““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
I remember a day when it seemed that everyone was a Christian. In my youth, I made assumptions about people that were based on outward signs. I would see people in church, I saw people wearing crosses, I and figured it was safe to assume that they knew the Lord.
This notion stayed with me most of my my life, even during the years when I was no longer attending church. During that time, I had experienced a number of hurts from those I thought to be believers, and I had begun to develop a very negative attitude toward anyone I thought to be a Christian. I would see an ichthyis on a car and I would go ballistic. “What a f hypocrite “ , I would mutter.
I had encountered people who were wolves in sheep’s clothing, trees with no good fruit.
In the fullness of time the Lord began to send people into my life to tell me about Jesus. The most effective witness was one who used no words at all. During my university years, there was a deaf lady I frequently saw walking around Iowa City. One day she came up to me and handed me a Gospel tract. I still have that tract, held onto for the last 43 years.
On Easter Sunday, 1998, I said the prayer, and walked the aisle in to a new world. It was not the actions I took that day that saved me, but the conversion of my heart, as biblical truth, pierced my stony heart. With each step to the altar, the Lord was reclaiming what the evil one had ensnared.
As I began this walk with the Lord, my assumptions from my childhood accompanied me. I thought all those who were in my local church were truly believers, people made new bye the blood of the lamb. I looked up to them, thinking some to be bigger than life. At some point the romantic fog was lifted, and I began to see things that one ought not see in the body of Christ.
I began to see the real people, with real problems, and real lives. They had all the issues everyone else had. There was racial hatred, open flirtation, adultery, back biting, slander and gossip.
There were marriages hanging on by a thread. People struggling with strongholds of sin, issues at work and every trial known to man. But they had God.
As I watched and learned, I could see that some were more committed than others, and pressed on despite lifer’s struggles. I surmised that these were the true the believers, the ones who held onto Jesus. They appeared to have abundant fruit in their lives. They were not perfect, but they were dependent on Jesus. Their lives were lived in contrast to the world.
There also seemed to be a small group of people sewn into the whole, who were not there to worship God. These were people who seemed more of the flesh, and it was hard to differentiate them from what I saw in the world.
I began to understand that all people who profess Jesus, are truly who they say they are. It is about that time that I began to understand what it means to bear fruit and to show the fruit of the Spirit.
“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
These fruits are most shown in their glory, in situations when the opposite would more likely be evident. In dealing with the hate, love is shown, in moments of strife, there is peace.
In addition to the fruit of the Spirit, real Christians are consumed in knowing God and making Him known. It is their chief desire, so overwhelming that they are willing to give their lives for the Good News. There is little desire for the works of the flesh.
All too often, there are people occupying the church pews who are not there for Jesus. In them, the works of the flesh predominate. They go about scheming, hating, gossiping, and seeking to cause the stumbling of the saints. In these late days, they are in tremendous danger. In my time, I have seen many families destroyed by the actions of one wolf.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we have a calling upon us to be fruity! Seek the Lord each day, opening the word of God, and surrendering to its power to open your heart. God has given us the world’s greatest X-ray machine in the Holy Scriptures.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV
If you are truly saved, you have the Holy Spirit in you, examining you, interceding with you, able to guide you. Begin today, to pray and seek the heart of God.
If you are one who darkens the doorway of the church every Sunday, but the Spirit of God has not illuminated the doorway of your heart, there is hope. Jesus is waiting. You can know Him today.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!