I genuinely fear for most Christians in the United States. The Age of Grace is coming to a rapid close yet I sense no urgency within the overall Christian community to repent, trim our lamps and ensure they are filled with oil in anticipation of the impending arrival of the Bridegroom. What’s up with that?
Are the things of this world so intoxicating as to hypnotize you into sleepwalking through your days? Are the baubles, promotions, material stuff and busyness really so enthralling that you rarely give any consideration to ensuring you’re ready to leave this place? For that matter, do you even WANT to leave this place?
What is the greatest desire of your heart? Do you secretly hope you’ll have more time to fulfill your dreams and plans, before Christ snatches us home? Seriously. I want you to stop what you’re doing and really think about this for a minute.
In Matthew 7, Jesus was teaching the people that getting to heaven ain’t quite as easy as they might imagine. In verses 13-14 He said “Enter ye at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Will you be one of the few that find that strait gate? You even looking for it?
Let’s be honest. It’s a sad, unfortunate fact that the majority of people who have ever lived will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. The ‘ol, “I’m a good person” strategy doesn’t cut it with our Holy God. Unless the blood of Jesus is applied to your sins and you’re born again, you’re lost. Simple as that.
That leaves those who say they’ve accepted Jesus as their Savior. This ranges from folks who’ve repeated some incantation of a ‘sinner’s prayer’ without really believing in their heart that what they were saying was true, all the way to hard-core, Spirit filled Christians.
Since I’m the last person qualified to judge the hearts of others, let’s instead look at how Jesus described His true followers, so we can examine our own hearts in light of scripture.
Back to Matthew 7. Jesus was warning about watching out for false prophets; that the people would be able to recognize them by their fruits. However, this principle applies to everyone who calls themselves a Christian. Read what He says about this ‘fruit.’
Verses 17-20 “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
What is fruit? The Greek word is “karpos,” which means ‘an effect, result, work, act, deed, profit, utility.’ Fruit can either come from a good tree or a corrupt tree. The Greek word for corrupt is “sapros,” which means ‘rotten, putrefied, poor quality, unfit for use, worthless, democrat.’ Ok, maybe not that last one.
And what did Christ say happens to corrupt trees that produce evil fruit? They are cut down and burned. Destroyed. In the fire. Yikes!
So, in other words, a person who professes to be a Christian but produces no good fruit will suffer the same fate. They will be destroyed in the Lake of Fire. Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, notice I said “professes” to be a Christian. This is where we ALL must take great care to examine our own lives and hearts before the Lord. This isn’t a game—it’s deadly serious!
To emphasize this premise even further, Jesus goes on to tell us in verses 21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
That should certainly raise the hair on the back of your neck! What a horrifying thought. There are actually going to be “many” people who are convinced they are Christians, yet really aren’t, who will be rejected by the Lord!
This type of person is very religious and attends church pretty regularly. They probably volunteer for some kind of ministry in the church, as well as community service projects. They might even tithe and give generously of their money to Godly causes, all the time thinking they’re in good with God.
On the other hand, they may see no problem fudging their expense reports. After all, everyone else does it. And who does it really hurt if they dabble in online porn a few times a week? No one knows. Oh yeah, Colorado finally legalized pot, so…there you go! No more need to feel guilty. Besides, they’re a good person; they said the sinner’s prayer and go to church, so they’re covered. Right?
When we are truly saved, we are instantly filled with the Holy Spirit and made into a new creature in Christ. Our hearts and minds are changed because of His influence. We desire to learn more about this Savior and we want to serve Him out of gratitude—NOT out of obligation, or to score points on some heavenly scoreboard.
We desire to do the right thing in all circumstances, even if we still stumble into sin at times. When that happens, we’re immediately convicted and realize we need to repent and ask our Father’s forgiveness. There’s a huge difference between these two types of “Christians.”
So, what kind of fruit was Jesus referring to that grows on good trees? I’m going to take the following information from my recently purchased, handy-dandy NKJV (David) Jeremiah Study Bible. I think Dr. Jeremiah breaks this down with wonderful clarity.
In Galatians 5, Paul lists nine character traits that the Holy Spirit helps cultivate in a believer’s life, which are referred to as “fruit.”
Love: The greatest of all virtues, love is the power that moves us to respond to someone’s needs with no expectation of reward.
Joy: An inward hope and exuberance in spite of outward circumstances. Joy differs from happiness, which relies on favorable circumstances.
Peace: Both a supernatural calm amid chaos and the ability to bring harmony to divided factions.
Longsuffering: The quiet willingness to accept irritating or painful situations.
Kindness: Generosity and consideration toward others.
Goodness: Moral excellence.
Faithfulness: Enduring loyalty and trustworthiness.
Gentleness: The power to control your reactions to difficult people and situations. It should not be confused with weakness.
Self-control: The ability to restrain inappropriate passions and appetites.
I’m proud to say I’ve aced every single one of those fruits. HAHAHAHAHA! *Whooohoohoo* Actually, let’s just say the Lord is still pruning and cultivating me. How do YOU stack up? What kind of strengths and weaknesses do you see in your fruit? Do you even have any fruit to inspect?
As I frequently say, time is running out. God’s well deserved judgment is coming upon this wicked earth very soon. In Luke 21, Jesus was teaching his disciples about the last days and the coming wrath of God. In verses 34-36, He was very pointed in His warning to be ready.
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
As we stand on the precipice of the most dangerous era in mankind’s history, only a zombified, mammon worshipping, clueless, self-absorbed, cultural-consumer-cretin, Christian-in-name-only would choose to be so enchanted with the things of this earth, that they would fail to conduct a serious spiritual inventory of their lives! I hope they like excitement because when it all starts to hit the fan, they’re gonna see plenty of action! Unfortunately, it won’t be pretty.
Have you taken a good look at your walk with Jesus lately? Are you bearing the fruit the Master Gardener expects? Do you worship any gods before Him? Do you really desire to depart this earth and go home to be with Jesus? Are you watching and praying to be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass? If not, are you crazy?
Please. Prayerfully examine your heart. Ask the Lord to point out any wicked ways in you so you can repent and receive forgiveness. Surrender absolutely everything to Him. Time is running out.
Stop playing church and get serious, because I guarantee you Almighty God is on the cusp of showing this old world exactly Who is in charge. Don’t be caught ‘unawares.’