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By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey
Please take God’s Word and turn to Luke chapter 6 and verse 43. The title of our message is “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. No, we are not going to review a Clint Eastwood movie. We are going to see what Jesus had to say about trees and the fruit that they produce and how that applies to us.
On May 6, 2004 CBS News carried a segment by Ira Dreyfuss titled: “Ugly Fruit a Supermarket Smash”. Ugli fruit™ lives up to its name that is deliberately misspelled. It is not spelled U-G-L-Y but U-G-L-I. Some say it looks like a grapefruit crossed with a Shar-Pei. Remember that a “Shar-Pei” is a dog with unusually wrinkled skin. I understand that as the Shar-Pei gets older he loses his wrinkles. Don’t you think it would be good to be like a Shar-Pei in that respect? Actually, Ugli fruit ™ is the trademarked name for a tangelo which is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit.1
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 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. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and 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” (Luke 6:43-45).
I. THE TELLING EVIDENCE
First, I want us to see the telling evidence of fruit. “Evidence” is something indicative, an outward sign and it is something that furnishes proof. “Telling” means “having force and producing a striking effect.” Therefore, telling evidence is evidence that demands a verdict.
Walking down the driveway several weeks ago, I noticed some things hanging from a nondescript tree. At first glance it appeared to be apples but upon further investigation they were pears. In fact there was another tree that was also loaded with luscious fruit. For almost three years this was the first sign of fruit. These previously unidentified trees were suddenly undeniably pear trees.
Now it is possible that someone could have tied pears to an oak tree. But these pears were the natural fruit of the tree. Jesus says, “every tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44a).
On another occasion Jesus warns about “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).
Notice that Jesus did not say by their foliage you will know them. The leaves of profession must be accompanied by the fruit of reality. “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20), this is the telling evidence.
Jesus gets to the heart of the matter with the religious leaders of His day as we read in Matthew 15:1-20: “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’
He answered and said to
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