Trees of Righteousness that Bear Fruit

And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he [Jesus] went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. (Matt 21:19, RSV)

To provide for them that… that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isa 61:3, KJ2000)

So many Christians are worried about doing “good works,” “bearing good fruit” and “saving people.” To bring forth good fruit to God we must first be the planting of the Lord that He might be glorified. We must be born of the Spirit of God or we will never be able to bear spiritual fruit. Jesus said, “Every plant my Father has not planted will be rooted up.” We cannot come to Christ unless the Father draws us. All we can do is believe and even saving faith is a gift from God. So, once again, just as God said, “Let there be light,” nothing happens without it coming out from Him!

When we find that we are His planting and have saving faith and have His Spirit in us, what is next? What works must we do to please God? Here is where many of us go wrong. All our lives up until salvation we “Dressed ourselves, stretched forth our hands and went where we want to go,” but in the kingdom of God that old Adam in us is totally useless to Him. Like Jesus said, “The flesh profits nothing.” But how many, for instance, read in their Bible what is called, “The Great Commission,” and then set out to get people to say a “sinner’s prayer” and get them to go to their “church” as if that is the will of God in the life of every believer–to go out and save people.

One time my wife’s mother told a story about when she was working in her husband’s lock shop that was located on the “skid row” part of a town in western Washington. It seems that this old drunk named Charlie knew she was a Christian and he came into their shop one day and boasted, “I am a born again believer! Why I even got saved by Billy Graham.” To this she said, “That is the problem, Charlie. You were saved by Billy Graham instead of by Jesus Christ.” We can go out and get people to repeat a prayer for salvation, but if the Father has not moved on them to repent and come to Christ, all we end up with is a bunch of still births that require constant maintenance to “keep them saved.”

Recently a brother wrote to me saying, “I know in the bible there is a passage that says ‘I never knew you’. I know I have friends who only take the part of that passage that talks about sinning and forget about the “I never knew you” part…”

The passage he referred to reads as follows. Jesus said:

“Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” (Matt 7:19-23, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

Where does this put our oft used evangelizing question, “Do you know the Lord?” It seems that salvation hinges on Christ knowing us! Obviously, our all knowing God knows every hair on the head of every person ever born, so this word “knew” in the above passage has to have a deeper meaning. In reality Jesus, longs to know you and for you to know Him in the most intimate way as His eternal bride.

The full meaning of the Greek word translated “knew” and “know” is missed by most Christians. They think that it is up to them to “know” Jesus, so they study their Bibles in a shallow way using only their intellects and miss the whole meaning of any of it. The Spirit of Christ has to be our teacher. All true life-changing knowledge comes through Him by revelation. Those two who walked and talked with our risen Lord along the road to Emmaus did not understand all that the prophets had spoken of regarding Christ, even though they knew their Bibles. Until Jesus opened their eyes it meant nothing! Once He did it took on life and their hearts burned within them. Jesus spoke to the Pharisees who knew the Bible saying, “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:38-39, RSV). It was Bible teachers and searchers that missed who Christ is and had Him crucified. Salvation requires an intimate life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Here is what the Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary says about this word translated “knew.”

G1097 γινώσκω ginosko (ǰiy-nō’-skō) v.
1. to know (in a concrete manner, and not merely from a personal perspective or experience).
2. (emphatically) to absolutely know, to know without exception (i.e. knowing, but not merely to know based on personal observation or perception, but also based on actual rational truth; not merely that which is based on or bound only by sight and experience; such knowing comes from Yahweh to completely grasp and have the comprehension of, as well as why and how, and to have the astuteness to apply it freely without error).
3. (by ancient Hebraic euphemism) to have intimate knowledge of (that is to say, to have carnal knowledge of; explicitly, to have had sexual intercourse with).

The same word, ginosko was used in this text which speaks of the sexual relationship that Joseph had with Mary, “Now, being roused from sleep, Joseph [did] as the messenger of the Lord bids him. And he accepted his wife, and he knew her not till she brought forth a Son, and he calls His name Jesus.” (Matt 1:24-25, CLV – emphasis added). Jesus desires such deep intimacy with us and the fruit of that intimacy is found in the works that we do. We become trees that bring forth good fruit. First the Father plants us and then He is the one who pollinates us by the Spirit so we can bring forth His fruit. Bad fruit and the works of iniquity mentioned in the above text come from those who try to do the spiritual works of God from their flesh without those works being born from Christ’s intimacy working in them.“Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?” All our works are iniquity without His doing those works in and through us. We must be born of the Spirit and so must our works be.

