Sermon for October 4, 2020

Low Hanging Fruit

Matthew 7:15-23

Low-hanging fruit refers to the tasks, actions or goals that may be most easily achieved. The expression low-hanging fruit is used to describe an action that takes almost no effort. The idea comes from the very literal task of picking fruit off a tree. Low-hanging fruit does not require the harvester to climb the tree or to use a ladder, he simply reaches up and plucks the fruit with little physical effort. While the phrase low-hanging fruit was used in a literal sense and as a metaphor in many writings for hundreds of years, the use of the term as an idiom first occurred in the mid-1900s. It is a popular expression in business and marketing, especially in sales.[1]

Now, when compared to the church as we speak of “fruit”, what is being practiced?

  • Fruit and spirit often get confused when using our judgement
  • Natural talent gets confused with being spiritual
  • The focus becomes on something other than Jesus
    • Worship Music
    • Preaching Styles
    • Church Aesthetics

None of these things are bad, in fact, when used correctly, these can be powerful tools that Jesus will use, but it is important that we allow Jesus to use them.

The same can be said for you and me.  We are individuals that Jesus would like to help do good in this world.  However, we oftentimes are stuck just picking the “low-hanging” fruit.  But the fruit that takes a little more work is often higher in the tree, just beyond reach.  There is often better fruit, but we are simply satisfied with the lower fruit because it is easier to obtain.  In fact, we may get use to celebrating “bad” fruit because that is what we are willing to work for.

So, how do we judge if the fruit is good or bad?  (Who does it point to?)

Matthew 7:15-23 New International Version

True and False Prophets

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.

True and False Disciples

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Definition of bad fruit:

  • A bad judge of character
    • Matthew 7:1-5 New International Version

7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

  • Give bad gifts
    • Matthew 7:9-12 New International Version

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

  • Many practice bad ways
    • Matthew 7:13-14 New International Version

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Definition of good fruit:

  • Listens and does was Jesus says
    • Matthew 7:24 New International Version

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

  • Recognize the good
    • Matthew 7:16-20 New International Version

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.

  • If there is good fruit like non-judgmental, freely gives, and practices what they have both heard Jesus say and practices them, this is the Holy Spirit!

Evidence of God Fruit

James 1:19My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

26Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

And again…

James 2:14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

The last statement deals with low-hanging fruit.  The statement above is usually how the fruit that is practiced.

Am I (Pastor Chad) a true prophet?  Who do I point you to?  Do I ask you to focus the attention on me?  I trust that you have heard through every sermon that I am pointing you towards Jesus!

Are you a true disciple?  What fruit are you enjoying and what is it leading you to practice in your daily life? Anger, divisiveness, looking for specks, questioning motives?  Where is that pointing you towards?

Matthew 7:21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’


[1] https://grammarist.com/idiom/low-hanging-fruit/

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