Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

In Search of Fruitfulness
Pastor Frank Greer
Matthew 21:18-46
We live in a world that is always searching for tangible evidence. Whether it is evidence of dinosaurs, a great flood or something that will indicate that a truth or a lie has been told, it is in the scope of human nature to seek out proof of authenticity, something that is real. Jesus came to a fig tree searching for fruit. He too was searching for something real. It is the same for each of us. Jesus comes to us with a careful and caring eye, searching our lives, our hearts and our motives for those deeds and attitudes that pertain to fruitfulness in the Kingdom of God. He too searches for something that is real.

Today we will look at three events in the life of Christ shortly before He was to be crucified. These three events are connected to this thought: what does Jesus find when He comes to you and me, searching for the fruit of His Kingdom?
1. The Fig Tree – vs 18-22
a. It is not enough for me to have the appearance of health.
b. I must come to terms with who I am in Christ, be honest about where I am in Christ and avoid any kind of pretence.
c. There must be the evidence of a vital life connected to Christ.
d. vs 21-22 – The Double Meaning
• Have faith and we will do what Jesus says we will do.
• Don’t have a life that is characterized by the fig tree—having leaves (the appearance of health) but not having any fruit to show when the master comes to check.

The Principle: My fruitfulness in life comes out of my relationship with my Lord. If I color myself with religious regalia, but don’t walk out an obedient faith life, my life is essentially meaningless. I need to repent.

2. The Parable of the Two Sons – vs 28-32
a. The first son refused but later relented and went to work.
b. The second said he would go, but had no intention of going.
c. Jesus likens the first son to non-religious, social outcasts.
• While they are not the likely ones to do the will of the Father, they turn out to be the ones who obey.
• They recognized John the Baptist and Jesus as messengers from God.
d. Jesus likens the second son to the established religious people of the day.
• While they had the appearance of religious propriety, they rejected the voice of the Father and continued in their own voluntary ignorance and disobedience.
- They reserved the right to choose whom they associated with.
• They did not recognize the messengers God sent them and missed out on the true meaning of what it meant to serve God and walk in obedience to Him.
• Remember: Verbal assent to Christianity is simply a good start.
e. Am I willing to accept the boisterous irreverent son from a questionable background that can sometimes be contrary to what I would like?
• I don’t have the luxury of choosing whom I share life with.
• If I am a Kingdom person, then God makes those choices for me.

The Principle: It is not enough for me to say that I will serve the Lord. There must be tangible evidence in my life that I am indeed following Christ, obeying His Word, listening to those messengers He sends along to me, and accepting those, even the unlikely ones, whom He calls to Himself. I must share life with them.

3. The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers – vs 33-41
a. The Story
• A man builds a vineyard and wine press.
• He leases it out to vinedressers.
• They labor in the vineyard.
• They decide it belongs to them.
• They refuse to listen to the servants of the owner
• They will not share any of the produce of the vineyard.
• When the son comes they think they will finalize their ownership of the vineyard by killing the son.
b. It is important to remember whose Kingdom it is.
• I find that I can get caught up in building my little mini-kingdom—the Kingdom of _____________. (add your choice)
c. If I want to be fruitful, I will want to listen to the messengers God brings into my life. Who are these messengers? In addition to the Holy Spirit and the Bible, there are:
• Leaders
• Bosses
• Spouses
• Friends
• Strangers (?)

The Principle: Fruitfulness in my life is tied to my obedience to God and His Word, not necessarily to my ownership of my religious occupation. If I disobey, I run the risk of losing what is most important, my relationship to Jesus Christ and being a part of His eternal Kingdom.

Conclusion: vs 42-46
I must take care that my religious lifestyle doesn’t become an exercise in futility, causing me to find myself on the wrong side of the kingdom. Religiosity is terrible place to be.
1. Those who stumble in unbelief upon the stone will be broken in pieces.
2. Those who try to pull it down will be utterly crushed.

Discussion Questions:
1. When I look at my life in light of Jesus’ challenge, what do I hear the Lord saying to me in terms of my walk with Him?
2. What steps will I take to move in the direction of a greater obedience?
3. Are there attitudes and assumptions that I must lay aside? What are they?

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