236. The Hallmark of the New

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

What is the ‘new wine’?

In this series of posts we are looking at new wine and new wineskins. Last time we saw how the new wineskin is each one of us, both individually and coming together as a new order ekklesia, but what is this new wine? What does it represent? Here is some of what I have seen (and if you will engage with God for yourself, I am sure you will see some of this and more besides):

    • New governmental mandates and new government patterned after heaven. New revelation and understanding of how to expand the kingdom, subdue and rule from a new heavenly perspective of servant leadership.
    • New values and ideals. Jesus introduced the manifesto of the kingdom, a completely new way of living. As we have seen, the ekklesia is to be a reflection of heaven’s values, an embassy of heaven on earth. We are to be ambassadors of that embassy, carrying the authority of heaven and exercising it on the earth.
    • New things established in heaven.
    • New heavenly strategies instead of earthly ones. Let’s stop trying to figure out how to do things and instead go to the heavenly strategy room and get a strategy which will be effective.
    • A new heavenly identity of sonship. It is in heaven that we operate in fullness of sonship, so that we can be manifested as sons on the earth.
    • A new health service – healing and health for the world, to demonstrate that God is a loving God who wants to heal. As a first step we will be living in health ourselves: body, soul and spirit in wholeness, connected to heaven, with the life of heaven flowing from the inside out. That will draw those in the world looking for healing.
    • New economic and financial services. Jesus threw all the money changers’ tables over: kingdom finance and economics bear no resemblance to the systems of the world. Kingdom finance is a love-based system in which we can freely give because we freely receive under an open heaven. Serving in love is the currency of the kingdom, going the extra mile and putting others before self.
    • A new society – paradise restored. God wants to bring back human society to how it would have developed in the Garden (if the Garden had expanded to fill the earth as it should have). The way up is down; the first will be last and the last first.
    • New speech, new attitudes, new ideals, new culture. Everything comes from a new perspective as redefined by Jesus.
    • New behaviours, abilities and powers. We will recover everything that was lost at the fall, at the flood, at Babel and throughout history as our DNA is renewed and restored and as we renew our minds.
    • Heaven transforming earth. This is God’s ultimate desire and plan.

    Experiential

    All new ways flow from beyond the veil and they are experiential.

    • New experiential ways of ministry. No longer will we set ourselves up as ministers who tell people what God is saying and what to do. Instead we will get alongside them and equip them to hear God for themselves. Liebusting is a good example of this new way, in which the person asks Jesus what He wants to do in their life and asks Him to show them how to deal with what stands in the way. And teaching people how to go to the courts equips them to hear first-hand, rather than getting someone else to tell them what the issue is and how to address it.
    • New experiential ways of teaching – we have to get away from a scenario where it is just me or some other teacher lecturing a roomful of people. It will be all of us together, experiencing. The activations we do together on a Sunday morning and in some of the hangouts are a first step towards that. Alongside the new kingdom financial system, I am sure we will see a new education system as well.
    • New experiential ways of prayer. We will not just be crying out from here on the earth, hoping that God might hear something, but going to meet Him face to face.
    • New experiential ways of interceding, not from below but from above. We can stand before God, identifying with the person, city, nation or planet we are interceding for, in a heavenly courtroom, getting His judgment and verdict on the situation.
    • New more effective ways of kingdom administration: outworking heavenly government on the earth.
    • New ways of partnering with the angelic realm: angels are ministering spirits sent for the sake of those who inherit salvation. We are already hearing more testimonies of angelic engagement, and that will only increase. They are awesome, powerful created beings, and they can do things which have never even occurred to us yet!

    Growing in maturity

    The new ways are about our maturity. Moses did miracles, parted the Red Sea, food just appeared, the Israelites’ clothes never wore out, they were led by a pillar of cloud and fire – all this while they were just children who only knew God by His deeds. If they had gone and engaged heaven with Moses, they would not have needed any of that.

    Under Joshua’s leadership, the people did the miracles, parted the Jordan, caused the walls of Jericho to fall. They did not need supernatural food or clothing provision because they could all sow in the Promised Land, and reap the harvest of what they sowed.

