Trees & Fruit
1. In a survey about people’s fears, respondents ranked public speaking as #1; higher than death.
2. If you’ve ever taken a speech class you know some people would rather die than give a speech.
3. Jerry Seinfeld once said that at a funeral, most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.
4. Some years ago at a Bible college, one young student had an intense fear of giving the chapel message, which rotated to each of the students throughout the year.
a. He went to the dean & pleaded to be left off the list of students who’d be called on to speak.
b. He promised to do any chore in place of giving the message.
c. He’d gladly scrub floors, empty trash, clean the dumpster, wash dishes;
d. Even clean toilets – anything, if he could be excused from giving the chapel message.
e. The dean recognized that young man needed to conquer his fear, so he told him he would give the message the next day.
f. When the time came for him to speak, he stood up & said, “My fellow students, do you know what I’m going to say?”
1) They all shook their heads.
2) He continued, “Neither do I. Let's stand for the benediction.”
g. The dean was furious & told him he had to give tomorrow’s message as well.
h. The next day the scene was the same.
1) The young man said, “Do you know what I am going to say?”
2) When they all nodded their heads, he said, “Good. Since you already know, there’s no point in my saying it. Let's stand for the benediction.”
i. Now the dean was beside himself & once again told the student he would have to give the next day’s message & if he didn’t deliver, he’d be expelled from school.
k. When the time came for the message at the next chapel service, the student began as he had before.
1) He asked, “Do you know what I am going to say?”
2) Some nodded while others shook their heads.
3) He then said, “Let those who know tell those who don't. Let's stand for the benediction.”
1. If I announced that from now on at CC, sermons were to be given by the members & that everyone had to sing up,
2. While a few would be eager, most would find another church.
3. For the majority, the thought of giving a sermon is terrifying.
4. What they don’t realize is that they preach a sermon every day of their lives.
a. But the chapel they deliver it in isn’t a church building,
b. It’s the chapel of their job, school, home, the marketplace.
c. And while it may not have an Introduction, 3-points, & Conclusion
d. The people who hear & watch them are getting the point of their message.
5. Your life is a sermon!
a. Your words & deeds convey a message to everyone around you.
b. They speak of the truth you live by, the values you live for, & what you love.
6. You don’t have to be a pastor or preacher to give a powerful sermon; just a Christian who’s surrendered to the Spirit of God.
7. The most effective sermons don’t come from behind an ornate wooden pulpit. They come from the pulpit of . . .
a. a work-desk, an assembly line, an ironing board, a sink,
b. a delivery van, a hand-truck, a phone, & a work-station.
8. The most eloquent sermons are not given by golden-tongued orators. They’re delivered by those who DO what the golden-tongued orator preaches.
9. Miguel de Cervantes wrote, “He preaches well who lives well.”
10. In speaking to a group of pastors, the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “The sermon begins when the application begins.”
a. What he meant was that a sermon isn’t really helpful until the preacher turns from explaining the text to showing how to live it.
b. I’d like to take that even farther. “The sermon begins when the application begins;” not in terms of the preacher’s application of the text in his message,
d. But when the people begin to live what the text says, when they apply the truth they’ve learned. That’s when the real sermon begins.
11. I’ve heard some great & powerful sermons. I’m thinking of one in particular by Damien Kyle.
a. A sermon he gave on Brokenness at a Pastor’s conference several years ago is one of the most moving & powerful messages I’ve ever encountered.
b. But here’s the thing – God doesn’t want that message to just reside in my memory or on a CD.
c. He wants it to be preached again & again & again because I’m living it.
12. Really, what we do in here is Bible study – the Sermon begins when we leave.
13. Our motto is “Learning & Living God’s Word.”
a. This is the Learning. After this, when we leave here, is the Living.
b. You didn’t come to Calvary Chapel this morning – You are Calvary Chapel.
Chapel may meet at
d. What we’re looking at this morning is going to be repeated in a far more powerful way this afternoon in our homes; this week at our jobs.
43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.
1. Unless they’re specially trained, most people cannot tell what kind of plant a tree is just by looking at its trunk & leaves.
2. The mark that easily identifies a tree is its fruit.
3. Put lemon, lime, orange & grapefruit trees near each other & until they produce fruit, the average person isn’t going to be able to tell them apart.
4. But once the fruit ripens – identifying them is easy.
5. The fruit reveals the root. That’s what Jesus is saying here.
6. Just as fruit identifies the kind of tree, so in the realm of the spirit, our actions identify what kind of person we are.
7. Just as a good tree produces good fruit, so the person who’s been born again & is indwelt by the Spirit of God will give evidence of that new life by choices that are right & good.
8. Jesus is not saying that perfection comes the moment a person is born again.
a. That’s not the intent of His words here.
b. Just as it takes time for fruit to grow & ripen, so spiritual fruit comes through the process of spiritual maturity.
c. What is certain is that a good tree will produce good fruit; a bad tree bitter fruit.
d. You don’t get figs from thorn bushes; you gather them from fig trees.
e. Grapes grow on grape vines, not brambles.
