“So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:20 HCSB
The first church I served out of seminary was the Delaney Street Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida. My wife and I lived in a house that belonged to our church that backed up to an orange grove where there were hundreds of trees. Each year we expected to see oranges growing on the trees. Imagine if one year we saw apples or pear blossoms. We would know that something was wrong because the trees would be producing the wrong type of fruit.
Jesus continued His message about false prophets that He began in verse 13. He used the illustration of a tree to explain His point. We should evaluate teachers by their fruit (actions and how they live their lives). Their actions should be consistent with what they teach. Good teachers should exhibit exemplary behavior and high moral character as they seek to live out the truth of the Scriptures. The bad trees (teachers) are those who produce fruit that is not consistent with their teachings. These teachers deliberately teach false doctrine. Consequently they will say, “Lord, Lord” but will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Challenge: Will you enter the kingdom of heaven? Evaluate your own life and make sure your actions and teachings are consistent with what you claim to be – a follower of Jesus Christ. What type of fruit are you producing?