While many adjustments in lifestyle, education, finances, and family have been occurring as a result of the worldwide pandemic of 2020, I believe one of the greatest changes has been in the church. The opportunity to gather together on Sunday mornings has been so normal it has been assumed. Not until gathering as the body of Christ for worship and study was deemed “non-essential” by the world leaders did we, the church realize how much assembly meant to us.
I have spent much time in prayer concerning the future of the church and I would like to share with you what I feel is about to happen.
First of all, consider an interesting passage in Isaiah 65:8-10 NLT, “But I will not destroy them all,” says the Lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away—some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israeland of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds.” This passage is nestled in a larger passage of prophetic judgements and end of time salvation promises. It addresses the fate of those who seek God versus those who have rejected God. The valley of Achor near Jericho was described as a “muddy, turbid, gloomy, dejected” place. There was no life there to sustain herds, but in this prophesy, the Lord calls it a place to pasture herds. Key to the restoration of this area is the phrase “for my people who have searched for me”. Worldwide the body of Christ is fasting, coming together physically and through technology to search for God’s favor. The result I believe will be a redemption of the valley of Achor into a place where the church of the Lord Jesus Christ sustains every spiritually hungry person on a global scale. The church is about to rise up and become a banquet for a lost and dying world. The church is about to serve “new wine” in new wineskins instead of old wine in old wineskins or containers.
Before leaving this passage I want to address the concept of saving the cluster of grapes in verse 8. To do that, we must look at the concept of wine-making. According to Winespectrum.com, it takes the following medium yield to create wine. “75 grapes = 1 grape cluster = 1 glass = 5 ounces of wine: 4 clusters = 1 bottle = 5 glasses of wine: 40 clusters = 1 vine = 10 bottles. The bottom line is that new wine is not made from single grapes but from clusters of grapes. Thus, the importance of individual Christians coming together as the church to create the fruity, stronger, more potent wine. One grape alone can contribute but cannot produce the results this world needs to be intoxicated with Jesus!
In the New Testament, one of the parables repeated in Matthew 9:16-18, Mark 2:18-22 and Luke 5:33-39 addresses the concept of new wine in old wineskins or containers. I believe the Lord has been preparing the church as a new container for a potent outpouring of salvation, healing, and redemption. He has been replacing the way we have always done it with a new way – a way that can successfully contain the power of God!
Matthew 9:16-18 Amplified Bible (AMP) “But no one puts a piece of unshrunk (new) cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results.Nor is new wine put into old wineskins [that have lost their elasticity]; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the [fermenting] wine spills and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, so both are preserved.”
The church is not perfect. There are grapes in the cluster that are bruised and in the process of decay but together with the good fruit they are squeezed and prepared to be a part of the new wine. Every grape adds to the flavor and potency of the spiritual wine God wants to pour out to a thirsty world.
If the church accepts the challenge of 2020, we will be a people of great faith, power, and healing. We will receive the new wineskins, adjust the way we have always done it, so we can intoxicate a lost and dying world. Let’s sip some new wine!