Jeb spread a false rumor about another leader in the church. His pastor after confirming the report was untrue, confronted him about the report and asked him to recant. Jeb refused and shortly thereafter, left the church. Unfortunately, in a bizarre twist of events, Jeb’s departure ended up in the elders expelling their pastor and church founder. The body of Christ lost a talented leader and in hearing this true story I was reminded of Jesus’ warning to his disciples.
Matthew 7:15-20—Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thorn-bushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
Jesus was concerned that after He left earth people that looked and sounded spiritual but were truly unrighteous would dupe His followers. So He gave them a fruit test. It is a great lesson for us to absorb. First, don’t just assume someone who purports to be a leader or a prophet is walking with God. It takes time and careful analysis to see if people truly “walk their talk.” The Apostle Paul warned Timothy, “Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure” (1 Ti.5:22).
Second, be a fruit inspector. Spending time observing people in how they behave and treat others is a great way to avoid falling prey to a bad leader or a man or woman who is not walking in obedience to God’s commands. Paul commanded the Thessalonians, “to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us” (2 Th.3:6b). False prophets and disobedient Christians leave a sickly, sweet odor. If you see or smell it take action!
You will recognize authentic Christians by their fruit. The fruit of the light according to Ephesians 5:9 “results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” Galatians 5:22 states “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.” When you see good fruit you see God’s fingerprints and the body is edified. When you see bad fruit beware! Satan loves to disrupt the church and cause pain. Corrupt fruit is his specialty.
Let none ever presume to rest in any supposed testimony of the Spirit which is separate from the fruit of it.—John Wesley
©2015 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)