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The Parable of the Fig Tree

David Obermiller

Presenter

David Obermiller

Farm manager at Fresno Adventist Academy.

Conference

Recorded

  • January 18, 2018
    6:30 AM
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Our Father in heaven I want to thank you. I thank you for your grace this morning look at the parable of the Figtree it is a story of grace story of mercy. And it is pray that you blast us with that this morning should give us your presence and that you'd be our teacher always I'm not fit to teach anyone here and. We're undeserving of even being shared with from a certain perspective but because you're gracious to us we asked you to bless us with your presence. To bless us with your love and your hand upon us to read the story here this morning as we open the scriptures that your word would speak to us and that we would see you more clearly in Jesus' name we pray that. So look Chapter thirteen will reverse the six through nine. When I read the whole passage in the will come back through it one verse at a time actually take a phrase of the time so Luke Chapter thirteen verse six Jesus spoke this parable a certain man had a fig tree planted in his Where. And he came and sought for it from it and found. Then he said into the dresser of the vineyard behold these three years I have come seeking fruit on this tree and find none cut it down. Why does it come for the ground and seen our Make sure your contextually reading Who is he here in verse eight. That's the keeper or the dresser if you're reading the King James. The keeper answer instead of to him Lord leave it alone at this year also and I'll dig around it and on it and if it bear fruit Well good. And if not then after that you can cut it down. Or go back to verse six. So again it will read the verse more time he Jesus spoke this parable saying a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard and I want to ask you a question I have a lot of questions this morning I'm not just going to give all the answers Who is he. Who is the certain man. Or Christ. A little bit louder for the I heard a couple their answers to who is he. The boss OK. They from up arming perspective who's who is the certain man. The owner of the. The far. Now that's a symbol. Who is he. Heard God. The father is the Christ. You kind of have to ask the question because. Who's the dresser then in the next verse. Thirty Angel Christ. My understanding of this the way I read this is that the certain man that is the land owner is God the Father. And that the dresser or the keeper of the vineyard is Christ a sign. That says a certain man God the Father had a fig tree now this fig tree was out of place where it was a. It wasn't in a figured. There was an event here. I example i Verse seven the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah has pleasant plans and he looks for judgment be but behold oppression and for righteousness but behold a cry and a light writes in the Christ object lessons the generation to whom the Savior had calm were represented by the fig tree in the Lord's venue or. Within the circle of his special care and one thing that's page two fourteen from Christ object lesson. So God had a fig tree planted in his venue and in that the vineyard symbolized that circle of his care. And his blessing. That he came it says in verse six he was seeking fruit from his victory because what else would you do with a fruit tree in your yard. You would eat from it. I worked with a landscaper a friend of mine in Arizona for a few years he told me the story once of a man who had a grapefruit tree in his back yard was a customer of his he received this call from the costumer he said I have got this tree it's not producing fruit and he says well what do you want you want an ornamental you want for it and the guy I have of course I want. Why because it's. So over a tree. Wasn't a pirate can't or an ornamental of some type so he came. He was seeking fruit and the problem is that he found how much. Again for price object lessons one page later to fifteen held White Rights God and his son had been seeking fruit of course this clarifies the earlier question I asked who is the landowner who is the dresser a white page to fifteen paragraphs to God in His son had been seeking fruit and had found on Israel was a cumber of the ground. Its very existence a curse for it filled the place in the vineyard that a fruitful tree might fill. If you're a. The die figures here your farming professionally as a career yours yours your livelihood is based on your far right how much is your land worth. How many of your farming here. OK How much is your land we're. Not asking dollars per acre. But value per square foot you make your living off that land. Do you plant things in your garden do you plant things in your farm that merely take up space and keep it from being productive. I started a farm four years ago I'm learning the value of land every foot. I like the way she says this it was taking up space its existence was a curse for it's still the place in the vineyard that a fruitful tree might fill. How do you feel about things that cost you money. Warm fuzzy. Me a little bit how do you feel about things that cost you money. Depends on what they give back. This tree wasn't giving anything back as a farmer what do you do as something that's taking up land but not giving anything back you tear it out. You see this all the time in California where I'm from people switch crops they might be growing cotton and they decide to tear out all