The disciples were in for one wild ride in the first century. The divine drama that would play out concerned who are the true people of God? – Christless Judaism with its magnificent city and temple, or the ragtag, fledgling Christian Church? According to Jesus, this drama would not come down to architecture, wealth, or numbers, but to something that cannot be manufactured – fruit. Fruit, as Jesus would later explain, is the organic byproduct of a particular relationship between branches and a living vine (John 15.4-5). And fruit of the spiritual variety is the organic byproduct of a particular relationship between people and the living Christ (ibid.). So the question of who are the true people of God would come down to who produces the fruit of the kingdom of God. As Jesus would later explain to the Jewish leaders about to murder him, the kingdom would be taken from them and given to a nation bearing its fruit (Mat 21.43). This new nation would be unlike any other, for it would be formed not on ethnicity, language, geography, or any such affinity, but on communion with the living God through Christ (Dan 7.14). But in the meantime, the disciples, as I said, were in for a wild ride punctuated by persecution, false prophets, and false messiahs. They needed to know how to tell the false from the true. It turns out, as Jesus explains in our text, that the way you tell false and true prophets is the way you tell false and true disciples, which is the same way you tell the false and true people of God – by their fruit (Mat 7.15-20).I hope you enjoy the sermon. Thanks for listening. –Alan Burrow1. In our text (Mat 7.15-20), Jesus says that with people, like trees, we know them by their fruit (Mat 7.16-20). (a) Read John 15.1-13, which are some of the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion. What was Jesus’ emphasis to his disciples? (b) Read Ephesians 3. Ephesians is Paul’s great manifesto on the Church. It was a circular letters sent around to the various churches. Paul isn’t addressing any particular problems, but setting forth his vision of the Church and imparting that vision to the Christians in the local churches. Chapter 3 is where Paul turns from what God has done for us in Christ to what the local church should be. What is Paul’s emphasis to the local churches?2. In the sermon, Pastor Burrow talked about the “rear sight, front sight” method where Scripture, when we need to have experiential knowledge of some aspect of the Christian life, calls us not to look at it, but through it to something else – in much the same way as one looks through the rear sight to the front sight when aiming a gun. Consider the following verses from 1John. How does the “rear sight, front sight” method apply to each? How would you apply each of these verses in your own life?a. 1John 2.3 b. 1John 2.5 c. 1John 3.14 d. 1John 3.16 e. 1John 3.18-19 f. 1John 5.2-3
Click the play button to listen to 'You Will Know Them by Their Fruits' by Alan Burrow.