Blog Archives

DEFINING NEW WINE (AND EMBRACING ADULTHOOD)

Blog Pic 101317         

      The Millennial generation has now overtaken the Baby Boomers. This development parallels the fading dominion of “old wine” Christianity.

.

         We are on the threshold of a vast new transformation. The bulk of the coming-of-age Millennial generation, those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s to early 2000s, likely will not be engaging in anywhere close to the same degree of hands-on, practical, do-it-yourself utility and blue collar work of past generations. In general, while brilliant and exceptional in many areas of expertise, its skill set is lacking in the use of tools and, though gaining, has less aptitude for practical self-reliance.

       As a result, since Millennials number in the 80-90 million range, the home improvement industry is particularly panicked about the upcoming diminishing demand for its products. To remedy the potentially huge future problem, how-to videos and tutorials on an extremely elementary and basic level have been created, such as “How To Use A Tape Measure.”

         Sound familiar? What are the otherwise veiled common denominators of the largely unchurched Millennial generation and traditional church congregations of past and present? How are these alike? Do both share commonalities through no initial fault of their own, such as being adulthood challenged, sheltered, dependency-bred, and subjected to Groupthink? (Traditional church congregations in general are rarely taught to graduate and go on into individual ministry, for example, as commanded in the Great Commission.) These common characteristics indicate far too much “old wine” influence and a dearth of the new.

NEW WINE

        And He was also telling them a parable: “…And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; 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 wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’” [Luke 5:36-39]

OLD WHINE

         Christians have labored for centuries trying to figure out this passage or trying to figure out why the Lord used it in the first place, since the subject matter causes discomfort in some circles. Yet it remains a classic “eyes and ears” parable of which the true understanding is often missed. Rather than seeing the deeper meaning and making the correct application the Lord is calling for, however, the passage often evokes the prohibition response among those Christians who believe wine is not good. Instead of censoring the Lord Jesus or taking Him to task for NT wine references, of which there are many, perhaps they should try to see what He’s getting at.  

         I say this because immature and out-of-touch past generations of Christians with such an attitude have also missed the boat on other spiritual teachings. Missing the one addressed by the New Wine parable, though, is enormously problematic since it directly regards the pure practicality of reaching the lost without forcing them into largely dead impractical religion and non-spiritual constructs. For example, it didn’t help that for much of the time since it was first published in 1611, many Christians only had a King James Bible with no alternative or were not allowed one that may exist, especially, of course, in England and the English-speaking world. Because the KJV was state-sponsored, it forced millions into accepting every word and punctuation mark therein without question. Yet, on the all-important New Wine and New Wineskins passage, a deeply important parable, the KJV translators got it really wrong by referring to the wineskins as bottles.

         Right. They all had glass wine bottles in the first century. But according to some, those people apparently were not allowed to drink the wine therein anyway. What grandiose minds are these who project their convictions on all prior generations? There is a reason we have better translations today. Yet there remain millions of Christians at present who refuse to use any other Bible and even insist other versions are sinful. This is evidence of remaining endemic authoritative bias which disallows the necessary developmental steps toward gaining maturity. It creates a purposed distance from the Lord’s pure teachings by an agenda-based clergy promoting subjugation to them and their old wineskins.

         Ironically, I guess we may say, the incorrect KJV translation of the New Wine passage proves the gist of the Lord’s New Wine parable.

FERMENTATION (SPIRITUAL EYES AND EARS ALERT)

         The process of fermentation changes mere grape juice into a completely different liquid with different properties. New Wine is wine still undergoing the fermentation process.

         In Biblical times, as fermentation commenced and the juice of the grapes foamed up, somewhat dynamically, the process was allowed to take place only in open vats or containers for obvious reasons. After this initial substantial fermentation the wine was poured into small containers made of animal skins, but it was most important that the skins be new and fresh. Why? Because the wine was still undergoing fermentation and the skins must be new, strong, and flexible to allow for further expansion. It was sometimes the case that the new skins filled with New Wine appeared close to bursting.

         This is why everyone with knowledge of wine-making knew to never put New Wine into old dried-up wineskins because such containers would never be able to handle the ongoing fermentation process. If this principle was violated the old skins would crack or tear and be ruined by the New Wine, which would spill out and be lost. Incidentally, and in light of what I have been addressing in several recent posts, the fermentation process lasted about forty days. This means something. You might want to take a look at those recent posts.

PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

         The parable of the New Wine and New Wineskins appears only in the three synoptic gospels. It is apparent that Matthew and Mark were referencing Luke. Only Luke actually refers to it as a parable. Yet in each occurrence, the parable appears somewhat out of nowhere, especially in Luke, and there is no explanation. No one asked about the spiritual or allegorical meaning when the Lord addressed it. It is just there, and then the narrative moves on. What does it mean?

         We can find a clue simply by looking at the fermentation process. In His teachings regarding new beginnings and the necessity of both a New Covenant and new approaches to spiritual life, the Lord also referred to the absolute necessity of a new birth, meaning a spiritual birth. He is referencing by these illustrations a must-metamorphosis or a transformation from one stage to another, just as we are presently on the threshold of a vast new spiritual transformation. He also claimed that such a personal change, or birth, was both dramatic and all-encompassing.

BECOMING FULLY MATURE

(1) A butterfly lays an egg on a food plant

(2) The egg becomes a larva, or caterpillar, and the caterpillar grows rapidly

(3) When fully developed, the caterpillar enters the pupa stage and surrounds itself in a chrysalis

(4) When metamorphosis is complete, the pupal skin splits and a fully developed butterfly emerges, illustrating the final stage of maturation, and it soon takes flight

         Through the Lord’s mysterious ways, a relatively non-attractive many-legged worm thoroughly grounded and munching leaves and whatnot is inexplicably transformed into a lightweight beautiful butterfly able to escape the weighty hold of gravity. Remember, this is the same creature during all four stages. It merely exists in different forms on the way toward becoming fully mature, or complete.

DEVELOPING INTO SPIRITUAL ADULTS

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48]

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” [Matthew 19:21]

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphoo) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2]

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you… [Philippians 3:14-15]

           [The Greek word translated in the preceding as “perfect” or “complete” is teleios. It is defined as “mature, full grown, adult, or completed.”]

THE PROPER FRAME OF REFERENCE 

         Mere grape juice released through a violent crushing process somehow begins to be instantly transformed into another substance with powerful properties. What does this sound like? What does the Lord mean by New Wine and New Wineskins? Correctly defining these terms means we must first determine the proper frame of reference. The answer would seem to be otherwise obvious, since we have an Old Covenant and a New Covenant. The Old made possible the New, but the New replaced the Old. The New Wine replaces the old wine. It was a fact that due to the wine-making process of those times, the fully fermented wine lasted only so long. Old wine was wine stored for about a year or more, but it sometimes only lasted for about three years before turning into vinegar, though that could happen earlier.

FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN

          It follows then, that wine-making must be ongoing. There must always be a new batch of wine on the horizon. (Think Great Awakening.) The Feast of Tabernacles, which we just completed, was an annual time of harvesting the fall grapes. It was a time of great joy. All of these facts are clues.

        The Pharisees and Sadducees represented the old wine that had degenerated into sour vinegar. Those guys could not get any more sour.

         The Lord was bringing forth the New Wine with His new kingdom. The refusing-to-be-transformed religious killjoys hated both. They rejected the new birth as do most “Christians.” Little did they know that they were actually playing right into the Lord’s hands, however, in that by crushing Him they were assisting in the process of bringing forth a brand new vintage, the best New Wine of all time!

DRUNK ON THE HOLY GHOST

          When the 120 were filled with His Spirit in the Upper Room they acted very differently. Their actions were out of the ordinary. What transpired on that morning did not look at all like the standard, dour-faced, traditional, institutional, stuck-in-the-mud, ultra-religious old wine that was “good enough.” Instead, they were all filled with incredible JOY and displayed never-before-seen bright shining faces, dazzling smiles, and much laughter. They were overcome with the Lord’s overwhelming love. Highly concentrated LOVE was all around them and spilling forth everywhere. By their love everybody appearance and manner it looked to outside observers that the Upper Roomers had been swimming around in a giant vat of New Wine:

         And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them:

         “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

         “‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT…’” [Acts 2:12-18] [1]

          We are on the threshold of a vast new transformation toward real spiritual adulthood.

          “New Wine must be put into fresh wineskins.”

