#882. By their fruit you will know them - Matthew 7:15-20 (23/8/23)
Updated: Aug 24
Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional. For the near future, we put our Luke series on pause as we have some stand-alone summer devotionals. I hope you find them helpful.
‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them.’ (Matthew 7:15-20)
Lesson: All Christians will grow and bear good fruit because they have new life in Christ.
As we saw yesterday, our sanctification (growth in Christ-likeness) is something that God will definitely do in all Christians. It’s so important that we understand the nature of true Christianity. It’s not believing some truths and carrying out some religious duties. Christianity is being born again by the Spirit and so all Christians will bear spiritual fruit.
Jesus tells us that good teachers and Christians can be recognised by good fruit. Fruit is very different from decorations. At Christmas, many people decorate a Christmas tree. I rather like tinsel but I’m not allowed to put it up for some unwritten rules that I’m yet to understand! However, we can all see that decorating a tree is a million miles from a tree that bears fruit or that is decorated by its blossom. This is rather like the difference between dead religion and true Christianity.
What is good fruit?
In essence, we can say that the good fruit that the Spirit produces in us is that of love for God, love for the church, and love for the lost. Good fruit is seen in a life that looks like the cross of Christ - A life in which we seek the best for others even at our own expense. Paul defines some of this fruit when He says:
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.’ (Galatians 5:22-26)
All Christians will grow and bear good fruit because they have new life in Christ.
Firstly, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to bear more fruit in our own lives. Fruit is miraculous and far beyond any person’s ability to create. Likewise, our fruitfulness grows out of our abiding in Christ, prayerfully, throughout the day.
Secondly, are we allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of by people who are ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ and whose fruit is bad? Particularly, are our primary spiritual teachers people that we know and who have good fruit in their lives?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
Until September I'll not be producing a group study. However, if you meet with your group why not simply use one of the devotionals as a basis for your discussion together?