Summary: When we abide in Christ, we will produce fruit that will glorify God and help enlarge his Kingdom.
Perils of a Fruitless Life
A. Disappointments and unmet expectations are a regular part of life.
1. Women who just cannot get pregnant.
2. Continue to have miscarriages.
3. Bright children whose parents don’t have money to send them to college (child has great aspirations that go unfulfilled).
4. Keep getting laid off from jobs.
5. Physical illness just keeps coming.
6. Parents whose grown children just keep disappointing them.
7. Just can’t get ahead financially (more outgo than income).
8. New vehicle that breaks down 1 week after you purchase it.
B. Man was disappointed that his fig tree was not producing.
1. Decided to do something.
2. After three years, he decides to cut it down.
3. Decided to give it one more year.
C. Larry Walters, the truck driver with a dream to fly.
1. After high school, joined the Air Force hoping to be a pilot.
2. Bad eyesight disqualified him but still had the dream after leaving service.
3. Went to army-navy surplus store and bought tank of helium and 45 weather balloons.
4. Used straps to attach balloons to lawn chair, packed some sandwiches, beer and a pellet gun.
5. Cut the anchoring chord and shot up like a canon.
6. Leveled off at 15,000 feet.
7. Sailed for 14 hours not knowing how to get down.
8. Drifted into approach corridor of Los Angeles International Airport.
9. Pan Am pilot radioed the tower about a guy in a lawn chair with a gun in his lap.
10. At dusk, Larry began drifting out to sea.
11. Navy dispatched a helicopter to rescue him but draft from propellers kept pushing Larry away but they were finally successful.
12. Another report said he begin to shoot balloons, got caught in a power line and climbed down.
13. Larry was arrested and led away in handcuffs.
14. Reporter asked him why and he said, “A man just can’t sit around.”
D. Subject of Jesus’ parable is that we better not sit around as believers.
WE DON’T KNOW OUR IDENTITY
A. What the elements of the story represent.
1. The tree is Israel but then all believers.
2. Fruitful tree symbolic of godly living.
3. Man who planted the tree is God or Jesus.
4. Cutting the tree down speaks of judgment now and later.
5. The one more year represents God’s patience.
B. In one sense Israel did not have an identity problem.
1. They knew they were God’s people but they became too proud of that.
2. Thought they deserved special treatment because they were God’s people and he had done some marvelous things in their history.
3. Led them out of Egyptian slavery-40 years in the wilderness led by a cloud and pillar of fire, clothes or shoes didn’t wear out, provided food and water for them.
4. Led them out of Babylonian slavery after 70 years and used a pagan ruler to return them to their land.
5. They had a rich history but this parable is an indictment against them.
C. Who does the Bible say believers are now?
1. We are God’s people if we have accepted Christ as Savior.
2. We are forgiven of all our sins-past, present and future.
3. We are given abundant life now and eternal life in the future.
4. We are saints not sinners because God looks at us based on what his Son has done and that we have accepted that.
5. John 1:12; “But to all who believed him (Jesus) and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
6. Galatians 4:7; “Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you.”
7. Let go of the mindset that you are just a dirty sinner that has to grovel in the dust before God-that was the picture before we came to Christ.
D. It is important-and God expects, for us to know who we are.
1. Knowing our identity is directly related to being productive for God.
2. If we don’t know our position and the ammunition God has given us, we will end up like Israel-not doing much for God.
3. Our identity as his child means we have gifts to use in his service.
4. We are not like the person who says, “It’s no use to apply for that job because I don’t have the skills they are looking for.”
5. Sometimes that’s true-Person applying for a job that is 95 percent computer work but who is computer illiterate.
6. God never moves us to do anything he has not already or will not prepare us for-that is a message repeated throughout the Bible.
E. Many in our world have identity problems.