The works (spiritual fruit) that we are to do are mentioned by Paul, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10, KJV – emphasis added). First, we are being re-worked as His workmanship, not the workmanship of Adam. What is born of the flesh is still flesh. We cannot fix ourselves! We are placed in Christ and He in us and this is where the life changing power of God takes place.

This is the place that the good works and heavenly fruit come from as well. Can we read the Bible, mimic what we read, or guess what His fruit will look like? No! All we can do is rest in Him. Couples who try too hard to have a baby often can’t have one. Fruit requires intimacy and rest. In the same way, the works that we are to do and the fruit of our oneness in Christ has been “ordained that we should walk in them.” It all has to come from Him. The Father plants us, the Spirit gives us life, and Jesus pollinates us. As Christ’s bride all we can do to please God is to lie back and let Him do the work in and through us. This is what real faith is about! “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.”

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21 comments on “Trees of Righteousness that Bear Fruit

  1. Kennth Dawson says:

    You said so beautifully Mike–I was taking a training class recently at work and the teacher was explaining how we can better meet the needs of our customers–in his paperwork he had a statement that said ( information is power )–yes it is–but I like to step it up and say–formation is in being and transformation is by Gods being–great article man !

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for your input, Ken. You wrote, “formation is in being and transformation is by God’s being.” I agree Adam was formed in the image of God from the dust of the earth and God breathed into him and he became a living being (Genesis 2:7) , but transformation comes when we become transformed into the likeness of Christ and given a NEW mind that responds to His still small voice. “For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.” (Rom 8:6, BBE)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wise words there. The world sometimes like to say, “it is better to give than to receive” which is loosely based on scripture and true, but we often forget that the reason it is better to give than to receive is because it is so much easier. Most of us would rather be giving out at a food bank for example, rather than forced to stand in line and receive a donation. What more of us need to do is to learn to receive Him fully. As the bride, as the wife so to speak, that is how it works too, we are the receivers. That is how women build intimacy, create some joy in marriage, by receiving, by reflecting back the love that has been shown us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Gabrielle, as the bride of Christ we are designed to receive from Him for apart from Him we can do and have nothing. Or as Paul put it, “…What have you that was not given to you? If then you received it [from someone], why do you boast as if you had not received [but had gained it by your own efforts]?” (1Cor 4:7, AMP)

      T. A. Sparks wrote, “In that gospel the Lord Jesus makes several statements of this kind: “The Son can do nothing out from Himself, but whatsoever He sees the Father doing, that doeth the Son in like manner”; “The words that I speak, I speak not out from Myself”; “The works that I do, I do not out from Myself”. Everything that Jesus spoke and did came out from the Father in heaven. If this was true of Jesus as the Son of Man, how much more true it must be of we who are His bride. We are meant to be receivers, just as the woman receives from the man, just like you said. In reality, John 3:16 that we all can quote, goes deeper in the Greek than do most translations. Properly it says, “That which is inseminated by the Spirit is spirit…” God is the progenitor. We must be impregnated by the Spirit to have life and we must be impregnated by the Spirit to bring forth the fruit of the Lord. Apart from Him we can bear nothing.

      As for our earthly marriages, you are right, women reflect back the love that has been shown them. In like manner we love God because He first loved us. If they are loved and shown appreciation they blossom. I have a saying, “A woman is not truly loved because she is beautiful. She is beautiful because she is loved.” May we all shine forth the beauty of our Husband, Jesus Christ who loves us so.

      Thanks for your input, Gabrielle.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Fred Thoren says:

    Thank you so much for this. You made a stressful busy day into a good day. 🙂
    Glory be to GOD.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Truth, thank you brother.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. That was a great article, Michael! ⭐

    Since I have been completely uninspired as to what to write regarding your post, I only want to share a quote on “fruitfulness” on here. It reads,

    In every forest, on every farm, in every orchard on earth, it’s what’s under the ground that creates what’s above the ground. That’s why placing your attention on the fruits that you have already grown is futile. You cannot change the fruits that are already hanging on the tree. You can, however, change tomorrow’s fruits. But to do so, you will have to dig below the ground and strengthen the roots.

