Summary: God’s people represented by three vineyards: the antedeluvians, the Jews, and the Church.

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Three Vineyards Isa. 5:1-7

INTRO.: In the area where I grew up, wild grapes were fairly common. Many vines would grow high in Oak trees and get large enough to climb and swing on. Sometimes we would climb a tree or vine high enough to pick grapes, but they were very small and bitter. Hardly anyone bothered with them.

Other vines had no grapes. I learned later they were probably "Grape Ivy" vines, which look like grape vines but actually are ivy and are fruitless.

By contrast, the grapevine that grew in our yard had large, juicy grapes that made fine juice and jelly. It was carefully cultivated and cared for. We enjoyed the fruit from it.

If I were to plant a vineyard, I would plant a domesticated variety like the one that grew in our yard. I would care for it and guard it and I would expect it to bear fruit. If not, I would cut it down and replace it. Grape vines are supposed to bear fruit.

Isaiah likens Israel to a vineyard which God planted, expecting fruit. He found no acceptable fruit. This story has been repeated many times in the history of God’s people. God has blessed His people and made elaborate provision for their good but has been disappointed in the fruit they have produced. Let’s look at three of these times when God likens His people to a vineyard.

I. The first vineyard is the world before the flood:

A. God created man and put him in a perfect environment:

1. "It was very good." Gen. 1:31

2. He provided food, protection, companionship equal to every need.

3. The garden of Eden was a paradise. "Eden" has come to be synonymous with "paradise."

B. What did God expect from man?

1. Be fruitful and multiply. That would be easy, even fun.

2. Subdue the earth. No problem here. God gave the power necessary.

3. Companionship and worship. This would be a pleasure.

4. Obedience. Here is the rub. Man was seduced into disobedience by the Devil.

C. What did God get?

1. Man’s path was steadily downward after Adam’s sin.

2. Eventually, the vineyard bore the fruit of evil, violence, corruption. Gen. 6:5, 11, 12

3. God’s remedy was total destruction. Gen. 6:13

II. The second vineyard, the nation of Israel:

A. What more could God have done?

1. Sought out a single righteous person, Abraham, and built a nation through him.

2. Nurtured and protected it and brought them into a rich land.

3. He was with them and was their God

4. He gave great laws and promises, revealing His will for them.

B. What did God expect?

1. Justice, righteousness. Isa. 5:7

2. A people who would honor His Name among the heathen.

3. Obedience.

4. Instead He got greedy land barons. Men who got up early to start drinking, drank all day and played loud music. They are vain, arrogant people who do not know good from evil and dare God to judge them.

C. What did God do? Matt. 21:33-40

1. Jesus told a similar story and asked His disciples for a judgement.

2. Their answer is seen in verse 41.

3. Those who claim the Jewish nation is still God’s chosen nation are wrong according to Scripture.

III. The third vineyard is the Church. We are His people today.

A. What more could God do for His Church?

1. Established it at the price of His Son’s blood.

2. Guards and protects it from heresy and persecution.

3. Gave His Holy Spirit to direct and empower it.

4. Lives in it. John 15:1-7

B. What does God expect?

1. Praise. Heb. 13:15. "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name."

2. Changed lives that bear the fruit of the Spirit.

3. Growth. Heb. 12:11. "a harvest of righteousness and peace"

4. Souls brought to Christ. John 15:8 "This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

C. What will God do?

1. The choice is ours. He will act in accord with our obedience or disobedience.

2. He will plant no new vineyards. No more chances in spite of what "Left Behind" books imply.

3. Jesus threatened to cut off and burn unfruitful branches for the good of the Kingdom. He will do it

4. To the faithful, He promises to care for us and make us fruitful.

CONC.: Each of us is a branch in God’s vine. He has redeemed us with the blood of His Son and planted us in a fine place. He expects us to bear fruit. Let me raise the question; "Are you bearing fruit for Jesus?"

Do the things you do bring praise to God? Does your life exhibit the fruit of the Spirit? Are you growing and producing a harvest of righteousness and peace? Are you living a life of obedience to the commands of God? Are you sharing the Good News with others?

God expects and enables us all to bear fruit for Him.

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