Mat 7:16-20 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
You can’t always see the manifestation of disease or corruption, but eventually, it will come out.
Mat 12:34 “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
What you are under the soil will come out above. You cannot judge people, but you can be a fruit inspector. You can see what kind of character a person is by their conduct, speech, etc.
Col 3:9-10 “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
Putting on the ‘new man’ isn’t something that just happens once. It is ‘renewed’ daily in our minds. You must continually remind yourself, discipline yourself, and get your mind in control (under submission to the Lord Jesus Christ). Add to your ‘To-Do’ list a ‘Don’t-Do’ list. ‘This is what I’m not going to do today.’
There are 2 things you have to do to be a Christian:
1. Add to your life good.
2. Take away from your life bad.
Eph 4:22-24 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
If you plant an apple seed in the midst of a bunch of lemon trees, and you cultivate it and nurture it, you’ll still get an apple tree. It’s in the seed. The knowledge and the things you plant in your spirit makes a difference. It’s Adam versus Jesus going on inside of you. It’s the sinful nature versus the divine nature, the flesh versus the spirit.
When the Israelites were told to occupy the Promised Land, they had to drive out the previous owners. It’s no different when you want to be a Christian. There are already thoughts and habits that must be driven out. You have to evict the works of the flesh. Don’t let negative, carnal thinking be resident in your mind. ‘Stinking thinking’ doesn’t need to be in your head.
Gal 5:17-18 “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
You cannot do good because you are carnal and the flesh is in control. You either are or you’re not. You can’t serve both masters—Jesus and the flesh.
Gal 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
These are things that are innate, naturally in us. We were born with these things in us. When we meet Jesus and we have to continuously, vigilantly, evict these things.
The works of the flesh:
Adultery is at the top of the list. It’s unfaithfulness to your marriage vows.
Fornication is ‘Porneia’ (Greek) which is where we get pornography from. It is elicit sexual immorality. It includes adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, beastiality, incest.
Uncleanness is anything opposite of purity; morally lustful and impure use of the body.
Lasciviousness is anything that fosters lust and sexual sins, unbridled lust, insolence, shameless wantonness.
God created you for righteousness and truth and love and joy and hope and peace! You WERE ‘born that way,’ but you need to be BORN AGAIN. We’re not speaking against homosexuality, we’re speaking against flesh.
Some people are genetically prone to alcoholism, but you can be born again and delivered! Christian characters takes a fight—evicting the bad guy, the ‘old man’, and letting in the ‘new man’.
Idolatry is anything on which affections are passionately set, worship of Mammon, the god of money. This is anything that gets worship from us, anything that is set higher than Jesus.
Witchcraft is (Greek) ‘pharmakeia’, sorcery, medication, magician, the use of drugs, poisoning. This is the mishandling of drugs, something illegal or prescribed. It is a desire of the flesh. God has made healing available through drugs, but the mishandling of it is what witchcraft is all about.
Hatred is a passionate desire to despise something.
Variance means contention to wrangle, want to win, want to fight. Without God it causes trouble.
Wrath means passionate anger. ‘Be angry and sin not.’
There is a shift from the lust of the body to internal things.
Seditions means to be dis-unified, division, disunion.
Heresies means a clique, forming a sect or different group, separation.
Revelings means to party, riot, carousal as if letting loose, riotous processions, division.
Everything inside of us is anti-Christ, anti-Jesus, anti-the things of God.
James 3:11-13 “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”
‘Who’s got knowledge or their right mind among you? Show me by the way you live.’
James 3:14-16 “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
We’re not blaming the devil or the world for this, this is just you—the flesh.
James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
All are welcome. There is no prerequisite to be a Christian. All you need is desire to do things God’s way.
Gal 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
The fruit of the Spirit:
Gal 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
All of this comes from love. ‘God is love.’
Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (emphasis mine)
People need to see kindness from you. You might be a Christian if you’re kind to people who don’t deserve it.
Meekness means to be humble, opposite of anger and retaliation.
Temperance is self-control. There needs to be temperance in your life, like tempered steel. People who have anger issues need temperance.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm.