Matthew 7:17-18, “So every good tree bears good fruit, and the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.”
This morning I shared on the Sovereign Grace Facebook page a quote from Alexander Maclaren, who was a 19th century pastor, “The world takes its notion of God most of all from those who say that they belong to God’s family. They read us a great deal more than they read the Bible. They see us; they only hear about Jesus Christ.”
I believe that one of the primary reasons that the church in America is for the most part ineffective and even at times a joke, is because we do not take seriously the words of our Lord in Matthew 7:17-18. In most churches and in most pulpits the false teaching of easy-believism is propagated and the result is a church that is in large measure an atrocious witness to a lost world.
If a person is genuinely saved then their life is going to bear fruit. This means that their life is going to be different from most of the other lives around them. What does it mean for one’s life to “bear fruit?” Galatians 5:22-23 tells us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” If a person is not genuinely saved then their life will usually continue on pretty much the same path they were on before whatever kind of “experience” they had. Earlier in Galatians 5 in verses 19-21 it says of the person who is in the flesh, in other words the person who is not saved: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these…” Does your life look like Galatians 5:22-23 or Galatians 5:19-21?
It matters how we who call ourselves Christians act. It matters whether or not we practice the fruits of the Spirit or whether or not we forgive the person who has wronged us. You see all these matter because of the fact that people are watching you, people are watching me. When we claim to belong to Christ and yet we live a life that in no way pleases Him and does not manifest the fruits of the Spirit, then the question we have to ask ourselves is, “Am I really saved?”
The church has told people for far too long a time now to “just walk down the aisle, pray a prayer, fill out a card and you are saved.” All the while ignoring what being a Christian looks like. Hint it doesn’t look like the rest of the world. Our challenge then as believers is to be obedient to God and His Word and therefore live lives that please Him and speak to the truth of the profession of faith we have made.