What is supposed to happen after a person becomes a Christ Follower? What changes should we see in our lives? Many people say they are Christians but their lives do not reflect what Jesus taught. A Christian’s life is supposed to produce a harvest that God would be proud of because it would be a harvest that would produce His character traits. Today we are going to see what happens when God inspects the harvest. Isaiah is going to show them that many of them are not following God even though they say they are and Isaiah is going to show them the consequences of what is being produced in their lives.
Produce: to bear or bring forward as a natural product. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are put on a path toward being made perfect. God works in and through us to change us.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
As Christ followers there should be a change in us that begins to show through our lives over time. This is what Isaiah is going to teach them today.
Read Isaiah 5:1-7 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? 5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured;[a]I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;[b] for righteousness, but behold, an outcry![c]
1) The Work has been done for you to produce a good fruit
Isaiah begins his talk as a love song but then he changes the tune to show them that they way they are living is not what God wants out of their lives. Isaiah shows them that God has done all the work when He dug, cleared, built and made for the vineyard to produce. The thing that has always separated Christianity from all other religions is the work that was done by God as opposed to the work that should be done by man. Christianity relies on the finished work of Christ and not our works of righteousness. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Isaiah invites them to see if God should get the blame for what their lives produced. This is not a court setting anymore where they stand accused but Isaiah is asking them to do a self-evaluation to see how far they have drifted from God.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
We as humans tend to blame everything on someone or something else when things do not go our way. We say things like, ”You made me mad” or “I would not have had to lie if you would not have asked me” to cover up our mistake and place the blame on someone else. People will even blame God but Isaiah wants them to evaluate who is really at fault for the lack of Godly character that is in their lives.
“What more was there to be done? “(vs4)
2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d] 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
God did all the work for us to produce a good harvest and there is no more He can do because Jesus Christ has already come to earth, lived a perfect and sinless life and died on the cross for our sins. If we are not growing in our relationship with Christ then we are either not a Christian or we have allowed things to come into our lives that are hurting our growth. You can make excuses but when you stand before God there will be no excuse because God has done everything for salvation and for you to know Him.
2) God patiently waits for the produce
“He looked (waited) for it to produce grapes”
A grape harvest would take about two years to start seeing results after everything had been done. The farmer would be patient with their crop but eventually they would need to see results. God is patient but there will eventually be a day when He will see what the results are because if His spirit is within you then eventually He who began the work will see it produce results.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
“He looked for it to yield grapes but it produced wild grapes”
Make no mistake you are producing something in your life but the problem with the harvest that Isaiah is describing is that it was very similar to the real thing. From a distance you would have thought that this vineyard was producing what the owner would have intended for it to produce but when you came up close you would see that it did not produce anything good at all. The grapes that were produced were bitter and not able to be used to make wine and you could not eat them so they were just worthless.
We need to examine our lives and see what we are producing. When talking about false prophets Jesus tells us what to look for and I think this applies to all of us as well. Remember, the wild grapes looked like the real thing and many false prophets and people who think they are Christians think they are producing good fruit.
Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
This verse is after Matthew 7:1 which says we are not to Judge a person’s motives but we are to judge people by their outward actions. The purpose of a watchtower in the vineyard was so you could see if animals or thieves were coming in and destroying the crops. As Christians we should have watchtowers in our lives to make sure things are not creeping into our lives that will ruin the fruit we should be producing. Fruit in this verse means more than just a few actions but it is a totality of who you are just like a harvest produces either good or bad fruit.
John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
God prunes you for two reasons. Either because you just produced fruit and He is working on you to produce more fruit or because you have disease (sin) that needs to be cut out of your life so it does not kill the entire tree. We do not produce fruit by our own works of actions they are produced because of the Holy Spirit that is working in and through us. If you are trying to produce fruit out of your own works or effort you will not be producing the fruit of God because that can only happen as God works in and through you.
3) The Consequences of not producing good fruit
“Now I will tell you what I will do”
Jesus is the vine and we are the branches but if a branch is not producing fruit then there is a problem and it eventually gets removed. The wall and hedge kept people and animals out from destroying the vines and Isaiah tells them that God is going to remove the safety that He has established for them. God will also no longer prune them or work with them to remove the disease from their lives. The passage of scripture gives the idea that God literally walks away to leave them to their own destruction. It seems harsh for us to think about the consequences of not producing fruit but when God has done everything to produce fruit, because He did all the work, then we are the ones who are to blame.
John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
The warnings of not producing fruit should make all of us look at our lives and inspect what is happening in our lives. We need to also look at the fruit that God expects to find and see if our lives are matching up to it and if not then we need to allow God to work on our lives so that this kind of fruit is being produced.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
4) How to produce Good Fruit
John 15:3-5 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
We must first realize that the Christian life is not for us to live it is for Christ to live through us. Our responsibility is to abide which means to obey the rules but more than that it means to spend time with Jesus. We tend to act like the ones we spend time with and if we are spending time with Jesus then our lives will show it.
Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Two mistakes that are made is that people think it is by their own effort they produce the fruit that God expects or they think they have to do nothing. This is exactly what Isaiah was saying to them because God had done all the work for there to be good fruit produced and yet sour grapes were the final result they were not fulfilling their part in the process.
Ephesians 4:20-24 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Some of us have allowed things in our lives because we do not see ourselves the way God sees us. We are declared clean by God not because of our actions but because of the actions of Christ. (Colossians 3) The word Saint really means Christian. You do not earn sainthood and you do not have to do 3 miracles to attain it you just have to accept the free gift of Jesus Christ. When prodigal son (Luke 15) came home the dad put the Robe, the Ring and shoes on his feet because the father dressed him in the status he was, a son, and not the status he thought he was, a servant. Seeing ourselves properly will always help with bearing fruit because we have to know what Christ has done on our behalf and accept it so we can be declared clean. Because of our new status we love because we were loved by Christ
We forgive because we were forgiven by Christ and we walk in Holiness because Christ has made us Holy. We put on the things of God because of what He has already done, what He is doing and what He will do. (Saved, Being Saved and will be saved; Justified, Sanctified, Glorified)
One day we will give an account for our lives when God looks at our lives what will He find? God has done the work and He is patiently waiting but one day He will come back and walk away from the vineyard that produces worthless fruit. Many people think they are Christians and that they are producing fruit that God will accept when in reality what they are producing are sour grapes. Our lives are to bear fruit for the benefit of others and the fruit we produce is the fruit of the Spirit.