(Mark 11:12-14) And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he 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; for the time of figs was not yet.
And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
On the road to Bethany, Jesus talked to the fig tree and cursed it because it would bear no fruit. Jesus did this for a reason. He was not searching for figs at an off-season. If there was going to be fruit, there would have been sweet little buds or, as some people call them, fruit spurs. And there were none.
(Mark 11:20) And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
The fig tree dried from the bottom up, instead of from the top down.
(Mark 11:21) And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
Do you know why Jesus cursed this fig tree? Because the fig tree was the symbol of Israel and it was not bearing fruit—something that was going on in Israel at that time. I’ve had people argue with me on his point, but I’ve talked to people who have studied and confirmed this truth. It makes a lot of sense. Why else would Jesus have done it? Just to show off the power of His words? He had already proven the power of His words. The reason he cursed it was because that tree was not producing and would not bear any fruit.
There is a curse on Israel today because they didn’t bear fruit. They were all show to the other nations about how righteous they were; there were leaves, but no fruit. Israel as a nation denied the Lord Jesus Christ and didn’t even recognize their Messiah when he came. There is so much grace that the Jewish people can now be forgiven, because they can be born again and set free from the curse that comes with the denial of Jesus.
This is where Christianity also is in so much trouble today. Many Christians either deny the Holy Spirit completely, or if they know about the Spirit, they emphasize being able to speak in tongues, interpret, discern, and do all nine gifts. And there’s no fruit! The church at Corinth was puffed up and yet they were able to manifest all the spiritual gifts. They thought they were so right, yet they were practicing incest. After all, “It’s the grace administration, man, we can do as we please.” Is it a true act of love for a man or woman to mess around with someone other than his or her own spouse? No! True love will bear fruit for all eternity.
Why would God permit people to continue to operate within His Spirit and still be full of sin? Do you know why? Because He’s hoping to spare them, He’s hoping that through it they will repent. But, guess what? Eventually, the day comes when the door closes. Some of us understand this. We’ve seen this happen to many ministries. Eventually the anointing of the Holy Spirit is removed. Then they have to go into all kinds of activity to try to make things work. The way a man or woman’s ministry is known is by the fruit. It has nothing to do with anything else—the fruit tells all.
THE CURSE OF BEARING BAD FRUIT
Now let’s talk about our life. What kind of fruit are we bearing? In these next verses, we’re going to talk about rotten fruit. It’s really interesting how God puts them both together. When we talk about the fruit of the flesh, the works of the flesh, we’re talking about the side of us that does the bad. That’s where we sin. That’s the part where we deny God. It’s the part where we get so bullheaded we’re always in trouble.
(Galatians 5:19-21) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Now that is rotten fruit! And those who practice those things do not have any inheritance in the kingdom of God. We just read it. I’ll tell you, folks, it’s the fruit that counts! You might have power and wealth, you may have all kinds of things working for you, you might have a fleet of jetliners taking your ministering teams everywhere, but these don’t mean anything. It’s the fruit that makes the difference. Israel is God’s chosen nation and yet they became fruitless. Israel is God’s chosen nation, and yet they killed the Son of God!
Rotten fruit! Have you ever heard, “God is not mocked; what you sow, so shall you reap?” The actions of Galatians 5:19-21 can literally rip your inheritance away. Some people believe it can cause you to go to hell, but I guarantee you that you lose your inheritance, because it says so. But let’s not dwell on that. If that’s what you are guilty of, then get the curses removed. This is what God wants us to be able to do, and this is what He rewards us for. We need to prune out the bad fruit.
This next verse, verse 22, is so much easier to read than the other one. This is the good fruit. This is what the Lord wants us to have: good fruit, not rotten fruit. He does not want His people to be caught up in envy and in murder and in drunkenness and in adultery. That’s not God’s will. That’s the devil’s will. Are those things forgivable? Yes, but what’s the benefit of bad fruit? There is none.
THE GOOD FRUIT
(Galatians 5:22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love…
We’ve got to get love going, folks. You could be doing all kinds of things, but if your motivation is not love, and if your reason for doing things is anything but love, you’re missing the boat. I’m not encouraging you to just give up because of lack of love, but to change your hearts and minds. Be love-driven. I want to be better. My hope and prayer is that I’ll be better and that should be for every one of us.
Love is the first fruit mentioned because everything is built on love. It has to be love. Love is what you do, not how you feel. It is not how perfect we are. I’m a good example of that, of how God can use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. It takes love. It takes love to do the will of God.
