Matthew 7:13-20 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
When one turns to the New Testament, you quickly discovers that Jesus had much to say about fruit in reference to the Christian Life. In Mark 4:8, He spoke of the “Multiplication of Fruit.” In Luke 8, in the parable of the soil, He spoke of the “Mutilation of Fruit.” But here in Matthew 7, He speaks of the “Manifestation of Fruit.” Our Christian Life can be greatly enhanced by expanding our knowledge and understanding of the physical aspects and characteristics of fruit. There are three thoughts that I would like to pursue concerning fruit that is manifested in our lives.
(I) The Production of Fruit
When we begin to contemplate the production of fruit, I’m afraid that there is a principle that we fail to enter into the equation and that is the presence of fruit. Everyone will readily agree that we are to produce fruit; for Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). The truth is, you are producing fruit; “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (vs.17). It may be a good tree, or it may be a bad tree, but whether good or bad, it is producing fruit! While I may not know your spiritual state; lost, saved, or carnal; this I do know, you are producing fruit! In fact, you may not be producing the kind of fruit that God demands and you desire, but fruit is being manifested in your life. You are at this moment producing fruit and all men will give an account for the fruit that their life yields.
(II) The Purpose of Fruit
Fruit is produced for a multitude of reasons and I want to examine three purposes for which fruit is produced. Fruit manifests the nature of the tree; “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Try as you may, grapes are not produced by thorn bushes but vines and figs are not produced by thistles. As you pass through the produce department and pick up a big golden delicious apple; while you may have never seen the tree personally, you immediately know the character and quality of the tree that produced that apple. Try as you may to change it, the fruit that is being produced in your life gives a clear manifestation of your nature and character. The purpose of fruit is to minister to others. When God put man in the garden He said, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16-17). The trees of the garden produced fruit to minister to God’s creation. The child of God is to produce fruit so that others may see and secure it! With respect to seeing, Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Because God is light and we as His children are possessors of His nature, we should produce the fruit of light. The world should not only see, but they should be able to secure fruit from our lives and that fruit should nourish and bless those that partake of it. Fruit will serve the purpose of multiplying. In almost every case, fruit has the potential of producing more trees with the exact same nature and character as the one from which it came. As fruit producers, we are to yield a fruit that reveals God’s nature, is beneficial to those about us, and when planted in the good soil reproduces itself!
(III) The Potential for Fruit
All men have the potential for producing fruit; but all men don’t have the potential of producing good fruit! The only way a person came produce the type of fruit that is pleasing unto the Lord is for the Lord to produce His fruit through them; “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). It is only when we cooperate with and give the Holy Spirit total access to our lives that good fruit will be produced in our lives. Fruit is not produced by the branches but the vine!
Some may encourage you to examine your life when in reality the best thing to do is examine your fruit for it will give a complete and clear picture of your life! You are producing some sort of fruit! Does your fruit bear the image of the divine nature or that of the curse; is it fruit that is pleasant or is it prickly?
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