Each tree is recognised by its own fruit
We are still in the sermon on the plain as Jesus speaks to his disciples and us about living for the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of this world. The two kingdoms are not compatible and the way of Jesus is very counter-intuitive to humans. He has spoken about living and loving; judging, leading and rebuking. Now he continues to include bearing fruit before finishing the sermon on the famous parable of the wise and foolish builders. Thus he ends his sermon with a call for us to decide which life are we going to choose.
- 43-45 Listen to the fruit
- 46-49 Look at the fruit
43-45 Listen to the fruit
“Each tree is recognised by its own fruit” These verses talk about good versus bad fruit and type ‘A’ versus type ‘B’ fruit. If you’re going to be an apple tree then you want to be producing good apples – otherwise you are not a happy apple tree.
“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” You can tell a lot from what a person says and the way it is said. The things we love the most come flying out of our mouths to betray our hearts. A disciple of Christ cannot be one simply by name but must be one by nature and working to change the heart for Christ.
46-49 Look at the fruit
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’…” Interestingly, Jesus moves straight from a lesson on our speech showing where our heart is at, to a speech on how our mouths can lie about where our hearts are at! This is not a contradiction, rather the other side of the coin. Not only will our mouths convey what is in our hearts but our actions will support what our mouths say.
“…comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.” This is the outward working of the gospel. We come in contact with the message of Jesus and hear the gospel, then we put it into practice. The whole sermon on the plain conveys a changed life affected by the grace of God.
“They are like a man building a house…” This is a famous parable repeated in Matthew 7:24-27. The one who hears Jesus words and puts them into practice is the wise builder. He builds deep and strong on a rock foundation. He knows who God is and how he is a saved sinner. He does not live like the world lives but in response to the compassion and kindness that God has shown to him/her. He does not love like the world loves but modelled directly from the love of the Father. He does not presume to judge others or condemn where he himself stood except for the grace of God. He does not lead our of his own wisdom but only after carefully listening to his Master. And he does not dare rebuke while there are issues to deal with in his own life. His mouth declares his love for God which wells from his heart – the heart that was purchased by God. And he puts into practice everything that Jesus has said in this sermon, even though it goes against his instincts and against the ways of this world.
The fool just goes his own way. He doesn’t regard Jesus’ words for long at all but proceeds to build his life on whatever is fleeting – riches, full stomach, laughter and applause from men.
The instructions from Jesus in the sermon on the plain are founded on the logic of God not of men. To build your life on Jesus is to stop and listen to him and trust him enough to put all of his words into practice. Being a disciple of Christ cannot be faked and mimicked. It is so radically different from this world that the fruit of following Jesus will be plain to see.
Topic A – The depths of discipleship. The good builder made such a huge foundation to build his house upon which is paralleled with the extent that we stop and listen to Jesus and put his words into practice. Are there shortcuts that you are taking in your walk with Jesus?
Prayer of the week
Our Lord and our God, please continue, by your Spirit, to train us in righteousness. We thank you that it is by grace that we are saved. Help us to put your words into practice so that people around us will see that we trust you, we love you and we want to be known as your disciples. Amen.