I’ve been soaking in Jesus’ sermon on the mount the past couple mornings, and today I came to one of those passages that always forces me to do some serious heart-searching. The gravity of Jesus’ words here is thunderous:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Mt. 7:21-23
These words come on the heels of Jesus admonishing us to examine the fruit of the tree in order to know the nature of the tree.
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, 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…Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Mt. 7:16-19,20
Jesus says, “Examine the fruit and you will know the tree!”, and then he immediately follows that up with a warning: “But beware! Some trees produce fruit which mimics good fruit.” There are people in this life who imitate the fruit of Christ to the extent that they have deceived even themselves. Do not be deceived! An imitation of Christianity will not fool the gaze of the author who painted the picture for us in the first place! I can think of no more horrifying prospect than to live life under the impression that I was serving God and come to find, as I stood before the Lord, that it was all false.
So, this passage demands that I ask myself, and that you ask yourself, several questions this morning:
- Is the fruit of my life genuine, Spirit-produced, Christvine-fed, born-again, new creation fruit? Or am I simply plagiarizing the works of trees which are truly good?
- Am I willing to expose a man or woman’s imitation now, in order that he or she might see that they have not truly known the Lord? Am I willing to cause emotional pain and anger in order to point out the difference between truly good fruit and bad fruit with a veneer of imitation good?
- Do I know God’s Word & Jesus Christ well enough to discern between true good, and good forgery?
Oh Lord Jesus, save me from attempting to forge good fruit. If I am self-deceived, confront me by your Spirit, your Word, and your faithful saints so that I might see my error! And if I prove genuine, then use me to do the same for others. For your glory and our good, oh Lord! Amen