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Posts Tagged ‘fruit of righteousness’

Explaining things to a child can sometimes focus truth for an adult. We can’t use big words or speak of abstract theories. No wonder when God walked with us here on Earth, He talked in pictures. Our understanding is so small compared to His mind. My children may never know how much they teach me until they have kids of their own someday.

Recently I was trying to explain to my young daughter that some things that look true are not. The time had come, sooner than I wished, to introduce the fact that not everyone who talks about Jesus knows the real Jesus. I watched her dismay as her innocent mind tried to comprehend the existence of this kind of falsehood.

I cannot give her the whole picture, but attempt to impress on her that we must seek the Word of God for the truth and not believe everything people say. She wanted to know why some people who read the Bible cannot see the truth about Jesus. This I may never be able to explain. I used to be one of those people and I still don’t understand. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25)

Justin Peters, an evangelist and apologist, produced a video exposing some widespread and heinous false teaching.  He repeatedly says, “A false jesus is a false gospel, and a false gospel cannot save you.” I echo his urgency, although I know my words can do nothing to open the eyes of the blind. I can only invite people to seek the true Jesus, and He will give true sight. Seek Him with your whole heart and be willing to lay aside anything you have once valued and believed as true, in order to gain Him, just as the Apostle Paul did. The other side of the coin is that He will find you first. He plants the desire.

Devotion to the false jesus is just as real and passionate as the love and devotion the true Jesus receives. Looking at sincerity alone will most definitely leave you confused.  This is not the evidence Jesus told us to look for in identifying his true messengers and followers.  Paul described his unbelieving Jewish brothers as having great zeal, but not according to the truth.  Jesus instructed us to look at the nature of their fruit.  The New Testament harmoniously explains what the genuine fruit of Jesus, the vine, looks like.  The false jesus redefines everything about the fruit; how it comes, why it comes, and what it looks like.

Because we can always find good-looking fruit of one kind or another, the imitation can be well-designed and hard to discern. When a person with opened eyes tries to explain the differences to those still blind, they seek to defend the false image and characterize their opponents as petty, critical, and unloving. We all know how real counterfeit money looks. If I am using a $100 bill and the cashier tests it to be false, I will be very upset and wish I had a way to prove its authenticity because I stand to suffer a great loss. People with a counterfeit jesus feel the same. They only see what they stand to lose. The problem is there is enough truth in the lie to make it seem very real.

The irony comes when the counterfeit seeks to prove itself as real. When its followers are confronted, they seek to minimize the differences, but when it comes time to promote themselves, they magnify them.  Their sales pitch will attempt to prove they have something special no one else has.  Their claims of superiority may be blatant, subtle, inviting, or fear-laden.  Those outside the camp with a simple faith and uncomplicated, (although genuine) fruit, may be regarded as less than Christian, or even deceived and lost.

How many times have you heard someone define a real Christian or the “true faith” in terms of Old Covenant observances, proper dress, lifestyle, organizational membership, spiritual gifts, a political party, material blessings, or some other thing found in the fine print? These are not necessarily bad things, they are just not the fruit Jesus talked about. He never told us to draw these lines in the sand. At the least they cause confusion, and at their worst, they re-write the gospel when presented as a defining characteristic of who will be saved or lost.

When the false fruit is presented with salvational implications, this is the point at which I have to sadly draw lines in the sand myself, between the truth and the lie. I draw it with tears because people I love are standing on the other side of the line.  I cannot passively allow my children to view the false jesus as authentic. I must teach them to discern and love at the same time.  As they grow, I pray they will seek truth and have faith based on what their own eyes have seen, not what I have told them.  I am sure they will grow to see many things differently than I do, but I pray no matter what road they take, they always see only the real Jesus.

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