
Once saved however, it is clearly a part of the plan of God for the born again believer to connect with a local assembly or ministry in order for him/her to identify and to advance in the post salvation spiritual life. The internal mission given to the Church at large was to make disciples, that is students and appliers of the Word of God. In this regard, there are differences in the quality and the quantity that any given pulpit has to offer.
As changes take place in who it is that stands behind the pulpit on a regular basis, there may be a need to "move on" if such changes negatively impact either the quantity or the qualiity (accuracy) of what comes from the pulpit that these changes generate.
I am not taking about “Church hopping,” where one goes from Church to Church seeking one that is going to tell him/her what he/she wants to hear, instead of what one needs to hear. I'm talking about moving on so that one can continue to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and spiritually mature. There are some denominations that do not permit any teaching outside of the "company line" on any given issue. Within such denominations, it does not make much difference where one goes to Church, as they are all the same, other than perhaps the speaking voice or the personality of the clergyman. Almost anyone can be trained to go through the motions.
For the advancing disciple, it is the quantity and the quality (accuracy) of the teaching and the practices that are promoted by any given pulpit that determines his/her choice of pastor teacher.
In most cases, NO ONE, be it a clergyman, a parent, a souse, or a friend can be used by God to bring another soul (or congregation) to a greater level of spiritual maturity than the level at which he/she him/herself has reached for him/herself.
Spiritual ignorance is bliss. In ignorance, one can be relatively happy, content, and "party on." as did many of the passengers on the Titanic that were only hours away from disaster.
Unless any of us presently here on Earth turn out to be a part of the Rapture generation (1Thess. 4: 17), there is an "ice burg" (physical death) up ahead for each and every one of us. When our appointed time of departure comes, it will not be what this Church or that Church had to say, unless what that Church or this Church had to say is in line with the Word of God had to say to each and every one of us.
It is when one chooses to engage in Christian discipleship (the study of the Word of God under the teaching ministry of a Biblically-qualified pastor teacher) that the born again believer becomes more and more aware of the difference between the type of local assembly that God designed, and the many, many, alternative types of local assemblies that are the products of religion.
From the very beginning, Christian “leadership” and Christian groups have not been in agreement concerning m-a-n-y issues.
Most of the epistles (letters from the Apostles) that were written to the ancient local assemblies were composed in an attempt to straighten out evil activities that were taking place WITHIN the Christian Community of the First Century AD. Many of these epistles (letters) became books of the New Testament.
To some degree, virtually every denominational or independent local assembly within the Christian Community at large has been influenced by one of the many Christian Religions that have evolved throughout the course of the dispensation of the Church Age.
The same can be said of virtually every Christian, either before or after he/she was saved. Some born again believers come from Pagan backgrounds, having followed one or more of the (Psalms 96:5) religions of the world. Other born again believers come from no "religious" background at all. Many have come from a background of Christian Religion, having never been born again. Many "Christians", after having been born again, choose to return to or remain in the background of Christian Religion. never being able to separate themselves from its bondage (John 8: 32).
Religious roots run deep and are not easily pulled up! As we will see, the type of wine skin that one chooses to be plays a major role in one’s willingness and ability to make the necessary adjustments in order to advance in the post salvation spiritual life.
While the unadulterated Gospel Message IS to be preserved, there are other areas of doctrine (and their application) that will require adjustments as one learns and applies the more than 300 commandments of the New Testament.
Such knowledge and compliance with Scripture is NOT to get saved, or to remain being saved. The post salvation spiritual life does NOT even BEGIN until one has a-l-r-e-a-d-y been permanently saved.
Although a life of willful disobedience to the command (not an option) of Heb.10: 25 to "gather together" will not cause one to lose his/her salvation, there are consequences. Gathering together (either physically in the traditional manner, or via one of the many means of modern day communication) is not a "burden" of an "obligation," but is something that an advancing disciple looks forward to as much as a hot and thirsty man in the desert looks forward to reaching an oasis with water.
Human souls do not have to go to Church in order to be saved, or to remain being saved. But advancing disciples will not only *gather together, but look forward to their next “meal,” if the local assembly or ministry is doing the job that it was commissioned to do. Sad to say, but in the times in which we are living,many of the "wells" (pulpits) in the oasis (Church) have run dry, bringing no refreshment to the ones who come.
