Luke 13:6-9 (KJV)
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.
From the time that I was with you on last year to this present time, all of us can look around us, and we can see that somebody that was here last year at this time, they are not here today.
We are the fortunate ones. We are still here! God has given us another chance. I do believe that there is somebody here right now, that was also here last year, but you are still not saved. You still haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior. We often hear that phrase said, but I wonder do you really know what it means to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior.
It means that you trust Him, and you believe that the works that He done on Calvary paid for all of your sins. So many of us like to think, and we like to make everybody else believe that we are perfect and that we have no sin. But the Bible says that “All have sinned and come short of the glory (that is approval) of God”. Romans 3:23.
For those of you who are not saved, tonight I want you to know that God is giving you another chance.
You’ve got a chance to turn your life around.
You’ve got a chance to love like He’s has commanded you to love.
You’ve got a chance to forgive one another, like He has commanded.
His wish is that no man should perish, but that we all would come to repentance. I tell people all the time that Hell was not made for you. Hell was created for Satan and his angels.
But when you chose not to trust Christ, and when you chose not to be obedient to Him, then you have joined forces with the devil, and therefore, you have made Hell you eternal home. Don’t let this night pass you by. Tomorrow is not promised to you, right now is all that you have. As long as there is breath in your body, you have a chance.
One thing that many of us today fail to understand that is clearly seen in this passage of scripture is that all of us have been planted for a purpose. I said that to say this, God has placed you here at Travelers Rest for a purpose. Be careful how you react to where God has planted you.
I’m gonna say this and then I’ll move on, you’ve got to learn how to grow where you have been planted. If you decide to go into another garden, then you are actually out of place. How would it look if the cucumbers in my garden decided to get up and move to my neighbor’s garden just because my neighbor’s garden looks more attractive? OUT OF PLACE, TRESPAS.
What my cucumbers got to do is grow where they have been planted. Why? Because just like God, whoever planted those cucumbers is looking for some harvest! And if we are not being fruitful where you are, this passage will show us that we are not pleasing God.
God has planted you in a particular spot, and a particular position, for a particular purpose. God doesn’t do things for nothing. Everything that He does, have a reason and purpose behind it.
Every life, every person in this church, God has a purpose for you being here. God has a purpose and a plan for everybody. When you think that you are planning, all you are really doing is falling in line with what God already got planned for you. See, you didn’t just plan to become a member here, God planted you here.
You didn’t just plan to become a Deacon, God planted you there on the Deacon ministry.
You didn’t just plan to become an Usher, God planted you there.
You didn’t just plan to become a missionary, God planted you there.
He planted us for the purpose of us bearing fruit. Now, all of us must bear fruit, because God knows where He planted you. He knows all about your environment. He knows whether or not the conditions in which you are planted are good enough for you to bear fruit.
What is fruit? Galatians 5:22 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control”. Now there can be only one reason why you are not producing these fruit, that is that you haven’t been saved. Because any person who have been saved, the Holy Spirit is working in you to make these fruit come forth.
We are here to show forth love, I don’t care if somebody did do you wrong, the Bible says, Love them! Matt. 5:44 says “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”.
We are here to show forth joy. 1 Thess. 5:16 says, “Rejoice Always”. When things are good, rejoice. When they are bad, rejoice. I can heard God saying, I planted you here so somebody else can see your joy.
We are here to show forth peace. Learn not to be a hellraiser, but a peacemaker.
We are here to be longsuffering with one another. So what, others don’t know what you know. So what, others can’t do what you do. So what, others don’t understand like you understand. We are to be longsuffering with one another.
We are here to show forth kindness. Nobody wants to be around you and you act like you’ve been sucking lemons all night. Keep a smile on your face. If you wants friends, you must first show yourself friendly.
We are here to be good to one another. Treat other folks like you want to be treated. If you want folks to treat you with respect, then treat them with respect. You can be good, just as easy as you can be evil.
We are here to have faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God”.