    ~ T. Harv Eker Quotes from Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, thanks for your comment. I am glad you liked the article. I am afraid I am also without any inspiration. As you know, I seem to get inspired for about two or three days and then have to go without any at all for two or three weeks. I think my two or three days are over for now. I have learned long ago it makes no sense to fly ones kite when the wind is not blowing.
      Back to my cave.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ken Burgess says:

    Michael, further to your question in the following, “Where does this put our oft used evangelizing question, “Do you know the Lord?” It seems that salvation hinges on Christ knowing us! Obviously, our all knowing God knows every hair on the head of every person ever born, so this word “knew” in the above passage has to have a deeper meaning. In reality Jesus, longs to know you and for you to know Him in the most intimate way as His eternal bride,”

    May I direct our attention to the scriptures in Hebrews 8:10,11

    10 But when those days are over,” the Eternal One says, “I will make
    this kind of covenant with the people of Israel:
    I will put My laws on their minds
    and write them upon their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be My people.
    11 In those days, they won’t need to teach each other My ways
    or to say to each other, ‘Know the Eternal.’
    In those days, all will know Me,
    from the least to the greatest.”

    It is obvious to me that the modern Evangelist is missing the mark completely. Christ said, “and I, if I be lifted up, (nailed to the cross) I will draw all men to me.” He does the drawing. Not a smooth talking clay pot who preys on hurting humanity’s fears and brokenness. The one thing that should be the hallmark of anyone who takes upon himself or herself the title of Evangelist should be a deep and passionate love for people. Evangelism should not be about, “getting people saved,” but loving them into HiS Kingdom. We must represent HiM as HE is and not who we would like HiM to be or who we think HE is. We are “light bearers,” and if we will go where there are folks trapped in the darkness and flip on the switch, then they will see HiM.

    Bible quotes taken from:
    The Voice (VOICE)
    The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Ken, for bringing my attention once again to Hebrews chapter eight. This is about the clearest description of what the New Covenant is and how different it is from what is presented as Christianity today! Today we have preachers telling us that “We must! (Thous shalt)”… We must make a public commitment and show our faith (come down to an altar call), we must attend church, we must give tithes and offerings, we must get baptized into their denomination, we must speak in tongues, we just witness about our faith, etc. etc. etc. But here in chapter eight is a quote from Jeremiah that specifically says that in the NEW Covenant GOD will do everything that is needed in and for us, including being our Teacher. All we can do is believe in Christ’s finished work on the cross and rest IN Him. If we can do ANYTHING to save ourselves, then Christ died in vain.

      In the beginning of the last century evangelists started working on the emotions of people with skillful tear-jerking stories to get an emotional response and get people to come forward in their meetings and they were not beyond playing the “guilt card,” either. Evangelism became more and more about what people did instead and by the power if their personal charisma and doing whatever it takes to get big altar calls they operated instead of simply lifting Christ up and letting the Holy Spirit do the rest. I agree, Ken, we who have Christ in us and have new hearts should be the message of God’s love long before we open our mouths to speak.

      “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16, NRS).

      Liked by 3 people

    • Fred Thoren says:

      I agree with you. I like the way Dan Mohler teaches evantalising as it is much like what you mentioned above. I have been watching a few of his youtube videos lately about love and they are great but they do show how much I am leaking in the love department.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. David Murry says:

    Mike,

    The Lord is really using your writings to confirm things in me and also help round out how to share some of the “simpler” aspects of our walk.
    This was such a wonderful teachings and word of encouragement and confirmation for me. Our Dad is so awesome…!

    Thanks for sharing this

    David

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, David. I am happy to hear that I have encouraged and confirmed that you are hearing the Lord. BTW, I sent a book URL in answer to your email about your question on “that our Lord wants relationship and that life is a bi-product of that relationship.”

      Bless you, my brother,

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • David Murry says:

        I second guess my self still too many times. The Lord has been dealing with me about this.. lack of faith as result of old issues he is still working out in me.. so YES thanks very much.

        Its been many many years without anyone to confirm things. That season has changed and I am so humbly grateful.

        He is so gentle when I need Him to be.
        And thank you so very much for the URL also.
        Most of all…. thank you brother… for you.

        Talk soon

        David

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Your welcome, David.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. You are such a wonderful teacher, Michael! Invariably when I return to something of yours I’ve read before, I find new insights. This post reminded me of the accusation “blind faith” sometimes made against Christians. We, of course, know our faith is not blind but the evidence of sight restored, for we have come to know the living Person, Jesus Christ.

    Blessings always,

    A.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Anna,
      What a kind thing to say. Thanks for your encouraging words, dear friend. Yes, our faith is based on a living relationship with the Living Christ and he is the ONE who sticks closer to us than a brother or sister in the natural. It is He in us that make our relationships with one another so real as well. His love is the glue that makes all relationships hold together. Two dear saints that are in His love have what the world only wishes it could find.

      ” [Father,] that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,” (John 17:21-22, RSV)

      “Thank you Jesus for giving us this glorious love that unites us IN You and the Father. Amen”

      Liked by 2 people

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