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. . . "by their fruit you
will recognize them."
___If a tree has normal apples on it, you know the fruit is good. However, if a tree looks
like an apple tree, but is producing black fruit, there is probably something seriously wrong
with the tree, right? In the same way, if a person’s heart is good, they will do good things.
That is, they will practice "good fruits," such as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the fruits of the Spirit (Gal
5:22-23) working in their lives and helping them to "walk in the light" (1 John 1:6-7) and to
do good deeds (produce good fruits--Prov 11:30). On the other hand, if a person’s heart
is evil, they will do bad things (produce "bad fruits").
___Sometimes we can learn a lot about someone from what they say. Sometimes we
can’t. So if Person X takes the Lord’s name in vain, swears, tells dirty jokes or gossips, he
is obviously not producing good fruits. Stay away from him! Now consider Persons Y
and Z, both of whom always speak well in front of you. Person Z is actually very nice and
a good Christian. What you don’t know is person Y is mean, dishonest, a skillful liar, hides
his normal language from you and is adept at manipulating others with charming words!
___Can you see that it can be especially hard to judge a person’s true character by words
alone? So, a useful tool is to also look beyond what people SAY and watch what they
actually DO (what kind of fruits they are producing)! The Bible tells us we can recognize
people by these fruits. That’s because actions are the real truth-teller…..they speak louder
than words (Titus 1:16, 1 John 3:7-8, 10).
___If you ignore someone’s actions and trust them based only on what they say, it can
cause you real problems! For instance, they may lie and claim they are a Bible-believing
Christian, but later not act like one and treat you badly (1 John 2:4-6). Or they may break
an important promise, causing you harm or loss. Or they may claim they only want what’s
best for you, but then later try to lead you into sin, to hurt you or to hurt your loved ones in
___Want to stay safer, happier and healthier? Think of people like fruit trees. Find others
whose good fruits clearly show they, like you, also love and are "rooted" in Jesus (John
14:15, Col 2:6-7). Keep the true apple trees. Avoid the pretenders!
Luke 6:44-45 "Each tree is recognized by its own fruit . . . The good man brings
good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil
things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his
Mat 7:18 "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good
Eph 5:8-11 . . . Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all
goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have
nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
Additional Reference Verses
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control . . .
1 John 1:6-7 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and
do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship
with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Prov 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
Titus 1:16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are
detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
1 John 3:7-8 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right
is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil . . .
1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of
the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone
who does not love his brother.
1 John 2:4-6 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a
liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made
complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must
walk as Jesus did.
John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command."
Col 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,
rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing