Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY DEC. 1, 2019

Scripture To Consider:
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

“A good man [or woman] out of the good treasure of his [or her] heart brings forth good things, and an evil man [or woman] out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men [or women] may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12.33-37

Something To Consider:
Some things simply bear repeating! Jesus has spoken before about the spiritual law of good trees bearing good fruit, while bad trees bear bad fruit. No force of nature or the carnal flesh of humankind can alter that outcome. The only chance of changing that law is accomplished by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. And so, these self-righteous leaders in our previous lesson spoke evil of Jesus and accused Him falsely of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons.

Therefore, Jesus deemed it important to repeat an earlier foundational spiritual teaching. “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” David in Psalm 1 spoke of the righteous as a tree planted by the rivers of living waters that brings forth its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither, and whatever that righteous person does, it shall prosper. Blessed is the person who bears good fruit!

In the day of our Scripture to consider, the New Testament had not been written. Therefore, the apostle Paul later in Romans chapter 2 wrote beginning in verse 12; “For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged [or condemned] by the law, for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.”

Something Else To Consider:
Therefore, James wrote in his letter, “But be doers of the Word [of God], and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” And in Matthew chapter 23, Jesus will seven times label the religious leaders of His day as pretenders of the faith, by declaring, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Now, I would not advise our trying that, due to the fact that we all have at times been guilty of hypocrisy in our own lives!

And yet, in verse 14 of Matthew 23 Jesus proclaimed, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers. Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation.” In this verse Jesus reveals the biblical fact of various levels or degrees of judgment and or condemnation. Let us therefore, pray that we become worthy to escape the coming end time judgment and condemnation of an Almighty God!

Jesus spoke in terms that these so-called religious leaders could clearly and easily understand when He said; “Brood of vipers! How can you being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” As in the case of these Pharisees, the abundance of evil treasure hidden in their hearts was revealed. The evil within them poured forth through the portal of their lips. Therefore, the words of Moses written in Numbers 32.23, were proven once again to be prophetic; “Be sure your sin will find you out.”

The sin of these hypocritical leaders surfaced as evil treasure was revealed in the words of their mouths. How often have we spoken harshly only to regret it once the words have passed through our lips? How many times have our words harmed someone else? If and when that is the case, we too may have heard Jesus declaring; “Hypocrites, brood of vipers!” Or maybe we have heard those same words Peter heard Jesus declare when Peter spoke rashly, “Get behind Me Satan, you are an offense to Me.”

Something More To Consider:
Jesus continued His warning; “But I say to you that for every idle word men [and women and young people] may speak, they will give an account of it in the day of judgment.” Just think about it, for every idle word we shall all give an account, unless forgiveness has been granted through repentance in and through the blood of Jesus. And if not, then every idle word will indeed be exposed in that great day of God’s judgment.

Therefore, everything spoken carelessly in anger or frustration, in the heat of a fragile moment, any word that is considered evil treasure revealed, we will give an account for. And yet, forgiveness granted ahead of time, ahead of that judgment, is a wise and good fruit bearing choice to be made by those desiring to live godly in Christ Jesus. For according to Jesus, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The apostle Paul writing in Romans 5.1-2 proclaimed, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Are we therefore standing in faith and in the peace of God, or are we allowing evil treasure to be revealed from our lives on a regular basis as if guilty of practicing sin?

Paul followed up in verse 3 by stating, “And not only that, but we [those justified by present tense faith in Christ] also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” But as 21st century so-called Christians it has been drilled into our thought process that the presence of tribulation is evil in and of itself. That is not what the bible declares. Tribulation according to the Word of God produces excellent Christ-like characteristics in the true present tense believer. And yet, we have been taught by false teachers to shy away from tribulation and now we must learn the biblical truth!

Paul also proclaimed in Titus 3.7; “Having been justified by His [God’s] grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” And again in 1 Thessalonians 5.8 Paul announced, “But let us who are of the Day [those looking for God’s righteous kingdom to come] be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” Are we looking for the righteous kingdom of God to come? Are we looking for and  anticipating our hope of salvation to be completed? If not, then why not?

A Few Final Words:
But those living outside of the grace of God, those who choose to remain unbelievers, according to Ephesians 2.12; “Have no hope and are without God in the world.” And yet, they too can be justified and brought near to God by the blood of Jesus. They too can freely receive the forgiveness of their practiced over many years’ sins. Or, their evil treasure will in the end be revealed in the day of judgment.

Let us therefore be encouraged by Paul’s words found in Titus 2 concerning grace, godliness, and hope in God. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men [women and young people], teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

And in closing, Paul made one last statement of truth concerning Jesus in Titus 2.14 to complete his thought by declaring; “Who gave Himself for us, that He [Jesus] might redeem us from every lawless deed [practiced sin] and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Our Father in heaven, guard our hearts against evil treasure and create in us clean hearts and pure and righteous spirits within us. In Him Always, Amen!

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