The Relational Wineskin

Series: Relationships in the Body of Christ

Sun am 7 October 2018 – John Alley

Mark 2:22; Rom. 8:29; Deut. 29:29; 1 John 3:2, 23; Phil. 2:5-8; John 12:49-50; John 5:10; John 6:38; Heb. 10:58; Heb. 2:10; John 13:35; John 17:11, 20-23; Rom. 5:5

About every 500 years the Lord makes a major rearrangement in the way His house is governed on earth. It is not doctrine that changes. Sometimes we lose truth and it has to be found again – that is what the reformation was about 500 years ago. A great deal was lost after the apostles died, progressively, until about the year 1500. Ever since then it has been progressively restored. About every 500 years, the Lord completely rearranged the way the Church was structured – in other words, how we work, how we see ourselves, how we function together. A big rearrangement is going on right now and we are being shifted from having been so institutionalised in denominational form. Denominations are not the permanent form of the Church. We only had this kind of multiplying of denominations in the last 500 years. There was 1500 years of Christianity before that that did not have that and will not have it again in the future. Now, there will be multiple churches in the future. Every city will have multiple ministries, multiple teachers, prophets, pastors, many groups meeting, but somehow their hearts will be so knit together, and there is a work of grace going on right now to bring all of that about – a whole new wonderful day for our cities! It means a whole new understanding of our relationship for each one of us with God, in Him being our Father. But it goes far beyond that: it goes into how you relate to your leader. 

The person the Lord appoints as leader over you – that is a supremely important relationship, or you are not going anywhere as a Christian. That relationship has got to be right, just as relationships between husbands and wives has to be right. In general, relationships have to be right to get anywhere spiritually. Then there is the relationship between brothers in groups like this that are going to come to another place altogether and then relationships across the city, but that cannot fully develop until the hearts of the pastors across the city are knit together as one man – that is coming. Then cities are linked to each other heart to heart, and apostles, etc. There is a phenomenal picture the Lord is bringing about. After learning all of this through revelation, the Lord took our church through three major moves of the Holy Spirit in one year. Through the first of those moves of the Spirit, He rearranged our hearts with regards to understanding how to be sons to a Father in heaven – to God as Father. It was like everyone in the church got born again, again.

The most sovereign thing I ever saw the Lord do was Him take over that weekend. The Holy Spirit came in and took over the whole camp. We had no preaching that whole weekend and almost no songs. The result of that was that for many weeks afterwards in church on Sunday morning we had no sermon, not many songs; the mic on the table – it was open mic. Some of the greatest meetings in our church were those days when anybody could get up and say anything. But remember, the Holy Spirit had taken over. Within a few months, the Holy Spirit moved in our hearts. This time it was another kind of sonship being experienced, where our hearts changed towards those who were over us. My own heart changed. It was an amazing work of God. Within a few months of that, He moved in us again and totally changed the way we related to one another.

 Building an apostolic people is not just how to walk with leaders, but what the anointing is and what the work of the Spirit of God is – the real work of Pentecost. The bigger work of Pentecost, which when you get a hold of it so changes our hearts to one another, makes us a people of one heart and one mind. After the Holy Spirit moved in our church and changed our hearts towards our leaders, I heard the Lord say: “Father-son relationship is the new wineskin of the Church.” When Jesus talked about a new wineskin (Mark 2:22), He was talking in terms of history, one old wineskin and one new wineskin. The old wineskin was Judaism under the Mosaic Law. The new wineskin Jesus talked about would be the body of Christ, and it was required because there was going to be a cross, a gospel, the Holy Spirit given, a new covenant and a new law. The law was: “Love one another as I have loved you.” This required a new wineskin, which is simply another way of saying: the grace of God was in the world before and it had an administration, but fresh grace was going to be poured into the world – still Christ – and built on the old grace. They did not fight each other; they go together like hand and glove. But, it would require a different administration. The administration of the old covenant was Judaism and the administration of the new covenant is the apostles, the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ, and the government of Christ through the Church. The body of Christ is the new wineskin. That is the way it was from the beginning! It is the way it was always meant to be, it is not just some new idea. Jesus and the twelve had heart-to-heart relationships: they walked together every day and they loved Him and were prepared to lay down their lives for Him. Once Pentecost came, they were willing to lay down their life for each other! This was the new wineskin – heart-to-heart relationships, deep love, honouring one another above themselves, loving each other deeply from the heart, willing to pay any price, laying down their lives for each other. Father-son relationship is the new wineskin and in this day it is being restored to us with great grace!

Every now and again the enemy sends a threat into the church, somebody who, if you do not know how to contain it, can destroy your church. They are carrying a spirit – a demon – and their influence will get on another person, and on another. Someone has to shut the gate. On the other hand, you have to knit your hearts together as one people – this is the work of Christ. Always keep His name uppermost. Somehow life flows from Christ to the Church and from the Church to all things. Be the government of God by dealing with what is in the spirit realm.