9. Anyone who’s gone hiking knows what you get from a thorn bush is -- thorns.
a. You come out of a tangle with a bramble bush with those little stickers in your clothes –
b. Not a pocketful of juicy red strawberries.
10. If you want fruit, you go to an orchard, not a briar-patch.
11. Jesus’ point here is one that may seem obvious, but it’s one we ought to stop & consider personally.
a. What fruit are you bearing? Good or bad?
b. The fruit reveals the root.
12. If your life is headed toward God, then there’s going to be evidence of that in terms of your choices.
a. You priorities & values will be godly.
b. Your habits will change from destructive to constructive.
c. Your behavior will take on a similarity to the actions of Jesus.
13. Look at v. 40 -
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
a. Don’t forget what the whole goal of discipleship is – TO BE JUST LIKE THE RABBI.
b. That means as we grow in Christ, we will take on more & more of His image.
15. If you plant a baby fruit tree in your yard, don’t expect it to yield any fruit that first year.
a. In fact, don’t expect any for the first few years.
b. Most new trees will not produce fruit until the 3rd or 4th year after being planted.
c. And the first years of fruit-bearing are often meager & not all that sweet.
d. But once the tree has taken root & established itself securely in the ground, it will begin to produce a rich harvest.
16. How long have you known the Lord? How long since your conversion?
a. While it may take 3 or 4 years for a fruit tree to start producing it should not take that long for a Christian.
b. Spiritual infancy ought to be a stage quickly grown out of as we sink our roots deeply in Christ.
c. Sure, we all grow at different rates & it’s wrong when we judge each other because some aren’t as mature as others.
d. But the fact is, some stay spiritual babes long past the point they ought to have gone on to fruitful maturity.
e. The Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthians for this very thing.
f. When they ought to have been a fruit-filled orchard for Christ, they were still wallowing in a carnal play-pen like spiritual infants.
17. As we come honestly before the Lord this morning, let’s deal with this question forthrightly – Given the time we’ve known the Lord, is He getting from us the fruit He deserves?
a. Given all the good spiritual seed He’s planted in us,
b. And all the work He’s spent on us, cultivating, pruning, watering–
c. Are we yielding the fruit that matches that faithfulness?
18. Consider this - If the roots of a good tree are in rich, life-sustaining soil & that tree is being well-watered with an abundance of sunlight – Then it’s going to produce a bumper crop of luscious fruit.
19. But if its roots are in poor soil, aren’t watered well, & the sunlight is blocked, the fruit will come, but it’s going to be meager & the quality poor.
20. If you’ve been born again, then your nature is good because you’re a new creature in Christ.
a. What are your roots in – the world or the Word?
b. Is your soul being watered by prayer?
21. Jesus repeats the lesson by changing the image a bit . . .
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; & an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
1. Jesus was fond of calling the core of our hearts – treasure.
2. It’s a fitting picture because our hearts refer to that which we value most.
3. The good man is someone who’s been given a new heart, one indwelt by the Spirit of God.
a. Every good man began an evil man with a wicked heart.
b. But in His mercy, God changed the evil to good.
c. The transformation was affected by giving the evil man a new, good heart.
4. Since all the evil man has is a wicked & corrupt heart, what else can be expected of him but evil & corruption?
5. But the good man has a new heart, one made good by God. What we ought to expect from him is goodness.
6. Jesus makes clear where we can look for the evidence of a good or evil heart when He says –
“For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
7. The first fruit of our lives, the evidence of what our hearts treasure, is what our mouth says.
8. Our speech reveals our thoughts & thoughts reveal the soul.
10. This image of our speech being like food is a ready one in Scripture.
11. What Jesus says in v. 45 is a good test –for all of us.
12. Our speech reveals what’s in our hearts.
13. But let’s make sure we understand what Jesus means when He says,
“Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
a. The verb tense Jesus uses here refers to one’s habit of speech,
b. Not an occasional slip of the tongue that comes from not thinking.
c. Jesus means the general tenor & tone of our conversation.
14. The way William Barclay explains this is helpful. He says . . .
“If you ask directions to a certain place, one person may tell you it’s near such & such a church; another, that it’s near this or that theater; another, that it’s near such & such a sports park; another, that it is near this or that bar. The very words of the answer show where a man’s thoughts most naturally turn & where the interests of his heart lie. Always our speech betrays us.”
15. What reference point does your speech revolve around?
a. What thought is woven through all your words?
b. What value & priority governs your choices?
a. The retreating Ephraimites were
captured but tried to pawn themselves off as men of
b. The men of
c. Since the Ephraimites had no “sh” sound, they changed it to “sibboleth” & were caught in their deception.
17. Those who are born again will give evidence
of it by consistently speaking the language of the
1. Many Christian leaders today fear the menace of secularism in all its many forms.
2. Some speak about the danger of the radical Islam.
3. These threats will not be defeated by writing books & pamphlets or staging rallies & holding conventions.
4. The only way to prove the superiority of Christianity is to show by our lives that it produces better people.
5. The most powerful sermon is not the one given from a pulpit in a church.
6. It’s the one we LIVE before the eyes of a watching world.