Matthew 3:10 – “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” NASU
Luke 13:6-9 – “And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7 “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ 8 “And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'” NASU
On December 3, 1978, I preached this message at the church I was serving as pastor in Rush Springs, Oklahoma. I have used these thoughts in conversations and revivals through the years but felt directed by the Holy Spirit to use this in my devotional blog. I sense that the Holy Spirit is desirous to remind us that the directive of “Be Ye Holy, for I am Holy” is still applicable and there is still a Harvest to be reaped. You have a purpose in life and it is far more than simply evangelization but sharing your faith is certainly part of that purpose.
As a nation, the Jews were more highly favored than any nation. The primary reason for that was they would be the instrument or nation through which God would bring the Seed of the Woman, Jesus, into the world to Save us! God took them out of the land of Egypt and hand-planted them in the fertile field of Canaan (the Place of Promise). He wants to do the same with our lives and take us from barrenness to fertility in Him.
He delivered them with incredible care and detail. He invested Himself in their deliverance so powerfully that I believe it is within reason that He would expect them to bear fruit and fruit of the highest quality. But, they continually grieved His heart and rebelled or disobeyed. In this account, we discover that God’s heart was grieved, and Jesus had sought for fruit for three years but found none in the Pharisees and Sadducees. The loving and compassionate heart of our Lord interceded again and again. Remember the words of Jesus in Luke 12:34: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
They were spared for a season to permit the digging of His Teachings and the work of the Holy Spirit and ultimately the proof of His resurrection to cause them to bear fruit. Yet, they remained in unbelief and according to Romans 11:20, were cut off because of unbelief. It is important to remember that God’s longsuffering has a limit and he will not allow weeds to grow in his vineyard and wheat field forever.
This account or parable conveys some very serious and soul-searching lessons for every Child of God. I want to begin walking through some of them and hopefully, they will resonate with you and your surrender or recommitment to Him will occur.
CONSIDER THE TREE.
I want you to notice that it was the right kind of tree (a fruit tree) in the orchard. It was a valuable tree because it was a precious fruit tree. It would provide food. The Fig Tree represents one who is born from above. It represents one who has a new nature. It represents one who is part of the family of God. This tree is unique in that it had been a member of another family or planted in another orchard but now it is in the Family or Orchard of God.
Secondly, it is a tree of incredible privilege for it had been planted in God’s vineyard. Fig trees did not grow by the wayside. It had been hand-picked and specifically chosen then carefully planted. It had been chosen, planted, supplied, and protected. Hopefully, that will speak to each of us and remind us that we have been chosen by God (John 15:16). We are the Lord’s planting! He has chosen and ordained us that we should bring forth fruit!
Third, the tree is barren or fruitless. Fruit was sought by the owner of the vineyard, but none was found. What a disturbing prospect, a fruit tree in the orchard and no fruit. Look around you in the church today and in the world today and you will readily acknowledge that it is not only possible but far too commonplace. Too often we come, sing the songs, give our offerings, say the prayers and never produce fruit. That is not God’s purpose!
Who is to blame for the fruitlessness? Is it the keeper of the orchard? It is the soil? Is it the tree itself? In this account, the problem was clearly in the tree. I acknowledge that it is possible to be in a church where there is no nourishment and thereby no good soil but most of the time, there is enough good soil and spiritual nourishment to provide the nutrients for productivity. Even, if there is not the tree is responsible to run its roots into the soil (the Word of God) and seek the nourishment provided therein by the Holy Spirit.
The tree was not planted to be an ornament. It was not planted so it could receive the care and nourishment being given it but to Bear Fruit! It might appear to have life, it might have green leaves, it might have all the outward signs of being a Fruit Tree but if there is no Fruit it loses its purpose. God grows Fruit Trees, not Fire Wood!
I will pause there and pick up this tomorrow and hopefully before I am through something will resonate with you and inspire you to revaluate your own life and become a Seeker of Him and a bearer of fruit.
God bless you richly as you enjoy this day!