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June 28, 2020 12:00 pm
Levine is a very prominent symbol throughout the Scriptures and is primarily a symbol for the nation of Israel. Last week we examined the seventh of the great I am statements of Jesus Christ which brought us in John chapter 15 to his declaration.
I am the vine and I reminded you at that time that the vine was a common Old Testament figure for Israel. Today I want us to examine one of those Old Testament passages that speak about Israel as a vineyard, and we shall also link it to the New Testament Scriptures and show you how Jesus used that parable from Isaiah to apply to the people of his day. And finally, we shall make a brief link to John chapter 15 the passage that we looked at last Lord's day, so we are going to see the parable of the vine introduced in Isaiah chapter 5 the parable of the vineyard applied in Matthew chapter 21 and finally the parable of the vineyard resolved in John chapter 13 the parable of the vine of the vineyard introduced in Isaiah chapter 5 and here we are reminded of God's tender care for his people and their shameful response to his mercies and his grace. If you want to break down the seven verses that were going to look at in Isaiah 5 could break them down as follows. The first of vineyard is established versus wanting to secondly we see a vineyard examined in verses three and 4/3 of vineyard extinguished in verses five and six and finally a vineyard explained in verse seven, the vineyard is established in verses one and two. Isaiah the prophet writes, now let me sing to my well beloved song to my well beloved, regarding his vineyard by well beloved has a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones and planted it with the choicest vine he build a tower in its midst and also made a winepress in it, so he expected it to bring forth good grapes but it brought forth wild grapes. This section is actually a song. It is a for a ballad chapters 1 through four. Isaiah the prophet has declared Israel's sins and Israel judgment because of her sins. The promised judgment which is coming upon her and he did that, of course, in a straightforward declaration, we might say he will wrote that in prose but now he wants to state the same truth in another way that might be helpful for some people to understand who, for whatever reason did not understand his straightforward declarations in chapters 1 through four and so is going to put this into the form of a song of folksong a ballad, and presumably he sings this to a an audience in the nation of Israel, and he is singing about God whom he calls here. His well beloved but is also singing about the vineyard, which he describes or identifies and in verse seven as the nation of Israel. But this ballad tells us that Israel's promises per Israel's promised blessings. I should say our great described as a vineyard we see that the vineyard was planted in the very choicest of location on the side of a hill which is where I'm told you what vineyard is to be planted. Number one because of the drainage. It helps the water to drain properly for the growth of vineyards number two because on the side of a hill, you will get more sunlight that is usually surrounded by other things or the sunlight blocked and that too is very important for vineyard and in fact the vineyards that I have seen in the pictures that I've seen of vineyards more than the ones that I have actually seen with my own not eyes are generally sure enough, planted on the side of a hill just like this one here the preparation to make this a first-class vineyard is described. The stones were all dug out and removed the choicest vine was planted. I don't know what the equivalent of the nursery was in Isaiah's day, whether they went out of the nursery and said give me your best grade vine to planted whether they started started with seasonal whatever was he got the highest quality. The very best.
It was available. Money was no object.
In this case he wanted the best plant to the best vine and he provided excellent protection he build a watchtower in the middle of the vineyard so that during the season when the grapes were there harvest and there was a temptation for animals to command and to help themselves or for even thieves to come in and steal.
They would place a guard in that tower. He could actually live in the tower and be there at all times and keep a good eye on the vineyard. That of course was the way that a wealthy man would take care of his vineyard for people couldn't afford to hire a guard 24 seven or higher. Several guards to be the on duty all the time, but this particular owner was well able to do that actually provided the very best protection that was possible. And, of course, he also built an excellent stone wall around it and a hedge.
In addition to that, and everything was first-class a a wine press was was the constructed which basically involve two vats, one where they press the great press the juice out of the grapes by stopping on them. You probably seem pictures and how that was done in olden days and then they would have a channel or pipe that would go downward from there to a second that with the juice would be collected all that was done first-class operation in every way and therefore there was every reasonable expectation that they fruitful crop of grapes would be produced from this vineyard for a long time to got to come. Assuming of course that the vineyard owner would have his servants printed properly every year at the at the normal time and so forth. In all of this we know by the explanations given to us in verse seven is a description of God's generous dealings with the nation of Israel. It is particularly a picture of how God took them out of the difficulties and hardships of Egypt and brought them miraculously incredibly unexplainable in any other way except by divine power out of the promised land through the rigors of the wilderness wanderings and then brought them into this land of milk and honey. This fertile land and there he established them with everything provided that they could possibly need for but instead of the choice grapes that he expected he received instead wild grapes, worthless grapes better grapes rotten grapes you'll find in various translations. In other words, all of this expenditure of time and labor and money is wasted. The vineyard for no explainable reason. Considering all that went into it but for no explainable reason does not produce good grapes.