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

REBIRTH OF AMERICAN CHRISTIAN MANHOOD

         The greatest expression of manhood is the Lord Jesus. He is the only correct example. The era of frauds is over. Real American Christian men want to be like Him.

.

THIS IS INDEED A SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION

         I’ve written about this phenomenon in the past, for several years. My particular priority on the issue, since this is a Christian website, is to focus on the dearth of real men within general organized Christianity. What happened? It is really a sad state of affairs.

         Many American men have been blessed to have had their born again experience among people who put no shackles on the fullest expression of the Lord within an individual, whatever that expression might be. Though they had already proven their manhood prior to their new birth, getting filled with the powerful Spirit of the Lord, just like those people back on the Day of Pentecost, suddenly transported them into an ultra level of manhood—spiritual manhood—that can never be explained to the unexperienced.

         The Lord Jesus knew what He was doing when He invented the whole thing. He was fixing to send His men into a dark, evil world, a veritable spiritual jungle, to rescue the lost and all those overcome by the devil’s evil kingdom. For all the sissy religious eggheads who think He would do such a thing without equipping them properly are probably as stupid as they look. He obviously knew the level of fight His men would face from untold numbers of demon-possessed idiots and shrill followers of religious nutcases as ignorant as the day is long and prone to hateful eruptions of emotional tornados and earthquakes on a moment’s notice.

        So the Lord thought, “What do I give them so they can compete and overcome? What force must fuel the Gospel? What kind of power will give them a chance against such powerful entrenched evil? I know. I will give them Myself.”

         So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” [John 20:21-22] 

         And there you have it. The Lord made it possible to be filled with His Spirit so we can go out and do the same thing He did, which is namely kicking the devil’s backside all over creation.

         “The Church is not only supposed to be loving, kind, and gentle, but also able to kick the corpulent posteriors of demons and take their names.” From: Real Christianity

         That is why the men He chose and sent were powerful, gritty, sinewy, stalwart men with strong backbones and fisherman’s hands—blue collar workers for the most part—to turn the tide against the hardhearted silly girly men who liked dressing up like ladies in fine embroidery doing their best Louis the Fourteenth and having hissy fits on a regular basis.

HE WENT OUT CONQUERING AND TO CONQUER

         But the Lord’s men, these Apostles, those champions of the world, as manly as they were, would be no match for the evil minions of the mission at hand if they only acted from mere natural strength, even if they could whip any other men on the planet. No, they would need more. Besides, the Lord was not sending them out to beat people up but just the opposite: They would have to be strong enough to take a beating without striking back. They would have to love in a world filled with hate.

         But not against the devil. The Lord empowered them to crush the devil. The Lord has clearly instructed that the fight is never against people. He said He did not come to condemn the world but to save it. We are all in this fight together and the battle is for people, that we may all be set free from the destructive power of sin. It is the devil that opposes this. He wants no one to be saved, set free, and delivered. He obviously wants no one to be filled with the Spirit of the Lord because he knows such people can crush him. People do themselves a grave disservice by agreeing with the devil and siding with the devil in their opposition to the only One who can save them. This is also part of the devil’s work, of course. The devil deceives people into believing he is their friend and the Lord is the enemy.

         This is why, against the devil and all his unseen demon idiots, the Lord intended a no-holds-barred slugfest of utter destruction and evisceration. The devil’s kingdom must be raided and invaded so people can be saved. Against the devil, there are supposed to be great left hooks from out of nowhere bashing his silly face and uppercut gut punches sending him over the ropes. For that, the Lord’s apostles would need something really, really powerful. And that is why the Lord gave them His very Spirit.

THOSE WHO CLAIM TO KNOW OFTEN DON’T KNOW SQUAT

         You have no doubt heard a lot of bullcorn over the years about the “Holy Spirit.” Much of it sounds pretty girly and is obviously sent forth by so-called Christians who don’t have a clue. The Lord said this would happen. They don’t have a clue because instead of being sent they just went. Most of them are lost in space and thus refer to the Holy Spirit as something spacey and ethereal, completely different than the mighty and powerful Spirit of the Lord Jesus. What they call the Holy Spirit is something else entirely. I will leave it to the Lord to work out all the blasphemy stuff in this regard because He said that’s what we must do, and He will work it out. But in the meantime the facts must be told and the facts in this regard are such that the men the Lord sent out originally were (1) Manly Men as opposed to girly men, and (2) Powerful filled-with-the-Spirit Manly Men instead of empty religious girly men. Whoever may want to argue with that is free to do so but the Word of God, if applied, will destroy those arguments.

