Matthew 13:3&9, “3Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. … But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
There is something unique about these people who encountered with God. Think of Isaiah in Isaiah 6; the publican in Luke 18; the prodigal son in Luke 15; David in 2Samuel 12; Peter in Luke 5; the jailer in Acts 16; one of the criminals on the cross with Jesus in Luke 23; Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night in John 3; the hearers of Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 etc.
You find that JOY and GLADNESS were foreign in their response to the gospel. If anything, they were broken, humbled, condemned, lost, and felt unworthy, the soil of their heart was prepared. God had revealed to them who He really was (is) and these men were able to see themselves in their sinful state which brought about conviction that led to humility and such God will not deny, He will grant them repentance and faith. Joy and gladness are the fruit of salvation not the draw card for salvation.
The preparation of the good ground and yielding of the crop is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. John 16: 8,”And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”. Salvation cannot be manipulated by anyone, it is a magnificent work of the power of Almighty God, it is only God who can make dead men live. “There is a greater manifestation of the power of God in the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit than in the creation of the world, of the universe, because He created the world ex nihilo out of nothing. But He recreates a man out of a corrupt mess”, Paul Washer.
While we cannot convict any man, we take the word of God, the commandments is specific and place them in the hands of the Holy Spirit so to speak to perform a heart surgery as we battle for the souls of men in our cry to God. Why? Because“.. ..no one can savingly receive Christ until they’ve repented. And no one can repent until they’ve been convicted. And conviction is the work of the Holy Ghost that helps a sinner to see that he is a criminal before God and deserves all of God’s wrath. And if God were to send him to the lowest corner of a devil’s hell forever and ten eternities, that he deserved it all! And a hundred fold more. Because he’s seen his crimes…” Paris Reidhead. This again is God’s sovereign work in regenerating men, however we too have a responsibility to preach the gospel because it is the means by which God saves lost souls and He gets all the credit, Romans 1:16.
Here is God demonstrating that salvation is entirely in His hands, Ezekiel 36: 23-29, “23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “When I am hallowed in you before their eyes. … 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. … 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you”. In these few verses, God wants us to fully understand His sovereign work in the hearts of men. That is why you keep hearing “I” and “My” to indicate all His doing.
John McArthur says, “It’s not WHAT brings a person to Christ, it’s WHO does.” The human responsibility is reflected in the chapter that follows, Ezekiel 37. The hand of Lord brought Ezekiel in a valley full of dry bones and said to him, “son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel knowing that it took the supernatural work of God responded, “O Lord you know“. Ezekiel knew that unless God gave life, the bones would not live regardless of what he would do because the outcome was in God’s hands. But then God told him to speak (human responsibility) to which He did and God gave life. Whatever is impossible with man is possible with God.
Conviction that leads to repentance that lead to faith is the good soil for the seed of the gospel and it’s all God’s doing. When He does, the crop will yield “some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty”. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, James 4:6.
The dying words of one ancient saint were, “Grace is the only thing that can make us like God. I might be dragged through heaven, earth, and hell and I would still be the same sinful, polluted wretch unless God Himself should cleanse me by His grace.” Blessings Ev
- Always Be Ready, Part 2of2, Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)
- Submitting To God’s Righteousness, Part 4of10, Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)
- Submitting To God’s Righteousness, Part 7of10, Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)