devotion 12-17-14

Good Morning!If you are here in Big Pine, don’t forget the "Blue Christmas" service tonight – tell your friends and neighbors!

Luke 6:43-45

43“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

Luke has gathered together a collection of Jesus’ sayings in this sermon, just as Matthew does in the Sermon on the Mount. It gives the impression that Jesus is randomly commenting; we must remember that there will have been things said between these, that Jesus would have connected the thoughts, or might have repeated these particular things in a number of messages. They are the things that people remembered and passed on to Luke to write down. They were the key pieces of Jesus’ message.

Just as Jesus has said that we should not judge, and used the term hypocrite for those who pretend to be better than their neighbor, or perhaps really believe themselves to be better than their neighbor, Jesus goes on, our actions and our words are the fruit of our heart. Jesus speaks to people who are close to the land, they understand the metaphors he uses – you cannot get good fruit from a bad tree, and a good tree will bear good fruit. You cannot get figs from a thorn bush, or grapes from a bramble – although you might get some very good blackberries from a bramble. Still, it would be a blackberry bramble, and would not produce grapes. Jesus says that our actions, and even our words, are our fruit. We produce fruit in accordance to what kind of tree we are – according to what is in our hearts. If our hearts are full of love, then we produce fruit of love. And if we claim that we are Christians, but have hearts full of hate, then we are hypocrites, and produce fruit of hate. Or, we isolate ourselves, call everyone else “they” and claim that “they” are “attacking Christmas”, or “too lazy to work”, or whatever else we can come up with to justify our own bad behavior – to leave the log in our own eye. When we claim to be Christian but produce fruit of hate, then we turn the world against Christianity, and young people leave the church. What Jesus is saying here is, put your actions where your mouth is. Speak, and act, from an abundance of love.

Wesley would say, “Show me the fruits of repentance. Show me the fruits of Christ’s love in your heart.”

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