Summary: Are we genuine Christians or fake Christians?

Genuine or Counterfeit?

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Introduction: For every good product that comes out in the market there are people who make the duplicate. Unbeknownst many of us take home the counterfeit thinking it is the genuine one. One other thing that comes to my mind when I hear counterfeit is money. There are so many fake bills in circulation today. Do you know how bank tellers are able to identify counterfeit money? A counterfeit bill will look like a genuine note to most people, but those who are familiar with real currency can see and feel the difference. In Christian faith too we have genuine Christians and people who fake Christian faith. Now the question is: Are we genuine Christians or fake Christians?

We have come to the Easter season and the time that stands out this month is the Passion Week of Jesus Christ. The Passion Week is the time from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday which shows the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people. The Passion Week was the most important week of Jesus’ life. Everything he had done for his entire 33-1/2 years led up to this week.

I want to take your attention to one passage in the Passion Week where Jesus was visibly upset because he found people faking religion and worship. Mark 11 mentions that on Hosanna Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. People on either side of the road greeted Him as King. There was joy, celebration, and jubilation. Today, we are going to look at the events that occurred on Monday of our Lord’s Passion Week. While this text speaks primarily to Israel, there is a word of warning for all who fake Christianity here. Two events take place on this day to which Jesus reacted very differently than he ever did.

Mark 11:12-14 12The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

In our text today Jesus was walking from Bethany to Jerusalem. Jesus was hungry, searched for fruit in a fig tree, not finding any he cursed the tree. In order to understand this passage we need to understand a bit about the fig tree. Fig trees are very common in Israel and mentioned over 60 times in the Bible. The fig tree grows big but the branches stay low to the ground. Fig trees are unusual trees in that they can produce as many as three crops in a single year. The first crop is produced on the old wood or trunk. Then the tree produces fruit in the branches. Then when the news leaves come there is the third crop that come along with the leaves. All the three crops produce full harvest.

Now to be noted here is the fact that Jesus was hungry, it was not the season for figs, but when Jesus saw a fig tree with leaves but the nature of the fig, he anticipated that there would be fruit. Yet, when He searched the tree, He found it was all leaves and no fruit.

This fig tree was deceptive because its leaves promised something the tree could not deliver. The leaves promised fruit, but there was none. There was nothing wrong with the soil. There was nothing wrong with the sap. There was simply no fruit. Jesus went ahead and cursed the tree.

The fig tree symbolizes the nation Israel. Israel was just like this fruitless fig tree. They had all the signs of spiritual life, but they had no fruit. They were keeping the Law, they were religious in every detail, but they had no spiritual fruit. You see Israel had been given every advantage by God. They had received the personal attention and redemption of Almighty God through Abraham. They had been planted in a good land. They had the Word of God, the prophets of God, and the Temple of God. They had everything they needed for a spiritual bumper crop, but they remained fruitless. They did not recognize their Messiah and King Jesus Christ. They were fruitless spiritually and fit for nothing but the fire of judgment.

1. God hates fruitlessness. A counterfeit Christian is a fruitless Christian. A genuine Christian is a fruitful Christian. God has promised again and again in the Bible that he will cut out every fruitless branch.

John 15:1-2 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

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