Zealous they seem outwardly, when they are cold at heart or else lukewarm. It is His vineyard. And this their forwardness promiseth a summer; it brings a blessing upon a nation. He sees the heart and inmost thoughts. Robins, M. A.I. Seasonable. The extended season and increased facilities for fruitful growth which are thus afforded. O, awful state I when the Saviour Himself withdraws; when His Spirit, grieved, resisted, quenched, finally quits the stony heart. Vaughan, M. Many have had the same feeling.IV. How long God hath trusted thee with His patience, and given thee time to make thy peace, and sue out thy pardon. So man in his childhood and infancy is flexible, easily inclining to virtue or vice, as he is taught and instructed. Here is the doom of final impenitence. Yet it may be perceived by their soaking of the ground and drawing away nourishment from corn and plants that are near unto them. But doth He forbear all trees thus long? THIS TREE, FAVOURED THOUGH FRUITLESS, IS YET SPARED. An enlarged charity may hope that theirs is the blessedness of those who 'die in the Lord,' but we cannot add (in the apostle's expressive words of commendation) that they 'rest from their labours,' and that ' their works do follow them.'"(T. And whilst those ungrateful farmers of the vineyard held their lease it could not be taken by others, who would gladly have hired it, and "rendered the fruit thereof in due season" (Matthew 21:43). Roger S. Greene: "Gathering with the Self Emptying Love" march 13, 2016 the fifth sunday in Lent. And so it is well for the vineyard. "Ask the gentleman who stands near you," answered the father, with unmoved gravity. And let there be a "fruit" — fruit best of all, in your own soul — more of Jesus there — a humility, a tenderness, a holy singleness, which shall show Jesus, just as the grapes shows the vine.(J. Men covet most when they have time to spend least; as cheating tradesmen then get up most commodities into their hands when they mean to break. An emphasis of prediction "Thou shalt cut it down," that is, thou wilt cut it down: there is nobody that can hinder thee. "Well" will it be to live well, to die well, to meet God well. Secondly, HE HATH SOUGHT IT OF US, as our text speaks. Did he not give you wages enough?" God's people are "a willing people" (Psalm 110:3). That dying boy, that carter, was like a fig-tree growing on the road-side. Rogers. Sure I am, there is no tree subject to so many diseases as the body of man is.6. The Jews are one example of this; the seven Churches in Asia are another. Where would you place it on a scale of 1 – 10? WHAT IS "FRUIT"? Highly are you favoured, brethren; you are members of a pure Church; you assemble to a pure form of worship. 1. The Father by His providence and protection, the Son by His mercy and mediation, the Holy Ghost by His grace and sanctification; all dividing the streams of their goodness for the best behoof of the world. A fulness of fruit. "Well," said Minerva, "do you what you please; I, for my part, make choice of the olive for its fatness and fruitfulness. He hath entered into a league and covenant with His Church, to become their God, and take them for His people, and so He hath not with the world besides (Hosea 2:13; 1 Peter 2:10). "Only the Lord hath a delight in thy fathers to love them, and He chose their seed "after them, even you above all people, as it is this day," said Moses to Israel (Deuteronomy 10:15). Shall mercy be preached to you for ever in vain? He woke up a different man. )No fruitT. W. Skeffington, M. A.O could there be laid out before our eyes the secret and wonderful workings, the incessant and anxious care, of which the inner life of any one soul is the object, how should we be lost in amazement at the unmerited, the marvellously constant, love of God! He that cannot stir abroad in the world, what should he do but recollect himself, and settle his thoughts on the world to come? H. Do something. Jupiter makes choice of the oak for its strength, Apollo of the bay-tree for its greenness, Neptune of the poplar for its length, Juno of the eglantine for its sweetness, Venus of the myrtle tree for its beauty. Of a clap of thunder they made a Jupiter, of a tempest at sea they made a Neptune, of an earthquake they made a Pluto, &c. And to these their created gods they erected temples, altars, and consecrated the goodliest and fairest trees that they met withal; which ancient practice of dedicating this and that kind of tree to several gods as proper and peculiar to them was always observed (saith Pliny), and yet remaineth to this day. Well for the vineyard; it will be adorned, enriched, and replenished. © Copyrights 2021. But if in God's house they live ungodly lives, it had been better for them they never had known it. And so is it in the Church, insomuch that Balaam himself could not but admire at it, and in a rapture cry out, "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israeli As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side," etc. Blencowe, M. Their convictions are stifled, their affection to the things of God is gone, and the gospel is become tasteless to them.4. God hath set in hope, planted in hope, watered in hope, of some answerable return, and