“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes? Or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good 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. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand and: the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
The simple message here is that the truth is very obvious if we will only pay attention. The fruit of ministry hangs out where all can see. We don’t have to be deceived.
Jesus is not talking about young plants here. He is talking about fruit bearing trees. We must be very caring and tolerant toward the young. The point is that if there is fruit being produced then all we must do is observe the fruit and be able to distinguish real or unreal, bad or good.
It would be good at this point to ask the question, what is FRUIT? What are we looking at? When we look at highly visible ministries, is what we see the fruit? Well, when we think of media images we know that what we see is very enhanced and sometimes even manipulated. It may look real but it is not. It’s only an image. Our first impressions of people even in person can be totally off. So the surface impressions and immediate conclusions we are led to make can be illusions. That may be PART of the FRUIT but couldn’t possibly be THE FRUIT.
So, when Jesus says, “By their fruits you will know them,” He is challenging us to take an honest, intelligent look at the results. And that may not be right on the surface but should be apparent to any who will take a little closer look. Are the results real or just talk and is what it is saying what Jesus says? See, we don’t have to wait and see if the thing will stand the test of time. We can know right now. It’s either saying what Jesus says and doing what Jesus is doing, or it’s not.
If we don’t know what Jesus is saying or doing we’ll buy into just about anything. That’s the bottom line… KNOWING HIM. That’s eternal life. Eternal life is not about the theatrics pulled off in His name. “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord…’ but he who does the will of My Father… Many will say, ‘Haven’t I profited, I mean prophesied, cast out demons and done many wonders in Your Name? And I will say to them, I never knew you. Get out of my sight.”
Can you imagine standing before Jesus and hearing those words? Build your life and ministry, your representation of God and His Kingdom, on the Rock. What and Who that Rock is, cannot be debated. It is clear. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them…”
Further more, check it out… Are you a member of or an investor in a ministry that makes you wonder sometimes, “Is this the way Jesus does things?” Do you think that kind of question would be out of order? Then STOP, pick up your Bible and read through all the red letters. Then read through them again. Then read how Jesus’ disciples acted out what He had taught them. You don’t have to be deceived! Look closely at the FRUIT! Make sure you are following Jesus and getting to know Him better every day! You don’t have to guess. God’s Word is the Judge!