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July 12, 2020 7:00 pm
Invite you to turn your Bible to Matthew chapter 13, Matthew chapter 13 I want to read verses one through nine, and we will give our attention in the preaching two verses six through nine, but for context sake. Let me read these nine verses there were present at that season. Psalm who told him that is Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices and Jesus answered and said to them, do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things I tell you no, but unless you repent you will also likewise perish, or those 18, on whom the tower inside home fell and killed them. Do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem I tell you no, but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. He also spoke this parable, a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard look for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down. Why does it use up the ground but he answered and said to him, sir, let alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it and if it bears fruit will but if not, after that you can cut it down. God bless his word and our understanding of it tonight were a series on the parables of Jesus.
And tonight, I'd like to consider this parable of the barren fig tree with you have been intrigued by it.
Through the years never preached on it thought I had a pretty good understanding of what it means in Howard understand it, but realized in my preparations for this message that I didn't understand it as well as I thought I did. So this is been good for me and I trust it will be helpful to you. The parable itself is just for verses long and it highlights two primary things. Number one.
The need for repentance and number two the slowness of God, to execute judgment. The preceding passage verses one through five that I read earlier, has stressed the importance of repenting two times Jesus makes reference to historical events asks questions. Are these Galileans were sinners because these things happen to them or these others were sinners because these things happen to them and he says twice. I tell you no, you shall I tell you no, but unless you repent you will also you will all likewise perish. So that passage stresses the importance of repenting in this parable stresses the fact that opportunity to do so does not last forever. The parable begins with the words, a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Jesus said in John 15 one. I am the true vine, and my father is the vine dresser and I buy make reference to John 15 one so that we would understand that the certain man that Jesus is referring to the beginning of this parable word understand that to be God the father, God the father is the certain man who had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. This parable has national application Israel like this fig tree was planted in very fertile, well attended and well drained ground. Sounds like what we've been hearing about in the series of the vine from Isaiah chapter 5 to let me remind you these words been referenced a couple of times in the last three or four weeks is a fibers to my well beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones and planted it with the choicest of vine. He built a tower in its midst and also made a winepress in it, so he expected it to bring forth good great spot.
It brought forth wild grapes. Israel had received continual blessings and favor from God. The covenants, the law, the temple service. The promises the patriarchs from home Christ according to the flesh came, Paul reminds his audience of that in Romans chapter 9 in verses four and five and despite those rich privileges. Israel, like the fig tree failed to produce fruit. So tonight I want to walk you through this parable help you to understand it and then make some application and as we do. I have 10 headings to walk us through these four verses the makeup this parable 10 headings number one want you to see with me the activity in the observation of God. The activity and observation of God. Verse six, a certain man had a fig tree planted in a vineyard. Again, God the father is being referred to by Jesus in this parable. What is the activity of God.
God has planted a fig tree in his vineyard, the observation of God is the implication is it's not the only fig tree planted in this vineyard. There are many fig trees no doubt in this vineyard, but he is coming to inspect a particular fig tree in the vineyard, one that he has sought after one he had looked after. Prior to this. This is the third year he's come inspecting this particular fig tree so the activity and observation of God number two. The inspection of God. The inspection of God does not only observing a particular fig tree, but he is particularly interested in this fig tree in Israel and that he's inspecting it for fruit he seeking fruit he expects to find fruit again. Notice the certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came doing what seeking fruit seeking fruit so number one the activity and observation of God number two. The inspection of God number three.
The discovery of God. What did his inspection revealed the discovery of God. The latter half of verse six he came seeking fruit on it and he found none, he found none. The discovery of God planted a fig tree in my yard. Certainly not a vineyard. It's just one single solitary fig tree in the yard probably eight or 10 years ago and it is been one frustrating tree fact about four years ago because it had not produced any fruit in it been planted long enough to have produce fruit. I determined I'm digging this trio so I got my spade shovel and started to dig around it and the more I went around the tree, the more I realized this thing has a root system. This thing is not going to give up easy, in fact, I gave up before he gave up so I had I had sunk my shovel in her all the way around that Push and pull in and could not dislodge it just decided on the league this fig tree alone. It shows promise it'll get it'll get leaves on it. It'll get little things on it and I fertilized it. I watered it, and up until last year, the figs would drop off and we would have no fruit so it's a fruitless fig tree. It's basically useless it's taking up space, but last year we were surprised we got. I don't know hundred hundred 50 maybe 200 figs off the tree over five or six week. We thought, you know that's what this tree is supposed to do. It's what it's supposed to produce and I think what the problem with the tree is sin such a place that it's hard to be protected from the winter and it dies back in. But the time spring rolls around and you cut the dead limbs off of it takes a long forward to growing it just never produces anything so but back to our parable God planted Israel with full expectation that it would bear fruit.
It had every reason to bear fruit.
It had every blessing from God. In order to produce fruit. But as God came to inspect it.
He found none that leads us to point number four and that is the contemplation of God. Verse seven.
Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, and I believe our the proper understanding here is the antecedent for the first, he is God the father said to the keeper of the vineyard, the Lord Jesus Christ look for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. The contemplation of God, no doubt this is been under consideration not just this year but the previous year and the previous year and there's tight you got to give time for of fruit to be produced on a tree, but after three years.
The expectation is this thing ought to be producing fruit and it hasn't the contemplation of God. He said to the keeper of the vineyard number five the patient's in the forbearance of God. Look for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. The patient's in the forbearance of God will kind of fruit is God looking for a kind of fruit is God looking for how we talking about a fig tree so we understand figs on a fig tree, but I'm I'm talking now in terms of this metaphor is here to speak of other truths. So in spiritual terms. When God is looking over those that he's given life those he has created those that he has super what is he looking for God is looking for fruit in the lives of his people and is looking for the fruits of righteousness.
Philippians chapter 1 verse 11.
The fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. That's what fruit God the father's looking for is looking for the fruits of righteousness and he's looking for the fruits of the spirit Galatians 5 which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In order for that fruit to be present. Righteousness has to be present or that we know fruits of righteousness and the spirit has got to be present or there will be no fruits of the spirit and God is looking intently intentionally expectantly for fruit the patience and forbearance of God.
Again, our first understanding here is that this parable has national application, but it has application beyond the nation of Israel.
It has individual application. In fact, is a little you can see how small this little booklet is it's written by John Bunyan. Yes, Pilgrim's progress John Bunyan and it's just simply entitled the barren fig tree the barren fig tree, and his entire approach to treating this parable of the barren fig tree is not national Israel, but a barren false professing Christian that's the approach John Bunyan is taken and I read that this weekend benefited from it, appreciated it but again, wondered how he could miss the obvious that this has first, a national application to Israel and also wondered when talking about the patient's in the forbearance of God.
For three years and we know that the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was approximately three years, so was God saying that in this concentrated time of redemptive history. I have been looking particularly intently expectantly for fruit and I have been patient and I have been long-suffering the patient's in the forbearance of God. We heard this morning. Pastor Barkman tell us that God's posture is 1000 primary posture toward us is a blessing God wants to bless us God wants to bless us in such a way that we are fruit bearing people.
Then he reminded us that our posture, our chief posture oftentimes is of presumption, we presume upon the grace of God we put off these matters, but we were reminded again and we will be reminded tonight that there is an end to God's patience. There is an end to God's forbearance.
So the patient's in the forbearance of God. So we have looked at the first five headings number one. The activity and the observation of God.
The inspection of God. The discovery of God. The contemplation of God, the patient's in the forbearance of God number six. The chief concern of God. The chief concern of God. And that's the latter half of verse seven he says I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. That's God's chief concern he's looking for fruit is looking for evidence of productivity looking for life and God has a right to expect that God has a right to be looking for that God is a right to to pass judgment on us.
In the absence of that chief concern of God. Number seven the resolve of God, the resolve of God latter half of verse seven.
I've come seeking fruit on this trip, fig tree and find none caught it down.
Why does it use up the ground. Cut it down. It is not serving any purpose.
It exists for my purposes.
I planted it I planted it on purpose that it might bear fruit.
And it's not bearing fruit therefore cut it down.
Don't allow it to take up space no God is not just glancing at the fig tree. God is looking intently at the fig tree, my fig trees, a pretty good sized treats got some-what and when it's fig season. I am inspecting the tree on walking around the tree on looking under the leaves on I'm looking carefully for the evidence of fruit and God is just as careful in his inspection and in his looking and he won't overlook it if it's present but if it's not present. He has a resolve cut it down it's using up the ground that I want you to see with me the appeals to God the appeals to God.
Verse eight but he answered and said to him, he the antecedent to he is the Lord Jesus Christ. He answered and said to him, God the father served, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. The appeals to God so God the son is interceding on behalf of this big trees interceding on behalf of the nation of Israel, God the son, we can say is interceding to God the father for the sake of the souls of men and women an appeal to God, don't cut it down. Don't destroy it, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. The appeals to God. Then I want you to see the means of grace of God.
The means of grace of God, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize dig around it and fertilize pilots. Always a good thing dig around loose in the dirt up around it disturb the roots get some fertilizer on that.
So when rain does comical soak into the ground and the roots can benefit from that.
That's the analogy in terms of the fig tree, but what about spiritually what is God doing in the lives of those that he desires to see spiritual fruit and there is none in God is forbearing. God is long-suffering toward them well. God is digging around their lives. These disturbing their lives. He is bringing fertilizer to bear he is bringing gospel appeals to them. He is setting truth before them. He is bringing Providence to bear upon them. He is using the promptings of the spirit. He's using the witness and the testimony of what want to care for their souls. All kinds of means of grace that God's disposal to awaken sinners to provoke sinners to cause people to bear fruits of righteousness and the fruits of the spirit. The means of grace and how thankful we need to be and how we need to be actively involved in using those means of grace as we pray as we speak to people as we live our lives as salt and light in this dark decaying world are all kinds of ways where we can be of fertilize, as it were, and then we see the final resolve of God. The final resolve of God is he relents. Okay, I won't cut the tree down.