shall it be denied? Servants may bring forth good fruit before their superiors. So the nearer man is to infancy and childhood, the less sinful and freest from vicious courses; but when he once comes to be stiffened, and confirmed in the strength of his stock by man-age, then he waxeth more tough and violent in his courses (as did Rehoboam and Joash): the cider we grow, usually the worse we are. Are mere nominal Christians much more than these wax figures? He won't give up hope of it. Indeed, our best fruits are never perfect and kindly ripened; still they relish sour and earthly, and savour of the stock from which they were taken. Why did He not complain the first year? An emphasis of prediction "Thou shalt cut it down," that is, thou wilt cut it down: there is nobody that can hinder thee. Digging gives nothing to the tree; but it makes openings whereby gifts from another quarter may become practically available. "The smell of it is like unto a field that the Lord hath blessed." But the Church is peculiarly His, as it is called by His name, and formed to show forth His praise.2. Conscience shall awake and reprove. "Herein is My Father glorified, in that ye bear much fruit," says Christ Himself to His disciples (John 15:8). The destructiveness of it.6. CONSIDER THE COMPLAINT ALLEGED IT IS THAT OF UNFRUITFULNESS. He woke up a different man. Secondly, it is a sin that all law condemns. God reckons and accounts Himself profited when we do that which is our duty before Him; when we are active and fruitful in goodness, and answer those gracious opportunities and advantages of being better which God in goodness affords unto us, we do thereby the more honour God and express His grace in us, as it becomes us to do. Indeed, all trees are not equally loaden; there is the measure of a hundred, of sixty, of thirty; an omer and an ephah; but the sacred dews of heaven, the graces of the gospel, bless us from having none! So we distinguish of Churches, yet all is but one and the same, one catholic Church and no more. Thirdly, Seeking implies mildness and gentleness, Thirdly, WE SHOULD BRING FORTH FRUIT, FOR THAT GOD HOLDS HIMSELF GLORIFIED BY IT. "The Lord's portion is His people, Jacob is the lot of His inheritance," saith Moses (Deuteronomy 32:9); they are His peculiar ones (Exodus 19:5, 6); His glory (Isaiah 46:13); His ornament (Ezekiel 7:20); His throne (Jeremiah 4:21); His diadem (Isaiah 62:3); His Hephzibah (Isaiah 62:4); His only delight is in her.1. One year's showers and sunshine. You are not like a little dying boy, who said to the Christian friend visiting him, "O sir, do ye think I would hae ony chance wi' God? Those that enjoy the means, must not only bring forth fruit, but be fruitful; should bear abundance. Thus Israel ascribed all their plenty, their bread, their wine, their wool, their water, dec., to their lovers or sweethearts, that is, to their idols and false gods (Hosea 2:5).3. With the means that must be used for the producing of fruit so qualified.3. Secondly, We ought to have a special regard to the credit of the gospel, which is the doctrine of God's grace, and teacheth men to be fruitful, "in denying all ungodly lusts, and in living soberly, righteously, and godly in this evil world" (Titus 2:11, 12). "how are they fallen?" The fruit of the fig-tree is a most delicious fruit: "Shall I leave my sweetness?" 2; 1 Timothy 3:2).2. No fruit is more delectable to the taste, nor more comfortable to the heart, than that which comes from the grape. So we distinguish of Churches, yet all is but one and the same, one catholic Church and no more. Yet we have somewhat more to take notice of, for God is pleased not only to liken Himself to man, but He takes upon Him the profession of an husbandman, resembling Himself to a careful and painful vinitor, that had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard, &c.(N. A kingdom of God must be a kingdom of righteousness, and if Jesus presented it to view as a kingdom of grace, it was because He believed that was the most direct way of reaching the ideal. The ancient Greeks used to quote the proverb that "The feet of the avenging deities are shod with wool," intimating thereby the noiseless and unexpected manner in which they approach their victims. If we have so much more than others, we ought to be just so much better than they. Wherefore, be exhorted to be fruitful Christians, that you may answer God's expectation. (3) Because He knows that if He interceded not, no sinner could live a moment longer.