In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned people against false prophets. With simple logic, Jesus pointed out that “every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit … So you’ll recognize them by their fruit” (Matt 7:17, 20). For not everyone who says to Jesus, “Lord, Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of his Father in heaven (Matt 7:21).
Later on toward the close of his ministry, Jesus challenged his followers with similar words. There earlier had been those who appeared to place their trust in Jesus, but Jesus was not fooled by outward expressions of faith that were unaccompanied by obedience (John 2:23–25). The many who had believed in him, he urged, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples” (John 8:31). Sadly, most did not heed Jesus’ words.
So on his way to Gethsemane Jesus reiterated his challenge once again: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples” (John 15:7–8). Are we easily satisfied with our new status in Christ and slack in our obedience? Let us not forget that it is by our fruit that we prove to be Jesus’ followers and glorify our Father in heaven.