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Inspecting Fruit

Legendary preacher brother Marshall Keeble said, “I’m not the judge, I’m just a fruit inspector.” He had tremendous talent-provoking thought. To have fruit a seed must be sown. Jesus used this subject (Luke 8), teaching the seed to be the word of God (v. 11), and if sown in honest and good hearts, it will bring forth “fruit with patience” (v. 15). The law of sowing and reaping stands both physically and spiritually (Gal. 6:7). The Bible teaches two possible seeds can be sown. One may sow to the flesh in lust (Gal. 5:19-21, 24); from that seed comes corruption, or one may sow to the Spirit resulting in life everlasting (Gal. 5:22-23). That’s it. No other options given or hybrids considered.

With the two types of seeds sown, two crops will result. Jesus likens the good seed sown to wheat (Matt. 13:24-43) which produces fruit honoring God and blessing man. Seed sown from the devil produces tares according to the Lord. Note tares can resemble wheat in appearance, but is not wheat and proven so at the harvest. It’s sad when God’s children think we’ll get by with sowing that which is not of God. “Well, I won’t sow much, just a little bit.” Ever considered this fact of sowing and reaping: one always reaps more than that which is sown. A little sown may produce far more than desired. This is why Jesus gave no in-between or compromise. Its one or the other. Separation time’s a coming (Matt. 25:32), when the wheat will be separated from the tares, the sheep from the goats. Salvation comes to the wheat and sheep, fire of destruction to the tares and goats (Rev. 20:14). The righteous Judge will be the inspector of fruits then. Two outcomes are given by inspiration (Matt. 25:46). With Jesus as Lord, fruit and “much fruit” results from life in “the Vine” (John 15:5). Those not part of the Vine or leaving the Vine will wither, be gathered, and burned (v. 6).

Highlighted by brother Keeble’s wit, is that an inspector is a judge. Jesus didn’t say as claimed by some, one cannot judge (Matt. 7:1-5). The point of such invalidates the argument for one has made a judgment when accusing or informing another that they cannot judge! The Lord taught good judgment, faithful judgment, righteous judgment (John 7:24). By all means judge yourself whither you be in the faith. Judge and control your life (I Cor. 9:27), not by the rubbish of the world, but by the purity of the word of God. May I judge you in Christ? Jesus said I could (Matt. 7:20). Does this make me a fruit inspector? I must first inspect my production in Christ, lest I fall into hypocrisy and hurt someone with the beam in my eye while judging them. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-26).

David Hill

Northeast Church of Christ bulletin July 30, 2023


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