It produces worthless ones. Instead, so moving from a vineyard established we moved to a vineyard examined in verses three and four and the men of Jerusalem and Judah are invited to judge what's going on here and to offer a a judgment now, inhabitants of Jerusalem the men of Judah judge. Please between me and my vineyard you make the judgment as to who's at fault here is that maybe the owner or is it the vineyard at fault for the root disappointing results of not producing good grapes and as we see it before us in Isaiah. There is no response from these men to the invitation to pass judgment. They probably rendered speechless reminded of the judgment that Paul describes in Romans chapter 1 let every mouth be stopped and all the world become guilty before God.
That's probably the way these men felt went was laid out to them in this very memorable way. But their guilt is obvious, it's clear there's no problem with what the owner did you Fall the owner in any way and all of the preparations. All of the provisions that were made for this vineyard. So where does the fault line will it obviously lies plant there something wrong with the plant, even after the choicest plant was selected factor 2 questions, particularly that are to be determined. Verse four. What more could have been done to my vineyard that I have not done in it. Why, then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes to bring forth wild grapes two questions number one what more should the owner have done a number two. Why did the vineyard produce worthless grapes. What more should the owner of done that he didn't do.
Can you name one thing that was overlooked one thing that was not done that was not provided that should have been done and the answer is clearly no nothing. No answer. No correct answer to that question. Silence. The question number two why do the vineyard produce worthless grapes and again is no explanation for that either. How did that happen.
Why did that happen and again silence the course. The underlying question to these two questions is who's to blame the owner or the vine answers clear the fault must lie in some way with the vine itself.
And so the judgment is pronounced. We come to a vineyard extinguished in verses five and six. The protection is removed, the sturdy wall is broken down they hedge of thorns, which could depending on the situation and were not told here. Which of the two possibilities. It was, but those stores could have been planted on top of the stone wall to provide additional barrier kind like barbed wire on top. It was sometimes done that way, and other times the hedge would've been planted outside the stone wall so that it made it very difficult for anybody to beat on the wall to try to weaken and damage and and again entrance by breaking through the wall, but whichever it was, does this great protection that was in addition of course to the watchtower. The watchmen would be an up with this great protection was so the protection is removed.
God's favor is withdrawn and not surprisingly result is destruction. Now the wild animals can come in and ravage the grapevine and trampling down at and that's exactly what happens.
Destruction is the inevitable result of God's favor. Remove, whether it be upon individual people or whether be upon nations. That's what happens. We only thrive. We only live we only survive by God's protection. Even were not aware of it and when God removes his protection and provision. What happens calamity and damage and eventual destruction. That's what always occurred. We all live and move and breathe because of God's mercy upon us God's common grace upholds even those who are not his children in God's special grace upon his children and for whatever reason God takes that away we are due. That's what happened. If any further explanation is needed is given to us in verse seven. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah are his pleasant plant. He looked for justice of the whole depression for righteousness will behold cry for help.
The vineyard represents the nation of Israel. The bitter fruit that came up is described as oppression and unrighteousness. Oppression is the exploitation of marginalized people who aren't strong enough to defend against it and that was going on in the nation of Israel as it seems to go on everywhere and in all societies swear sin is not restrained or dealing with that. Now in America there's no question that there has been in our history. A great deal of unjust oppression of marginalized marginalized people who were not able to help themselves and they have been exploited now are seeing the sad results of it were grateful that that a lot of that has been been removed illegally. All of it is been removed, and yet the seeds of of discrimination and prejudice lie deep within men's hearts and it's hard to root them out. In fact I would say impossible to root them out apart from the work of the Lord Jesus Christ and men's souls that was going on in Israel.
