True And False Conversion, Part 2of5, Evans Olang

Matthew 13: 3&5-6 “3Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. … 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away!”

Part of my early life was spent in the farm. If we wanted to see crops grow for harvest, one crucial thing was to get the soil ready. You could not expect a harvest on unprepared ground regardless of whether you had good seeds or not. We had to plow and plow and plow, dig deep, turn the soil, rake it, remove rocks, pull out weeds, get rid of thorns and bushes. Prepping the ground until it was ready before we planted any seed expecting it to grow, do weeding and expect a harvest.

This is no different from sharing or preaching the gospel. The hard heart must be plowed, and plowed in readiness for salvation. The hard heart has suppressed the truth in unrighteousness according to Romans 1:18 and is not tender for the gospel. The work of ground preparation could take a day for some or days, weeks, months, or even years for others. When the ground is ready, the seed planted in it will grow. Today we are eager for results that we do little or eliminate the work of plowing the ground. We rush people into salvation and if they do not say no, we lead them to a prayer and pronounce them saved. Sad but true, 80-90% of them fall away because the bible calls them stony ground hearers and the blame should be on us who present the gospel. The stony ground hearer came lacking repentance and without repentance there can be no salvation. A repentant heart is a plowed heart.

In Luke 18, Jesus deals with a potential convert known as the rich young ruler who out of nowhere came to Jesus and asked, vs. 18, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” In our day, this would have been a great catch not to let go. How many would have said, “all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God, believe in Jesus, say this prayer and mean it from your heart and you will be saved?” Not with Jesus, He knew this was a stony ground hearer and the seed of the gospel was not going to do him any good unless his hard ground heart was plowed. Jesus brought the bulldozer, the 10 commandments to prepare his ground (heart) for the gospel. Jesus wanted to show him his sin that he would truly desire salvation. Sadly, the man went away sad because he wanted the seed on his stony ground.

Paul Washer tells a story of when he was 21 years old and had just been called to preach. He walked into an old store where they sold suits to ministers for ½ price in Paducah, Kentucky. As he was in this store, an old man walked into the store and said to him, “Boy, you have been called to preach, haven’t you?” and he said, “Yes, sir”. He was an old, old evangelist. The evangelist said, “You see where that building is right outside this building?” He said, “I used to preach there. The Spirit of God would come down and souls would be saved.” He said, “There wasn’t anything like this evangelism today.” He said, “We would preach for two and three weeks and give no invitation to sinful men. We would plow and plow and plow and plow the hearts of men until the Spirit of God began to work and break their hearts.” So Paul asked, “Sir, how did you know when the Spirit of God was coming to break their hearts?” And he said, “Well, let me just give you an example.” He said, “Many decades ago I walked into this store to buy a suit. Someone had handed me $30 and said, ‘Preacher, go buy you a suit tomorrow.’ And when I walked through the door the young clerk taking care of the shop turned around and looked at me and when he looked at me he fell down on the floor and cried out, ‘Who can save a wicked man like me?’ And I knew that the Spirit of God had fallen upon the place.” Only God through the Holy Spirit can regenerate the soil of a man’s heart.

Paris Reidhead said, “’If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on public preaching of the “the plan of salvation” in America for one to two years. Then, I would call on everyone who has use of the airwaves and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, and the law of God, until sinners would cry out, “What must we do to be saved?” Then, I would take them off in a corner and whisper the gospel to them….Such drastic action is needed because we have gospel-hardened a generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved before they have any understanding why they need to be saved.”

It is most necessary for the groundwork to be done if we want to see genuine conversion. Our job is to live a sample of grace, pray and then put legs to our prayers by putting our hands on the plow of God’s word and use it as He instructs us. And by the power of the Holy Spirit He will prep hearts for salvation and save them. The more I realize it is a God thing, the more I am driven to study and to pray more because the outcome is in His hands. This is God’s work. Blessings Ev

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