    Jesus showed his disciples how to multiply food, do miracles, produce provision and so on. He taught them how, then sent them out to do it themselves. Unlike Moses, He did not just do it for them. And today He will show us new ways of being salt and light in our world, new ways of being agents of change in history, society and culture, so that we are not influenced but influencers. He will open up new ways for us to bring transformation to our communities. We will do all this by establishing all things in heaven first so they can be manifested on earth – that is the hallmark of the new.

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235. New Order Ekklesia

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

The blueprint that has come from heaven

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Matt 9:16-17).

In Jesus’ time and culture the old wineskins were not just thrown away but were renewed, restored and reconditioned to make them suitable to hold the new wine. They had invested a lot into those wineskins. God has invested a lot into the wineskin of church (ekklesia), and He is not just throwing it out.

I hear a lot of people talking about a new wineskin which is not the ekklesia. I do not accept that. The ekklesia is still what Jesus is building; He has not changed His mind. It is still the blueprint that has come from heaven. By all means let’s throw out the old concept of what has become known as ‘church’, with any negative connotations and past experience of hurt and oppressive controlling authority. But since the manifold wisdom of God is to be displayed to the usurping powers and authorities through the ekklesia (Eph 3:10), we need to recognise that without it we are not likely to see the kingdom fill the earth.

…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Pet 2:5).

All of us have a responsibility to be who God has called us to be, both individually and corporately.

Characteristics of a new order ekklesia

So a new order ekklesia will comprise people gathered together around a heavenly blueprint. It will function as a heavenly royal priesthood bringing agreement between heaven and earth. It will be built on a foundation of servant leaders, a heavenly foundation of the agreement of heaven’s oracles and a form and style of government which is a reflection of heaven on earth.

It will demonstrate a heavenly pattern of government – bench of 3, bench of 7 and bench of 12. It will not be a copy of any other ekklesia but will be established from its own individual heavenly mandate and blueprint: this variety will demonstrate the manifold nature of God’s wisdom (Eph 3:10 again). The image at the head of this post incorporates a diagram of our blueprint here at Freedom, but please don’t be drawn into trying to reproduce it where you are. Each ekklesia needs its own.

Its shape will be flexible, continuously determined by the living stones who grow and mature as they outwork their destinies within it, and by living stones added and taken away. Its objective is to bring agreement between heaven and earth, to contribute to the restoration of all things to God’s original intent and purpose.

Flexibility

Locally, we have been transitioning into such a new order ekklesia over a number of years. We are forerunners, and even if we are not a perfect example, at least we are evidence that it is possible. Over the years we have produced several different, updated diagrams representing our blueprint, of which the one given here is just the latest, 2017 version. Does that mean that the blueprint has changed? I do not think so, rather it is that God has revealed (and that we have become aware of) different aspects of it over time. When I look back to our beginnings in 1994 and the revelation of Isaiah 61, a foundational scripture for us, my understanding of that now is totally different to what I understood then. The text is still the same, but God has progressively deepened and expanded the revelation of it which we have been able to receive; my perception of it has changed and so, I am sure, has everyone else’s in the ekklesia. Therefore we are not now doing exactly the same things we were doing in 1994, but we are still outworking that same scripture as we now interpret and express it.

We did have a saying, back in those early days: ‘constant change is here to stay’. Little did we know how true (or how important) that was! The structure of our ekklesia is flexible, and it is the people who are part of it who determine what it will look like at any given moment. For example, our seven mountains: who was it who got the blueprints for what those seven mountains were? It was not me; it was not the bench of three; we just had the revelation that we had seven mountains. It was the people who heard the call of God to those mountains, and they continue to determine what those mountains look like. And that flexibility is essential to the continuing growth and development of the mountains, because we will find seven sub-mountains of each, again with different people determining what those are called and what they look like, finding their place as living stones and outworking their destiny in it.

So although we have an overall blueprint which says ‘we are an ekklesia and we will be part of a city of refuge, an embassy of heaven’, the actual form it takes will be totally determined by those who are called to embrace it. And in ten years’ time, when new people have come along, embraced the vision and received revelation themselves, certainly they will see and express something new, and the shape of Freedom Church will look different then to what it is now.

God always requires a new wineskin for new wine, but it is a constantly refurbished one, not something that did not exist before. God will carry on progressively releasing new wine of revelation, and the wineskin of the ekklesia has to remain flexible and be continually renewed if it is to receive it. We must never become rigid and set in our ways.

