Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 32
June 8, 2008
44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
1901 ASV Translation:
44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
- I. "They" Do Not Gather Figs "Of Thorns".
- A. Each "tree" is known by its fruit.
- B. The harvesters of fruit know where to seek it.
- II. In the Real World People Know Where to Look For Good Fruit.
- III. In the World of Revealed Truth People Seem to Lose Their Minds.
- A. In Jesus' teaching regarding the good tree/bad tree issues, the bottom line is "the speaking of the mouth".
- 1. His first principle is that the mouth will reveal the "abundance" of the heart.
- 2. His second principle is that the condition of the heart is governed by the reality of its most fundamental commitments.
- a. The issue here is "treasure": what a person holds to be valuable.
- b. The heart has a "treasury" -- a place where the valuables are collected and held.
- B. In Jesus' statement is this reality: no one ought to seek good fruit from a sorry tree.
- 1. There is no chance that "truth" can come from a perverse heart [Note Satan's use of Scripture to attempt to tempt Jesus -- the words were, obviously, true, but the twist put upon them was totally false].
- 2. Those who listen to those who obviously have a perverse heart are revealing their own perversity.
- C. In Jesus' "Church" there ought to be some discernment about who is permitted to speak for that "Church".
- 1. The fact is that the "Church" often flocks after the "apparently successful" no matter how immature, or wrong-headed, the person actually is.
- 2. James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote this question to his readers: "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?"
- a. When he wrote it, he had to have known that his readers would ask themselves if he was wise and endued with knowledge.
- b. When he wrote it, he had to have known that he was setting up a standard by which people should measure any one who sought to be their "teacher".
- c. When he wrote it, he was, himself, a participant in the "human reality" of personal imperfections and there had to be some kind of "tolerance" in his readers to allow them to listen to him without discounting his words because of his lack of personal perfection.
- 1) Where is the "boundary" that says, "If a person teaches this, one ought not to listen?"
- 2) For James, that "boundary" was threefold: if a person taught the desirability of wealth, the desirability of status, or the desirability of physical satisfaction, he/she was a false teacher.
- 3. Jesus, in this context, has said, essentially, the very same things. His "standards" were "loving one's enemies", "doing good to those who hate you", and "giving to those in real need without expecting them to reciprocate".
- a. "Love" is not measured by words, but by actual sacrifice.
- b. "Good" is not measured by short term pleasures, but actual (eternal term) participation in eternal joy.
- c. "Need" is not measured by whether a person gets to live in the "abundance" of a culture, but whether a person has "food and covering".
- 4. But the reality is this: even Jesus had to address the fact that His "disciples" were far more inclined to call Him "Lord" than they were to embrace His teaching...the hypocrisy is easier than submission to the Truth.
- a. What is it about human beings that makes the Truth such an enemy?
- b. If Jesus was not visibly "successful" in getting people to deny themselves and commit to His Father's agenda, how much hope do the rest of us have?