Tag Archives: fruit of the spirit

Bear Good Fruit

Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them

Genetic engineering these days is fascinating. I remember quite a few years ago visiting the Land O’ Lakes Answer Farm in Duncombe, Iowa. I was there to write an article for an Ag Issue our local shopper did every year. When I asked them what they did there, I was amazed. The have a weed plot across the street from the main facility. On this weed plot were several different types of weeds that corn can come up against as it develops. They test various chemicals to see what will work best against that weed to kill it’s growth.

Another thing that fascinated me back in the early 1980’s when I visited with them was how they worked with the corn to make it resistant against pests. Those of you who don’t know farming don’t realize how many different pests there can be out there. These pests attached themselves to the seedling or the stalk and can eat through it and destroy it. There is a constant search for the most resistant seeds.

Genetic engineering in plants has come a long way since then. I’m sure the same strategies are also used in apples and oranges and other crops. They are used for livestock as well. Anything to get a better yield. But no matter how much genetic engineering they do, a corn plant will always yield corn, and apple tree will always produce apples and a cow will always give birth to a cow. You will know them by their fruit!

In the creation account found in Genesis, one of the things that is said about the vegetation is that it has it’s seed inside itself (Gen 1:11). All living things are this way. The seed inside is what is seen as the fruit outside. That seed is what is reproduced by the plant or animal. God put the seed inside so that when anything comes forth from that particular plant or animal, you would know what kind of animal it is from what is produced. It’s a principal we all take for granted and easily overlook.

Jesus says to be careful we do not fall for the deception of false prophets. There are many who are preaching a false gospel in the world today. I know I have a Catholic friend reading who believes the Protestant church is a false doctrine. I would say the same of the Catholic Church. We disagree wholeheartedly and have had lengthy conversation about the subject. I will not get into that argument today. I preach Christ and Him crucified. That is the central message of the Gospel that we must stick to. It is when we veer off the track that we can easily get into false doctrine.
For example, those who say that we are saved by grace, and once we are saved we can go our merry way and not follow Christ are preaching false doctrine. Christ tells us we must follow His commands to get to heaven (this is part of the next lesson). The woman taken in adultery had her sins forgiven, but Jesus also told her to go and sin no more (John 8:11). We cannot accept Christ and ask Him for forgiveness only to pick up those sins again. Once He cleanses us, we must stay cleansed. Philippians 2:12 tells us we must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” God helps us along the way but we have an obligation to Him to walk in the Light as He is in the Light (1 John 1:7). There is nowhere that the Bible says this is optional.

There are others who say if you are not baptized by immersion your will not go to heaven. They say that your salvation is not complete until that baptism takes place. This is false doctrine. If that is true, than they are also saying that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not enough to save you. I’m here to tell you that His sacrifice is enough. He gave His life so you could be saved. He did not say you had to be baptized as well.

There are many other preachers out there who bear the testimony of false prophets. Anyone who says you do not have to follow Christ’s teaching is a false prophet. Anyone who says the Bible is antiquated and we have to take it with a grain of salt is a false prophet. I hear there is a new movie coming out named “Corpus Christi” in which Christ and His disciples are pictured as homosexuals. False prophets for sure. The New Apostolic Reformation is one to really be careful of and stay away from. There are many false teaching in this church that closely mimic truth.

Jesus said we shall know false teachers by their fruit. The problem we have today is that many false doctrines so closely mimic the truth, a lot of the fruit looks real good to eat of. The NAR is a great example. Many of these churches are thriving and growing even though they teach so many things contrary to scripture. Their fruit looks good. Many churches that have been walking in the truth for years are falling for the deception. These are perilous times. Jesus said in the last days even many of the elect will be deceived (Matt 24:24). So how do we know?

You shall know them by their fruits. If what they are saying glorifies God and the Word of God, that is good fruit. If they are preaching Christ crucified as the way to heaven, that is good fruit. If they are preaching the resurrection as a way to eternal life, that is good fruit. If the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) is evidence in their lives that is good fruit. If they adhere to the tenants of scripture and don’t make up their own gospel, that is good fruit.

Those who are bearing false witness and putting forth bad fruit will eventually meet with judgment. Christ says they will be hewn down and cast into the fire. I believe that he means what He says. Anyone who says there is no hell, and God will not send anyone to hell is a false prophet. Christ is pretty clear here and in many other places where he spoke of the torments of hell. When we deny there is a hell, that is false teaching because it does not line up with what Christ taught.

