“A certain man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and
he came looking for fruit on it, but did not find [any].”
(Luke 13:6–Amplified Bible)
After trying to grow things at the last place I lived at, even trying to grow the family beloved fig tree, I learned some invaluable lessons:
1. You need a sunny exposure!
2. Cut it down in due course if a tree doesn’t bear fruit after four years.
3. PRAY in everything that you try! Even before planting.
LUKE 13:6-9 [read passage in your Bible before going any further]:
The Lord teaches this lesson, comparing the Jewish Church of His day to a “fig tree, planted in his vineyard”. This was exactly the position of Israel in the world. Separated from other nations, the Mosaic laws and ordinances, and no less than by their land situation. They were favored with revelations of God, granted to no other people at the time. Things were done for them that were never done for Egypt, or Nineveh, or Babylon, or Greece, or Rome. It was only just and right then, they should bear fruit to God’s praise.
When you do something special for your children, or your children’s children, you hope for, maybe even expect smiles, a thank you papa, a hug around the neck or a kiss on the cheek. It’s a form of praise to the giver; from the recipient of the gift (2 Corinthians 4:15; Phil. 4:6; 1 Tim. 4:3-5).
In Israel’s situation, it might be reasonably expected that here would be more faith, more penitence, more holiness and godliness in order, demonstrating the blessing amongst the heathen living among them.
This is what God looked for; the owner of the fig tree, “came looking for fruit on it”. He expected to see it!
LOOKING BEYOND THE “JEWISH CHURCH”
We as believers in Christ Jesus, must look deeper into this parable to receive the full benefit. We must look to our own churches, for they have the Light, the Truth, doctrines and precepts non-believers never hear. How great is our churches responsibility? Is it not just and right that our Abba Father should expect in us “fruit”?
LOOKING TO OUR OWN HEARTS
We live in a land of plenty:
–THE “GOOD NEWS”
The vast advantages we enjoy in America, compared to the Chinese and Hindoo people! Never let us forget, God expects from us “fruit”.
THE SOLEMN TRUTHS
Few things are so much forgotten by mankind as the close connection between privilege and responsibility. We are all ready enough to eat the fat, drink the sweet and bask in the sunshine of our position. Both as Christians and Americans. But we are very slow to remember that we are accountable to God for all we enjoy; that “to whomsoever much is given, of them much will be required.”
We are the most favored nation upon earth next to the nation of Israel. We are in the truest sense “a fig tree planted in a vineyard”. Let’s not forget God is looking for “fruit”.
“A DANGEROUS THING”
We learn from this bible passage, it’s a most dangerous thing to be unfruitful under great religious privileges, in the manner in which our Lord and Saviour conveys this lesson. He shows us the owner of the barren fig tree, complaining it bore no fruit.
“See here! For these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue also to use up ground?” (Luke 13:7).
The Amplified Bible inserts the following enclosed words of this verse in brackets: “[to deplete the sod, intercept the sun, take up room]”. The vinedresser enters the scene in Jesus’ parable, pleading for the fig tree to be spared for a little while longer. “Lord, let it alone this year also.”
How often do we give up on a thing? When our job isn’t producing any “fruit”; our ministry seems to be failing or when ‘my blogging isn’t receiving comments that I look for’. Do we quit or “cut it down” to soon? Or do we plead, pray for fruit in our lives in Jesus’ Name? Do we “dig around it and put manure on the soil“; are we nourishing the tree?
A PLAIN WARNING TO THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST
IF their church pastors do not teach sound doctrine; IF their members do not live holy lives, they are in imminent danger of destruction. God is every year, every month, every day, WATCHING! Taking account of all their ways. They may abound in ceremonial religion, they may be covered with Fall’s leaves; forms, services, programs and ordinances. BUT, if they are destitute in the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26), they are “using up the ground”. You might be asking this questions, “Who are the ‘theys’?” It is very identifiable: Any one or any Christian group who isn’t bearing FRUIT!
The prevention of being cut to the ground is a simple one: REPENTANCE! Repentance is not simply saying, “I’m sorry Lord for being unfruitful.”
“IF, My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14– Amplified Bible).
That my friends is REPENTANCE in a nut shell! If you are not demonstrating the “fruit” personally or collectively as a church, then follow God’s remedy:
1. Humble yourselves!
2. Pray for forgiveness!
3. Seek God’s Word for prevention!
4. Crave for “fruitfulness”!
5. Require a necessity of God’s presence; a true relationship!
6. Turn your direction; in 180 degrees, from your wicked ways! No ‘sort’ of ‘s here!
The axe is lying near the roots of the tree; lying near the root of many unfruitful churches.
THERE IS A “PLAINER WARNING”
The plainer warning is for all ‘unconverted professing Christians’. They have lived for years in the best part of the vineyard and yet borne no fruit! They have heard the Gospel preached faithfully on hundreds of Sundays. But they have never embraced it, taken up the cross and followed Christ. They do not perhaps run into open sin, but do nothing for God’s glory either. Never let us forget with sitting in the congregation, hearing sermons and bearing no fruit in our lives, its offensive to God.
GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE
What an infinite debt we owe to God’s mercy. Christ’s intercession, the earnest plea of the dresser of the vineyard, is clearly seen in verse 8 when He says, “leave it alone, sir, [just] this one more year.” What I saw here, as in a glass, the loving kindness of God the Father, and the mediation of Jesus the Son. Mercy is even now the cause, for unconverted sinners who are so longed spared. God delights in mercy!
“Who is a God like You, Who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy and loving kindness” (Micah 7:18).
And now, are we fruitful or unfruitful? What does God see in us year after year? Let’s all take notice, including the writer of this blog, to live that He may see in us, plenty of FRUIT!