Good Morning Beloved Family,
What a tremendous honor and privilege it is to share the Word with you today
Thank you for joining us.
As Your people gather here today
to worship You, praise You and give our thanks
Help us to be present, not in body but in mind and spirit
teach us how to not only hear but to properly respond to Your Word
As we speak in ordinary terms, let them speak extraordinarily to others, that may receive salvation through Christ Jesus
Thank You for the constant call upon our lives
Open our ears, that when we stray, we hear Your voice
reminding us whose we are, Your children
and where we belong
From the love You have shown to us
help us to love others, especially those difficult to love
remind us that love cannot be described, for it is not an emotion
but only defined, by our reaction to it, for love is a verb
Lord, forgive us for the times we have failed to give love,
to show love to those who desperately need it
and teach us how to receive love from others
having chosen to hoard, what has been freely given to us
Help us to respond to the needs of others
with cheerful, giving hearts and open hands
for we are not blessed to clutch with tight fists
but so that we may bless others in Your name
It is in Your name we ask and pray
Today's Message: Getting Fruit On Your Vine
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter."
Jesus, after warning about false prophets, He then tells us what to watch for in identifying who they are. And because they are so very deceptive and extremely dangerous; these ravenous spiritual and immoral wolves in sheep’s clothing, it is unthinkable that the Lord would hardly have left us without means of determining who they are. And so He did provide us with this very critical knowledge.
A key element to bringing forth fruit that simply cannot be overlooked is humility, humility is a requirement for bearing fruit. Without humility there will be no fruit, but with it, we can expect the spiritual wheels to begin to turn, and as a result, great things from God will eventually take place.
So Jesus assures us that we "will know them by their fruits." Though fruit tree may be beautiful to look at, decorative to display, and offer a pleasant aroma as well as shade on a hot summer day. However, its primary purpose is... to bear fruit, that is what a fruit tree is to do, bear fruit and it is therefore judged by what it produces and not by how it looks or by the amount of shade it provides.
In order to humble Israel, God told them that they were no different than any other nation.
"Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any wood of a branch which is among the trees of the forest? Can wood be taken from it to make anything, or can men take a peg from it on which to hang any vessel? If it has been put into the fire for fuel, and the fire has consumed both of its ends and its middle part has been charred, is it then useful for anything?"
Now the Israelite's had some arrogant and very distorted views, about how God was going to respond to their departing from His ways. They somehow thought they could get away with any lifestyle they wanted, simply because of the high regard held for their forefathers.
The only way God would see Israel as being of value in comparison with other surrounding nations was if they began to bring forth fruit to Him.
Israel was called God’s vine.
They were trained by God Himself and they were to bring forth fruit for His glory.
Lets think about trees for a moment. Pick any type of tree that you wish and compare it with a vine. There is no comparison in terms of its size, shape, or how that a tree can produce wood. A vine does not stand a chance against the genetic makeup of a tree. A tree will win the contest in many ways every time.
However, now consider the vine’s ability to produce fruit. Apart from its fruitfulness, a vine is useless. Compared to trees, vines are not very grand in appearance.
And so, it therefore, all comes down to the fruit that a vine bears..
We really do not need any help in determining if a tree is bad if it bears shriveled, discolored, and obviously rotten fruit or no fruit at all. It is the tree that appears to bear good fruit, but does not, that is deceptive. And so on the other hand, it is possible for grapes to be stuck on thorn bushes and for figs to be stuck on thistles. Now from a distance, they might appear a first glance, to be growing on real fruit trees. Because the fruit is genuine, and so naive persons might conclude that the tree itself also has to be genuine.
However, in the end, it is a person’s basic character, his inner motives, standards, loyalties, attitudes, and ambitions, that will eventually reveal itself, not by his spoken words, but through what he does and how he acts... His actions. I suppose that is what the folks of an earlier time meant when they said, "Actions speak louder than words."
As with everything that is godly and righteous, true fruit bearing is the process that begins on the inside, in the heart.
