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The Fruits of a Christian Life

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 FRUITFUL Christian life is a bright and shining light in this darkened  world. The Word says, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee." We feel that it will not be long until the night comes when no man can work. Even in the Lord's time He said, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." We are 2,000 years closer to that night. We have great light and we must give an account for that light.


When Christ walked with the disciples He said, "I am the light of the world"; but He was going to the Father, and He also said to His dis­ciples, "Ye are the light of the world." Why were they the light of the world? Because they had Christ in them. They were to take up the work where He left off. Jesus said, "Greater works than these shall he do; be­cause I go unto my Father" (John 14:12).


We thank God for the light, but God expects us to let that light .shine "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." That is our mission; that is our business. We have seen people witness for Christ and let their light shine. When a man or woman who is walking in the light, walking humbly before the living God, testifies, every Christian recognizes the Spirit of God in his testimony and it brings a response from those who are of kindred spirits.


No one needs to be ignorant as to the characteristics of a Christian life, for the Word of God tells us that "the tree is known by his fruit" (Matthew 12:33). It is not what we profess, but what we are, that counts. It is the life that we live, the spiritual fruit that we bear, that tells the story. A person is either a good spiritual tree or a bad spiritual tree. There are only two kinds. If you are a good tree you are bringing forth good fruit; if you are a bad tree you are bringing forth bad fruit.


Every one that talks about Heaven is not going there. Jesus said that many would come to Him in that Great Day and say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:22, 23). Just think of that! Think of the throngs telling Him what they have done for Him. No genuine bona fide Christian goes around telling what He is doing for the Lord. A real Christian tells what the Lord is doing for him. We had better examine ourselves and see if we are living what we profess. Let us find out if we are bringing forth the proper kind of fruit.


The greatest fruit of the Spirit is love — the love of God in the heart. Paul speaks of this love as charity, and in the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians he relates the ingredients of this wonderful fruit of love:


"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

"Charity suffereth long, and, is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

"Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

"Rejoiceth net in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; "Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

"Charity never faileth:

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."


Paul here said, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." We may have a voice like an angel, but if we do not have the love of God in our hearts we are nothing more than sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.


We must be sure that we are bearing the proper kind of fruit. Love is a wonderful fruit of the Spirit. Love "vaunteth not itself." That is one of the ingredients of this fruit of the Spirit. And one who has the Spirit within him is not trying to put himself into a place to be seen. He is not trying to promote himself; no, he wants to promote Jesus.


A lesson along this line can be learned from the incident told of a little boy. The lad was walking down a country road at evening time, whistling as he walked along, carrying a big string of trout, in his hand. On his way home he met a city fisherman, a literary man, with all his fine equipment and a costly rod. The man had fished all day and was on his way back to the city, with an empty creel. He said to the boy, "Boy, how did you do it?" He answered, "Mister, I kept out of sight."


The same principle is true if one wants to be a successful Christian worker. One who wants to "catch" men and win them for Christ must keep out of sight; he must put Jesus forward. Exalt Christ; He is the One who draws men unto Himself. Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32). If the flesh is lifted up — if man lifts up himself — he draws no one to Christ. When Christ wins a soul, that soul is saved through and through; he lives a clean and holy life. He is a bright and shining light. That is the kind of converts we want to see.


Keep out of sight; keep humble. Love "is not puffed up." No one has anything to be puffed up about. When a person gets to thinking that he is doing well and traveling along fine, he is due for a puncture. And he will get it! In spite of his efforts to promote himself he will always be in the background. Those who are really standing for God's Gospel are giving the Holy Ghost pre-eminence in their lives — not the flesh. Jesus said, "The flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). This way is a straight and a narrow way.


There is only one way to Heaven, and that, is the way of the Bible. We must take all the Word of God and eat the whole Lamb with the bitter herbs. They will be bitter, too, sometimes. Jesus said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). All of the Word is important and vital, perhaps a thousand times more than one realizes. Let us obey it! Let us stand for it That is the reason the Gospel stands today — because of people who stood for what they heard from the beginning. That is the reason the Gospel is spreading, growing, and progressing. How we thank God for our precious Mother in the Gospel who came here and preached this Gospel to us. Aren't we glad — some of us at least — that we absorbed all she preached and took it all in? We embraced it and felt it was just what we needed, what we wanted; and we sold out to God — and today we are trying to hold up the standard that was preached to us in the begin­ning of this work. "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life." That is the way I want to take, and the way I want to keep on.


There are those who say, "I believe Jesus; I have accepted Him." How do you live? It is not what you say, but what you live, that tells the world whether you are a Christian or not. Are you walking in the light? Are you bearing these fruits of the Spirit?


