GOOD FRUIT OR BAD FRUIT
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. —Matthew 3:8
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” —Matthew 3:11-12
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. —Matthew 7:15-20
Is there fruit in your life that is in keeping with repentance? The Apostle Paul said, “I declared that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds worthy of their repentance” (Acts 26:20). Anybody can speak words—- “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2) — but it is the actions, the fruit of one’s life that truly indicates repentance. It is what is seen in one’s life, not only what one says! James tells us that “if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” (James 2:14). How others see you is huge, not only other believers, but also those who do not follow Jesus— “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (I Timothy 3:7).
I heard an illustration years ago that speaks to this— A young boy had his first job at a grocery store and after working there for some time he was wondering how he was doing. So at lunch time he went to a phone booth (remember those glass enclosures that housed a phone out in the public squares!) and called his place of employment. He pretended to be someone else and inquired how he was doing at the job. He received a positive affirmation.— What if we checked up on ourselves? What would our employer say if we asked how faithful we were at our job? How about those we work with? How would our local church leaders and attenders assess our faithfulness in serving our Lord? Most importantly, how is our Lord assessing our faithfulness in any area of our lives? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkxoTmKpDcU
Baptism by water and by the Holy Spirit are evidences that a person truly has repented. Baptism into the body of Christ signifies that a person has truly repented and has “heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14). A person is baptized by water to signify that repentance has taken place. So, what kind of fruit do others see in your life? Again, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).
Dear Father may I produce the fruit that will bring honor and glory to Your Name. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!