One can gather together in the traditional manner, or via the many means of communication that have become available through modern technology. One’s access to the Bible and local assemblies can be as close to them as their phones or personal computer!
Many (Matt. 13: 22) born again believers are more that have no desire to engage in the inevitable challenges that Biblical discipleship WILL (2Tim. 3: 12) bring their way.
“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2Tim. 3: 12 NASB).”
The devil has to problem with all the human good that Christians (or any one else) produce in an attempt to make his world (Luke 4: 6), here on earth a "better place to live." It has been an age-old desire (Isa 14: 13, 14) of the devil to establish a productive kingdom that is independent of God.
Its when and where wandering souls are being saved and born again believers are being edified that invites a counter attack from the devil (1Pet. 5: 8) or from his forces of evil (Eph. 6L 12).
The devil has had considerable success in distracting (via blessing or adversity) many born again believers from engaging in the primary work (Matt. 28: 19, 20) that the Lord gave to the Church that He designed.
“this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful (Matt. 13: 22 NASB).”
The Matt. 13: 23 fruit (or the lack of it-Matt. 13: 22) being spoken of this verse are saved and/or edified souls.
No amount of personal good behavior, humanitarian good, environmental projects, can, in of themselves, produce THIS type of fruit. This type of fruit is produced IF and when the advancing disciple proclaims the Gospel Message to unbelievers, or shares edifying Scripture with fellow believers.
Many Christians will engage in good personal behavior, feed and/or clothe the poor, and clean up the environment. Such deeds are a part of the lifestyle that God desires, and what I am about to say is NOT intended to dissuade participating in such things.
But unless the souls of the same individuals are being introduced to the Gospel Message or edifying Scripture, such activity serves NO eternal purpose and profits them NOTHING (Mark 8: 36) spiritually.
The purpose of these 300+ commandments is to learn of and to execute the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship.
The self-examinations (2Cor. 13: 5) and the required adjustments (James 1: 22) that such examination reveal play a significant role in advancing in the post salvation spiritual life.
Every jot and tittle (smallest detail) of the Word of God remains in force (Matt. 5: 18) until its divine purpose has been accomplished (Matt. 5: 17).
Learning of and complying with all of the 300+ commandments of New Testament Scripture does NOT improve the integrity of the salvation that the born again believer has already received. That fact that one has been born again, makes it self-evident that he/she chose NOT to commit the one and only "unpardonable" sin of disbelief.
The ONE and ONLY sin that a human soul can commit that WILL result in his/he going to Hell (the lake of fire-Rev. 20: 15) is the sin of disbelief (John 3: 18).
As of the Church Age, the sin of disbelief involves choosing to disbelieve in the Person and the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, after having been presented with the Gospel Message.
Violating one or more than 300+ Commandments of the New Testament can result in divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) here on Earth, and the loss of some or all (1Cor. 3: 15) of the rewards and privileges that await advancing disciples, but NEVER the loss of salvation.
There were over 600 ways in which one could have violated the commands of the Old Testament, and are more than 300 ways in which one can violate the commands of the New Testament that apply to Church Age believers.
Never the less, in BOTH the Old and the in the dispensation of the Church, the ONE and ONLY sin that results in eternal damnation was/is the SIN of disbelief (John 3: 18/Rev. 20: 13, 15).
For the advancing disciple, daily choices are not limited to deciding between what is right or wrong. For the advancing disciples, that choice should be obvious. If the choices involves ANYTHING that the Bible calls sin, then the answer in NO.
What is not so clear, is discerning what choice may be better or best.
Among these better or best choices are if, where, how, and when one is to “gather together (Heb. 10: 25)” to celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Communion) and to receive his/her ongoing edification concerning spiritual issues for the ongoing development and execution of his/her post salvation spiritual life.
By celebrating the Lord’s Supper (Communion) on regular schedule, the born again believer is r-e-m-i-n-d-e-d (1Cor. 11: 24, 25) of the foundation on which everything else is his/her post salvation spiritual life rests. By edifying his/soul structure via the intake of accurate Bible Doctrine, he/she builds and maintains the type of soul structure from which he/she can make the right choices as he/she progresses along the road to spiritual maturity on a daily basis.
