Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chugging The New Wine!

Wow! It's a great morning! I was having this weird dream about planting some living trees among the artificial ones that, for some reason, were stationed on my dining room table. LOL! It wasn't working; the dead trees and the living trees needed a different level of care. The dream was so disconcerting it stirred me from my sleep, and then the light bulb came on. Thank you, Lord! My understanding was enlightened . . .
Ephesians 2:1 tells us that we were all "... dead in trespasses and sins." That's all of us! We were all like those artificial trees on my dining room table--dead. And if we're a living tree today, Ephesians 2:8 clearly tells us why, "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." And if we have been 'quickened', today, 1 Peter 2:9 tells us it's because we were "... called out of darkness into His marvellous light." And if we are alive today, Titus 3:5 says it's, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us ...." And just so we don't get cute with this thing and start criticizing others when we observe the deeds of the trees yet dead--the lost, 1 Corinthians 6:11 quickly reminds us, "And such were some of you, but ye are washed... sanctified... justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."  You with me?
And then the parable that Jesus gave us about putting new wine into old bottles jumped out at me. The bottles were not just old, they were dead--just like the lost. And Jesus said the new wine would burst the old bottles, and the bottles would perish because they were not able to receive it (Luke 5:37). When we are quickened and called to life by His Spirit, we desire the new wine that Jesus gives. We're excited--able to receive it. We love the Lord for what He has done for us. We want to practice His New Testament doctrines and grow in His Spirit. We want it all! And then we get so excited and zealous, we want to share this new wine with everybody. And if they don't appear to want it, or if they can't receive it, we get a little miffed. We want to force it down their throats. Why don't you do the right thing? Swallow this! It's good for you! But 1 Corinthians 2:14 gives us some sobering news. Listen: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
In other words, we can't force the new wine down the throats of dead people. It won't work. They'll gag on it and be broken--injured--for our trouble. It's like the trees in my dream--lost people need a different level of care.  Our role is to share the Gospel--the Good News of Jesus Christ our Lord--in love--believing that the same Word that saved us can save the trees yet dead. For "... faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) The Apostle Paul also reminds us that some plant and some water the Gospel, but only God can give the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6)
So let us who are saved share 'the dining room table' with the lost--remembering that we were once trees yet dead, too. Surely, we can enjoy chugging the new wine with fellow believers. But we must share the Gospel, in love, with the lost--trusting the God of Life to call to life all those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19).  Blessings! :jb