God’s Expectation: That We Be Fruitful
As I flipped through my Bible this morning, I came across my sermon notes from a few weeks ago. The notes were from a message preached by our pastor, Dr. Danny Wood. I really felt led to share the message with you this morning, in hopes that it will minister to you in some way.
The text is from Isaiah 5:1-7 and Luke 13:6-9. The main point of the message was that God expects us to be fruitful people. Period. No excuses. No “yeah, but”s. No “maybe later”s. He expects fruitfulness, and He expects it now. Now, by “fruitful”, He can mean many different things, but He expects it nonetheless. “Fruitfulness” will look different depending on our situation, season of life, and family dynamics, but we are to be as fruitful as possible at whatever time we find ourselves. Allow me to give you the text…
Isaiah 5: (1) I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard; My loved one has a vineyard on a fertile hillside. (2) He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest of vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. The he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. (3) “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.(4) What more could have been done for my vineyard than what I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? (5) Now I will tell you what I am going to do with my vineyard; I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. (6) I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated. And briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.” (7) The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel (That’s us, Christians), and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
We see in verses 1-2a that God generously provides for a fruitful people. He gives us everything we need to be fruitful. He put the vineyard on a fertile hillside, the best location. He tediously prepared the land by digging it up, clearing it of stones and planting the choicest of vines. He has given us everything we need to be fruitful, as well.
In verse 2b, we see that God expectantly waits for a fruitful people. He built a watchtower and looked for a crop of good grapes. Once He had made the vineyard ready and given it everything it needed to thrive, He sat and waited and watched for the fruit to come in. I picture God doing this in our lives today. He has given us what we need to thrive and produce fruit, and now He sits waiting to see what kind of fruit we will produce. He is expecting an abundant harvest. What are we giving Him?
Verses 5-7 show how God responds to a people who don’t bear fruit with the tools He has been so gracious to provide. We see that He removes the protective hedge and wall He has placed around them and ignores pruning and cultivation. Now, we certainly need God’s protective hedge around us. And anyone who knows anything about gardening can tell you that if you don’t prune, your plants will NOT bear fruit. Those branches that do not bear fruit need to be pruned away so that those branches that do bear fruit can bear more fruit. We need that in our lives as well. We need Him to prune away those things on which we are wasting time, so that we can focus on the things which are fruitful.
Lest you should worry or fear that you will be “cut off” from God without mercy, let’s couple the passage from Isaiah with the one from Luke 13. (6) Then he (Jesus) told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but he did not find any. (7) So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ (8) “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. (9) If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
We have our ever-faithful intercessor at the right hand of God interceding for us at all times. Jesus will intercede with the Father for us! However, even Jesus knows that we can’t go on in fruitlessness forever. He will work with us, but He will not turn a blind eye if we continue on in fruitlessness.
How are you being fruitful? How am I being fruitful?
by Ashley Mills Hills