And as with everything that is ungodly, it is unrighteous and bears no fruit, which begins in the head, a man's pride.
This is how false prophets can disguise and hide their bad fruit for a brief time with their ecclesiastical trappings, biblical knowledge, and evangelical vocabulary. Yet their fruits are rotten.
They are then able to cover their bad fruits by belonging to respected Christian organizations, associating with upstanding, well Christian leaders, and by speaking about divine things.
But what is truly in the heart, will eventually be revealed. Because from corrupt theology emerges a corrupt life. And will therefore, expose their true nature, loyalty and convictions. Bad fruit. False teaching and perverted living go hand in hand, they are in inseparable, and eventually will manifest themselves, making them unable to be hidden.
We know this to be true, by the many teachers of the Word, who have risen high and fallen hard.
God will not allow, the perfect, infallible truths of His Word, in the end, to allow bearers of bad fruit to prosper. They always, always fall...
Much like a disease, in which scientists study the pathology of a disease to better equip themselves to recognize it and to combat it. We must do likewise, these false teachers of a false theology.
Therefore, every leader in Christ's Church must be a spiritual pathologist, able to discern these deadly deviations from spiritual health, the Word of God.
We must be equipped to diagnose the deadly disease of false teaching, and to do what is necessary to "check" its spread among his people.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a Welsh Protestant minister and medical doctor, who for nearly 30 years, was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London, once wisely said:
"A Christian can generally be known by his very appearance. The man who really believes in the holiness of God, and who knows his own sinfulness and the blackness of his own heart, the man who believes in the judgment of God and the possibility of hell and torment, the man who really believes that he himself is so vile and helpless that nothing but the coming of the Son of God from heaven to earth and His going to the bitter shame and agony and cruelty of the cross could ever save him, and reconcile him to God—this man is going to show all that in his personality. He is a man who is bound to give the impression of meekness, he is bound to be humble. Our Lord reminds us here that if a man is not humble, we are to be very wary of him. He can put on a kind of sheep’s clothing, but that is not true humility, that is not true meekness. And if a man’s doctrine is wrong, it will generally show itself at this point. He will be affable and pleasant, he will appeal to the natural man, and to the things that are physical and carnal; but he will not give the impression of being a man who has seen himself as a hell-bound sinner, and who has been saved by the grace of God alone.."
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another."
The word of caution that God has for us here, is lest we should ever think that He chose us for anything in and of ourselves. He chose us because of His unconditional love for us and not because of any amount of worthiness of our own. We in and of ourselves, are unworthy. A wonderful place in Heaven being prepared for us and will one day be ours, but a life bound in chains, in the pits of hell would have been ours, had it not been for His grace. We who are valiant for the truth would have been valiant for the devil if it had not been for the grace of God.
Beloved, we do not want to produce fruitless lives. We must very carefully guard ourselves against being professors of Christianity who do not bear fruit.
I want to a moment now to deal with one of the most common causes of the fruitless vine:
There are essentially 3 types of people:
People who don’t know what to do.
Those who know what to do and don’t do it.
Those who know what to do and do it.
Stewers VS Do'ers
Some people are just procrastinators.
They have a procrastinating life-style.
Their life's motto is that of cartoon character..
Something like, "Today will make plans to stop putting things off, and I'll practice them tomorrow."
And if confronted, we can always say, "I said I’d do it later. It’s not later yet."
In this way, we can put off, and put off, and put off indefinitely. We
only run out of laters when we run out of breath. Death is nature’s
way of saying, "You have no more laters left."
Now as God’s people, there are things that we don’t do now because of timing, timing due to the necessity of certain doors that need first to be opened for us. Those things we trust God, to prepared ahead of us. There is a great difference between somebody who has tasks that they have no plan for and they procrastinate and the person who wants to accomplish something but they are waiting on the timing of God and for certain other necessary ingredients to come together. If you have a desired plan, then you are miles ahead of the person who has no clue what they are doing with their life.
Fruitless procrastinators often have a perfection mind-set.
They are constantly waiting for the conditions to be right, rather than asking God to prepare the way.
