Matthew 3.10 cont.
10 Now already the axe is set at the root of the trees; therefore, every tree not producing good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.
Perhaps we might want to consider what is good fruit and what is bad fruit?
We have a tree in our garden. I don’t know what kind of tree it is. I have been told by the previous owners that it is not a fruit tree. In the light of this we have had it pruned so that it does not prevent sunlight getting to the rest of the garden, including our greenhouse.
To allow it to continue to grow without being cut back would have been detrimental to the growth of vegetables that we plan on growing.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were producing fruit, but it did not bring them or the people any closer to God. In fact, later in His ministry Jesus said:
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are” – Matthew 23.15 (NLT).
These are scathing words from the Master, and would not have won Him a popularity contest.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were obviously zealous to win people to their way of living, but it was leading people to them and not to God. For them the axe was set to the root to chop them down, because, as Jesus said, they were producing children of hell.
There is a warning here for us today. There are those leaders within the church who promote themselves; they gather people around them; they seek to control their lives, influencing their every decision. They seek to bring to themselves the honour and glory that should rightly be given to Jesus.
The axe is also set at the root of such trees.
Where there are areas in our own lives that do not produce the good fruit of the Holy Spirit, they need to be chopped down.
We all get invaded by worldly thought patterns; we get pulled into patterns of speech that may sound good, but are unrighteous; we are all at risk of being drawn to conform to the patterns of this world.
Therefore, we all need the axe to be set at the root of these things, so that we might be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12.2).