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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « "The Basics of Life" by 4Him (song) | Being "Relevant" »
    Tuesday
    Mar202012

    What Makes Good Fruit?

    One of my favorite recent things to do is review the comments left by people in response to news articles, blog posts, and other pieces of online information. It is a great way to interact with a diverse group of people and exchange opinions, ideas, and information.

     

    Not only have I been afforded the opportunity to teach others, I have gained interesting perspectives, expanded my knowledge on certain subjects, and gained much insight and understanding into the various beliefs of others.

     

    One issue I see come up a lot is how to determine if someone is a Christian or no. Most non-believers I’ve encountered seem to think if a person calls themselves a Christian, then they are. Who are others to question them?

     

    The Bible uses a lot of tree-and-its-fruit analogies (Ps 1:3, Jdg 9:11, Is. 27:6; are a few miscellaneous ones). In ancient times, some trees were considered sacred (like oaks due to their longevity), and all trees of course, provide shade (especially important in the deserts of the Middle East), and some give sustenance in the form of fruit or nuts.

     

    In the Gospels, Jesus speaks much on trees and fruit, using trees as a metaphor for people, and a tree’s fruit as a metaphor for a person’s deeds, actions, and words. And Jesus tells us that if we pay careful attention to the words, deeds, and actions of a person’s life, we CAN know whether a person actually is a Christian or not.

     

    I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

    5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15: 1-8)

     

    Matt. 3: 8-10 (also in Luke 3) ; “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

     

    7:15-20 (also in Luke 6);  15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

     

    &12:33; ““Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. “

     

    Luke 13:6-8; “Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ 8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

     

    But here’s where it gets interesting. Just what fruit is Jesus thinking of? When we think of “good fruit”, we tend to think on human terms. If a person “wins” converts, witnesses, has a “good ministry”, prays a lot, perhaps fasts a lot, allegedly hears from God a lot, gives generously, and dedicates their life to God, we consider those things very, very good fruit and evidence of a holy and spiritual person.

     

    Would it surprise you to know (and I challenge you to correct me by your own research), in all the references having to do with fruit NOT ONCE is good fruit thought of as: more disciples/followers of Christ; a more spiritual people; people helped; people “set free”; an increase in words, activities, retreats, or studies for/on/about Christ; fasting or praying.

     

    Rather, good fruit is: life; peace, trust in God; unfailing love, righteousness (again); praise and thanksgiving; confidence/trust in God, consistency; goodness, righteousness, and truth; love (again), pure, blameless, discerning, knowledgeable, and righteous (again); pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, mercy, impartial, sincere (in this context, meaning “honest”); **See below for corresponding verses 


    To sum up:

    The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”(Galatians 5:22-23)
     

    It is simple, basic, righteous living (living according to God’s laws) which produces lasting fruit, not all the other good things we fill our time with.

     
    Consequently, the Bible also makes reference to people who are “fruitless”. Eph 5:11 (deeds of darkness);

    Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
     

    Jude :12 ; These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

     

    *** If there is someone who consistently bears no fruit (bad fruit of darkness), we are called to lovingly tell them or their audience. There is never just cause to embarrass someone or make false claims (lying is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit). We can gently, respectfully, and lovingly tell someone why we think their actions do not line up with God’s word, but we are to expose deeds of darkness.

     

    Good Fruit: 

    **Proverbs 11:30; The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
     

    12:14; From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
     

    Isaiah 32:17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.


    Hosea 10:12 (unfailing love); Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.


    14:2 (praise, thanksgiving); Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.


    Jer. 17:8; He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
     

    Rom 7:4; So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
     

    Eph. 5:9 (all goodness, righteousness, and truth); "for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth"
     

    Galatians 5:22-23; But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
     

    Php 1:9-11 (fruit is the result of righteousness); “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
     

    James 3:17 (impartial and sincere); But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

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