Thursday, August 23, 2012

Examining the Church's Fruit

A somewhat rhetorical question was asked by a brother this morning, "If, as Jesus said, a tree is known by its fruit (Matthew 7:17-20), what are we to conclude when degenerate lives are being lived by professing Christians?"

Profession of the Spirit does not equate to possession of the Spirit. I can claim I am an Olympic athlete, but one look at my body will prove the claim false. In the same way, "the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious" (1 John 3:10).

The apostle of love is also an apostle of truth. In the context leading up to his determination of obvious behavior, he uses words like "lie"  (1:6; 2:21, 27), "deceiving," "deceive" or "deceives" (1:8; 2:26; 3:7), "liar" (1:10; 2:4, 22), "in the darkness" (2:8, 11) and "blinded" (2:11). He speaks of those that "were not of us" (2:19).

Fruit is abundant in the modern church. The problem is that there are very few qualified fruit inspectors left who can tell that it's rotten. The "lies" and "deceit" have done their work, creating a pseudo-Christianity. The "false prophet" (Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) is alive and well.

Degenerate lives signify a "worldly-minded" people "devoid of the Spirit" (Jude 19). It is obvious to those who "judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

So how can we help them to see the truth? By continually preaching the truth! "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:5). The preaching of light will very quickly expose those who prefer the darkness.

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