Next, I felt was extremely important to examine, briefly, the fruit that makes us who we are; a follow-up to ‘Yes or no? Which is it?’ This Scripture comes to us, again from Jesus, in Matthew 7:15-20. Jesus says, “Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matt. 7:17, NIV).
Throughout the entirety of this teaching, Jesus uses very harsh rhetoric to address the crowd. Words and phrases like: false prophets, ferocious wolves, thornbushes, and thrown into the fire, are certainly designed to grab the attention of both the disciples and the crowd – YOU!
From this Scripture, it is implied that from the ranks of even our neighbors – whom we are to love – many will seek to undermine God’s authoritative Word to fulfill their own selfish desires. And those that seek to undermine the Word of God will not do so gently. This passage tells us that we must always carefully evaluate a person’s motives and ambitions; being fully on-guard against teachers that aim to deliver false doctrine. Moreover, we can apply this today, even in the very Body of Christ. While Sunday morning faces and fancy clothes fill the sanctuaries and fellowship halls, from the tongue will spew both slander and gossip that will tear-down the Body like none other. This infilling of ‘fire’ as James describes (Jas. 3:6) is more detrimental to the Body than anything. For this very reason, we must be ready at all times.