By Justin Goff
John 15:1-2 NKJV
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Recently on the Grace For This City | Podcast we were looking at the principle of “fruit is proof”.
(You can watch or listen to this series, and more, by searching for the Grace For This City | Podcast on your favorite podcast platform.)
We said that our Father is most interested in us bearing and abounding in the production of fruit that is worthy of His husbandry.
The subsequent fruit that we bare becomes proof of who and whose we are. Fruit is also evidence of the influences prioritized in our hearts…good or bad.
Matthew 7:16-17 AMP
You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit[worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad(worthless) fruit.
I think, by now, we understand that not everybody is who they say they are. How will you know someone then if they are something different than what they portray?
We’re told, you will know them by their fruit! It is impossible to hide indefinitely …whatever is on the inside is going to come out at some point.
Lots of scriptures specifically apply these truths to false teachers, prophets, leaders, antichrist operatives, etc.
But I don’t want to talk strictly about false prophets, etc. in this letter, I want to address why it is imperative and essential to know in a general sense, who we are associated, aligning, and running with.
You and I should welcome and become comfortable with our fruit being inspected. In fact, we should even request it to be done upon occasion. If the goal of the Father is that we produce fruit that is worthy of our union with Him, then anything or anyone who is against such inspection should be met with caution and suspicion.
Again, the Father is interested in fruit. I encourage us all to share in Father’s passion of the production and cultivation of righteous fruit …and to become more aware about the fruit another is producing.
There is a prevalent attitude that resists fruit inspection. Many people simply do not want to be inspected.
I’m not suggesting that we arbitrarily go around pointing fingers at someone else’s actions and decision …but based upon the ecosystem of the Kingdom we are called to hold each other accountable.
I heard a minister say this: “Children don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect.” The wisdom in that statement can be applied on many levels.
There is nowhere in the Kingdom where you can escape inspection. And those who are born of the Kingdom don’t want to hide from it.
Think of it …to hide from God when He desires to work with you to produce the fruit of righteousness …how foolish!
This is why you and I must be vulnerable to the right people …we must not run from pruning and correction ...and we must take responsibility to be prepared to inspect the fruit of others when necessary.
Understand that the expectation to hold each other accountable is primarily within the particular “oikos” or family God has placed you into. I am not advocating that you look someone up on the internet or pick out a televangelist to scrutinize …nope, I strongly discourage that! “Have no opinion where you have no responsibility.”
But within the unique relationships God has connected you with there should be healthy expectations that people are who they say they are and do what they say they will do, etc.
1 Corinthians 12:18 AMPC
But as it is, God has placed and arranged the limbs and organs in the body, each [particular one] of them, just as He wished and saw fit and with the best adaptation.
The “ecosystem” must be kept pure. We are designed to “share” and to “give” of our supply. Whatever is in a person will at some point be made available and shared to others they are connected with.
Ephesians 4:16 NKJV
From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Paul warned in Acts 20 about those who would seek to “come in and among the flock” (oikos) and seek to subvert others for their own gain and benefit. In another place Paul warned that gullible people would be taken advantage of by these types of people and activities.
Do not twist this into a fear-based admonition …but rather, because of the value and worth of the fruit Father is cultivating, we desire to protect His investments in His people and the environment in which we are overseeing! You are His garden!
Don’t be so foolish as to think that the enemy has no desire to taint, shame or diminish you!
There is some fruit that Holy Spirit says should not even be named or seen among us, the born-again child of the King.
Ephesians 5:1, 3-7 AMPC
Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].
But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people). Let there be no filthiness(obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God]. For be sure of this: that no person practicing sexual vice or impurity in thought or in life, or one who is covetous [who has lustful desire for the property of others and is greedy for gain]—for he [in effect] is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one delude and deceive you with empty excuses and groundless arguments [for these sins], for through these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of rebellion and disobedience. So do not associate or be sharers with them.
Notice in verse 6, it says to do not let anyone discuss any excuse for this type of fruit (or types of sin). But rather, cut it out …do not even associate or “be sharers” (do not align, connect with, or become partakers of their supply) with them.
Wow! That’s strong …but it is imperative you have full confidence in the people you are running with these days.
Holy Spirit goes on to remind us that we too once were in darkness …but we now, have been delivered and conveyed into a different way of living and, clearly see the deception connected with living according to the flesh and carnal nature.
Ephesians 5:8-16 AMPC
For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light]. For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him]. Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead[let your lives be so in contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them. For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that [such people]practice in secret. But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light. Therefore, He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light. Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.
There is a real possibility that we will have to adjust as we move forward regarding some of the people and ministries we work and fellowship with …some people, once addressed, may be unwilling to let the Lord and His leaders bring correction and adjustment into their life. If that’s the situation …we move on with the Lord.
It is a difficult thing to do, especially if much has been invested into the relationship …but you must value being and living pure more than the temporal benefits of the relationship.
You’ll have to do hard things. You’ll have to endure rejection for the Lord. But better to please Him in the end.
I want to leave you with this:
There are MANY people and ministries that are living pure before the Lord! There is always a remnant. There are MANY who fear God and serve Him with their whole hearts and lives …even unto death! Locate and associate with these!