Such choices do NOT improve the integrity or the quality of the salvation that a born again believer has a-l-r-e-a-d-y received, but such choices can go a l-o-n-g way in determining the q-u-a-l-i-t-y of one’s post salvation spiritual life.
All born again believers will be in Heaven (Romans 8: 1), but HOW any given believer will e-x-p-e-r-i-e-n-c-e Heaven (with or without (1Cor. 3: 14, 15) reward and (Rev. 2/Rev. 3) privileges is determined by the q-u-a-l-i-t-y of his/her post salvation spiritual life.
The quality of one’s post salvation spiritual life is the direct result of the ongoing, daily choices that a born again believer makes. The ability to make the right decisions will be greatly impacted by the type of wine skin one becomes.
One will never be any closer to the indwelling God (1Cor. 3: 16) than he/she became the moment he/she was born again, but every day we take a few steps closer or a few steps further away from the things of God.
Here in the Church Age, the primary “thing” of God for the born again believer is the post salvation spiritual life.
Know that the fallen nature remains within us AFTER we have been born again (Romans 7), as does its inherent hostility (Romans 8: 7) towards God and the things of God.
In fact, the more one progresses, the more intense this hostility will be, waiting for the opportunity to take the born again believer out of the fellowship (2Cor. 13: 14) with God.
The unadulterated Gospel Message is not open for debate. But post (after) salvation discipleship requires the born again believer to learn (2Pet. 3: 18) of the Bible Doctrine that applies to the post salvation spiritual life. The more accurate one's post salvation doctrine becomes, the more the need to make the necessary adjustment(s) (James 1: 22) as one continues the ongoing process of grow-i-n-g in the knowledge of the Lord (2Pet. 3: 18). This process continues throughout the course of his/her post salvation spiritual life here on Earth. The "new" or "amended" doctrine will require a "new" wine skin.
Every human being has a soul that God (John 3: 6) (not the biological parents) creates and places in our humanity at birth (Gen. 2: 7).
At the moment of physical death of the body, the soul departs.
Accordingly, there is NO soul in any corpse, morgue, death bed, casket, urn, funeral parlor, or cemetery; only the bodily remains.
Every soul has an internal structure. Unlike the soul itself, there are different structures that one can establish within his soul.
A soul structure can have a solid foundation built on “rock,” or it can have a foundation that is built on “sand.”
Rather or not one builds his/her soul structure on rock or on sand is a choice that each soul has to make when presented with the Gospel Message. See Matthew 7: 24-27.
Individuals that have built their soul structures on a foundation of sand will suffer total loss when the Rev. 20: 13, 15 events takes place, sending the soul into what the Bible calls the lake of fire for all of eternity future.
Some souls build their structures on the foundation of rock, but then choose to build a structure on the rock foundation with the defective products and practices of “religion.”
When the days (plural) of testing (Matt. 7: 25) here on Earth, and/or the day (singular) of evaluation (1Cor. 3: 14) in Heaven comes, such souls will remain saved (because of their foundation).
When the days of testing take place here on Earth, believers with a soul structure of sand will suffer a traumatic crash (Matt. 7: 27), sending his/soul into a tail spin of doubts, fear, frustration and disappointment. Upon recovering, the born again believer can then “see the light” and rebuild the type of soul structure that can endure all future “storms" that will come.
Some believers never recover from such crashes. They remain saved (because of the rock foundation), but fail to rebuild an edified soul structure and lose the desire to engage in the post salvation spiritual life. In this, the devil is well pleased. The devil can do nothing to impact the salvation that the born again believer has already received, but "lives for the day" when he can destroy the quality of the same believer's post salvation spiritual life ().
One of the reasons that God allows such "crashes" is to bring to the attention of the one involved that his present soul structure has been built with defective material and will not endure the storms of life here on Earth, or the fire of evaluation in Heaven.
Ever wonder why some believers handle even the most intense forms of adversity well, whereas as others completely fall apart?
Such things as the threat of death, the death of loved ones, poor health, addiction, physical or emotional abuse, financial or tangible loss, broken relationships, loss of career, deserved or undeserved suffering,, serious injury, persecution, mistreatment are among the many “storms of life” here on Earth that is being spoken of in the Matt. 7: 24-27 parable.
