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Don't Call It Christian If It's Not Christian
"A farmer could never make a bramble bear grapes." - Vincent's Word Studies
"The heart is the tree, and the words and actions are fruit according to the nature of the tree." - Matthew Henry
"The fruit of each tree reveals its true character."
- Robertson's Word Pictures
"...Every tree bears its own fruit."
- Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary
"The fruit is according to the tree."
- Matthew Henry
"Every tree bears fruit according to its kind; a fig tree produces figs, and an olive tree olive berries; a fig tree does not produce olive berries, or an olive tree, figs; and neither of them both."
- John Gill's Exposition Of The Entire Bible
"We are to test men and every institution by this principle."
- The People's New Testament
"A man's works are the tongue of his heart, and tell honestly whether he is inwardly corrupt or pure."
- Adam Clarke
"Conduct indicates character."
- Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
In James 3:12, The Apostle James asked a very surprising question - "Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs?..."
Job asked a similar question in Job 14:4 - "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?..."
And then in Matthew 7:16, we find the Lord Jesus asking a question along the same lines - "...Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" and giving the answer in Luke 6:44 - "...For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes."
The above questions all deal with impossibilities. No tree can bring forth fruit that is inconsistent with its nature. In other words, it will not bear two opposite kinds of fruit. "The fig tree" only bears figs, while "a vine" bears grapes and not "figs." Like begets like. Offspring resembles parentage. Knowing this principle to be true, men will not seek for "figs" among the "thorns," nor will they search for "grapes" among the "bramble bush."
Think about what is being said here. And then take it a step further and apply it to what is being done in many Christian circles today.
Are we not seeing some of God's people going to the "unclean" and yet expecting the "clean"? Are they not going to ministries that are nothing but "thorns" and "thistles" and expecting to find "figs" and "grapes"?
The Lord Jesus made it very clear that only the "good tree" can "bring forth" "good fruit"(Luke 6:43). Only the "good man" can "bring forth" "good things" out of the "good treasure" of his heart(Matthew 12:35). On the contrary, he that "is earthly" "speaketh of the earth"(John 3:31).
Many in the Body of Christ are running to and fro looking for "a new teaching" or a tickling-ear, spectacular "word." They are not - rightfully so - finding it while sitting under "the fig tree" or "the vine." So they are seeking out and searching among the "earthly" "thorns" and "thistles." They think that they are after "grapes" and "figs," but they are fooling themselves. "Thorns" and "thistles" cannot produce anything but "after their kind" - "of the earth" and "earthly."
Reader, what are you after? Are you judging everything - by appearances and claims alone - that calls itself by the name of "Christian" ? That is no proof of character or "good fruit." The Lord Jesus made that truth Apparent in His word.
In 1 Samuel 24:13, David referred to the proverb of the ancients which says - "...Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked..." In other words, he that does a wicked act gives proof that he is a wicked man.
In his Exposition of the Entire Bible, John Gill is quoted as saying - "...as is a man, so are his actions; if he is a wicked man, he will do wicked things..." Matthew Henry in his Commentary on this particular verse added - "Bad men will do bad things; according as men's principles and dispositions are, so will their actions be."
When a minister or ministry is "earthly" or "of this earth" - meaning that it is "man-centered" rather than being "God-centered" - it will produce "fruit" after its kind. From the start, you may not see them as being "wicked," but the end of such a work is corruption and damnation for the soul.
"...Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
Your answer would be - Absolutely not!
Why then do we see so many "saints of God" going after the world - while attempting to find the life of Christ? It's impossible to be found. The world will only produce "after its kind."
"Worldly" ministries - those centered on the exaltation of man and the pursuit of the world and its amusements, entertainments, and philosophies - will only produce a greater love and attraction for this world.
"A farmer could never make a bramble bear grapes."
Neither can you!
May God Bless His Word.