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Trustworthy Fruit, 7/26/16

In this time of the work of seducing spirits causing believers to fall away from the faith we need to discern who are the trustworthy leaders.  Jesus told us there would be false prophets and he taught us how to discern who was trustworthy:

Matthew 7:15-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

So if it by their fruits that we know them, then we need to know what those fruits are.  Is it power? Is it miracles? Is it leading many to salvation?  Is it selling a lot of books? Is it making a name in ministry?  Is it giving words of knowledge or prophecy?  Is it building a big church? I it being called an apostle?  Is it rock star-like religious fame?  I could name some names but I won't. No it is not any of these things.  The fruits that Jesus referred to are the fruit of the spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

This is the working of the Holy Spirit to form Christ in us. These fruit come by maturity in the Lord not any of these other things, no matter how religiously impressive.  My spiritual father, Jack Schisler, was a true apostle and prophet, a man who walked in real intimacy with Jesus. He told me that the best barometer of whether something was really the work of the Lord was the evidence of transformed lives.  Paul had his life transformed by his encounter with the Living Christ. He who had been killing believers became one of them:

Galatians 1:23 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”

This is the work of the Spirit that the enemy cannot counterfeit. The enemy has supernatural power and can fake miracles, signs and wonders:

2 Thessalonians 2:9
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

But the enemy cannot transform a broken sinful life into one where the fruits of the spirit are present.

So be careful who you look up to in ministry leadership. Not all who claim to come in the name of the Lord are truly of his spirit. Do they perform miracles of healing but then make fun or criticize others in the next breath? That is not the fruit of the spirit, no matter how much power was at work through them.  Remember what Jesus said:

Matthew 7:21-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
I Never Knew You
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Let the Holy Spirit show you who are the leaders who he has approved of and do not be swayed by religious power or fame or even miracle working power.  Look for the fruits of the spirit and seek righteousness so that they may develop in you as well. God bless you.

Steve Pursell, 7/26/16