So what is that call of God? As we consider new years resolutions, I hope that as Christ-followers we are asking what is it that God wants me to accomplish and focus on this year? What is His purpose for my life? A question I considered recently is why does God leave us here after we accept Christ? Why not take us home right away so that we can immediately experience the fullness of His presence and be freed from the problems of this world? What do you think?
Let’s look at some places Jesus speaks to this question, but first, what year is it? (2011). Would someone read Luke 13: 6-9 for us?
There are 3 possible interpretations here of what the fig tree represents. Since a fig tree is often used in scripture to represent the nation of Israel, it is possible that Jesus intended for this to be understood as applying to them. I believe that it can also be legitimately applied to the church or to individual churches. I also believe that it can, and should, be applied to individuals … you and I as followers of Christ. And what is it that Jesus says the man is looking for? (audience response) Fruit – and Jesus makes it clear that this was not a casual thing … the man had been coming for 3 years looking for fruit and was ready to cut it down because he was not finding any. What would that fruit be?
(Use an apple to illustrate and discuss what it is good for.)
Remember what Pastor Chuck taught us several weeks ago about what the fruit of an apple tree is? Its more apple trees. An apple is the intermediate fruit … the end result, if the apple’s seed is planted, being another apple tree. Spiritually, Jesus is teaching in this parable that He and the Father are coming regularly to seek fruit from us, us as Crossroads and us as individuals. Is He finding fruit in your life? Or is He ready to give up on you?
In sharing this parable, Jesus chooses to include another element which is very important, but can be easily overlooked … sort of like the moon-walking bear. What characters are mentioned in the parable? (master and gardener) What is the role of the gardener in the parable (someone who is willing to dig into the soil and fertilize the tree to help it to grow and produce). What relevant spiritual role is Jesus encouraging by the inclusion of the gardener (a discipler who is willing to invest in the lives of spiritual babes to help them to grow in Christ and be fruitful). Is that what Jesus is looking for in your life … for you step out in faith to help someone younger in the faith to be fruitful?