The exportation of marginalized people and unrighteousness of a broader term that describes sinfulness of every kind and you can't see this in the English it's only in the Hebrew, but in both of those cases, there is a play on words in these charges that's impossible to translate into into English, but when it says he looked for justice will behold oppression the two words sound almost the same. Instead of an eye didn't write them down in my notes that I got that in my notes back in the office but instead of of the eye. I don't remember now what they are but justice of a letter to difference, and it's very striking instead of this good result instead that bad result. The same thing again instead of righteousness. Behold, a cry for help. That is, the oppressed, crying out for for relief and for help and again a play on words stated very very politically and set memorable way so that he would be remembered exactly what was said. That is the parable of the vineyard in Isaiah chapter 5 but now we turn to Matthew chapter 21, we see the parable of the vineyard applied by Jesus Christ to the situation in his day. This is a very very significant portion of the New Testament Scriptures.
This parable of the vineyard that we find in Matthew 21 is found in all the Synoptics is found in Mark chapter 12 is found in Luke chapter 20 and so it is given to us three times will will look at the one in Matthew 21 and you can see the similarities between this parable. This is a parable and the parable in Isaiah chapter 5, but the parable Jesus tells takes the parable of Isaiah and extends it further brings in further elements to it, but here it is. Matthew 2133 Jesus said here. Another parable, there was a certain land owner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and build a tower, and Elise it out to vine dressers and went into a far country. Now, when the vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the Vin vine dressers that they might receive its fruit and the vine dressers took his servants beat one killed once told another. Again he sent other servants more than the first. And they did likewise to them. The last of all he sent his son to them, saying they will respect my son. When the vine dressers saw the sun they said among themselves, this is the air come, let us kill him and sees his inheritance so they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes what will he do these vine dressers.
They said to him, he will destroy those wicked men miserably in Lacey's vineyard to other vine dressers, who will render to him the fruit of their season.
Jesus said to them, have you never read in the Scriptures, the stone which the builder rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the large doings and it is marvelous in our eyes. Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it to whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls it will ground and grind him to powder.
Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parable, they perceived that he was speaking of them, but when they sought to lay hands on him. They fear the multitudes because they took him for profit. The setting for this telling of the parable of the vineyard by Jesus is in passion week the final week the one the week that includes Christ's crucifixion because of course with the triumphal entry on what we often call Palm Sunday continues with the cursing of the fig tree on Monday, which in itself was a parable of judgment upon the nation of Israel, which was at other times, like into a fig tree. And so Christ cursed the fig tree because it bore no fruit to the sale similarities between the vineyard in the in the fig tree in the judgment that comes upon them, and throughout the week.
There is unrelenting opposition and hostility by the religious leaders toward Jesus Christ and during this week, the rejection of Jesus Christ reaches its ultimate climax before the week is over. He is sees that he is crucified. That's the setting. How does Christ utilize this parable. In this setting. Well it begins with words that took them could not have been missed that this relates to Isaiah chapter 5.
They were students of the work and when you read the opening words of verse 33. It sounds like words right at of Isaiah chapter 5, and indeed it is was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and build a tower there. It is right out of Isaiah chapter 5, but there are additional elements which Jesus now adds to the story to the parable to bring out some other truths in this particular case the owner releases the vineyard out to tenant. It's going to be a sharecropping arrangement and these tenants clearly represent the religious leaders that he's talking to the scribes and the Pharisee and the owner at the proper time for fruit to be born sent his servants to collect the fruit of the vineyard. Whatever the arrangement was sharecropping often was a 50-50 arrangement and sometimes other percentages are our agreed-upon whatever lies that belong to the owner, he sent for his legal portion and they rejected the servants and miss use them. Treat mistreated them and even killed some of them and he did attend again sent more servants and they did the same thing and then he sent his own son and they did the same thing to him. This clearly speaks of the many many prophets that God sent to the nation of Israel.
His messengers coming to call upon them to return to the Lord. They fruit of all of his mercies to them and time and time and time again they rejected those messages and they abuse the messengers. In some cases even killing them and now the son of the owner.
The owner obviously is God Almighty and now the son of the owner is said, who is obviously Jesus Christ and they're getting ready to do the same thing to him. They rejected him they misused him another getting ready to kill him. And so Jesus like Isaiah invites his hearers to render judgment on what's taking place you tell me what's the right verdict.
