Summary: Looking at the indicators which identify true disciples
Whose Character is your Fruit Reflecting? Luke 6:43-45
Gladstone Baptist Church – 15/5/05
In 1999 John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren, had a wedding to attend in Hyannis Point, Massachusetts. Since John had his pilot’s license, they decided to fly there. Now John had 310 hours of flying experience, but not a lot over water at night. I suppose he must have believed he could handle it though and they set out for Hyannis Point. But the plane never made it to it’s destination and unfortunately all were killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigation found no evidence of mechanical malfunction in airframe, systems, avionics, or engine, and determined that the probable cause was "the pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation. Factors in the accident were haze, and the dark night."
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, three simple letters resulted in the tragic death of such an influential young man, VFR-Visual Flight Rules. In essence, John Kennedy was flying that evening only by what he saw visually. For all he knew, it was a picture perfect flight. But he made one very fatal mistake; he failed to fly by IFR-Instrument Flight Rules. If he would have used his instruments and relied on them to guide his flight, he probably would have known that he was headed straight down into the ocean.
The instrument panel is what identifies the truth. A pilot can not depend on their feelings, eyesight, or the opinion of others. Those instrument gauges of the only reliable source for determining one’s true position. That is why pilots who only fly by visual contact don’t like flying at night or in bad weather.
Though most of us aren’t pilots and therefore don’t need to know about airplane instruments, most of us here are claiming to be disciples or followers of Jesus. We claim and think our lives are headed in the right direction but are they really? How would we know? What identifies true disciples who are going in the right direction?
Can we depend on our feelings, ideas or the opinions of others to guide us to the right answers and in the right direction? No! Just like a plane has instruments to indicate it’s true position there are also the spiritual indicators or gauges that indicate our true position as true followers or false followers of Jesus.
What indicators identify true disciples? The answer to that question is found in Luke 6:43-45.
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Last Sunday morning, we had a look at the whole topic of judging – when we as Christians are to judge others and when we are not. We learnt that instead of judgment and condemnation, our default position should be grace and forgiveness.
When Jesus walked this earth nearly 2000 years ago, He hit heads often with some very judgmental people. The Pharisees were walking around with all their religious rules and standards. When people were not living up to them, they would judge and condemn them.
Jesus faced off against them and others who regularly judged and said “why are you looking for specks in others eyes when you’ve got a log in your own.” The Pharisees were leading the people astray from God’s way of salvation. They were upholding “obedience of the law” as the way to get right with God. Obey our laws and you’ll be acceptable was their war cry. But when Jesus looked at them, all he saw was their judgmental attitudes and their pride. For all their religiosity, they were producing BAD FRUIT.
The illustration that Jesus uses here is a simple one that all of us would be familiar with … Every tree bears it’s own type of fruit. Orange trees bear Oranges. Apple trees bear apples. Fig trees bear figs. Even Rose bushes bear fruit – but their fruit is not edible. It is not a pear, it is not an apple. It is the fruit of a rose bush. You don’t get apples on roses or on thorn bushes or on fig trees. You get apples on apple trees.
Jesus’ point is simple … you want to know what type of TREE it is? Look at it’s fruit because the outward fruit show you what is at it’s heart – a particular type of tree. In a similar way, if you want to know what type of PERSON one is, you look at their fruit because the fruit they bear reflects their heart. What does he mean by fruit? I don’t know about you, but it has been a few years since I gave birth to a good bunch of bananas and even longer since I had a good crop of Oranges hanging off me. The word “Fruit” appears in the bible over 200 times. Many of these instances are in relation to the food group that comes from plants that we eat to keep us healthy and regular – figs, grapes, prunes etc. But another common usage of this word is in relation to the result of an action. Every action has consequences or results which may be good or bad. So it is in this context that we get good or bad fruit. A Bad heart gives birth to bad actions and bad consequences that the bible refers to Bad fruit.