“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Apple trees grow apples. Pear trees grow pears. Tomato plants grow tomatoes. I have never seen pumpkins grow from apple trees, which is a good thing. Could you imagine a pumpkin falling on your head?
Jesus used the illustration of fruit trees to teach the idea of false teachers and prophets. He said you and I should be able to tell them by their fruit. False teachers and prophets in Jesus’ day (as well as today) were those who did not teach according to the Talmud. They were teaching inaccurately according to the Word of the Law and the Prophets and this made them false teachers. But Jesus took it up a notch. Jesus was not identifying them based on their teachings. He was identifying them according to their “fruit”.
“Fruit” seems to be a controversial idea in Christian circles. What is this “fruit” Jesus uses to identify false disciples and true disciples? Some false disciples will have the ability to prophesy, cast out demons, and perform other acts of power in the Name of Christ. But Jesus says, “I never knew you”.
Hmm. Someone can preach, cast out demons, heal people, perform miracles all using the Name of Jesus, but not actually know Jesus? I find this to be one of the most disturbing truths of the New Testament! I also find it to answer some of the questions of why Christian leaders may fall from great heights. It means people can preach the truth, lead others to Christ, grow mega churches, and feed the poor and still not know Christ.
So how can we know? How can we know if someone is the real deal? How can we know if we are the real deal? Jesus says those who are truly His disciples will build their entire lives upon His teachings. They will follow Him so closely that their lives and their character will look like His. They will build their “house”, their life, on the Rock of Christ. Then, when the storms of life come, they will stand firm on that same Rock. They will not waver. They will not be swept away.
It is interesting that our “fruit” is not what we do, but who we become. And who we become affects what we do.
In 2014, examine your fruit. Are you becoming more like Christ? Do you know Him? Or are you merely doing things under the auspices of His Name?
Let’s Win in 2014! Become like Christ!