Do you happen to have a fruit tree in your yard?  At our old home we had peach trees, apple trees, a pear tree, and a cherry tree.  We loved taking care of the trees and enjoying the fruit that grew in abundance each year.  And we didn’t have to go very far to find the fruit, either, for it was right there in our yard either on the tree or right under it.  We never had to go to the neighbor’s yard or across town to find the fruit.  So it stands to reason to me that if someone claims to be a Christian, there should be the fruit of Christ Jesus, RIGHT THERE, for the fruit is either on the tree or right under it.

Now, before I go any farther, let me add this, if Christ is inside, His fruit is there. Maybe some of it has been picked off and given to someone who needs it, such as mercy, or grace, or healing, or forgiveness, but even then, as soon as the fruit is given away, more sprouts out immediately, for the Tree of Life that is in us is neither barren or unfruitful.  And you can’t use it all up, for there is always more than enough for anyone who desires it.

That said, let’s see what kind of fruit we as Christians should be producing.  Notice I said, SHOULD BE, because it isn’t the case with all who call themselves Christians.  You can always identify an apple tree when it has apples on it, but what about in the winter when there is neither fruit nor leaves?  Is it still an apple tree? How do you know for sure?  Well, you could at least identify it by its bark.  Funny thing though, by the way some Christians bark at people, it makes me wonder if they are really Christians or not.  The Lord Jesus said you know a tree by its fruit.  He said in Matthew 7:7-23,

Mat 7:12  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Whoa, you mean even though we are not “under the law” we have to treat people good?  Well, if you’re a Christian, yes.  Sorry, I can’t find any loopholes for that one.  Like I said, if Jesus is inside, then His fruit should be in evidence.  No fruit of Jesus, no Jesus.  That’s simple enough even a country boy like me can understand it.

Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Let me clarify this if it isn’t already abundantly clear: there is a cost to being a disciple of Christ Jesus.  If you are His, then not just you, but everybody should be able to tell you are His.  A Christian isn’t known by their bumper sticker, or by their Bible bag, but by their fruit.  False prophets aren’t just those who prophesy stuff like “The Lord Jesus told me He is returning February 12, 2014”, but those who say “God knows your heart and He knows you can’t love people like He does, so you just keep on doing what you’re doing, and it will all work out ok.”

Mat 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Mat 7:18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

There is no way around it, if there’s fruit, it will be on the tree or right under it, for the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.  And if there isn’t fruit on YOUR tree, the Lord Jesus said you won’t be in His Kingdom, period, and no amount of twisting the scriptures to make it say something else will work.  That puts the fear of the LORD in ME, let me tell you, because He means business.  Yes, we are under grace, but grace is not license to sin and do whatsoever our flesh wants to do.  Why do you think Jesus said what He did in versus 22-23?  Does He say what He means and mean what He says?  Yes.  And yet we spend more effort looking for “loopholes” than we would if we just simply obeyed the Word of the LORD.

Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh 15:3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

This is where I came up with my favorite phrase, “In the judgment you will either hear “Well Done”, or you will BE “WELL DONE”.  Hello?

Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joh 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Joh 15:9  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Everyone seems to skip over verse 10, “Well, we’re not under the law anymore, but grace.” Read it again and whatever you and God come up with is fine by me, you don’t have to please me; I’m not your judge, HE IS. But also remember, He will come looking for the fruit of Jesus in you, and the fruit falls close to the tree.