A Tree and It’s Fruit
June 25, 2017
Main Theme: Our spiritual condition is revealed by the fruit that we bear. Our spiritual condition is revealed by the fruit that we bear.
In seeking to make this connection between our spiritual state – our spiritual health – and fruit – Jesus emphasizes the central importance of three things: Our hearts, our speech and our obedience.
I. Our Hearts
 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,  for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
- The good person refers to a genuine disciple. It refers to someone whose heart has been regenerated by the power of the Spirit and the good treasure of a transformed heart produces an abundance of good fruit!
- The evil person on the other hand refers to someone who is not a genuine disciple. They might profess Christ, they might not. The bottom line is their hearts have not been regenerated. They are not born again. They don’t follow Jesus, they don’t obey Jesus, they are dead in their sins and the result is an ugly thorn bush–a bramblebush that bears bad, evil fruit.
- According to Jesus, the heart plays a vital role in how much or how little fruit we bear for Jesus. This serves as great reminder to diligently watch over own hearts (Prov. 4:23) because biblically fruit bearing is not an automatic–it’s not “let go and let God.” Rather, it involves grace-driven, faith-fueled, Spirit-powered exertion and effort.
- It’s important that we not slack off in our pursuit of bearing fruit as we grow older and age.
II. Our Speech
 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
- While all fruit matters, few things reveal the condition of a person’s heart more than what they speak and what they say. Jesus reminds us – our words matter.
- Jerry Bridges notes in his book “Respectable Sins” that biblically “sins of the tongue” include : “lying, slander, critical speech (even when true), harsh words, insults, sarcasm and ridicule.”
- Bridges says “we would have to say that any speech that tends to tear down another person–either someone we are talking about or someone we are talking to — is sinful speech.”
- Here Jesus Himself reminds us that sinful speech is not a trivial offense to be overlooked. What comes out of our mouths is a reflection of deeper problems in our hearts.
III. Our Obedience
 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?  Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” (ESV)
- It is possible to come to Jesus, to even pay Him his due respect and honor by calling Him Lord, and yet to fail to truly obey Him and do what He commands.
- Jesus had just been telling the crowds of the importance of bearing fruit.
- The fruit Jesus now calls for is obedience — doing what Jesus commands.
- The good tree must bear the good fruit of obedience to Jesus otherwise it is not a good tree.
- The one who hears the words of Jesus and does them – remains strong, Jesus says, in the midst of life’s difficult storms/trials. As those who have genuine saving faith, they also avoid the storm of God’s judgment on the last day because God’s judgment has already landed on His dearly beloved Son on that Cross.
- Several Illustrations from Pilgrims Progress show the importance of genuine faith – faith that is evidenced by fruit.
Questions for Discussion / Application:
- What does it mean for a person to “bear fruit” ? Give some examples of the type of “good fruit” a Christian can bear.
- What role does our effort play in terms of the fruit that we bear? What is the difference between effort that depends on God’s grace and God’s Spirit and a fleshly, self-powered determination to do good?
- Over the years, what temptations have you perhaps faced in terms of “slacking off” in your pursuit of bearing fruit for Jesus.
- Re-read the Sermon Summary under the second point “Our Speech.” How does what comes out of our mouths connect to what is going on in our hearts?
- In what ways are you convicted that you need to change in the area of your speech?
- Verses 46-49 show that it is possible to come to Jesus, to even pay Him his due respect and honor by calling Him Lord, and yet to fail to truly obey Him and do what He commands. If someone is walking in deliberate sin and does not evidence a desire to obey Christ — should that person be concerned? Should those around them be concerned? How would you speak to a person in that situation?