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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Fruit Inspections

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 Re: Worth a Repeat


crsschk wrote:
[b]Mat 7:16 - Ye shall know them by their fruits[/b],.... By "fruits" are meant, not so much their external works in life and conversation; for a false prophet may so behave, as not to be discovered thereby. So the Pharisees were outwardly righteous before men; and false teachers among Christians may have the form of godliness, and keep it up, though they are strangers to, and even deny the power of it: but their doctrines are here meant, and the effects of them. When doctrines are contrary to the perfections of God, repugnant to the Scriptures of truth, tend to depreciate the person and offices, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ, to lessen the glory of God's grace, to exalt the creature, and to fill men's minds with notions of the purity, self-sufficiency, and ability of human nature; when they are calculated to feed the pride and vanity of men, to get money, and gain applause, to serve their own interests, and gratify men's lusts and passions, they may be easily discerned who they are, and from whence they come. The Jews have a proverb pretty much like this (u), בוצין מקטפיה ידיע, "a gourd is known by its branches". The gloss upon it is,

"it is, as if it was said, from the time it buds forth, and goes out of the branch, it is known whether it is good or not;''

i.e. the goodness of the gourd is known by the fruit its branches bear. So a good preacher is known by the good doctrine he brings, and a bad one, by his unsound doctrine. Christ is not speaking of these false prophets, as men, or as private professors of religion, but as prophets, or teachers. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Grapes and figs were common fruit; there was great plenty of them in Judea; we often read of the "gathering" of them. It is a matter in dispute with the doctors (w),

"if a man intends ללקט תאנים ולוקט ענבים, "to gather figs, and he gathers grapes", black ones, and he gathers white ones, white ones, and he gathers black ones, whether he is guilty of a sin offering or not.''

One says he is, another says he is not. These words of Christ put me in mind of another passage, which seems to speak of grapes of thorns (x);

"he that marries his daughter to a scholar, it is like to grapes of the vine, with grapes of the vine, a thing beautiful and acceptable; but he that marries his daughter to a plebeian, it is like to grapes of the vine, הסנה בענבי, "with grapes of the thorn", a thing ugly, and unacceptable.''

Though ענבי, in the last sentence, must be taken for berries which grow on some thorn bushes, and not what are properly grapes; for grapes do not grow upon, and are not to be gathered from thorns, and bramble bushes. The meaning of our Lord is, that from the false doctrines of men comes no good fruit of faith, holiness, joy, peace, and comfort. Their doctrines are like "thorns", which prick and pierce, give pain and uneasiness; and, like "thistles", choke, and are unprofitable, afford no solid food and nourishment; yea, their words eat as do a canker, are contrary to vital religion and powerful godliness. This sense I prefer; because, on the one hand, it is possible for a false teacher to do works, which may be externally good; though indeed no good works, properly speaking, can be performed by an unregenerate man, because he has neither good principles to act from, nor good ends in view: and, on the other hand, a man who is destitute of the grace of God, and lives ill, may yet have right notions of the Gospel, though he has no experimental knowledge and relish of it; but where false doctrines are imbibed, and propagated, no good fruit can follow upon it.

[b]Mat 7:6 - Give not that which is holy to the dogs[/b],.... Dogs were unclean creatures by the law; the price of one might not be brought into the house of the Lord, for a vow, Deu_23:18 yea, these creatures were not admitted into several temples of the Heathens (h). Things profane and unclean, as flesh torn by beasts, were ordered to be given to them, Exo_22:31 but nothing that was holy was to be given them, as holy flesh, or the holy oblations, or anything that was consecrated to holy uses; to which is the allusion here. It is a common maxim (i) with the Jews,

שאין פודין את הקדשים להאכילן לכלבים, "that they do not redeem holy things, to give to the dogs to eat".''

Here the phrase is used in a metaphorical sense; and is generally understood of not delivering or communicating the holy word of God, and the truths of the Gospel, comparable to pearls, or the ordinances of it, to persons notoriously vile and sinful: to men, who being violent and furious persecutors, and impudent blasphemers, are compared to "dogs"; or to such, who are scandalously vile, impure in their lives and conversations, and are therefore compared to swine;

neither cast ye your pearls before swine. But since the subject Christ is upon is reproof, it seems rather to be the design of these expressions, that men should be cautious, and prudent, in rebuking and admonishing such persons for their sins, in whom there is no appearance or hope of success; yea, where there is danger of sustaining loss;

lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you: that is, despise the admonitions and reproofs given, and hurt the persons who give them, either by words or deeds; see Pro_9:7. The Jews have some sayings much like these, and will serve to illustrate them (k);

אל תשליכו הפנינים לפני החזירים, "do not cast pearls before swine", nor deliver wisdom to him, who knows not the excellency of it; for wisdom is better than pearls, and he that does not seek after it, is worse than a swine.''

