The Fruitless Fig Tree

March 26, 2023

The Fruitless Fig Tree

Sermon by Pastor Bob Johnson / March 26, 2023

Bible text: Luke 13:6-9


The Backdrop for the Parable / The canvass Jesus used to paint this vivid parable.

Two historical events were mentioned, which happened in Palestine.

Two events referenced = one of violence and one of accidence.

One of violence – Some Galilaean protesters were killed by Pilate’s men in a mob. Are the Galilaeans who died worse sinners than other Galilaeans? Nope – all will die if they don’t repent.

One of accidence – 18 workers died when the tower of Siloam fell on them and crushed them. Are they worse sinners than the other workers? Nope – all will die if they don’t repent.

What’s worse than the physical death of the Galilaeans and the workers is eternal death – PERISH

Jesus then paints the picture of the fruitless fig tree to teach an important truth.

Fruitfulness is the Evidence of Repentance

In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior.”

Repentance is NOT

  1. A work of merit
  2. Penitence
  3. Penance
  4. Reformation

Biblical repentance is the recognition that we are helpless to save ourselves—it is turning from sin to the One who paid for it and can forgive it.

The fig tree planted in the vineyard represents the nation of Israel. A nation planted, chosen by God, among all other nations.

Isaiah 5:7  For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. 

You are known by your fruit!

Luke 6:43  For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 

Luke 6:44  For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 

Luke 6:45  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 

The Expectation of the Vineyard Owner

He Planted the Fig Tree v.6

“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard.”

He Inspected the Fig Tree v.6

“he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.”

He Cursed the Fig Tree v.7

“cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?”

God has every right to “cut us down” but in His mercy, He spared us.

The question is not what happened to the tree but what will happen to me!

God is seeking fruit.

Romans 7:4  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 

The Fruitlessness of the Vineyard Fig Tree

The Potential of the Fig Tree v.6

“had a fig tree planted”

The Purpose for the Fig Tree v.6

“sought fruit thereon”

The Problem with the Fig Tree v.6

“found none”

“these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none”

Types of “Fruit”

The Fruit of Salvation – Faith in Christ alone for salvation. Knowing you are saved!

1 John 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 

The Fruit of Sanctification

Rom 6:18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 

Rom 6:22  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 

The Fruit of the Spirit

Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 

Gal 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 

The Fruit of Serving

Heb 9:14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 

The Fruit of Soul-winning

Pro 11:30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. 

The Intercession of the Vineyard Dresser

He Cared for the Fig Tree v.7

“then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard”

He Pleaded for the Fig Tree v.8

“And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also”

“And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”

He Fertilized the Fig Tree v.8

“till I shall dig about it, and dung it”

Christ came expecting fruit from His people and found failure. He found corruption where He looked for holiness. He found contempt where He looked for reverence.


The barren fig tree is a warning to a fruitless world, a fruitless sinner, a fruitless church, or a fruitless believer.


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