The Lesson of the Fig Tree – Part Two

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

Part Two

“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away”
Matthew 21:18-19

The lesson of the fig tree is one of great value to those who seek truth. Its message is for our growth and development.

Jesus came to the fig tree looking for figs. He came looking for fruit consistent with its capability. So it is with us. The righteousness of God prevents Him from an expectation that is beyond the ability of the tree to produce. The God who measures the talents to every child of His according to their ability, is the same God who holds each of us accountable to Him for that gift. This truth brings our accountability into perspective. It is also meant to be instructive to us as parents and ministers of God that we walk in His wisdom regarding the lives of our own children and of every believer. We are not to expect Paul to minister as Peter, nor Jude to speak as Apollos. Such expectations are the result of religious doctrines and confines. The Life of Christ within regards the individual gifts and capacities of others and looks for the corresponding fruit. When the fruit of an individual is consistent with the call and the gifts of God given, there should be a collective rejoicing unto the Giver of all good things. When the fruit of a life is missing or lacking the vitality of its call and capability, there is great need for the ministration of exhortation and admonition. Ministers who fail in this vital aspect of ministry will find themselves accountable to the Chief Shepherd of our souls.

Stewards and Shepherds

We are stewards of the grace of God and as such we are to shepherd His flock with a desire to see Him glorified in each and every child of His. It requires a pure heart to walk in such things knowing full well our own accountability unto Him. The fear of the Lord is the ground upon which His true ministers walk and function. John the Apostle declared that he had no greater joy than to “see his children walking in truth”; the truth of what has been given to them. The one who has been given prophetic insight, that is the thing to which God will hold them accountable (1-see below). The one who teaches must teach the truth of God to the end that every life will grow in the holiness and wisdom of God. (2-see below). Those who exhort must do so with purity and simplicity (3-see below) As to the Apostolic, there is to be a faithfulness to call God’s people to the obedience of faith (4-see below). The list is as endless as the diversity of God’s creation.

(1) “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Romans 12:6)
(2) “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28)
(3) “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3)
(4) “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:5)

In the book of Romans, Paul exhorts God’s people to receive all of these diversities as the gifts and the wisdom of God. Those who refuse these expressions deny God’s wisdom and subject themselves to His judgment. Division is the result of man’s wisdom and pride.

“Only by pride cometh contention…”
Proverbs 13:10

The Lesson of the fig tree is that He comes to each of us looking for corresponding fruit. His expectation is consistent with His grace given. In the Parable of the Talents, the man with one talent was judged severely for his faithlessness to the gift given (Matthew 15:30). In the Parable of the Vine, the branch which bore no fruit was “cut off” (John 15:2,6). The lesson of the Fig Tree was meant for our admonition and learning to that same end.

The response of Jesus to the two individuals who were faithful to their respective talents was the same! Different talents yet the same reward for their faithfulness to God’s measure.

“His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
Matthew 25:21,23

The purpose of these diverse ministrations is:

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work…”
Colossians 1:10

Brian Troxel

A Spiritual Checkup

A Spiritual Checkup

This is an excerpt of my own heart’s internal desire to remain current and alive unto my God and Saviour.

Spiritual Ignorance is the result of disobedience.

The Remedy:

“But he that doeth truth
cometh to the light”
John 3:21

Spiritual Stagnation is the result of fruitless living.

“Every branch in me that
beareth not fruit he taketh away”
John 15:2

Spiritual Apathy is the result of not abiding in Him.

“If a man abide not in me,
he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered”
John 15:6

Spiritual Poverty is the result of robbing God of the gift of ourselves to Him.

“Will a man rob God?
Yet ye have robbed me”
Malachi 3:8

The Remedy:

 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship”
Romans 12:1

Repentance and godly sorrow is the great gift of God’s mercy to us. In turning we shall be turned, and in godly sorrow is found the wonder of His Joy. Humbling ourselves is the precursor to Him being magnified in our lives.

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, which brings no regret”
2 Corinthians 7:9-10

Σ

 “Examine yourselves,
to see whether you are in the faith”
2 Corinthians 13:5

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The ING of Life

Thought for Today

The “ING” of Life –

“If you will not believe,
surely you will not be established”
Isaiah 7:9

Believing in God is not a one-time event. In a true and vital reality, it is to be more equated to breathing than some momentary experience. The Hebrew words used for “believe” and “established” are expressed here in the imperfect tenses. The imperfect tense would suggest (for the sake of clarity) these words culminating in an “ing”, indicating an ongoing and uncompleted work. It is in our believing that our lives will be in the ongoing work of being established. The work of the Holy Spirit is ever embellishing, ever rooting and establishing us in Christ. It is in the ongoing reliance upon Him where His work takes on the power and substance of true in-wrought character and stability in our lives.

“If ye continue in my word,
then are ye my disciples indeed”
John 8:31

Discipleship is not a fleeting momentary experience. It is a life-long necessary experience. As breathing is to our natural life so is believing, trusting and faithing in our relationship with Him. The life of the branch consists in its live and continuous connection to the vine. Jesus in this parable uses the word “abide”. It is here within the context of this one living principle that we discover the wonders and glory of the increasing of His Kingdom within our own hearts.

“If ye abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you”
John 15:7

This life of abiding, believing, and trusting in Him is an active principle of life. Any true expression of faith is revealed in obedience and response to His Word. To abide in His word means to respond to its influence and lordship. It is not uncommon to see a dead branch connected to a living plant. The connection is there but the dead branch no longer has a live relationship with its source. The identity of the branch is known by the fruit it bears. We see a branch bearing grapes we know that it is a grape vine. The fruit is the signature of the life of the vine. They who do not abide in Him lose their identity and confidence in Him. When people lose their identity they have no ability to impact the lives around them. Faith becomes a thing rather than a life. It becomes an ideal or a teaching rather than a heartbeat. This is what death is in our spiritual lives. Faith without works, branches without fruit and cold dead hearts without His life being the continuous inspiration of our very breath are the symptoms of a decaying branch.

“Every branch not bearing fruit in Me,
He takes it away”
John 15:2 (BLB)

Ω

“But become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, this one is like a man studying his natural face in a mirror; for he studied himself, and has gone away, and immediately he forgot of what kind he was. But the one looking into the perfect law of liberty, and continuing in it, this one not having become a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in his doing”
James 1:22-25

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info