by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: God put us on this planet in order to be fruitful. This fruit can come in many forms: children, reproducing yourself in others through evangelism, the fruit of the Spirit, bringing forth fruit meet for repentance, etc.
A study of fruit and how it brings glory to God is a series in itself. Suffice it to say that if you are not bringing forth fruit unto God then your life is not producing what God intended for you.
We live in a self-absorbed culture and many have resorted to living desperate and tedious lives focused on pleasing themselves through a variety of means. What fruit have you brought forth for the Lord? This parable speaks to the tragedy and even danger of a fruitless life.
1. Purpose of Planting (13:6)
God comes expecting to find fruit since that was his purpose in placing you in His vineyard. One of the most Satanic things you can do is live unto yourself without a view of producing fruit for the glory of God.
Satan is proud and self-centered and a fruitless life mirrors such an attitude. Whether careless or rebellious a fruitless life is a disappointment to God. The owner came and "sought fruit." What if that happened in your life today?
2. Possessor of the Vineyard (13:6)
It is "his vineyard." You are not your own. God has rights to you based upon creation and redemption and he simply desires some spiritual productivity. If you are living unto yourself then you need to return the stolen property immediately.
3. Problem of Fruit (13:6)
The text states the he "found none." The old country song "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" might apply here. He probably found plenty of branches and plenty of leaves but he was looking for fruit and found none. How would you fare under such Divine scrutiny?
4. Provider for the Vineyard (13:7)
The dresser of the vineyard is introduced at this point. We should not make a parable walk on all four feet lest we run amuck with speculative interpretations. However, in the parable, someone has been working to get some figs from this fig tree for an extended period of time.
Perhaps God has been at work in your life for a reasonable period of time but there is yet no fruit - what is the problem?
5. Periodic Inspection by the Owner (13:7)
The language suggests that the owner would make regular inspection tours for the sole purpose of finding fruit on this fruit tree. Perhaps this is what we should do at the Lord's Table (periodically) and do our own inspecting.
6. Protest by the Owner (13:7)
The owner is losing patience and says "cut it down - it's just taking up space." Does that characterize your life . . .cumbering the ground, taking up space, using nutrients which could be used by someone who is bearing fruit? Perhaps your life has gone through a period of conviction and circumstances but has now come to a crisis.
Perhaps you have been marked for being cut down by the one who is seeking fruit from your life. Has it come to the point of Proverbs 29:1 where after repeated warnings then comes swift destruction?
7. Plea From the Dresser (13:8)
He says "let it alone this year." The dresser pleads for time in order to "dig and dung" around the tree in an effort to get some productivity. Has God been "digging and dunging" in your life lately?
There is nothing pleasant about the process but according to Hebrews 12 it can yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. What if God gave you one more year to become fruitful? Would it make any difference to you?
8. Probation of the Tree (13:8)
A limited time is given to determine if the tree is going to be fruitful or not. I know some people who have not been fruitful for years. This is a troublesome thought to ponder.
9. Permanence of the Outcome (13:9)
There are only two possible outcomes in this verse. Both have everlasting consequences. Matthew 13 and John 15 are quite instructive concerning the utter seriousness of a fruitless life. I will let each preacher draw his own conclusions but there is nothing but warning in the Bible for any person who has a fruitless life.
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