We know that love vaunteth not itself and that it is not puffed up, but the Word goes further than that; it says that one who has this fruit of the love of God "thinketh no evil." Some people who claim to be Chris­tians are thinking evil all the time. They think evil of their neighbor and keep talking about him. Yet they say, "I am a Christian!" They are mis­taken they certainly are! Love "thinketh no evil." One who possesses love is long-suffering and kind. If he has God's love in his heart he waits; he prays; and he holds on to God when he sees someone going amiss. Instead of going after that person with "hammer and tongs" he gets down and prays for him. That one is long-suffering, kind, and patient.


We read more about the ingredients of this love of God: "Doth not behave itself unseemly." That means one does not behave himself un­becomingly; he does not walk unbecomingly; neither does he walk like the World. He does not conform himself to the world. He does the opposite of that of the world. He is transformed by Grace Divine and he is a new Creature in Christ Jesus. His whole life is changed; his conversation and all his conduct is changed. That is the Gospel of Christ.


If anyone wants to know how to live, let that person read his Bible. It will tell him how to walk; it will tell him how to talk; and it will tell him how to conduct himself. It will tell children how to treat their parents and how they should live. The Bible is a wonderful Book. It leaves no one out; it takes all of us in — young and old. It so instructs in righteousness that everyone can know exactly the way to Heaven.


The Word says that one who has charity in his heart "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." We know there are some who cannot endure very much. They can bear a little; but under a certain provocation they get frustrated. They lose their patience and say unkind words. But the love of God works out anywhere. In the home it keeps things running smoothly. It teaches the fathers how to live; it teaches the mothers and other members of the family how to get along together. God's love in one's heart makes a person a blessing to everyone around. It puts confidence in the children that their parents have the real thing — that they have the love and godliness they profess to have.


Just recently a brother was telling me that he had turned from a life of sin because of his godly mother's influence. He said that whenever he would gamble or take a drink of beer, his mother's face always came up before him. That is the way to live — in such a manner that when your children start to go out into sin they will see your face and it will rebuke them. It is a privilege to have a godly mother and father. We have heard our overseer tell of his mother's godly life and of her influence as he was growing up. If any controversy arose, the first thing she would say was, "We will go and see what the Word says." And whatever the Word of the Lard said was Yea and Amen in that home.


There are still more ingredients in this fruit of the Spirit: "Seeketh not her own." A true Christian is not selfish. "Number one" is not the first in his or her life. The other person is his concern, the one who is down-and-out and in need. The welfare of a brother or a sister in distress is being kept in mind. Let us remember that love is one of the fruits of the Spirit.


"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." Charity, consisting of its numerous and marvelous in­gredients, is only one of the fruits of the Spirit. In the fifth chapter of Galatians, we read of other fruit:


"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

        "Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."


Paul here tells us of that joy a Christian has in his heart. Peter, too, speaks of joy, and says, "Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." It is also spoken of in Nehemiah 8:10, "The joy of the LORD is your strength." God wants His people to be joyful Christians. In fact, that is the only kind of Christians there are — joyful ones. A Christian is joyful be­cause he knows he is right with God. He knows his name is written in Heaven and that Jesus leads him by the still waters and in green pastures. That is why his joy overflows.


The next fruit spoken of here is the fruit of peace, the peace that passes all understanding; the peace that flows like a river when every­thing is upside down — as the world is today. There is no peace in this world. Men are trying to obtain it, trying to legislate it; and they are fighting for it. Yes, they are trying to seek it — but they, cannot find it. But the Christian has what they are looking for, what they are fighting for and cannot get. The Christian has gone to the source of peace and has the real peace of God in his heart, and he is not fighting with anyone. Everything runs smoothly with him. Jesus said:


"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John 14:27).


The peace that Jesus gives is a different kind of peace; it is the peace that is always understanding. When trouble comes and turmoil is on every hand, within the heart is a deep-settled peace.


Another fruit spoken of is gentleness. That is a wonderful fruit, too. Oh, that fruit of tenderness, mildness, and kindness! I have had the privi­lege of realizing, on certain occasions. what that gentleness is in Christians as they visited me when I was sick and going through heavy trials and through deep waters. Some who came to see me breezed in and started to talk about the things of the world and what was going on in town. My heart would just ache when they left. I was so disappointed; they did me no good. Afterward someone would come with that gentle spirit, and he would get down and pray for me, and help me realize that God was with me and that He would pull me through. They left a sweet savor behind them that lasted for hours and days. David said of gentleness, "Thy gentleness hath made me great."


I wonder how many professed Christians have all these fruits of the Spirit in their lives. Jesus said, very tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, arid cast into the fire" (Matthew 7:19). Let us take inventory, examine our hearts, our walk, and our daily life, and find out if we possess the real love of God in our heart. Let us be certain!

By Rev J. Robbins

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