Continuing on now from Part One:
The Spirit of the Word is telling that what proceeds forth from the INNER MAN is the determination or proof of whether what is observed is good or evil. Even the unrepentant of Jesus’ day knew what was meant when someone said your heart is good or evil! Don’t lose sight of the Spirit behind the Word of God.
So, in light of this, that which comes forth from your “inner man” the true you, from your spirit, that part that has the attributes and characteristics of your personality and life is either going to be “good fruit” or “evil fruit.” This is how you can tell whether someone is abiding in God or not. What comes forth in their lives? It’s not just their words, and what they speak. Man can deceive with his speech, but he can’t deceive with his actions. Sooner or later your actions will show the “real” you!
To further prove my point let’s see what Proverbs says, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.” — Proverbs 21:2. The Lord sees what is in the heart (or inner man, his spirit) and even though a man might feel good about himself, the Lord knows what that man is truly made of!
The Prophet Jeremiah wrote this concerning the Lord, our Father, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13.
David wrote, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.” – Psalm 139:17-18. David was the man that God told the Prophet Samuel to choose to replace the disobedient King Saul. But even Samuel when choosing from Jesse’s sons, was looking to the appearance and stature of each boy and yet the Lord spoke to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7.
Remember, the Bible tells us that Saul was a head in height above all others and that he was the most handsome man to look upon, yet Saul’s heart was one of selfishness and disobedience to the Lord and His Word!
There are too many Scripture references, too many instances and examples in the Holy Book that show us how the Lord chooses and deals with men; He does so by their heart, their inner spirit, that portion of man that is either alive to Him or dead. We also know that since Jesus and the Father are One, and that the Son only does that which the Father tells Him to do that He does those things based on men’s heart attitude! The verses in Matthew 12 that I gave you are a prime example of this, for just before His statement to the Pharisees, whom He called a brood of vipers, poisonous snakes, the Bible tells us in verse 25, “But Jesus knew their thoughts,—.” He knew their hearts, He knew what was in their spirits. The Pharisees and religious leaders were trying to say that He was in league with the devil, with Satan! The religious leaders!! Those that are supposed to be the shepherds of God’s children and the teachers of what is true and righteous in the Kingdom of God!
But look again at this example, what did Jesus do when confronted with this evil, and evil it was? He TAUGHT the people the truth! He taught them with authority and power to prove the legitimacy of His Words! This is what riled the Pharisees and two verses before this, the Bible says the “multitudes were amazed!” The Pharisees could only see themselves losing prestige, and power over the people. This had been at a time when there were others who had attempted to lead the people away from the Jewish tradition and each time had been thwarted by the power of the Pharisees and their manipulation of the Roman leadership.
But the difference was that Jesus came in power and authority to preach and teach the truth and to demonstrate the “Spirit” behind the precious Law and Words of God! He also came to give of Himself so that the Spirit of Truth could be had for everyone everywhere and not to just those within the sound of His voice.
How did Jesus deal with the corruption of His day? The tax collectors were robbing from widows and those that were already poor and didn’t have a means to defend themselves against the greed. They had developed a reputation as being the scum of the earth, so to speak. Jesus called them to Him!
Matthew 9:9-13, “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, ‘Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Matthew 10:2-4, “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.” (Matthew’s Hebrew name was also Levi).
Luke 19:1-10, “Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.’ Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’”
We have so many instructions, so many examples that are set before us and yet for some reason in this day and age we want to justify why we CAN’T sit with sinners or talk with those who exhibit a corrupt nature! I’m am not condoning compromise of values, because Jesus didn’t, but He also didn’t shy away from those He came to save! Yet today it is probably needed even more so than in Jesus’ day because He IS coming back soon and those that are left may not have another chance to hear the truth and experience the love of a precious Savior and their Father and Creator!