(John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus so loved the world. He so loved you that He became a curse for you. You never achieve love to the point that you can say, “Been there, done that.” It does not work like that. Love is something you have to keep working on because it is the number one fruit.
The reason I understand love is number one is that it is the first one mentioned in the list. But God also taught me this principle in a vision. You see, if you don’t walk in love, you might have a lot of charisma, but you have problems with your fruit. The first one is love! The vision was of a pipe with the water running out into nine 5-gallon paint buckets. The water started running into the first bucket, which is love, and then overflowed into the second, which is joy. This went all down the line. The water wouldn’t run into the next one until the first bucket was full. You don’t get this fruit all in a cluster. Until love overflows, we can’t have joy. You can’t keep the love in the bucket; it has to overflow before you can fill the joy bucket.
Joy is important because the joy of the Lord is your strength. But the enemy would like to steal your joy, if he can, so he can weaken you. Otherwise, he can’t beat you. Look, if the joy of the Lord is your strength, Satan has to steal your strength, your joy, in order to be successful against you. But when your joy is full, he can’t even get into the same room with you! Joy is really important, but when the joy is lacking, walking in love is how we fill the joy bucket.
Until love and joy overflow, there can’t be peace. “Unity in the Spirit in the bond of peace.” is not about doctrine. God didn’t put these fruit in this order by accident. I’ve had to change so many doctrines that I held before. And I thought I had it down pat. I still think I’ve got it down pat, and then the Lord shows me how my doctrine needs some fine-tuning and I have to change again! God gives more grace to the humble. Our humility does not have to be to people, but it has to be to God. The word “Lord” means, “Boss.” So, when he says that we should do something, we don’t go by how we feel but we take him at his word. By the way, it is love to obey. That results in joy and then yields a peace in your heart. The joy bucket cascades into the peace bucket!
You can’t have longsuffering unless love, joy, and peace are already there. Otherwise, you would just be worshipping your suffering. Then you’d have a suffering ceremony and invite people over. You’d publish suffering newsletters and you’d say, “Look at my scars!”
I’ll tell you, it took a lot of love for me to become gentle, because I was not gentle. You really have to work on these things. I’m a warrior and I admit that I love to fight and I love to get into battle. But if you get so caught up in the battle all the time, you’re not gentle when you need to be. So, what brings a balance? Love, joy, peace, and longsuffering! These have to overflow before there can be gentleness.
Goodness is the next bucket in line. All of this fruit is not something you accomplish and polish up and put a wax coat on it. You’re supposed to feed on it. This fruit is Spirit food! You’ve heard of soul food? Well, this is Spirit food. There really is a difference between soul and spirit. By the way, I do like soul food, but I love Spirit food more! This fruit is fruit of the Spirit. You get weary and then you grab one of those big old goodness fruits and you eat. Do you notice how you like to have an apple shine, even if you do eat it? This fruit is there to feed on and God help you if there is no fruit in your basket!
Do you see why Israel became so miserable? They got to the point, where there was no fruit in their basket, and they denied the Lord Jesus. We as Christians have to be very careful that we do not fall into the same trap.
Once you have the rest of the fruit, you will have faith. You can even have a faith ministry. This is easy to achieve because you have all this fruit just pushing right along. And how does faith come? We are used to hearing that ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith also comes as we walk in the other fruit, starting with love.
Faith is spiritual. Many times new Christians or weakened Christians try to make themselves faith Christians. But this is something that you cannot do on your own. Becoming a faith Christian requires doing the love and filling the preceding buckets. Your faith will build and overflow because all of this is pointing to a relationship with the Lord Jesus. As we walk in love, we walk with Jesus.
Until faith and all the fruit preceding it overflows, we can’t have meekness. Being meek is saying, O.K., Lord, I’ll do it! Can I choose where, how and when I’m going to be meek? No! God wants meekness from us. We can get to the point where we are so caught up in our own game plan, that it can become a god to us. We have to be very careful that we are meek according to God’s word.
…temperance: against such there is no law.
This “such” includes all the fruit, not just temperance. There are people who want to say, “I don’t live under the law; this is the grace administration and I can do what I please. I know about dispensations.” This is the grace administration, but we cannot live under the fullness of grace unless we have fruit of the Spirit in our lives. If we live in sin, it brings rotten flesh fruit. Doing things by the flesh brings us under the Law. The Law is for the lawless. The kind of fruit we have in our life or the lack of good fruit shows how much authority the Law still has.
If we are lacking good fruit in our life, we need to go back to the love bucket and make sure it does not have a hole in it. Fill up your buckets, starting with love and watch how they overflow to produce much spiritual fruit. The fresh overflowing will always be evident.