Vol. 11 No. 5 May 2009
At the close of His masterful Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, speaking in the immediate context of false teachers, affirmed, “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:17-20 emp. added). Not only are false teachers known by their fruits, but so also are “false Christians.” Although the term “false Christian” is a contradictory term, sadly it is often a reality in the church for which Jesus died. How can we be sure that we are not the corrupt trees of which Jesus spoke?
First, we must ask, what fruit should I bring forth?Every accountable person has at sometime brought forth bad fruit (Romans 3:10, 23). However, penitent believers change their fruit (Luke 3:8) and begin to bear fruit pleasing to the Lord (John 15:8). This one no longer walks after the flesh, but now after the Spirit (Romans 8:1ff). As a Christian grows and walks a more mature walk following the Word of God, he or she mortifies or puts to death the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 8:13) and begins to bear spiritual fruit. “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). By your fruits you shall be known; what fruit do you bring forth?
Secondly, we must ask, how do I bring forth this fruit?Being able to identify a specific type of fruit and understanding how to cultivate or grow that fruit are two different things. For example, in the physical realm, I can easily identify bananas, but I have no idea how they are to be grown. If we, as God’s children, are to ever bear the spiritual fruit He requires, then we must understand what the “grower’s handbook” (i.e., the Bible) has to say regarding growing our fruit. In the section of the grower’s handbook titled John 15:5, the Master Grower said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Being attached closely to the Lord means that we do all the things He commands (Luke 6:46; John 14:15; 15:14). Surely, the one who attaches himself to the Master Vine will certainly begin to bear the fruit of that Vine. One cannot be attached properly to the Lord and bear the fruit of the devil (Matthew 7:16)! By your fruits you shall be known!
Fruit bearing is serious business! In order to make certain that we are not a corrupt tree, we must bring forth spiritual fruit, and spiritual fruit is a result of a healthy attachment to the Vine. What type of fruit are you bearing? Are you a good tree or a corrupt tree? “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20 emp. added)! When the Lord of harvest (Luke 10:2) comes, what type of fruit will He harvest in you?