Jesus and early church writers warn me to avoid church leaders who are fruitful with evil. Fruit is the only guarantee of accurately identifying true apostles. Fruit is represented by both behavior and personal attributes. I must watch out for imposters within the Church.
What is the fruit of the Spirit?
Behavioral attributes are also fruit. I listen carefully to a preacher and if his behavior seems angry, selfish, egotistical, judgemental, or controlling, I cease to listen to him. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
What is the significance of fruit?
The fallen world is a dangerous place. There are many imposters pretending to be Christians. To be taken in by one of these wolves can contaminate and destroy me. Therefore I am careful to look for the fruit. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16
For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:13
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. 2 Timothy 3:1-9
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:16-20
What is the aim of fruit?
Fruit glorifies the Father and demonstrates genuine discipleship. The absence of good fruit is the harbinger of doom. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:8
Heavenly Father, I desire to abide in Jesus and he in me. Help me to understand and rest in your love as I learn what abide means. Also help me to become wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove so I can recognize imposters in the Church. In Jesus’ name. Amen.