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We Should Be Concerned About Fruit

This morning, Michaelene, the boys and I read Matthew 7:15-23: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

We all came to the conclusion that this passage should keep all of us sitting upright with our eyes and ears open, looking outward at those we follow, yes, but also considering our own lives. We should examine the fruits produced in everything we do and say. When examining those we follow, and even ourselves: what fruits are being produced? Good or bad? Toward God, or self-glorifying? And why does Jesus say “I never knew you” to some who do mighty works in His name?

Simply put, bad fruits and I never knew you are linked. There are many who have done and will do mighty works, all in the name of Jesus. But when they approach Jesus, they’re coming at Him with their credentials. Many will use Jesus’ name for their own glory, to point to their own goodness, to attempt and prove their worthiness. They used Jesus’ name to gain, instead of seeking Jesus for His own sake. Jesus says “I never knew you,” in other words “We had no relationship, there was no intimacy. You knew of me, but I didn’t know you personally.”

When you examine yourself, and the teachers you follow, what would Jesus say of your fruits? What would He say of your motivations? Does He know you or not? Let us, then, check self at the door. Jesus isn’t impressed by our works. He created the universe and all in it, what can truly impress Him (apart from pure faith in Him, as was shown by the Centurion and Syrophoenician woman)? Loved ones, let us not use Jesus’ name for gain, but seek to gain Jesus’ for all eternity, that He may know us and we may know Him. Let us pursue Him with all we are, for His sake, His honor and His Glory. Let us understand Jesus died that we may also die to our old, sinful selves, and live eternally in and with and for Him, to His glory, forever and ever, amen.

2 Timothy 3

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

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