Luke 6:43

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 6:43 

“For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit; nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.” – Luke 6:43  

Based on the way this verse starts, this is a continuation of what was said in the prior verse which spoke of specks and logs in the eye.  It addressed the idea of being more concerned with the sins of others with little if any concern for our own sins, even when it is the same sin.  This is the perfect picture of hypocrisy.  And we see the connection in that if we do not see the beam in our own eyes, we would be like the corrupt tree which cannot possibly bring forth good fruit.  The reason is that we do not view the ‘bad fruit’ as bad fruit.

The meaning of this whole passage is, as a tree is known to be either good or bad by its fruit, so a man is known to be either good or bad by his fruit; especially when he speaks of the characters and actions of others. On such occasions he will, either by the charitable and mild constructions which he puts upon the doubtful actions of others, show himself to be a good man; or, by his uncharitable and harsh interpretations, demonstrate the wickedness of his own heart.

Matthew puts it this way.  “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20.  Matthew clarifies the idea that Jesus here is speaking of false prophets.  He says good fruits do not come from bad sources.  Grapes do not come from thorn bushes but from grape vines and  figs do not come from thistles but from fig trees.  Therefore, if you see bad fruit in others, then they are not to be trusted in what they say or teach.

Now, Jesus finalizes this idea with the following. “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45.  This verse applies the analogies of the previous two verses to people and in particular to the human heart. The expression ‘heart’ is commonly used by Luke to refer to the inner being of an individual out of which attitudes and values come. An evil heart produces critical and judgmental attitudes, doubts, and wickedness; but a good heart produces good fruit. For whatever we do will come from our heart, who we really are. 

We must watch our own actions and thoughts, to see where we are in our relationship with God.  And the best way to see where we are is by looking at what is in our heart.  How do we speak of others?  How do we speak to others.  And also, how do we speak to and about others?  This speaks volumes about who we are.  We must take the time to examine our heart.  “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5.  And if we see we do not pass the test, then we should pray to God, repenting of our failure and asking Him to change our hearts.  And if we do and truly mean it, we can do so much by becoming closer to God.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Luke 13:6

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 13:6 

“And He began telling this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.” – Luke 13:6

Today we will look at the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.  Here is this parable as found in Luke’s gospel.

And He began telling this parable: A certain man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?  And he answered and said to him, Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.” Luke 13:6-9.

Jesus told this parable immediately after reminding all who were there about the tower over the Pool of Siloam which collapsed unexpectedly and killed eighteen people. “Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And He answered and said to them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this fate?  I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5.  

This story starts by the vineyard owner showing his disappointment that a tree he had watched for  three years had not produced any fruit.  The three-year period is important because this points to John the Baptist and Jesus who had been preaching repentance and the coming of the promised Messiah for three years throughout Israel.  However, the fruit of repentance was not coming forth, and they thought they were special because they we Jews. “Therefore, bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, we have Abraham for our father, for I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. And also the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Luke 3:8-9. They had departed from the true faith and the true living God. The Jews created a religion of works based on  righteousness that was not pleasing to God. 

Now, there are three distinct entities in this parable.  The vineyard owner represents God, the one who found the tree with no fruit and justly requesting it be cut down.  The vineyard keeper or gardener is Jesus the Christ, who asks for additional time to see the tree bear fruit, and the tree itself representing the Jewish nation and individuals.  

The lesson in this parable is that borrowed time is not permanent. God’s patience has a limit. In the parable, the vineyard owner grants another year of life to the tree. In the same way, God in His mercy grants us more time; another year, day, minute or second. Christ stands at the door of each man’s heart knocking and seeking to gain entrance and requiring repentance from sin. But if there is no fruit or repentance, His patience will come to an end, and the fruitless, unrepentant individual will be cut down. We all live on borrowed time; judgment is close by. That is why the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

1 Peter 2:24

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Peter 2:24  

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24

As Good Friday and Resurrection Day approaches, it is good to look at what this day means and the importance of it to our lives.  This day came because of the love God has for each and every one of us.  From the beginning of mankind to today, mankind has rebelled against God through sin.  Adam and Eve while in the garden, succumbed to the temptation of Satan and sinned.  God told them not to eat of a particular tree in the garden.  “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17.  However, they disobeyed Him which was sin.  “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:6.  And from this time forward, there has been no one who has lived a completely sinless life.  Except one.

For our dilemma, God had a solution.  There was a need for one man to be born and live a perfect life, so that he could pay for the sins of everyone else.  This could not be a normal person, for no man has ever lived a life without sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.  So, He had a son who would be able to live a life without sin who could then pay the penalty for ours.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” He understands and sympathizes with us, because He was a born a man through Mary, a woman.  And He is able to address our sinfulness by providing a perfect sacrifice through Himself because He was sinless, being God in human flesh.  And this is the message of our focus verse.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.

This shows the incredible love God has for us.  First, He knew we would sin against Him for He knows all things. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:8-10.  But He stilled loved us and therefore He provided a way to address the sins and cleanse us from them.  And all we need to do is confess them with repentance.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

Jesus came with the sole purpose of paying the penalty for our sins.  “But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:21-23. Jesus never sinned therefore He could pay the penalty for us all.  It was a horrible and cruel death, but He endured it all for us.  This is perfect love from a perfect God.  Give thanks to Him for without Jesus, we would all die in our sins and enter eternal punishment; but with Him we have eternal life with Him.  How beautiful is that.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.