Nothing But Leaves
"And on the morrow, when they were come to Bethany, He [Jesus] was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves…. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And His disciples heard it…. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots"(Mark 11:12-14, 20).
"He [Jesus] spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" (Luke 13:6-7).
"I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Jer. 17:10).
What is the "fruit" of my life? Of yours? What fruit – what results – follow my influence, my words, my deeds? What are the consequences that follow my work, my activities, my counseling, my exhortations? What is the overall effect of my life on the lives of those I contact?
Are they drawn closer to God?
Are they more determined than ever to "Do all to the glory of God"? (1 Cor. 10:31).
Are they alerted and stirred to "Be…ready" for the coming of the Lord? (Matt. 24:44).
Are they induced to pay all their debts? Are they inspired to love their neighbors as themselves? To do to others as they would wish others to do to them, were the situation reversed? (Matt. 22:36-40; 7:12).
Are they warned to love their enemies and pray for (not against) them? (Matt. 5:44).
Are they shocked into the realization of the fact that unless they forgive each and every one who has trespassed against them – that God will not forgive their trespasses? (Matt. 6:12, 14-15; Mark 11:25-26).
Are those I contact brought – by my influence, by my words, by my attitudes, by my manners, by my deeds and by my very appearance – to be aroused and jolted into the realization that soon each and every one of us must give an account to God of what we have done – even of every idle word? (Rom. 14:10-12; 2 Cor. 5:9-11; Matt. 12:36).
Do the people who are associated with me know that I believe in a literal Hell, and that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God? (Luke 12:4-5; Matt. 5:22-24, 27-30; Mark 9:42-48; Heb. 10:31).
Do sinners sense from my words and from the love of God flowing out of my own life – that God loves them, that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16), that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the Cross for their sins, and that their part is to repent, and believe the Gospel? (Mark 1:14-15).
Are sinners awakened by my teaching to realize that, while God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9), and that God manifested His love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6-8) – yet, if anyone rejects His mercy, God’s Word says, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psa. 9:17).
And also Jesus said to His disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16).
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, and the Church is subject unto Him (Eph. 5:23-24). He says, "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20). And, "The tree is known by his fruit" (Matt. 12:33).