Faithlife Sermons

8 The Fruit of Repentance

The Kingdom Is Near  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Big Idea: Turn from your sin and produce the good fruit of a pure life.

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Background

Parable of the Unfruitful Fig Tree (Barren)

Before Jesus’ ministry began

John The Baptist Teaches Repentance

Matthew 3:1–2 NIV
1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
He also was teaching the baptism of repentance.
In Matthew 3 we have a record of John’s preaching.
Matthew 3:7–10 NIV
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And 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. 10 The 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.
“Abraham as father” means saved by status as those being under covenant.
Show axe, tree
Jesus submitted to this baptism at the start of His ministry. Then 40 days in the wilderness, tempted by Satan, heard John was arrested, went to Galilee to live in Capernaum by the sea.
Jesus also taught –
Matthew 4:17 NIV
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
In our passage for today Luke 13
Jesus is teaching in Galilee. He just finished talking about His purpose of bringing division, not specifically to divide people, but division will come over His message and life. Jesus is teaching on signs of the end times.
Someone spoke up to address the issue of people from Galilee who were recently slaughtered while making sacrifices in Jerusalem.
The story and the parable seem simple at first. Even almost seem unrelated. But there is great depth to this passage.

Is Tragedy A Judgment For Sin?

Luke 13:1 NIV
1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
“Hey Jesus, did you hear about the earthquake and Tsunami in Indonesia? Over 200k killed.” Aren’t they strict Muslims...
Hurricanes in Texas, Florida. Earthquake in CA. Shootings, bombings, etc.
We tend to think that way, don’t we? Must be God’s judgment or punishment.
It’s easy to point the finger at someone else. Instead of grief and help we offer pride and judgment.
Jesus addresses this like He often does - a few questions to make us think and then a parable to reveal the Kingdom principle.
Luke 13:2 NIV
2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
Jesus also brings up another story of tragedy to continue making His point.
Luke 13:4 NIV
4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?
Are they really worse sinners? As in – they get judged because they are worse and we don’t because we are good?
Jesus answers the question of guilt in both vv. 3 & 5
Luke 13:3 NIV
3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
But does He really answer the question of God’s judgment? Not really...
However, the question isn’t really whether they were judged by God for their sin.
John 3:18 says those who don’t believe in Jesus are condemned already.
What DID Jesus say then?

Unless You Repent

Luke 13:3 CSB
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well.
Interesting thing is how Jesus turns it back to them. First, were they worse than all the others, then – but unless you repent.
So, Jesus didn’t really say that the tragedy was not God’s judgment, it could well have been. It isn’t for them to judge, though, because they are not better than those who perished.
Now Jesus gives them the parable:
Luke 13:6–9 NIV
6 Then 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. 7 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. 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. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”
In Matt 21:18-19, Mark 11:12-14 Jesus cursed a fig tree. Appearance of bearing fruit but no fruit.
Fig tree is a symbol of Israel - Jesus was showing Israel had appearance of life and godliness but no fruit.
Again here, fig tree = Israel. Application is for all.
Three years - could be a picture of Jesus’ ministry.
Could be a correlation between vineyard owner and Father, gardener and Jesus.
Jesus intercedes on behalf of His people to extend the offer of grace.
One more year, fertilize, care for, give it a chance to turn around, to bear fruit.
Not to say God is uncaring and ready to destroy everyone, and that Jesus is running interference. The Father has given responsibility and authority to the Son to establish the Kingdom, and the Son does His part to bring them in. But when there is no response, opportunity eventually is gone. He gives multiple opportunities, but not unending.

Second chances but not unending

Luke 13:9 NIV
9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”
“YOU can cut it down” the Owner, the Father.
Just as John the baptizer taught, Jesus taught in
Matthew 7:19 NIV
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Does that sound harsh? In God’s dealing with man He is more than gracious. More than patient. We all deserve judgment, punishment, death.
At some point our opportunity is gone.
When we don’t decide to follow Jesus, we’ve already decided against Him. Our natural human state is to follow our own way.
Remember the parable of the Rich Fool from last week?

The Fruit Of Repentance

Unless you repent, unless you are bearing fruit, you will perish.
Again, looking at John the baptizer
Matthew 3:8 NIV
8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
What is the fruit of repentance?
People asked John what they should do. His examples were showing life change through good works.
Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22–23 CSB
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
Proof the Holy Spirit lives in us and we are yielded to Him.
The obvious signs of heart transformation. Change in character.
Paul, in Acts 26:20 says he preached to Jews and Gentiles that they should repent, turn to God, and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds/works.
The way you live, the way you treat others, living with an open hand and generosity.
New Life & Character
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Obedience and Love
Matthew 22:37–39 NIV
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
The fruit of repentance is the outward expression of a transformed heart and a changed life. Obedience, Love, Good Works.

Big Idea: Turn from your sin and produce the good fruit of a pure life.

What About You?

Is your life producing the fruit of true repentance?
Are you putting off fully committing your life to Jesus Christ?
Are you allowing something else to get in the way?
The intention is not to scare you or guilt you into a commitment. That doesn’t last.
But, just like the rich fool, and just like the ones killed in tragedy, we don’t know that we will be given another opportunity.
God’s grace is now. You are here now and hearing Him now.
Respond now.
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