If you believe that Christians are not subjected to the same adversity that is common to all men, you have been deceived and have been set up for a major disappointment. In fact, advancing disciples are in a position to not only experience the same adversities that are common to all men, but are the greater targets of interest in the realm of spiritual combat.
When the day of evaluation takes place in Heaven, the soul structure that had been build on wood, hay, straw (sand), will be destroyed, resulting in no eternal reward. The soul, remains saved (1Cor. 3: 15/Romans 8: 1).
Souls that built their soul structures on the foundation of the rock and with good material (accurate doctrine) resulting in the production of divine good, will receive reward (1Cor. 3: 14) and privileges (Revelation 2/Revelation 3) in addition to having a home in Heaven, as will all born again believers.
Souls structures that have been built on the rock will endure when the adversities of life here on Earth pound away on them, whereas the soul structures that have been built on and with sand will collapse.
Such a crash can be experienced as one “losing his/her faith (trust/confidence),” but remains saved because of the foundation on which his/her soul structure (faith system) had once stood.
After recovering from the impact of the soul structure crash, the (still) saved soul can then rebuild a soul structure on the foundation, providing he/she had the right foundation in the first place.
Having one’s structure that had been built on the sand of Man-made religion (including Christian religion) "crash" can be a painful experience.
He/she can “feel” angry, disappointed, frustrated, abandoned, and even betrayed.
Weak believers may choose direct this anger towards God, not having the spiritual maturity to understand the purpose of adversity that God sends or allows to take place.
When Saul got “knocked off his high horse” on the Road to Damascus, the Lord was the last One and the last thing that Saul imagined to be the source of the trouble. After all, was he not (in his mind) out on the very mission that he believed to be the will of God? Had not he (Saul) elevated himself to the highly respected and highly regarded position of Pharisee among what he believed to be the true people of God of that day?
The devil will not overlook an opportunity to have the wounded soul lose his/her confidence in what he/she thought God and Christian Religion were all about.
Learning that one has placed his/her confidence in the wrong things can be a painful revelation, leaving one with the feeling of betrayal when things do not turn out as expected.
It is when the person is subjected to adversity that the integrity of his/her foundation and soul structure is revealed.
Seeing where we stand (James 2: 10) in the eyes of God can be a very painful, but necessary event, if we are to become all that God desires. Before a new structure can be built, the old one has to be torn down.
At the moment of truth, Saul (later named Paul) chose to lay a new foundation and to built a new soul structure. As a result, he became one of the most useful tools in the hand of God to establish the Church that God designed. This was quite a change in direction since the destruction of the Church had been Saul’s previous quest in life!
When a building here on Earth has been condemned, it may be necessary to tear it down to its foundation, and may even require that a new foundation be established, in order for the new structure to be built. As we just noted, the same principle can be applied in the spiritual realm.
As traumatic as it can be, it is better to go through a Matthew 7: 27 structure crash while here on Earth than to enter eternity only to find that one had built on a foundation of sand and be a part of the Rev. 20: 13, 15 event.
Better for a born again believer to suffer a structure crash here on Earth than to be a “loser” at the 1Cor. 3: 12-15 event in Heaven, having never built the type of soul structure needed to execute the post salvation spiritual life.
The one that is built on rock has as its foundation, the unadulterated Gospel Message.
Many born again believers are deceived as a result of choosing to enter into, to return to, or remain in a “religious” environment that promotes one of the many adulterated Gospel Messages.
The end result of this deception is NOT the loss of salvation, but never experiencing the John 8: 32 type of freedom that the truth provides concerning the security of the salvation that they have already received, and can NOT lose (Romans 8: 1)!
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8: 32 NASB).”
I believe that when Jesus called out to all of those who were "weak and heavy laden (Matt. 11: 28 NASB)," He was NOT referring to exhaustion from engaging in manual labor, but of trying to obtain right-standing with God through human effort and/or "religious" activity. Coming to Him (Matthew 11: 28) is the result of understanding and applying the truth of the Gospel Message. It is by doing so, that one finds rest in his soul from trying to do it through human effort and/or religion. For many religious persons, this is a "new" wine that requires a "new" wine skin to receive and retain it!
It is one thing to hear the truth, but is something else to believe the truth. It is the one who knows and believes the truth that is set free from the inevitable fear, worry, and uncertainty that not knowing or not believing the truth will generate.
