You Will Know Them By Their Fruits

In the spring, a few weeks before time to plant our garden, I start our squash, pumpkin and cucumber vines and tomatoes inside.  I started four different varieties of squash and a couple of pumpkins and cucumbers.  This year our labels fell off the containers so as I transplanted them into the garden, I didn’t know what I was actually planting where, so it has been interesting to watch as the fruit is developing!  Normally I try to keep the pumpkins away from the squash so they don’t cross pollinate. This year we may get some new hybrids, like squakins!  The vines look quite similar on the winter squash and pumpkins and you can’t really know for sure what you have until the fruit forms.     

Jesus, as recorded by Matthew, said, “Beware of 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? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit…So then, you will know them by their fruits.  Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 7:15-21).      

Mattthew also records several of the parables Jesus taught, one of which was about the wheat and the tares. It speaks “of a man who sowed good seed in his field. But… his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat…But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.”  The landowner’s workers asked if they should go and dig up the tares, but he replied to them: “No, lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn'” (Mt. 13:24-30).        

The parable shows Satan’s activity and deception during this age in counterfeiting wheat (true believers) with tares (false professors like those referred to in Mt. 7 as “wolves in sheep’s clothing”).  The tares were probably darnel, a type of weed which is hard to distinguish from wheat until the head of the wheat matures.  The harvest time refers to judgment, when the tares will be gathered and burned and the wheat gathered into the barns.  At that time, the counterfeits that looked much like the real thing will be exposed and judged. Jesus said, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me…'” (Mt. 7:22,23).   (Note: probably refers to the judgment at the end of the Tribulation and prior to the setting up of Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom).     

Counterfeits are hard to spot, but ultimately “you will know them by their fruits.” Only God knows their hearts. We can’t be root inspectors, but we can be fruit inspectors.  Do those who profess to be Christians demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit listed in Gal. 5:22,23: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,  and self-control”?  If not they are either a false professor (counterfeit) in whom the Holy Spirit does not dwell (Ro. 8:9), or a carnal Christian as Paul describes in I Cor. 3 who is allowing the flesh to control his/her life instead of the Holy Spirit.       

Satan, the enemy, sows his “tares” (“wolves in sheep’s clothing”) in the church to try to destroy its effectiveness, to cause strife and division, and to lead the church into false doctrine and practice.  So, beware!  Check out the fruit!
     

Forever His,         

Pastor Dave


P.S.  I will let you know what kind of “squawkins” we end up with!

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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