Today’s Reading: Matthew 7:15-23
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 26:1-25; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What sort of fruit do we produce? You can’t get a good apple from a sick, dying apple tree. You can’t get a rotten orange from a lush, healthy orange tree. Good proceeds from good. Bad proceeds from bad. It’s just how it works, but does the tree know? Can a tree tell you what sort of fruit it’s growing? Or is it the farmer who tells what’s growing from which tree?

The Lord Jesus is the Farmer who tells us what to make of our fruit. We need to repent of looking at our own fruit, of estimating its worth based on what it looks like or how it makes us feel. That’s what we do so often. We gauge our own fruit. We think, “I must be a good person because I do…” “I have to be a Christian because I’ve gone and done so many things in Jesus’ Name.”

That’s fruit coming from the rotten soil and roots of our own hearts. That’s what Jesus means by His terrifying words: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Listen to what they say: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your Name, cast out demons in Your Name, and done many wonders in Your Name?” (Matthew 7:22).

They judged their own fruit by what they’d done. It had to be good because they did it and did it in Jesus’ Name! But good fruit is good fruit because it comes from Jesus. As He says in John, “I am the Vine. You are the branches” (John 15:5). We have been grafted into Him, into His cross and empty tomb, by our Baptism. His life-blood flows into us and through us because we eat and drink His Body and Blood.

You are a good tree in Jesus. You bear good fruit in Him. Since you are in Him, in the Son, you do the will of the heavenly Father. You can’t be cast out from the Kingdom. Jesus is there, and you’re in Him. His Body and Blood say so. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Grant to us, Lord, we implore You, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are right, that we, who cannot do anything that is good without You, may be You be enabled to live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who live and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Trinity 8)

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