Summary: Sad to say there are too many Christians that are walking around with an, "OUT OF ORDER," sign about them. They are not in a fit state to be used of the Master, nor are they producing the fruit that they should be producing.
Out of Order
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Recently there were those in the UK who were opposed to the war in Iraq (2003) and decided upon a simple yet devious plan of civil disobedience. They decided to print up signs with the words, "Out of Order," on them and post them on machinery every where. What an ingenius and devious plan. It didn’t matter if the machines didn’t work, all that mattered was if people could be fooled into thinking they weren’t working. I really don’t know how big or sucessful their campaign of civil disobedience was, but I do know that the spiritual parallel is that satan would have us to be actually out of order, or convince others we are out of order. Either way the result is the same: We are rendered unable to help them. May God help us to avoid such seasons of being out of order, and may He help us to maintain our testimony that we are not out of order, but are salt of the earth and light of the world.
Research has shown that the sign "Out of Order," is one of the most effective and adhered to sign there is. Speed limits are often ignored, warning lables on cigarettes are virtually ineffective, but the out of order sign has a very high rate of compliance. Thus the "Out of Order," sign is one of the labels that we should avoid at all costs.
Have you ever been traveling, and needing to go to a rest stop, finally you find one on the highway, rush to the bathroom, only to find a sign on the door that says, "out of order"? Talk about frustration, vexation and grief. Isn’t that similar to what Jesus felt when He came by the fig tree and was expecting fruit? The tree had an, "out of order," sign on it, so Jesus cursed the tree. Listen to what He said, to the fruit tree that had no fruit for Him in His hour of need,
Mark 11:12-14 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not [yet]. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard [it].
Barnes’ commentary puts this lack of figs in perspective: "It was the time for fig trees to be And found nothing thereon, but leaves only. Mark 11:13 gives as a reason for this, that "the time of figs was not yet." That is, the time of gathering the figs was not yet, or had not passed. It was a time when figs were ripe, or fit to eat, or he would not have gone to it, expecting to find them. But the time of gathering them had not passed, and it was to be presumed that they were still on the tree. This took place on the week of the Passover, or in the beginning of April. Figs in Palestine are commonly ripe at the Passover. The summer in Palestine begins in March, and it is no uncommon thing that figs should be eatable in April. It is said that they sometimes produce fruit the year round."