What I’m about to say is not directed at anyone specifically, but a group of “Christians” in general. This is something I’ve observed (for as long as I’ve been saved anyway) and something my parents have observed since they’ve been saved (since the 70’s) and it seems to be consistent. I’ve found that the people who scream Hallelulah the loudest, people who do the most ‘service’ for God (and tell you about it), people who are super spiritual, super loving (not Biblical love but a friendly superficial love that never rebukes or warns or helps bros/sisters out of sin etc.), who follows every preacher and thinks all of them are doing God’s work and just loves them in spite of their message because they are just so loving and kind and they do their best to make sure you know it, (notice it’s all about them and how you perceive them – an image if you will), the people who sing the loudest, who have their hands permanently pointed skyward as the tears trickle down their faces (even out of church for all to see), (not saying anything is wrong with that in church – just putting this together with everything else), in my, and my parent’s experience, these are the people who are white-washed tombs, who are the most wretched spiritually, who don’t have an ounce of discernment, who are ‘groupies’ to these false teachers, who have no spiritual fruit (not works, but fruit), who have itchy ears and will follow any manner of doctrine (which is a huge indication that they hate the truth). These are the people who look Godly on the surface, have a good reputation, and are generally looked up to but unfortunately lead people in the same direction they’re going.
But I’ve found that the people who are Biblicaly grounded, who actually have bad days or times when they can admit that life just stinks sometimes, (like real people – not concerned about being showy) or if these people slip up and maybe get out of control with their tongue, or even if they do something wrong but later they repent, forgive, whatever, these people are the ones who actually possess spiritual fruit are not just putting on a show. We all sin and are going to do or say something bad, look at the prominent characters in Scripture. You cannot discern fruit from their actions or works because works can be good or bad. You can deny Jesus like Peter did or kill a soldier like David did but the fruit we look for is seen afterwards – after they realized they have sinned. They repented, they saw their sin, were grieved and repented.
Then there’s the works of the good variety – say you go around helping sick orphans or visit hospitals (which is fine) but when presented with a test or trial, you absolutely refuse to forgive, refuse to admit guilt, refuse to show Biblical love and perhaps even slander your brother/sister. If they continue in this, then there is no fruit. Good works but no fruit and THAT is how we know if they are truly in the faith.
The people that can humbly admit when they’re wrong, or take gentle correction said out of love (myself included)…..THESE are my brothers and sisters!!!!!! The people that love the Lord and His truths who will publicly proclaim them in all opposition, THESE are my brothers and sisters! The people who are sensitive to their sins and perhaps others’ sins and who have fruit both in public and behind closed doors where no one is watching….THESE are my brothers and sisters! Fruit is the key, the indication as to who your bros/sisters are. Again, not works, but fruit. How do they act in the midst of trials? After an arguement? If they’ve been wronged?
Mat 7:16 16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits…”