In this situation, and the Jews understood correctly that this was a terrible situation. What should the Vin owner do verse 41, he will destroy those wicked men miserably in Lacey's vineyard to other wine dressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons. That's what he ought to do. That's the just thing to do. That's the right thing to do taken away from these men who have been so unfaithful and ungrateful and even hostile to the owner who has been so kind to them and give it instead to others who will render the fruit of the laborers in mercies that have been extended to them. That's what ought to be done and Jesus says it affect you got it right and even adds another prophecy from some hundred and 18 verses 22 and 23 about the stone which the builders rejected the builders now. It would be another reference to the leaders of religious leaders, and they're the ones who are have been given the human responsibility of building the. The kingdom of God in its and its physical formants for visible form upon earth building the. The kingdom of God in the nation of Israel tube to bring honor and glory to God, so that the worship will be right and the people will be taught correctly and that the nation will bring glory to God in the world and the stone which the builders rejected Jesus said the same is become the chief of the corridor, the chief cornerstone you rejected. But that's the main one in the whole building the whole building depends upon that and that of course also refers to Jesus Christ, the cornerstone that was rejected and Jesus said, don't you know that when it comes to the cornerstone that you're either going to fall on the cornerstone in the broken that is humbled. Acknowledge your sin, confess your sin be broken in confession and acknowledgment of your guilt or the stones going to fall upon you, and crushing destroy you.
One of the other. Take your pick was the only two choices for the Jews understood that he was talking about them and they attempted to arrest him but they got scared became frightened because of the multitudes. They were not courageous men.
They were blustering men.
They were loudmouth man they work audacious man but they really were not courageous men in their hearts, and they pulled back but it was just a couple days later that they move forward with their aggressive him and the crucifixion. Now we turn back to John chapter 15 where we were last Lord's day, and will see how this does speak to both the parable of Isaiah chapter 5 in the parable of Matthew chapter 15 that I call this the parable of the vineyard resolved parable of the vineyard introduced Isaiah 5, the parable of the vineyard applied Matthew chapter 21 of Jesus applies it to the Jews. In the parable of the vineyard resolved how to to solve the problems that are raised by the.
The information we get in the parable, and it's all resolved in John chapter 15 I reaches two verses because we examine this last Sunday, but in verse one Jesus said I am the true vine, and my father is the husbandman and then versus five and six I someone just to versus the three verses five and six I am the vine, you are the branches. He will abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned. What is this say to the situation two things. Number one the Jesus is the true vine.
That's verse one and number two that one's relationship to Jesus determines what result will happen in his life. Jesus is the true vine.
Israel was the vineyard in a sense, was divine but Jesus says here, I'm the true vine. I'm a good when I'm the right one. Israel was God's vineyard and they failed. Jesus is the true vine, and he will not fail. I am the true vine. This tells us, therefore, that all of Israel's promised blessings are fulfilled in Jesus. He is really the one to whom the promises were made, we sometimes lose sight of that is weak. They look at all these promises that God made to Israel to the nation of Israel, yes, but don't forget that ultimately they were all made to Jesus Christ and they apply to Israel. Only in Christ and through Christ and for those who are joined to Christ. Remember how Paul explained how that when God made a promise to Abraham and to his seed and Paul makes a very careful point of this to his seed. Paul says God didn't say seeds plural. He said to his seed singular which is difficult for us because in our language seed without the S is still often used as a plural, but nevertheless the Scripture pointed out very clearly.
God didn't say seeds plural. He said seed to singular and that seed is Christ the promise that God made to Abraham and made to Jesus Christ and all the things that flow out of that that apply to people only benefit them as they are joined to Christ. The promise was made to Christ.
So Jesus is a true vine, he will not fail in imminent, Israel's promised blessings are all fulfilled in him and our relationship to Jesus determines the result of what will take place in our lives vital union with Christ ensures good fruit, lack of vital union to Christ ensures no fruit and eventual destruction.
That's it in a nutshell, I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, the same brings forth much fruit, for without me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me is cast out as a branch and is withered and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned vital union to Jesus Christ. That's a spiritual union created by the work of the Holy Spirit joining in men and women to Jesus Christ in this life-giving union. The spiritual union.
