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 water...in the same way, all you must do is catch Jesus' teachings and grow.