We are here to be gentle. Speak kind and soft words one to another. Kind word will drive away wrath. Don’t be blown all out of proportion when someone do something wrong, we all are sinners saved by grace.
We are here to have some self-control. Control your attitude and don’t let your attitude control you. Just because somebody said something bad about you and it turn around and got them, you have no reason to rejoice in their downfall. God said, “Vengeance is mine”. He doesn’t need your help in punishing anybody.
I’m sure that all of us that are in this building tonight, should we look in reverse, and take inventory of ourselves, we can see that we are lacking in one or more area of fruit bearing. But I came by here tonight to bring you some good news; God has given you another chance.
Tonight, I need to let you know that now is the time to repent, if you wait until the Rapture, there won’t be a chance to repent. Tonight, you’ve got a chance.
When we look at this text, we notice that it is a parable, it is an earthly story with a heavenly and spiritual meaning. Everything in this parable represents something.
The owner or the certain man represents God.
The gardener or the dresser represents Christ.
The unfruitful tree represents us.
Now before Jesus told this parable, He was teaching on repentance. Repentance means if you are not doing what God wants you to do, turn around, give your life to Him right now because all of us are in a perfect position to die. You don’t have to be sick to die. The Bible didn’t say that the wage of sickness is death, but the wages of sin is death. All of us have sinned. Just because you’ve got a chance tonight, don’t mean that you are going to have a chance tomorrow.
Verse 6 says, “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard”. Watch this now, the tree didn’t just happen to grow on its own, He had it planted there. It was planted for the purpose of bearing fruit, how do I know that, because it was a fruit tree.
It was a fig tree that was planted in a vineyard. The owner could have gotten fruit off the vine, but He wanted fruit off this tree, that’s why He had it planted there. That’s why He came looking for fruit regularly.
See, it doesn’t matter whether you think you belong here or not, God have planted you here for a purpose. Have you noticed how church folks will quickly get mad when things are not going their way, and they will quit bearing fruit all together?
Walk right by and won’t speak to nobody.
Walk away and won’t shake anybody’s hand.
Won’t put your arms around somebody that’s going through and encourage them. Baby when you do that, you are only hurting yourself. You are only putting yourself in danger.
You are overlooking the fact that you are not being fruitful in a place that God planted you in to be fruitful.
You don’t like what happening in the church, so you just quit coming.
You don’t like how it is now compared to how it used to be, so you quit bearing. Don’t you realize that God put you here for the purpose of bearing fruit? He never intended for you to quit.
Watch this, although God will not force you to be fruitful, but He has commanded that you be fruitful. According to John 15 chapter, there are four stages of fruit bearing. 1) No fruit, 2) fruit, 3) more fruit, and 4) much fruit.
He’s giving you another chance to move from no fruit to fruit
He’s giving you another chance to move from fruit to more fruit
He’s giving you another chance to move from more fruit to much fruit.
Don’t let your chance get away.
But I want you to notice something about this tree, it was planted in a vineyard with other fruit bearing plants, it had the same soil, it had the same nourishment, the same rain, and the same sun from heaven. Yet the other plants were bearing while this tree was not.
All of you here are sitting under the same teaching, listening to the same preaching, studying the same passages, being inspired by the same choir, and if someone else is bearing fruit and you are not,
it is because you chose not to bear fruit. All of us are free moral agent. God give all of us the right to make up our own mind.
So, if church has become boring to you, you just can’t come like you use too, you can’t get in the service like you use too, it is because you chose not to be fruitful in those areas. Look at the remainder of verse 6, “And he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none”.
So, the fact that God will not force you, but He has commanded you means that He will come looking for your fruit. Can God find any fruit on your tree?
Verse 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?”
This scripture is letting us know that God has given us enough time. If He was to come and call you home tonight, He has given you enough time. Three years was enough time for any tree to start bearing fruit.
Let me crank this verse up for you. Here comes God and He says to Jesus, I’ve been watching those folks at Travelers Rest, and every time I look in on them, I can’t see any fruit.
Many have stopped coming.
Most have started complaining.
And More are still compelled to do wrong.
