“SEEDS AND FRUITS”                                    By Pastor YAU

Text: Matthew 7:15-21                                       December 6, 2009.

Golden Text: Galatians 6:7

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A writer’s story: A man was browsing in a story. Suddenly he was shock to see that God was standing behind a counter as a salesman. So he walked over to God and asked, “What are you selling here?” God answered, “What does your heart desire?” The man gave God a whole list: “I want happiness, peace of mind, freedom from fear and trouble and the whole world for me.” God smiled and said, “We don’t sell fruits here, we only sell seeds.” God is in business to offer us the desirable seeds. It is up to us to grow the seeds into trees that bear desirable fruits.

2)   A Jesus story: At the closing of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus concluded his teaching by offering his listeners choices in three parables: the choice of two paths, the choice of two kinds of trees and the choice of two foundations. To Jesus it is not good enough just to listen to his teachings. What is good is to practice what they had listened. Some Christians will rush from one church to another church, one conference to another conference to hear and learn from famous speakers. But if all the listening doesn’t make them more like Christ nor better Christians, the learning doesn’t bear any fruit.

 

TREES IN THE BIBLE: There are over 250 listings in the Bible related to trees. They all have significant meanings.

1)    The tree of life: “And the Lord God said: The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22) This happened after Eve and Adam violated the commands of God and ate the fruits of the tree of good and evil. I wonder why hadn’t the devil tempted them to eat the fruits of the tree of life. Instead it tempted them to eat the fruits of the tree of good and evil. Many people today still make that fatal mistake: choosing knowledge over eternal life. Satan wanted them to do exactly what God had forbidden them to do. (Genesis 2:16-17) Many people violated the commands of God on purpose: I will do exactly what God told me not to.

2)    The tree of sweet: “Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. He threw it into the water and the water became sweet.” (Exodus 15:25 KJV) Soon after a victory over the army of the Pharoah in the crossing of the Red Sea, the Israelis arrived at the Desert of Shur after three days journey without water. When they finally found some water, but it was bitter. When Moses cried out to God, God provided him with a tree and that tree changed the water from bitter to sweet. Some Bible scholars use this tree to symbolize the cross of Jesus that can change life from bitter (evil) to sweet (good). (Gen. 47:9)

3)    The tree of the righteous: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruits in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)King David began his Book of Psalms, the most favorable book in the Bible with a contrast description of good and evil. He portrayed the righteous as a tree planted by streams of water, which blooms and bears fruits all year round. In contrast, the wicked are like chaff in a field that got brown away in a whirlwind. Growing a tree to fruition takes much more efforts and patience. Gathering chaff is much easier and faster but will be brown away in a blink of an eye.

4)    The tree of healing: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing 12 crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2)This is the last time tree is mentioned in the Bible. This tree of life is for the healing of all the sickness of all nations and her people. All the nations and her people are sin-sick and only God can heal them with the last tree of life. This world and all the people in can not be saved by human efforts of economic growth, military power or science. Only the cross on which Jesus died for the redemption of human souls can give us new life.

 

TREES AND FRUITS: (Matthew 7:15-21)

1)   There are false trees: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (7:15)This is not witch-hunting of false prophets in the Old Testament or false teachers in the New Testament as Paul had repeatedly pointed out. This is a warning from the Lord Himself. Since the early days of Christian history, there have been false teachers, leaders and members in God’s church. They are not true followers of the Lord and they are here to hurt God’s church. They may look respectful, educated, nice and even helpful when you need help. But they do not follow God’s word by injecting false interpretation. They are false prophets. They will destroy God’s church and God’s people.

2)   The fruit is the tree: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” (7:16)Most of us have problem to name a tree without seeing the fruits. But we all can tell what is the tree from its fruits. This is true on a personal level how one lives his/her life, the values he holds, his attitude and his words and actions. This is also true in a family how the parents influence the life of their children while they are growing up. This is also true in a church or a denomination how the pastors, teachers and leaders lead and teach their members and how the members live their life in their homes, work places and in the community. This puts squarely the responsibilities of fruit bearing on the shoulders of pastors, teachers and leaders in churches and parents in homes.

