Posted in Studies

All About Fruit

Some of you may have heard the term “You can tell a person by the fruit they bear”. Jesus teaches that God is the gardener, he planted the vine, which is Christ and through the word that Christ carries we become branches. The branches on a vine are what hold the fruit. We as children of God are to bear fruit. If we don’t bear fruit then we are like dead branches and will be cut off. However, if we bear fruit then we will be blessed, taught and shown how to bear more fruit. Jesus refers to this as pruning. When you prune a branch it sprouts more branches and when you have more branches you have more fruit. If you keep Jesus in you, you will be able to be pruned and bear more fruit, but if you don’t you will wither and be thrown into the fire to be burned. The pruning is the fine tuning that occurs when you know God more. The closer you get to God the closer he gets to you. He gives you blessings and gifts which are like a fertilizer, helping you to grow and, as any good gardener, he helps you to fight off the pestilence that tries to destroy you; your insecticide being the truth.

John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

The fruit being referred to is not fruit from a tree like an orange, but fruit that is of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Temperance

Temperance in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is egkrateia (eng-krat’-i-ah); it means self-control.

Temperance is the ability to control your emotions. It means that your reactions are controlled by your heart, not your mind. You don’t let your flesh rule, but you let the truth of God’s word rule.

In Matthew 5:39 Jesus says “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” This is talking about self-control. As a human your first response would probably be to hit the person back. But a person who is in control will, in a split second, breathe deep, forgive the person and ask God for guidance on what he should do and then follow what God says. If you act out of love with self control and listen for God, He will show you a solution which is inline with his word – so you yourself do not fall into sin. And it might humble the other person just a bit in the process. Self control also applies to speaking abruptly to people.

When you speak harshly to a person they tend to speak harshly in response. This leads to yelling and arguments, hurt feelings and distrust. If you temper your speech, speak calmly and with love then you can have a reasonable conversation about what ever it is that is on your mind. This will create a bond of mutual trust and greater love.

Proverbs 15:1 will help you remember this.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Meekness

Meekness in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is praus (prah-ooce’); apparently a primary word; mild, i.e. (by implication) humble:

The Miram-Webster dictionary says meek is “Enduring injury with patience and without resentment”

We did a study on meek once and learned that meek is strength, under control. There are many examples of meek people in the bible – Jesus, Moses, Isaac, Gideon, Job, David and others. These people drew their strength from God while under great pressure and trials. When the going got really tough, they turned to God for guidance and strength.

The bible says “the meek shall inherit the earth”. God loves those who are meek and he will bless them here on earth. Not that you will own lots of land, but those who are meek generally have easier lives compared to those who are not. The meek generally live in peace or as Psalm 37:11 says they shall delight in the abundance of peace.

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalm 37:11

Faith

Faith in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is pistis (pis’-tis); persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:

Faith is something that is believed with strong conviction. Faith is the belief and trust in and loyalty to God.

Faith is knowing the truth of God’s word and knowing that you will have eternal life if you accept Jesus and follow His word. Faith is knowing that God protects you and destroys the wickedness that attacks you. Faith is knowing that God can heal all sickness. Faith is trusting in God to help you through everything.

In Matthew 9:20-22 we learn of a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years and she said to herself “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” Her faith that Jesus was the son of God and that he had the ability to heal her allowed her to be healed.

Jesus then went to his hometown and began teaching people that had little faith and they took offense to him and in Matthew 13:58 it says he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Jesus teaches us that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed that we can make things happen. A mustard seed is such a tiny thing, more like a grain of sand than anything. But even with that little amount of faith we still have what it takes to work miracles.

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6

In Mark 11:23 it says if you tell the mountain to go throw itself into the sea and you do not doubt in your heart that it will happen. This is what we call mountain moving faith. Mountain moving faith is having no doubt at all that God will help you.

Goodness

Goodness in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is agathosune (ag-ath-o-soo’-nay); from NT:18; goodness, i.e. virtue or beneficence:

Virtue is conformity to a standard of right, it is moral excellence. And beneficence is doing or producing good; especially: performing acts of kindness and charity.

We conform to a standard of right when we accept the word of God as truth. The Ten Commandments are our basis of good moral character. God gave them to us so we could understand what it takes to be good. The commandments don’t make us righteous, but they teach us what sin is so we know what we should and should not do.