         This is why it is so refreshing, for men especially, to see what has just happened in this country. And it is just the start. It is a time of American men finally throwing off all the garbage laid on their backs for the last several decades and return to being what the Lord created them to be. This must especially happen in the Christian realm. Christian men must now actually become Christian men. There have been a few who have been advocating for this seemingly forever, as I have been, largely to no avail. Or they get it all twisted, or they turn it in the wrong direction, or they try to do it within a system that opposes it, which makes their fight meaningless and doomed to failure.

         Somebody invented a weird doctrine long ago that says in order to be good Christian men, men must become women. But the facts are otherwise clear that God gave Adam permission to be a man when He created Him a man. Period. God never put Eve in charge of the orchard.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR

         If we as Christians could only see that the Day of Pentecost marked a strikingly clear beginning—A REVOLUTION—and that the old was done away with and the new way truly came upon us, and that it meant we were supposed to engage as the Lord engaged and become the powerful spiritual people He had always planned for, then this new Great Awakening could come forth all the more.

         Most Christians, however, insist on never going beyond the promise of the written gospels. Most Christians don’t even know the Book of Acts exists much less have read it and they certainly don’t live it.

         He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” [Acts 19:2]   

         And there’s your problem. Far too many have taken on religious clowns as “leaders” and have been led right into the quicksand of unbelief. They have thoroughly rejected anything and everything that must transform us into the people the Lord needs to destroy the devil which means they have essentially made peace with the devil and succumbed to his leadership. They also reject the Lord’s powerful empowerment and insist on operating through sinful, wimpy, compromised, uncircumcised, and unregenerate flesh. As Napoleon Dynamite would say, “Idiot!”

         The Lord said exactly the same thing about the religious leaders of his time. It is now time for their proponents of the present to get the same treatment. It is time for real Christian men in America to throw off the yoke of effete religious compromise and be what the Lord made them to be. The first step is repenting of fake compromised manhood and any glorification of flesh, and become as the Apostles and all the other men of the first century community of the Lord.

         In the spiritual realm, all of our so-called manliness without Him, regardless of how it may be manifested, is just a little mound of estrogen with a pink ribbon around it. Spiritual estrogen is for women, and perhaps it could be the case that when Christian men become spiritual men, real spiritual women could quit carrying the burden. Nevertheless, most “Christian” get-togethers nowadays in America are devoid of testosterone by design and are nothing but mere estrogen fests doing their best to keep real men completely out of the loop, except for the one guy in the pulpit, of course.

THE HERO RIDES A WHITE HORSE

         I will end this post with a portrait of the Founder. He has never changed. His message has never changed. HE IS A MAN YOU JUST DON’T MESS WITH. This has not stopped a horde of fakers from trying to do that very thing but their judgment is coming. They will never get away with it. Their little kindergarten show doesn’t fit the future. The good news for today is that their whitewash is coming off. This always happens when God opens the sky and sends a spiritual rain!

         And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. [Revelation 19:11-13] [1]

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Love is the Fulfillment of the Law

         We are taught while growing up that there are certain borders we must never cross. There are boundaries established by the authority figures in our lives that are designed to protect us, but often do much more.

         They stifle us. They destroy our dreams. They force us to conform to a very low common denominator in which everyone looks the same, acts the same, and lives in fear of the inevitable consequences of breaking the code.

         It’s called culture. And the worst cultures are religious cultures.

         There was a time in the American culture when almost everyone bowed to the dictates of a so-called religious moral code that superseded much of what our hearts were designed to experience.

         Rather than being loved-based, it was fear-based. And the sad thing about it all was that it played right into the devil’s hands. Though there was undoubtedly limited success against sin in the code, there was also success against life. Proverbial babies were constantly being thrown out with the bathwater.

         Have you ever wondered why the God of all creation made it so easy to sin? It did not matter how oppressive a culture might be, or how strict the mores of that culture might bind a person up into a little shell of being becoming too fearful to take a chance on venturing forth. If a person wanted to sin, a person could always find a way.

