Vol. 6, No. 4
~ Page 14 ~
I'm a terrible shopper. My motto is get in and get out!The longer I'm in a store the more frustrated I become. I don't enjoy shopping, and I probably never will. I avoid it if at all possible, but once in awhile I find it unavoidable. Not long ago my wife asked me to stop at the supermarket and pick up a couple of things. As I walked up and down the aisles, I spotted red raspberries. Knowing how much she enjoys them, I hurriedly picked up a container and headed for the checkout. The next day, to my dismay, I watched as she discarded half of them. They were rotten. Needless to say, I should have inspected them more carefully. What's the point? Good fruit requires careful inspection.
There is more than one kind of fruit. Jesus used this analogy to warn of the dangers of false teachers. He said, Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:15-20).
Faithful men of God will be recognized not by the claims they make, but by the doctrine they teach and the faith they live. It is easy to profess allegiance to God with the lips, but deny him with our lives. Jesus indicted the Pharisees saying of them: "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:7-9).
Religiously speaking, there is a lot of rotten fruit out there. We need to be careful fruit inspectors, and imitate the example of the Bereans. Of them it is said: "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). It's the only way to avoid rotten fruit!