Friday, November 24, 2017

The Barren Fig Tree

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 0:00
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The Barren Fig Tree
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Psalm 69:1-36; Luke 13:6-9 / Psalm 80:1-19
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I. God Plants with a Purpose

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A. God plants with a farmer’s prospect of return on effort. He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. (Luke 13:6)
 
B. God uses the metaphor of planting a tree to describe His Providential interest in people and to contrast the future of the faithful and the unfaithful. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That Bringeth Forth His Fruit in His Season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)
 
C. God expresses a farmer’s possessiveness about what He cultivates and why. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)
 
D. Growth in grace is described in terms of bearing fruit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (Galatians 5:22)
 
E. The fruit indicates the type of tree. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. (Matthew 12:33)
 
F. Faithful Christians find value in spiritual fruit. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. (Philippians 4:17)
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II. God Cultivates

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A. Though they may be patient, planters focus on the productivity of their efforts. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? (Luke 13:7)
 
B. God does not expect everything to develop immediately. And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of. (Leviticus 19:23)
 
C. However, God sets in process patterns and forces which will normally lead to growth and to fruit. Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. (Leviticus 25:21)
 
D. It is a terrible thing to discount the incremental Providence of God. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (Romans 2:4-5)
 
E. Consequences follow inevitably in life. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Luke 3:9)
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III. God Harvests

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A. Providential mercy carries implications. And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. (Luke 13:8-9)
 
1. Unused gifts become snares. Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. (Psalms 69:22-28)
 
2. Doing the wrong thing and failing to do the right thing are equally bad. We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. (Daniel 9:5-8)
 
B. Jesus personally illustrated His attitude toward those who do not act on Providential mercy. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. (Matthew 21:19-21)
 
C. Work back to your heart from your fruit. Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (James 3:12)
 
D. How many second chances do you expect? How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3)
 
Dr. Chuck Baynard

 

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