Summary: An encouraging sermon for the new year or church anniversary

Traditionally the New Year is a time of new beginnings. It is a time that we make new commitments to do better in the New Year than we did in the last year. It is a time that we sit down and make a list of how we are going to better in the New Year, than we did in the old. (Can I get a witness?) It’s a time that we say we are going “Out with the Old and in with the New”. The New Year is a time when we make resolutions, and rulings; we make declarations & decrees, we make pledges & promises to do better than in the New Year than we did in the old. The New Year is a time when we vow to not do the same ole stuff we being doing all our lives, we vow to have a better church, we vow to treat people better, we vow to read our bible more, we swear to come to church more, we declare to be a better person in the New Year.

But isn’t strange and I find it quite bothersome that some of the same promises we vowed to do last new year are some of the same problems and plagues that we are stilling dealing with this new year?

- Some of the same lies we said we wasn’t gonna tell leaving last year we still lying & telling this year.

- Some of the same folks we said were gonna get out our lives last year are still sleeping in our beds in this year

- Some of the same bills we said we was gone pay off last year are still ruining our credit report this year

-Some of the same traditions we said we was gonna break last year we still doing them this year

- Some of the same devils we buried last year are the same devils we resurrected & gave CPR to January 1 this year (Help in here)

Some of the same habits (you know, drinking, smoking, gambling) that we swore to stop last year, they have already reared there ugly head up this year!

But yet and still God is still keeping us; and has kept anybody here another year!

- Anybody know God is keeping you?

- Has God been keeping anybody this year?

- Has God had to come to your rescue already this year?

- Has God had to rock you in the midnight hour?

- Has God been with you through the sickness & health?

- Has God had to bring anybody through the storm & the rain?

- Anybody know God is keeping you? (High five your neighbor and say God is keeping me!)

I come to give you a revelation from God today, and that is in the New Year God doesn’t want another resolution, he doesn’t want another broken promise, he doesn’t want a new declaration, but God wants a New You! God wants you to live a different way. God is tired of us playing church; he wants us to be the church. (Wish I had a witness) God wants a new You! He wants you to use your time, he wants your talents and he wants you to be a better Christian.

God is keeping you for a reason

God is keeping you for a divine purpose.

God has given us more time for a spiritual intension.

God has given us one more chance;

God has given us one more sunny day!

God didn’t keep us hanging around just for us to look good;

He didn’t keep us here just to show how good we can preach.

God didn’t keep us here just for us to be bench members

But he is calling on us to work; he wants us to bear fruit!

God has a purpose for our lives. (Wish I had a praying church)

So here in our text today

We find ourselves in a vineyard – this owner planted a tree and expected the tree to progress, to grow He expected to find some fruit on the tree. (3 things I see)

I. The owner of the tree made a REASONABLE REQUEST. (say reasonable request)

a. It was his tree and he expected this fig tree to have done better than in previous years. This man planted a fig tree. In Biblical times, fig trees were valuable. The represented a tree of value. It was worth something. And so it is, God has planted us because we are valuable. We are worth something. So it’s only right that the owner expects a return on his investment.

b. So this man did not plant any old type of tree – He planted a tree that was valuable.

He expected to find fruit. So it is with God, he expects to find some fruit hanging on your tree! Don’t think you just coming here just to be coming. Everyone one of you has a gift, and God expects you to use your gift. You have to do more than just come to church on Sunday morning. (I didn’t expect no Amen’s right there)

c. The owner expected some fruit– so it was a REASONABLE REQUEST.

d. However every time the Owner came to the tree with a REASONABLE REQUEST, the owner kept receiving a REDUNDANT REPORT.

(Say redundant report) The 2nd thing I see…..there was a

II. A REDUNDANT REPORT This tree had no fruit. Why was the report so redundant? It was redundant, it was superfluous or un-called for because this tree had some advantages.

a. LOCATION - the tree was planted in a vineyard. Being in a vineyard meant that the tree was protected.

- The vineyard was enclosed round about by a hedge or a fence to keep the wild animals from ravaging the fruit on the trees.

- You do know that those of us who have given our life to Christ -- enjoy the protection of God.

- Do you remember Job! Satan testified that he couldn’t get to Job because God had made a hedge around Job, and around his house and all that he had! God had him protected with a hedge or fence. God protects his ppl.

- This tree had the advantage of its LOCATION. Just by the fact that it was planted in Gods vineyard, it had a distinct advantage; it should have beard fruit.