of their cotton and put in all men's or in some cases they are growing pistachios and and almost become more valuable or walnuts as they tear off all their trees you see in bulldozing acres and acres and acres and acres and acres of land because some other crop is more profitable or more productive are the times and seasons of change than the market has moved on to something different. It rob the world going on here she says it rob the world of the blast things that God designed to give the Israelites had misrepresented God among the nations they were not merely useless but they were a decided hindrance. To a great degree their religion was misleading. And work to ruin instead of salvation it's go to verse seven again. How do you feel about the fig tree right now. Use of emotions to describe to me your feelings about this fig tree that's taking up space it's not only unproductive it's. She says it's a curse its existence was a curse how do you feel about victory. It's got it coming. Somebody else I do you feel about the victory. Frustrated. Over that. Eliminated I want to out of my life yeah. There were times. Use it as a shed Oshea to OK. Anybody else. Sad pity. Go to verse seven. Then he. Said into the dresser of his vineyard the keeper the vine worker. Behold these three years I come seeking fruit in this fake tree and I find none and the landowner says what. Cut it down. I don't know if he is just. Being prudent if he is being malicious I don't know he hates the tree and wants that gone or be just being practical as a business owner and saying This tree is not working to make a better business decision kind of a novel idea but the fig tree in the vineyard got to go. The landowner says cut it down. Why is the take up space. The word cumber here in Greek literally means to make it an active idle unemployed. Literally he says Cut it down it's making the land inactive. Now if you apply this to the church. If you apply this to hear us here this morning. Even though there's plenty of room at six forty five in the morning for other people in the room. Are you taking up space. In my taking up space. I could look at this generally we can kind of generalize a little bit and say. Am I just taking up space in the church my making my by making my pew unproductive. Would my pew be more productive without me sitting at it. Now let me add a word. Do I sometimes do that how many of you. What's really fascinating to me about the story and I'll ask it as a question. Is there any blame cast upon the fig tree is there any any blame. Would you say. Yes. OK I like your wording that's kind of interesting he said you could argue that the owner in a roundabout way did you're almost saying that no we didn't. Is there any criticism thrown upon the tree. It's using space. For three years. Pushing a little bit beyond that is there any blame cast upon the tree. Was accused of being lazy. Maybe the thing I looked at Yeah. Wonderful question is it fair to expect truth on a fig tree after three years. Where we don't know when the fig tree was planted the text doesn't say it didn't save it was three years ago it was five years ago it was ten years ago doesn't say how productive the tree used to be in the past. But the owner certainly came looking for. So it sort of implies that he had the expectation that it would be bearing fruit. Is there any other blame cast on the tree. Yeth. Was the trick I'm going to ask again they treat accused of being lazy. Tree accused of being unconverted. Is the fig tree accused of not studying its Bible enough. Is the Big Three accused of not exercising enough. What's really interesting about the story is there's not really any criticism cast at the tree. It is said stated that it's unproductive it is taking up space. Beyond that how much is. Actually if you look at it and especially look at verse eight we'll go there next the fig tree is given a tremendous benefit of the doubt. We'll ever see. And he that's the keeper of the vineyard answers and says Lord do what. Leave it alone. Leave it alone this year also and I'll do what I'll dig around it and I'll apply some newer to it. In the Greek language the phrase Let alone is usually translated not usually about a third of the time it's translated forgive. Forgive. The keeper of the vineyard literally says Lord forgive the tree. He didn't argue the landowners assessment he didn't argue that the productivity of the land was not being used it wasn't arguing that the tree wasn't productive he didn't argue any of that with the landowner he simply said Lord forgive the tree. And he didn't accuse the tree and I actually look at his perspective if you look at his actions from an agricultural point of view he actually treats the tree as though there's something wrong with its conditions not with the tree itself so what does this say he does with the tree he he digs around it. He cultivates around it. Then he fertilizes that is there surely must be something wrong with the circumstances that this tree is then. Doesn't criticize the tree he doesn't attack the tree he doesn't the little of the tree or it's on productivity. So he does these things I ask for those of you that are gardeners and farmers Why did he do that why I dig about and fertilize it. To help it bear fruit that like from a agricultural point of view like from a maybe scientific perspective. OK he was there reading the soil when you dig the ground you loosen it up and you get air in there OK what else. Might have been some weeding going on there giving the tree a little bit less competition that's good what