(B. It ought to be much (John 15:5, 8). So they are not only not profitable, but hurtful.III. So the Pharisees made long prayers, and under that pretence "devoured up widows' houses" (Matthew 23:14), and such is the fruit of all hypocrites. The Father by His providence and protection, the Son by His mercy and mediation, the Holy Ghost by His grace and sanctification; all dividing the streams of their goodness for the best behoof of the world. Saul was a tall tree, "higher than others by the head and shoulders." So the nearer man is to infancy and childhood, the less sinful and freest from vicious courses; but when he once comes to be stiffened, and confirmed in the strength of his stock by man-age, then he waxeth more tough and violent in his courses (as did Rehoboam and Joash): the cider we grow, usually the worse we are. Find Top Church Sermons, Illustrations, and Preaching Slides on Luke 13:8. God chooseth for His love, and loves for His choice; they are called His by election.2. Fourthly, "It shall be unto us according to our fruit" (Jeremiah 17:10).. We read that Xerxes adorned the plane-tree, and hung it with many rich and precious jewels, because He delighted in the shade thereof; much more will God adorn fruitful trees, for that He delights in the fruit thereof. Why is it thou art spared? All are not of the same rank and quality, some are of high degree, others low (Psalm 61:9). The Church is called and separated from the world, both in life and conversation, as appears, Leviticus 20:24, 26; Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 14:2; John 15:19. Their fruit is not lasting; it holds good for the summer season of prosperity, but when the winter of adversity and persecution comes, it fails (Luke 8:13). Their convictions are stifled, their affection to the things of God is gone, and the gospel is become tasteless to them. There is much of sacrilege in it. They are heavenly plants, but grow in a foreign and cold climate; not well concocted, not worthy the charges and care bestowed upon us. And so is it in the Church, insomuch that Balaam himself could not but admire at it, and in a rapture cry out, "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israeli As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side," etc. The earth, in a thankful imitation of the heavens, locks not up her treasures within her own coffers; but without respect of her private benefit, is liberal of her allowance, yielding her fatness and riches to innumerable creatures that hang on her breasts, and depend upon her as their common mother for maintenance. B. Bruce, D. D.However legal or usual the presence of a fig-tree in a vineyard may be, it is not, as in the case of a vine, a matter of course, and Christ must have had a reason for introducing it, and the reason can only be found in the didactic significance of the emblem. V. And now, lastly, OBSERVE THE SURE DOOM OF THOSE WHO CONTINUE STILL UNFRUITFUL: — "If not" (if the tree then bear no fruit), "then after that thou shalt cut it down." For exhortation. Minerva sitting by, demanded of her father Jupiter what might be the reason, that seeing there were so many fruitful trees, they all made choice of those trees which were fruitless. Even when Jesus is the pleader, the request of mercy has its bounds and times. Might not the Lord of the vineyard have laid the axe to the root? For the sake of their seed designed for vessels of mercy.4. Is not this the true way of estimating the importance of a Christian Church? And here, again, this expression — "Thou shalt cut it down," it hath a double emphasis with it. Adams. And can we wonder at this when we consider what a waste it is of time; what an abuse it is of privilege; what a contempt it is of the Divine goodness; what a disregard it is of the soul and eternity I Sin is to be estimated not by its grossness, but its guilt. A vineyard is a well-ordered place, there the hillocks may be seen equally swelling, the stakes pitched in a good height and distance, the vines handsomely pruned, the ground cleanly kept, and well hoed, all things are well ordered in it. said the fig-tree (Judges 9:11). CONSIDER THE COMPLAINT ALLEGED IT IS THAT OF UNFRUITFULNESS. He has Himself in His thoughts; He is anticipating His employment at His Father's right hand whither He is going. Now God is the cause of all things and persons, therefore, whatsoever we have and whatsoever we are must be ascribed unto Him.(N. All labours and pains, all care and culture, in digging about and dunging it, is lost upon it. Thence Lucian took occasion to deride the practice of those times, feigning their idol-gods to sit in Parliament, and every one making choice of that tree which he most fancied. Only a postponement. Thirdly, Seeking implies mildness and gentleness, Thirdly, WE SHOULD BRING FORTH FRUIT, FOR THAT GOD HOLDS HIMSELF GLORIFIED BY IT. The ungrateful man robs God of that honour which is due unto Him, and which He hath reserved to Himself, nor will He give it to any other. 2. "(1) Barren souls are spared through Christ's prayer and intercession. He noticed the "ST" on the man's forehead and asked one of the younger citizens what it meant. Thus it is with man. The like may be seen in David's case, who was annointed to be king over Israel long before his instalment. 