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Getting Conversion Right Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 6, 2021 1:00 am

Getting Conversion Right Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 6, 2021 1:00 am

The parables of Jesus used real-life situations to teach spiritual truth. His hearers understood His illustrations of farmers, servants, prodigal sons, and vineyards. In this message we discover the meaning of the famous parable of the sower and his seed. 

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

Florence looking to Jesus and Jesus used real-life situations to teach spiritual truth.

His hearers heard illustrations of farmers servants prodigal sons and tenders of vineyards today series on the meaning of 10 of these parables, beginning with the sober and to see the church in Chicago this morning to win with Dr. Sir clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line certain you're calling this series, you can't do life. What do you mean by that, Dave. The simple fact is that all of the separate grants we wish that we could go back and change things but we can't so the purpose of this series of messages on the parables is to simply answer this question regardless of what is happened in the past.

How do we make the future better. How do we live lives for the glory of God. Despite the failures of the past. We can't redo life but you know what the parables enable us to get it right all the way to the finish line.

I think the many who have joined us for this series, I want you to just sit back now. No matter where this series of messages finds you listen carefully, because Jesus through the means of illustration is a great deal to say to us weeks ago I woke up in the morning thinking of the fray. You can't redo life. I thought you know that really is true that we can't redo life so why don't we get right the first time so I decided to speak on the parables a few messages on the most prominent parables that Jesus Christ told and today we get to his first parable getting conversion right.

I have three objectives in this message today and I hope that by God's grace we reach all of them. The first one is to help us to understand how conversion really happened.

How a person is converted to Christ and there's a great deal of mystery connected with it.

Of course we don't know everything, but how does it happen from our standpoint that people are saved and another goal that I have is this to encourage you to witness to others and to let you know that your witness for Christ is not wasted, even if it appears to be wasted.

Perhaps in the giving of it and finally I'm preaching this message because I want to confront you personally and ask you whether or not you have really been converted couple of years ago when we took a tour to the sites of the apostle Paul. We were on a Greek island, I forget which one it was, and I saw this big sign that said genuine fake jewelry seriously back. Rebecca took a picture of it. I have somebody genuine fake jewelry they said yeah that's a perfectly good sign. They said that everybody knows that what is sold here is fake, but there are some that are more fake than others. So this is genuine fake jewelry so I wanted you to know that that one of my goals is to confront you with the question of whether or not you are a genuine fake or an un-genuine fake Christian, however, that comes out, I want you to be a real Christian, born again. Converted now the parable that we are looking at is in the fourth chapter of Mark.

Mark chapter 4 where Jesus is speaking to the disciples, we must understand that, according to verses 10 and following.

He gives an explanation as to why he speaks in parables, and he says he does that for two reasons. First of all to conceal truth from those who rejected him and are not interested in the truth anyway.

If we are to read the third chapter we discover that Jesus after doing many miracles, was accused actually being demon possessed. They said that he is possessed by those of boldness is in chapter 3 verse 22.

He is possessed by Satan.

What a conclusion to come to and so what happens is, Jesus begins to withdraw from the multitude to spend time with his disciples who accepted him and yet he speaking to a large crowd here when he gives this parable and for those who are interested in the truth, it will lead them to more truth for those who are disinterested in the truth, it will simply confuse them and turn them off. So Jesus said that the purpose of parables is to conceal the truth from those who don't want to hear it, but to open the truth to reveal it to those who are interested in following him.

So it has a twofold purpose purpose of instruction but also a purpose of judgment. Another dozens of parables, some of them are only one verse along this is one of the longer parables and thankfully Jesus gives us the interpretation, so we are not left to ourselves to interpret it.

But it's one that that we have heard, read, but I shall read it again picking up in verse three of chapter 4 listen and by the way, that become so important because Jesus is going to say he who has an ear to hear, let them hear there are some people who get it, and there are some people who don't get it and listening means that we actually hear and understand.

We don't just simply here words so in the words of Jesus. Listen, I saw her went out to sow and as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it did not have much soil and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil and when the sun arose.

It was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain and other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain growing up and increasing and yielding 30 fold 60 fold in a hundredfold.

He who has ears to hear, listen carefully, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Please listen carefully because Jesus urges us to. Now when the disciples were alone, he they asked him about the parable and he says in verse 14.