There have been a lot of disappointed people have been left standing on the street corner waiting for the bus marked "Now's the perfect time." When God is behind our plans, when He has prepared the way, He will allow us to know the time is right, even if we think it to be impossible.
I will tell you this, He does His best work in the "impossible" situations of our lives.
Think about all the great inventions we now reap the benefits from, because someone was willing to attempt the impossible...
Alexander Graham Bell, The Wright Brothers, Henry Ford.. Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn, and the greatest of all Jesus.. He took twelve basically uneducated men and turned them into the disciples who would carry the message of the Gospel, and thousands of years later, that we too might be saved.
He trusted in His Father's timing..
So why do we procrastinate?
In the grand scheme of things, we evaluate all decisions based on whether we believe they will bring us pain or pleasure. Procrastination is caused by our perception that doing a certain task will cause us pain. We tend to avoid certain events that are unpleasant, complex, lengthy, or uninteresting, regardless of their priority. This is a dangerous and destructive practice!
Unlike false teachers, false doctrine.. the interesting thing about "later" is that it can never be proven false. False teaching can take on many forms, from denying the Deity of Christ, the Trinity, and there are of course those who deny His virgin birth, sinless perfection, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, or future return show signs of a dangerous deadly infection, false doctrine.
Yet another aspect of false teaching denies the authenticity, inspiration, authority, or inerrancy of Scripture.
The idea that believers need to pay close attention to sound, healthy teaching is repeatedly emphasized in the Pastoral Epistles. Those found in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus.
Teachers that are not committed to Scripture, may often speak of Jesus and The Father, but the whole of their ministry will not be the Word of God. They will therefore add or remove from it, interpret it in some heretical form or fashion, add other "revelations" to it, or they may deny it all together..
In short, the ultimate test of any teaching is whether or not it produces godliness! Ungodly teaching can be characterized by the justification of sin, downplaying the doctrine of conformity to godliness.
Exclaiming the doctrine is not relevant in today's culture. Therefore they avoid certain teaching, that which might offend the hearer. Upholding a false doctrine. And the attitude of someone teaching can be summed up in a word: Pride
Only an egotistical megalomaniac to stand in the pulpit and blatantly usurp the Word of God, to set up one’s own teaching as superior to the Word of God is the epitome of arrogance. These false teachers have a largely overinflated sense of self-worth and importance.
Jesus, warned of these false teachers, in Matthew 7:15-16, when He said;
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?"
These false teachers are nothing new, they have been part of redemptive history since the days of Moses.
"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you."
This is not just simply a call to notice or sense something, but to be on guard against it because it is so harmful, it is destructive and dangerous, because it perverts the mind and corrupts the soul.
These false teachers or wolves, are merciless and ravenous, Ezekiel 22:27, or in the original Greek text, harpax, which can also be translated as "swindler," referring metaphorically to those who deceitfully and mercilessly ravage a person of his money and possessions. Therefore, the clear and simply motivation by these false teachers operate is ... money. And so, having forsaken truth, they face eternal destruction.
Beloved, it is completely possible for a tree itself to bear fruit that is colorful, well shapened and formed, and attractive in appearance, but which is bitter, distasteful, and even poisonous.
Like many false teachers, that kind of bad tree bearing its bad fruit is much more difficult to judge than thorn bushes that have grapes on them or thistles that have figs on them. As their outward appearance is highly deceptive.
That is why Scripture tells us to "O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"
"But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."
Satan is the master counterfeiter, he has his own false doctrine.
"Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."
2 Peter 2:3-4
To the one who teaches the truth, Jesus Christ is central, and for the false teacher, Jesus is somewhere within the margins.
Beloved, we have everything we need in the person of Jesus Christ! He is not only essential to our teaching, preaching and to our salvation, He is the Living Water and the Bread of Life.
He is our Redeemer, our Rock and Refuge.
We all choose to hear what is really important to us..
What I hear all throughout every page of Scripture is..
Jesus is all we need!
What about you?
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Brian Monzon Ministries