If a Tree has Leaves, does it have Fruit?

September 2, 2016

If a Tree has Leaves, does it have Fruit?

Matthew 21:18-19

18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing 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. 

A fruit tree is expected to produce fruit after its kind.  A Christian is expected to produce fruit after their kind.  

The fig tree in this story is said to represent Israel.  The person coming from the outside might enter a city like Jerusalem and see it flourishing.  They could go to the temple and see it full of activity and religious men walking about it and throughout the city.  Jesus teaches us here that just because a tree has leaves and looks healthy doesn’t mean that it is fruitful.  If it is a fruit tree that appears healthy and yet produces no fruit, it is failing in its purpose in life.  Just like Israel, if we appear to be the people of God, have all of the churches and religious services, but do not bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then we too are barren.  We are missing our purpose.  Our purpose is to not bear healthy looking leaves, but to produce fruit in the way God has purposed us to do.  No amount of leaves or trappings can hide that. 

Adam and Eve used leaves to hide their nakedness and we often do the same; hiding the shame of a life that is void of fruitfulness, but full of activity.  Jesus says in John 15:1-8, ““I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 

5″I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” We are taught here that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.  He doesn’t tell us that our function is to produce leaves, but to produce fruit.  Leaves are a support and facilitator for the fruit, but they can never take the place of the fruit; they are like faith and works, they go together.  

Jesus gave us many examples where He shows us that we have responsibility and accountability for His life in us.  If we take and receive the life of Christ in us, then live our lives only for ourselves we are a fruitless tree or branch.  We are to bear fruit so that others might be partakers of the life of Christ and be nourished through what He is imparted to us.  

The fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23 are, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  This fruit operating in our lives will allow us to be fruitful in the gifts and abilities that God has given each of us for our ministry and calling.  

One day the Lord will examine our tree or our branch.  We have responsibility for what it is bearing.  If we are truly abiding in the vine then we will be producing the fruit and not just the leaves.  It is important that we judge ourselves that we be not judged.  How fruitful is our tree?

Blessings,

#kent

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