I want to share with you a passage of scripture. Something Jesus said, and then we will discuss it. Todays passage is in Matthew 7.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, you will know them by their fruits. ” Matthew 7:15-20
In my Bible, this passage is given a subtitle. “You Will Know Them By Their Fruits.” The basic premise of this passage is that you can’t just accept someone because they claim to be good, You have to watch the fruit they produce. You can’t just accept anyone who claims to be a prophet, but you need to judge the fruit they produce, because Good trees produce good fruit. But there is something interesting here. Because while verse 20 is the end of this sub-heading, it is not the end of the passage. Jesus is still in the middle of His conversation. So lets take a look at the follow up portion.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:21-23
Interesting. So right after telling use we need to Judge fruit, he basically tells us that Prophecy, Deliverance, and Miracles aren’t the fruit. This seems crazy. These people were ministering in the name of Jesus. They cast out demons, they prophesied, and they did miracles. wouldn’t that count as good fruit?
Not according to Jesus.
Jesus began the passage by telling us that there would be many false prophets. Then He tells us to look for fruit. But if the fruit is not the prophecy, or the miracles what is? Jesus gives us a little insight to this. He tells the false prophet in this passage, “I never knew you. depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”
This is a HUGE KEY. Jesus says that he never knew them. So perhaps this gives us insight into the good fruit. Jesus wants to know and be known. We see this exemplified in Jesus’ final moments before being betrayed. He is praying in a garden, and John records some of this for us.
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:20-24
Jesus is pouring His soul out to His Father. His hopes and His dreams, and His desire. But look at what He most desires. That we would be united, with each other, with Him, and with the Father.
Jesus also speaks of a vine and its branches, and this is more of His discourse on unity. In John 15 He calls himself the TRUE VINE and then says we are His branches, and through Him we bear fruit. Bearing Good fruit is very important. Jesus talks about fruit an awful lot. But He says that good fruit is achieved by abiding in Him as the vine. Let’s take a look at this discourse.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. ” John 15:1-8
I know, this is a pretty scripture heavy day. Trust me it will be worth it. Hopefully you are seeing the importance of True Good fruit. The fruit is not your gifts, the fruit is becoming more like Jesus. Think about it, when Paul talked about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he never called them the fruit. He called them gifts.
The Fruit of the Spirit are; Love Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. These are not gifts and manifestations, but rather the Holy Spirit enabling us to live out the character of Jesus. Good fruit is being united with Jesus, and having His nature and character coming through you.
The Gifts of the spirit are important, powerful, and valid, but they are not a substitute for Christ-like character. You can be the most gifted minister in the world, but if your character is poor then you have missed the good fruit, and you ight even fall into the place where Jesus says, “Depart, I never knew you, you are a worker of lawlessness.”
As always, I welcome your comments, questions, etc… Have a great day and God bless you with more of His indwelling spirit to give you the character and nature of Jesus Himself.