Luke 6: 43 “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (NASB)
Since our last blog we ended using trees and their fruit as metaphors, as I sat down at my computer today the above verses came to mind. Notice how Jesus used trees and fruit symbolically wrapped in the form of a parable also. As Believers we should familiarize ourselves not only with the use of figures of speech, but we also must look back into the history of Israel and attempt to understand the culture and their use of metaphors, and the environment these figures of speech were rooted in. In addition, when, where, why and how they used certain figures of speech to express spiritual truths. Often when we read the scripture, we try to put square pegs into round holes. We make that mistake particularly when studying Apocryphal books of the Bible such as Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation. Attempting to make the text fit into our 21st century way of thinking, and in doing so we askew the author’s intended meaning. Here is a good example. Do you understand your spouse more than your neighbor does? Of course you do. Moreover, they don’t completely get you either…but you and your spouse get each other. Why is that? When you spend a great many years with the same person, you began to pick up on their quirks, habits, ambitions, and so on, wherein others may not understand them on the same level as you. The bottom line is the time you’ve spent with each other, the joys and the pains, the ups and the downs of life. Those shared experiences make all the difference. We as Gentiles don’t have a shared history with the bloodline of Abraham.
We should know that we could use metaphors in different ways, depending on the context and the audience. For example, I used trees and fruit to represent key words found in the text. From an aerial view, trees are just trees; barely different one from another, but they do stand out just like KEY WORDS and PHRASES do. However, when on the ground and walking amongst them we then can see the differences in shape, texture, smell, the leaves and their fruit, if any fruit at all. When we take one or two stand-alone verses of scripture and are persuaded by self that we understand them or we take on someone else’s understanding, we’re about to compromise the integrity of God’s Word based on presuppositions. Jesus said, “For each tree is known by its own fruit”. That is a not only a statement of fact, but it is true. He also added, we know people based upon the words that proceed out of their mouths. When we leave that particular verse in the original context, we must look above and below, then we conclude that The LORD teaches His disciples by using parables to be careful not to judge others. Be kind even to your enemies whether they are kind to you or not. Of course you’re going to run across people with issues, but don’t forget, you have issues too. Always start with yourself if you want to understand people, because in the eyes of God we are all the same…in need of the power of His Grace. When He said in verse 39 “…..A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit (or ditch)?” He wasn’t necessarily talking about false teachers, but the metaphor can be applied in that sense. He wanted His disciple to open their eyes and see that we are all flawed individuals, and none of us is in any position to pass judgement on the other. Now of course it would also be true that if the person leading you doesn’t know where he is going, then it stands to reason you both will end up lost. But the rule of thumb is to leave the verse in its own context. Now let’s take a closer look at a portion of Ephesians chapter one.
Ephesians 1: 1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful IN CHRIST JESUS: 2 GRACE to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST, 4 just as He chose us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons THROUGH JESUS CHRIST to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His GRACE, which He freely bestowed on us IN THE BELOVED. 7 IN HIM we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the RICHES of His GRACE 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed IN HIM 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things IN CHRIST, things in the HEAVENS and things on the earth. IN HIM 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope IN CHRIST would be to the praise of His glory. 13 IN HIM, you also, after listening to THE MESSAGE OF THE TRUTH, the GOSPEL of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed IN HIM with THE HOLY SPIRIT of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
The first 14 verses of this chapter mention CHRIST 11 times by either synonym, pronoun or just straight up His name, in either form it is still IN CHRIST JESUS. When we make OBSERVATIONS like that we learn something, being IN CHRIST is the prominent theme in this section of scripture. In fact, this is how themes are developed by commentators. They focus on:
1. Things that are true to life
2. Things that are emphasized
3. Things that are repeat
4. Things that are related
5. Things that are alike &
6. Things that are unlike
That’ just a few that things commentaries are made of. Paul’ goal was to remind the Church at Ephesus that everything they needed spiritually was IN CHRIST alone. Ephesus being the fourth largest city in The Roman Empire was also home to the goddess known as to the Greeks as Artemis, but to the Romans Diana (NISB). Of all the cities in Asia, Artemis/Diana was the most sought after. Who knows, maybe the comics patterned Wonder Woman after her.
So The Apostle Paul had some pretty stiff competition. In his letter to this church he made certain that CHRIST be the only true God. Next, we will highlight each blessing surrounding CHRIST JESUS in chapter one starting with verse two as previously promise.
I want to remind everyone, your comments are welcomed, even your criticism. God wants His kids to have dialogue with each other, not just a LIKE or an AMEN, talk to me through this blog. I want to know what you think about the issues I place before you in my blogs. Remember, Iron sharpens Iron. My goal is that all denominations work together, preach together, and especially love together. John 13: 35“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” To be continued….