Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And The Verdict Is...

"...bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." - John 15:8

There is one trial that every man must face, no matter how sinful or righteous he may be. It is a trial that is inescapable. No no, I am not talking about judgment before God. We all, one day soon, will stand before God and be justified or justly punished by our life on this earth. This isn't the trial I have in mind. That is a trial that is to come. The one I speak of is a trial that is presently going on daily.

How does one conclude that another is guilty of a crime? The best fighting chance anyone has of proving anything is through evidence. And good evidence at that. A prosecutor must present exceptional and indisputable evidence to convict a murderer. They must gather such things as finger prints, DNA, witnesses, etc. Whether we as believers know it or not, we too are being constantly examined for a "crime" we may have committed. What's the crime, you ask? The crime of true discipleship. Is there enough evidence for one to convict you of being a Christian?

Evidences of True Discipleship
  1. The defendant knows that in himself, he is nothing, but through faith in Christ and grace from God, he is declared righteous in the eyes of God. "God who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus..." - 2 Tim. 1:9
  2. The defendant loves God and obeys His commands. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." - John 14:15
  3. Love is overflowing from the heart of the defendant. "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love, abides in death." - 1 John 3:14
  4. Fruits of the Spirit are evident in the defendant's life. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." - Gal.5:22-23
  5. The defendant is and aims to be pure as Christ is pure. "And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure." - 1 John 3:3
  6. The light of Jesus Christ is illuminated in the defendant. - "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." - Matt. 5:16
  7. Lastly, the defendant is persecuted for the sake of Christ but does not retaliate nor hold ill will towards their persecutors, but rather rejoices in the opportunity for suffering for the sake of Christ. "A servant is no greater than his master. If they persecuted me they will persecute you." - John 15"20; "We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces...hope.."- Rom. 5:3-5

As you measure yourself up to the overwhelming evidence of a true disciple, how do you stand? If a stranger was to watch you for a day, will there be enough evidence for you to be found guilty or not guilty of true discipleship? Whatever the verdict may be, I'll reiterate Christ's warning: "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit." - Luke 6:43-44. What does your tree say about you? Are your guilty? I realize this may seem far-fetched, but examination of faith is made daily against us even when we don't know it.

The world is watching friends, what is their verdict for you?


Ben Makuh said...

Wow, great post. I've never thought of it as a "trial" before, but it certainly is. I like the detail that you put into it, how we need to realize that others are critiquing us to a great degree. Therefore, we should live like Christ to a great degree!

I'm definitely into details, so here's one thing I noticed: "Fruits of the Spirit are evident in the defendant's life. "But the fruit of the Spirit..." I once read that it's often easy to confuse this, and I definitely have before. But there are no fruits of the spirit (plural) there is fruit of the spirit. The difference is subtle- all of the attributes listed come as a "package." However, that doesn't really change the meaning of the article, so I must say well done!

Ashley said...

Thanks Ben, you're right though. It's more of a habit to say "fruits" rather than the correct "fruit". But to be literal, the "fruit" of the Spirit manifests itself in many "fruits" which is probably why we're so predisposed to writing it that way. Thanks for dropping by.