Intro: This week we are walking through Scripture with the righteous fruit of peace on our minds. In a world that is always producing diverse perspectives on right and wrong, truth and lies, good and evil, belief and unbelief we must decide how we are going to respond to this fruit salad! Peace comes as we draw near to God. Our perspective and decisions about these issues must always be built on the foundation of Christ and obedience to him. Our response must be righteous.
It is easier to deal with the bad fruit production of strangers than trying to sort through the good and bad fruit production in our inner circle of family, friends, and neighbors. Nonetheless, we must continue on with Jesus. We will find greater victory as we identify the fruit; knowledge with understanding comes from God.
Jesus is all about the heart; so, let’s face it he is always going to get to the heart of the matter. If we are not walking “with” Jesus, we are opposing him. It really is that simple. If negative or nasty comments and immoral living is manifesting in our lives, it is because the desire for it lives in our hearts. If we have a rebellious problem in the heart, no amount of self-discipline is going to fix it. Only Jesus can fix and redeem our ungodly attitudes, desires, and motives.
In our passage today, Jesus calls out the Pharisees, because their evil hearts are directing their mouths. These religious leaders have such hardened hearts, they are literally rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit who desires to help them repent, receive forgiveness, and be restored to God. Jesus wants to bring healing to the heart. If we are connected in obedience to Christ, we are connected to the Tree of Life and our fruit will be good. If we are trying to connect to a worldly idea/action thinking our disobedience to Christ doesn’t matter, we are actually connected to a corrupt tree and will bear evil fruit (Mat 7:18).
We are not to judge people, but let’s be real…you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions (Mat 7:20). Lastly, what we say flows from what is in our hearts (Luke 6:45). Don’t let someone producing evil fruit rob your peace. Love them, pray for them, but do not let them steal your treasure.
Matthew 12:33-37 NLT 33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for sharing the wisdom your children need about the connection of the heart to righteous or unrighteous fruit production. Create in us clean hearts. Holy Spirit, please empower us to walk in obedience to the Word, so the fruit we bear through our words and actions will please you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.