When Actions Speak Louder Than Words. There are many people who claim to be Christians. They attend local churches, join in church activities, and may even be some of the most active members of the local church. However if you were to look closely at these people they are anything but Christian. These folks put on their Sunday morning face at church but the rest of the week, when they are not at church, they behave in horrible ways. Now I am not talking about people involved in immorality or something like that (though that happens). Rather I am talking about people who appear to be nice and Christian on the surface but when you get to know them they are very ugly indeed. I know several people like this. One lady I can think of has everyone in her church fooled. She plays the role of the little old church widow very well. However everyone in the neighborhood knows how mean the woman is. This is mainly true for those of us who grew up around her. In fact she was my best friend's grandmother. So I got a up-close view of her behavior. What about people like this? Well the Bible actually has alot to say about this subject. Just because someone claims to be a Christian, attends church, and is active in the local church does not mean he/she is a Christian. Jesus said, "you will know them by their fruits" (Matt 7:20). In the context our Lord was talking about good fruit and bad fruit and how there are false prophets who appear to be sheep but who are really wolves (vs15-19). So how can we discern between the true sheep and the goats? By their fruit. Look at the fruit of their lives. Paul wrote an entire section on fruit in Galatians chapter 5. "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are:" vs19a Now Paul is getting ready to describe, in broad terms, the fruit of the flesh. That is he is going to describe how the person who is living in the flesh may behave. "immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forwarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God" vss 19b-21 This describes the lifestyle of the one who is controlled by the flesh. Those who practice sin prove that they are not Christians. O, they may play the game. They may even look the part on the surface. But if their lives are consistantly bearing fruits such as disputes, factions, strife, and such, it proves that they are in the flesh. Such people "cannot please God" (Rom 8:8). In fact Scripture teaches that they have set their minds on the things of the flesh and the result of that is death (Rom 8:6). They are "hostile toward God" and cannot submit to God (Rom 8:7). This is a dark picture. However as Jesus Himself said, "a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit" (Matt 7:18). The tense Jesus uses in verse 27 ("bears") indicates that, like Paul, Jesus is talking about the pattern of a person's life. If a person is always the cause of strife (etc) then that is bad fruit and proves that they are a bad tree. Someone may say, but they claim to be a Christian. They even know their Bible and teach Sunday School. Worse yet this person is a deacon! That all maybe true but keep in mind what Paul said: "They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed" Titus 1:16 (see also 1John 2:1-6). Returning to Galatians Paul now gives the fruit of the good tree. The fruit of the life devoted to God. The results of the saved life. The result of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (see Rom 8:9-13). "But the fruit of the Spirit" vs22 Here Paul contrasts the fruit of the flesh (vss19-21) with the fruit of the Spirit (vss22-24). "is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." vss 22-23 That is a stark contrast with the description of the person who is living in the flesh (vss19-21). The lifestyle of the Spirit filled believer is one of victory over sin. The indwelling Holy Spirit makes His presence known. His presence is known by the fruit of the life. That fruit Paul describes above. It is the fruit of the life that is totally given over to God (vs24). I am not saying that we should be "fruit inspectors" on other people. Far from it! We should examine ourselves first and foremost. What kind of fruit does our lives produce? That is the question. What I have done in this post, hopefully, is to provide an answer to the important question: Why are there hypocrites in the church? The answer is very simple. They are there because not everyone who is involved in the local church is saved. We know this by their fruits. In Christ, Martin.