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Grapes, Vineyards and Living for Jesus
We are all bound to work in the vineyard where God is fruitful. We are all given our little vineyard, but the way we cultivate it is very important to the prosperity of our neighboring vineyards. In fact, all our vineyards are a part of the Lord’s great vineyard and we are all obligated to work there. ~ Sigrid Unset
The New Testament of the Bible is incomplete. I bet you didn’t know this or thought about it, but let me explain. We, as believers, are as much a part of the New Testament Church as Paul or Peter or Seal. Until Jesus returns, the New Testament dispensation is as real and effective now as it was 2,000 years ago. In history, God is waiting to take our place in His story of victory, dominion, healing, protection, prosperity and peace.
The world is thirsty for all this, of course. But often, they don’t know how to get it. That word and its power were never revealed. Satan has kept them ‘in darkness’. They have never tasted the good life, the sweet life available in Jesus. As Christians of old we should be that example as living letters.
Jesus explained, I am the vine, you are the branches, who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5). If, as we believe, Christ lives, the vine is still growing and producing. As branches, we too should bear fruit for the kingdom. Our lives must be filled with the victory that Jesus died to give us.
Of course, if you know anything about agriculture, you know that many factors affect yield, including climate, soil, and plant diversity. I did a little research and found out that the average grape yields about 18 pounds of wine grapes or 30 pounds of table grapes. Wine grapes are smaller and the flavor is more concentrated than table grapes. One acre of wine grapes can produce 4 tons of fruit (or 240 cases of wine).
Wine and grape growing were part of biblical culture. After the flood, Noah Planted a vineyard (Genesis 9:20). Old Testament law deals with damaged vineyards, threshing, and fallow years. The Promised Land included vineyards: A land of wheat, barley, vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey. (Deuteronomy 8:8).
Jesus often used farming analogies in his parables because they were understood by the people. In Matthew 20, he compared the kingdom of heaven to a man who wanted to hire workers for his vineyard. Some of them started first thing in the morning, others joined the work crew in the afternoon, and still a few were recruited late in the afternoon. Everyone got the same amount regardless of how many hours they worked.
We find it unfair. Current labor laws would prohibit such seemingly harsh wages. We would have cried, “He got more than I did! I worked harder.” Jesus said as much in his story. Yet he was trying to describe God’s generosity, that no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or how late you join the kingdom, you still have the same status in Christ as the former. We are as much disciples of Christ as the original disciples were!
The vine analogy is very appropriate for the Christian life. Since the natural world mirrors the spiritual world, we can learn some lessons from the vineyard.
Trust the root: Therefore as ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Col. 2:6-7). Grapes are the largest fruit crop on earth and more than 70% of all grapes grown are for winemaking. Grape seeds do not produce true to type, which is why expert vintners pay so much for the best root stock for their vineyards. They understand that grapes form from the roots. Quality root equals quality fruit.
No growing thing can survive without ‘roots and ground’. Plants do not grow upwards first. They send roots down into the soil. In our case, that soil – our nourishment and security – is the word.
Jesus said in Mark 4:6 Because [the Word] It withered because it had no roots. The power of Almighty God’s Word withered away and became ineffective in the lives of those who did not allow it to take root. After a few verses, he explained “for the earth [the Word] Brings forth its own fruits: first the blade, then the ear, then the whole grain in the ear” (Mark 4:28). Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see any results right away. Miracles take time to ‘grow’. Just root yourself in the word. Fruits come from the roots.
Digging Deeper: And he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that yields its fruit in its season. His leaf will not wither and everything he does will be successful (Ps. 1:3). Young vines need time to develop a root system that is not vulnerable to adverse conditions. Grape vines do not produce a viable crop until the root system is firmly established. Growers work hard to ensure soil conditions are favorable for a strong root system.
