Summary: The blooms of the fig tree always appear before the leaves in spring. When Jesus saw leaves on a fig tree, he expected the fruit.

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Let me begin by saying something about Jesus cursing the fig tree. You will also find this story in Matthew 21: 18 and 19. This tree was a fruit-producing plant which could be either a tall tree or a low-spreading shrub. The size of the tree depended on its location and soil. The fruit of the tree is one of the favorite kinds of food in the East and, in the dried state, a considerable article of commerce. The failure of the fig tree was a national calamity. Their productiveness was a token of peace and the divine favor.

The blooms of the fig tree always appear before the leaves in spring. When Jesus saw leaves on a fig tree, he expected the fruit. There were usually two crops of figs a year.

If the promise given from a distance by the leaves is not fulfilled on approaching, the tree is a hypocrite. When the young leaves are newly appearing, in April, every fig-tree which is going to bear fruit at all will have some taksh (“immature figs”) upon it, even though “the time of figs was not yet” (Mark 11:13). This taksh is not only eaten today, but it is sure evidence, even when if falls, that the tree bearing it is not barren.

There are some things from God’s Word that we need to realize:

*God’s attitude is for His Church to grow.

*God expects the Church to grow.

*Many churches appear to be growing but are not (hypocritical).

*God judges the Church for non-growth.

*God rewards the Church for growth.

There is never any reward for holding our own. Some people will ask, “How’s the church?” The answer is something like this, “We’re hanging in there” or “we’re holding our own”. Where is the reward for that kind of attitude?

We need to realize that God will judge non-growth.

In Mark 11, Jesus was coming from Bethany and wanted some fruit. There wasn’t any fruit there. This is the only miracle of destruction in the life of Jesus that took place, the tree withered away.

The fig tree had all the appearance of being able to satisfy His hunger.

Many churches, maybe ours, have many outward signs of being religious and spiritual but we are unfruitful. We are barren, we aren’t growing. Though we may seem alive we are actually dying.

Jesus comes to our church each time the doors are open. He will either be exalted and worshiped when He comes or He will be there as an inspector to see whether or not we have some fruit in helping Him build the church.

This fruit must be interpreted as people, more people.

He doesn’t want us to be leaves fluttering in the wind busy, busy, busy as a maintenance type ministry.

In Luke 13:6-9 (read) is another story about a fig tree where the land lord came and said – “this tree hasn’t produced any fruit in a long time, why let it exist. Cut it down.”

We serve a merciful God. Maybe He would be at our church today and say “Why allow this to exist?” How many of us would say “but please wait, don’t cut it down, give us one more chance!”

Oh! May God give us some people that are tired of a maintenance type of ministry and who will dig around the church and fertilize it? Do you know what that means, dig and fertilize mean WORK!

It would be easy to say: “Well Lord Jesus it is your church” and be done with it. Oh I will sit down here and have faith. Holy Spirit grow my church. But our attitude should be, let me dig around it, fertilize it and see if it will not produce fruit.

We must work. We must carry this gospel outside of these walls.

People are lost. People are dying and going to hell and we aren’t doing anything about it.

We as a church must accept our responsibility for carrying the message of Christ to people outside of this churches four walls.

Not many sinners will be evangelized within the building of this church. We need to go into the community with this gospel if we are going to win sinners. It is time for the church to build bridges of outreach, not walls of isolation.

The church was not born to be a hospital for saints or a social club for sinners. Its very existence indicates God’s purpose: to evangelize the world.

Less than 50% of Christians have ever led a soul to Christ. It has been estimated that no more than 10% of the English speaking population of the world attend church during their lifetime and this attendance is less than regular of systematic. If this true, at least 90% of the unsaved people will never enter a church except for a funeral or a wedding. This means that the gospel must be lived before them and taken to them through individuals.

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