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Lenten Devotional 4-4-23

Sermon on the Mount

April 4, 2023

Matthew 7: 15-20

15 ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will know them by their fruits.

I am reminded by this passage of the old adage, “You can’t tell a book by its cover.” Which reminds me of buying a book on Amazon. Really awful books might have covers that catch the eye and entice you to buy them because they are by “best sellers” or by “bestselling authors”. When you do buy such a book, you might find that the nice cover concealed a bad book. Or you might find a book with a dull looking cover is a classic. You only know which is which when you do a bit of investigating. You might take a look at the reviews. How many stars does the book have and how many people think that. Or you can ask friends. Or you can ask the librarian. When I am told that a book is worth reading, one of the questions I ask is this: “Are there redeeming characters I can root for?” If the answer is “no”, I have no interest in the book. A good time reading cannot be had by a book that has none of these. 

This is kind of the way we are supposed to evaluate all the influences in our lives. Who, what, where, when, why and how are we influenced.? The best way to make sure we are being influenced well is to examine what it is we are persuaded to do. Is what we do good fruit or bad? Are we directed to do the things Jesus would have us do, or something different? If we are disciples of Jesus woe ought to be able to figure it out.

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