You will know them by their fruits.
Luke 13:1-21 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now on that very occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus responded and said to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans just because they have suffered this fate? 3 No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or do you think that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse offenders than all the other people who live in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
6 And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7 And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Look! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, leave it alone for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”
10 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent over double, and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” 13 And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she stood up straight again, and began glorifying God. 14 But the synagogue leader, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days during which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites, does each of you on the Sabbath not untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it away to water it? 16 And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this restraint on the Sabbath day?” 17 And as He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.
18 So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky nested in its branches.”
20 And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three sata of flour until it was all leavened.”
In today’s text it says: And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Look! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, leave it alone for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’” What if we were held to that same standard? What if after all the nurturing and feeding we’ve been given we would be cut down, if we did not bear fruit. In John 15:1-2;5-8 Jesus says: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit…I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” It is not our attendance at church, how much we give or how much we read the Bible that Jesus says proves that we are His disciples, but rather it is by bearing fruit. Jesus says that if we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit. It is inevitable. Apart from Him we can do nothing. It is impossible. Take courage though, in Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” In Him we will not only bear fruit, but we will also have rest and peace.
In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” So, while we are not supposed to judge others, it is important for us to be fruit inspectors and to beware of those who bear bad fruit. Galatians 5:19-25 says: Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God… How many of these are not only evident, but prevalent in our culture and society. Sexual immorality, impurity and indecent behavior are both being normalized and glorified. Witchcraft is not women wearing black clothes, riding on brooms and casting spells. Witchcraft is intimidation and manipulation for the purpose of domination. Surely witchcraft is evident throughout our culture and society, in our government, the media, in schools and school boards and in our healthcare. Hostilities, strife, dissensions and factions are not only evident throughout our society, but are created and fueled by those same entities that seek to intimidate, manipulate and control. Those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. They will be cut down and cast out. But we need to beware, because they are ravenous wolves. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we remain in Christ, then it is the fruit of the Spirit that will be evident and that our lives will bear.
May the words of Psalm 37:1-11 be our declaration and prayer. Do not get upset
because of evildoers, Do not be envious of wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, And decay like the green plants. Trust in the Lord and do good; Live in the land and cultivate
faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring out your
righteousness as the light, And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not get upset because of one who is successful in his way, Because of the person who carries
out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and abandon wrath; Do not get upset; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be eliminated, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while
and the wicked person will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. Amen