How do people really change? What’s the secret to genuine transformation? Is it even necessary?
Jesus has just finished teaching his disciples to “judge not”. We argued that this is connected to condemnation that results in shunning people rather than rebuking sin. Most people who quote this misapply it.
The person who adequately removes the plank from his own eye is able to properly inspect the eye of his brother. This same principle is now applied to trees that bear good fruit.
The moral revolution Jesus calls for is rooted in a disciples’ change of heart.
Read Luke 6:43-45
Trees Are Known By Their Fruit (43-44)
You can trust the fruit you pick from a good tree. Enjoy eating it! You can’t trust the fruit you pick from a bad tree. The fruit tells us everything we need to know about the tree (ie, kind, quality, health).
However, good trees will have fruit growing at various stages (budding, immature, ripe, rancid). Good trees must be pruned back to maintain the quantity and quality desired.
Trees and Worship in History:
Gen. 2:16-17 The first call to worship was to “adore and acknowledge the goodness and greatness of God” (cf. WSC Q.1, WCF 7.2). The first liturgy involved a call—response-meal.
This was shortly followed by the first alternative liturgy, idolatry, offered by the serpent (Gen. 3:1-5).
Gibson The liturgical structure for humanity remained the same: call-response-meal. But the object of worship had changed.
The Fall frustrated our enjoyment of God and creation. It’s still our duty (and delight) to glorify and enjoy God by appreciating the blessing of his creation, but now we need something significant to happen within ourselves.
The implicit point Jesus is making is that that corruption cannot produce holiness. Moral reformation is impossible apart from a radical heart transformation. Original sin has to be dealt with (WSC Q.18).
What’s been implicit is now made explicit…
People Are Known By Their Expressions (45)
A good person has treasure stored in their heart from which they produce good (6:27-42). The evil person stores up evil.
Aren’t we all hybrids? Can an evil person do any good? Can a good person do any evil?
Our speech reveals whatever is abundant in our hearts. If our hearts are cold and dark they will produce bitter fruit. Your speech reveals your heart (James 1:26).
Jesus also uses this language to rebuke the Pharisees (Matthew 12:33-37).
Jesus has been comparing his own teaching (which is consistent with the Old Testament) to the teaching of the Pharisees. We can evaluate his teaching based upon the quality of fruit his ministry has produced.
However, this teaching wasn’t given for the mere purpose of comparing Jesus with the Pharisees. He is calling upon his disciples to use discernment in who they follow (40).
If your own heart is empty of good treasure, apply Phil. 4:8-9. What you meditate upon informs how you live.
WCF 16.2 “Of Good Works” – These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith…
They show our gratitude, edify the body of Christ, beautify the gospel, silence the critics, and glorify God!
James is in agreement with Jesus (Jam. 2:18-22)!
- Trees Are Known By Their Fruit (43-44)
- People Are Known By Their Expressions (45)
What’s the point of all the external operations of the Church if hearts are not reformed? It is only through Christ that genuine heart transformation can occur.
How is that possible? Because Jesus is not only the Judge, but he became the judged! He took upon himself the penalty of all sin on behalf of those who repent and believe in Him alone for their salvation. Now, it is through Him that we become righteous (2 Cor. 5:21)! The enjoyment of true worship begins with God.