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Shock~Therapy
01-23-2007, 01:08 AM
(bear with me HCR this is a long one)

The Mark of a True Believer




15"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
17"So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18"A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20"So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

As we study this text, we can clearly see a distinction between those who are false and those who are true disciples. That distinction is found in the fruit that they are bearing, a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and neither can a bad tree bear good fruit. Now what exactly are the bad and good fruit and how can we know and distinguish them in the life of a believer? The fruit described in Matthew 7 can be found in Galatians 5.




19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
26Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

So as we examine the text of Matthew 7 through the complementary text of Galatians 5, we can see the bad and good fruit clearly identified. The bad fruit spoken of in Matthew 7 is shown in Galatians 5:19-21 as the deeds or works of the flesh. The good fruit is labeled here as the fruit of the Spirit. So the bad trees being the false disciples can only bear bad fruit, meaning you will know these people by the works of the flesh which are evident in their lives. The good trees being the true believers in Christ can only bear good fruit, meaning you will know them by the fruit of the Spirit evident in their lives. Also examining this text, we see that Paul admonishes the believers to not become boastful or envy one another. Apparently this was an issue with believers back then just as it is today. Many Christians become boastful in their titles, gifts, and callings. Also many Christians are envying those that have titles, gifts, and callings. But Paul admonishes, later in Galatians 6:14, to not boast of oneself but to only boast of Christ and Him crucified.

Going back to the main text, Matthew 7, the interesting thing here in this text as you can see in verse 21 and 22 is that many false disciples will expect to enter into the kingdom of heaven. These people truly believed that they knew and had a relationship with Christ. Yes, many of these people are “Christians”. These people are coming with great expectancy boasting of the many works that they have done “in Christ’s name”.

So what can we conclude from those particular verses? We can assert that many people that have great gifts and callings are destined for hell, even those who have brought many to Christ. Why? It all comes down to your personal relationship with God. The real work is bearing the fruit of the Spirit, which comes hand in hand with TRUE faith in Christ.

Now what exactly is True Faith? It is not just simply believing that Jesus is real, since even the demons believe that God is real but they do not have faith in Christ. Faith is defined as more than just simple belief but rather an unquestioned loyalty to something or someone. Now faith and works go hand and hand, faith without works is dead. You cannot have one without the other. So if someone claims to have faith in Christ but the fruit is absent then they really don't have faith at all. You can believe that God is real but still not have faith in Him.

Ok, so why am I bringing this up, shouldn’t this all of this be common sense to a Christian? The truth of the reality is that this issue has become a VERY relevant issue within the Body of Christ today. I have been to many churches which boast of their spiritual gifts (i.e. prophesying, speaking in tongues, etc.) but little if any emphasis is given to the fruit of the Spirit. But I would admonish the Church to focus less on the gifts of the Spirit and callings but instead give the attention to bearing the fruit of the Spirit. Many people do not truly know where they stand in their relationship with God because of a lack of focus on the fruit of the Spirit. Many people believe that because they can preach, speak in tongues, and prophesy that they have genuine faith in Christ. But this thinking clearly goes against the scripture presented in Matthew 7:21-23. Just think about it: Many church going “Christians” will approach the gates of heaven truly believing that they have saving faith only to be rejected by God because the faith that they had was not true faith at all.

So is the Church to blame for many false converts and false disciples going to hell? Although the Church does share some liability in this, true responsibility lies with the individual person. You cannot go to heaven and tell God “But the Church told me if I spoke in tongues and prophesied that I had the Holy Spirit, so I must be saved”. That will not change the outcome. You had an opportunity to learn what true faith in Christ was while you were on the earth. Yet you did not choose to seek God on your own through the study of His Word. God will still give the same answer that Jesus says in Matthew 7:23, “And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.”