God put it on my heart to remind you of the commandments and what they mean. Some of you who are new to Christianity may not even know what the commandments are yet. So we are going to break off the fruit for a moment and go over the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:3-17

1 Commandment

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

There are some who worship satan and other so called gods and not the true God. Most of these are easy to understand and see, but there are types of worship that are not so easy to see. Sometimes we don’t necessarily believe something is really a god, but we treat it as though it was because we put it before God. Many people will put other things in their life before God, including sports events, shopping, work, the internet, and other things. You are to worship God and you are to put nothing before God. God always is first.

2 Commandment

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

You shall not make any likeness of anything in heaven, the earth below or in the water under the earth. This means that you’re not supposed to make the spiritual into something less than what it is. When you make a picture of God you are making him human-like. God is not anywhere near being human because He is omnipotent, meaning He has absolute power over all; He is omniscient, meaning He has infinite awareness, understanding and insight; and He is omnipresent, meaning He is in all places at all times. God is something you can not put an image to because he is in all things, everywhere, all the time. So when you make an image of God you are actually bringing him down.

You are also not supposed to worship images or statues that represent God, because you would be worshipping the image or statue and not God himself. The image or statue would be your interpretation of what God is and not what God truly is. God detests the worship of spiritual images so much he will curse the family through the third and fourth generations, but He will show mercy to those who love him and follow His word. The good news today is that Christ was born so this curse can be lifted. Galatians 3:13 says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us”. All we have to do is to accept him.

3 Commandment

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Vain in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is shav’ (shawv); or shav (shav);  evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective; also adverbially, in vain):

You are not to use God’s name in any evil, or destructive way. You are not to use his name to deceive anyone as false prophets do, you are not to use his name to worship idols. You are not to curse his name or speak against him. It says that God will not hold that person guiltless which means he will hold you accountable for this action. It doesn’t say how he will hold you accountable, but if you repent and ask forgiveness the Lord will forgive you because he is a merciful loving God.

4 Commandment

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The last thing God did after creating everything on earth was to bless the day and make it holy.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Genesis 2:3

God wants us to remember that he put us here, he gave us food to eat, water to drink. He gave us the trees and flowers, the sun and the moon, the oceans, lakes and streams. Everything on this earth is here because God put it here. The seventh day is a holy day and it should be treated as such. It is a day of rest, of praising and worshipping God and thanking him for everything you have.

There is a story in Numbers 15:32-36 of a man who was found gathering sticks upon the Sabbath day. God told Moses “The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.” And that is what the people did. They obeyed the Lord and took the man out of the camp and stoned him until he was dead. God is a jealous God (Exo 20:5, 34:14; Deut 4:24, 5:9, 6:15; Josh 24:19) and wants to always be first in your life. Because Jesus died for our sins, we would not be stoned to death, but God may stop blessing your life, or may even penalize you for not following his Word – he may “shake you up” a bit.

5 Commandment

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Honour in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is kabad (kaw-bad’); or kabed (kaw-bade’); a primitive root; to be heavy, i.e. in a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable; causatively, to make weighty (in the same two senses):

This means to show your parents respect. It means to obey what they ask in the Lord. You are to respect their wishes. You should not mock your parents or speak badly of them. Do not do things they have asked you not to do.

Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice! Proverbs 23:22-25

To buy the truth means that you would be willing to give anything for it. Not in money or riches, but in duty and obedience. To sell it would be to forsake it for riches, material possessions, or worldly pleasures. The father of a righteous man has great joy because he knows he has followed God’s path in raising his children. And your parents will be glad because they know that you also will have eternal life.

6 Commandment

Thou shalt not kill.

Kill in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is ratsach (raw-tsakh’); a primitive root; properly, to dash in pieces, i.e. kill (a human being), especially to murder:

There are many interpretations of this particular scripture. Some people read it to mean that you can not kill anyone for any reason at any time. However, God can not make man commit a sin. If he did he would become imperfect. He would be going against his own word which is the truth.

There are many scriptures that show punishment of death for things such as working on the Sabbath, speaking blasphemy against God, adultery, theft, wizardry, spiritualism (psychics) and killing. These scriptures show that God believed in justified punishment by death.

Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. However, if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee to a place I will designate. But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death. Exodus 21:12-14

This clearly states that if a man kills a man deliberately that he is to be put to death. How does this scripture fit in with the covenant God has with us today? Jesus died on the cross so we may be forgiven of our sins. Don’t the murderer’s have the right to be forgiven also?

Yes they do. God does not discriminate between people. So the murderer has just as much right to forgiveness as the thief or the deceiver.

Let’s take a man who kills another and is now sitting on death row awaiting his punishment. If he finds and accepts Jesus, repents his sin and asks God and the family and friends of the person he kills forgiveness… what then?

God will forgive him. Not only will God forgive him, but as a child of God under the blood of Jesus, God will also make a way for him to be free.

7 Commandment

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Adultery in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is na’aph (naw-af’); a primitive root; to commit adultery; figuratively, to apostatize:

Adultery is when a married person willingly has sexual intercourse with another person. But Jesus teaches us that if you even look at another in a lustful way that you have already committed adultery in your heart.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28

Lust in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is epithumeo (ep-ee-thoo-meh’-o); to set the heart upon, i.e. long for (rightfully or otherwise):

To lust is to have an intense or unbridled sexual desire or an intense longing for someone. To have a longing for someone other than your spouse you have already in your heart committed adultery. It is a fine line to go from looking to acting.

You can commit adultery against God also. You can do this in two ways. The first way is to be married to God, but sleep with the world. That means that you are a Christian, but you desire worldly things, you trust in people before you trust God. The second way is called to apostatize. Apostasy is the renunciation of faith. It means to reject God and His word.

8 Commandment

Thou shalt not steal.

Steal in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is ganab (gaw-nab’); a primitive root; to thieve (literally or figuratively); by implication, to deceive:

To steal means to take by force or unjust means. It means to take something without permission. To steal also means to “appropriate to oneself or beyond one’s proper share: make oneself the focus of attention. If you take the credit for something God did, then you are stealing his glory. You are making yourself the center of focus rather than God.

Another type of stealing is when you deceive someone. To deceive someone is to steal the truth from them – to cause them to accept something as true or valid when it is false or invalid. False prophets deceive people by twisting the words of God. They may sound good and correct, but they are like the bait in a pest trap; meant to lure you in so you may be destroyed. In 1 Timothy 4:1-2 we are taught that there will be deceiving spirits that will be coming to lie and deceive you — teaching false things from hypocritical liars.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1 Tim 4:1-2

Hypocrisy in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is hupokrisis (hoop-ok’-ree-sis); acting under a feigned part, i.e. (figuratively) deceit (“hypocrisy”)

When used in a religious context it means you know the word of God says one thing, but yet you knowingly do not follow it. Those who are in leadership positions are the example setters. And the bible clearly states that those who preach the gospel should live the gospel. Those who do not are hypocrites.

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:14

We must guard ourselves against these hypocritical liars or we may fall into their snare and lose our salvation.

9 Commandment

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour

Bear in this context according to the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is `anah (aw-naw’); a primitive root; properly, to eye or (generally) to heed, i.e. pay attention; by implication, to respond; by extens. to begin to speak; specifically to sing, shout, testify, announce:

False is sheqer (sheh’-ker); from OT:8266; an untruth; by implication, a sham (often adverbial):

And

Witness is `ed (ayd); contracted from OT:5749 concretely, a witness; abstractly, testimony; specifically, a recorder, i.e. prince:

So if you put this all together it means you are not to speak, shout, testify or announce any untrue testimony or statement about anybody. You are not to lie about people or deceive others about people.

Gossip is a form of false testimony. When you gossip you are spreading words that you have heard from someone else or changing words to be the way your remember them. Not necessarily the truth.

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. Proverbs 11:13

The only thing that gossip does it to make you distrust those who do it.

10 Commandment

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s

Covet in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is chamad (khaw-mad’); a primitive root; to delight in:

To covet something is to wish for it with envy. That means that someone has something that you really really like and you want it. It means that you should be happy with what you have and not to think you have less than the next person. You are not to look upon his house, spouse or anything he owns as being better than what you have. Covetousness is much like greed.

