Another lesson today on this matter of assessing the spiritual health of a community. In order to know the spiritual state of our community we must examine the fruit. What are the things that characterize our community?
Jesus, in speaking about false prophets, gave us valuable information about how to assess the validity of a man’s claim to be a prophet.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
The word fruit is used seven times in five verses. Everyone knows what a fruit is. An apple tree produces apples. Apples are the fruit of the apple tree. Easy enough. Right?
Now what about us? what fruit are we producing? What do the deeds of our lives prove about the type of tree that we are?
Now I remind you that the people that Jesus was talking about here were “prophets.” These were people that had what appeared to be good fruit.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
They appeared to the untrained eye to be an example of everything good and right and yet Jesus declared an altogether different assessment. Why?
Again, it all boiled down to obedience to His word.
21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Today we live in a generation that values what they, and others, think over what God has said. They value how they, and others, feel about things over what God has written. They value what they, and others, want over what God has declared. This is a very dangerous place to be in. At some point in the life of such a person, or community, the truth can be flipped on its head, with God and those who are following his Word labeled as the bad guys, and those who are clearly in the wrong, biblically, declaring themselves right!
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; That put darkness for light, and light for darkness; That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Look at, and meditate on, this verse.
25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
You see, we live in a day similar to the one described here in the Judges. People can be doing wrong and yet in their minds, believe that they are doing right.
People can feel spiritual. They can feel that they are right with God…even doing God’s will…and yet be doing the wrong thing! Is this not the story of the Apostle Paul before he got saved?
He thought that arresting and killing Christians was a good thing and that he was doing God’s work. He could not have been further from the truth!
Let me ask you a question. How closely does your life align with the truth of God’s Word?
The fruit of our lives, and thus of our community reveals the truth!
Come back next week for a powerful contemporary illustration of the truth of these words.