The saving union. This life bestowing life enriching life preserving union, and those who are joined to Christ in vital union bear much fruit, and the blessings of God, descend upon them in great measure, but those who are not joined to Christ in vital union, though sometimes they appear to be, but they're not.
There's no life, no staff and therefore no fruit, and so there separated from the vine and there cast out the parable of the vineyard resolved that brings it all back to its conclusion. And now we understand quickly. Let me cover a few lessons. Lesson number one in regard to Israel.
It's clear that Israel forfeited all rightful claims to God's favor because of her sin. Israel forfeited all rightful claims to God's failure, and judgment fell. Now that doesn't mean that God doesn't in mercy extend additional favor, but there's no claim, Israel has no rightful claim upon God's favor if she ever had any.
It's all been forfeited by her sinful response to the owner of the vineyard to his son. Now let me make another application about our nation, United States of America. But I do think are too dangerous when it comes through the United States and comparing it with Israel the one hand there's a danger of equating them like one for one that's wrong. United States is not God's chosen people in a way that Israel was can't apply everything across-the-board to them at the other mistake is to act as if there's there's no similarities, no lessons to be learned. Note no similar principles and operation, and I can't. I can't go down that line either. When I look at the United States of America photo I see I see a nation that has been blessed by God favored by God, planted by God, prepared by God, no were not God's chosen people, but we have been so greatly favor we've received blessings and mercies from God beyond measure and what is the expected result of that fruit spiritual fruit to bring honor and glory to God we don't take these blessings and bite the hand that gave them to us. We don't reject the one who blessed us so greatly.
We honor and serve the amended obey him and and return it to him of the expected fruit that ought to flow from such great blessings, but what has the United States of America done.
It has turned its back upon God Almighty has presumed upon God's blessings. What therefore you judge between God and the United States and of America. What therefore should God do to our beloved nation. Well he should take the blessings away. Give them to another nation that will bring in the fruit thereof, should remove the protections from lesson let us self-destruct which is really what happens when God removes his protections.
He doesn't have to destroy so much for just let us go our sinful way without restraint and we destroy ourselves.
That's what God should do.
I wonder if that's exactly what God is doing it sure looks like don't know what's ahead, but I do know that the only place to be is on our knees before the throne of mercy. There's also a lesson he that applies to all of us not to just Israel, not the nation of America because in a sense, Israel is a portrait of mankind as a whole, in the sense we have all received great blessings from God and we've all forfeited them by our sinful rebellion. Everyone of us have done that individually we haven't returned to God, the fruit that he deserves for the blessings that he has bestowed. Therefore, we all deserve judgment and our only hope is the mercy of God. We don't deserve anything from God. If we ever did what we don't deserve anything from God.
We have forfeited completely by our sin and we are shut up to God's mercy alone in repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ is our only hope.
Otherwise, destruction and who can blame God for the judge between God and yourself. God was giving you life God will sustain the life God who has provided many blessings for you to get in that critical mode that says we should have done this and you should know that he's done so much more for you deserve that you don't have a single complaint coming. It's only her sinful heart. The talks that way that critical way. Thank God for the mercies that he is extended, thank him for them, and serve him because of them and embrace his son the Lord Jesus Christ and give your heart to him and serve him for the rest of your life.
Anything less than that God deserves to remove his blessings. His protection his mercies from you and let you self-destruct on your sinful path which ends in hell at the end of life.
One more lesson two professing Christians in particular that is just to point out that worthless grapes resemble good grapes until you bite into the but they look a lot alike in a lot of external Christianity looks like real Christianity until you examine a little more careful and it's very easy to prop up your notion that you are Christian because of these external things you do that look like fruit look like good fruit, but they're not sour grapes, worthless grapes take heed. Do not presume that it behooves all of us to ask God to help us to become honest fruit inspectors in our own lives is that genuine fruit is that real spiritual fruit is that the fruit of the spirit working in my life. Or is that just my carnality producing outward things that try to replicate the reality of things spiritual in order to deceive others, and yes even to deceive myself but what what good is there in deceiving yourself and coming to the end of life and dropping off into hell will good for you.
You you held up all of these worthless grapes and fooled others and even fooled yourself what idiot. What a fool. Be sure that you are joined to the vine, shall we pray heavenly father take this portion of your word and apply it to every life as needed. We ask in Jesus name, amen