It is only when a structure that had been built on sand gets knocked off its foundation that a new (edified) soul structure can be rebuilt.
Perhaps now, one can see one of the many reasons that a loving God will send (or allow) the Matt. 7 storms of adversity into the lives of the ones He desires to save or to edify.
If the soul structure had been on a foundation of sand, there is nothing on which a new structure can be built. A new foundation, built on the “rock,” must be put in place.
The soul structure that is built on sand is one that has as its foundation, the teachings of the Psalms 96:5 religions of the world, or one of the many adulterated gospel messages within what is generally perceived to be a part of the Christian Community.
Such teachings outside of the Christian Community, or adulterated Gospel Messages promoted within the “Christian” Community either deny the divine nature (2John 1: 7) of the incarnated Lord Jesus Christ, or diminish His “finished-John 19: 30 NASB” Work of atonement NASB,” by adding to it, the "requirements" of religion, in order for one to obtain or retain salvation. (2Pet. 2: 2).
Paul addressed the issue in his letter to the ancient local assembly in Galatia:
“ I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the (unearned/undeserved) grace of Christ, for a different gospel (based on “religious” activity); which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed (Gal. 1: 6-8 NASB italics mine)!”
OK, but what does all this have to do with me, here in 2019, being of one kind of wines kin or another? How do I know what kind of a wine skin that I am?
There are different types of “old wine skins” (soul structures), within human beings here in the Church Age.
There is the wine skin of atheism (believing there is NO God/god of any kind, as a result of rejecting the concept of eternity that God places in every soul that God creates (Eccl. 3: 11). As long as one believers there is NO God/god, he/she will have no desire to connect with a God/god, that in his/her mind, does not exist. Only the pre-salvation Work of God the Holy Spirit can cause such a hardened soul to repent (change its mind), and receive the ability to understand a presentation of the Gospel Message.
There is type of soul structure that believes that there is "a" god(s), but not in "the" God of the Bible. Such individuals are followers of one or more of the "religions of the world" spoken of in Psalms 96: 5). Such wine skins are full to capacity with the “old wine” of the Psalms 96: 5 religions of the world. There is NO ROOM for anything else, and in its hardened condition, there is no desire to make room. Only the pre-salvation Work of God the Holy Spirit can cause such a hardened soul to repent (change its mind), and receive the ability to understand a presentation of the Gospel Message.
For this type of individual, the new wine of the Gospel Message calls for the denunciation of the “god” that the same soul had formerly placed his/her trust and confidence. His/her acceptance of this new wine would, in many cases, result in his/her rejection by family and friends. In some cultures, such denunciation would place the individual in harm's way. There are some born again believers, living in such hostile environments, that become "secret" followers of Christ, in fear of familial, social, and/or governmental reprisal. For them, the (Matt. 10: 33) challenge becomes a personal reality.
This new wine would burst his/her existing soul structure, bringing to an abrupt end to everything that he/she (up to then) had come to believe regarding deity. Such “wine skins” are full to capacity, and being hardened, are unable to take in anything new. Only the pre-salvation Work of God the Holy Spirit can cause such a hardened soul to repent (change its mind), and receive the ability to understand a presentation of the Gospel Message.
There is another type of "wine skin” that can be found WITHIN what is generally considered to be a part of the Christian Community. This involves the type of individuals who have been deceived via one or more of the adulterated Gospels Messages that have evolved over the course of the Church Age. Such individuals, many of whom consider themselves to be Christians (followers of Christ) have scome to place his/her confidence in the products and practices of Christian Religion, to (#1) “finish” the work of salvation; to (#2) retain the salvation that he/she received, or (#3) to receive salvation after he/she departs planet Earth. There are spiritual flaws in each one of these positions.
Everything that had to be done to provide the means of salvation was finished ON THE CROSS (John 19: 30). The primary benefit (eternal life) of this finished work becomes the immediate and permanent (Romans 8: 1)possession of every individual soul the very moment that he/she chooses to believe in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, as explained in a presentation of the Gospel Message (John 3: 5, 7, 16, 18).
The John 8: 32 TRUTH of this “new wine” calls for the rejection of all the added (Proverbs 31: 7) "requirements" that the various Christian Religions have established and promote in order to obtain and/or to retain salvation.
