7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. – Matthew 3:7-10
As I read this I thought back to our conversation last Wednesday when we talked about how good fruit is something that comes out naturally. Good trees produce good fruit. Bad trees produce bad fruit. To remind ourselves what I mean by fruit, let’s look at Galatians 5:22-24:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Ephesians 2 is more explicit:
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
So how do bad trees produce good fruit? They become good trees.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into hismother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of theSpirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:3-8
There is a fundamental change. The word Paul uses is Metmorphoo. Which is where we get the English word metamorphosis. We go from ground crawling worms to winged butterfly. We are completely changed.
I believe there are many implications behind this. The first being that the modern western church is in trouble. Many who attend it’s services on the weekend are not saved. They are churched, not changed (if I can quote Jon Weece). And church (used in its generic Sunday morning service sense) will not save you. If anything, it will make you a mean spirited, closed-minded fool who drags the name of Christ through the mud.
I think the second implication is that we need to watch ourselves very closely. If we do not see the fruit listed above in Galatians, we need to ask ourselves some serious, sobering questions. Daily, we should be examining ourselves, looking for fruit. Remember, the axe is laid to the root of the trees not bearing good fruit…fruit in accordance with repentance. Jesus’ words in Luke ring loud and clear:
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21:34-36
Praying that I stand with you all on the last day,