You Shall Know Them By Their Fruits

They resort to coercion because they lack credibility.
They lack credibility because they have no fruit of the Spirit.
They have no fruit of the Spirit because they do not obey correct doctrine.


The first line came to me years ago in my observations about Islam and other totalitarian ideologies that respond to verbal preaching with physical violence.  As I pondered it, it came to me that such enforcers of false doctrines utilize all forms of coerscion, not just physical violence.  This greatly broadened the definition of "persecutors" to include those who coerce against the Gospel by peer pressure, economic pressure, political pressure, threat of litigation, etc., ie, all forms of coerscion & manipulation & incentive, positive & negative. They do so out of frustration that not enough people pay their ideas (or lack thereof) much attention - because they lack credibility.  And so, wielding neither respect (moral authority) nor credibility nor sufficient bribes they cannot satisfy their frustrated craving to influence people.   "They resort to coerscion because they lack credibility."

In the Christian context, (and often the broader one, as well), the fruit of the Spirit is among the first things Jesus taught to look for in those who purport to represent the LORD: "You shall know them by their fruits", Matthew 7:15-20.  "My sheep know My voice... they will run from a stranger," John 10:4-5, etc.   Condensed and paraphrased it becomes, "They lack credibility because they have no fruit of the Spirit."

And the last line is a combining of several Scriptures such as James 3:17-18 and Galatians 5:22-23 and Luke 6:43-45 and Matthew 12:33, James 1:20-22, etc., to become:  "They have no fruit of the Spirit because they do not obey correct doctrine."

James 3:13-18
13 But who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
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No room for carnal coerscion there.

Galatians 3:5
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith [ie, belief in correct doctrine]?
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The Spirit is supplied in response to the preaching & hearing of faith, the true faith, ie, correct doctine.

Acts 10:44-48
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word, [ie, the preaching & hearing of correct doctrine]. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered, 47 "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
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 The Spirit has a recognisable effect through those who are moved by Him.

Galatians 5:22-26
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
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The fruitbearing is God's imprimatur, His official seal of approval, upon those who do His will. By such blossoming of the fruit of the Spirit, God's true representatives are distinguished from the false.

Numbers 16:1-50 through Numbers 17:1-11 & Hebrews 9:4
17 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father's house, all their leaders according to their fathers' houses — twelve rods. Write each man's name on his rod. 3 And you shall write Aaron's name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father's house. 4 Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. 5 And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom; thus I will rid Myself of the complaints of the children of Israel, which they make against you."
6 So Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and each of their leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers' houses, twelve rods; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. 7 And Moses placed the rods before the Lord in the tabernacle of witness.
8 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds. 9 Then Moses brought out all the rods from before the Lord to all the children of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod.
10 And the Lord said to Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die."
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If you follow their lessons of word & example, you will become like them, whether good or bad.

Luke 6:40-45
40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the sliver in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the stick in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the sliver that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the stick that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the stick from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the sliver that is in your brother's eye.
43 "For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
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Angry, bitter men do not represent God.

James 1:20-23
20 For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
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 The purpose the the Word, New Testament teachings, (Christ's commandments), is to produce love, etc.

1 Timothy 1:5-7
5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
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Anyone who has not in his heart a harvest of love, etc., is nothing and has nothing, nothing in the eyes of God to offer others.

1 Corinthians 13:2-8
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, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails.

Acts 5:32
And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."
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John 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

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And this is love, that we walk after Christ's commandments ~2 John 6