Will let it stand another year will see if the benefit of digging around it and fertilizing it produces fruit if it bears fruit. Verse nine well, but if not, after that you can cut it down.
The final resolve of God. You see, there is an end to God's is an end, God's forbearance. None of us know where those limits are therefore it behooves us not to be presumptuous not to put off today is the day of salvation. Now is the appointed time. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Isaiah 55 verse six says Jesus warned this generation. In John chapter 7 in verse 33 for a little while longer. I am with you. Then I go to him who sent me. I go away and you will seek me and will die in your sin, where I am going, you cannot come so we need to give consideration in our day and I don't know who I'm listening who's listening tonight. One of the most significant problems that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ has is that the churches are full of people who have a false profession have an empty profession and the issue isn't what you think of yourself. The issue is at what other people think of the issue is what God thinks of you as he inspects your life.
Is there evidence of the fruits of righteousness is through the evidence of the roots of the spirit because there comes a time where God says you know you're done using up my ground you're done using up my air you're done.
I'm on through unfinished.my forbearance is run its course and judgment will come. Some say well, I've heard these threatenings before judgment hasn't come if you do not repent of your sins do not trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot forestall judgment.
Judgment will come. It is inevitable.
It is unavoidable whether that judgment comes in your life is snuffed out in this life you will stand before God and give an account of your life. There is a day of judgment. It is appointed on the man once to die, and after this the judgment that should be if this is God's concern. If this is what God is looking for. It behooves us to be as concerned for our never dying soul is God himself is an unfortunately people are concerned about everything but the most important thing.
It is amazing to me how little thought how little concern people give for their never dying soul push it out of mind busy myself turn up the music.
Those who do have a concern for those who do try and talk to them. Those who do try and come to them.
They get the stiff arm to which is really what they're doing to godly basically are giving the stiff arm to God leave me alone for your loss tonight. The last thing you want for God to leave you alone because if God leads you alone God leads you to yourself.
You will die separated from him forever will be a judgment will face. So the question is, what if you done you know yourself to be void of spiritual life. You have there's no evidence of fruit in your life. What has the multiplied repeated promptings instructions. The advantages the pleadings.
What if they produced in your life do you do you do you presume that those will go on and on and on. I don't know where the end of God's patience is with sinners, but this text tells us that there is an end to it for three years I've come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I found none cutting down. Why does it use up the ground. All right, one more year one more year, perhaps God is saying. Three more months, six more months. How many sermons have you heard how many Sunday school classes. If you set through and you've turned a deaf ear you show no concern when callous you been uninterested in these pleadings. Here's another one tonight.
Your hearing this preacher plead with you, implore you to turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible says the way the transgressors hard the way of the transgressors hard, how hard does life have to get before you agree with God about the reality of that.
So you know what is. I take assessment of my life right now. My life has been hard while you're just living out the truth of what God is already said and you continue on the path you're on the broad way that leads to destruction. It landed destruction. But guess what on that Broadway is all kinds of heartache all kinds of misery all kinds of pain, because the way of the transgressor is harder God intends it that way and it's a good God that does because that way to be hard but it might stop you in your tracks may cause you to think may cause you to consider. You know what I'm on a fools errand.
This is not worth it.
I'm ruining my life.
I'm ruining the lives around me. I brought my family. I've ruined this everyone so hear me tonight bow the knee to King Jesus declare your allegiance to him determining you're going to live for him. His way is the best way his way is the way of life and freedom. The devil is a liar he's come to destroy. He's come the line deceive the promises freedom. And when you indulge it finds you it enslaves you not promise you if you are converted you become a slave, but you become a slave to the Lord Jesus Christ and there's no better master than him.
He will do nothing but do you good. Be a servant be a a servant of righteousness for your soul's sake.
That's the challenge tonight.
God is looking for fruit. What does he see when he looks at your life, what others see no if you're blind in the Bible says a lost man is blind is sin blinds him part of the deception is that a blind man thinks he can actually see you see the layers of deception. The blind man needs someone to say to him, you cannot trust your self. You are born again hear me listen to me you got people around you trying to admonish you, trying to exhort you, trying to lovingly steer you in the right direction trying to help you don't draw the conclusion that they're all wrong and you're right you're blind named can see the trust their assessment. He also spoke this parable, a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard look for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none.
Cut it down. Why does it use up the ground but he answered and said to him, sir, let alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it and if it remains if it bears fruit, well.
But if not, after that and cut it down by God because his word to bear fruit in your heart, your life.
Father I pray that you by your spirit would take your word and cause it to bear fruit.
Eternal fruit in the lives of those who've heard tonight and for those who under spirit guided self-examination find real evidence of the fruit of righteousness and the fruits of the spirit. Cause them to rejoice in what you have done it is is you who has quickened them to life. It is you who is caused them to be fruitful, helpless father to live lives that are God honoring and God pleasing in the live lives that reflect well on you father for those who are hearing tonight and are outside the ark of safety.
Lord, please grant them a measure of grace to flee the rafter, and to flee to him who bore that wrath that they would never have to pray in Jesus name, amen. Now blessed is he who reads this word and understands it now to him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to his God and father to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen