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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Produce Department - Inspecting Spiritual Fruit

Introduction for This Week's Daily Devotional
What The Church Needs to Know About Teachers and Fruit
Matthew 7:15-20

Jesus said, “By your fruit you will know them.” Who is He talking about and what fruit does He mean? He is talking about teachers. There are many people today who want to be known as a teacher of God’s Word. They are all over the radio, television, internet, and even in our local churches. Some think it is a prestigious position and feed their pride by the spiritual dependence of others. Some think it is their duty to pay God back for His saving them. Others believe that to teach means that they have become a Super Christian – with no trials or tribulation! Then there are those called and qualified by God to humbly lead in His church - true shepherds.

So what did Jesus mean when He said that we will know teachers by their fruit? He is talking about the spiritual fruit that their lives and their teaching produces. What are they known for? What is the result of their teaching in the lives of those they teach? How do they themselves live day by day?

This week we are going to take a look at Matthew 7:15-20 and learn to inspect fruit! We will discover what to look for in the lives of those who teach us. We are not sitting in judgment over them, mind you, but asking questions to determine if we need to keep listening to their teaching or move on and find someone who is rightly handling the Word. And right handling is not determined only by what comes out of a teacher’s mouth, but also by what comes out of his life!

We will also look at how to determine the nature of the fruit we are producing ourselves. Are we being faithful teachers of the Word in the way we live and talk? Or are we teaching things we shouldn’t? Remember, anyone who tries to teach the Word of God will be held to a higher standard of judgment. It is a serious matter to handle God’s Word, especially if we are dispensing it to others. (James 3:1) So what does Jesus say about our job as “fruit inspectors” in His kingdom?

As we learn how to inspect fruit in our lives and the lives of others, I am including a devotional written from Matthew 7:15-20 that deals with this issue from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I have given a format for family worship which includes a verse for the day, family prayer time, TIME in the Word, devotional thoughts, and recommended Scriptures for further study and meditation. I also recommend reading through a sermon this week by Charles H. Spurgeon from John 1:43-45 titled “Found by Jesus and Finding Jesus” (it is an excellent look at a great sermon about coming to Christ preached by a preacher whose work for the Lord is still today producing good and lasting fruit).



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