53. You shall know them by their fruits- Matt. 7:15-20
-Jesus teaches that we can know whether or not a person is righteous and walking in the narrow way by observing their fruits (out manifestations, deeds, works). He talks about the tree in correlation to our inward man (soul, heart). This is where the work of salvation and restoration from corruption is performed. Jesus also spoke of the well spring of life flowing with living water (John 4:14). He alone is the originator of transformation and this is His point. The inner wellness will produce good fruit in its dispensation (distribution of things, giving out of something). If one is producing bad fruit there is sufficient evidence that the tree is rotten inside and in reality not part of God’s Kingdom (in other words saved, righteous, redeemed). *Application* “You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:20)” seems to stand in stark contrast to the comment just nineteen verses earlier, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1).” While we are not the ultimate Judge, Jesus tells us that it is ok to be fruit inspectors. This is a warning for our discernment as we do Kingdom work here on this earth. Be careful with whom you align yourselves in your ministry. If things are not being followed according to the Lord’s command it is perfectly ok to inspect that and deal with it appropriately under God’s direction, supervision, and counsel. God tells us to be observant and notice things that will help us detect false motivations and intrigue (schemes) that are at best carnal and may possibly be totally not of God at all.
Verses to Memorize- Matthew 7:16-20
54. The wise and the foolish builders- Matt. 7:24-27, Luke 6:47-49
-Jesus teaches here that the foundation is crucial upon which we build. Christ Jesus is the firm foundation, the Rock, which is stable and can withstand the storms of this life. *Application* For this firm foundation to be ours the Lord says we must hear His Word and act on it (Matthew 7:24, Luke 6:47). His Word is true and reliable, able to hold up under any circumstance and trial. Count on it like you count on the sun coming up tomorrow.
Verses to Memorize- Luke 6:47-48
55. Healing of the Centurion’s servant- Matt. 8:5-13, Luke 7:2-10
-These two accounts of what happened with the centurion’s servant differ somewhat, which probably indicates there were two separate occurrences with virtually the same result. With Matthew, the centurion came up to Him in Caperaum with healing faith demonstrated. In Luke, Jewish elders approached Jesus with the centurion’s request extolling his charitable deeds and favor he had shown the Jewish people by building their synagogue (the foundation of this building is still there in Caperaum today on the north side of the Sea of Galilee!). Jesus heals sight unseen because of the faith of these men in both instances. Both times it is their faith that brings God’s amazement (marvel), favor, and an announcement that that is the kind of faith not seen in the sons of Israel (or of the Kingdom), which is to their detriment and demise eternally (Matthew 8:12). *Application* God is no respecter of persons and we see this once again in this passage. The Kingdom is opened up to all people of faith in Him to recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Heaven (Matthew 8:11). We are grafted in to His family as Gentiles who believe on His Name (Romans 11:17-25). Thank God for His grace today and have the type of faith these centurions displayed.
-Authority is another issue in this passage. Each centurion was a man of power and knew how authority worked. The subordinates carried out faithfully the work of the commander in this system with proficiency and accuracy. They didn’t have to worry about tasks being completed when they gave the order as the one in charge. They recognized that they were not worthy of this One coming into their home, but they believed that at His Word their servant would be healed. What a testimony of subjection and trust, which drew Jesus’ praise and favor. *Application* This is a reminder to us of how we need to approach our Lord with fear and trembling in awe and respect. He is God and has all authority in our lives and in our circumstances. Seek Him out as the centurions did and ask for the miraculous in faith.
Verse to Memorize- Luke 7:9
56. Widow’s son at Nain raised- Luke 7:11-17
-This is one of the most miraculous accounts in the entire Scriptures. Jesus raises from the dead the only son of a widow, seized with compassion for her grieved situation. The Bible states that a large crowd witnessed this event and fear gripped all of them as they glorified the fact that “God has visited His people (Luke 7:16)!” Although they missed Him as the Messiah by proclaiming Him to be a prophet (Luke 7:16), they recognized His undoubtable power and broadcast this event all over the region (Luke 7:17). *Application* When we see need like Jesus saw in this particular instance, are we as determined as He was to right the situation and make things better to the best of our abilities? Have the compassion of Christ in all your encounters. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish. Miracles may even happen J!