Thursday, April 5, 2012

Upon Seeing The Empty 'Fruit' Tree...

I might end up posting on the few sermons in between this post and the last one...but that'll be after THIS one.  Why?  Well, this one is pretty 'sharp' and you'll see why.  Of course, the last few sermons have been building up to this, but oh well.

This sermon is taken from Luke 13:  6-9.  You can pull out your Bibles, but since it's short, I'm just going to write it here:

6And He told this parable:  "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  7And he said to the vinedresser, 'Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none.  Cut it down.  Why should it use up the ground?'  8And he answered him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.  9Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down'."

Are you as shaken as I am about the parable Jesus is teaching?  Well, if not, I will surely have you shaking with the 'interpretation' of this parable.  That brings us to our first point.

I.  Suspended Judgment

You know, I was just looking at this point before I read it.  At first, it doesn't seem to make much sense.  Sure, the fruit tree isn't cut down when the 'owner' wants to.  But then a few things clicked.  To start, this parable is about God being ready to bring Judgment on Israel (Us) because she had not brought forth spiritual fruit.

But I actually see several other things.  God is the owner.  That makes sense, right?  I mean...He does own us in every right.  We are then symbolized by the fruit trees...that aren't bearing fruit.  Right now, I see the vinedresser as Jesus.  And that makes sense as well.  After all, it's by His work that we get salvation.  However, if He's been doing His work in us, we will start bearing fruit.  And now I'm jumping ahead of myself.  Anyway, we see that Jesus tells God, "Leave it alone this year as well, until my work starts to bring forth fruit".  So it's almost mercy being given.  However, there's still a promise of destruction if we don't produce anything.

The other thing is the kind of fruit that's being produced.  None is.  But no matter what in our lives, there is fruit being produced.  Always.  Say whaa???  Okay, okay, hold on.  Think about that again.  I know I need to.  Okay, when we usually think of fruit, we think of ripe apples, berries, or whatever fruit you like to dream of when your stomach is growling for food.  But rotten, sickly, fruit...that doesn't really come to your mind when you're hungry.  It's fruit that you can't eat, but fruit nonetheless.  So we're always producing fruit.  So the question for us is not, 'Are we producing fruit?', it's:  "What kind of fruit are we producing?"

II.  The Message.

This is a serious picture that brings a serious question to the table for every Christian on this planet in existence.  Did you notice that the parable had an open ending?  Are you wondering what happened to the fruit tree that Jesus was speaking of?  Well, we know one tree that never really repented...and got thrown into the fire as a result.  The reason why Jesus left the parable open was because it's an open issue right now.  YOU must decide the outcome.

But I don't feel like I'm producing any fruit!

I hear ya.  Neither do I.  The thing to remember is that you have time.  Remember also that Jesus is going to work on the fruit tree.  Christian, if He really is working in you, you'll know it.  Do you have the desire to produce fruit?  That, as spoken of last night, is a fruit all in itself.  We won't produce anything by ourselves.  Can a plant grow without water and Sun?  Without water and sunlight, can it stand?  Christian, Jesus is your water and sunlight.  The plant catches the sunlight and the same way, all you must do is catch Jesus' teachings and grow.


Anonymous said...

Good post, Ben. Nicely balanced with the conviction and the encouragement... Although, I just have to say that your writing is a bit confused in the first paragraph... I like that you write as if you were speaking, but try and work on smoothing it out a tad for the readers. It's interesting because I've been taught this message before, but I don't recall hearing the part about rotten fruit... That adds a whole new aspect to this lesson. Deffinitely fruit for thought. ;)

B.L.S. said...

Yeah...unfortunately that wasn't COMPLETELY my idea. I think Mr. Brooks did touch on it. But just in passing. I did balance it...but it was pretty 'sharp', wasn't it? Sometimes sharp isn't a bad thing though. :D

Karyn Payne said...

I like this post!
--Wait--you don't feel like you are producing fruit?? This post is fruitful! I love it when people can make things public that rouse Christian minds and get us exited about knowing the Lord. It's really great.
I can't think of any points to make since you made 'em all.

"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God"

(Colossians 1:9-10)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes sharp is what we need to hear, and there is alot of 'sharp' in God's word. It's deffinitely a bit of a wake up call.

Karyn Payne said...

I just stumbled across another one that I had to share with y'all.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings."

(Jeremiah 17:7-10)

B.L.S. said...

To Karyn: Thanks. I enjoyed writing it :)'s hard to discern. The only fruit I know I'm producing is that I have the desire to do better and PRODUCE fruit :) I like that scripture :) My favorite pieces are definitely found in Paul's letters, and Psalms. I love James as well :)

To AMP: Yeah, that is true. But God is never sharp without encouragement and grace.

Oh, that's a pretty good selection of scripture as well :)

Karyn Payne said...

Well, the hunger to produce fruit is where it all begins, really. It's a beautiful thing. (Hey, that's funny. Produce.)
Yeah, that's actually a neat way to think of it. When you look in the produce section at Publix. Like, when you've finally run your race and are done producing your fruit, will God look in your produce section like in Publix and find fresh, beautiful, ripened fruit? Or will He find a skimpy produce section like at say a Food Lion, where there is little to choose from or admire, and hardly any of it that doesn't have bruises and scrapes.

I was wondering, what fruit do you picture when you think of it that way? I keep thinking of peaches and strawberries. :) Or am I just being silly?

B.L.S. said...

That's a pretty good picture of interpretation, Karyn :) I'm not even's not silly...the fruit I seem to picture are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries. Of course, I could just be craving those anyway :D

Karyn Payne said...

Yes. Berries. :) Too bad I'm allergic to red cherries. And plums. And peaches and nectarines. :'(

B.L.S. said...

Really??? That's sad. I don't know if I could live. :(