2019 is coming to a close When you look back, how would you rate it? Was it a great year for you? Was it a mediocre year or even not a good year?
Maybe we look back at the year and say it was a 2 and you don’t want to do that again. Maybe you look back at the year and we reflect on this year maybe there are things you wish you had done differently.
What about your relationship with God? In 2019 did your relationship grow, thrive and grow stronger?Or did it wither and fall apart?
Did you spend more time reading His word, praying more, and worshiping more? O,r did you do less? How much did you reflect on being a child of God? Did you interact with others as a child of God?
As we stand on the threshold of a new year let’s look at a parable.
The Parable of The Barren Fig Tree
In John 1:11, Jesus explains that He had come to his own but they received him not. The Nation of Israel was barren in producing fruit for God. It is in this context, we look at the parable of the barren fig tree.
The key about this parable is that if a tree doesn’t bear fruit, it is to be cut down.
- Exodus 19:5
- Isaiah 5:1-7
Israel was the house of God. They were His chosen nation. In this parable we see that Israel is the barren fig tree. The immediate context is one of repentance.
In the immediate context in this passage it concerns repentance. The Jews held to the wrong belief that the evil that befalls man is because of the sin they committed. If some tragedy came upon someone they must have sinned and deserved that. Luke 13:1 Jesus was told about Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with sacrifices.
Jesus took this statement and asked a question, Luke 13:2. Most Jews at this time would have said, yes, they must have done something bad because of the tragedy that befell them.
And this was not the case at all as we've come to know. In fact, Jesus told them that even of the ones He was speaking to needed to repent, Luke 13:3. He want on to tell them of another tragedy, the falling of the Tower of Saloam. From Josephus it was a tragedy in the area where the tower fell, and 18 people lost their lives. Jesus mentions this in Luke 13:4-5, with the same conclusion that tragedy isn’t just on those who have sinned. But, that tragedy can strike at any time.
And, perhaps as they stood wondering whether or not they needed to repent, Jesus tells them this parable.
Why Does God Expect Fruit?
He expected it because the tree had been blessed. It had good soil. It had a knowledgeable vinedresser who was caring for it. The tree had the best of care. It had been given time, 3 years, to produce fruit That’s why the man expected fruit from his tree.
God had blessed the nation of Israel as well.
- Isaiah 5:2
Today God expects his people to be fruitful.
- John 15:8
- 1 Corinthians 15:58
- Titus 2:14
God expects fruit of His fig tree His nation of Israel, and today of His people Christians.
He sought fruit and found it.
- Matthew 23
- Romans 2
God is still watching for us to produce fruit. He is still watching.
- Psalm 33:13
- Proverbs 15:3
- Hebrews 4:13
When God Examines You What Does He See?
Does He find no fruit? Or, does He find fruit but not to perfection?
- Luke 8:14
- Isaiah 5:4
Are we bringing forth wild fruit? Or fruit that goes against what God has said to do?
If we are producing one of these kinds of fruit, either no fruit, or imperfect fruit, or wild fruit it will be cut down.
- Matthew 24:2
In AD 70 the Roman armies of Titus marched upon Jerusalem and brought devastation to the city, and Judaism as a whole.
God will bring destruction upon us as well if we are unprofitable for the Lord.
- Matthew 25:28-30
The unfruitful will be cut down. But there is hope. There is grace. God is long suffering.
In the parable the vine dresser requested another year, Luke 13:8.
God gave the nation of Israel nearly 40 years to repent and bear fruit. In Romans 1:16 we learn that the gospel was first given to the Jews. He was long-suffering to the fig tree, and to Jerusalem, and He is long-suffering to us.
- 2 Peter 3: 9, 15
If God had no patience we would not have salvation. But He is, and in that is salvation. He expects us to change and to produce fruit. At the end of that year for that fig tree, He expected to see fruit.
We have to make changes in our lives if we are not producing fruit at the end of this year. We have to make changes to put Christ first, to be more helpful, patient and caring to those around us.
We must seek to be more faithful from year to year, day to day, and even hour to hour.
God is faithful, and patient and there is hope for us to make the changes we need to.
If we have opportunity to make changes we have a responsibility to make any needful changes. With the year ahead of us, we have the opportunity to make changes to our priorities, repent of our barrenness and grow fruit for the Lord.
As long as we have opportunity we should make changes, because if we do not, at some point we will be cut down, either in this life or the one to come.
- 2 Peter 3:10
Let’s make this the year to make changes. But, why wait until the first of the year to make resolutions? Why not start right now?
We can help you to put on Christ in baptism or to study with you. We want to help you to begin producing fruit. Or, if you are a Christian who has perhaps started to atrophy, let us encourage you, pray with you, support you and bear your burdens.