Two trees

Is your fruit bad?

Matthew 7:15-20

The Sermon on the Mount

Two maple trees taken in early autumn, one still has green leaves, the other tree's leaves have turned red.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thorn bushes? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-20 ESVUK

Every time we look at other people’s spiritual life it is good to look at our own. The previous two verses of Matthew’s Gospel looked at two roads, the narrow difficult one led to life. Ask yourself, If there was a time when you became a Christian, how did my conversion change me, did it cost me anything? If you have known Jesus all your life ask yourself does my knowing Jesus change me and am I any different to other people?

From two different roads, Jesus turns onto two different trees. One has good fruit the other has bad fruit. Matthew was writing to Christians who were previously Jews and a lot of what he writes about Jesus goes back to teaching in the Old Testament.

In Genesis chapter 3 we are told of two trees in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The bad fruit tasted good but led to separation from God. I believe this passage links back to the Genesis story, where going after what felt good to do had the consequence of mankind being banished from Eden. ‘If it feels good, do it’ has never been a Biblical mantra.

We all produce fruit according to who we are. Are we going for God’s kingdom? (You can ask that as an individual and as a church.) Do we lift each other up or is our Christian life designed to lift ourselves up, to make ourselves look or feel good? Jesus was all about equality, lifting up the poor, the widow, the orphan and women, making the ones that the society of his day a priority, making the less equal more equal. The early Christians showed their fruit by giving to the poor, even selling part of their property to help the poor and hungry.

Check people out, what is their fruit? Also check yourself out, what is yours?

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