Anyone who says you can be a part of the kingdom of heaven without being born again is a false prophet. Jesus was very emphatic. He said “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:3). That sounds pretty straightforward to me! How can we believe anything else? Anything else goes against what Jesus said and is false teaching. The fruit we must look for is if it lines up with what Jesus said. He said He is the way. The Baptist church is not the way. The Mormon church is not the way. The Catholic church is not the way. Your church is not the way, nor is your denomination. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father except by Him (John 14:6). That is what He said and that is truth. Anything that says different is false teaching and we must beware.

The last part of this post is just as important. Make sure your fruit is good fruit. Make sure you are teaching and preaching the things that Christ did and that His Word still does today. Make sure you are doing good works, saying things that minister grace and thinking on those things that are good. Make sure you are walking in the Holy Spirit every day, seeking His guidance. The previous two and a half chapters tell us what good fruit is. Be fruitful!


Give Good Gifts

Matthew 7:9-11

9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Life is full of good things and bad. We all seem to accumulate plenty of both throughout our time on this earth. There are good possessions and bad possessions. There are good habits and bad. There are good emotions and bad. Good actions and bad. If I would ask you to make a list of the good things in your life alongside a list of the bad, many would come up with more good than bad because we don’t want to admit our bad qualities and we try to magnify our good. But we all have both.

These verses focus on the good possessions we might accumulate as far as the word “gifts” is used. But the much broader context in is anything we give our brother, not just material things. How often has someone come to you seeking sympathy and you give them a cold shoulder. Or they come to you with complaints and you give them contemp. Have you ever had a friend come to confide in you with someone personal and you just happened to let it slip out to someone else? Have you ever shared a private prayer request only to use it as gossip?

Certainly if someone came to you asking for a cup of sugar you would lend it if you had it. If they came and asked for a couple slices of bread, you would willingly give it. Each one of us has an inbuilt sense to help others if we can when it comes to material things. We will share anything we can spare to help someone else. But often that only goes as far as our material things. When it comes to the greater gifts in life, we often hesitate to help because that makes us vulnerable. And our pride keeps us from being vulnerable.

Jesus says the Father will give the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who ask. This gift brings with it fruit. This fruit is listed in Galatians 5:22-23:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

These are the most precious things we have. All the gold, rubies and emeralds on earth do not stack up. To a hungry soul even these would help to fill the void. We all have need of these fruit at certain times in our lives. How much do we give these gifts to those that are in need of them? The Lord says here that he will supply them to us just by hearing us ask. Will we do the same for others

If someone comes to you seeking love from you than do you keep involved in your own interest or do you put the other person’s interests above your own (Phil 2:4)? If someone is overtaken in a fault do we start to chastise them and tell everyone else or do we try to restore them (Gal 6:1)? Do we just mind our own business when someone else is burdened or do we take up our brothers burden (Gal 6:2)? These are all questions that call on our love, or lack of it, to take action.
If someone is in sorrow, do you just turn away because you don’t know what to do, or do you weep with those that weep (Rom 12:15)? Do we go to the one who has sorrow, knowing that perhaps even our joy will not be enough to help them, but just to be with them, knowing that life is short and any help is good (Eccl 7:2)?

If someone’s life is in turmoil, do we become the peacemaker who can bring a sense of reality back to them (Matt 5:9)? Do we make every effort to be at peace with those around us (Rom 14:19)?

These same types of questions can be asked for each of these fruit. This is the key to being fruitful in our lives. These seeds are planted in us and we are to take them and spread them wherever we go. As always, some of our seed will fall on hard ground, some will fall on stony ground and some will fall among thorns. But much will fall on good ground, and will grow and bring twenty, fifty or one hundred fold.

So when someone comes to you, whatever they are asking, are you ready to give of yourself whatever you can? Our Lord gave His all for you. Will you give your all for Him? You are the very best gift you can give!

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Now we come to peace. A pure heart produces peace, first in us and then distributed to others. For how can we bring peace to others if we do not have this peace within us. This is the fruit of peace which has grown within us through the process of humbling ourselves, mourning over sin, becoming meek before God and man, hungering and thirsting for the things of God, being merciful to others and having our heart purified. Through this process, we have entered the kingdom of heaven, been comforted, inherited the earth, been filled with righteousness, received mercy ourselves and seen God. Because of what He has brought us through, we can walk in peace and bring this peace to those who need it most. Are we the peacemakers?

