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  • Writer's pictureBro. Rocky

You’ll notice that in Luke 6:45 Jesus not only emphasizes the heart that must be changed if we are to bear good spiritual fruit, he also mentions treasure.

The heart that has been changed by Jesus; the heart that produces good spiritual fruit is a heart that treasures Jesus above all else.

Forrest Fenn is an art dealer and author in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but his biggest claim to fame is the treasure (an estimated $2 million dollars in gold nuggets, rare coins, jewelry, and gemstones) that he supposedly hid in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe.

In 2011 Fenn wrote a self-published memoir called, The Thrill of the Chase, and included in it a poem that he said contained clues to the treasure's location, but so far no one has reported the treasure found, although four people have died searching for it.

Randy went missing while hunting for the treasure in January 2016. His body was discovered in July that year.

Jeff was found dead in Yellowstone National Park. His wife told park authorities that he was searching for Fenn’s treasure when she first reported him missing.

Paris was a pastor from Grand Junction, Colorado. His body was found 5-7 miles from where he parked his car to search for the treasure.

Eric moved to Colorado in 2016 to search for the treasure. He was last seen alive rafting on the Arkansas river; the raft overturned and Eric’s body was found in July 2017.

Here we have all these men dying (as so many others have) for temporary treasure; treasure that would have disappeared like straw in the wind even had they found it. But Jesus is an eternal treasure; and what’s more, he is an eternal treasure that died for us!

Jesus is an eternal treasure; and what’s more, he is an eternal treasure that died for us!

Besides Jesus, Solomon was the wisest person to ever live. And he may have been one of the wealthiest as well. But listen to what Solomon says about all his temporary, earthly treasure...

Solomon knew what many people will be astonished to discover when they die—earthly treasure means nothing when you’re facing eternity.

Everyone of us is facing eternity. It may not feel like that to you if you’re feeling good. Maybe you’re in the prime of life, a long way from having to think about frequent doctor visits and multiple medications. For some of you, however, frequent doctor visits and multiple medications have become facts of life. You understand better than most that eternity might only be one missed heartbeat away.

But the truth is, life could be over for any one of us in the blink of an eye. Marathoners die of heart attacks. People in their 20’s and 30’s die of strokes. Children have go to sleep never to awaken. Your life is a vapor that will vanish in an instant and then comes the judgment! And at the judgment, what will matter most is your treasure!

Your life is a vapor that will vanish in an instant and then comes the judgment! And at the judgment, what will matter most is your treasure!

You know, James talks about this in James 5.

He mentions the rich and how they should weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon them because they’ve stored up for themselves the wrong treasure. He says in light of the eternal judgment of Jesus, their riches have rotted and their garments are moth-eaten. Their gold and silver have corroded. They have laid up treasure in the last days, but it is the treasure of greed, fraud, luxury, and self-indulgence (James 5:1-4). James said they have only fattened their hearts for the day of slaughter, the day of judgment at the coming of the Lord Jesus (James 5:5).

If your heart treasures the wrong treasure, you won’t produce good spiritual fruit and you’ll end up in hell.

In Luke 12:33-34, Jesus says...

Where is your heart? Is it with Jesus in heaven? Or is it here on earth?

In Luke 18, we have the record of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus asking about eternal life. Jesus laid out the commandments related to the love of neighbor and the young man said, “All these I have kept from my youth,” (Luke 18:21).

Jesus knew, however, that the rich young ruler didn’t have a neighbor problem, but a treasure problem. Jesus said, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,” (Luke 18:22).

And there it was—the moment of judgment. Would the rich young ruler trade the temporary treasure of earth for the eternal treasure of Jesus? Or would he cling to a treasure that would fail him in eternity?

Luke 18:23 gives the answer...

Jesus is the treasure of heaven. All those whose hearts have been changed by Jesus treasure him above all else! And because we treasure Jesus the treasure of heaven, we store up treasure in heaven, which is also known as bearing good spiritual fruit.

Are you bearing good spiritual fruit?

If not, perhaps your heart hasn’t been changed by Jesus.

Or perhaps something has replaced Jesus as the treasure of your heart.

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:43–45

I think we understand Jesus’ metaphor here, so I won’t dwell on it too long.

A fig tree produces figs.

A bramble bush produces thorns.

A thornbush does not produce figs.

A bramble bush does not produce grapes.

A simple way to say this is like produces like.

When I was a boy, my family picked oranges for a living. Early in the morning we would go to the orange grove, shake the orange trees, pick up the oranges that fell, and pick those oranges that remained on the tree. I knew what an orange was, so I didn’t need to ask what kind of tree that was. I knew it by its fruit. It was an orange tree. Like produces like. Orange trees produces oranges. Apple trees produces apples. Grapevines produce grapes. And the Spirit-filled produce spiritual fruit.

We see that Jesus said in v. 45 that, if we are not producing good spiritual fruit, then our hearts are the problem. He says...

