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Summary: This message builds off the qustion: "If being a Christian was against the law, and you were charged for being one, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" 4 points discussing possible types of evidence are used.

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Guilty, or Not Guilty

Text: Matthew 7:16-20

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? [17] Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. [19] Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [20] Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

These past 2 weeks have been very interesting in the life of a man in Afghanistan by the name of Abudl Rahman. (Yes, I’m talking about the same country that we just have recently liberated from the oppression of the Taliban hardliners). Anyway, this man had been arrested for the “crime” of converting TO Christianity FROM Islam. As hard as it may be to believe, this Government continues to have in place laws against such an action and if one is caught doing so, it is punishable by death.

After a tremendous amount of outrage from the World community, and of course the citizens of the United States and President Bush, they have decided to allow this man to go, and dropping the charges of apostasy because of the following 2 things:

a. Suspicions he may be mentally ill

b. A lack of evidence.

This past week as I read the story, I thought back to a statement I heard somewhere, and though I cannot remember where, it applied greatly here.

If Christianity was a crime in America, and you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you of this crime?

We have since learned that Italy has granted the man asylum, and somehow he was able to escape all those who wanted to kill him including mobs of people, and is now safe in Italy.

While we are not at that point here in America “yet”, I thought it would be good for us to at least explore the question today and take a look at some of the various kinds of evidence that is collected to provide conviction today and relate it to a person who may be standing trial for Christianity.

We can kind of call it our own C.S.I. Investigation – Christian Scene Investigation.

The Bible says that if you’re going to try to determine what kind of fruit tree is being grown, all it takes is a look at the fruit that is growing from the tree. In other words, Oranges will not grow from Apple trees, and grapes will not grow from fig trees, and of course a Christian will produce good fruit instead of bad fruit that the world produces in their lives.

The first 2 areas we are going to look at apply most often to what those we are around right now can see, and the last 2 are those that will only one day be seen by God Himself who will be the final and ultimate Judge we stand before.

First of all today as each one of us stands trial for being a Christian, we are going to take a look at:

I. CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

How many of you know that nothing we can do can qualify us for Salvation including, but not limited to going to church, reading the Word, prayer, witnessing, putting on bumper stickers and wearing crosses around our neck.


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