If you are still giving to the works of the flesh (notice I say giving as in not even struggling or fighting against) and the fruit of the Spirit is not evident in your life then No, you cannot be assured of your salvation. Also, it is never really about how you start your walk with Christ but always about how you finish so we need to endure to the end. So what can you do right now, if you know that this is you and there is no fruit evident in your life? First thing you need to do is repent to God for your sinful nature. Now, repent means to turn away from, it is not simply saying “I’m sorry God” but it requires that you leave your sins behind you and do not immediately turn back to them. Know that as Romans 3:23 describes, every man has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. There are none righteous apart from God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Commit yourself to follow after Jesus Christ, not simply as a good teacher or prophet, but as the Son of God Almighty, who died on the cross for your sins, was resurrected and is now sitting on the right-hand of the Father in heaven. Make Jesus Christ Lord over your life that is your entire life. Know that God is One and exists as 3 persons through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Get under doctrinally sound teaching by finding a church home which preaches the full gospel of Christ and seek accountability.

Know that the mark of a true believer is shown in the fruit that is being brought forth. Are you truly bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Do you show love to God first and to your neighbor as well? Is joy evident in your life? Know that joy is not the same thing as happiness. The former is a quality which will remain despite your present condition; the later is temporal and based on emotion. Is peace evident in your life or do you find yourself to always be in turmoil? Are you displaying patience or do you quickly become frustrated and people and/or circumstances? Can those close to you and/or a stranger look at you and see a person who displays kindness in their talk and actions? Do you display goodness or is your behavior marked by mischievousness and/or deceit? Are you walking in faithfulness by completely trusting in God’s will or do you find yourself becoming fearful and worried? Do you show gentleness or are you quick to anger? Are you displaying self-control or do you find yourself giving in easily to desire and temptation? Now, I am not saying that we won’t struggle with the works of the flesh and that we will be perfect in displaying the fruit of the Spirit. But there is a marked difference in the life of someone with true faith as compared to a false convert/false disciple. The difference is that a true believer will continually work to cast off the works of the flesh while growing (being perfected – not perfect yet) in the fruit of the Spirit.


http://photos-287.ak.facebook.com/ip002/v61/180/122/572975502/n572975502_37287_3001.jpg
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Shock~Therapy
01-23-2007, 11:01 AM
up. somebody may need this.

son of man
01-23-2007, 11:53 AM
what's good Shock? is this post strictly for exhortation or is it open for discussion?

Shock~Therapy
01-23-2007, 12:08 PM
what's good Shock? is this post strictly for exhortation or is it open for discussion?

discuss on...

son of man
01-23-2007, 01:45 PM
this was a great exhortation! i listened to the paul washer sermon that was posted a couple of days ago TWICE in the same day. it was along the same lines as what you wrote and i agree with both of you as to the application. the only thing i'd add is that the emphasis seems to be more on discerning between true and false prophets rather than T&F believers. that doesn't take away anything from what you said. it just examines it from a slightly different perspective.

for example, around the time of the exodus, God worked miracles thru Moses to prove to israel that God had sent him and was with him (ex.4:1-9, 14:26-31). God used the veracity of the miracles he performed to prove that He was a true prophet of God. Similarly, God worked miracles thru Jesus to do the same (john 2:23; 3:2; 4:16-19,29,39,48 ; 5:36; 6:14). during that day, the people and even the pharisees demanded miraculous signs to prove that Jesus was a prophet of God (john 1:13-18, 6:28-31).

therefore, we see that powerful signs and wonders were used to prove the authenticity of a prophet. however, Jesus teaches that after Him that will no longer be the case. He taught that from then on, fruit will be the deciding factor of whether or not a person is a true prophet of God (matt 7:15-20). He says that their works of labor won't be any indicator. perhaps just like pharoah's magicians, there would be false signs and wonders that could sway believers (matt.24:24).

this means that while believers are striving to enter thru the narrow gate, they should be mindful of false prophets who come to them as wolves in sheep clothing. He gave a similar exhortation in john 10 when He said that anyone who entered the sheep pen thru any means other than the gate was a thief and robber. as christians we have to discern those who speak for God and those who don't. just b/c someone dresses like a sheep doesn't mean they're of the fold. and just b/c someone prophesies and casts out devils doesn't mean they're a true prophet.:)

Shock~Therapy
01-24-2007, 12:01 AM
I understand where you are coming from as far as where the emphasis is but it is also applicable to true and false believers. This is very applicable to day with many people claiming to have various gifts (being able to prophesy, work, miracles, perform healing) who claim to be christian, but you will know them by their fruit. Thanks for the feedback.

