The Evidence of the Fruit

by Dr. Paul Chappell

“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.”

Matthew 7:15–17

Live so that if someone were to guess your “tree” by your fruit, they would know you were planted in Christ.

A young American engineer was sent to Ireland by his company to work in a new electronics plant. It was a two-year assignment that he had accepted because it would enable him to earn enough money to marry his long-time girlfriend. She had a job near her home in Tennessee, and their plan was to pool their resources and put a down payment on a house when he returned. They corresponded often, but as the lonely weeks went by, she began expressing doubts that he was being true to her, exposed as he was to comely Irish lasses. The young engineer wrote back, declaring with some passion that he was paying absolutely no attention to the local girls. “I admit,” he wrote, “that sometimes I'm tempted. But I fight it. I'm keeping myself for you.”

In the next mail, the engineer received a package. It contained a note from his girl and a harmonica. “I'm sending this to you,” she wrote, “so you can learn to play it and have something to take your mind off those girls.” The engineer replied, “Thanks for the harmonica. I'm practicing on it every night and thinking of you.” At the end of his two-year stint, the engineer was transferred back to company headquarters. He took the first plane to Tennessee to be reunited with his girl. Her whole family was with her, but as he rushed forward to embrace her, she held up a restraining hand and said sternly, “Just hold on there a minute, Billy Bob. Before any serious kissin' and huggin' gets started here, let me hear you play that harmonica!”

Billy Bob’s love for his girlfriend would be shown by his harmonica playing skill. If he had truly saved himself for her, he would be somewhat skilled on the harmonica; but had he not been faithful, his playing would show it.

God shows us the same principle in our verses today. He says that good trees would be shown through their good fruit, and likewise corrupt trees would be shown through their corrupt fruit.

In other words, you can tell a person by their actions. If someone is doing good works and living for the Lord, then their love for God is sincere. But if their words aren’t matching their actions, then they are living a lie. While works do not save us, they do show our love for Christ.

The fruit of a tree tells you what type of tree it is. Apple trees produce apples. They cannot produce oranges; otherwise, they would be orange trees. In the same way, Christians live sincere, godly lives for Christ. This is not to say Christians do not fall into sin from time to time, but true Christians realize their sin and repent of it. They seek to make things right with God rather than living in sin.

Have you ever met someone who told you they were saved and loved God, but then lived as if they were lost? As God says, you will know them by their fruit. Are you someone who is known as a true Christian or someone who says one thing but lives oppositely? Make sure your actions match your words. Live so that if someone were to guess your “tree” by your fruit, they would know you were planted in Christ.

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Daily Bible Reading
Numbers 15-16 • mark 6:1-29

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