Summary: A sermon on the parable of the fig tree. God's forgiveness, His love and ultimately His judgment.
Good morning. This morning we continue with our sermon series on the parables of Christ. We are going to take a look at the parable of the fig tree this morning. We just heard that parable, there in the book of Luke, chapter 13, verses 6-9. Well just like most of the parables we first need to figure out who we are in the story. Does anyone want to take a guess? We have the owner of the orchard, we have the gardener and of course we have the fig tree. In this case, the owner of the orchard is God, our Father, and Creator. The gardener who asks for just one more year, is most likely our Savior, Jesus Christ. And guess what…you and I are the tree. Every person, every human, is the unfruitful fig tree.
Let’s first look at the owner. The owner, owns the tree, he planted the tree, he expects to get fruit off the tree, otherwise, why even have the fruit tree? If the tree was a walnut tree, it’s purpose would be to grow and produce walnuts, an orange tree would produce oranges and so on. In any case, all fruit trees are supposed to produce fruit. They aren’t there to make shade for someone underneath the branches, if that what was needed, a larger tree would have been planted. The owner, simply wants the tree to produce fruit.
And then we have the gardener. This person cares for the tree, waters the tree, trims and prunes the tree so it is even more fruitful. It protects the tree from animals and bugs that may hurt the tree. And in our scripture verse, we realize that after three years of waiting for fruit, that the owner hasn’t seen even one fig. But what about the gardener? For some reason, he cares about this tree. As the owner says, get rid of it, it takes up space in my orchard, the gardener says, give me just one more year, just a little more time, and I will water it more, fertilize it, protect it and maybe with some extra care, it will give some fruit. Remember, you and I, are the tree.
So you may be wondering what about the fruit? God doesn’t really expect us to grow things out of our ears and nose, we aren’t created to make peaches, or pistachio nuts or anything else grow out of our bodies, are we? Well the answer is, yes and no.
It turns out we can produce fruit, just not the kind you eat. We produce a different kind of fruit. Biblical fruit are the results or the actions that come from holy living. So a person that lives a Godly life, leaves things behind, like a pleasant word, an encouraging word, a plate of food for a hungry person, a jacket or a blanket for a cold person, money for a poor person and so on. It turns out, good deeds, are our fruit. The actions we do, the words we say for others, that are helpful, that are encouraging, they are fruit. The things we do for others, simply carrying someone’s groceries, helping someone cross the street, or helping serve a meal. These are all fruit. Being generous is a fruit. Sharing God’s Word with others, that is a fruit. All of these things help other people, and that is fruit, from our life. Kids can produce fruit, teenagers can produce fruit, adults can produce fruit, the older more experienced members of society can produce fruit. We can each produce different fruit that others may need.
Now, Scripture talks about humans being fruit trees on a few different occasions, so it must be important to God. Twice in the book of Psalms, and in the New Testament, one of these verses stands out above the rest. John chapter 15 verses 4-8 explains the importance of humans being like fruit trees. God’s Word in John 15 reads, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Hmm, pretty plain I think. It turns out we can see a couple of different lessons in that verse. First in verse 4, That you and I cannot bear fruit without God and our Savior. It is impossible. We need Him to be a part of our life, period. The next verse tells us that if we choose to do this without Him, we are each doomed. Condemned to be thrown into the fire and burnt. There is no way around it, if we choose to try to go through life without God being a part of it, He will, at some point, throw our life into the fire, away from Him. That verse gets much better though. We see in the next line, that if we do choose to keep God in our life, and you will notice He specifically mentions His Word, as well. If we do make that choice, we not only get to heaven, but we can ask for help. We can ask for strength, ask for guidance, ask for many different things, and He promises to give those things that we ask for, if, and that is a big IF, if we chose to keep God and His Word in our life. That doesn’t mean we read it once a week. That doesn’t mean that we pray once a week, or even once a day, that isn’t keeping God in your life. If we have 24 hours in a day and we are awake 16 of those hours, God expects to be in all of those hours, each day.