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A Tree is Known By its Fruit


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#1 Lori Smith

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:12 AM

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus states, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit” (12:33).

What kind of fruit are Christians known for today? I can tell you what early Christians were known for because history records it. Regarding the nature of early Christians Bruce Shelley writes, “The practical expression of Christian love was probably among the most powerful causes of Christian success. Tertullian tells us the pagans remarked, ‘See how those Christians love one another.’ And the pagan’s words were not irony; he meant them. Christian love found expression in the care of the poor, of widows and orphans; in visits to brethren in prisons or to those condemned to a living in the mines; and in acts of compassion during a famine, earthquake or war” (Church History in Plain Language, p. 35).

Christians do many of these things today, but we are not known for our love. Why not?
In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer writes, "Jesus taught that He wrought His works by always keeping His inward eyes upon His Father. His power lay in His continuous look at God (John 5:19-21)."

#2 elizabethcog

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 05:54 AM

For me i will admit that at times i limit God by my own choices even though i say i don't. we sometimes serve a God of our own making,convience or self instead of serving the one true God who desires to know us in a personal relationship that HE manifests not an organized religious experience or following...
Jesus and Jesus alone saves=D

#3 chipped china

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:58 AM

I've tried contributing to this discussion several times and it's too overwhelming. Please understand these are just my perceptions. I think people with any kind of awareness understand how much churches help people. They really fill in the gaps for people's survival except in the poorest war torn countries. Then I think some of the "liberal's have really used propaganda to make the religious right look intolerant; to a certain degree that's correct.
People have a tendency to wander from God especially when things are going well. My generation... the baby boomers really enjoyed prosperity unseen since this country began. Now that life is tougher I'm hoping to see us turn back towards God the only One who fills us with what we truly desire.


I have always cared for certain people. It wasn't until the Lord showed His love that I have some idea how to love others.


#4 Lori Smith

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:43 AM

I agree with both. I don't think there is one answer to the question. I DO think society has marginalized the perception of Christianity. However, I also think there are many factors that keep many Christians from loving. I think one way is to tell Christians they aren't loved. Extreme legalism accomplishes that--in my opinion.
In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer writes, "Jesus taught that He wrought His works by always keeping His inward eyes upon His Father. His power lay in His continuous look at God (John 5:19-21)."

#5 Lori Smith

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 10:08 AM

I just want to add that I was led to ask this question after doing a research paper for a church history class. There is so much in the church's background that made it what it is today. In America, for example, we have the Puritans from New England that were really one step away from the Church of England that was one step away from the Roman Catholic Church etc. Even the Roman Catholic Church had its own influences that were born out of its Roman base that merged with the early post-apostolic Church and then later became flavored during medieval times etc. The Puritans came out of that rigid society, and when they discovered the gospel they established their own strict rules. Actually, their extreme strictness made them hated by many Americans later and hardly any of their fruit remains in New England.

Then you have the fruit of the Second Awakening that was somber in the Northeast, but quite emotional and flamboyant in Kentucky. Out of that emerged the influence of Baptists and Methodists who were willing to send uneducated preachers to the West. That's why the Baptists and Methodists became so prolific. This formed the Bible belt in America.

However, something else also came out of all of it. Immediately following the Revolutionary War, those who embraced the Enlightenment (really atheist rationalists) joined together with people like the Baptists who also despised tyranny. At that time, a Baptist was seen as a rebel. But later on as secularism grew in America, secularism and the freedom-loving members of the church were no longer united in the same quest. But the church had unknowingly married itself and become embedded within American culture and government. It's hard to separate the two. This has led to strife when secularism increased, and the church in an effort to maintain power in American culture, has found itself fighting against other Americans.

But, the church really isn't supposed to be married to the state. It's supposed to win the lost to Christ in God's Kingdom, not the kingdom of the world. The Catholic Church made a similar mistake. Actually many original bishops had good intentions when they took control because they were trying to guard against heresy. However, the church is meant to be a sharer of the Good News, and when it is incarnated within a government it loses its true identity.

I just think it will be more loving if it were to return to its original purpose. Then it would be simply Christ's body that seeks and saves the lost. Of course as a Republic, that doesn't mean that Christians shouldn't seek representation within their government. However, if Christianity becomes incarnated within the government, when the government changes, Christianity within that culture suffers with it. But when it is separate and a separate influence, that doesn't have to happen.
In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer writes, "Jesus taught that He wrought His works by always keeping His inward eyes upon His Father. His power lay in His continuous look at God (John 5:19-21)."

#6 Jay Turner

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:12 PM

True love is a thing of giving, while expecting nothing in return. When Jesus died on the cross, He gave his life because He loved us, knowing there was no way that we could ever repay Him. The early church was known for this type of giving also, like Lori pointed out, but that is a thing that was lost pretty early on in the life of the church. The thing I am asking myself and the question that I pose here is, how much do we truly and sacrificially give, while expecting nothing in return?
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#7 chipped china

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:12 PM

Ah yes, now we get the real meat! Thanks Lori, I'm glad you're in school learning all this stuff.

#8 Candice

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:59 PM

Christians do many of these things today, but we are not known for our love. Why not?


Lori,
Just read through your post and this is a great question.

I don't believe that Christian love is lacking in expression, i.e. feeding orphans and widows, etc. I just came back from nyc where I visited Times Square Church. Now, that church has the Spirit like I have never seen before. I saw video of all that Times Square Church, as well as other partner churches, have done in response to Hurricane Sandy, not to mention the thousands of dollars per week spent and thousands of volunteers serving homeless weekly there. Now, where I live, you don't see that of course; not in large part.

Do we see Muslims, HIndus, Bhuddists, even Jews, et al, bearing fruit? No, because bearing fruit is of GOD'S SPIRIT. What is so amazing, is that no one sees that (except discerning, eyes-wide-open Christians). It is the matter of scales that have grown so thick on the eyes of the unbelievers. Jews (secular, modern) are supposed to be into "justice and fairness" as their modern-day call, but it seems to be directed mostly to science and arts through foundations. The Jews are presented as having scales on their eyes - as Scripture states. It's so clear.

No one can see the Church at work and it seems that it is accelerating into a fall to me. Nothing but waiting now.

Candice