When God Says Your Fruitless | Matthew 21:23-46 | 119


"Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country."

Mat 21:23 When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to Him. They demanded, “By what authority are You doing all these things? Who gave You the right?”
Mat 21:24 “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied.
Mat 21:25 “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, He will ask us why we didn’t believe John.
Mat 21:26 But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.”
Mat 21:27 So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.
Mat 21:28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
Mat 21:29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway.
Mat 21:30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
Mat 21:31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained His meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.
Mat 21:32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.
Mat 21:33 “Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country.
Mat 21:34 At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop.
Mat 21:35 But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.
Mat 21:36 So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same.
Mat 21:37 “Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’
Mat 21:38 “But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’
Mat 21:39 So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him.
Mat 21:40 “When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asked, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?”
Mat 21:41 The religious leaders replied, “He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.”
Mat 21:42 Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’
Mat 21:43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit.
Mat 21:44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on. “
Mat 21:45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized He was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers.
Mat 21:46 They wanted to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.

What do I do when God tells me I’m fruitless?

I realize that the passage quoted for this posting is very long, but I couldn’t leave any of it out. All of it deals with one big question; what happens when you become a fruitless Christian?

Because this is such a big subject, and I know it’s big because Jesus deals with it in three different interactions, I decided to focus on one aspect of those interactions… How the Pharisee’s and religious leaders responded to Christ’s accusation that they were fruitless.

1. Jesus doesn’t tell them that their religion or doctrine is wrong. Instead He points out that their practice of that doctrine is fruitless. Let me explain. The Jewish nation had the truth. They understood the scriptures and they knew the law front and back. From a distance they looked like beautiful trees, but understanding the truth and the law does not a fruitful tree make. Real faith – trust – belief in God results in action (fruit).

2. Their fruitlessness was taking from others what God intended everyone to have. They had lost the great commission (sharing salvation) and instead had become thieves of God’s salvation, hording it for themselves and not sharing it with others. They enjoyed the prestige that their outward godliness afforded them. They were politically motivated and it was why Jesus was able to so easily wrap them in a net devised by their own words. They feared what the people would say (politics) and had lost sight of caring about what God said (faith).

3. They responded with murder plots to the call for repentance. When the Pharisees finally realized that Jesus was calling them fruitless; that He was naming them as the wicked farmers, they began to plot ways to arrest Jesus and get Him out of their lives. There was no breaking of their hearts. They avoided the stone and did not allow themselves to be crushed by it so that wonderful “fruit” could flow from their lives. They did not realize that they should desire to be crushed by the stone instead of avoiding the pain.

Heb 12:25  Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!

So, back to the original question. What do I do when God tells me I’m fruitless. The Answer. Respond with repentence.

Heb 3:8  ..don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested Me in the wilderness.

That is the simple answer. I should never think that I am too good or too bad to repent; but instead I should begin to allow myself to be crushed by the stone. If God points out a fault He always provides a way of escape.

1Cor 10:13  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.

If I find myself being fruitless, I need to allow the rock (Jesus) to crush me. This is always the right answer. Quite possibly the root of the problem was that I was trying to produce my own fruit instead of letting Him produce it through me. Jesus is the Good News, not you, not me.

Mat 24:14  And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

Dear reader. Repent of your sins, turn to Jesus and allow Him to produce good fruit through you. You can’t do it on your own. You will only become a tree that produces beautiful to behold, but bitter and inedible leaves.

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven,

I praise You Lord for what You accomplished on the cross for us. I accept the gift that You offer me; a gift that You earned, that You paid for and that You have the right to give. I thank you so much for being willing to cover me with Your Righteousness. Now Lord, I ask for the promise that if I request it You will fill me with the Holy Spirit. I want the Mind of Christ. I want to be fruitful and nourishing for others. Today I am teaching Sabbath school. Please Lord, teach your people through me. Today I am meeting with one of Your sheep who has heard Your calling. Help me to speak Your words and not mine. I repent of my sins, and they are many, and ask that You will use me today. By faith I know that You will always keep Your promises…what a peace and joy that creates in my life.

Thank You for all that You provide. I ask that You will forgive the sins of my children; cover them in Your Righteousness and bring them safely home. Protect them from the enemy. Protect my family and friends. I ask for your blessing so that I may share it with others. I love You Lord. IN JESUS NAME. AMEN.

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