While I was in Africa this summer, God connected a few passages of scripture that my mind has never connected previously which are obviously tied together. I want to share it with you. The first scripture is Matthew 7:15-20
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
I often ask myself, “What does my life look like to others?” “What fruit does my life produce?” “What should the fruit of my life look like?” And “How can my life bear good fruit?” Luke 18:19 says, “No one is good except God alone.” And Psalm 53:3 says, “They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” The Bible clearly tells us that we aren’t capable of doing good within our own flesh. So I believe the correct answer is found in Galatians 5:16-25
“16Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit”
Jesus says in Matthew 7 that in the same way you can recognize an apple tree by the fruit it produces, everybody should be able to recognize that you are a follower of Jesus by the fruits of your life. We should not be conformed to this world. We should be so filled with the Spirit that the fruit of the Spirit spill out onto others constantly. We should be so full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that anyone who looks at our life can’t help but to notice that there is something different about us. Jesus says in Matthew 5:16 "You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Is this what our lives look like? Because Jesus said in Matthew 7:19 ”Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And James 2:26 says, “Faith without deeds is dead.” We know from many places in the Bible that we aren’t saved by any good deeds we can do, but that good deeds are the fruit of our salvation. So how are we saved? Let’s look at the next passage, Matthew 7:21-27
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.24 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
Verse 21 states its not what you SAY, its actually DOING the will of the Father. And in verse 23 Jesus says, “Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” This shows that salvation requires repentance. Jesus says in Luke 13:3 “Unless you repent, you will all perish.” We must turn from our sin, give up our selfish desires, we must die to our flesh, and we must trust and follow Jesus. He also says in verse 23, “ I never knew you.” This shows that we must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20 ”I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” This is the entire message of salvation from the Bible: we’ve all sinned, we all deserve to go to Hell, but Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and the only way to get to heaven is to turn from our sins and to trust and follow Jesus.
I was saved (born again, decided to follow Jesus) when I was 11 years old. That was when my life was changed and when Jesus came into my heart. I prayed something similar to this:
“Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I know that I deserve to go to Hell. But you love me so much that you were willing to take my place. You died for me on the cross to wash away my sins. And on the third day, you rose again to conquer death. I accept your gift of salvation. I could never earn it on my own. Jesus, come into my heart. I turn from my sins and I will follow you for the rest of my life. Amen!”
Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (master, in control of your life) and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
This is my challenge for everyone this week (Including myself). If you are saved, show it by being so full of the Spirit that everyone around you can’t help but to see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control exuding from you. BE HAPPY!!! (-: Thanks, hope to speak to everyone each Wednesday.