Last week we began looking at the “Vineyard of God” comparing it to a physical vineyard. In a physical vineyard there must also be weed and pest control.
Such things as the Glassy-winged sharpshooter, leafhoppers, and mealybugs are just some of the pests a vineyard must endure.
Weeds such as filaree, mustard, annual brome grass, fescue and other such vegetation can cause problems in a vineyard. Even the sun itself can cause problems for the vintner. When it comes to the spiritual vineyard of God—the Church—there are also “weeds” and “pests”. In most any congregation of the Lord’s people, there are those who’s hearts are right where they need to be: dedicated wholly to God and service to Him. These are individuals that the elders know they can count on when something needs to be done and they will demand the truth of God be upheld. It would be great if all Christians were this way, but that simply is not reality.
In the vineyard of God, there are those who seek to choke the life from a congregation or another Christian just like a weed can choke the life out of a grapevine. There are those who seek their own glory rather than God’s. Paul said such were false apostles and deceitful workers— and then compared them to Satan (2 Cor. 11:13 – 15). Then there are those who think more of themselves than they do of others (Phil. 2:1 – 5). Jude spoke of those who had crept in unnoticed, ungodly men who turned the grace of God into lewdness (Jude 4). These men say they are laboring in the vineyard but do not live lives showing that God always comes first. These individuals allow worldliness to rule their hearts and they are only weeds and pests in the vineyard of God. Men such as these are like those spoken of in Isaiah chapter five. The song of Isaiah told of the beloved (God) who prepared the land, planted the best of vines, prepared for the harvest, and only received wild grapes for His trouble. God has done so much, ultimately giving Jesus to die for the sins of mankind. God gave mankind the church (the vineyard) so that Christians could become a part of the labor force to bring glory to God. God has given man the inspired word so that man would know what God had done and what He expects of man. God wants all to be saved but those who are weeds and pests in the vineyard of God will only see destruction, just as did Judah in the long ago. Elders must actively seek to restore those who have stayed or strayed (?) away, helping them to see the need to repent and come back into the fold. Those who refuse must be disciplined according to God’s word. Elders must be courageous to stand for God despite what the world may think and do.
A physical vineyard takes work and dedication, just as does the vineyard of God. Planting, feeding watering, weeding is all part of both vineyards. The physical vineyard may produce great grape juice, but the vineyard of God produces strong, faithful, saved Christians.