Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: March 3, 2022. Updated April 25, 2022.
Matthew 7:15-20 (ESV) says “15Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
What are the Fruits?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;…” ~Galatians 5:22-23
THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT ARE NOT EARTHLY WORKS. Works will not get anyone into heaven. Carnal fruit has nothing to do with your salvation which is a gift you cannot do anything to receive (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus tells us:
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
The Work of the Spirit
Jesus tells us in that last verse that the fruits of the Spirit will cause us to be His disciples. That’s it. That is the visible work… we become a disciple of Jesus Christ which is sharing our testimony of Him with others. Everything we do is to sing the gospel of Jesus Christ through the fruits of the Spirit.
The man who testifies that Jesus came in the flesh and shed His blood to redeem him, that is the man who is not wearing sheep’s clothing (1 John 4:2).
God Tells Us What He Requires
Micah wrote in verse 6:8 that God has shown us what is good — that is, that He requires 3 things from us:
- To do justly
- To love mercy
- To walk humbly with God
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” says the Lord (Matthew 11:30).
Christians Judging Christians
When Jesus said “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned,” He was not talking about the EARTHLY life of His people being withered. He was speaking of their spiritual life.
When “men gather them and cast them into the fire,” it means the man who does not abide in Christ will join worldly men and do as worldly men do — probably doing a lot of kind, good, upright works; maybe even preaching the gospel — but they all will spiritually die.
We cannot judge a man based on his physical works or the amount of them. We cannot see what God sees (1 Samuel 16:7). Only Jesus and Father knew the church of Sardis was dead (Revelation 3:1-6).
God Allows Persecution
God allows the persecution of His children to save their souls and make them spiritually strong. He will destroy the earthly life of one of His predestined if that is what is required to keep them on the narrow way.
Paul was given “a thorn in the flesh,” or persecution, which he called “the messenger of Satan.” He said this thorn that he received was to buffer him (limit him) so he would not become prideful and of the world.
Paul prayed and prayed for God to lift this persecution from him, but God refused him. Rather, God told Paul that His grace (salvation) is sufficient for him. God further explained that the strength given by Him is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
We do not know and cannot truly know anyone. We have no idea what kind of persecutions that others are going through. It does not matter what someone can do, or what they cannot do, or how long they do or don’t do it, or when. We do not know their motivations, their level of physical, emotional or intellectual ability, their spiritual life, or their heart.
God allows the persecution of those whom He loves if that is what will save their eternal spiritual life. Blessed are the persecuted for theirs is the kingdom of heaven — Matthew 5:3 & 10.
Be careful when judging a meek person — they will inherit the earth. Or judging one who is poor in spirit — theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3 & 5). Or judging one living under life-long persecutions like Paul — God is strengthening them. I’ve mistakenly judged people by confusing their physical works with their spiritual fruits and have repented for it many times over.
What we need to ask ourselves is this: Is the person…
- Faithful to Jesus Christ?
- Have self-control?
That’s as far as we get to go when deciding if someone is bearing good fruits.
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7).
In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:2).
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