If one truly believes in what the unadulterated Gospel Message has to say, there is no place for any of additives that religion has to offer.
There ARE many activities that born again believers will learn of and engage in, but NONE of them are for the purpose of obtaining or retaining salvation.
This is where Christianity and Christian Religion(s) take different ways at the fork in the road along the road to spiritual maturity.
As in the case of someone in a pagan culture that chooses to reject his/her previous religious beliefs in order to embrace Christianity, the advancing disciple’s rejection of the add-ons of Christian Religion is likely going to result in his/her rejection by his/her family and friends who choose to take the other “fork in the road” that is promoted by Christian Religion.
Anyone experienced in evangelism will tell you that it is easier to evangelize (present the true Gospel Message) an atheist (that did not believe in any god) that it is to evangelize one who comes from a Psalms 96: 5 “religious” background.
It is also an uphill battle to try to teach one who has adopted one of the many adulterated Gospel Messages with all the “additives” of so-called Christian Religion, the difference between what they have come to believe and what the unadulterated Gospel Message of the Bible has to say.
“no one after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough (Luke 5: 39 NASB).’”
The old wine in Luke 5: 39 can refer to the Psalms 96: 5 religious teachings of the pagan world (John 14: 6); the religious positions that was/is taken by the Jewish leadership that opposed the Lord Jesus Christ (John 8: 24); and/or the additional “religious” teachings and practices that have evolved WITHIN the so-called Christian Community regarding the obtaining and retaining of salvation.
The new wine spoken of in Luke 5: 39 refer to unadulterated Gospel Message for salvation, and the accurate teaching of the post salvation doctrines of the faith for the development of the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship.
Presenting this “new wine” to any one of the above groups can often result in a hostile response (Matt. 7: 6).
Never the less, this is precisely what the Church that God designed (and every member of it) has been commissioned (Matt. 28: 19, 20) to do.
In order for the new wine to be received, accepted, and preserved, the new wine (Gospel Message) must be poured into a new wine skin (Luke 5: 38). The old wine skin, with which Fallen Man comes into this world, not only cannot understand the things of God, but is inherently hostile towards such things.
Making matters worse, while being hostile towards God and the things of God, Fallen Man is receptive to the concept of atheism and the teachings of the Psalms 96:5 religions of the world.
The new wine skin that spiritually dead souls can experience is the pre-salvation work of God the Holy Spirit.
With this new wine skin, the formerly hostile (Rom 8: 7) soul is now enabled to understand a presentation of the Gospel Message, affording him/her the opportunity to believe it, and be saved. The ONLY part the Christians have in the process is to be the one that God chooses to use to communicate the unadulterated Gospel Message to the soul that He has prepared to receive it.
God the Holy Spirit provides the opportunity, but does NOT force anyone to believe it.
If and when Gospel Message is believed, the spiritually dead soul is then and there regenerated (Titus 5: 3) and forever sealed (Eph. 4: 30), being identified (baptized) as a child of God through the Work of God the Holy Spirit.
It is at that time that now “saved” soul becomes a "new creature(2Cor. 5: 17 NASB)" in Christ. From that moment forward, there is NO eternal condemnation for that soul, as he/she now "in Christ (Romans 8: 7 NASB)."
Part of this new creation is a new soul structure (wine skin) that now has the ability and opportunity to identify, develop, and execute the post (after) salvation spiritual life through the enabling power (John 15: 5) of the indwelling (1Cor. 3: 16) Spirit of God.
So far, it would seem that Christianity would be an easy path to tread. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The fallen nature, that IS (not was) hostile towards the God of the Bible, and hostile towards the things of the God of the Bible, does NOT go away when one is saved. Neither does the free will that God has given us.
As long as born again believers remain in these mortal bodies (Romans 7), this old sin nature wars with the new creation that one became in Christ to secure the controlling influence of our free will.
God becomes one’s personal Savior when one is born again, but rather or not He becomes the Lord (ruling Sovereignty) of his/her life here on Earth, is the result of choices that we make each and every day. The fact that we still (and will) choose to sin (1John 1: 8), is evidence in itself that during those times we are not in submission to the leading authority of God. We are, in fact, in a state of rebellion!
