Good Grapes or Wild Grapes?

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-- © GodSpeak International 1996 --
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Good Grapes or Wild Grapes? (July 26,1996)

by Teresa Seputis

This morning I was in Isaiah 5. I read the song of grapes and was about to go on, when the Lord spoke to me to go back and read it again. This time He started showning me some things related to the renewal from this passage:

5:1 My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside

This means that God chose ground that should be fertile to do His work in. He did not start just anywhere, He choose a good place where His work should yeild good fruit. In short, God expects His work in our midst to succeed. He is putting a full out effort into making it happen.

5:2(a) He dug it up and cleared it of stones

"dug it up" is inner healing and restoring of relationships -- our relationship to Him and our relationships with each other. God has been working in many of us in these areas in the renewal.

"cleared it of stones" is a call to personal holiness, to remove sins from our lives. Lots of people have been sensing God's call to holiness and the call to consecrate ourselves to Him. As the sin and bondage is cleared out of our lives, we become level and prepared ground that He can work in.

5:2(b) and planted it with the choicest of vines

These are the spiritual gifts He has put in His church. There has been an tremendous increase of spiritual gifts in this renewal. There has particularly been an increase in things like healing, prophesy, evangelism. But all of the spiritual gifts are being stirred up in His people through this current outpouring.

5:2(c) He built a watchtower in it

Watchtowers generally mean two things in scripture: 1) prayer and intercession. 2) Strength and power. God is restoring both of these in the church. We have not see SO much of God's manifest power in our midst in a long time. And more and more people are finding themselves called to prayer and intercession.

5:2(d) and cut out a winepress as well

Winepress is how the grapes are preapared/transformed for consumption. It is not a fun process as the pressure is applied and we are transformed. There are things which must be squeezed out of us as God works on us.

Interstingly, a grape is a self-contained object. A vineyard is a collection of individual grapes, each attached to this vine (church/denomination) or to that vine. But wine is a collective whole where the identity of the indivual components has been lost. When you look at wine, you cannot see where one grape stops and the next begins. That is because in true wine, it is a corporate thing and not an individual thing.

To truly become good wine, we need to lay down our individual rights and to look towards what God is wanting to do corporately. We must cooperate with His transforming Holy Spirit, even when the process hurts; even when there is a sense of loss in it. God's work is not about making us feel good as individuals (though that frequently happens to accompany it), but it is about preparing His Church to be the light and salt of the earth... to use us to lift Jesus up and draw all men unto Him.

5:2(e) Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yeilded bad fruit.

God really expects His renewal work in us to yeild good fruit.

The interesting thing about vineyards is that there is a season where the grapes develop on the vine before you can tell if they will be good or bad grapes. The have to be allowed to develop for a season of time before they can be tasted/tested. So the Lord pours out His Spirit on everyone who comes to Him and allows them to taste of His goodness. He gives them time to grow and develop under His anointing and to see if good fruit will be produced. (I guess it is sort of like letting the tares grow up with the wheat.)

So one might ask, what is good fruit and what is bad fruit? Someone has said that the "fruit of the renewal" is people getting saved and that if people are saved, it is evidence of Good Fruit. I am not sure I agree with this. I think that salvation is VERY IMPORTANT to God and that when His manifest presense shows up, it is next to impossible for people to taste of His goodness and not turn to Him. I am glad and delighted that God is saving the lost. This is very important. And I think He wants to do this in a much greater measure than what we've seen so far.

But the Fruit from this renewal is more what He is doing in His people who He has poured out His Spirit on. Good fruit has to do with the following areas:

5:3 Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.

5:4(a) What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?

In reality, God has been doing a very complete work among us. He is inner healing us (cleaning up our emotional wounds), He is pouring out His love an His mercy on us. He is empowering us. He is teaching us to know His voice more clearly. He is granting us authority in prayer and intercession. He is healing our sick. He is speaking to us propheticly. He is releasing His gifts and His power among us. He is coming to us with His manifest presense and we are seeing how good it is to be with Him. He is filling us and He is using us (when we let Him).

What more could God possibly do among us without violating His principle of giving us free will? (He could turn us into robots that have to obey, but He will NOT do that. He is looking for people who choose to obey and honor Him becaues they love Him.)

5:4(b) when I looked for good grapes, why did it yeild only bad?

That is a good question. It could be because we did not choose to responsd to Him, because of sin and rebellion.

It could also be because we get our focus too much on ourselves and what we can get out of the renewal instead of on God and what He is wanting to do via the renewal. It could be because we come seeking a neat experience (or a healing or freedom from a bondage) instead of coming to seek God. Perhaps some of us are much more caught up in ourselves than we are in God.

5:5 Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away it's hedge and it will be destroyed; I will break down it's wall and it will be trampled.

In one of His parables Jesus talks of the vineyard that was set up and did not yeild fruit for several seasons. Then God said to burn it down. But the person taking care of the vineyard begged Him for just one more season and went about doing everything he could to make it fruitful. God gave him that one season, but commanded that the vineyard be destroyed if it does not yeild fruit.

Having been in the renewal meetings and tasted of the sweetness of His presense, it is hard to imagine God pouring out His displeasure or taking away His nearness and His protection. But in the bible accounts of the vineyards this is percisely what He does if His loving care does not yeild good fruit within an acceptable timeframe.

That is exacatly what He says He will do. We must not presume on His goodness too long. We must yeild to Him and to commit ourselves to obey and honor Him. We must choose to cooperate with His indwelling Holy Spirit so that He can make us more like Jesus. We must enter into that place of intimacy with Him and get to know Him and learn His voice. We must lay down our agendas and take up His agenda. We must truely make ourselves available to Him so that He can make us into good fruit.

And once He has made us good fruit... once He has found a vineyard that works... He will empower us in ways we have never even dreamed of and set us about the task of establishing His kingdom and His will here on earth as it has already been established in Heaven.

Oh Lord, let it be so in our lives! Let us be the good fruit that You have been looking for!


- teresa

-- © GodSpeak International 1996 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <> --

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