Know Them by Their Fruit, Not Their Gifts!
You will know them by their fruits. Matthew 7:16
Several passages of scripture reference people being deceived in the end by false prophets (Matthew 24:4-14), false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), false teachers (2 Timothy 4:3-5), and people with a form of Godliness (2 Timothy 3:1-6). Matthew 7:15 says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” How can we make sure we are not deceived by these false messengers? The answer is in the next verse. Matthew 7:16a says, “You will know them by their fruits.” This was so important, it is even repeated 4 verses later in verse 20. We shall know people by their fruits, not their gifts. Notice that some people will be deceived by prophets, apostles, and teachers. These are all gifts of God for the five-fold ministry mentioned in Ephesians 4:7-12. Matthew 24:24 says they will “show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Once again, signs and wonders would be supposed gifts of the Spirit and not fruit!
Romans 11:29 says, the gifts are irrevocable (NKJV), without repentance (KJV), unchanging (ISV), and can never be withdrawn (NLT). If a person is saved and then gifted by God, that person is still gifted by God 10 years later, regardless if they are walking with God or not. A person may write or sing an incredibly, anointed song. However, that proves nothing of their walk with God, because we are not to know people by their gifts! We are to know them by their fruit, “love, joy, peace, [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22b-23a). Are they bearing fruit worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8)? Are blessings chasing and overtaking them (Deuteronomy 28:2)? Has God taken sickness and disease out of their midst (Exodus 23:25)? An apple tree is known by its fruit, apples. We, as Christians, should also be known by our fruit and not our gifts. If we focus on people’s fruit, instead of their gifts, we will not be deceived. We should all start by inspecting our own fruit! (1 Corinthians 11:31)