Luke 6:43 “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 thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
This is the passage we will be studying this coming Sunday. On top of that, it’s a key passage for us as a church. We want to be the kind of people where God’s love overflows out of our lives in everything we do.
That’s why we do workplace. Not as another thing you need to check. But, we want to be pouring God’s love into your life where you are day in and day out. With the goal of God’s love overflowing out of your life into the lives around you.
A while back we did a sermon series called “Good Trees.” It would be a good one for you to listen to if you haven’t. It was the start of this idea in our church. We want to be good trees that produce good fruit. Our focus, then is on being good trees and trusting God to produce the fruit.
But, here in this passage, we also learn a lot about the heart. Whatever is in our hearts will lead to the kind of fruit our lives produce.
Which leads me to one of my favorite things I’ve ever come up with. If you’ve been around me for long, eventually you’ll hear me talk about the begetting principle. It’s based on scripture, where in genealogies, you hear so and so begat so and so. It boils down to this, like begets like.
When you have kids, the kids you have are like you. They share your DNA. Humans beget humans, cats beget cats, apple trees beget apple trees. Like begets like.
If you want more of something in your life, you have to build on what you have of it. For instance, if you want more discipline in your life, you have to focus on the disciplines you have and use that to start building more discipline into your life.
At the same time, there is a compound effect to the begetting principle. Adding more discipline to your life doesn’t just beget more discipline, but it will also beget more faithfulness and consistency, etc.
Back to the heart. No good tree bears bad fruit. Begetting principle. No bad tree bears good fruit. A good heart produces good fruit. A bad heart, bad fruit. No life produces good fruit when the heart is full of bad. Why?
The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Some translations say, out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. What comes out of our lives comes from the substance of who we are inside.
This is why religion is worthless. Religion is external. It’s focus is on doing the right things to look righteous. But for your life to produce the fruit of righteousness, you have to have a righteous heart.
This is why, as a church, we are far more concerned with the condition of your heart than we are with your religious activity. Of course, there’s a lot of stuff that a righteous heart drives us to do, so there will absolutely be outward expressions. But, all of that is fruitless if inwardly we are rotting.
So then, how do we become good trees? By being rooted and established in God’s love. It means that our roots go down so deep into God’s love that we as trees are like the foundation of a building.
To be rooted in God’s love is a gift. Paul even prays:
“16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
That Christ would strengthen us in our inner being, and dwell in our hearts through faith. And that when we are rooted and established in this love, we begin to understand the immensity of that love. And that we would know this love and be filled to the full of all the fullness of God.
And all this is according to His power that is at work in us, and it’s all for his glory.
That’s a good tree. And that’s the tree that produces good fruit. That’s the tree that grows other trees that produce good fruit.
We are never the source of God’s love in our lives. We cannot, by our own might muster up more of God’s love. We will never get there by our own striving. We can only receive it as a child receives a gift from their father.
And by the way that gift is the Father. The gift is knowing the Father. The gift is a relationship with the Father. The gift is being in Him and He being in us. The more and more we are with the Father, building our relationship with the Father, the more our lives will look like the Father. The more we come to the Father like a child who just takes the Father at His word and by being around the Father we start to imitate the Father, we actually become like the Father.
That’s what it is. That’s how we become good trees. By putting what our attempts at being a good tree to death every day and letting that decomposing tree become the fertilizer for the real tree that God wants to grow us up into.
John 12:23-25 “23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
We will never produce fruit on our own. Romans 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin…21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The harvest, what we reap from our own lives, our own sin and our own attempts at righteousness, the fruit that produced was death. But now that, through dying to our flesh, we have been set free from the dead tree, we now harvest holiness resulting in eternal life.
And all this is a gift, the gift that was purchased for us with the body and blood of Jesus. And because of His resurrection, the resurrection of Jesus is continually rising up with in us, as spring of living water, making us good trees, producing fruit through our lives, 30, 60, 100 times what was planted.
And that is pretty good news.