(h) Vid. Alex. ab. Alex. Gaeial. Dier. l. 2. c. 14. (i) T. Bab. Temura, fol. 17. 1. & 31. 1. & 33. 2. Becorot, fol. 15. 1. Hieros. Pesachim, fol. 27. 4. & Maaser Sheni, fol. 53. 3. (k) Mischar Happeninim apud Buxtorf. Florileg. Heb. p. 306.


 2006/4/16 21:29


You Shall Know Them by Their Fruits

By Joy A. Veinot

The most used and abused verse of scripture among cults and pseudo-Christian groups, in my opinion, is Matthew 7:16 where Jesus said to His disciples, “You will know them by their fruits.” Every cultic group, by ignoring the context, misuses this verse to prove to outsiders that they are the true Christians. The common attitude of the cults is, “LOOK AT OUR GOOD WORKS AND JUDGE FOR YOURSELVES WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE THE TRUE CHRISTIANS.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) boast, “We don’t participate in war, and we are the only ones going door to door.” The Mormons brag, “We are the only group that has a living prophet and apostles, and we also have the strongest and closest-knit families.” “Oh, you think that’s Christian?” Marshall Applewhite (of Heaven’s Gate fame) might have retorted. “We have left our families to follow Christ, and we are the only ones who have truly followed Jesus’ advice about cutting off any offending body parts,” the Heaven’s Gate crowd might have crowed. “Isn’t it obvious from our fruits that WE are ‘the truth’?”

Sorry fellas. Jesus Christ said that He, not any organization or religion or church, is “the truth” (John 14:6). And you’re really going to have to give Matthew 7:15-20 another look, because it does not say what you try to make it say. Jesus was not talking about identifying Christians at all! He was warning them to beware of false prophets (verse 15), and telling them to judge whatever prophets come to them by their fruits! And what, my dears, are the “fruits” of false prophets? False prophecies! Apple trees bring forth apples, pear trees bring forth pears, and false prophet trees bring forth false prophecies! You can bank on it. These false prophecies can be in the form of false predictions of future events, or they can be in the form of false teachings that contradict scripture. Cults usually have both. Did the end come in 1914, 1925, or 1975 as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (JWs) predicted. Is Jesus actually Michael the archangel whom has already returned “invisibly” as they also claim? Can human beings become gods as the Mormons teach? Was there, after all, a space ship behind the Hale-Bopp Comet as Applewhite asserted?

Why did Jesus warn the people to look for false prophecies and false teachings to help them identify the false prophets? Shouldn’t they have been able to judge them by their “works”? No. In fact, Jesus cautioned them that the false prophets who came to them would be wearing sheep’s clothing. If one is wearing sheep’s clothing, what is one going to look like? A sheep! People cannot identify false prophets by the way they appear, because they look like true prophets (or true Christians)!

False prophets, false Christians, and false religions will be able to show you good works, but do not be fooled — GOOD WORKS DO NOT A CHRISTIAN MAKE.

You say, “But wait a minute, Joy! The New Testament is full of exhortations to Christians to do good works, imitating the love and goodness of their Father in heaven.”

That is very true. In fact, Paul told us that we were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). But faith in Christ is what makes one a Christian. Salvation is a free gift with no strings attached. Along with salvation comes a new nature; the good works that Christians do come out of hearts that have been changed.

Let me give you my apple-tree illustration:

This apple tree represents a true Christian. See the apples? They are his Christian works produced from his very nature as an apple tree. The new nature is one of love and love always produces good works.

But what about this tree? Does the fact that this tree has apples fixed onto it make this tree an apple tree? No! This is obviously an evergreen tree in apple-tree clothing! Beware! On the outside he may be decked out like an apple tree, but inside he is a ravenous evergreen! So instead of checking out the apples, we should be looking for the “pinecones” of false predictions and teachings.

Can we always tell a tree by its apples? What if we were to find a genuine apple tree with no apples on it? Would we then label that tree an evergreen? That would be silly, because an apple tree, with or without fruit, is not an evergreen tree. We know that in nature, there are sometimes good reasons why a tree might not be bearing fruit. It may be out of season or, perhaps, it is merely immature. Maybe it suffered an injury from a particularly bad winter, a late frost, or a crippling storm. By the same token, we all know someone who claims to be a Christian, and yet, our inspection does not turn up any evidential apples. Does this mean that the fruitless one is not a Christian? Perhaps. But sometimes we need to be patient. Then the miracle happens. The tree matures, blossoms, and then—APPLES!

How is an evergreen tree transformed into an apple tree, and gain eternal life and acceptance into God’s family? Paul tells us in Romans 4:5, “To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned [credited or counted] as righteousness.”

You do not have to “try to be a Christian.” Only believe. Leave the rest to God. W

Love to all,

Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc., Lombard Illinois.

Don Veinot

Joy Veinot
Vice President

 2006/4/17 4:44

Joined: 2005/7/17
Posts: 1791


MeAgain wrote:

Please Mike - I Love you and nothing on earth or hell could end that. How many times have we said, "[b]We're growing together[/b]" as a gang on here.

me again again

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some......
Ephesians 4:12-13 in order fully to equip the saints for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.
:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

 2006/4/17 13:48Profile

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