The sower sows the word. So now were going to interpret the parable. First of all about the seed itself. This seed is the word of God. The gospel that Jesus Christ was proclaiming the message of the kingdom that was breaking in on to Satan's kingdom and rescuing people from the grip of Satan and his power is the word of God and if you asked the question what you need to know in order to receive the word that will become a little clearer later on in this message. But notice that the seed is the word of God.

The Bible says in first Peter chapter 1 verse 20 that we are converted not by corruptible seed, but by incorruptible seed by the word of God which lives and abides for ever. The word is this seed because the word has life you hold the seeds in your hand and when you plant them. They grow and they reproduce themselves. Why, because with in them is life and with in God's word. There is a life that can speak to your soul and transform you when this seed dwells within now before you begin to so you should ask yourself the question, what harvest do I want because if we want the right harvest.

We must seed the word of God and we must do so correctly. If you have a theory of Christianity regarding health and well that if you believe on Jesus, you're going to get all of these blessings as if that's the gospel. Then you will reap an entirely different prop and unfortunately it will be a bad and bitter harvest. So this seed is the word of God which germinates within our hearts and bears fruit. But now let us notice also the sower. Jesus says as sower went out to sell well. The ultimate sower. Of course would be Jesus Christ himself would net it's Jesus doing the selling, but you and I so and we sold by our witness and when we so the gospel in the lives of other people, we do so, first of all, in faith, we do it in faith because sometimes we don't see any results now in those days the way in which is sower, so it is.

He had a pouch that he carried around his waist and he would take some grain and then broadcasted scattered upon the earth, and he is scattered everywhere hoping that it would grow everywhere but as we'll see in a moment it doesn't grow everywhere but he doesn't in faith because when he goes back the next day.

There's no evidence that anything has happened and he begins to wonder whether or not his selling is profitable whether or not it produces a good and necessary result, he really doesn't know. Maybe later on he might, but for the time being. He doesn't know whether his selling produced fruit or not and that's the way it is when we share the gospel. That's the way it is when we preach and we teach we don't we don't necessarily see evidence that what we are doing is transforming lives, but we are trusting and believing in faith that in God's good time. Lives will be changed and transform so we so in faith. You know when we were building the SCLC, the Christian life center. It was easy to measure growth. It was easy to see what we were building every week was different.

Every month we could see advancement. But it's not quite like that when we're dealing with people is it we don't see the changes they may be imperceptible and those changes may be in the future. So he sows in faith but also he sows in partnership. Remember, the apostle Paul said in the book of first Corinthians. There was an argument in the church as to who was greater.

Whether it was Paul or whether it was a policy policy apparently was a great orator and people love to hear him preach and pulses don't divide the body over personalities. He says I planted a policy came along and watered.

But it is God who gives the in grace very seldom very seldom do you and I share the gospel and somebody immediately believes unless they have been prepared by others for that moment some plant some water, but ultimately, whether or not this seed germinates is up to God. Isn't it so you have the sower you have this seed and now the soils which is really the heart of this parable. Let's look at the different soils for them.

Jesus here is explaining why it is that the same people who hear messages that is to say people hear the same message but they respond different ever wondered why it is that a person can listen to hundreds of sermons and not believe on Jesus. It's happened, I knew a man who went to church regularly listening to pretty good preaching listening to the gospel. Linda came time for him to die. They had no insurance at all. Nobody and his family had any assurance at all that he had really believed on Jesus.

Have you ever wondered why that is.

Jesus is going to explain it right now. So he says that first of all, he says that to the sower sows the word.

Verse 14, and these are the ones along the path where the word is sown of when they hear immediately Satan comes and takes away the word that is sown in them while the man is says so in weight.

Let's say and he's broadcasting it and some of it falls on the path and the path is very hard. Why is the path hard. First of all, because a path is a place where people have trampled and I suppose that there is no hard as hard as those who are rebelling against other Christians who have trampled on them like a young person who says I hate my dad therefore I hate is God. And so his heart is hardened. The other reason, of course, why people have hard hearts is because they feel very comfortable with their sins, and with themselves and so in the midst of this comfort.

They don't want to change.

