Topic: Lessons from the Fig Tree II (Open Heaven 7 January 2019)
Memorise: “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?”- Acts 5:3
Read: Luke 13:6-9, Acts 4:36-Acts 5:5 (KJV)
6 He 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.
7 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?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Acts 4:36-Acts 5:5:
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
Bible in One Year: Matthew 14-15, Isaiah 5:24-6:7
Open Heaven 7 January 2019 Monday
Just as the Lord Jesus Christ cursed the fruitless fig tree in our lesson yesterday, we see a similar scenario playing out in today’s Bible reading. These two examples are indicative of heaven’s standpoint of zero tolerance for fruitlessness. This principle is laid bare by the Master Himself in John 15:2, where He says:
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
Heaven values fruitfulness and would rather preserve and purge a fruitful tree to make it bring forth more fruits. On the other hand, every unfruitful tree stands the risk of being uprooted and done away with.
In continuation of the subject matter studied yesterday, we must never loose sight of the lesson learnt not to lead a fake life. Acts 5:1-5 tells of a man in the early Church who attracted capital punishment to himself by living a pretentious life. One thing we learn from the story of Ananias and Sapphira is that the lie they told was unnecessary. This fact was buttressed by Peter’s question to Ananias in Acts 5:4, saying:
“Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”
In other words, “Ananias, why should you lie to the Holy Spirit who knows everything? The land belonged to you. If you gave 50% and chose to keep the remaining 50% for your personal use, nobody would query you for doing so.” The problem with Ananias and Sapphira was that they wanted to be recognised to have a virtue they did not actually possess. Prior to their unfortunate act, Joses Barnabas had sold his land, brought the total proceeds and had been commended by the apostles. He was even given a nickname: “The Son of Consolation”. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to receive the same level of commendation but they could not do what Barnabas did, and so they lied to earn it. Romans 12:3 says:
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
You must therefore learn from the fig tree and from Ananias and Sapphira that living a fake life can only earn you a bad reputation, shame and untimely death. This will not be your portion in Jesus’ Name.
Open Heaven 7 January 2019 Monday Prayer Point: Father, please cause me to be fruitful in Jesus’ Name. Please remove vanity from my heart and don’t let me die before my time.