The word peacemaker is the Greek word eirénopoios. This is the only place in the Bible this word is used. It is derived from a similar word eirénopoieo, which means to make peace. This second word is, oddly enough, used only once in the Bible. In Colossians 1:20. This second word is translated peace and is used to describe the peace we have acquired by the blood of Jesus Christ upon the cross. That peace comes from the reconciliation to God we received from Christ’s sacrifice. We derive from that the idea that this peacemaker is one who reconciles things and people around Him.

In 2 Corinthians 2:18-21 we read:

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The ministry of reconciliation. God gave us peace through the reconciliation to God provided by Jesus Christ. It is now our ministry – to deliver this reconciliation message to the world. We have an obligation to tell others of His great love and what He has done for them. However we must do this in humility, meekness, righteousness, and purity of heart. If we do this right, we will win souls for the kingdom of God.

Our witness is not only in our words, but in our everyday life. It is a witness of what we say, how we act, what we do and how we treat other people around the clock. It is a witness that speaks volumes when we say nothing. It is a witness that effects everyone we meet. What kind of a witness are you?

The peacemaker goes into a room and brings with him a sense of calm, not chaos. He brings the joy of the Lord but is not overzealous in trying to spread that joy by laughing it up and telling jokes. That is not joy, it’s happiness. Joy fills a person heart on the midst of sorrow and difficult times. Joy will diffuse problems and arguments and contention. The peacemaker can walk into a testy conversation and lower the volume, not raise it. The peacemaker brings a person calm in the midst of their storms and a sense of comfort in the midst of tragedy. It is not a matter of just making peace between two people. It’s more a matter of settling each heart around you so that their contentious spirits will not even arise. The peacemaker is looked at as a quiet, gentle, good person who only wants what is best for each individual person. He looks for no gain for himself. His chief and primary objective is to show people Christ in everything He does so that perhaps they will open themselves up to hear the message of reconciliation to God found in Christ Jesus. That is his hope and dream.

Where does this peace come from that the peacemaker spreads so readily? First and foremost, it comes from His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In John 14:27 Jesus says

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

This is not the peace our world knows. It is a peace far beyond that. This world can say they have peace of mind and still have contention or bitterness toward another. This world can say they have peace when they carry around gossip and backbiting to inflict hurt on someone. The peace that Christ gives us is far above that. It sees good in all and wants to reach out to all as brothers and sisters. The peace that Christ gives us is loving, joyful and most of all contagious. When this peace comes in, the heart is not troubled by anything, and there is no fear at all. Christ gives us this peace because He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). It is within His authority to bring this peace to whomever He desires. As a result, we have a confidence that everything will turn out for the good, and worry does not enter into our thinking. Philippians 4:6-7 comes alive:

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

People don’t understand this peace because it is so different than what they have experienced. It comes through a confidence in God that if we take our requests to Him with thanksgiving in our heart, we have no reason to worry. We have no reason to be anxious. We have placed our trust in Him, and that is all we need to do. Then His peace invades our heart and fills us with assurance, blessed assurance, that all is well with our soul.

This is the fruit of peace. Fruit only grows and produces as it is planted. We must take this fruit of peace, pull some seeds out every day, and sow them into people who need peace in their lives. They are all around us. There are hurting people all around us. People who need the peace that only God can give them through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ. When you plant this seed of reconciliation into someone’s heart, they will know a new way of living and become a new creation. That is what the peacemaker does. That is why the peacemaker exists. Carrying the ministry of reconciliation to those within His reach through his actions, words and testimony. Let us all strive to be so.

When we do these things and show this peace, people will know who we serve. They will know we serve a God that is mightier than any of our problems or trials. They will know that we are His child, cared, provided for and protected by the creator of the universe. There is nothing too hard for Him, and people will know we have this confidence in God’s ability. They will know we depend on Him and rely on His mercy and grace. As they see this, over and over in our communities, they too will want to know where this peace comes from.

Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888), was a Presbyterian layman from Chicago. He had established a very successful legal practice as a young businessman and was also a devout Christian. Among his close friends were several evangelists including the famous Dwight L. Moody, also from Chicago.