Greed causes you to hoard the things you desire, like money. Rather than sharing what they have with those in need, greedy people keep it all to themselves.

In Luke Jesus has a parable about being greedy. He is teaching the disciples that they should not want for anything because God will supply their every need.

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, `What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’  “Then he said, `This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘ “But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:15-21

If you are greedy and hord things away and not share it with the needy then you are missing what love truly means. He is not saying that you can’t save money, but he is saying not to be greedy with it. He is saying if you have unused clothes that are sitting in a box, wouldn’t it be better to take them down to the church, red cross, salvation army or the homeless shelter so they can help someone out. If you have a billion dollars what good does it do to keep it hidden away making more money for you alone, especially if you die tomorrow. Why not use some of it to help someone. What good are all the riches in the world going to do you, if you die tomorrow, not knowing what love truly is?

Goodness is much more than following God commandments. It means to show love to others; to be kind, gentle, and charitable.  To be charitable is to help someone without expecting anything in return.

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells a parable about the separation of those who are good and kind and charitable and those who are not. He says he will separate the people as you would separate sheep from goats. He puts the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. He says to those on the right “Come take your inheritance because when I was hungry you fed me, when I was thirsty you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, when I needed clothes you gave me clothes, when I was sick you took care of me, when I was in prison you came to visit me.”

He says “I tell you the truth whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me.”

To those on the left he said “Depart from me, you are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels because when I was hungry you did not feed me, when I was thirsty you did not offer me something to drink, I was a stranger and you did  not invite me in, when I needed clothes you did not give me clothes, when I was sick you did not take care of me, when I was in prison you did not come to visit me.”

Then he says “I tell you the truth whatever you did not do for the least of my brothers you did not do for me.

There is a distinct difference between the charitable and the non charitable. The charitable are those on the right who offer what they have, the non charitable are those that don’t. Jesus says if you do this for the least of my brothers you do it for me… Now what does that mean? Jesus is not referring to what you do for him directly, but what you do for him indirectly. He was talking about his disciples, yes.. but are we not all disciples of Jesus once we accept him? So when you show charity to anyone who is not Jesus, those who are down trodden, poor, lowly of heart, in poverty, then you are in fact showing Jesus charity.

And there is consequence to not being charitable. In Matthew 25:46 Jesus finished this parable saying “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Gentleness in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is chrestotes (khray-stot’-ace); usefulness, i.e. moral excellence (in character or demeanor):

Here as in goodness we see the words “moral excellence” in goodness it was referring to the actions that you take, here it refers to how you take that action. In other words it means when you do something you do it with gentleness and not harshness.

To give something with gentleness means that you give it with a smile and a hug, letting them know that God supplied the need.

Examples of gentleness are Paul and Timothy. They acted not out of rashness, but with the meekness and gentleness of Christ. In 1Thessalonians 2:7 it refers to them like a mother caring for her children.

Christ was gentle. In the book of Isaiah when it’s talking about the future kingdom it describes Christ like a loving shepherd.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

When I read this it always reminds me of a way a child holds something they love so close to them. They just wrap their little arms around it so tight and they just don’t want to let go. They just want to cuddle it and care for it.

It is with this gentleness that you are to share the love of God with others. In 1 Peter 3:15-16 it says to be prepared to share the hope Christ gave you with others with gentleness and respect. Remember you were in their place at one time in your life.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Longsuffering in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is makrothumia (mak-roth-oo-mee’-ah); longanimity, i.e. (objectively) forbearance or (subjectively) fortitude:

Longanimity means to have a disposition to bear injuries patiently, Forebearance means to control oneself when provoked, to be patient and Fortitude means to have the strength of mind that enables you to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.

Longsuffering is to endure with patience and gentleness the trial that you are going through. It means you are supposed to be tolerant of others short comings, always forgiving them. It means that you must continue to be Christ like, showing unbelievers love and sharing the truth with them, so they might come to kingdom of God. It is to be persecuted for who you are and what you believe, because you know what your ultimate reward in heaven will be.

