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Hello Church Family,

First, let's pause and give thanks for Pastor Kris' installation. God is so good and we are so grateful Kris was called to CLP!

Sunday's sermon was on Isaiah 5:1-7, The Song of the Vineyard:

The Song of the Vineyard

5 I will sing for the one I love
    a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
    on a fertile hillside.

2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones
    and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
    and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
    but it yielded only bad fruit.

3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
    judge between me and my vineyard.

4 What more could have been done for my vineyard
    than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
    why did it yield only bad?

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

6 I will make it a wasteland,
    neither pruned nor cultivated,
    and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
    not to rain on it.”

7 The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
    is the nation of Israel,
and the people of Judah
    are the vines he delighted in.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
    for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Take time to explore what God is saying about His vineyard. 

In verse 1, God is described as a loving vineyard owner who carefully planted and tended to His vineyard (Israel). What does this imagery convey about God's care for His people?

God expected His vineyard to produce good grapes, symbolizing righteousness and justice. What does this reveal about God's expectations for His people regarding their conduct and character?

Despite God's efforts, the vineyard yielded only bad fruit. How does God express His disappointment in the metaphorical "bad fruit," and what might this signify about Israel's actions?

God speaks of taking away the hedge and allowing the vineyard to be destroyed. What do you think these actions symbolize, and what might they suggest about the consequences of turning away from God?

God looked for justice but saw bloodshed and for righteousness but heard cries of distress. How does this contrast between God's expectations and the reality of Israel's actions deepen your understanding of God's desires for His people?

In verse 3, God calls on the dwellers of Jerusalem and the people of Judah to judge between Him and His vineyard. What might this call to judgment signify, and what could it teach us about God's relationship with His people?

Reflect on the actions God declares He will take in response to the unfruitfulness of His vineyard. How do these actions align with the principles of justice and righteousness, and what can we learn from God's response?

God, the loving and nurturing vineyard owner, had provided and protected His people. Yet, despite His care, Israel turned away from Him, embraced the pagan culture that surrounded them, and succumbed to spiritual and moral decay.

Pastor Kris inspired us to embrace God's mission of righteousness and justice, emphasizing that our righteousness is not self-derived but Christ's. He underscored that justice encompasses love, grace, dignity, and respect—a powerful reminder that our pursuit of righteousness is rooted in the transformative essence of Christ's love and the virtues that define true justice.

In applying this message to our lives, we see ourselves as God's vineyard with the purpose of producing good fruit. In God's eyes, this fruit is cultivated through love and discipleship. As followers of Christ, our foundational calling is rooted in love—love for God, love for our neighbors (Mark 12:30-31, Matthew 22:37-39), and a special emphasis on loving one another (John 13:34-35). Jesus instructs us to love God wholeheartedly and extend that love to our neighbors, treating them with the same kindness we desire for ourselves. This profound love empowers our shared mission, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), which encourages us to go, make disciples, and guide them in living out Christ's teachings. Jesus' last words before He ascended were to go, make disciples, and guide them in living out Christ's teachings. This Great Commission encourages us to share the transformative love and power of the Gospel.

We are called to be disciples who make disciples, spreading the message of hope, love, and salvation.

As you reflect on your journey as God's vineyard, consider the following questions:

  • Are you actively engaged in discipleship, both as a learner and a teacher?
  • How can you contribute to the cultivation of good fruit in your own life and the lives of those around you? Who is in your circles of influence (who's in your cart)? 

Let's challenge ourselves to be intentional in our discipleship journey, bearing good fruit that brings glory to God. May our lives be a testimony to the grace and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.