Spafford’s fortune evaporated in the wake of the great Chicago Fire of 1871. Having invested heavily in real estate along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, he lost everything overnight. In a saga reminiscent of Job, his son died a short time before his financial disaster. But the worst was yet to come. Desiring a rest for his wife and four daughters, Spafford planned a European trip for his family in 1873. In November of that year, due to unexpected last-minute business developments, he had to remain in Chicago, but sent his wife and four daughters on ahead as scheduled on the S.S. Ville du Havre. He expected to follow in a few days.

On November 22 the ship was struck by the Lochearn, an English vessel, and sank in twelve minutes. Several days later the survivors were finally landed at Cardiff, Wales, and Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband, ‘Saved alone.’” Spafford left immediately to join his wife. This hymn is said to have been penned as he approached the area of the ocean thought to be where the ship carrying his daughters had sunk.

Where does this kind of peace come from? That in the midst of tragedy, Spafford could write about peace like a river. It comes from Jesus, only Jesus. We must tell them. Be a peacemaker – one who brings others to peace with God.

Be blessed!

Let the New Creature Live!

Galatians 6:15-18 (KJV)

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen

Paul  concludes his letter with a very straight forward conlusion. He says the only thing that matters for being in Christ is that the new creature shows up. This new creature is not one that walks after the flesh but he walks in the spirit. This new creature does not display the things of this world that so often destroys but it displays a fruit of the spirit which brings life. The fruit are alive and active in everything that he does. This new creature does not take glory for itself but gives all the glory to God. This new creature is not of this world and does not answer to any authority in this world but answers to the authority of Jesus Christ and lives in heavenly places.

But this new creature must to live in this world. It must rise above difficulties and trials that come its way in this world. It should walk in joy whenever Trials Come Along. It should have peace instead of anxiety. It should have unbounding patience towards everybody that it comes in contact with. Gentleness and goodness should exude from its body and its mouth at every turn no matter what the circumstances may look like. This new creature will have faith that is undeniable both in God and in those people that it comes across. It will walk in meekness knowing that it is to esteem others more highly than itself but also knowing that inside it has the power of almighty God at its disposal. And this New creature will display self control in every area of its life so that the message is brings is always calm and reassuring.

This new creature will never have corrupt communication proceed from its mouth but it will minister grace to the hearers with every word that it says. This new creature will think on things that are just, pure,  lovely,  true and honest.   It will always listen to the good report and not the bad report. It will look at things that are virtuous and praiseworthy in those around it and not focus on the negative. This is the mindset that will always be prevalent. This new creature will be content in whatever state it is in.

When we walk according to this rule peace and mercy will follow us. What more could we ask for it? When we have peace following along behind us turmoil will avoid us and we will see that God is always at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We will place those things in His hands and know that He will bring good about through them. This piece will pervade every other emotion that we have so that we will always trust God in every situation. And we will trust him because we know that He will have mercy upon all those who follow him. His Mercy will saturate this new creatures life more and more as he grows in Christ.

When we get to this point in our walk it is like we bear the mark of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is so infused in ours that we always walk in the place of grace and mercy. There’s never a moment that we doubt God is working in our lives. When we trust in that new creation He has put within us we know that the old man will be defeated and the new man will rise. We know that the Holy Spirit resides within our body because we are the temple of the Holy Ghost. We know that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is always on our side and will always come to our rescue. There’s not a day we doubt in our mind about this so peace and joy is always by our side.. what a wonderful place this is to live.

Paul ends his letter with the same salute that I will give you.  May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

We have come to the conclusion of Paul’s letter and I am at a loss what direction to take this blog next.  But I know God will guide me where He wants this to go, so  keep watching for what will come next.  Whatever it is, I will learn from the words He gives me as much as you will, I am sure.

Be blessed

Bless Those Who Teach You

Galatians 6:6-8 (KJV)

6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting

How are you at letting your pastor know that you enjoyed his sermon? I would say many of us probably do okay with that. But this verse tells us to take it one step further. He says we should communicate good things to those who teach. We should tell our pastors why that message was good for us and what we will do to improve our lives because of his message. Did the message speak to an area where I was struggling, or something I was dealing with? Perhaps his message gave me inspiration in my studies. I know many times I tell me Pastor his message inspired a message I was to preach. Or he inspired a poem (which sometimes I write as he preaches because I will forget it after).

