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The Kindness and Severity of God

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Probing the profound relationship between God's merciful loving kindness and His severe judgment of sin.

Text: Luke 13:6-9
Date: 02/11/2024, the Combined service.
Series: "Luke: Thy Kingdom Come" Part 137

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Jesus' teaching session that began with the 12th chapter of Luke's Gospel, comes to its conclusion with a powerful parable about a fig tree that did not bear fruit. When the landowner decides to dig the tree up and destroy it, the vinedresser appeals for another year-- hoping that with his loving care, the tree might indeed bear fruit. We will carefully identify the principles established by the parable and then apply them on several different levels and to several different groups. We will learn that God is a complex God-- perfect in His merciful loving kindness; while at the same time perfect in His holiness and severe judgment of sin. Ultimately we will recognize the complexity of the Triune God and find the reason for His Redemptive Plan, and the essence of the Gospel, manifest in the kindness and severity of God.

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I. Introduction, Rom. 11:22, Eph. 2:4-7, 2Cor. 13:10.
II. Exposition of the text, Luke 13:6-9.
A. Context
1. The immediate context.
2. The "vineyard song", Isa. 5:1-7.
B. Kindness and Severity in the vineyard.
1. The fig tree in the vineyard, vs. 6.
a. Setting the scene.
b. The anomaly of the fig tree.
i. The practical reason.
ii. The symbolic reason, Mic. 4:4, Zech. 3:10.
1) A symbol of peace.
2) A symbol of isolation.
c. Seeking fruit.
2. The severity of the landowner, vs. 7.
a. Introducing the vinedresser.
i. Avoiding Trinitarian confusion, Luke 11:13, 12:32, 12:46, 13:3.
ii. Avoiding Testamental confusion, Psa. 35:5,7,Rom. 1:18, 2:5-8.
b. The landowner's frustration, Lev. 19:23-25.
c. The landowner's solution, Luke 3:8,9, 11:42,46,50-51, 12:58-59.
3. The kindness of the vinedresser, vs. 8.
a. The practical implication.
b. The figurative implication.
i. Comparing to Isaiah's "vineyard song", Isa. 5:5-6.
ii. A hermeneutical note.
4. When kindness turns to severity, vs. 9, Rom. 11:22.
C. Establishing the principles.
1. God desires fruit from His people.
2. There is both kindness and severity with God, Rom. 2:3-4.
3. There is a time factor involved, Heb. 9:27, Mark 1:15.
III. Application
A. The nation of Israel, Rom. 9:4-5, Acts 7:51-53, Matt. 21:18-19, Luke 13:34-35.
B. The religious leaders of Israel, Matt. 9:36, 21:42-44, 3:7.
C. The individual, John 3:3,16,18.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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