A GREAT WAY TO KNOW
MATTHEW 7:15-20 NKJ
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
This week's chapters have been like attending one of those really expensive buffets. So many excellent choices you barely know where to start. Joy and I went to one of those buffets right after we were married and right before we left for Bible School. We called it our last really good supper, and did those words ever turn out to be prophetic.
Here Jesus teaches us how to appraise people and their endeavors. What do they produce? What is the fruit? If an apple tree produces knarly bitter apples, it is not a good apple tree. But if it produces tasty plump apples, it is a good apple tree. At the risk of appearing overly simplistic, this is what Jesus is saying. Way too often, I have heard someone say, "I know so and so did something bad and hurtful to others, but they have a really good heart. Uh, no! I can't judge your heart, but I can sure look at the fruit. Good trees produce good fruit. People with good hearts do good things.
I realize we all have our moments, but if the fruit produced in my life is consistently harmful and toxic, then I need to make a change.
Years ago, someone left our church and said some unkind things. It happens too often when people leave; they have to take shots at the church. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of this passage, good trees don't produce bad fruit. If any church is reaching the lost, helping the hurting, and advancing God's kingdom, they are producing good fruit. They are a good church. The fruit they produce may be different from what you like, but it doesn't make them bad it makes them different.
This is why I do not listen to people who criticize other churches. I am for any church that is producing good fruit. That lets me know they are a good church.
And anyone producing good fruit is a good person. It's truly simple. Jesus said by their fruits, what is visible and evident in their lives, you will know them.
Lord, help me produce better and better fruit in my life. And help me eliminate any bad beliefs, actions, and attitudes that do not yield what's good.