Opening Questions and Prayer
When you feel stressed or drained, what do you do to relax and recharge?
What are some ways that can be healthy? Unhealthy?
Pray and ask for the Lord to refresh you as you study the Bible together.
Read Luke 13:6
6 Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.
Who is Jesus telling this parable to?
See Luke 12:1- Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other.
Why was the man disappointed in his fig tree?
What are some reasons a tree might not bear fruit?
Read Luke 13:7
7 Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’
How is Jesus pointing to his three year ministry with this parable?
Who does the fruitless fig tree represent?
What are some reasons people who claim to follow Jesus might not bear fruit?
How do you know if you are bearing fruit?
What kind of fruit should a follower of Jesus produce?
Read Luke 13:8-9
8 “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. 9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”
Why does the gardener intercede on behalf of the fig tree?
What are some ways we are to intercede on behalf of those who are not bearing fruit?
How did Jesus intercede on our behalf when we were away from Him?
Read Romans 11:23-24
23 And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. 24 You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.
What is Paul saying about how we become part of God’s Kingdom?
Once we are part of God’s Kingdom, why is it important that we bear fruit?
Read John 15:1-8
1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
What does Jesus say the relationship between the vine and the branches should be?
What are some things you can do to remain connected to the vine?
What are some ways people get away from the vine?
How can you produce fruit by remaining connected to the vine?
Think back to the thing that you do to feel refreshed and replenished, how does that help you to remain in Christ?
How does that thing replenish your soul?
If it is only self-serving, how can you make sure that the things you turn to first during stressful times are Christ-centered?
What will you do this week to remain in Jesus and produce much fruit?
John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
Closing thoughts and prayer
There are many verses in the Bible about bearing fruit, and being connected to the Vine, which is Jesus. Often in the church world we can get caught up with doing the things we think we are supposed to do, and forget about being connected to Jesus. We should be so connected with Him, that Bible reading, prayer, our words and actions, bear good fruit because we’re connected to the Vine. When we try to bear good fruit without being connected to the Vine, it’s just self-serving. Ask the Lord to show you how you can bear good fruit this week. Pray for those areas in your life that are not bearing good fruit.
Ask the Lord how you can pray for someone else’s needs, and how you can intercede on their behalf. Talk to that person this week.