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Summary: God created us for His purpose, it is our responsibility to discover and fulfill the purpose. There is a reward if we do, and there will be punishment if we do not.

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THE UNFRUITFUL VINE

Study Text: Luke 13:6-9

He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard. And he came and sought fruit on it, and found none.

Luk 13:7 And he said to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none. Cut it down, why does it encumber the ground?

Luk 13:8 And answering, he said to him, Lord, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and throw manure.

Luk 13:9 And if it bears fruit, well; and if not, then after that you shall cut it down.

Introduction

- When we genuinely repent and begin living for God, fruit will be born in our lives that will soon be evident to all that pass by. Likewise, a failure to repent and live for God will show a lack of fruit, equally evident.

- The presence or absence of fruit in the lives of those who claim to be God's people is an important issue in God's word.

"Bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance," said John the Baptizer in Matthew 3:8.

John records Jesus as saying, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit." (John 15:5)

"By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit..." said Jesus in John 15:8.

"Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire," said John in Matthew 3:10.

- Fruit - real and visible spiritual fruit - is a necessary concern for anyone who loves God and desires to go to heaven.

- We shall look at the parable of the barren fig tree.

In Jesus' day, this was a parable about the Jewish nation but it also contains some important lessons for us.

- The Biblical issue of fruit bearing and the principles put forth in this parable also apply to the church. They concern you and me.

- Let's examine this parable more closely. There are at least seven aspects to consider.

I. The Personal Possession.

- Verse 6 says that "a certain man had a fig tree." There are actually two men mentioned in this parable: The owner of the vineyard (it says that he planted the tree in "his vineyard") and the vineyard keeper who was probably an employee of the owner in charge of doing the actual work.

- Cutting down the fig tree was a drastic action, but it was well within the rights of the owner. It was his vineyard. It was his tree. He could do with it as he pleased.

- Suppose you decided to paint your house a certain color and someone came to you and objected, telling you he liked another color better and that you'd better paint it his color. You would probably tell him to take hike. Why? Because it's your house, not his. The right of ownership carries the right of determination.

- Likewise, since God owns the world and everything in it and He also owns each one of us, it is simply not right for us to object to His dealings with us or claim that He has "no right" to do this or expect that in our lives.

- He has every right to expect anything He chooses in our lives. He is the owner. Paul asks in Romans 9:20-21:

Who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" (NIV)

We live in a day when people "talk back to God" all the time. Having long forgotten that they are His creation, they think they are autonomous and that God has no right to tell them what to do or expect anything from them. Though they are in His vineyard and are, indeed, His possession, they don't act like it.

I think we can expect unbelievers to be this way, but surely such an attitude should not be found in the church! Yet it is seen far too often.

One of the first things we need to teach every new Christian is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?"

- God has the right to tell us what He expects and the right to expect it and the right to deal with us as He pleases if we don't do what He expects. He is the owner.

- We are going to learn from this parable that God expects you and me to produce fruit in our lives for Him. I just want you to remember that such an expectation is well within the realm of what is right because we belong to Him.

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