1 Peter 2:19-25

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

We are called to follow in the footsteps of Christ. Christ was gentle, meek, patient and tolerant. He suffered for who he is. He was insulted, beaten, humiliated and crucified. And what did he do? He did not retaliate, he did not fight back, he said “Father forgive them.”(Luke 23:34) To be Christ like you must also suffer, you must carry your own cross. You must be longsuffering- patient, tolerant, meek and gentle. You may not get beaten or crucified, but you will go through your own trials because of who you are. Do not be ashamed of who you are, but rejoice. Your faith is greater than gold and is proven genuine through each trial you go through. 1 Peter 1:6-7

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Peace in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is eirene (i-ray’-nay); probably from a primary verb eiro (to join); peace (literally or figuratively); by implication, prosperity:

God is called a God of Peace and Christ is called the Prince of Peace. God is a God of peace because He is the only one that can give you that internal peace that even in the toughest times makes you know that everything is alright. The only way to receive the Peace of God is through Christ. When you receive Christ God gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit and it’s that spirit that puts a peace within you.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Once you accept Jesus you are part of the body of Christ. As a member of the body you are called to peace. To have this peace means to put order to the chaos of the fleshy world. For when you follow the Word of God order will come.

Joy in the Greek/Hebrew dictionary is chairo (khah’-ee-ro); to be “cheerful”, calmly happy or well-off, be well.

Joy is to be happy. You have a happiness in your heart because you have your salvation, you know that God will heal you of any illness and you love sharing God’s love with others. When you accepted Jesus as your savior and repented your sins and asked for forgiveness, God gave you a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) and has forgotten all your sins of the past – you have been purified. You have joy in your heart. Have you noticed that problems don’t seem to get you down like it used to? That is joy and peace. You say no? Well, the joy is there believe me. The problem is with some people they have been hurt so much they have forgotten how to feel with their hearts – they have “turned it off”. Their brain does all the feeling now and their brain says they haven’t been forgiven. When these people learn to hear their heart over their brain, they come to realize the joy, but sometimes it takes time to heal.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

The joy is there because you have faith in the promise of Christ. You can not see him, but you love him and believe in him. The joy you have words just can not describe. You can try to share that feeling with others, but it will always be lacking what you are truly feeling inside.

And the greatest joy comes from Love.

The first fruit is Love for without love you have nothing. Without love your words are empty, you are nothing, you gain nothing. You can have knowledge, wisdom and mountain moving faith, but it is meaningless without love. Love is every fruit it is patient, longsuffering, temperance, meek, faith, goodness, gentleness, peace, joy.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is unconditional, no strings attached. You give yourself unconditionally and expect nothing in return.  Love is the bond on perfectness.(Colossians 3:14) Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). Love never fails because God is love and God is endless.

Unfortunately, though we talk about love, many do not practice it. Some say they do, but when you check their fruit, the truth always shows.

That is why Jesus warns us. He teaches us to watch out for false prophets. And you can tell those who are false by their fruit. God put it in my heart to teach you about this because there are many false prophets and teachers and as the return of Jesus draws near there will be many more. Some of you listen to their false words and are being deceived. You are being led away from the truth, which is the word of God. God loves you and he doesn’t want you to be deceived, but to know the truth.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 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 7:15-20

Check the fruit of a person. Is it good fruit that you can eat? Or is it rotten and should be thrown in the trash? Or… does it look good on the outside but is bad on the inside? False prophets and teachers can look good on the outside, but are rotten on the inside. They are like a wolf in sheeps clothing. All cute and pleasant on the outside, but on the inside there is little or no love. God told me that we are to bite into the fruit and make sure it is good to the core. We are to shave the sheep and make sure they are infact sheep. We are to test everything.

Lord God, with all my heart I ask that you seal this teaching in each person’s heart, mind and spirit. May they always remember to check a person’s fruit to see if it’s good or bad. May they always hold fast the truth of your word and remember that true love is the reason you sent Jesus to earth. May they remember that you love them so much that you gave your son to die for their sins. Father I ask that you bind the mouth of each bad fruit that your children meet and that their true self will show the lack of love they have in their hearts. Guide and protect each person who has heard this word tonight with the love that only you can give them. And though we may stumble and fall sometimes Father, we know you will always be there to pick us back up because your mercy is great. Forgive us Father for continually falling short. We look for your glory to shine on us. In the loving name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

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