If this is your first time in Church….or your first time back to church for a while, your not going to get BEAT UP your gonna get BUILT UP this morning!
We gather here once a week to acknowledge there is a center of the universe and we are not it!
We gather here to worship to say there is a throne in heave and we are not on it!
Luke 13:6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it
Before I go on, let me go all the way back to Genesis 1:11. ” Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.
God loves you just the way you are but He loves you too much to let you stay that way. He is a good gardener. He wants you to be fruitful. That is the objective and that is the backdrop to this story.
Let’s continue. Luke 13:7-9
7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
We are going to keep it simple this week.
If we are going to produce fruit, we are going to need to :
Dig into it.
Pile it up.
Cut it back.
Watch it grow.
#1. DIG INTO IT.
- 8 “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around”
DIG IT – Turn IT TILL IT – STIR IT.
After planting a fig tree, it takes three years to produce fruit. It takes time. It takes effort. You have to take some measures during those three years to help produce the fruit. The first thing you have to do is dig it. In other words, you have to turn the soil over. You have to work the ground. You have to loosen the earth and give it room to grown.
God wants you to be fruitful and if you do the groundwork, something great is going to happen.
Genesis 2:7 ” And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
God made us out of DIRT! – Science tells us that we are 98% water and 2% dirt.
In our culture many run from things that are dirty ….but God isn’t afraid to work on the Dirty Jobs!
He say’s give me your dirt and I will make it into something that I delight in!
I will take you GREAT-MESS and turn it, till it, stir it into GREATNESS!
There is no one in this room that whats to be content with being a plain ole Joe Dirt….but let face it. That is what we have to work with isn’t it.
That is were God comes in….literally …back to Genesis 2:7 ” And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
All of us have a desire to BREATH OUT what God has BREATHED INTO us….
Am I EXHALING what God INHALED in me?
If we are going to BREATH OUT what God has BREATHED IN….there has to be a whole lot of digging, turning,
tilling and stirring!
Many times our DREAMS are in the DIRT and we need to stop COMPLAINING and start TILLING, start TILLING, start TURNING and STIRRING up the dirt to find out what he put in there.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels – 2 Cor.4:7
2 Timothy 1:6,7 “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
TO BREATH IT OUT YOU GOTTA STIR IT UP!
#2. PILE IT UP.
- 8 “fertilize it.”
The KJV says dung it. The NLT says put manure on it. The NIV says fertilize it.
They are all synonyms. After you dig it, you have to dung it. If you want to bear fruit, you have to fertilize it.
All of us know people who have been following Christ for 25 years but they don’t have 25 years of experience, they have one year of experience repeated 25 times. Why is that? Because they are not allowing the Word of God and the Spirit of God to fertilize growth in them. So they tend to make the same mistakes over and over again.
I love the King James! It says it in a way that you would never say it….PILE MANURE ON IT>
Before the advent of horseless carriages, horses were the primary mode of transportation, and like cars, horses have exhaust pipes. And not just fumes! The average horse produces 15 to 30 pounds of manure per day. Aren’t you glad you came to church this weekend! 100 years ago, there was 150,000 horses in New York City. Do the math. Three million pounds of manure every day. In 1894, the Times of London estimated that by 1950, every street in London would be buried under nine feet of horse manure. Can we thank the Lord for the car!
I bring this up because unless you grew up on a farm, have you lost any sleep over manure? No!
But it is amazing. That something as noxious as manure would be the catalyst for growth.
Here’s what I’m thinking. If I don’t know a thing about a thing, I’m thinking you put manure on something and that thing is going to die.
Yet, God in his way of wiring his creation, says why don’t we take the waste product and let that be the fertilizer, the catalyst for growth. I think that is awesome! And I don’t think it is just an agricultural principle. I think it holds true in our lives.
GOD WITH TAKE THE CRAP OF YOUR LIFE AND USE IT AS FERTILIZER FOR YOUR FUTURE.
But I like this idea of re-crap. God wants to take the crap in our lives in and re-crap it.
In the parable of the sower in Luke 8 Jesus talks about 4 kinds of soil.
trampled ground – rocky ground, thorny ground and..
Luke 8:8 – But some seed fell on good ground …Good SOIL!
Hey guess what…..it takes a whole lotta grap to make good soil!
And how many in this place today know that Manure happens!
Means to cultivate, to propagate, to inseminate, to pollinate, to fecundate.
to nourish, to develop, to enrich and to frutify!
I don’t mean to be crude here but the CROP comes from the CRAP.
When you feel life your dreams and gifts are in the crapper ….God is cultivating/inseminating/pollinating/fecundating/nourishing/developing your destiny!
My FAITH turns my FAILURES into FERTILIZER.
Your FIG tree needs some FERTILIZER if it is going to produce FRUIT
#3. CUT IT BACK.
- 9 And if it bears fruit, well.But if not, after that you can cut it
So we need to go through this process. But let me reframe this idea of pruning.
When I ride my bike or do exercise, I am pruning fat. It is dead weight.
When I confess sin, I am pruning guilt. It is this emotional weight that weighs me down.
When I tithe, I am pruning greed in my life. God can do more with 90 percent than I can do with 100 percent. So when I give God the first fruit, when I subtract, God multiplies.
The final cuts in the NFL. Every coach and player and will tell you it is the worst day on the NFL calendar when they have to cut down to a 53 man roster. It is true in football and it is true in finances. If you want to balance your budget, you have to make budget cuts. Here’s what I believe.
God wants to put his finger on some things in our lives that are barren fig trees and we need the courage to cut them down and cut them out.
The word ‘decide’ from the Latin root means to cut.
Dig into it, Pile it up, cut it back.
THEN WATCH IT GROW!
“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.” – Psalm 40:2
1 Corinthians 3:6-8 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.