So whatever we are doing now, I can guarantee that down the line we will be doing something different, because we will have received fresh revelation from God for that season. That is why the concept of being like the sons of Issachar is important: understanding that God operates according to times and seasons, and in each season we need to know what God is calling us to do and to receive the necessary provision from Him to accomplish it.

Angelic engagement

An ekklesia of gathered people will live under an open heaven with angelic engagement. Jacob saw angels ascending and descending at a place he called ‘Bethel’, saying it was a house of God and a gateway of heaven. Individually and corporately we are all ‘Bethels’ into the earth.

Each of us is always a representative or ambassador of the ekklesia 24/7, not only when we are meeting physically in the same location. We do not ‘go to church’, we are church. Our whole lives are an expression of being a house of God, an ekklesia. But when we do come together, that is multiplied exponentially. We need to understand what it is to be built together as living stones, joined in love to fulfil God’s purpose.

Shadow

An ekklesia both individually and corporately is a shadow of what is established in heaven. You have to have something with a light shining on it to produce a shadow on the far side of it. So we must be in heaven in order to cast a shadow on the earth. If we do not live in heaven there can be no shadow on the earth.

I used to go into heaven, try to produce a shadow on the earth, and then come back out of heaven and occupy that shadow. The trouble was that the shadow no longer existed because I was not in heaven any more. That is why we have to learn to live in dual realms of heaven and earth at the same time; things on the earth will change dramatically when we do.

Embassy of heaven

Here, we are developing into a resource for the local community as we expand our work and influence through Freedom Community Alliance. I believe that eventually every ekklesia will be a city of refuge, an embassy of heaven, either in itself or as part of something larger in its city, area or region. That will be a full reflection of heaven’s government, with the mountain of the house of the Lord raised up above all the other mountains as we are an expression of God’s household, God’s kingdom, God’s authority on the earth. All the nations will run to it.

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231. Meet the Real God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

New for old

God is always doing new things.

Please understand that, as we said before, He is always the same, faithful and full of lovingkindness, and He has never changed. But when we engage Him intimately, He reveals Himself in continually new, surprising and sometimes even shocking ways.

“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you”
(Isa 42:9).

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it,
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert”
(Isa 43:18-19).

God is revealing new things in our day, yet often we try to cling on to what is old, comfortable and familiar, just like the children of Israel did in the wilderness. Old forms of church wineskin, church government, ministry, prayer, evangelism, doctrine and theology are all being challenged by new, fresh revelation of truth.

Have you ever stopped to question how much of what we believe is because we have always believed it, based on what someone else has taught us, or from a religious construct, doctrine or theology? How much is derived from or influenced by our particular culture and society? And finally, how much is actually from revelation, coming out of our direct personal experience of relationship with God Himself? In short, how much are we ‘leaning to our own understanding’?

The Joshua Generation are forerunners of the new. We are finding a new level of experiential relationship with God, a new level of communication with Him, new ability to hear and see what He reveals. We are finding out what it means to have the mind of Christ!

God is calling us to let go of the old and embrace the new: new mindsets and new paradigms, new worldviews. We must not be surprised if we encounter great resistance to change, and not only from the quarters we might expect it. Certainly some people in the old established churches will oppose what God is doing, but the greater resistance will likely come from more recent moves of God which have settled into maintenance mode.

Deeply ingrained

Even within ourselves, we may struggle to overcome the comfortable inertia of wanting to keep things the way they are. We experienced some of this within the church here: for a while the old pastoral form of church government steadfastly opposed and resisted the new heavenly apostolic order. We discovered just how deeply some of these things are ingrained into our thinking and practice. But eventually we made an individual and corporate decision to step into the new.

“… The dynamic of our strategy is revealed in God’s ability to disengage mindsets and perceptions that have held people captive in pseudo fortresses for centuries! Every lofty idea and argument positioned against the knowledge of God is cast down and exposed to be a mere invention of our own imagination” (2 Cor 10:5-6 Mirror Bible).

God has begun challenging the very pillars of our minds. We find ourselves in a time of transition, of uncertainty and change, in which we cannot be sure of anything we thought we knew. He has even told us,

“You have been invited to know the real Me, so that you can be forerunners of the glory presence”.

If He is inviting us to get to know the real God, what God did we think we knew? Is it possible that we have been seeing and presenting a false image of Him all this time? If so, we have only been introducing new believers to the same false image we have been worshipping. And if the world has rejected that image of God (and often, it has), then what might happen when we present the true nature of God, when we ‘show and tell’ what He is really like?

