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Matthew 3:8-10

Living in God's Orchard

8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Addressing the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees, John said that they ought to "bring forth fruit." What are fruits?

We know that fruit grows on trees; that it is a product and sign of the trees' maturity; and that the mature fruit carries seed that will eventually produce a tree that will produce more fruit.

God expects His people to be like fruit trees. We must mature and develop good Christian character. These mature character traits are called fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and described as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,meekness, and temperance. In 2 Peter 1:5-7, they are faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity. Each of these traits makes us more like Christ.

By reading the four gospels we can identify which of these the Pharisees and Sadducees often lacked. At one time or another they exhibited a distinct lack of every one of these traits. Is it any wonder that both John and Jesus called them a generation of vipers?

However, we should not confuse the fruit of the Spirit with the fruit that John is speaking of in this passage or that Jesus spoke about in John 15. We do not produce them; the Holy Spirit produces them within us. But, as He develops our Christ-like character, we will begin to produce fruit of our own. Just as a well developed fruit will carry the seed to reproduce the plant, we will also begin to carry the seed of the gospel and reproduce our Christian nature in others. The gospel will spread and the church will grow.

Faith, joy, peace, and virtue are characteristics that arise out of our relationship with God. They inspire in us the good works of prayer, fasting, and worship, without which we could not succeed in sowing the gospel seed.

If our works are the seeds that are born in the fruit, then the lives of those whom we touch through our works are the new fruits produced by those seeds. We must produce this new fruit to be complete in Jesus Christ.

John told the Pharisees that they needed to produce fruit that was meet for repentance. If one truly repents of his sins and turns to Christ as His Lord, he will produce the mentioned fruits. Jesus would later teach, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Mt 7:15-20) This was the same as John's message to the Sadducees and Pharisees.

Jesus also told those same people, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." They made converts, but to their own brand of religion. They produced fruit that was rotted and dead.

We cannot rely on our heritage to establish our relationship with God. John said God could raise up stones to be Abraham's children, and indeed, in Galatians 3:29 Paul confirmed that, "...if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." God has raised up both Jews and Gentiles to be Abraham's seed, not because their parents were born again Christians, or because they join some church or cult, but because they themselves are born again through faith in Jesus Christ.

It might be a good idea to evaluate ourselves according to our fruit production. How many times a day do each of us spread the gospel by sharing our own testimony with someone who does not know Christ? This is the only evidence of your salvation. John the Baptist and Jesus both preached that those who produce no fruit will be thrown into the fire. They are not His saints and never were. Are you?

Before The Throne:

Ask the Lord what He thinks of the fruit you have been producing. Pray for His forgiveness and repent. Promise Him that with His help you will make a greater effort to produce more fruit. Pray that He will prepare people to hear and receive your testimony. Thank Him for granting you the opportunity to be a tree in His orchard.

For Further Study:

(v.8 )
** forth. Matt 21:28-30, 32; Isa 1:16-17; Luke 3:8, 10-14; Acts 26:20; Rom 2:4-7; 2Cor 7:10-11; 2Pet 1:4-8; ** fruits. Gal 5:22-23; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11; ** meet, etc. or, answerable to amendment of life. Jer 7:3-7; Jer 26:13; Jer 36:3;

(v.9) ** think. Mark 7:21; Luke 3:8; Luke 5:22; Luke 7:39; Luke 12:17; ** We. Ezek 33:24; Luke 16:24; John 8:33, 39-40, 53; Acts 13:26; Rom 4:1, 11-16; Rom 9:7-8; Gal 4:22-31; ** God. Matt 8:11-12; Luke 19:40; Acts 15:14; Rom 4:17; 1Cor 1:27-28; Gal 3:27-29; Eph 2:12-13;

(v.10) ** now. Mal 3:1-3; Mal 4:1; Heb 3:1-3; Heb 10:28-31; Heb 12:25; ** the axe. Luke 3:9; Luke 23:31; ** therefore. Ps 1:3; Ps 92:13-14; Isa 61:3; Jer 17:8; John 15:2; ** is hewn. Matt 7:19; Matt 21:19; Ps 80:15-16; Isa 5:2-7; Isa 27:11; Ezek 15:2-7; Luke 13:6-9; John 15:6; Heb 6:8; 1Pet 4:17-18;


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