S (Scripture): Matthew 7:15 Jesus says, “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.”
O (Observation): Jesus is teaching his followers that some will come along and misguide God’s people away from true faith. How will they know what to look for? Look for fruit that comes from their work and their words.
A (Application): A presupposition of being Lutheran is that Christians are saint and sinner at the same time. We are forgiven sinners: sinners by our carnal desires, forgiven through the blood of Christ. That means that in Christ’s death and resurrection, we have a God who redeems all who seek redemption.
This is my gospel. This is the ground on which I stand. I know that our God redeems the broken things in this world. God comes to our mistakes, and transforms them into great learning moments and teachings. God has taken our collective sinfulness to the cross, the opportunity for redemption for all people.
I must confess that I do fall short. I do err. And for my errors, I submit to God my full contrition.
But I also cannot look back without also looking forward. I wish to bear good fruit. I cannot see errors in my past as proof that I will never be able to bear good fruit. If so, then all of us are condemned without hope. That’s not the Gospel to me.
I see a God, who throughout Scripture and history, has done amazing and wonderful things through the most unlikely of people and situations. Even someone like me. Sounds a bit arrogant, but I have to believe that God can bear good fruit even through someone like me. If not, then what is it all for? I am redeemed. That is my comfort.
P (Prayer): Lord, help us to lift one another up…to help one another to see your grace and beauty…to bear fruit and to help others to do the same. Amen.