Saturday, August 27, 2022
Michelle Jones - Journey Church Member
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 “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. 22 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?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
It’s summertime and good fruit is abundant. There is nothing that says “summer” more to me than a ripe peach, rich with juice, and flavor in the first bite. Conversely, have you ever tasted a dry, flavorless, rotten, bad fruit? What a disappointment!
In this Scripture passage, Jesus is close to finishing his most comprehensive sermon found in the Bible. Here, he is warning his followers to be aware of false prophets by using an analogy very familiar to the people of that time – good and bad fruit. This analogy is still applicable to us today. In this specific teaching, Jesus instructs his disciples (and us also) to be aware of those who falsely claim the gift of prophecy or divine inspiration, and who set themselves up as an authority with poor intentions. These individuals bear bad fruit, and they “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Outwardly, there are some people who profess God and look to be upright…even gentle. But inwardly, where their heart resides, they may be fierce, desiring harm. Jesus cautions His followers to be discerning, aware, and not deceived. It’s through looking at their heart, Jesus teaches, that a person’s character can truly be known.
Jesus cares deeply about our hearts and tells us that “every good tree bears good fruit” (verse 17). As we stay connected to Christ, the true vine, and profess His name as Lord, we will have the great gift of the Holy Spirit residing within us. The Holy Spirit guides us into right living through the “fruits” of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). That is good fruit. And those gifts will fill our hearts, influencing our character and conduct. As a patient, good gardener, the Lord also prunes us as we seek Him and allows us to flourish by cutting away dead branches that do not serve ourselves or others.
Are you living by the fruits of the Spirit and producing good fruit? Do you see the qualities of the Spirit lived out in your everyday life and relationships? May the fruit of the Spirit guide our lives, actions, and behavior, and let us be a church known by Christ’s love.
Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.”
Daily Prayer Initiatives
- Jesus to change more lives as we double the square footage of our Castle Pines location.
- Momentum as we launch our Highlands Ranch location.
- Someone you can invite to Journey on Friend Day (Sunday, September 11)
- One bold prayer you sense God is personally inviting you to pray during the 21 Days.
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.