The same thing applies to our Sunday school teachers. How does the Sunday School lesson apply to me? How can I put it to use in my life? What areas of my life can be improved because of that Sunday school message? Am I involved in the lesson that day, answering questions that are asked? Do I take the time to read the lesson ahead of time? All of these things will be a blessing to your teacher.

I can speak from experience that there is no more encouragement and edification for a Sunday school teacher or minister then to hear what truth somebody pulled out of their message. It shows that we were listening and that we were listening with intent. It shows that we are teachable and interested in hearing what they have to say. It lets them know the Holy Spirit is moving on hearts and minds through the message. This is powerful in letting them know they are hearing from God and delivering something good for the hearer. Believe me, as a minister, it is easy to wonder if you reached anybody sometimes. I realize it is only our duty to present what God has given us. But it is hard when no one says anything after the service. It’s not that our pride needs to hear the words. It is just confirmation to us that God has worked through us to touch the people.

One thing that you should not do is tell them what they did wrong. That should be done in a private setting especially if they aired from the truth because it might take a longer discussion and no one should be privy to that except you and that teacher. There is a time and a place for correction, but you better make sure you study it out before you go to am Pastor or teacher and tell them they are in error. Then make an appointment with them and let them know you have some questions about their message. Go in love and ask the questions as you search for the truth. I have also done this with my Pastor, and usually find that I am wrong in what I thought he said. I then thanked him for the clarification, and he thanked me for pointing it out the misunderstanding. It turned out to be edifying for both of us. The main thing we need to do is to edify them that are communicating good things to us by communicating good things back to them.

Now think about who else teaches you. How about your wife? Do you learn lessons from your children, no matter what age? How about your bosses at work? This should not only apply to people that are teaching the word although that is what Paul is referring to. We should communicate good things that we have learned to those that are special and important in our lives. This will do the same thing for them as it does for a minister or Sunday school teacher. Let’s do all we can to encourage those that teach us in life.

Verses 7 & 8 we have all heard over and over again. The things that we do will come back to haunt us or bless us. Which would you prefer getting? I look at all the people that sow negatively all the time and I wonder if they realize that all they’re doing is multiplying the negative things in their life when they do that. I wonder if they realize that if they would just start contemplating the good things and the mercy that’s happening to them instead of the bad things that their life would turn around and improve. It might take some time but we will always reap what we sow in every area of life. I was just having this discussion with my daughter this morning. My middle daughter is going through a tough stretch in life right now, and she has been sowing more negativity than I have ever seen her. We both agreed that she needs to try and pick herself up in that area. I talked to her a little bit this afternoon, but we got interrupted before I could get to this., She said she’d call me back and I hope she does.

I think people forget what impact a simple Facebook post can have! It is a wonderful medium, and I love to use it, but I do not use it to post my personal life very often. I use it to update people on my cancer progress (which is very good by the way), post my poems, and occasionally some updates on house projects or family events. Rarely do I use it to voice my political concerns, sports loyalties or religious viewpoints. Ven more rarely will I post my moods or feelings. People misinterpret thing, they take them the wrong way, the read into things and make up their own stories and gossip from a simple Facebook post. Let’s all be careful what we put out there. We will reap what we sow!

I love this medium (WordPress) because we choose who we want to follow and stay in our comfort zoned or maybe go a bit outside when choosing. Most times the comments are constructive and on target. I have run across very little spam. It’s a safe environment to air your views if you like. If people want to stay away from it they will!

I like especially that the portion on sowing and reaping is after the listing of the fruit of the spirit in the previous chapter. We talked about this when talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. When we saw joy we will reap Joy. When we sow peace we will reap peace. As we do these things in every area of fruit we will find those things come more alive in our lives. That’s why Paul goes on to say that if we sow to the flesh we will reap of the flesh and those things will corrupt us. If we sow gossip we will reap gossip. If we sow backbiting we will reap backbiting. If we sow negative thoughts we will reap negative thought. But if we sow of the spirit everlasting life is the result. I think I’d rather take the latter

There is no end to the list of things we can sow and reap. Our task is to sow good things into other peoples lives. This includes our communication (verses 6-7) with others. It includes our disposition around others. Every area of our lives is governed by the law of sowing and reaping. We often tend to apply it to our financial resources only. I pray you will not do that anymore. It does cover that area, but there is so much more to it. Walk in the Spirit and allow this truth to build you up in the Lord continually.

Be blessed!