PARABLE OF THE BARREN FIG TREE
Luke 13:6-9 (NIV) 6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
1. ___________________ IS ESSENTIAL FOR SALVATION.
Matthew 3:8-10 (NIV) 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
TRUE REPENTANCE IS MORE THAN JUST CHANGING OUR MINDS; TRUE REPENTANCE IS DRIVEN BY HATING SIN.
2. GOD EXPECTS _________________.
Matthew 7:15-20 (NLT) 15Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
BAD FRUIT / GOOD FRUIT
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
3. GOD IS _______________.
HE HAS TREMENDOUS PATIENCE WITH US!
Luke 13:7 (NIV) So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any.”
2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV) 8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
IN HIS PATIENCE, HE OFFERS US SPECIAL CARE SO WE CAN PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT.
Luke 13:8 (NIV) “Sir, the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.”
GOD’S PATIENCE HAS LIMITS.
Luke 13:9 (NIV) “If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”
See James 2:14-18
FAITH ALONE SAVES, BUT FAITH THAT SAVES IS NOT ALONE; IT HAS GOOD WORKS WITH IT.2
Important to remember: We are not saved by works but saved for good works! (See Ephesians 2:8-10)
4. HELP OTHERS GROW; DON’T BE A CRITICAL FRUIT INSPECTOR!
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
Matthew 7:3 (NIV) Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NIV) 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
1. Do you need to repent today? Receive Christ?
2. Do you need to recommit to a regular practice of repentance? What will this look like?
3. How will you receive consistent nutrients to be a healthy, fruit-bearing Christian?
4. Who will you encourage in their growth and maturity? How will you talk to them?
QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS IN LIFE GROUPS OR WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
Passages to consider: Luke 13:1-9; Galatians 5:1,16-26
1. What about the sermon and the parable was significant to you?
2. Read Luke 13:1-9. Who is Jesus talking to? What does He want them to understand? How does this parable help express what He is communicating?
3. What do you know about fig trees and fruit trees? (If you don’t know anything, no worries, do some research.) A) How does this knowledge help you understand how Jesus is using this parable?
4. What is your understanding of repentance? A) Where have you seen examples or experienced repentance yourself?
5. Jesus’ work on the cross is the only work that can restore a relationship between a person and God. When we step into that eternal, life-giving relationship, things in us begin to change. Read Galatians 5:16-26. What does the passage tell you about repentance and fruit? A) What does the fruit in your life look like at this time?
6. What is your response to what Jesus is saying in this week’s parable? With whom can you share the story or your response?