Luke 6:43-49 (NKJV)
43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
In the verses just before today’s reading, Jesus warned His disciples to make sure they were able to see clearly before trying to correct their neighbor’s sight. In other words, before you try to fix your neighbor, you have to fix yourself. He expands on this with another illustration about good and bad trees. As you go about dealing with your own faults, it will do you no good to try to fix the outward behaviors that are sinful and evil. No, if you are to produce good fruit, you first have to be made good. Otherwise, like a bad tree, you will produce only bad fruit.
How can you be made good? Not by ignoring the words of the Lord Jesus and taking matters into your hands to improve yourself. The truth is, you can’t fix yourself. Only God can do that, and He will do it through His Word. He shows you your sin as His Word reveals what is right and wrong. He convicts you of sin as His Word is applied to you. He shows you your Savior Jesus who loved you and gave Himself for you. And then He shows you Jesus as the true Vine, the good Vine, into whom you must be grafted by Baptism and faith.
Once you are made into a good tree, or into a branch that is grafted into the good Vine, then the Word of God teaches you to work together with the Holy Spirit, to apply yourself to hearing and meditating on God’s Word, and to devote yourself to living according to it.
When you do, you are like that man who built his house on the solid rock foundation. No storm or wind will be able to move you from it. But if you ignore Jesus’ Word and rely on yourself instead, then, like the house built on nothing, you will come to nothing.
Let us pray: O Lord Jesus, we are nothing without You. Keep us from relying on ourselves. Forgive us for the evil we have done and the good we have failed to do. And graciously continue to send preachers of Your Word, that we may hear it and believe it and put it into practice. Amen.