33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matt 12:33-37 (NIV)

Make no mistake about it; we should not expect regenerate behavior from an unregenerate. The unsaved live totally void of spiritual life and ability - the product of corruption reigns in their hearts and flows through their veins. Also, a believer in the Lord Jesus - who indulges and gives way to his sinful nature – sadly, behaves as the unsaved. Not a very good witness for the Lord Jesus to be sure! I am reminded of the words Paul penned in Romans 8:

7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. Romans 8:7-8 (NIV)

If the heart of one is sanctified it will appear in the words they speak. The heart is the root and the language the fruit. It is the fountain from which the streams of our words flow. In our verses for today our Lord clearly states: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” A person’s words reveal from whence they hail – the Lord’s or the adversary’s. Unless the heart is transformed the life will never be thoroughly reformed. Evil words are the natural and genuine product of an evil, sinful heart present from birth on. The salting of grace into this corrupt flowing fountain is the only cure to purify corrupt conversation. Jesus calls these Pharisees a “brood of vipers” – snakes which were poisonous and malignant as well as camouflaged to appear as sticks to trick the unobservant into a deadly bite. Is that not like Satan? When we are not on our toes or not paying attention or wrongly thinking we stand secure, unlikely to fall or unable to be tempted is the very time the adversary likes to strike – catching us off guard and taking us down. It happens far too often.

“The most important thing in life isn’t what we think about ourselves or what others think about us, but what God thinks about us. He is the final Judge. When He examines and evaluates our motives, words, and actions, are we commended, as was Abel, or are we condemned, as was his brother Cain? ‘The Lord does not look at the things man looks at,’ God told the prophet Samuel. ‘Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’ (1 Sam. 16:7).” Warren Wiersbe

We are told over and over again in Scripture that one will be recognized by the fruit they produce and we are called to be on our guard against those who would lead us astray. They often appear to us as sheep - donning cloaks of righteousness - but in reality, inwardly, they are ferocious wolves. Earlier in Matthew Jesus addresses this subject as well:

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matt 7:15-20 (NIV)

“It should be more our care to be good really, than to seem good outwardly.” Matthew Henry

So what are the good things Jesus refers to that a good man is to store up in his heart? Our hearts are to be a treasury of all His graces – encouragements, comforts, exhortations, love and Truth. Our minds and hearts should be in constant preparation for “spiritual exertion”. The Word of God is to be stored in the heart – divine Truths that dwell and rule there – prepared and readied, valuable and suitable - as the occasions arise – a rich storehouse of treasure indeed kept safe and ready for use! Preparation and implementation is essential for the Christian for the “night is coming”- day is our allotted time to do God’s will. Whatever we are going to do for Christ we had better do now. We are all called to make an impact for Jesus in the unique circle of influence in which He has placed us. Also, Jesus states, we are held accountable for the words that flow freely from our mouths. This should cause us to want to wear a muzzle!

4 “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4 (NIV)

1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand-- Joel 2:1 (NIV)

32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; Joel 2:32 (NIV)

What I Glean

  • I cannot expect regenerate behavior from an unregenerate. The sinful mind cannot submit to God’s law.
  • My heart is the root and my language the fruit.
  • I am to prepare my heart to be readied and valuable to myself and to others. I prepare it by storing the Truth of God’s Word within it and setting my heart and mind on things above not on earthly things. What we value we dwell upon.