Observations of God’s Work in True Conversions
“When they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy…(but) they have no firm root…(they) are only temporary…others…are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it become unfruitful. And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit,…” Mark 4:16-20 NASB
How can we in church ministry explain why so many fall away after receiving the gospel, they immediately accept it, but then turn away from it later on? This parable that Jesus gives explains this sad tragedy. The first two examples of false salvation (temporary faith and the word of God being choked out) show the contrast of the good example of true believers. True believers (in contrast with the first example) persevere in their faith with joy. They continue on in Christ, even when challenged by affliction and persecution. In addition, in contrast to the second example of false salvation, true believers in Christ give God’s word full access to their lives, conquering all rivals to Christ’s Lordship; they belong to Christ, and they will not turn to idolatry (giving their heart to anything but Christ). They are loyal and faithful to Christ.
As we minister to people, let us be aware that immediate acceptance is not always an indication of true acceptance. Time must pass; the real work of God in the heart will be demonstrated by victory and perseverance in life. Let us press on to minister the gospel, trusting God to bear true fruit in lives of true believers. In this we rejoice.