Let me ask you a question about your convictions as a Christian. If Christianity were illegal in the United States and you was arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? The underlying question here is, “How does anyone know you are a Christian?”
The usual answer to this question are things such as: I go to church on Sunday. I sing in the choir. I practice personal separation. I talk about my church all the time (uhhhhh....how do your talk about your church?) I even stay awake for the service...most of the time. I have some of the charismatic gifts. I dress a certain way. I don't go to certain places.
Now let's look at some biblical answers to this question. The Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) in demonstration. Note the word “fruit” is singular. All nine of these things are the one fruit of the Spirit. What are they? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. All of these are one fruit and should be displayed in the life of each Christian. It’s important to note these things to spout up over night. However, if you continue to serve God this fruit will be developed in your life. The Fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us – this includes these character traits that are found in Jesus.
The fruit of good works (Eph 2:10) – the purpose of salvation. Eph 2:10 “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service – we are saved to serve
The fruit of the Christian life (John 15:16) The Message “You didn’t choose Me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to Me, He gives you."
The key to this question is for us, as believers, to abide in Jesus (John 15:7). “Abide in Him…” That word “abide” means to continue, endure, dwell, remain.. Find the ultimate source, rest, satisfaction, etc in Jesus“Let His Word abide in you…” The idea here is that God’s Word takes up residence in you. It becomes the dominant factor in your life. We need to communicate with Him. Prayer is part of abiding in Him. We sometimes overlook the fact that fruit is borne as a result of abiding in Him, His Word abiding in us, and prayer.
How you respond to this question has great significance in your life. There is danger in not bearing fruit. This is shown in John 15:2-6. If a professing Christian is not being fruitful in their walk with God, God will remove them and throw them aside – its called purging. Christians who are being productive and are producing fruit God will cut back – or prune – so that they can be even more productive and fruitful.
The subject here is abiding and fruit-bearing not salvation. It is through prayerlessness and carelessness the believer gets out of fellowship with Jesus. Through failure to abide in Christ and be fruitful he is thrown out as a branch . The branches are gathered by men and are thrown in to the fire and burned - its not God who does it, but people. God’s other work.
Everyone experiences problems - including Christians. Christians who are having problems can be divided into two groups: (1) Those whose problems are to prune them - preparing them for more growth; (2) Those whose problems are to purge them - remove them. The danger of not bearing fruit is to experience God’s purging
So I ask again, “If Christianity were a crime would there be enough evidence to convict you?” How does anyone know you are a Christian? If it were only by fruit-bearing, would they know you are a Christian?
Why are you not bearing fruit? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that trials were the result of God’s pruning rather than His purging?
Something to ponder.
Until next time...enjoy the journey!
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