They don't want to have God break into their lives. They are very content with who they are but notice the in this remarkable imagine this spiritual battle that is going on when we share the gospel there, those Jesus said in the parable of the birds, and they devoured the seed and here he says that those birds are Satan who snatches the word of God from people's minds always remember that your mind is a spiritual substance not a physical substance. It would be wrong to say you know I had a thought that was nearly 1/3 of a centimeter long and weighed 1/10 of a gram. Your thoughts in your mind exists in the realm of spirit and if our minds are not protected did Satan can actually enter into them as he did in the case of Ananias and Sapphire at he put ideas into their minds that they thought were their own.

And so they felt comfortable to lie and to deceive. If Satan had come to them with fury saying I am the devil and I want you to deceive the church they would have never never fallen for that but they were comfortable because they thought that this was their idea. But notice Satan comes and snatches the word is the only way you can explain some people who when you share the good news of the gospel with them over and over again. They just as Joan Gadd word of God is snatched from their minds realize that we have a spiritual battle when we share God's word just the first category. Obviously, we can describe them as having a hard heart, that's the hard part.

Well now we come to another category and that is the shallow hard. Let's read on. You'll notice he says that regarding the shallow hard. I think it's in verse 16 and these are the ones who are sown on rocky ground, the ones who when they hear the word even immediately receive it with joy and when they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while.

Then when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word. Immediately they fall away at these are those who hear the word of God, and they receive it with joy because they say to themselves.

I feel guilty. This is a way out of my guilt or perhaps they hear a message that tells them that Jesus has certain benefits connected with him if we believe in him and the problem is that they really don't have the soil that causes the grain to germinate and to grow and so interestingly these are the people who bring most joy to the sower.

He sows and they instantly receive it with joy.

They say to themselves.

This is wonderful land they receive it, but when persecution arises when difficulties come they say I believed in Jesus.

At least I prayed a prayer but I didn't know that I was getting myself into something that was as transforming as it really is and so they back away. I don't think that these people were genuinely converted. I think the best example probably is those who go forward in a meeting and they say the right prayer and they do it but somehow it is only in the head and it is not in the heart and soul because it never reaches the level of the heart, the seed is in the mind, but they never saving really believe in Christ. I think the first two categories here are unconverted people, but now we go on to 1/3 category that is even more interesting. I don't know how to interpret this from this standpoint, I've called it a worldly heart category number three may be a divided heart. You can give your own label to them.

But let's look at what it says now in verse 18 it says some and others are the ones sown among the thorns. They are those who hear the word but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things.

Enter in and choke the word, that proves unfruitful. One of the things that we learned out on the farm was that you never have to so we and that in our lives we never have to so thorns they always so here is a person who has the right kind of soil he really does. He receives the word of God. It falls into his life and germinates. Now I differ from most interpreters at this point because most people. Most commentaries that you read will say that these people also are not true Christians. But I've known Christians who fit this category. Jesus doesn't want us to build a whole theological case on these parable sees after a certain point, but you'll notice that what what the thorns are are the cares of this world, the cares of this world.

Yes, true believers, but just continuing to earn as much money as they can.

You'll notice the deceitfulness of riches, deceitfulness of riches, because remember, money makes all the same promises. God does the desire for other things, consumes them and it's not that riches are wrong or the desire for other things but it becomes so all consuming that God is crowded out and they give him the left overs and are not fruitful now. I believe that every Christian there is at least some fruit, but there are some Christians who I might say they're very little fruit of the spirit because they are overwhelmed by the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and a desire for other things. So their lives are basically unfruitful. Will this is Pastor Luther. There are some people who say that a preacher should never use sermon illustrations will Jesus certainly does does in the and through the parables there so much for us to learn and we want to get the words of Jesus to as many people as possible and out of.

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So, your gift is doubled when you take advantage of that. Here is what you do go to RTW that's RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 I'm going to be giving you that contact info again. I hope that you have time to get a pencil and write it down, but I also thank you in advance for helping us because together we are making a difference.

We are helping people make it all the way to the finish line go to RTW that's RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614. When we share the gospel. We should never be discouraged. Not every word of witness results in someone's conversion. The parable of the sower teaches about different kinds of soil.

Next time I'm running to win more lessons on how some seed blends where its hearers will accept it and be fruitful running to win is sponsored by the teacher

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