The work of the Spirit in the Church all over the world right now is to knit the hearts of people together in loving relationships. He takes people who were not really close to each other and makes them really close. The single most important relationship in any church is the one that is in your heart – the attitude of your heart towards your pastor. The leadership structure may be different; there can be fathers in the house of a father. Having a good relationship by the Holy Spirit with one of the other leaders who is a son and a father, will also bring your heart closer to the father of the house. There has to be a big place in your heart for the leader that God appoints in the house. Not everybody can have the same level of personal relationship, but there is something about the spirit of it that has to be very Biblical and holy and clean and pure. There is integrity in it and loyalty – a sense of belonging. I do not tell anybody in the church, “I am your father,” or to the Church as a whole, “I am the father of the house.” I just love people like a father should love them. I do not have to use this vocabulary in the house, but we walk in relationships of love in the house. I never say to anybody, “You are supposed to be a son in this house” – it can come across more as a demand or obligation and it is not meant to be that. It is meant to be a relationship that grows; a relationship of trust. You enjoy it with a sense of belonging and security, and you cannot force that. It is never an obligation, it is an opportunity. It is never a duty, it is a grace. It has to be that, or it never works. It does not work if a pastor tries to get everyone in the house to be a son to him, but he is not a son to anybody. It is not a religious system. Some see it as a religious system by which they can better control or govern the house. It is not that, it is love – it is heart relationship. You are in the house because the Lord is building you together as family and our love for one another grows. It must be very natural. It cannot be controlling. Love is what really binds hearts together. We have discovered that when pastors become sons, somehow a grace for fathering radiates from them. We have seen many times how somebody who is already in ministry or reasonably mature when they submit to a spiritual father and become a son, all of a sudden, the power for them to be fathers to their people just opens up exponentially. It is an instant outcome.

 This is the new wineskin of the Church. This is the proper structure for the body of Christ. We are being transformed into the image of Christ – that is what discipleship is. Being a “disciple” literally means to imitate. If we are imitators of Christ, what do you think you are going to imitate? He gave us some instructions, but you are still day by day supposed to become more like Christ. The Scripture does not say that you are being formed “into the image of Christ”, it actually says you are being formed “into the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). Being a son is a very important Biblical concept. When God revealed Himself to us, notice that He revealed Himself as God in Father and Son. The ultimate revelation of God to us was the Son of God. The Bible does not show us much about the relationship of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit and it does not tell us much about the relationship between God the Holy Spirit and God the Son. But notice that we have a huge amount of information about the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. There is a reason.

 The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may obey all the words of this law(Deut. 29:29). Now the word of this law that we are told to obey is the Gospel. We are to obey God by believing what He has said about His Son and love one another (1 John 3:23). Believe what He says about His Son – this is the revelation. He reveals the love God the Father has for the Son, the love of God the Son has for the Father, and how the two of them walked together. You need that for your salvation because you are meant to walk in exactly the same love and exactly the same relationships – this is your eternal security. Your salvation, your faith in Christ, brings you into the love of God. It is the love of God that is at work in you, and it is to conform you to the image of His Son. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is(1 John 3:2). Every Christian is meant to be learning how to have the same attitudes in the heart, the same value system as Jesus Christ the Son of God (Phil. 2:5-8). If we are going to be conformed to the image of His Son, it means: we live like He did, think like He did – develop His kind of heart.

Jesus never did anything except as a Son to a Father. He said He does not speak out of His own but what He hears His Father saying (John 12:49-50), that He does not act on His own but does the things that He sees His Father doing (John 5:10), and that He did not come to do His own will, but the will of Him who sent Him (John 6:38). He said, “A body You have prepared for Me” and “I have come to do your will, O God” (Heb. 10:5-8). Having brought many sons to glory, He made the author of our salvation perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:10). In other words, He was tested, tried and conformed, and so are we being conformed to the image of His Son. We must have the same heart and choose to walk in the same relationships as Jesus did. If the Church is going to reveal God to the world, what kind of God are we going to reveal? Our relationships with one another will reveal God. Jesus said they will know you are Christians by your love for one another (John 13:35). Jesus prayed that the Father would make His disciples one as the Father and He are one (John 17:11, 20-23). In the same way as Jesus and God the Father are one, you and I are meant to be one with each other. He says, “Father make them one so that the world will believe” (John 17:21). So we know the relationships we walk in with one another are supremely important if we as the Church would have power to win and change the world. The early Church – the apostolic Church and the early apostles – were filled with love in an unusual degree. Please remember that it was that generation, so filled with love, which broke the power of Greek and Roman idolatry, destroyed that Pagan power and turned the Roman world completely upside down. That faith went right through the Roman Empire.

When the Church is in the dynamic of these relationships, the Church has huge power. We are being called back into this in a level which we have not known in denominationalism. We are meant to give our hearts to our leaders, we are meant to see ourselves as sons in the house, as family. This is a household of faith – we belong to each other. Just test your hearts, so that they are yielded to Christ in this matter. Let Him instruct you. Let Him guide you. Make sure your relationships with your leaders are good. Make sure your love for them is in place. Make sure your sense of honour and respect and trust is in place, cherishing and honouring them. What you reap you sow: you will get the benefit of that in your homes and families. When you put your heart relationships right with your leaders, then the Holy Spirit is free is take the next step and put rich love right across the body sideways.  Then you come into a whole new dimension of what it means to be the Church.

Love has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). While you have received some of that when you were born again – love was put into you. When you were baptised into the Spirit you received a measure of love. As you have grown in grace and faith, your love has grown. The truth is, there is a whole lot more, bigger portions and you will find that if you seek the Lord and are hungry, He can pour into you and into this house far greater measure of love and dynamic faith and relationships. Independence, cynicism and pride are the classic ingredients of an orphan heart. Orphan-heart people have a problem with authority. They cannot draw near to authority. They take offense easily and hate being overlooked. The first step for an orphan heart is to recognise that you have the problem. If you struggle to trust leaders, if you are suspicious, if you are cynical, if you keep at a distance, there is something wrong with your heart. If you recognise you have this problem, that is half the battle. Then you start to dig deep asking the Lord to show you and heal you. If you want to be healed of an orphan heart: do not leave! Remember if you get offended this is what happens to orphan hearts. It does not matter what happens in relationships, how offended you are, do not quit! Persevere, hold on, and keep praying because you are looking for the breakthrough. He wants to fill the house with love.