I'll. Get to hear when you're when you dig around the tree it loosens up that soil and water to penetrate further down and then you said I'm sorry. OK the fertilization of it and getting minerals back down into the soil now what was the type of fertilizer used. Manure and manure is pretty rich and what. Nitrogen is a fertilizer again and an OK I heard it over here microbial an occupation. Grass passes through the Calvin test and system and you get a knock you lation of microbes beneficial microbes that symbiotically work with the plant roots and sort of feed to help feed the tree. What else is in the manure. Probably more of this than anything else. Graph In other words organic matter what does organic matter do the ground. Lots feeds microbes. What holds more water dirt or organic matter. Organic matter serves as a buffer for water holding in the soil. I'll tell you a funny story here. I have one more on my list of the great By the way I think you. Working with this landscaper friend of mine. Like you said in Arizona he was teaching me to prune fruit trees I was. He was sort of a jack of all trades guy I really liked him. But he did a little bit of everything you do that as he would call the mobile and go stuff you know mow the lawn clean it up and then go down the street and mow the next guy's lawn and he would he would do a random assortment of things that seem but he also printed fruit trees for people and that's the part that was really interested in as I was working with him to learn how to prune fruit trees were in someone's backyard one of his customers pruning some some peach or some sort of stone for a camera but it was and he starts telling me the story about the guy with a grapefruit tree before he told me The Great for a tree story. He told me different story. About a pear tree in his backyard pear tree it had been unproductive for a while and was trying to figure out why and decided he was going to pull the tree out but when he went to pull the tree out the roots had tapped into his Leach line coming out of his house. And of course he didn't want to destroy his leased line so now he's like What do I do if you can just cut it down so he decided to do something with the tree he tells me the story and I'm up on a ladder pruning this peach tree or whatever it was is they went into my garage and I got a two by six and I carved a hand a lot of one in. Walked out to my tree as my neighbor was. Actually standing outside you look at me walking out with this two by six and a card to handle a lot of what you do with a two by six has got a handle on one end of it. Something is about to get hit. And right at that moment I'm thinking Dude you should not be teaching me to prune fruit trees. His neighbor says are you going to do what I think you're about to do and he says yes and you're going to watch me proceeded to beat his tree. And I'm like wow wrong guy I picked. Told me that the next year is tree had fruit on a. Little disappointed goes a long way. So then he started to tell me about the guy this was in Phoenix the guy with a grape or a tree and he asked the question do you want an ornamental or do you want fruit in the guys. So he said take a tarp wrap it around the tree the lean a tire up against the tree and then drive into it with your truck you know gentle. The guy in Phoenix thought he was as crazy as I did and didn't do it. He said couple years later the guy calls him back he says you will not believe this I was working on my wife's car in my driveway. I heard cars going through the neighborhood a really high speed some guy was running from the cops. Witnesses true story. I thought OK I didn't believe it the first time either. The guy running from the cops goes through the stop sign the intersection where the guy happened to live somebody else was going through the intersection of the same time an innocent person swerved to meet the bad guy and met Yes through. The tree. Said You won't believe it my tree is for it I. I'm telling him being honest with you I said Dude you are fruity. My wife and I planted. Blackberries at my house about the same time. And just a few more things to get through in a few more minutes. Plans as a Black Berry as I went on a trip. Working with some Cole Porter's my wife called me and she said what you do with the blackberry bush. I'm sorry for my response I may tell you something about me that's embarrassing I said What do you mean what I do with the blackberry bush she's like well what you do with it we talking about I put it in my suitcase and brought it with me. She's like it's not there what do you mean it's not there it was like it's not there I don't I don't understand what he's saying it's not there's like listen. I'm getting really frustrated actually probably better little un-Christian. I confuse where to go so we go outside of so I was really so frustrated it would just go outside and take a picture of it just you or me take a picture of the ground yes I want to take a picture of the grounds like where to go is a sheet How do you leave your house with a blackberry bush leave your blackberry bush in the hands of your wife. And go on a trip and she calls and says the guy. She sent me a via e-mail and I saw three little leaves sticking up out of the ground and immediately I knew what happened that we had gophers in the area and the gopher pulled the whole plant underground. Except for three leaves all that was left on this little library plant. I said Oh OK OK OK. So they said they get back out water and we'll see what it does this is the first year we planted. Black