Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

LESSONS FROM SOME TREES
Mat. 21:19-22

19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it, and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said^ to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered. 20 And seeing this, the disciples marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it shall happen. 22 "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive."

Introduction
I have noticed an advertisement for the Highland Hills Golf Course located in Springfield Missouri, includes a report they have 2,373 trees on the course. I have thought about our local course and wondered if we don't have even more trees.

In spite of the trees I like to go out on the golf course. When I am out there, occasionally I even play golf. Those who play golf know you have to try and hit around or through trees more often than you would prefer. Several times as I have evaluated how to hit through or around a tree some one will say you know trees are 80% air. In spite of that I hit the 20% regularly.

Did you ever evaluate the significance of trees in the Bible. I want us to look at several situations involving trees and learn the lessons available to us.

A Lesson from Adam's Tree.

A Lesson from Nathaniel's Tree.

A Lesson from Zaccheus' Tree.

The Lesson from the Fig Tree.

A Lesson from Jesus' Tree.
 
 

1. A Lesson from Adam' s Tree. Gen 3:8-12


8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 And he said, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." 11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 And the man said, "The woman whom Thou gavest {to be} with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."

A. Adam's Tree Teaches Sin Separates. v 9
God new Adam had sinned and was out of fellowship. Did you ever ask a child what are you doing? You knew and wanted them to recognize

Illustration
Some years ago a family visited a cave in the state of Kentucky. The guide led them through many beautiful and winding subterranean passageways. Suddenly he turned off all the lights Suddenly he turned off all the lights and said, "I'm the only one who knows how to get back to the entrance. If I left you here, you'd probably never find your way out. Anyone lost in this cave would no doubt become insane within a week from the oppressive loneliness. Be quiet for a moment and feel the darkness!"

After about 30 seconds, someone in the party could endure it no longer and cried out, "Turn on the lights! I'm going crazy now!" The guide laughed, but we'll not soon forget that frightening experience. I thought of the "outer darkness" of Hell and shuddered!

B. Adam's Tree Teaches Sin Saturates. Rom 5:12
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- (NAS)

Application

Adams sin separated. and our sin separates. We are sinners by nature and by choice.

In Christ there can be forgiveness. We can have the fellowship with God restored.
 
 

2. A Lesson from Nathaniel's Tree. John 1:47-50


47 Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" 48 Nathaniel said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49 Nathaniel answered Him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." 50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these." (NAS)

A. Nathaniel's Tree Teaches God knows all about us. v 48
    48 Nathaniel said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
    1.    Both a comforting and sobering truth.

Illustration
A young soldier and his commanding officer got on a train together. The only available seats were across from an attractive young woman who was traveling with her grandmother. As they engaged in pleasant conversation, the soldier and the young woman kept eyeing one another; the attraction was obviously mutual. Suddenly the train went into a tunnel and the car became pitch black. Immediately two sounds were heard: the "smack" of a kiss, and the "whack" of a slap across the face.

The grandmother thought "I can't believe he kissed my granddaughter, but I'm glad she gave him the slap he deserved." The commanding officer thought, "I don't blame the boy for kissing the girl, but it's a shame that she missed his face and hit me instead." The young girl thought, "I'm glad he kissed me, but I wish my grandmother hadn't slapped him for doing it." And as the train broke into the sunlight, the soldier could not wipe the smile of his face. He had just seized the opportunity to kiss a pretty girl and slap his commanding officer and had gotten away with both!

B. Nathaniel's Tree Teaches Jesus is the Son of God. v 49
49 Nathaniel answered Him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."

        1.    Nathaniel's faith was . . Simple. v 47
                Jesus said "in whom is no guile"

        2.    Nathaniel's faith was . . Substantiated. v 50
                Jesus said "you will see greater things than these"

Application

Do you recognize Jesus is God; the second person of the trinity? He rewards a simple child like faith. You must take the knowledge you have and commit all you know to Him.
 

3. A Lesson from Zaccheus' Tree. Luke 19:1-10


    1 And He entered and was passing through Jericho. 2 And behold, there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; and he was a chief tax-gatherer, and he was rich. 3 And he was trying to see who Jesus was, and he was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 And he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house." 6 And he hurried and came down, and received Him gladly. 7 And when they saw it, they all {began} to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." 8 And Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." 9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (NAS)

A. Zaccheus' Tree Teaches . . Anybody can be saved. v 9

Illustration
After hearing this story I stayed up Thursday Night to see Alice Cooper on the Tonight show. Alice Cooper is a man. He is a rock star who became popular in the early seventies, and has had a remarkably long career, judging by rock standards. Alice Cooper was the first "shock-rock" act. He used to parade on stage with makeup and live snakes and simulate his own decapitation--a pretty raunchy act.

In 1995 Alice Cooper converted to Christianity. He gave his life to Christ, and is now involved in a Bible church in Phoenix, Arizona. He even sings in the choir and helps out in the nursery. (Can you imagine how a new person would respond to dropping their baby off in the nursery and finding out that Alice Cooper is the volunteer nursery worker that morning?) Right now, Mr. Cooper is keeping a low profile and concentrating on growing in Christ, and finding out what his next step should be as a disciple of Jesus.

Many Christians do not believe it is true. In fact, one publication reported to me that they had received a significant amount of mail from people who did not believe the story, and did not believe it should be printed. A friend of mine made the comment, "I give it a year and he'll go back to the world."

This caused me to wonder, "Why do we believe more in the power of man's sin than we do in the power of God's grace?" How can a Christian be surprised at God's grace?

B. Zaccheus' Tree Teaches about Divine Appointments. v 10

A Seeking Savior and a Seeking Sinner get together. This is the motivation for evangelism and Missions.

Application We need to see all persons as redeemable and our selves f as part of the redeemers plan.
 
 
 

4. The Lesson from the Fig Tree. Mat. 21:19-22



19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it, and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said^ to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered. 20 And seeing this, the disciples marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it shall happen. 22 "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive."

A. This Fig Tree Teaches God Expects Growth. v 19

B. The Tree Represents Israel.

C. This Fig Tree Teaches God Enables Growth. v 20-21

Faith and Prayer are basic.
 

Application

God expects growth in our life. If Jesus walked by your life would he find the fruit He expects?
 
 

5. A Lesson from Jesus' Tree. Gal 3:13


13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"-- (NAS)

1 Pet 2:24
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (NAS)

A. The Jesus Tree Teaches Sin Will be . . Punished. v 24 a

B. The Jesus Tree Teaches a Savior is . . Provided. v 24 b
 

Conclusion

Have you been to Jesus for the Cleansing Flood? There is power in the sacrificial blood of Jesus shed on this tree.