Behold the Vineyard
Isaiah 5:1—Now let me sing to my Well-beloved, a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill.
It seems very hard for our hearts to be in awe of the church, especially our own local church, while we dwell in our earth-suits, see through glass-darklies, and work so hard on the earth-grungies! But when we really see where the church began, Who is behind it, and where it is going, we can stand in awe by faith. This article is about The Vineyard. For most, it simply serves as a reminder that all gospel efforts, no matter how feeble, are part of this eternal worldwide fruitful vine which originated in the heart of the Father according to the good pleasure of His will. If we lose the miracle elements of our placement in the Vineyard, we will quickly lose our unction for ministry as well as the next generation. Our grafting in by the Father is sacred and calls for a joyful stewardship.
The Vineyard metaphor spans both testaments which includes Israel, the disciples, and believers of all time. While the church does not replace Israel, we can actually say the Life of the Vine is in the soul of our church. This is a priceless truth which fuels our passion, brightens our hope, and focuses our purpose. Our local franchise of the Vine may be frail, or even go by the wayside, but the Vine lives on.
A History of the Vineyard
Isaiah 5:1-7: Planted with high hopes, became gravely disappointing to the Father
Jeremiah 2:21: Planted a noble plant, became a degenerate alien vine to the Father
Jeremiah 12:10: The Father’s pleasant portion is made a desolate wilderness
Ezekiel 15:1-8: Because of persistent unfaithfulness made desolate by the Father
Ezekiel 17:1-21: Attacked by an “eagle” ruler (Babylon) and turned to another “eagle” ruler (Egypt) instead of the Father
Ezekiel 19:10-14: Becomes a lamentation to the Father
Hosea 10:1-2: Held guilty by the Father
Psalm 80:9-16: A cry for a visit from the Father
Matthew 21:33-46: Hireling vinedresser beat and kill the servants of the Father and kill the son of the Father
John 1:1-17: The true Vine is the Son of the Father
Isaiah 27:2-6: Prophesied ultimate restoration of Israel by the Father
It is clear the Father has been through a lot with His Vine and remained faithful, promising an ultimate, glorious end. His love has never failed. Thus, when your particular stewardship of the vine falls on hard times, don’t be surprised or discouraged. Trust the faithful handiwork of the Father. He is up to something good. Draw near to Him. Meet with Jesus and the other branches in Scripture prayer (Revelation 3:20).
Some final words for shepherds of the New Testament context of the Vine: Let us remember that the message of the Vine relates the gospel in two ways through the resurrected Christ. The beauty and power of the Vine has two effects.
It has a centripetal effect where the attention seems to move toward the center. Here the Father wants the nations to “come and see” His beautiful Vine. He wanted the Vine (Israel) to display His glory, love, and faithfulness and truth to the Nations.
It has a centrifugal effect where things tend to move away from the center. Here the Father wants the church to grow outward. The idea is “go and tell”—preach the gospel to every nation as a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9-10) and as the pillar and ground of truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
We should have a burning heart as we shepherd the branches of this organism with such potential built into its very nature.
There is a Vineyard that originated in the Father.
It includes all and only God’s covenant people.
Its development and full scope are accomplished by the Trinity in unity.
It spans both testaments.
Through a sordid past and frail present, it has a glorious future.
Steward well, rest and enjoy. Remember, He is a beloved Father.
A Touch of Tozer
The Persons of the Godhead, being one, have one will. They work always together, and never one smallest act is done without the instant acquiescence of the other two. Every act of God is accomplished by the Trinity in unity.
The Knowledge of the Holy, pg. 28
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