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Summary: AS WE COME TO THE LAST OF OUR SERIES ON FAITH, WE ARE LEFT WITH, “FAITH”. IN OUR PASSAGE JESUS USES A VIVID ILLUSTRATION TO SPEAK ABOUT FAITH. WHAT IT IS, WHAT IT IS NOT, AND WHAT IT SHOULD BE. IN FACT SCRIPTURES USES THE ILLUSTRATION OF TREES, GARDENI

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FAITH AND THE FIG TREE

Matthew 21:18-21 Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He *said to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered.

20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, "How did the fig tree wither all at once?" 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen.

LET’S TAKE A MOMENT TO REVIEW, SHALL WE, ….

INTRODUCTION: AS WE COME TO THE LAST OF OUR SERIES ON FAITH, WE ARE LEFT WITH, “FAITH”. IN OUR PASSAGE JESUS USES A VIVID ILLUSTRATION TO SPEAK ABOUT FAITH. WHAT IT IS, WHAT IT IS NOT, AND WHAT IT SHOULD BE. IN FACT SCRIPTURES USES THE ILLUSTRATION OF TREES, GARDENING, AND AGRICULTURE AS THE GROUNDWORK FOR TEACHING US ABOUT FAITH.

TRANSITION: SO IN OUR TIME TOGETHER, I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT AND POSSIBLY COMMUNICATE A FEW MORE THOUGHTS CONCERNING FAITH.

DEFINITION: FAITH IS STEADFASTNESS EXPRESSED AS OUR CONFIDENCE IN GOD

I. BARREN FAITH

a. AS JESUS COMES TO THIS TREE THAT IS BARREN OF FRUIT, HE TAKES TIME TO INSTRUCT HIS DISCIPLES ON THE ISSUE OF FAITH

b. JESUS FINDS A FIG TREE WITH ONLY LEAVES

i. FIG TREES HAVE A COUPLE OF THINGS SPECIAL ABOUT THEM

1. THE BEAR FRUIT TWICE, NOT JUST ONCE

2. THE FRUIT APPEARS BEFORE THE LEAVES

c. A FIG TREE WITHOUT FRUIT IS A CASE OF FALSE ADVERTISING.

i. THIS FIG TREE WAS SAYING SOMETHING IT IS NOT

ii. THIS FIG TREE WAS SAYING IT HAD FRUIT, WHEN IN REALITY, IT HAD NONE

d. GOD DOES NOT LIKE FALSE ADVERTISED FAITH

Ezekiel 33:30-32 "But as for you, son of man, your fellow citizens who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses, speak to one another, each to his brother, saying, 'Come now and hear what the message is which comes forth from the LORD.' 31 "They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. 32 "Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them.

Isaiah 29:13 Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,

i. GOD WARNS EZEKIEL ABOUT THOSE WHO COME TO LISTEN BUT DO NOT DO ANYTHING WITH WHAT THEY HEAR.

ii. GOD WARNS ISAIAH ABOUT THOSE WHO GIVE ONLY LIP SERVICE BUT HAVE DISTANT HEARTS!

e. JESUS WAS SAYING THAT FALSE FAITH CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO PROSPER.

f. FALSE FAITH IS REPLACED FAITH

i. JESUS HAD EARLIER SPOKEN ABOUT THIS WITH REGARD TO THE TEMPLE

Matthew 21:13 And He *said to them, "It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN."

ii. WHAT JESUS WAS SAYING WAS THAT WHAT THE TEMPLE WAS THEN AND WHAT IS WAS SUPPOSE TO BE WAS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

iii. IT WAS A BARREN TREE

1. BEAUTIFUL ON THE OUTSIDE

2. BARREN ON THE INSIDE

g. JESUS SAW THE MARVEL OF THE DISCIPLES AT WHAT WAS DONE.

h. JESUS DEALT WITH THEIR DOUBT ABOUT WHAT THEY COULD DO.

i. JESUS WAS SAYING, STOP MARVELING AND STOP DOUBTING AND START HAVING FAITH

FAITH IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIGS AND LEAVES

PROFESSION WITHOUT PRACTICE IS DEADLY TO BELIEVERS AND CHURCHES

II. CULTIVATED FAITH

a. FAR TOO MANY IN THE CHURCH TODAY HAVE A FALSE ADVERTISED FAITH – FAR MORE APPEARANCE THAN SUBSTANCE

b. THEY ARE TOO MUCH LIKE TREES WHO BEAR NO FRUIT

c. THE PROCESS OF BEARING MORE FRUIT

Luke 13:6-9 And He began telling this parable: "A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7 "And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' 8 "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'"

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