For there is not a good tree that produces bad fruit, nor a bad tree that produces good fruit. For each tree is known from its own fruit. For they do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. The good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart. And the evil man brings forth evil out of the evil treasure of his heart, for his mouth speaks out of the abundance of his heart.
And why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? Everyone coming to Me and hearing My Words, and doing them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug and deepened, and laid a foundation on the rock. And a flood having occurred, the stream burst against that house and could not shake it, for it had been founded on the rock. But he who heard and did not perform, he is like a man having built his house on the earth without a foundation, on which the stream burst, and it immediately fell; and the ruin of that house was great.Luke 6:43-49
Let’s make it clear from the list of the pericopes in Luke.
- Don’t judge / beams in eyes [Luke 6:37-42]
- You’ll know them by their fruit [Luke 6:43-45]
- Not all who say “Lord Lord . . . [Luke 6:46]
- House on the rock [Luke 6: 47-49]
Don’t judge, you will know them by their fruit. Not all who say “Lord Lord” obey / hear me [same word] but only those who hear my word and act on them. They are like a house built on the rock . . .
Wow, what wonders a little editing does. See how it all flows. That is why Luke was working hard with the editor’s scissors or the eraser/rubber. Put like that you can see how it all flows together. It is not rocket science; just plain common sense. Yet many debate the background to this and the comparison with Matthew and come up with all sort of fanciful ideas. There are some who think Luke has just got lazy and stuck a number of small segments together at the end of this section. No, not at all. That is not what he is doing in my opinion. He is doing exactly what he said he would do in the beginning.
I thought it would be good to write an orderly account for you [Theophilus / God lover] so that you will know the full truth about everything you have been taught.Luke 1:3,4
Isn’t that what he has done with the birth of John and of Christ? Isn’t that what he did with the temptations? Isn’t that what he has done all along and isn’t that what he is doing here at the end of Chapter 6? Oh yes it is a shorter account and it doesn’t include those parts of Matthew that we know and love but it is a very clear, concise summary of the essentials. Notice too the words I have emboldened in the passage above. We talked about [gar] “for” yesterday. Let’s now talk about [δέ / de] which is a primary continuative particle meaning but, and, moreover, now. “And why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” is clearly linked to what went before it as well. It is all a continuation: grammatically and logically.
Anyone with a great beam poking out of their eye is “not well”. They need a beam removal operation. We can’t produce good fruit, people are influenced by our witness for Christ if we are hypercritical. (Notice I said hypercritical and not hypocritical.) If we run around seeing the specks when all the time there is a massive beam in our eye. What’s stored up in your heart will soon become apparent. You cannot hope to bring people to Christ with a critical spirit. It becomes manifestly obvious what is inside a person when they open their mouth to speak in unguarded moments. An evil man will manifest evil. When he opens his mouth to speak, evil will come out of the abundance of his heart. It cant be otherwise.
The good and bad trees and the associated fruit are not rotten and / or healthy; rather they both appear good. They are “good” trees, at least they appear so. The categories of good and bad are determined by their usefulness and productivity in producing fruit “that remains” as Jesus would say. The quality of the fruit determines the usefulness of the tree. As in the natural world so in the spiritual. As with trees so with people; the mouth reveals what the heart contains. Your words come from the thoughts that fill your heart or your mind.
Why do you call me “Lord” and not do what I say? What a massive question! It is like this question is at the centre of all of the other strange actions going on. People with huge beams in their eyes fiddling to get a speck out of someone else’s eye, good trees producing bad fruit, thorn trees producing figs or building a house without a foundation (// Matthew’s version “a house built on sand”). How ridiculous! No less ridiculous than calling Jesus Lord and not doing what He says. There is much to be got from this passage. I really don’t know where to stop. It’s not that I don’t know where to start. I would just start at the beginning and go word by word but that would take us months in this one passage. I won’t do that to you. I will spare you the pain, or the boredom for some. I am trying to strike the happy medium with Gems and make them relevant, applicable and deep; but not too deep so as to lose you all.
Suffice to say at this point, isn’t it interesting that this combined section is what is used to close the sermon on the plat’ain (that’s my new word I have coined for the plateau/mountain). What a brilliant way to draw the attention of the hearers to the need for application or putting it into practice at the end of the sermon. Notice with the house building that the act of building is present continuous tense. Being in the process of building – kind of like life isn’t it? Notice too the builder goes down deep. The foundations are not seen but to build a good house one must go deep. Everything must be like the foundations of the house: deep. The words that come out of our mouths come from the depths of our hearts. The quality of the trees, the quality of the house is only truly known when it is tested. Wow deep stuff. Made deeper because it has been stripped down to the basics and stacked together.
If you don’t allow Jesus words to penetrate deep and put them into practice you are in danger of producing bad fruit, or having whatever edifice you are building come crashing down around your ears. That would be stupidity. The kind of stupidity mirrored in the examples chosen by Jesus to illustrate the teaching. No one would think of doing any of those nonsensical things suggested above. So why shun or ignore the Lord of all Glory? More on that tomorrow and then I think I will close this section and move on unless I hear howls of protest.
You will either step forward into growth, or you will step back into safety!Rick Godwin
The quality of your preparation determines the quality of your performance.Anon
Take any habit you practice, multiply it by 365 days, then multiply it by seventy or eighty years and you can write your own obituary.Bob Gass
The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.Ian Vail
Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says.James 1:22
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.Mark Twain
So sad to see people are busy making excuses instead of making changes. Your life won’t get better by making excuses!Jeffrey Rachmat
God gave us mouths that can close and ears that don’t – that should tell us something.Sidney Mohede