I have commanded them to love one another, they refuse too.
I have commanded them to forgive and forget, they won’t do it.
I have commanded them to be a peace with one another, they are still bickering and backbiting and beating one another in the back.
In other words, ain’t no fruit on their trees. He says to Christ, “Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” He basically said, these people are wasting my time. They are taking up precious space that other people can be utilizing. God is saying, I put this tree in some good soil, it’s getting plenty of sun, plenty of rain, but it’s not bearing fruit.
We’ve got folks in every auxiliary, working in every function of the church, they are just taking up space.
They are not loving.
They are not listening.
They are not laboring,
they are not learning and I have no use for them. Cut them down. In other words they ought to be dead. Because a tree that won’t bear fruit is equivalent to a dead tree.
But Jesus said to Him in Verses 8 & 9, “Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it, and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down”.
When I look at these verses I can’t help but think about Romans 8:34, “who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us”.
If you haven’t repented, let me put something on your mind. Every morning that you wake up, Christ have given you another chance. He has gone to the Father on your behalf. God has come to each one of us daily looking for fruit and have found none and by right, we should have been cut down.
But can’t you hear Christ partitioning the Father on your behalf. Father just let them alone tonight, let them live another day. See, God sees that you are actually doing nothing but taking up space. But Jesus is our mediator, and He is saying, Father, give them another chance.
I want you to see something, Jesus doesn’t want you to have another chance so that you can keep on being unfruitful. He wants you to repent. Look at what He says, “let me dig about it, and dung it”. That means that He is going to do some cultivating and fertilizing so that you can began to bear fruit. See, He knows that if you are not bearing, then there is something wrong with your roots. So, He has to dig down in the dirt and do some work on your roots.
How does He do that? By the teaching of His Word. So, He is simply saying, give them another chance to come to Sunday School and learn what the Word is saying to them. Give them another chance to come to Bible Class and get an understanding of your word.
Now, it is important to have the right Word planted in you. The right Word, and a good understanding is what makes up a good root system. You need a good root system, because, things might be alright with you now, but somewhere down the line, the storm is going to come,
somewhere down the line, the wind is going to blow.
Somewhere down the line, the rain is going to fall,
An-nnn-nd when, the storm comes you are going to need a Word.
If you are not coming to Bible Class or Sunday School, then chances are you are getting the wrong words planted within you.
Somebody getting a word off the TV
Somebody getting a word off the Telephone.
Somebody getting a word off the Internet.
Somebody getting a word out of the clubs.
Somebody getting a word from their friends
If you are getting the wrong words planted, you cannot, and you will not become fruitful. How can you be taught the Word, if you are not here to hear the Word?
Because Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God! How can they hear without a preacher?
Look at what Jesus says in verse 9, He says, if it bears fruit, well. If after they have been given another chance, they start coming to church and hearing and doing what the Word has commanded. If they do that, then everything will be well with them.
But, “if not”. If you give them another chance, and after another chance they still are unfruitful, then you can cut them down. And my real question tonight is, How long do we have before God cut us down?
How long before the axe is laid at the root of your tree?
How long before you start living out your purpose?
How long before you start loving everybody?
How long before you forgive everybody?
How long will you continue to hold on to grudges?
How long will you keep on backbiting?
How long will you keep on being a hypocrite?
How long will you keep on being a busybody?
How long before you start paying your tithes?
How long before you begin to support you pastor?
How long before you start giving your all for the cause of Christ?
He died, that you might be able to live out your purpose.
They whipped Him, all night long,
And He never said a mumbling word.
Early One Friday Morning
They marched up Calvary’s Hill
They stretched Him wide and hung Him on the cross
He didn’t give himself a chance, so that you can have another chance.
While He hung there,
The sun refused to shine,
While He hung there,
The moon, began to mourn, and cried tears of blood.
He hung there,
While the centurion soldier cried out, surely this must be the Son of God.
He hung there,
Spread in the side,
Blood and water began to run down,
He hung there so that you can have another chance.
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, why should my heart be lonely and long for Heav’n and home, when Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.