Bearing Fruit and Legalism-Fruit Inspecting


In our previous study we listed several verses regarding bearing good fruit. It is obvious from these verses that followers of Jesus Christ should bear good fruit. There are dire consequences for those who do not bear good fruit. Most of the verses are addressing behavior and actions more than they are addressing doctrine. 

Many who are legalistic and critical believe their job is to be fruit inspectors and point out the sins, errors, and faults of everyone (of course they say little about their own sin). As we address this topic, we want to make it clear that there are certainly times for ministry leaders to confront sin and address errors and faults of those under their leadership. However, many of those who are critical and legalistic are not leaders within any ministry. They have taken upon themselves to be fruit inspectors and in the midst of their ‘confronting of sin’, they do it in a hurtful, hateful, and judgmental manner. Many times what they are really addressing is issues of preference rather than of doctrine. They normally make assumptions about a persons motives and their heart condition. I personally do not believe it is ever the role of a person to judge the heart or motives of another person. Yes, a person’s actions may show where their heart is at, but we are not God and cannot know the heart of man. So even leaders are not to judge the hearts of those they counsel. When a leader needs to judge fruit and confront sin they do it in a spirit of mercy, love, and humbleness.

Galatians 6:1-2 (NASB95)
1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Lets look at some of the verses that are used by some to justify their critical spirit.

 

Matthew 7:15-20 (NASB95)
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.

You will notice that the above passage defines how you can tell if a person is a sheep or a wolf. What fruits is this talking about? We can assume that it is addressing if a person is walking according to the Word of God in regards to Biblical Doctrine. However, they could have all the doctrine right, but their fruit could be the deeds of the flesh instead of the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:19-23 (NASB95)
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, 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.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-contro
l; against such things there is no law.

Thus, if a person appears to have correct doctrine, but is manifesting the deeds of the flesh, there is the potential they are living their life as a wolf instead of a sheep. Also, be cautious of the doctrine they are teaching. It may appear to be true because they are adamant that they have the truth, but their behavior and actions do not reflect godly character. A person who does not have godly character has the potential to be deceived. 

John 15:16-17 (NASB95)
16 "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
17 "This I command you, that you love one another.

If a person has their doctrine right but does not show love to others, they are not bearing the fruit of a Christian. However, these individuals will question if others are Christians if they do not believe the same as them.

Colossians 1:10 (NASB95)
10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

If a person is not walking in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, does it matter that their doctrine is correct? Yes, of course it does matter, but without the fruit of the Spirit, they are at times they are more detrimental to the Kingdom than good for the Kingdom. Instead of bringing unity they bring disunity.

James 3:18 (NASB95)
18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

If a person who is busy being critical and judgmental is not walking in peace, they are not bearing good fruit. Thus, they are not qualified to be fruit inspectors.

Summary
So many times those who believe they are called to be fruit inspectors are judgmental and critical-they are not bearing good fruit. Thus they actually become hypocrites. They are actually deceived. Because they are deceived, they can be deceived regarding what they believe is true doctrine. We need to be cautious of those who are not manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, when they claim to be speakers and teachers of truth.

If a person is bringing disunity, hatred, criticism, and is judgemental, they are not speaking truth in love.

Ephesians 4:15 (NASB95)
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

Be cautious of such individuals.

If these individuals would spend as much time winning the lost as they do judging Christians, there would be many more people being born again.

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