07/08/12 FIGless!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 Under: Sermon
Text: Luke 13:6-9 (NKJV)

6 He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' 8 But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.' "

"I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:5)

Intro: "unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

This is the fourth message that I have shared from parables that Jesus used to speak to His follower’s. The earthly illustration in this case a fig tree has a very important end result. The simple truth is, bear fruit or else perish! Jesus wanted to drive home the need for repentance by sharing the parable of a man seeking fruit. The man represents God; the vineyard dresser represents Christ; the vineyard represents either the world or Israel.

All are guilty of great sin, sin great enough to perish. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." All are doomed to perish. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." There is only one way to keep from perishing: repent. “Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 (NLT)

Application: We must bear fruit or else we perish!

1. The Fig tree’s Privilege: In the Vineyard. Vs. 6a

"He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard." The fig tree was greatly privileged. It was in the vineyard, it was planted (born) by the vineyard keeper (God) himself. God causes every man to be born into the world. He stands behind every person as that person's Creator and Lord. "Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." (Psalm 100:3)

It was planted in the vineyard itself, right where there were other trees bearing fruit. It had the same soil, nourishment, rain, and sun from heaven. This is true of all persons who are born in nations where the gospel is freely preached.

A fig less tree doesn’t appreciate what God has given!

2. The Fig tree’s Purpose: To bear fruit. Vs. 6b

"He came seeking fruit on it and found none."

In this chapter verses 3 & 4 some Galileans were killed because of Pilates hate for them and Jesus speaks of another incident at the Siloam Temple that fell and killed eighteen. It was the belief of many that disaster and sudden death always signified divine displeasure over particular sins. Those who suffered in uncommon ways were therefore assumed to be guilty of some more severe wickedness. Jesus illustrates this parable to speak of the importance of repentance and purpose.

The fig tree's purpose was to bear fruit. It had been planted to bear fruit and it existed to bear fruit. It was by nature a fruit tree; therefore, it was supposed to bear fruit. It had no other purpose for existing. So it is with man: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:16)

The tree was wasting and misusing space. The purpose of the vineyard, the very reason for its existence was to produce fruit for the Owner. All space was needed for fruit. No space could be allowed to be wasted, not forever. The tree was hurting the production of the vineyard. This illustration of a fruitless tree is an example of false believer who can affect the whole vineyard. They cheapen the vineyard (world, church) and cause others not to want its fruit.

The vineyard owner found no fruit. The tree was bare. It failed in its purpose. So many have all the privileges, yet so few ever honor God or bear fruit as they should. The investment in the life of the tree was wasted. The vineyard owner had waited a long time. He had come time after time looking for fruit. The tree had plenty of time to bear fruit, if it was going to ever bear fruit. The Owner's patience was extremely long-suffering. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

A fig less tree doesn’t understand its purpose but the Lord is patient!

3. The Fig tree’s Pity: Gave another chance. Vs. 7-9

7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' 8 But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'

The day of reaping came and found no fruit: Here we have a fig tree getting Pity and Mercy from God. The keeper of the vineyard gave another chance. This illustrates both the intercession of Christ and the extreme patience and graciousness of the Father. A man plans to cut down a fig tree that has no fruit during the three years after its planting, the Lord suggests he wait one more year fertilize and fed it.

Judgment was based on fruit, the day for reaping came. The vineyard owner came looking for fruit. The reaper was not someone else; it was God Himself. He planted the tree to get fruit (God put man on earth to bear fruit). He expected fruit, for He was the One who had planted the tree. The tree was to be cut down. The Owner pronounced judgment.

The vineyard dresser interceded for the unfruitful tree. He asked for another year, one last chance for the tree. God granted one last chance, one last opportunity, MERCY! Next year, however, was to be the last chance, the last opportunity for the tree.

A fig less tree can have pity but not forever!

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:5-6

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

The fig tree was given a great privilege, but its purpose was to bear fruit and pity is only for a few seasons the judgment comes!

CAN YOU AFFORD TO BE FIGLESS?

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