We need to meet Him and experience Him for ourselves. Then what we are offering people will not be some theoretical, theological perspective and doctrine, but a real relationship with a living God. And that is what the world needs; like us it needs to meet the real God, not the image that has been painted of Him up to now.

Seen Me, seen the Father

Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.

“Jesus is the crescendo of God’s conversation; he gives context and content to the authentic thought. Everything that God had in mind for mankind is voiced in him. Jesus is God’s language. He is the radiant and flawless expression of the person and intent of God. He mirrors God’s character and exhibits his every attribute in human form. He is the voice of God announcing our redeemed innocence. This voice is the dynamic that sustains the entire cosmos. He is the force of the universe upholding everything that exists as the executive authority of God, enthroned in the boundless measure of his majesty” (Heb 1:3 Mirror Bible).

He declared, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. As Mirror Bible translator Francois Du Toit says, “the best translation would always be the incarnation”. So Jesus has to be the lens through which we both see and project what God is really like.

Transformation

As ‘forerunners of the glory presence’, we must get to know that presence by our own experience. The glory is the glory of the true God, not some dim, fractured, distorted image of Him. The principle is that we will be transformed into what we behold: if we see God as angry and vengeful, looking for every opportunity to pounce on us and strike us down when we get out of line, then we will display the same traits ourselves. So even as we look to unmask what Brad Jersak calls ‘the toxic representations of God’ so prevalent in the traditional church (and therefore in secular western society), we have to be careful to operate in love towards those we enter into discussion with. We can only do this if we are beholding the real God. The leaven of the Pharisees and Herod is still working its way through the lump: religious and political spirits love dispute. By seeing and revealing the truth and operating in love we can help people to engage God themselves rather than feeling they have to engage in argument.

When Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, there was first of all a time of consecration. Alongside new experiences, new thinking and new levels and patterns of authority, we must display new levels of openness, honesty, sincerity, honour, respect and commitment.

Sacred cows

The old, the comfortable and the familiar have to be left behind when God brings us into a new day. If we are to receive all that God has for us we will need to let go of those old familiar ways because they will no longer be effective. Two and a half tribes elected to forego their inheritance in the Promised Land. We are not to be tethered to the past: old ways must not become idols we will not abandon.

So what are your pet doctrines, ideologies, methods and other sacred cows? Are you willing to meet God as He really is and ask Him to expose, remove and replace them?

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43. New wine, new wineskin

Mike Parsons 

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED” (1 Pet 2:4-6).

Living stones

That Stone, as we have seen, shows up in Daniel 2 in the king’s dream which Daniel interprets. The Stone is Jesus, and it grows into a mountain (His kingdom) which fills the earth. That kingdom comes through us, His people, because we are living stones. If we believe and catch hold of this truth in our spirit, the promise is that we will not be disappointed.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth (Rev 5:10)

There are people now who are reigning in heaven, because they have died. But we actually also reign in heaven, and we reign here on the earth. We need to reign in both places, just as Jesus was manifested in both places, because you know that we are seated in the heavenly realms even as we live our lives here on earth. It is essential for us to have access to the heavenly realms in order to bring heaven to earth.

That is why God is opening up those heavenly doors for us to have heavenly encounters, throne room encounters, to meet Him in heaven, to see Him face to face; to see what is the will of God in heaven; to see those things that will enable us to manifest the kingdom of God, the favour of God, the power, wisdom and glory of God – on earth as it is in heaven.

So in Daniel 2, the Stone is Jesus, the mountain is His kingdom, and His kingdom is manifested through us, through the church.

New wineskins

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 Luke 5:37-38.

The enemy is constantly trying to get us to adopt new versions of the Old Covenant system – because he knows that if he can convince us to do so it will rob us of true kingdom power and authority. People have talked for years about needing a new wineskin, meaning a new form of church, but that is missing the point. Any ‘new, improved version’ of the Old Covenant system is still an old wineskin incapable of holding the new wine of the kingdom. It is not a new form of church that is the new wineskin: the new wineskin is us. We are the containers of His Presence, and we can (and should) be those who fully manifest His kingdom authority.

It is no longer about one country, one city, one temple. They cannot contain God’s Presence… but God’s people can.

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