Sermon #†††† 95†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† Luke Sermons

 

†††† Title:††††††††† The Parable Of The Barren Fig Tree

†††† Text:††††††††††† Luke 13:6-9

†††† Subject:†††††† The Great Danger of Privilege Without Profit

†††† Date:††††††††††† Sunday Evening Ė March 9, 2003

†††† Tape #†††††††† X-49a

†††† Readings:†††† Bob Poncer & Merle Hart

†††† Introduction:

 

I cannot begin to tell you what an awesome weight of responsibility it is for me to stand here and endeavor to preach the gospel to you, eternity bound sinners, who must soon meet God almighty upon his great white throne of judgment. There is no burden to carry that compares with ďthe burden of the Word of the Lord.Ē

 

You see, while I am fully aware of the fact that salvation is Godís work alone, I am also aware of the fact that he uses the preaching of the gospel both as an instrument and means of grace for the salvation of his elect and as an instrument and means of judgment upon those who refuse to believe the gospel. The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay; and the same gospel that melts the hearts of Godís elect bringing them to repentance hardens the hearts of the reprobate sealing their doom while they live.

 

(2 Corinthians 2:16-17)"To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? (17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."

 

When I see a new face in the congregation, I am always both hopeful and fearful, hopeful that they might be saved by the gospel and fearful that they might forever be damned by it.

 

Proposition: You see, while it is a great, indescribably great privilege to sit where you sit, under the sound of the gospel, that same privilege (if it brings forth no fruit unto repentance) will sink your soul into the lowest hell and torment you forever. That is the message of our Lordís parable in Luke 13:6-9.

 

(Luke 13:6-9)"He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. (7) Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? (8) And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: (9) And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."

 

Context

 

If we would understand this parable correctly, it must be read in the context of verses 1-5.

 

(Luke 13:1-9)"There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. (2) And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? (3) I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (4) Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? (5) I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (6) He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. (7) Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? (8) And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: (9) And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."

 

The Jews

 

Read in this context, it is obvious that this parable was addressed by our Lord to the Jewish nation. God gave the Jewish people privileges and advantages, by which they should have known and served him, by which they should have known and believed the Lord Jesus Christ. They, and they alone, had all the privileges of divine revelation. They professed to be the people of God. But the very things that should have been their salvation became their ruin Ė Their religion! Because they refused Godís revelation, the Lord God cut them down in judgment and cast them off (Rom. 11).

 

Year after year, for three years, he walked among them, showed himself by miracle after miracle, told them plainly who he is, and taught in their temple and synagogues. Yet, they despised him, rejected him, and refused to believe him. At last he left them to themselves.

 

(Matthew 23:37-38)"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."

 

Addressed to Us

 

But it is a very bad mistake to imagine, as many do, that that is the end of our Lordís purpose in this parable. This parable is specifically addressed to you and me. Itís intent is the awakening of all who enjoy the means of grace, and the privileges of the sitting where we sit in the church of God, professing to be his people. May God give us grace to here it as though it fell from our Lordís lips at this hour, and is spoke directly to us.

 

(Luke 13:6-9)"He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. (7) Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? (8) And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: (9) And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."

 

Spurgeon said, ďThe parable is so simple that it needs no explanation, and therefore our Lord Jesus has not given any. May we all make a personal application of its solemn teaching!Ē I will do no more in this message than point out the obvious lessons this parable is intended to teach. It is my prayer that God the Holy Spirit will burn them into your heart and mine.

 

1.     The gospel church is Godís garden and vineyard.

 

(Isaiah 5:1-2)"Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: (2) And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes."

 

2.     Because the Lord God has given you the privilege of sitting here under the sound of the gospel, it is your responsibility to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

(2 Corinthians 5:20-21)"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

 

(2 Corinthians 6:1)"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."

 

3.     Yet, some of you are without fruit toward God.

 

        Fruit, not fruits Ė The fruit is faith in Christ.

        Acts 16:31

        Mark 16:16

        John 3:16-19, 36

        Romans 10:9-13

 

(Romans 10:9-13)"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

 

You have heard the gospel for years. You may even profess faith in Christ. But you have made for yourself a refuge of lies that will soon fall upon you and crush you to hell.

        Baptism

        Church Membership

        Good Works

        The Good Opinion of Others

        Religious Experience

 

(Isaiah 28:14-20)"Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. (15) Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: (16) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (17) Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. (18) And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. (19) From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. (20) For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it."

 

Judgment is his strange work, but he will perform it. It may appear a strange act for God, but it will be the act of God that casts you headlong into eternal hell.

 

4.     There is period of time set and determined God beyond which he will not tolerate the insult of your obstinate unbelief. Ė ďBehold today is the day of salvation!Ē

 

a.      Noahís Generation

b.     Ephraim (Hos. 4:17)

c.     Israel Ė 2000 yrs.- 3 yrs. Ė 40 yrs.

d.     ďJesus of Nazareth passeth by!Ē

 

Illustration: Dixie the Dancehall Queen

 

5.     Barren, fruitless souls are not only useless themselves, they are a hindrance to others.

 

They cumber the ground, spoil the soil and, like the Pharisees, not only refuse to enter the strait gate, put prevent others from entering.

 

6.     Faithful pastors, faithful gospel preachers, earnestly intercede with God, that he might spare even the barren soul that deserves to be cut down.

 

(Luke 13:8)"And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it."

 

(Joel 2:17)"Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"

 

a.      Moses Interceding for Israel

b.     Paul (Rom. 10:1)

 

(Romans 10:1)"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved."

 

7.     It is my great privilege and responsibility before God to faithfully labor for your soulsí everlasting salvation.

 

(Luke 13:8)"And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it."

 

8.     The only thing that will save you from the axe of divine justice is that the gospel you hear cause you to bring forth the fruit of faith in Christ.

 

a.      This faith is the gift and work and operation of God the Holy Spirit.

b.     But this faith is your responsibility. You must believe on the Son of God.

c.     If you believe, salvation is yours.

 

9.     Every soul without the fruit of faith toward God, like the barren fig tree shall be destroyed.

 

There is a law in the Book of Deuteronomy that relates to this. The barren, fruitless tree is fit for nothing but fire. You can only use a fig tree for two things: food or fuel. It is good for nothing else.

 

(Deuteronomy 20:19-20)"When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an ax against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege: (20) Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued."

 

10. Whether you believe or believe not, whether you are saved or damned, our God does well, and we will acquiesce in his goodness.

 

(Romans 3:3-4)"For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."

 

a.      Godís purpose will be accomplished.

b.     Godís people will be saved.

c.     Godís glory will be manifest.

d.     Godís justice will be vindicated.

 

Illustration: The Hounds of Hell