(inspired from a message by Ray Comfort)
Like I said in part one, the purpose of this teaching is NOT to scare you out of your salvation, but to help you have a clear presentation of the gospel, and to give you an understanding that all who say they are "SAVED" may indeed not be saved, that's why their lives have never changed. A life touched by Jesus is a changed life!
In all this, I want the true believer to remember the keeping power of the LORD for His children. John 10:28 (no one will snatch us out of His [God's] hand); Heb. 13:5 (I will NEVER leave you…); Phil. 1:6 (…He has has begun a good work in you will complete it…)
Today, I want us to start this devotion by looking at :
4 Soils – Reveal the Response of Man's Hearing the Word.
Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23 Parable of the Sower. Preaching the gospel – 4 different responses.
In Mark 4:13, Jesus in discussing this parable with His disciples says, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? Jesus emphasizes the importance of this parable, and then goes into exact detail on what it means. YET, people have disagreement on what it means. Personally, I think part of the misunderstanding is that we want to think that anyone who "hears" the word and has any response whatsoever is saved (i.e. stony and thorny ground), but this is not true. Let's take a look at these 4 soils.
(unreceptive) Hard surfaces – due to constant foot traffic (seed does not penetrate). Does not understand. These are the people who obviously don't receive – These people we know didn't get saved.
Stony Ground (insincere-wrong motives) – Very shallow root system. Immediately receives with joy/gladness, but when faith is tested ((tribulation/persecution), immediately falls away. These are those people who at first act like they have had a salvation experience, but time reveals their true spiritual state, and they too bear no fruit and soon fall away.
Thorny Ground – Cares (Lit. distractions) of this world, deceitful riches (Mark 4:19 adds "…desire for other things") choke the seed and it becomes unfruitful (Luke 8:14 adds "…bring no fruit to maturity"). These again look like they had a salvation experience, but they fade away and bring no fruit to maturity.
Good soil – Hears AND Understands (Luke 8:15 says, "…with a noble and good heart, keep it…" Bear fruit, some 30, others 60, others 100. Notice ALL on the Good soil
3. KEEPS IT. All good soil people hear, understand, and keep (i.e., bear fruit), though at different levels. Slow growth might be better than quick growth and crashing!!!
We have FOUR soils who heard the Gospel but ony ONE soil was a changed life!!!
We need to face up to the fact that all who go to church aren't saved, even all who "appear" to be saved aren't saved! Ex. Sheep (saved)/Goats (lost) both in the church – Matt. 25:32,33.
Wheat (saved)/Tares (lost) again both are together, i.e. in the church – Matt. 13:36-43. Church doesn't save you, no more than jumping into water makes you a fish.
I believe a good dose of severe persecution would purify the church and reveal true and false Christians – Rev.2:8-11
Preach it right:
Getting a decision for Christ without preaching repentance, wrath (Rom. 1:18), guilt, hell is wrong.
Signs of a TRUE Convert:
A true convert will love the Word, love fellowship with other believers, love worship, care about the lost, etc.
Without true conversion, you will go back to the world - Some are falsely called backsliders, but were never converted to start with.
True converts will FALL (slip) into sin – Gal. 6:1, but false converts DIVE into sin.
Ray Comfort story:
A man comes late at night (3:00 am) to a Senior Pastor's house for counseling. Then, when allowed in, he trys to kill the pastor with a 40-inch machette. The next day another pastor says the man was a member in his church. He says, "Another Christian doing that to a pastor." Ray Comfort says, "Hold on a minute!" We need to know that machete swinging, attempting to kill a pastor is a good indication that he is not a TRUE Christian. We have to stop embracing everyone who names the name of Christ. There are those who "claim Christ but have never been Born Again!"
We need to check our hearts. Are you a true child of God (Christian), then you will BEAR FRUIT!
Fruit will come forth in some portion. It will vary in time to maturation and how much it yields - 30, 60, 100!
The bottom line is
YOU WILL BEAR FRUIT IF YOU TRULY HAVE HAD A TRUE CONVERSION.
May today's word speak to your heart.
Feel free to pass it on to others who may be helped by it!
Audio of this complete message as preached in Nigeria, Africa, is available at:
"True Conversion – Making your Salvation Sure!"