But in response to Jesus we might then ask, “Well, if my heart is the problem, how do I change it?” Well, we don’t change our hearts. We trust Jesus to change our hearts.

Well, we don’t change our hearts. We trust Jesus to change our hearts.

You may recall on the night before Jesus was crucified, he shared a Passover meal with his disciples. During that meal, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said in Luke 22:19...

And then after they had eaten, he took the cup and said in Luke 22:20...

The new covenant that Jesus spoke of was a promise that God made to his people—the promise of hearts made new by the Spirit of God. In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God said...

Apart from God’s grace, our hearts are hard toward God. We don’t care what God thinks, what he commands, or what will happen to us because we’ve disobeyed those commands. But God knows this hard-heartedness will lead us straight to hell. That’s why in the blood of Jesus God graciously keeps his promise to us of hearts made new by the Spirit—spirit-filled hearts that produce spiritual fruit. Hebrews 9:12-15 says it like this...

Jesus came to shed his blood as the payment for our sins. He did this because God decreed that apart from the shedding of blood their could be no forgiveness of sins. He lived perfectly, died sacrificially, rose triumphantly, ascended in glory, and sent his Spirit to fill all those who trust in him for salvation. He still sends his Spirit to fill all those who trust in him for salvation! Romans 5:1-5 says...

And then notice the fruit produced by faith in Jesus...

And then notice how this fruit is produced in the rest of Romans 5:5...

The venerable Anglican preacher, J. C. Ryle, said it like this...

Let it be a settled principle in our religion that when people show no fruit of the Spirit, they do not have the Holy Spirit within them. Let us resist as a deadly error the common idea that all baptized people are born again and that all members of the church, as a matter of course, have the Holy Spirit. One simple question must be our rule: What fruit do people bear? Do they repent? Do they believe with the heart on Jesus? Do they live a holy life? Do they overcome the world? Habits like these are what Scripture calls “fruit.” When such fruit is lacking, it is profane to talk of people having the Spirit of God within them.

Through faith in Jesus, we receive the promise of the new covenant—hearts made new by the Spirit of God!

And hearts made new by the Spirit of God produce good spiritual fruit.

Has your heart been changed by Jesus?

It seemed like a normal traffic stop.

On June 26 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, police noticed a car with expired tags, so they hit the lights and pulled over a man named Stephen and his passenger. The officers immediately spotted an open container of Kentucky Deluxe whiskey. After asking the occupants to exit the vehicle, they turned up an unregistered firearm. Then they found a rattlesnake in the backseat! Then they found a canister of powdered uranium!

A private company was called in to handle the uranium, and the two occupants were hauled off to jail, but the officers said neither person could explain why they had a canister of uranium. However, judging by the whiskey, the illegal gun, the rattlesnake, and the uraniumthey were obviously up to no good!

In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus said that when one is judged by their fruit (i.e., their words and deeds), we learn something deeper. When the fruit is good, we learn that the tree (i.e., heart) is good. When the fruit is bad, we learn that the heart is bad. When our fruit is bad, it’s not that we’ve just been up to no good. When our fruit is bad, it is in fact that we are no good.

When our fruit is bad, it is in fact that we are no good.

But specifically, what fruit is Jesus talking about?

In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus used the same metaphor of tree and fruit as he called his disciples to judge between true and false teachers. Twice he said, “You will recognize them by their fruits,” (Matt. 7:16, 20). Perhaps that is what Jesus has in mind here in Luke as he employs the metaphor once again, but I think its more likely that here in Luke Jesus is calling his disciples to examine themselves. He is perhaps especially calling them to examine themselves in light of what he has already taught in this sermon.

When we look back to the beginning of this sermon in Luke 6:20, we see that good fruit is understanding that your poverty, your hunger, your sorrow, and the rejection you experience are actually all blessings from God if they make you desperate for God. It’s understanding that riches, full stomachs, merriment, and the praise of others are actually all curses if they make you numb to your need for God.

Beginning in Luke 6:27, we see that good fruit is loving your enemies, doing good to those that hate you, blessing those that curse you, and praying for those who abuse you. It’s turning the other cheek when you’re struck, giving and not expecting anything in return. It’s doing to others as you would have them do to you. It’s being merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.

Then in Luke 6:37 Jesus said that good fruit is remembering that you’ve received grace and never believing that someone is beyond the reach of grace.

Good fruit is remembering that you’ve received grace and never believing that someone is beyond the reach of grace.

It’s refusing to judge and condemn a person as unworthy of the Gospel. It’s examining yourself, before you examine others. Now, based on everything that Jesus has said in this sermon so far, how are you doing? Are you bearing bad fruit or good? Are you a good tree or bad? Unless our hearts treasure Jesus, we will not bear good fruit as his disciples.

Unless our hearts treasure Jesus, we will not bear good fruit as his disciples.

In the coming days, we'll look at those big ideas found in Luke 6:43-45 - the heart, the treasure, and the fruit.

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