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Summary: This sermon talks about the danger of a barren spiritual life and exhorts God's people to live a fruitful life. I would be delighted if you could rate this sermon and give a brief feedback.

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INTRODUCTION (SECURE ATTENTION) & BACKGROUND OF THE PASSAGE:

PRAY before starting the sermon.

ILLUSTRATION: {The Roman Catholic Church was involved in terrible corruption during the Middle Ages.

They sold something known as ‘indulgences.’

In other words, the Roman Catholic church sold forgiveness of sins!

They said that by paying a fee (indulgences), one can rescue the soul of a deceased person out of purgatory.

One monk even had a theme song for selling indulgences which went like this: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from Purgatory springs.”

People could even secure their own salvation at a price.

Martin Luther and several others spoke against this shameful commercialization of forgiveness of sins.

But the commercialization of religion is not something new.

In today’s passage, we see something similar in Jesus’ time as well.}

Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to MARK 11:12-19 (READ)?

I have entitled today’s sermon as: “FROM A FRUITLESS TO A FRUITFUL LIFE.”

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE TEXT: Mark tells us that Jesus curses the fig tree and cleanses the temple as a symbolic act of judging unfruitful and hypocritical Israel.

As we saw in the last sermon, after the entry into Jerusalem, Jesus went into the Temple and then went into Bethany along with His disciples.

Today’s passage tells us as to what happened the next day.

Mark 11:12-25 has an interesting structure.

Verses 12-14 and verses 20-25 talk about the cursing of the fig tree.

And sandwiched between these passages is the incident of Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem (verses 15-19).

Also, this is a miracle where Jesus used His power to destroy.

Similarly, in Mark 5:13, we saw that Jesus cast out demons out of a man which leads to the drowning of pigs.

THE PURPOSE BRIDGE: To challenge members of EAGC to live fruitful and authentic lives.

FALLEN CONDITION FOCUS: Already dealt with above.

CENTRAL PROPOSITION OF THE SERMON: I have used inductive proposition for this sermon.

I. A FRUITLESS LIFE WILL BE JUDGED BY JESUS.

Refer verses 12-14.

Read verse 12.

On the day after the triumphal entry, Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem.

Matthew (refer 21:18) tells us that Jesus traveled in the morning.

On the way, he was hungry.

Jesus probably wanted to have his breakfast or just a brunch.

Read verse 13.

Jesus saw a fig tree from a distance.

Fig trees were the most common kind of trees in Israel.

This particular fig tree had leaves.

So, he proceeded to the tree to see if it has any figs so that he can eat some figs.

But when Jesus approached the fig tree, there were no figs, but only leaves.

And Mark tells us that it was not the season for figs.

Now the early figs appeared in late March and they would become ripe by late May.

These early figs preceded the main crop of late figs.

These late figs would become ripe for harvest from the middle of August to October.

Now listen to this. This is the key to understand the last part of verse 13 (refer).

If the leaves appeared without the early figs, that fig tree would not bear any figs that year.

We can paraphrase the last part of v. 13 as “it was not the season for [real] figs.”

Jesus approached this tree during Passover, that is in April but did not find any figs.

So, this fig tree had leaves, but no early figs and thus no chance of producing late or real figs.

This fig tree pretended to produce figs, but it didn’t.

Read verse 14.

And Jesus cursed (cf. v. 21) the fig tree since it didn’t have any fruit, but pretended to have fruit.

This tree was not cursed due to lack of fruit, but for pretending to have fruit.

The disciples heard Jesus cursing this fig tree.

Over the centuries, many people have wondered as to why Jesus cursed an innocent fig tree.

Scholars have sought to give different kinds of explanation for Jesus’ action.

However, the best way to understand the cursing of the fig tree is that it was an acted parable, just as Jesus riding on the donkey was an acted parable.

In the Old Testament, the fig tree was a symbol of Israel (cf. Hos 9:10; Mic 7:1-4; Na 3:12; Zec 10:2).

Israel failed to be fruitful.

Israel had nothing but the leaves.

The Lord chose Israel to bring the Promised Messiah into this world.

But when He came into this world, they did not receive Him (refer Jn 1:11).

Earlier, Jesus told them a parable of the barren fig tree (refer Lk. 13:6-9) which is similar to what we read in today’s passage.

Since Israel was fruitless, soon they would face God’s judgment.

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