Shock~Therapy
01-25-2007, 11:19 AM
*cough* *cough* *up* *cough* *cough*

Shock~Therapy
01-26-2007, 01:33 AM
Serious question: Does this note sound like I am condemning people who may backslide into sin for a time and saying that they aren't saved at all?

I didn't think that could be interpreted through my note but that is how someone viewed it.

CHRISTion
01-26-2007, 09:58 AM
Serious question: Does this note sound like I am condemning people who may backslide into sin for a time and saying that they aren't saved at all?

I didn't think that could be interpreted through my note but that is how someone viewed it.

We must be careful with "generalizations" when discussing the faith. Whenever you make a statement which either comes off as an "absolute" or IS an "absolute" (absolute= saying "always", "all", "every", or just making a general statement that has no clause to it like "You are NOT saved if you like peanut butter and jelly")-especially if the bible doesn't say so. Now, if the bible says so, then you are just repeating what the WORD says, and the person that feels otherwise needs to pray and take this up with GOD, not you.

Also, we are not to condemn anybody (Matthew 7, Romans 8)-and a person in a "backslidden" condition doesn't mean they aren't saved. Their are MANY born again believers in Jesus Christ who on a daily basis fall in one way or another-but I think you were right in regards to-is this person showing TRUE repentance, or is it just an "I'm sorry" and then keep doing it? But also keep in mind that MANY of us have repented for things-and TRULY meant it-but fell again...take porn for example-so many people here (male and female) have talked about giving in to it time and time again...should we assume they are not saved due to the fact they keep going back to it? Nah...they just need to continue to submit themselves to God.

Good write up though Shock...I liked it :) -aint nothin wrong with truth :cool:

Shock~Therapy
01-26-2007, 10:57 AM
Also, we are not to condemn anybody (Matthew 7, Romans 8)-and a person in a "backslidden" condition doesn't mean they aren't saved. Their are MANY born again believers in Jesus Christ who on a daily basis fall in one way or another


The thing is no where in my article did I state that backsliders were not saved. I thought these points in my article would have clarified that.




If you are still giving to the works of the flesh (notice I say giving as in not even struggling or fighting against) and the fruit of the Spirit is not evident in your life then No, you cannot be assured of your salvation. Also, it is never really about how you start your walk with Christ but always about how you finish so we need to endure to the end.

Now, I am not saying that we won’t struggle with the works of the flesh and that we will be perfect in displaying the fruit of the Spirit. But there is a marked difference in the life of someone with true faith as compared to a false convert/false disciple. The difference is that a true believer will continually work to cast off the works of the flesh while growing (being perfected – not perfect yet) in the fruit of the Spirit.


Could you point out where or if I made general references?

CHRISTion
01-26-2007, 12:38 PM
My bad bro...I wasn't comin at you-really I wasn't-I was making general statements.

Also, I did misread something you wrote, so...I retract. My bad for any misleading assumptions made on my part.

Shock~Therapy
01-26-2007, 04:37 PM
My bad bro...I wasn't comin at you-really I wasn't-I was making general statements.

Also, I did misread something you wrote, so...I retract. My bad for any misleading assumptions made on my part.

It's cool. I didn't view it as you coming at me. Like I said you aren't the only one to misread what I wrote. So, my question is if people are misreading what I wrote how might I clarify myself on this issue so there is no confusion?