Is there fruit among the foliage of our lives?
Note to leaders: Do not feel that you have to use every question. Pick and choose as the Spirit leads you but don’t skip over the first question in the discussion from the message!
Warm Up: What’s your favorite season? What is your least favorite season and why?
Background: I love fall and winter but most people don’t for obvious reasons. Have you ever noticed how winter has a way of exposing what can’t be seen during the other seasons? When the foliage is out of the way, it leaves mountains kind of naked. Besides the cold temperatures and the promise of snow, maybe that’s one of the reasons I like it so much. You can see what is normal hidden from your sight. If the mountains had feelings, I don’t know how they would feel about being naked and exposed but I do know that it is a feeling that most of us tend to avoid like the plague.
No one likes feeling naked and exposed and we like it even less when it comes to feeling that way emotionally or spiritually. It leaves us no place to hide what we don’t want others to see or to know about us. Like the fig tree in today’s text, its possible to keep things hidden about ourselves if we keep people at a distance but if they get up close and personal, there is no way of hiding what we don’t want others to know.
Read About It: Mark 11:1-21, John 15:1-17
- What kind of welcome does Jesus receive on coming into Jerusalem? How does it compare to the welcome he received at the temple?
- What did Jesus observe at the temple? What is the irony here?
- How does the fig tree parallel what Jesus saw at the temple the day before? If Jesus were to examine our church up close and personal, what do you think he would find?
- If Jesus were to visit your church, where would he begin turning over tables? What about your life? What tables would he turn over?
From the Message:
- What spoke to you the most from the message and why? What challenged you the most? Don’t rush by this!
- What kind of fruit is God looking for in our lives?
- If vine branches were human lives, what pain would be associated with pruning? What tools would God use?
- This morning Pastor Steve said, “Appearances can be deceiving.” How so? Give an example from your own personal experience with other “Christians”.
- Pastor Steve said, “Busyness is often a cover for our nakedness and brokenness.” Have you ever used religious activity to hide something about your life that you didn’t want others to see?
- When was the last time you asked God what needs to be pruned from your life?
- This morning Pastor Steve said, “His presence is everything in the Christian life.” What did he say the key is to producing the kind of fruit that God is looking for in our lives?
- “You can’t live on foliage and you can’t produce what isn’t in you.” If he looked behind the foliage in your life, what kind of fruit would he find if any?
Talk About: Is McConnell Baptist Church all leaves or do we have fruit among the foliage that honors the Lord?
- Are we really in love with Jesus? Are we really in love with one another?
- Is He the centerpiece of all we do?
- Is there real commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, or do we merely give Him lip service?
Examine Yourself: What about in your individual life? Are you all leaves, or do you have fruit? Let’s take a minute to examine ourselves before the Lord. Ask yourselves the following questions.
- Is Jesus really the first priority in your life or is His will, His worship, and His work just an afterthought?
- Do you have all the trappings of religion and salvation, but no real commitment to God?
- Do you have any real fruit in your life?