The Life of God in the Soul of the Church The Root and Fruit of Spiritual Fellowship
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This message explains why divorce, alcohol and drug addiction, immorality, and abortion are so prevalent within the church today. Are our churches really filled with true believers? I was filled with anger, hatred, and greed. But all the time I knew the Lord and gave my heart back to Him when I was forty years old. I say that without the slightest fear of contradiction. I base it on empirical evidence of 24 years of examining thousands of people.
How can a man repent if he does not know what sin is? That is the same word: lawlessness. Without repentance there is no salvation. He was drunk and he drove through his hometown at a dangerous speed of miles per hour. The town had no law against speeding, so they passed a law saying 65 miles per hour was the maximum speed. The speedster comes through again at miles per hour, and this time he was in transgression. With no money and no words in his defense, the youth was led off to prison. You are free to go. What then will the attitude of the youth be to the law?
Well, he is dead to the law by the sacrifice of his father. His father paid his fine; now the law holds no dominion over him.
He will no longer be lawless. The law has no dominion over the Christian. The law holds no dominion because the Father paid the fine for us. So the law holds no dominion over us. We are filled with a humble gratitude to God for His mercy demonstrated in Christ—His wonderful sacrifice expressed in the cross—and now we bring forth the fruit of a new lifestyle that is pleasing to God. We are no longer workers of iniquity. So what are the fruits of a new convert? Well, according Matthew , there is the fruit of repentance. If we are soundly saved, we will have evidence of repentance.
Colossians The fruit of good works. Hebrews The fruit of thanksgiving.
Servants of Grace
Galatians The fruit of the Spirit. If you are soundly saved, if you are a genuine convert, you will manifest the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Philippians The fruit of righteousness. You will do that which is right. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And then Jesus gave the interpretation, and we know this is the preaching of the gospel and the seed falls on hard hearts, on stony-ground hearts, on thorny-ground hearts, and on good soil.
How then will you understand all parables? In other words, the Parable of the Sower, which speaks of true and false conversion, is the key to unlock the mystery of all the other parables. Once we understand that when the gospel is preached there is true and false conversion, then the other parables begin to make sense. The sheep and the goats dwelling together—the true and the false.
The foolish virgins and the wise—the true and the false together. The bad fish and the good fish drawn into the gospel net, sitting together. The wheat and the tares growing alongside one another. The Parable of the Sower is also in Matthew 13 and Luke 8, so we are going to use the harmony of the Gospels to look at six characteristics of a false conversion. Mark There are immediate results with a false convert. Mark They received the word with gladness. And this is the key. You see, when the Law is not preached, sin is not seen as being exceedingly sinful.
And when sin is not seen in the light of what it is—being exceedingly sinful—there is no trembling before a holy God. There is no contrition, no sorrow for sin. So the false convert receives the word with gladness. Matthew They receive the word with joy. Luke For a while they do believe.
True and False Conversion
Imagine two plants are growing alongside each other. And then something interesting happens. The second plant, the big one, seems to be withering under the heat of the sun. The same is true in the spiritual realm. The sunlight in the spiritual—that which reveals what we cannot see—is tribulation Matthew , temptation Luke , and persecution Mark These three factors reveal what you and I cannot see: the heart condition of the professing convert.
I am going to put it in a closet and shut the door. If you know what you are doing, you will put the plant in the sunlight and you will even rotate it to make sure it gets plenty of balanced light. In the same way, the worst thing that you and I can do with the new convert is shield him from the sunlight of tribulation, temptation, and persecution. If he is genuine, the sunlight will cause him to grow.
If he is false, the sunlight will cause him to wither and die. Years ago, when Russia was under communism, the story is told of two Russian guards who burst into a prayer meeting, fully armed.
If severe persecution fell upon the contemporary Church, if we had a Russian guard clean-out, the effect would be, first, that it would purify the Church. It would rid the Church of murmurers and complainers and those who cause division. But secondly and more importantly, it would reveal to the stony-ground hearer, the false convert, the error of his ways. However, it can be exceedingly difficult to get in touch with your truest or deepest desires.
Our motivations become so confused by sin and the brokenness of the world that our apparent desires are often far from the true desires that God has implanted in the depths of our hearts. But sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead….
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I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Joanna Gaines, co-host of HGTV's "Fixer Upper," shares how following God's direction — even while questioning it — has led to experiences beyond her wildest dreams.
And the opposite is often true. The work that would fulfill your true desire appears at first to be undesirable, and may require great sacrifice and difficult labor. And your truest desires may be met in many areas of life, not necessarily in work. But at least you can get rid of the idea that God only calls you to something you hate.