““Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV
We are in a time when people are not what they seem. When I look at media, when I interact with others, and when I move through the world, I encounter people who profess to be believers in Jesus Christ. More often than not, they use the title of Christian.
Lately, I have observed that many will profess Jesus, yet do and believe things that are contrary to the teachings of the Lord. Jesus came to save sinners, to cleanse them from their sins, to change lives. As a side effect of that work, we do good deeds.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
He also has made us holy. As we are forgiven, He has given us the power to turn away from sin, to live holy lives that testify of His goodness.
All too often, I see people living lives not indicative of God’s workmanship, and more in line with the devil.
I have come to the conclusion that the fruit in one’s life is a sure fire evidence of the presence of God. In the passage this morning, I am reminded that we are to be aware of people who are false prophets, or false professors of the faith. People who know the Lord, show good fruit, people who don’t will not. As one walks in the Spirit, the fruits will be evident.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
The circumstances where these evidences of salvation are present, are not in the best times, when everything is under control. It is in the difficult times when the true fruit is evident.
When we demonstrate love, it is not the love of people we feel good about, but when we are dealing with people that we cannot stand. It is the heart of a bigot, transformed by God, who loves the person of another race, that they would have previously hated. It is the relentless preaching the Gospel in moments of opposition.
Years ago I read of a couple that was carjacked by four young men in Texas. They were new believers, and filled with great zeal for the Lord. The four young men put them in the trunk of the car and drove away. They then stopped at a secluded spot and opened the trunk, then shot the couple repeatedly as they lay defenseless. The believers used every remaining heartbeat and every remaining breath to tell their killers of the great salvation in Jesus. That was love. Fruit in abundance.
I believe that the coming days will be a great revealing for many, as we will face trials over faith. Many will make decisions and choices that will show if they are truly in the household of God.
In many others countries, where walking in Christ is significantly more dangerous, there is clarification in matters of faith. People know that they could die for being a Christian, so they take it seriously. It is not merely a cultural designation, but something to die for. I believe that persecution is coming here to America soon.
Brothers and sisters, let us examine ourselves to see if we have good fruit or bad. Let us submit ourselves completely to the Lord and make decisions that glorify God in all things.
Let us also examine others before we allow them to influence us. I dig into the things that I hear and I take nothing at face value. Even when I pray for people, I make no assumption as to their spiritual state. I ask the Lord to save them if needed.
We are in perilous times and the evil one is using many counterfeits to draw people after false teachers, and after charlatans who are doing little but entertaining people into hell. There is coming a day when Jesus will separate the wheat, from the tares, and the fire will be hot.
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ””
Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV
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