In Jesus’ parable of the sower, he spoke of rocky places where the word cannot grow Because they had no depth of land (Matt 13:5). Later, he told Simon, “Go into the deep” (Luke 5:4). Jesus wanted them to give up their shallow thinking and shallow living. When we dig into the Word and take root deep in our hearts, God’s provisions begin to flow. Roots cannot see all the problems above the soil. They just grow deeper and deeper into the earth’s nourishment. We must do according to God’s word.
Soak in: But whoever drinks the water that I will give will never thirst. But the water that I will give him will be in him a spring of water for eternal life (John 4:14). When grapes begin to ripen, they swell as they absorb more water from the leaves. Vintners monitor closely as the season progresses to check ripeness and ripeness. As grapes ripen, they become sweeter and less acidic.
We all know that water is essential for life. Without it we die. That is why it is called ‘living water’. Jesus said that those who believe in Him will have it Rivers of living water flows within us (John 7:38). After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples that they would be baptized (imbued) with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). That living water, the Holy Spirit within us, empowers and empowers us to grow fruitful and victorious.
As we mature in the principles of Christ, we lose our sourness like the grapes. You let go of petty irritations and negative emotions that overwhelm you. Instead, we grow in the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, humility and self-control (Galatians 5:22). As we soak in the word, we become sweeter and sweeter.
Rise to Son-Light: Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and gloom over the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and his glory will appear upon you (Is. 60:1). Does not grow much in the dark. Like most plants, grapes thrive in sunlight and temperate climates. Spring sunshine and warm temperatures force the vines out of winter dormancy. As summer progresses, the vines go from flower to bud, then to fruit harvest.
Plants grow towards the light. If you’ve ever seen a sunflower, they move around facing the sun all day. People are drawn to light and warmth just like grapes or sunflowers. As we absorb the light of God’s wisdom, we become a beacon of light to those around us.
John referred to Jesus as ‘the true light’. When Jesus compared our souls to a candle, he said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:15-16). Paul expands on that analogy when he tells the Corinthians, The God who commanded the light to come out of darkness has shone in our hearts… (2 Corinthians 4:6). We are full of light, if we become more aware of it.
Prune: I am a true vine and my father is a farmer. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away. And he cleanses every branch that bears fruit, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2) The vines, left unruly, put all their strength into shoots and branches. A single vine can cover an acre of land if left untouched. Grape vines perform better and more abundantly when they are trained rather than left to ramble. In Jesus’ time, elm trees were planted in vineyards to support the grape vines and allow them to grow toward the sun.
We all have intrusions, distractions, and interests that permeate our lives, preventing the Son from doing his best to grow into His image. As we go through the seasons of our lives, God will try to remove some unnecessary things from us so that we can focus on Him. Pruning brings balance to our lives, like a grape vine that is pruned for maximum growth.
The word works: I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, beareth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5). The word of God is effective as the vine and fruit from the root. God said, “I will hasten to fulfill my promise.” (Jer. 1:12). In Isaiah, he said, “My word that goes out of my mouth will be like this: it will not return to me void, but it will accomplish what I want, and it will succeed in that for which I sent it.” (v. 55:11).
When the disciples asked Jesus what they should do, He told them, “Believe in Him” (John 6:28-29). Later, when they were sent out to preach everywhere, the Lord worked with them Confirming the word with the following symbols (Mark 16:20). Notice, God does not say that evangelists are confirmed. He confirmed His promise!
He has already spoken every word that we will need to overcome every situation that we will face. The result of our commitment to grow in the Word is a great harvest of all that we and the kingdom need for prosperity and growth. We just have to believe it and work with it, speaking words Until then Patience pays off (Luke 8:15), Some hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold (Matt 13:23).
Christ will dwell in your heart by faith; That ye, being rooted and standing in love, may understand…the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19). You and I are God’s harvest, full of His fullness. As we grow our roots in the depths of His love, mercy, goodness, and peace, we will bear abundant fruit in our own lives—and much more to share with the world around us. This is the essence of living for Jesus.
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