Berries this right in particular don't produce fruit on their first year we had planted three or five of them something like that so this little white river. Started to grow sick at school still lived here really started to grow it outgrew the other ones that were planted on the same day then it flowered. You know it follows flowering. I called my friend I said you will not believe this you have to come to my house. And I stood with there in my garden with this man's name Daniel. I said these are all planted the same time I told him the story he said I told you stress the tree it has to choose the live or die. History chose to live the Great for a tree in the guise yard chose to live the blackberry bush my my garden chose to live and sometimes enough of the point here is the digging around the roots of it disturb the root system may have initiated enough stress in the tree that it also decided I'm going to live and I die. So each element and back in verse eight he tells the owner of the land give it a year. Give it a year I'll dig around it I'll fertilize it go to verse nine if it bear fruit good and if not then after that I may finish it for me. Now you skip the word don't say cut it down look at it you shall cut it down and end this and I'm sorry I'm out of time here that I never get to the best part and. You notice this back and forth exchange. And honor comes to divine yard keeper. And this kind of down. In the keeper says give it a year and if it doesn't bear fruit who cut it out. You cut it down. The father says the Jesus there unproductive people in my church cut them down Jesus says no give them a year then you cut them down and God says No I. Don't really want to cut it down you cut it down and give it just a little time and then you can cut it down if you don't like it God the father doesn't want to cut down the tree you know what the problem is Jesus doesn't want to either. Nobody blames the fig tree or not one word of criticism. And no one wants to lay a hand on it. Piles of criticism your church members. Of criticism are heaped on centers. They don't read their Bible enough oh they're doing this and oh they're doing that sent over this person this oh this person that God the Father Jesus the Son laid not one word of criticism against the tree other then it wasn't being for. Nothing you know. And then when it came to doing what really needed to be done from an agricultural from an economic perspective what really needed to be done with an unproductive tree on a farm cut it down. Is nobody wanted to do it. Not the landowner not the keeper. No one wanted to cut it down. To a certain extent. Both of these men. Would rather have land wasted than the tree cut down. And I think it says a lot about the character and the personality and the love of God for centers. In America we have too much of a production lines up. Some cases we need to have more true. Especially we run a farm and get it. But when it comes to spirituality. Comes in the way we treat people within our church. We too often have a production mindset. When God is less concerned about the usefulness of the land than he is about the life of the tree. One last note we have to close. A lot of people see Jesus just like the parable teaches. We see Jesus as the intercessor you remember the word let it alone I told you about a third of the time is translated forgive we see Jesus as that sort of way we see Jesus pleading with the Father to forgive to part and to to give a little time to give a little space we see Jesus as the good guy interceding with God which making of Jesus is the good guy makes God the Father who. The bad. The one who doesn't like you. The one who hates your sends the one who doesn't like your on productivity so he is the rational prudent business minded landowner who says it's unproductive cut it out Jesus needs to enter seed with him for your life there's some truth with that. But God the Father told Jesus you cut it down. Because he didn't really want to do it. And maybe you think I'm playing on the words just a little bit this morning perhaps I'd be a fair criticism but perhaps it's not. Perhaps God is hesitant to cut the tree down the Father as Jesus the Son is willing to enter seed. And they constantly go back and forth. Over a piece of ground that's unproductive. But over the tree. Because you the tree we the tree the church. But what God loves. Not space not real estate. But the pews in the church not the building. We are the object of God's love. We are the thing that they are both striving for. We are the thing that they're both laboring for. The most famous source in the Bible. John three sixteen. Says god. And Jesus the Son went willingly partnered together for you and for me. Father in heaven I thank you for the story and I would pray that you had lost the story. Which one of us here struggles with sand we struggle with temptation we struggle with on productivity were often perhaps fruitless and if we are fruitful to be honest. To be truthful. Many of us are not as for full as we should be even if we are bearing some fruit. And Lord why you're concerned about fruit the story teaches us that our life is about more than productivity. Our life is ultimately about how much you love us. You the father and you the son. For which we are very grateful and very humble. To be here now. This media was brought to you by Adil first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio first if you would like to listen to more servant leader Visit W W W audio verse or.

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