Summary: This is a message on the importance of being fruitful
“WILL GOD HAVE TO DIG AND DUNG YOU?”
TEXT: Luke 13: 6-9 W. Max Alderman
6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
INTRODUCTION: The fig tree did not meet the owner’s expectations. He thought that three years, being planted in his vineyard, the fig tree should be producing fruit. The fig tree normally is planted by the wayside in less fertile soil. This tree, however, was receiving very special treatment by being planted in his vineyard, but still was not producing. He decided after the third year to cut it down, but was persuaded by the dresser of his vineyard to let it stay for one more year. If after that year, it was still not producing then they would cut it down. There are some tremendous lessons to be learned from this brief parable.
The first lesson is by way of interpretation: This fig tree pictured Israel which had been given special favor and treatment, but had no fruit. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11) For that reason, the Lord had to set Israel aside by breaking off the natural branches (Romans 11:19-21), but He left a root of a good olive tree (V.17) so that He could graft Israel back in. Even before the Lord set Israel aside, He gave her an extra space of time to repent, but she did not. This first section of Luke chapter 13 deals with repentance.
The second lesson for us is by application: This lesson applies to the church and this is where we will give our emphasis. Those who make up the church have been given special opportunities to bring forth fruit. The message to the church is repent or “I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Ephesians 2:5). The Owner of the vineyard, as it relates to the church, has given us every opportunity to bring forth fruit. If we do not, as a final effort and warning, He will have to dig about us and dung us. If that does not work, then He will have to cut us down…
I. THE TRANSPLANTING OF THE TREE (V. 6a) “a fig tree planted in his vineyard”
The transplanting of the tree showed how GOD”S PROVIDENCE was at work before the planting of the tree…
I use the term “transplanting” because the fig tree was not planted in the garden as a seed, but had been brought from another location to be planted in the vineyard. It is not normal to plant the fig tree in a vineyard. To do so was to give the tree an undeserved advantage. The fig tree was accustomed to being planted by the wayside in less fertile soil than that found in the vineyard. It was as though the owner was going to give the tree special privileges and special care that it would not normally enjoy. It was a blessing for the tree that was not usually given. This reminds me of the beloved first Psalm:
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-5).
We should take this time and examine ourselves and see if we have truly been planted into His garden of faith and see if we are prospering by bringing forth fruit.
A. A Faith Was Involved By the Planting of the Tree
The planting of the tree was the exercising of purpose. The purpose intended, by the owner, was that the tree was to do what a tree, and in particular, that tree was supposed to do. While planting the tree, there was no reason to believe that the tree, that had been planted and given special treatment, was not going to produce, but it did not.
Just think… God finds us without privilege and purpose, alongside the road of sin and picks us up; He saves us and plants us in a good old fashioned church where we should be able to grow while at the same time enjoying old time religion. That is what is expected of us. He wants us to be conformed to the image of His own Son (Romans 8:29). “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Yet, often this does not happen. People are seen in our churches having enjoyed the good things of God for ten, twenty, thirty, or even sixty years and yet have no fruit. This is very, very sad.