5. Who are the objects of the Divine care and complacency. To CONSIDER THE IMPORT OF CUTTING DOWN. Thanks to God's tender forbearance, He always gives us timely warning before the fatal blow is struck. Do something. It is an injury to the place where they stand. He is ready to send Christ away in the language of that foul spirit, "Art Thou come to torment me before my time?" Her graces are compared to things most sweet (Song of Solomon 4:13, 14).4. Surely, for the sake of souls, for the delight of glorifying our Lord, and for the increase of the jewels of our crown, we may be glad to wait below "this year also."III. That the barren tree is to be cast into the fire.Uses. The supposition is directed against the pride and self-importance of an elect race, prone to think that Israel and God's kingdom were synonymous, or as intimately and essentially related to each other as are vineyard and vine. THIS SENTENCE, PRONOUNCED ON THE BARREN FIG-TREE, IS NOT AT ONCE CARRIED INTO EXECUTION. His disappointment.3. Digging gives nothing to the tree; but it makes openings whereby gifts from another quarter may become practically available. )God the Owner of the vineyardN. Yes, my brethren, but there is an alternative, a possibility, terrible to dwell upon, but which yet forms an important part of the teaching of this parable, and one which we may not overlook. "These three years." It is by it that the Spirit of life is conveyed into the dead soul. 5. And of this I shall give you an account by the quality, quantity, and continuance of it. A life of the sweetest virtue, and the most complete self-sacrifice, has been expended to work out the plan.II. The sun comes forth of his chamber like a bridegroom, fresh and lively; and rejoiceth as a giant, to run his diurnal course, to lighten us with his refulgent beams, to generate, cheer, and mature things with his parental heat: this is his fruit. )The barren fig-treeW. Rogers. Even the patience of the Saviour may be exhausted.(W. The roots are at fault; the sinner's heart must be changed.1. 7. )Mercy in sympathy with righteousnessA. Of each of these briefly, and in order.(N. Corn comes up and grows alone of itself, without the husbandman's care (Mark 4:17). Low trees are subject to the browsing of beasts, trampling down with feet, and twenty other annoyances. Similar processes are applied in the spiritual culture: certain diggings take place around and among the roots of barren souls, as well as of barren fig-trees. That the barren tree is to be cast into the fire.Uses.1. Righteousness, meekness, fidelity — in a word, moral excellence springing from our faith in Christ, and our devotion to Him — that is the fruit which God expects to find in us as the occupants of His vineyard.III. To all unprofitable, untruthful sinners, we utter this hard, but needful sentence: TO CUT YOU DOWN WOULD BE MOST REASONABLE. High trees are subject to greatest dangers, being exposed to the violence of the winds, blasts of lightning, the dints of thunderbolts, and usually the higher the less fruitful. "how are they fallen?" H. It is too defective, when non florebit ficus — the tree doth not flourish; but quando non erit uva in vitibus, non ficus in ficulneis (Habakkuk 3:17) — when there shall not be "a grape on the vine, nor a fig on the tree" (Jeremiah 8:13), this is a miserable sterility. Rogers. From both together, we have these two points observable of us: First, that a people's continued unfruitfulness, after God's long expectations from them, and forbearance of them, makes His judgments to fall unavoidably and irrecoverably upon them. In respect of the use, man may be resembled unto a tree; some trees are for building, others for burning, being once felled. The Church is fertile of children; there are multitudes of them that believe. The Church suffers by the growth of such trees; it loseth her heart and fatness. That instead of Non est fruetus, we may say, Non est ficus, the tree itself is gone. The feeling is natural. When we ask why men are and remain unsaved under the sound of a faithful and full gospel ministry, we cannot find refuge either in the Divine intention, in the character of the provision, in the mode of its presentation, or the absence of the power of the Holy Spirit of God. The character here intended is a man placed in the external and visible Church, and enjoying all the privileges of such a favoured situation. Their fruit is not fair, it is shrivelled up, either in some few duties of the first table, as hearing, reading, praying, &c., but in the duties of the second table they are very tardy (Isaiah 58:3, 5, 6). Keywords. Well for the owner (John 15:8). He heinously resents it when he finds no fruit, and expresses his resentment to the dresser of his vineyard. Alas! For proof, read Amos 8:2 — "The end is come, I will not pass by them any more"; that is, I will have no more patience towards them. And such is the fruit of every good Christian, acceptable and pleasing both to God and man. The answer is, Jesus Christ has pleaded for you, the crucified Saviour has interfered for you. But why is it resembled to a vineyard, rather than to another thing? The word "cumber" means now to occupy a place disadvantageously. Rogers.It was no ordinary nor trivial tree, but of a noble and generous kind (called upon by other trees to be king over them), and brought forth sweet and delicious fruit (Judges 9:10). On our view of the drift of the parable it is not difficult to answer the question. Grapes, not "wild grapes."1. Faults are not corrected. Had the dressing not been what it is, the wonder would have been less. "If it bear fruit, well." (Thomas Herren, D. D.)The use of prolonged disciplineW. "Ye are a chosen generation" saith Peter (1 Peter 2:2). (2) God is slow to anger, unwilling immediately to cut down unfruitful professors.9. His disappointment.3. 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