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Mark 11:12-14





Sunday Morning Sermon

November 1, 1998

Fair Avenue Baptist Church





This is a very unusual story and probably one of the most overlooked.  On the surface, it seems a little strange.


I had read this story time after time and missed the real application.  Sometimes it takes time after time after time before we see the deep things of God.


For a little background, Jesus had spent His last Sabbath on earth with Martha, Mary and Lazarus at Bethany.  You’re familiar with the story.


He was on His way back to Jerusalem and even though He had left a most hospitable home of His friends, the Bible says He was hungry.


Hungry - a picture of His humanity.


I’m sure that on His journey that He had passed several fig trees, but look at VERSE 13, “And seeing a fig tree afar off...”


This tree got His attention.


Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not bearing figs?  Especially since it was not the time for the tree to be bearing fruit.


This was the only destructive act that Jesus did, making it even a little more unusual.


Here is a fig tree,

A fig tree that is not supposed to have fruit at that particular time,

A fig tree that has leaves,

A fig tree that has leaves but no fruit,


What have we been missing?


Notice VERSE 14 carefully, “And Jesus answered and said unto it...”


Don’t miss this.


The fig tree produces fruit FIRST and the leaves AFTERWARDS.


The fig tree is rare in that it produces its fruit first and then the leaves.


This fig tree was false and unfruitful.


The fig tree made a loud profession by its leaves, but there was no fruit.


Jesus answered the tree and said, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.”


How many Christians today are false and unfruitful?


How many people today claim Christ and yet they are unfruitful?


Oh, yes, we’ve learned to put on the leaves.


We’ve learned to go to church,

We’ve learned to sing,

We’ve learned to say “Amen,”

We’ve even learned to put some money in the offering plate,


But where is the fruit?


Nothing but leaves.


Why no fruit?


Several observations about this matter of nothing but leaves.


Why no fruit?




It could be that the fig tree was not bearing fruit because of poor soil.


It could be that the soil had been contaminated.


Poor soil and contamination will cause a fig tree to be undernourished.


And an undernourished tree will not produce fruit.


And an undernourished believer will not produce fruit.


Too many Christians have contaminated their lives and as a result they are not bearing fruit.


Not enough Bible,

Not enough prayer,

Not enough seeking God,

Not enough meditation,

Not enough devotion,

No fruit.

Nothing but leaves.


Why couldn’t the fig tree produce fruit?

1.       Lack of nourishment




It is possible that the fig tree was so busy producing the wood for the branches that it forgot the fruit.


It is possible that the fig tree was so busy trying to be a big tree that it forgot to produce fruit.


It could be possible that the fig tree was too busy trying to have the prettiest leaves that it forgot to produce any fruit.


And today too many believers are busy doing a lot of good things but forgetting about producing fruit.


Is it good for a tree to have good branches?  Yes.

But what is the main thing it should be doing?

Producing fruit.


Is it good for a tree to have good leaves?


But what is the main thing it should be doing?

Producing fruit.


Sometimes we get our energy misdirected and forget about fruit bearing.


Some believers direct all their energy toward fighting abortion but they forget about fruit bearing.


Now, I’m totally and 100% against abortion, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time fighting it.


WHY?  Because my number one job is to produce fruit.


Some believers direct their all their energy toward programs and plans and extra-curricular activities and forget about fruit bearing.


Our number one priority should be the producing of fruit, but most don’t.


Nothing but leaves.


Why didn’t the fig tree produce any fruit?


1.       It could have been a lack of nourishment

2.       It could have been misdirected energy




The winds and elements could have caused enough problems for the fig tree that it could not bear any fruit.


The fierce east wind could have beaten it down to where it could not produce fruit.


The wind and the rain and the snow and the extreme weather might just have beaten down that poor little fig tree.


Wait a minute.


Do we find our shelter in Him?


Is He our refuge in times of trouble?


Has the Devil beaten us down to the point of discouragement?


Have the winds of trouble caused us to lose our desire to be unfruitful?


Have the elements of the world,



Financial difficulties,



Have the elements of the world gotten us down so much that we are wore out and have no desire to be fruitful?


It’s time to get back to Jesus.


Matt. 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly I heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


Are you tired?

Do you need some rest?

Are you heavy laden?


Have you lost your desire to bear fruit?

Have the elements of life gotten you down?


Nothing but leaves.


What possible reasons could the fig tree have for not bearing fruit?


1.       Lack of nourishment

2.       Misdirected energy

3.       Not enough shelter




In some places, plum and apple trees will not grow because they are very sensitive to soot-laden atmosphere.


Did you hear that?


Some fruit bearing trees not only will not bear fruit, but will not grow because of the wrong atmosphere.


You already know where I’m going, don’t you?


Are you in the wrong atmosphere?


Is there too much soot in your life?


Have we blackened our life with sin?


Has that sin taken us away from the Lord?


Has that sin taken from our fruit bearing?


Nothing but leaves.


Why didn’t the fig tree produce any fruit?


1.       It could have been a lack of nourishment

2.       It could have been misdirected energy

3.       It could have been not enough shelter

4.       It could have been the wrong atmosphere




Now, in this case, the fig tree that we read about, was alive.


But the truth is, and we don’t like to admit it, but the reason some tree can’t bear fruit is that they are dead.


The Pharisees were very religious people,

They looked the part,

They read their Bibles,

They prayed, even prayed in public,

But they were dead.


That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 23:27, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”


Could it be that the reason you don’t bear any fruit,


the reason that you don’t even care if you bear any fruit,


and the reason that you criticize those who are trying to bear fruit is because you have never truly been saved?


Nothing but leaves.


Does that describe anyone here this morning?


Let’s pray.

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