OceanSide church of Christ
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Part of the series: PARABLES OF JESUS
THE BARREN FIG TREE
Victor M. Eskew
A. John 1:11
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
1. The “he” of the verse is Jesus.
2. “His own” refers to the Jewish people.
3. The Jews did not receive the Christ.
B. The Jewish rejection to Jesus was part of their barrenness. The parable that we will study tonight tells the consequences the comes due to a failure to produce fruit.
1. The parable is only told by Luke.
2. The parable is referred to as “The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.”
3. It is found in Luke 13:6-9.
And 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. Then he said unto the dresser of his vine-yard, Behold, These three years I came seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and it not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
C. The central lesson of the parable is as follows: God expects the unfruitful to repent, and bear fruit, or be cut down.
D. The outline of the parable:
i. THE INFERTILE TREE (Luke 13:6)
ii. THE IRRITATED OWNER (Luke 13:7)
iii. THE INTERVENING VINEDRESSER (Luke 13:8-9)
E. The background of the parable.
1. The Jews were God’s possession.
a. Exodus 19:5
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.
b. In Isaiah 5:1-7, God pictures Israel as His possession again. Here, they are seen as a vineyard (See verse 7).
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant…
c. In our parable, Israel is seen as God’s fig tree.
2. In the immediate context, the topic of repentance is being discussed by Jesus.
a. The Jews held to a wrong belief about the evil that befalls man. If some tragedy came upon them, they believed it was because of sin.
b. On this occasion, Jesus was told about some Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with the sacrifices (Luke 13:1).
c. Jesus took their statement, and asked a question: Suppose ye that these Gali-leans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? (Luke 13:2). NOTE: Most Jews would have answered: “Yes.”
d. Such was not the case at all. In fact, Jesus declares that even those Jews to whom He presently spoke needed to repent (Luke 13:3).
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
e. He also gives them another example of 18 who lost their lives because the tower of Siloam fell on them, and gave the same conclusion (Luke 13:4-5).
f. At this point, the hearers may have been wondering what they needed to repent of. Thus, Jesus speaks this parable.
g. NOTE: We will now look at The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. We want to examine it from God’s perspective.
I. GOD EXPECTS FRUIT OF HIS PEOPLE
A. This is clearly seen in Luke 13:6.
A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon…
B. Q & A:
1. Question: Why did God expect fruit?
2. Answer: Because the tree had been blessed.
a. The tree had good soil.
b. The tree had a knowledgeable vinedresser caring for it.
c. The tree had been given the best of care.
d. The tree had been given time, some three years, to produce.
3. God had blessed the nation of Israel and had given them all they needed to be fruitful (Isa. 5:2).
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…
C. As God’s people today, God expects us to be fruitful.
1. John 15:8
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
2. I Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
3. Titus 2:14
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
II. GOD IS WATCHING AND KNOWS OF OUR PRODUCTIVITY
A. He came and sought fruit thereon, and found none (Luke 13:6).
B. When Jesus came to earth, He inspected the Jewish nation.
1. Matthew 23 reveals what Jesus found among the Jewish leaders.
2. Romans 2 sheds light on the lives of the Jewish people.
C. God is still watching.
1. Psalm 33:13
The Lord looketh from heaven, he beholdeth all the sons of men.
2. Proverbs 15:3
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
3. Hebrews 4:13
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
D. Question: When God examines you, what does He see?’
1. No fruit (Luke 13:6)
2. No fruit to perfection (Luke 8:14)
3. Wild fruit (Isa. 5:4)
III. THE UNFRUITFUL WILL BE CUT DOWN
A. The owner was not pleased with the unfruitful tree. He commanded it to be cut down (Luke 13:7).
Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I came seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
B. God would ultimately cut Israel down because of her infertility.
1. Jesus foretold of their demise in Matthew 24 (see v. 2).
And Jesus saith unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
2. In A.D. 70, the Roman armies of Titus marched against Jerusalem and brought devastation to Judaism.
C. God will bring destruction upon us if we are not profitable to His cause.
1. The one talent man did not increase his talents.
2. His sentence (Matt. 25:28, 30)
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents….And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
IV. GOD IS LONGSUFFERING
A. In the parable, the vinedresser requests that another year be given to the tree (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.
B. God gave the nation of Israel more time to repent and bear fruit.
1. For almost 40 years, the gospel was proclaimed to them.
2. In fact, God made certain that it was proclaimed to the Jew first (Rom. 1:16).
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
C. God is still longsuffering to us.
1. II Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning is promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffer-ing to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2. II Peter 3:15
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…
D. While God suffers with us, He expects us to change.
1. The vinedresser was going to dig around the tree and fertilize it.
2. We must make changes in our lives and seek to become fruitful.
3. NOTE: This is the positive of the parable.
a. God holds off destruction.
b. We make changes.
c. We become fruitful. That’s HOPE!!!
A. If we repent of our barrenness and bear fruit, that is wonderful. The vinedresser calls it, “well” (Luke 13:9).
B. And if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down (Luke 13:9).
1. God’s longsuffering will come to an end (II Pet. 3:10).
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…
2. One man made this observation: “Unlike the barren fig tree, we may have less than a year to bear fruit.