Monday, October 24, 2005

Fruit Doesn’t Lie

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 thornbushes 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)
Jesus told us to beware of false prophets. How do we recognize the false prophet? By their fruit.

  • Every good tree bears good fruit.
  • Every bad tree bears bad fruit.
  • A good tree cannot bear bad fruit.
  • A bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
This means that if the fruit is bad, the tree is bad. If the fruit is good, the tree is good.

What is the fruit of false prophets? The spirit of religion. False prophets always seek to lead us away from trusting in God. They want us to trust in themselves, in their gods, or in ourselves (our abilities, strength, understanding, works, behavior). Those options always lead to death.

False prophets offer us the fruit from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It may appear very pleasant, good for fruit, and the way to life. But it disconnects us from God and causes us to lean on our own understanding. The Bible says,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)
When we set our heart on the LORD and put all our trust in Him, He will direct our paths. We will be operating out of His wisdom and guidance. We will be tuned into life, dialed into prosperity. We will be eating from The Tree of Life.

Adam and Eve were deceived by the false prophet — the serpent in the Garden — and they were disconnected from the life of God. They thought if they could eat of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would be able to direct their own path. But that path led them only to bitterness and death.

False prophets are false shepherds. Though they come pretending to care for the sheep, they are actually wolves — thieves who break in to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, came to give us the abundant life of God (John 10:10).

False shepherds come to sow tares in God’s wheat fields. The thing about tares is that they may look very much like wheat. But when they come into fruit, their true character is revealed — they are nothing but worthless weeds, destined for destruction (Matthew 13:24-30).

False prophets load us up with rules and regulations. They hit us with accusation, condemnation and rejection, on the one hand. Then they proffer rationalization and self-justification on the other. It is all bad fruit from a bad tree.

God offers us good fruit, from the good tree — the Tree of Life. It is the fruit of faith, trusting completely in God, and not in ourselves. It is the fruit of forgiveness and acceptance through Jesus Christ. It is the fruit of intimate relationship with Himself.

Fruit doesn’t lie. False prophets will never bear good fruit — it will always have a poisonous seed within. Jesus Christ always bears nothing but good fruit — it will always lead to abundant life with God. What is more, all those who know the Lord Jesus have the Holy Spirit within. It is the work of the Spirit to bring forth the fruit of Jesus Christ in their lives: love, joy peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.

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