Useful or Fruitful

September 21, 2014
Psalm 90
Ezekiel 15:1–3

A vineyard

  1. Isaiah 27:2–3 2In that day, “A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! 3I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day; ESV
  2. Psalm 80:8–9 8You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. ESV
  3. Jeremiah 2:21 21Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine? ESV
  4. Matthew 21:33 33“Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. ESV
  5. Isaiah 5:1–2 1Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. ESV
  6. Isaiah 5:7 7For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry! ESV


  1. Galatians 5:22–23 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ESV
  2. Isaiah 58:6–7 6“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? ESV
  3. Psalm 72:11–15 11May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! 12For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. 13He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 14From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight. 15Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! ESV
  4. 1 Timothy 1:5 5The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. ESV
  5. Job 29:11–12 11When the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it approved, 12because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him. ESV
  6. Isaiah 1:16–17 16Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. ESV
  7. James 1:27 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. ESV


  1. Job 22:3 3Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right, or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless? ESV
  2. Job 35:6–8 6If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him? And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him? 7If you are righteous, what do you give to him? Or what does he receive from your hand? 8Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself, and your righteousness a son of man. ESV
  3. Jb 41:11 11Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. ESV
  4. Psalm 50:10–15 10For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. 12“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. 13Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, 15and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” ESV
  5. Acts 17:24–25 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. ESV
  6. Ezekiel 15:1–3 1And the word of the LORD came to me: 2“Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest? 3Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it? ESV
  7. Romans 11:34–36 34“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ESV


  1. Evangelism
    1. Some would evangelise and try to push people to make a decision.
    2. Others would evangelise and never seek a convert but leave it all up to God.
    3. We want to see God's power in evangelism not our correctness, because we want to be fruitful not useful.
    4. Fruit is born of an outside power flowing into it, usefulness comes from what a man has on his own.
    5. Which does your evangelism look like, what should it look like?
    6. God where is your power?
  2. Children
    1. Are children useful? Do they earn wages or give mighty sermons? Who respects children and their opinions?
    2. Can children be fruitful?
      1. Psalm 8:2 2Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. ESV
      2. Matthew 11:25 25At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; ESV
  3. Our society
    1. Our American modern society is much more interested in useful than it is in concept of being fruitful.
    2. Temporaries and professors have followed in this error. We call this pragmatism and it fills our prayers, our devotions, our sermons, our evangelism.
      1. It affects the way we raise our kids, take the Lord's Supper, work our jobs, and enjoy our retirements.
      2. It is the means by which we judge one another more spiritual or less spiritual.
    3. Say you were a king like king Saul or King David and you knew that you were going to war in the next few years. What would you have your people plant? Vineyards or more useful crops such as lentils, beans, and wheat?
    4. But what does God want? What does God need?
      1. 2 Corinthians 8:12 12For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. ESV
      2. Micah 6:8 8He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? NKJV

Good News

  1. Why is this good news.
  2. You can never earn your way to heaven. You can never do anything that is good in the eyes of God. Add up all of your achievements and they will not all of them together get you one step towards ingratiating yourself with God.
  3. God's favor cannot be bought, but it is freely given. Salvation is only of grace. Who-so-ever wills, can seek God and ask of him free unmerited love and favor.
  1. John 6:28–29 28Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” ESV
  2. Revelation 22:17 17And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. NKJV
  3. Let who-so-ever wills come. It is a free offer. God will not accept your usefulness, he will only accept your worthlessness.


God had no children too weak, but a great many too strong to make use of. God stands in no need of our strength or wisdom, but of our ignorance, of our weakness; let us but give these to Him, and He can make use of us in winning souls. It is from our likeness and conformity unto God alone that we are or may be useful in the world Any step that is taken in any way, by strength that is not immediately from Christ, is one step towards hell.