         But while all the authority figures were displaying their very heavy hand at stopping any potential moral failure or embarrassing cultural code-breaking by the young deviants among us, where was God? Why didn’t God surround everyone with angels with big sticks ready to whack us all into kingdom come when we stepped out of line? Where was God when and if we decided to test the boundaries of our cultural arrangement?

         Why does God seem to take the attitude that we can do whatever we want but He will get us in the end? Why does it seem as though God doesn’t seem to care all that much about our little lives but is taking big notes that He will use against us at our final trial?

         And how in the world have Christians in general bought into this picture of God even though God’s great act of love blares out at us day after day and hour after hour through any one of thousands of reminders, most notably a simple cross?

         God became one of us!

         We must throw our false religious garbage and idiotic moral codes right out the window if they do not address this simple fact.

         God became one of us, and He lived among us, and He knows how hard it is, and He knows how lonely people are, and He cries inside all the day long about how broken people have become and how our hearts are often destroyed by the very nature of this fallen world and the evil among us.

         And He wonders how His wonderful perfect creation could all go so wrong…

         But there was no other way.

         There was no other way to create people just like Him unless He also blessed them with the freedom to choose their own path.

         And that’s what this world is all about. It’s the simple answer to the philosophical problem from evil. Human choice creates bad stuff and sometimes some really, really bad stuff. And free will is why God does not stop us from making bad choices. Oh, He will try to convince us otherwise. He will try to reason with us. He attempts to tell us about the eventual fallout when what appears to be a good decision will turn into a complete disaster later on. He really does try to guide us and stop us from doing stupid things. That’s essentially what the Law of Moses is all about.

         But at the end of the day He will not deny our free will. He will allow us to choose incorrectly. He will let us have the final say.

         What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be!

         For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. [Galatians 3:17-21]

         But righteousness is not based on law. Tell this to all the moral cultural crusaders throughout history, especially in America, who tried to force compliance toward morality. Tell this to all the dimwitted quasi-Christians who refuse the fullness of a walk with God because it violates their religion and false Christian doctrines and stupid lame-brained attitude that continually attempts to force God to be like them, instead of surrendering their lives completely to be like Him.

         Many people think America took a nose dive in the 1960’s but refuse to consider the actions of the previous generations that were the real cause of the cultural breakdown. The 1960’s in America was actually the time of a great Spirit outpouring and spiritual awakening in that Christians in all denominations and people everywhere were being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues and engaging in miraculous works. But most churches were against it all, and fought it, and opposed the Lord Jesus because He didn’t do it their way! And many fake Christians continue to oppose God and insist on their lifeless religion, negative attitudes, and dead churches to this very day.

         How much of this is based not on the unconditional love of God, his unmerited grace, and one’s total dependence on Him, but on a giant misapplication of Scripture? Sound familiar? Though the Law of Moses seems to be filled primarily with Thou Shalt Not’s and that the heavenly author is a negative NO! God always preoccupied with stifling the free wills of His creation, the truth is actually the opposite.

         A parent tries to tell a child, “Please don’t do this because if you do it will hurt you,” but then must watch as the child does it anyway and feels just as much pain as the child does if not more when the bad results come forth. Yet parents know the child will eventually have the final say.

         Is it any different with God? He knows we will mess up. He knows we will mess up repeatedly. But He has the ability, the strength, and the means to clean up our messes. And this ability, strength, and means stems from His great and powerful love for us. He is able to cleanse our hearts with His precious blood spilled on our behalf, no matter how much we may be stained with sin. And He has the power to raise us to new life!

         So why does God seem to be aloof and uncaring even though the direct opposite is true?

         Because living right is not about force or religious compliance.

         It is about love.

         And no one can make a law that forces a person to love someone.

         And God will never attempt to force anyone to love Him.

         It is not about living a perfect life but finding a perfect love.

         God loves us just the way we are. He does not condemn us for the sins we have committed. His great desire is to guide us as the Good Shepherd He is into the green pastures of abundant life where His grace and perfect sacrifice cleanses us and allows us to be free. Things are the way they are on this planet because it is the only possible means of allowing free-willed beings to love God as much as He loves them.

         God is love, and—

         Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. [Romans 13:10][1]  

           © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.