- But Not only was it in a good location, but it was planted….

b. PLANTED! - It was not a product of chance or coincidence! Didn’t no strong wind just blow the seed over in the vineyard. The tree had been planted in the vineyard! This suggested that the planter had a purpose in mind for the tree. (my God)

c. God has a purpose for you! God has a purpose for your life.

d. However every time the Owner came to the tree with a REASONABLE REQUEST, the owner kept receiving a REDUNDANT REPORT.

(I wish you heard me today)

e. The Bible says; the owner kept coming hoping to find some fruit, but he found nothing.

- Kept coming hoping to find some fruit of faithfulness, but nothing

- some fruit of family togetherness, but nothing

- some fruit of fellowship, but nothing

- some fruit of fasting, but nothing

- fruit of praying, but nothing

- fruit of oneness, but Nothing

f. For three years he came and there was nothing, he came for 36 months, 156 weeks, 1095 days, 26,280 hours, and 473,040 minutes, 28,383,400 seconds and found nothing. The owner kept coming to the tree and he found nothing! (Help us today) What is he finding when he comes to your tree? How many times has he come to you and found nothing? There was a reasonable request, a redundant report, then comes the

III. REGRETFUL RECOMMENDATION (say regretful recommendation)

- The owner says “Cut it down”…my God

- I’ve been coming looking for fruit for the last 3 years & nothing, cut it down

- I planted you, gave you the best spot in the garden & nothing, cut it down

- I put a hedge of protection around you, I covered you & nothing, cut it down

- I cared for you, I loved you, I let my son shine for you and still no fruit, Cut it down!

- You taking up space from another tree that wants to produce and you have nothing, cut it down!

- I died on an old rugged cross that you might have the right to the tree of life, but you bare no fruit CUT IT DOWN!

So the Bible says vs 8: The vinedresser said Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it.

- The bible says that the vinedresser will dig about it and dung it.

- Dig: there will be some pot holes and some pitfalls in your way

- You gone have to work your way out some traps set for you

- Dung it: That lets me know that the next year you will get will be surrounded by mess.

- You gone have to wade through some mess that’s around you

- Don’t expect that year to be a good time:

- You gone have to go through some pitfalls

- You gone have to go through some mess to produce fruit.

- How many of you can come out smelling like roses with, mess all around you

- How many of you can do something positive, say something positive when you surrounded by pitfalls and mess all around you?

See if you know anything about repotting a plant, my grandmother used to have a porch full of flowers and pots and every year she would have to repot a plant or two because it was not producing any leaves or because it was dying off.

She would sometimes have to get a bigger pot, she would put the fertilizer in it (that’s the dung) she would get in there with that little hand spade, and work the soil, then I’d be standing there looking at here and she would say boy hand me that plant out that other pot and I would lift up the old plant and give it to here, I would have to up root the old plant out of that old dirt, and that old surroundings, then she would put it in that bigger pot, with new dirt and surroundings (where it had room to grow, and produce) then she would put a little water in it, (the holy ghost) and she would say “now”. Meaning now that should do it, “now” that should be it, “now” it should do something it should produce now.

That’s how God is doing us! Jesus is saying don’t cut them down, let me work them. Let me dig them out, let me dun’ em, let me replant them.

(So as I get ready to Close)

- I want to thank God for the Vinedresser: Thank God for the dresser of the Vineyard!

- I’m Glad that he said Spared me another year – thank God he gave me one more chance

I thank God that he is keeping us another year and giving us one more chance to get it together. One more chance to bear fruit, one more chance to be productive in life.

Good day soldiers and fare you well saints. I thank God that his keeping me. I thank God is gave me one more chance. I thank God that I’ve found out that, God is not concerned about a New Year, but he wants a New Me! God is keeping me.

(I’m gone yall)

God wants us to be good stewards over what he has given us. God wants your tithe, he wants you to spend a little time, and he wants you to use your talents.

That’s why God is keeping us! I thank God for keeping me.

Anybody know God is keeping them. Has God has to Keep anyone in 06? Has God has to Keep anyone last week, Did God have to keep someone last night.

I thank God that he is keeping me.

We sitting in seats, driving cars, living in houses, we shouldn’t be living in all because of Jesus.

Anybody know God is keeping you? Grab your neighbor by the hand

Say Neighbor God is keeping me. Is he keeping anybody over here?