“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.
In yesterday’s reading, Jesus warned us about judging other people, looking for specks in other people’s eyes while ignoring the two-by-four in our own. This does not contradict that, it builds on it. You might have a plank in your eye. If so, you should do something about that. Here he puts it another way: your life is producing fruit, is it good fruit or bad? Are people being nourished and refreshed by your fruit, are they enjoying it? Or is your fruit mucking up the drawer in their refrigerator, waiting for trash day so it can go out with the least stench possible? To extend the analogy a bit, maybe your fruit isn’t nourishing or rotten, maybe its tasty but has no nutritional value at all. Maybe your fruit is like a Krispy Kreme donut. So tasty and pleasing in the moment, but not good for you and if eaten regularly, quite bad for you. Our sin nature makes our fruit rotten. Our culture makes our fruit vapid. Only you and the Holy Spirit can figure out what sort of fruit or pastry you’re producing. I encourage you to spend some time praying and reflecting on the fruit you’re producing, on the foundation you are building your life on. Let’s commit to being super fruitful. The Spirit will help us be so.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.