The Messiah’s Withdrawn Offer

Throughout the summer, my two-year-old daughter and I have enjoyed taking walks together. Along the way, we would pass by a mulberry tree that produced a fair amount of berries on its branches. We both enjoyed this little snack the tree provided—so much so that Eden began expecting to find fruit on every mulberry tree we would walk past; however, she soon learned the disappointing reality that this was not always the case. As we learned from our text last week (Matt. 21:18-22), the leaves of a tree can be misleading. Jesus encounters a fig tree that failed to produce fruit despite the otherwise healthy signs the tree exhibited. He uses this tree as an object lesson to expose the spiritual barrenness of Israel despite their seemingly external righteousness. As we proceed to read chapter 21, my heart continues to be convicted by the teachings of Christ. I’m faced with the reality that my fruitlessness results from my own prideful heart that refuses to see my own sin and my need for repentance. The fact of the matter is, Jesus says, “The kingdom of God will be given to a people producing its fruit” (v43). Jesus doesn’t equate professing faith with possessing faith, as we so often do. Instead, He warns His listeners that only one thing matters— bearing genuine fruit. Our trees of faith begin to produce fruit when we act in accordance to a faith that is rooted and grounded in Christ (Col. 2:6-7); when we stop living by worldly perceptions and emotions; and when we start trusting in the truth of what God says more than the impulses of what we see or how we feel. I can certainly profess being a follower of Christ, and my appearance may even look like the stereotypical Christian. But I will still fail miserably when it comes to evidencing the true and lasting fruits of the Spirit. May God help us in our unbelief. And may we see more fully the life of discipleship He is calling all of us to live. –Pastor Nate

10AM: Pastor Rory–Matthew 21:23-46–The Messiah’s Withdrawn Offer (sermon notes)

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