PART I – THE FRUIT
In the recent past there has been a lot of talk going on about churches in a negative light… not just in this country but even elsewhere in the world. Sometime back you might have seen on social media about the church that had its members eat grass in South Africa. Another story shortly emerged about a nudist church where the members claim that they are going back to the roots. Again in the recent past there has been a lot of talk on Mavuno Church about the poster they had that didn’t go well with a large number of people while some defended why they were not wrong in doing so.
All this has made me ask a lot of questions within myself about churches. We have so many churches today that teach and believe all manner of things and one would wonder, what is the right church to go to? How do you know and Judge (Not to condemn) the right church to be part of? What do you look for to decide that this is the right place to go? This has been nagging me because I am at a stage in my life that am about to have a family and where I go for spiritual nourishment is not just for me but as a priest in the home consequently flows to the rest of my family. I have done some research and come up with some pointers toward this.
This is based on Numbers 17:1 – 11. Please read it as you refer to what I am going to write.
The story in Numbers 17 is a continuation of what happened in chapter 16 and in a nutshell there was a rebellion against Moses and Aaron in the land caused by three individuals namely Korah, Dathan and Abiram. They consolidated 250 leaders behind them to rally against Moses telling him that he is too busy and has ruled for too long and therefore challenging his authority. Without going into details, the ground opened up and swallowed these three, fire came from the heavens and consumed the 250 leaders and then a plague breaks out and 14,700 people who supported the rebellion were consumed by the plague. This is really scary to say the least.
I ask myself “How then can I keep from getting sucked in to such rebellion or cultic activity? How can I be protected? This is where Chapter 17 gets in and this is why this is titled – God’s Measuring Rod. God didn’t want his people to be deceived again, so Aarons Rod came to life while the rest stayed as dead wood. This would be a sign to the people that Moses and Aaron were the ones in authority. So the question is – Who does the Rod ultimately speak of, or point to?
Isaiah 11 – the Rod speaks of and points to Jesus Christ. There is going to come a rod, a symbol of authority from the stem of Jesse – David’s father. The Rod that is going to come is going to have counsel, wisdom and Knowledge and fear of YHWH… He will be right in all that He says and does and then it continues to say how this rod is going to come will rule and reign on the earth and ultimately make things right.
But this rod – Jesus Christ was cut down when the people in that day said – We will not have this man rule over us! It was a rebellion just like Korah, Dathan and Abiram and the 250 leaders. They didn’t want his authority and they wanted him crucified. But Isaiah 53 says this is exactly what would happen. This rod, this root coming out of dry ground will be smitten and bruised and wounded… He will be slaughtered for our transgressions. They put him in the tomb BUT on the third day he budded, he blossomed, he bloomed just like he said.
How do we know that Jesus should be the one we should be following after? Linked to? Giving our lives to? What about Budha? Allah? Whoever it might be? Jesus one time was asked for a sign but he replied that a wicked and an adulterous generation seek for signs but one sign I will give to you the sign of Jonah. As Jonah was in the whale for three days and three nights, so shall the son of man be in the grave and the center of the earth for three days and three nights.
The one sign that proves that Jesus has all the authority, that we listen to, that we submit to, that we link our lives to is the resurrection of him from the dead. All the others died but only Jesus Budded, blossomed and came to life and gave out fruit. This is why we are committed to Jesus Christ. All the others are liars and thieves. After rising from the dead he gathered all the disciples and asked them to go to the ends of the earth to make disciples of all men. Paul even goes ahead to say – Follow me as I follow Christ.
You see most of us have no problem with what Jesus said and who he is, but have problems with these other people going around claiming to be teachers or claiming to speak for God or whatever it might be. How can we know? Just like Jesus proved to be who he claimed, by the fruit, the almonds that budded and the blossoms that were there and the life that was seen. That is how you know. Jesus asked us in Matthew 7:15 – 20 to be careful of false prophets and wolfs in sheep’s clothing. He goes on to say that you shall know them by their fruit. There is a way to know if someone is really from Jesus or is anointed by Him, just check out their Fruit, just like the rod that blossomed, there was almonds, buds and blossoms.
SO what is fruit? Galatians 5:22 – 23. The fruit of the spirit is LOVE. The others are aspects of Love. Jesus Says that – All men will really know that you are my disciples by your Love for one another. 1 Corinthians 13 describes what Love is, and Jesus says – By their FRUIT you will know them. The fruit being spoken of here is LOVE. Does the person have a passion for God and a Love for people? If that’s there then that is a key indicator that this is a person that truly is Jesus’ disciple because AGAPE LOVE cannot be faked. This kind of Love can only be produced by the spirit. So my decision on this is – I don’t care how much one knows, I don’t care how much faith they have that could move mountains, I don’t care how many good works they do, I don’t care how well they speak… with the tongues of angels, the fact of the matter is Paul here says if there is no Love then it DOESN’T MATTER ABIT.
So the key is to see – is the Rod Budding with fruit, with Almonds?