WINE IN OLD BOTTLES
READING : MATTHEW 9:10-17
(a) When we were stationed in Buckhaven in Fife, here in
Scotland, we bought a telephone exchange.
A strange thing to do you might think !
(b) But when I say that after some renovations and improvements,
this was to become our new Buckhaven Citadel, then perhaps you will
(c) If you had ever been in the old Buckhaven hall, you would
understand why they desperately needed a new building - it really was
falling to bits.
(d) The then Divisional Commander Major Bramwell Booth said to
me,"Victor, when you move into the new building, if possible, get
everything new. Bring nothing with you, from the old building!!"
(e) When we eventually moved in, I saw the wisdom of his words, in the
sense of a new fresh beginning, untainted with the past.
(f) Perhaps, already you can see how this thought links up with
our Bible Reading, the new wine in the old bottles.
(a) Are we perhaps already guilty of planning to put the NEW WINE OF
19** into the wineskins of 19** ??
(b) God has granted us the wine of a new year. WITH WHAT OR IN WHAT DO
WE HOPE TO CONTAIN IT ??
(c) If we try and use the OLD CONTAINERS, the OLD PREJUDICES, the
DISLIKES, the IRRITATIONS, the MEMORIES, the HURTS, the
IF WE TRY AND CONTAIN THE NEW YEAR IN THESE WINESKINS, THEN LIKE JESUS
SAID OF THE NEW WINE, 19** WILL BE WASTED AND LOST, as far as YOU are
(d) THE FUTURE CANNOT BE CONTAINED WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE PAST!
(e) God has much for us each one in 19**. Let us not be guilty of
confining and limiting what He wants to do in and through us in the
(f) In my Officership, I have met so many who squeeze every year into
their old wineskins of the past !!THE OLD CONFLICTS, THE OLD PROBLEMS
They have no vision: no newness, and with all their old leaky
wineskins, no usefulness to God!!
HOW WRETCHEDLY POVERTY STRICKEN THEY ARE !!
(g) Let us make sure that we are amongst the vast number of
Christians the world over, who have got their new wineskins from the
Lord, and Glory to God, He waits to fill them with all that He has
laid in store for those that love Him, and ARE WILLING TO LET GO OF
ALL THE OLD WINESKINS OF THE PAST THAT WOULD HINDER THEM, AND INDEED
THE LORD ALSO, IN HIS DIVINE PURPOSE.
(h) God would want to FILL US WITH HIS SPIRIT, that our Christian
lives would be lived to the full. BUT HE CAN ONLY DO THAT IF WE HAVE
CAST OFF THE WINESKINS OF THE PAST and taken to ourselves the BRAND
NEW WINESKINS OF THE FUTURE.
(i) The same is true of course, when we come to the Lord in
repentance of our sin, for in true repentance, we must CAST OFF
THE PAST, with all it's sin, shame, and degradation, and put on
newness of life!
(a) Tonight we will wind up the old year of 19**, and may I say
in this meeting, that we can give to it the picture that Jesus gives
in Luke 9:62 of the ploughman who looks back thereby making a mess of
the work he is currently engaged in because he is too interested in the
SUCH, SAID JESUS,ARE NOT FIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD !!
(b) YOU can make a MESS of 19** if you allow it to be ruled by the
MEMORIES OF 19** !!!
19** WILL VERY SHORTLY BE DEAD!! BURY IT!! START AFRESH WITH GOD!!
(c) Look forward to 19** with expectancy of all that God has in store
We look forward to a year that holds great potential if we walk with
our hand in the hand of God, and our faces to the future.
(d) To look back to the past, shows doubt in our hearts for the future.
We must go forward in confidence with our hand to His plough !!
(A) Could I suggest three essentials for this new year!
PERSEVERANCE There will be times when the going gets tough.
POWER If we are right spiritually, there is power for every
PROGRESS In every life lived for God, there must be spiritual
(b) Let us be thankful to God for the gift of a new year.
(c) Lets not try putting the new wine into the old bottles of 19**.
(d) Lets not be guilty of looking back and living in the past.
(e) I want to finish with a small poem which I composed some years ago.
O'er the year that's ahead, some shadows are cast:
They're those things that stand out, from a year gone past.
Though shadows they may be, some still will bring pain:
Life's lessons are hard learned, But they have brought gain;
For often I have found, my trust incomplete,
And have knelt once again, at the Dear Lord's Feet.
I look to the future,though it be unclear;
I've strength in His promise, that He will be near:
It's with faith I reach out, take hold of His Hand:
I have this assurance, in His Power I'll stand.
Dear Saviour I would pray, when tempted to doubt,
That your Spirit so fill, all else is cast out;
And when through the next year, my courage would wane,
May I drink of the stream, being renewed again.