“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
(Isaiah 5:1-4 NIV) I will sing for the one I love, a song about his vineyard. My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit….What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
WHAT A PRECIOUS PICTURE Isaiah describes of how the husbandman loved, prepared, and tended his vineyard. Did that vineyard have reason to boast in itself – even if it had produced an abundance of quality fruit? Of course not! The husbandman did it! Jesus said in John 15:1 that he is the true vine and his Father is the husbandman. He carefully chose the place, took out the stones, worked the soil, planted it with choice vines, armed it with guards, and prepared for the produce.
FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS I want to look at the vineyard in this parable; I will be comparing/contrasting it (the vineyard) with today’s local churches in America.
SO LET’S BEGIN:
WHEN GOD CALLS A MAN to build a church, what happens? Isn’t it like establishing the vineyard? Choose location, check city hall, count population, start an advertizing campaign, draft a solid core group, begin prayer meetings, organize and administer, and dream the dream. He has 68 people and he is going to have world-wide impact! And sure enough, in just three years his 68 people becomes 680 people, and he does send out six missionaries, and he does have world-wide impact. The fruit looks good, and he has been so busy fulfilling dreams that nothing has fazed him.
SO HE HAS IT MADE IN THE SHADE WITH JUST ENOUGH SUNSHINE, HUH?