3)   The life and the fruits: “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.” (7:17-18) This is about the correlation between the life of the tree and its fruit. Whatever the life of a tree, that will its fruit be. The life of the tree determines the kind of fruits it bears. The Lord, and later, Paul, is very serious about the nature of a person’s life because it determines the way he live, the values he holds and the results of his actions. Jesus continued to tell us: By their fruit you will recognize them. (7:20)This is same way we recognize Christians if they are genuine or fake.

4)   The judgment on bad trees: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Not everyone who says to me: Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (7:19, 21) Jesus was not talking about rewards in heaven, he was talking about salvation of the soul. This is not about who you think you are. It is about what kind of life you have inside of you. It must be a life saved by God’s grace, faithful to God’s word and obedient to God’s leadership. We all have to be good trees to bear good fruits or will be cut down and suffer losses.

 

CORRELATION OF SEEDS AND FRUITS: (Matthew 7:15-21)

1)     The seed is the life: “Then God said: Let the land produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seeds in it, according to their various kinds. And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seeds according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seeds in it. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:11-12) From this account in the creation, we see God’ wisdom in creating plants, trees and all other vegetation. God planted seeds in fruits for their continual life cycles. Without seeds, there is no life. In the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8, Jesus told us “the seed is the word of God” (8:11) Without the seed, the word of God, there is no eternal life. We need to plant that seed in many lives.

2)     Seeds determine the fruits: “Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Like wise, every good tree bears good fruits, but a bad tree bears bad fruits.” (7:16-17) Since seeds give life to trees and trees bear fruits from the life of seeds, the kind of life the seeds are determines the kind of fruits trees bear. No external alteration or decoration may change the kind of fruit the seeds will bear. When Jesus pointed out that a sheepskin will not change a wolf into a real sheep, (7:15) we need to be aware of the kind of seeds we plant in our mind and hearts. If we keep planting or collecting wrong seeds in our mind and hearts, sooner or later, they will show in our life.

3)     Bad trees never pay: “Every tree that does not bear good fruits is cut down and thrown into fire.” (7:19)Being cut down and be thrown into fire is the most severe punishment of God on bad trees. They will render useless and suffer terrible consequences. While some people would argue that it is their freedom to be good or bad, to bear good fruit or bad fruit, but the ultimate judgment is from God not from anyone of us. We all are accountable to God regardless if you accept that or not, God has the ultimate power to punish bad trees and bad fruits. I believe it is wise to be good, do good, and bear good fruits, just in case.

4)     Lip service doesn’t count: “Not everyone who says to me: Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (7:21)Lots of people love sweet tongues and empty praises regardless if they are true or false because people look on superficial more than substance. But that is not the case with God. God looks for the real thing on the inside while man looks from the outside. We may fool people by our lip services but no one can fool God to gain anything. Being honest and truthful is the best policy when it comes to our accountability of life to God. Obedience, honesty and sincerely to the will of God is not an option but a mandate. God never takes lip service from anyone.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    It’s time to checkup: Just as it is important to have periodical physical checkups, we need to have spiritual checkups on a regular basis. We need to check and see if we have the right seeds in our life and are producing the right kind of fruits God will love to have. Being lazy may have serious consequences.

2)    It pays to be good: Either be good seeds, good trees or good fruits, they all pay. God looks for good and honest people to do His will, to follow His lead and to bring in good fruits that He can be proud of. Don’t risk your future with the worldly trends or undesirable pursuits. Be diligent in cultivating the kind of fruits God loves to see in you when you see Him.

3)    Seek and you shall find. The Kingdom of God is very close to you than you may realize. God wants to give you the best seeds of life so you may bring Him best fruits for His glory. Fill you heart and mind with the seeds of God’s

4)     love, forgiveness of sin and eternal life. He wants to make your life fruitful and worthy of living.