Limited Offer / Luke 13:1-9 NIV
#1 - We are all sinners and therefore all __________________ .
Political prisoners executed. Siloam Tower falls on 18 people. They must have sinned. Jesus doesn’t go to “bad things happen to good people.” He moves in the opposite (unexpected) direction. All people will perish unless they repent. This universal sinful condition of people is the starting point of understanding Christianity. - Total Depravity Of Mankind.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”Romans 3:23 NIV
“But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:3 & 5 NIV
Notice that both passages use the word “all.” “All have sinned.” “You too will all perish.” Luke even quotes Jesus as repeating it twice! So we need to talk about this word, “repent.”
#2 - The only way to change our destination is ________________ .
meta - to change
noéō - to exercise the mind, think, comprehend
Put them together and it means to change the way I think. To change the direction of my mind. To change direction of my attitudes / presumptions. This was the theme of Jesus’ preaching from the beginning of ministry:
“Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”Matthew 4:17 NIV
The challenge for Christians who have been in the church for a long time is to think of “repentance” as something done in the beginning of the Christian journey. Rather, the way Jesus applies it, it’s an ongoing evaluation of our lives in becoming more like Christ in how we think AND in what we do, accomplish for Christ.
#3 - Evidence of a lack of repentance is a lack of ________________ .
“A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.” Luke 13:6 NIV
A man plants a fig tree for one reason - to be able to enjoy eating figs. If the fig tree, designed to grow figs, doesn’t grow figs, then it has no use.
“Seeing 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.”Matthew 21:19 NIV
Jesus does have expectations - both of the fig tree and also of us. These expectations of His followers (our fruitfulness / our productivity) ties in to our repentance:
Jesus: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8 NIV
#4 - The destiny for a lack of repentance is _________________ .
“So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard,’For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’” Luke 13:7 NIV
Consider this from the fig tree’s perspective. “I’m growing each year. My trunk is larger. My branches extend farther. I’m enjoying sunshine and rain and producing fig leaves. My soil PH is perfect! I’m enjoying the warmth - no frost! Everything is perfect as far as I’m concerned.” But NOT growing figs. THAT is the intent of the man who planted the tree.
What must change is the perspective from our purpose for ourselves to God’s purpose for us. God has created each one of us for a different purpose.
We each have both a common purpose and a unique one. Our common purpose is to become more like Christ in how we think and act. Our unique purpose is to benefit God’s Kingdom with our S-H-A-P-E, Spiritual giftedness, Heart passions, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences.
#5 - God’s mercy (not inflicting destiny of destruction) is
Jesus describes our non-repentant, unproductive position as precarious.
“Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” Luke 13:8-9 NIV
The fig tree has a limited time to demonstrate it’s true purpose aligned with the owner - producing figs. The caretaker will do everything possible - will give every opportunity - to help the tree along. But ultimately it must produce figs or else it will be destroyed.
Our challenge of application - How is this parable applicable to us? Should we be always concerned about our own spiritual condition? Are we in or are we out? Are we saved or are we not? How can I know if I have truly repented and become a Christian? By how I live my life. By the desires of my heart to become more like Christ.
Not a measure of perfection! We don’t always produce all the fruit we could. We don’t always produce perfect fruit. But our lives should be moving in the direction of God and His kingdom and His purposes. Verse 8 gives us the 2 keys to our application: “dig around it” and “fertilize it.”
Two Ways To Make Sure Of My Repentance - Dig and Fertilize
“Dig around it” - What is around me that needs to be dug out of my life? If we believe we have become Christ followers, but then we continue to live in a way that contradicts the clear instruction of Scripture, then we are fooling ourselves. Again - not perfection. We will make mistakes and need to confess and make corrections. But deliberate, ongoing, unrepentant sin must never be the condition of someone who names Christ as Savior and Lord. God’s Holy Spirit will not continue to abide within that person who ignores God’s commands for living. So ask yourself: What is there in my life that might need to be dug out? What is that negative that gets in the way of my ongoing, sweet fellowship with God? What needs to change?
“Fertilize it” - Ten Fertilizers To Make Me Productive For The Kingdom Of God: (a) both personal and community; (b) not attitudes but activities; (c) given by God in Scripture; (d) sufficient means for usefulness - don’t need anything more; (e) gospel driven not gospel divorced; (f) the means to make me useful, not the ends of my Christianity.
a ______________ - reading, hearing, memorizing, studying, meditating. Filling your mind with God’s Word. Treating it like a love letter from God to you. Counter - culture what’s going on in world.
b ______________ - Communicating with God in every way you can. Long and short. Aloud and silent. Beginning of day / end of day. Sentence prayers throughout the day.
c ______________ - Giving glory to the Lord of lords. Prioritizing your worship for God and not for self or things or teams or music or people. Focusing your worship deliberately in the right direction.
d ______________ - Sharing faith with others. Both in action and in words. Deliberately asking God to put individuals in my path that I may be able to influence for Him. Passion for lostness and fondness!
e ______________ - Discovering my S-H-A-P-E & using it to serve others, both within and outside of the church. The more I serve, the more I become like Jesus and the less I risk acting upon my own god-ego inclinations.
f ______________ - Giving God the first fruits of my income. Understanding all I have is from God and belongs to God. Increases my usability because God can trust me with more when I trust Him.
g _____________ - Giving up my very sustenance and when I am hungry realizing that all my health, my being, my life, my very existence comes from God. In my hunger I seek God more.
h _____________ - Deliberately getting away from the noise of my world and even my own mouth to be able to hear the sometimes small voice of God in my ear.
j ______________ - Nothing sharpens my thinking and exercises my mind quite as much as when I put pen to paper. What am I thinking about God today? Fertilizes all the other fertilizers!
k _____________ - No matter how much I know about God and living for God, there’s always more to know and more to learning. Having a “student” mentality = what a “disciple” really is.
We call these _____________________ .*
“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7 NASB
Discipline is the Greek word gumnasia from which we get our word gymnasium and gymnastics. It means to “exercise.” Which fits perfectly this same idea from Jesus about repentance. To change our minds, to change our direction, to meta-noeo, we must dig out and fertilize. The more we fertilize, the more we find to dig out. So we continue to repent as a normal, ongoing part of our Christian living. In so doing we confirm the LIMITED OFFER of grace bestowed so freely to us by Christ.
*Recommended Reading: “Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life” by Donald S. Whitney.