Matthew 21:18-20 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
Are you ready for service to the Master in 2017?
This is the first message I preached in this New Year, and I want to share it here on my blog to challenge you in your faith.
Here are a couple questions below to ask yourself.
-Is your fruit ripe for the taking?
-Are you ready to give food for anothers spiritual good?
-Will you have fruit this year that will remain?
In Matthew 21, we read the story about Jesus and the fig tree. He is on a journey and He is hungry. He sees a fig tree in the distance, and according to Luke the fig tree appears to be in full bloom with leaves galore! On fig trees the fruit appears before the leaves. In study we find that this story likely happened in about April so the leaves that Jesus saw were from last years yield, as new blossoms wouldn't be ready till about June. In seeing the leaves Jesus hoped to find fruit on the tree that would have survived the winter months. And of course you know the story, the trees deceptive character caused Jesus to curse the tree.
Israel is often times compared to the fig tree in scripture. In Matthew 23:1-33 we see that Jesus also rebukes the rulers of Israel for their hypocrisy and ungodly character. Appearing to be righteous they put on a facade of holiness, they looked the part, but inside their hearts were far from God. Causing them to be void of long lasting fruit.
Behold your house is forsaken and desolate. Matt 23:38
Even so, Jesus rebukes the scribes and pharisees and said 8 times “Woe to you scribes and pharisees”! Had the scribes and pharisees repented in that moment of opportunity, their hypocrisy would have been forgiven as we see Gods grace always abounding in everything that He does. The number eight in the Bible signifies resurrection, regeneration and a new beginning. Eight is 7 plus 1 and since it comes just after seven, which itself signifies an end to something, so eight is also associated with the beginning of a new era or that of a new order. Even in the harshness of the rebuke, Jesus still offered hope! Jesus was interceding for them and they didn't recognize it.
Last fall the Lord began to challenge me with a question. After all is said and done, after every song is sung, after every message is preached and every deed is done, will I have fruit that remains?
If someone comes to you this year, someone who is spiritually hungry, will you have spiritual fruit to feed them? Will others be able to partake of you and find refreshment and nourishment by being in contact with your life. The scripture says, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16 Maybe you have just come through a winter season in your life, I want to declare over you that your fruit has remained over these winter months! Maybe your feeling like the fruitless fig tree and you feel your not good for use for the master, please read this next beautiful scripture of hope found in Luke!
Luke 13:6-9 Then He began telling them this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree that had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it, but did not find any; so he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and have found none. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground [depleting the soil and blocking the sunlight]?’ But he replied to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, [just] one more year until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit after this, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”
This is such beautiful hope that the Lord himself will intercede, till up the ground of our lives and nourish us back to spiritual health if we will turn to Him and seek Him with all our hearts! Whatever you may have faced last year, God can wipe your slate clean and give you a brand new beginning! Just like He offered to the scribes and pharisees, recognize the Lords outpouring of love for you in this new season!
Please pray this prayer below out loud!
Jesus give me open ears to hear, open eyes to see, an open heart to receive, a spirit of worship, willing hands to work, and fruit that remains!