When (not if-1John 1: 8) we sin, God remains our Savior, but He is not the One in control of our thoughts and actions.
When we sin, we choose to disobey God. In doing so, we make ourselves and/or the forces of evil the one in control over our thoughts and actions, in opposition to God.
Through the 1 John 1: 9 process and the John 8: 11 follow-up, one can confess his/her post salvation sin to God; restore his/her lost fellowship (2Cor. 13: 14) with God; and then choose to make God the One in control of our thoughts and actions once again when the same opportunity presents itself in the future.
One can NOT have sin that has not been confessed and/or forsaken in his/her post salvation spiritual life and be in fellowship with God. As far as maintaining fellowship is concerned, sin is sin (James 2:10).
“For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all (James 2: 10 NASB).”
We do not all choose to get involved in the same type(s) of sin, but we all sin each and every day as a result of what we think, do, or say, or the result of what we fail to think, fail to do, or fail to say each and every day. One who thinks otherwise, has been deceived (1John 1: 8).
Scripture (Habakkuk 1: 13) teach hat God cannot even look upon sin (with approval), let alone be in fellowship with sin, or be in fellowship with a born again believer who has sin that he/she will not confess or forsake.
Maintaining fellowship with God is a CHOICE that we make. Being in or out of fellowship with God does not impact the integrity of the salvation that a born again believer has already received (Romans 8: 1), but fellowship (or lack of it) with God impacts the quality of one’s post salvation spiritual life. The quality of one’s post salvation spiritual life impacts not where, but how one will experience Heaven (1Cor. 3: 12-15).
In order for the advancing disciple to c-o-n-t-i-n-u-e to grow in the knowledge (2Pet. 3: 18) and the application (James 1: 22) of the Word of God, he/she, too, must be have the flexibility of a new wine skin.
New wine (accurate doctrine) requires a new wine skin in order to receive and retain it. The old wine skin will not be able to do either one.
A change of mind (the Biblical meaning of repentance) will result in a new wine skin being formed within the soul structure of the advancing disciple.
Without such a new wine skin, the new wine (new or more accurate doctrine) will neither be received nor retained. Without receiving and retaining new or more accurate doctrine, the born again believer will not grow (2Pet. 3: 18) in the knowledge or in the application (James 1: 22) of the Word of God.
While Scripture IS trustworthy for the edification of one’s soul structure, but this is not the case in all of the different interpretations of Scripture.
It is not Scripture, but the different interpretations of Scripture than play a major role in the differences found among and within the various denominations WITHIN the Christian community. We all can read or hear the same words being communicated, but they are more than likely going to be interpreted in light of the preconceived teachings of one denomination or another.
Religious roots that grow from these different interpretations of Scripture, or that grow out from the different teachings of the Psalms 96:5 religions of the world run deep and are not easily torn up and removed.
The people of God have been warned throughout the 1500 years (Deut 4:2/Deut. 12:32/Prov. 30: 6/Matt. 15:9/Rev. 22: 15) that it took to complete what we now know as "The Bible, NOT to add (in teaching or practice) to the Word of God. Never-the-less, religious leadership in ALL past and present dispensations continue to do so!
It is from these religious roots that such things as the many adulterated Gospel Messages have sprouted WITHIN the Christian Community at large.
An adulterated Gospel Message is one that promotes additional requirements beyond faith in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to either obtain or retain salvation.
It is another uphill battle to teach some born again believers that eternal security is NOT a license to sin. While it IS true that salvation can NOT be lost, this does not mean that there are not other consequences for post salvation sin (Heb. 12: 6), or that there are not other consequences for failing to engage in the post salvation life of discipleship (1Cor. 3: 15/Rev. 2/Rev. 3).
The devil works long and hard to promote the principle of eternal security as a license to sin. Even a passive examination of the ungodly activities that "Christians" choose to engage in reveals the extent that the devil has succeeded in this area of spiritual combat.
Soul structures need to be built and maintained, so that one can identify the inevitable false doctrines and concepts that have been made a part of his/her belief system.
Unlike salvation, that is based on a one-time decision to believe in a presentation of the Gospel Message, the building and the maintaining of an edified soul structure is an ongoing and never-ending part of the post salvation spiritual life here on Earth.
The type of wine skin one chooses to become plays a major role in this process.