Christ Preparing our Hearts 20

Be persuaded that your soul is far more valuable to you than the whole world and there are only two places (heaven and hell) that you will spend all eternity in.

You can count on it that it is very difficult to come to heaven, but the way to destruction is broad and easy. Take it to heart that you have a deceitful heart with you, a wicked devil close to you, and snares and hindrances around and before you.

When we think of the power of the evil one and the power of sin, we should know for certain that we must have Christ as our Teacher or we will be deceived. The vast majority of people in our day who think that evangelism makes a difference are those who run around just telling people to believe as if all things depended on their mere choice or act of the will. No, as Scripture says, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Rom 9:16). This text should be drilled into our hearts when we do evangelism. We must strive to get men to look to God to have mercy on them rather than for themselves to do something by an act of their own will or their own running or coming. Before men can be saved by Christ alone, men must be undeceived about himself, sin, and Christ.

20 “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful (Mat 13:20-22).

Over and over again we are told not to be deceived regarding salvation. In the text above we see the parable of the soil or the parable of the sower. The sower went out to sow and some of the seed fell on rocky places. This is a man who heard the word and immediately received it with joy. This person can be seen as someone who is having a hard time in life and hears the word preached and responds with an act of the will or makes a choice and so has great joy thinking that s/he is saved. But that person, despite an act of the will or a choice, was deceived about being converted. Yes, the person believed. Yes, the person had great joy in believing. However, the person was not truly converted.

Some of the seed fell on some ground that had thorns. This is the person who hears the word and yet the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word. The text does not say that this happens immediately or whether it happens over time, but in accordance with the earlier verses and the analogy of the seed being choked by the thorns we can safely assume that the person believed the word for at least a short time. But again, the seed was choked to where there was no fruit because of the deceitfulness of wealth. The lure and the love of wealth takes the heart and trust of a person and they focus on it rather than on spiritual riches. The point, once again, is that sinners need Christ at all points and at all times to teach them.

For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting (Romans 16:18)

The pulpits of America (and beyond) seem to be full of men who are slaves of their own appetites and indeed they have smooth and flattering speech by which they deceive the hearts of others. These types of men have no ability to tell others the way of conversion, but they have nice and flattering ways of speech which sound good to those whose hearts are deceived already. These nice and flattering ways of speech can sound good to those who want to hear good things about themselves and about how easy salvation is. The road to hell is full of preachers who have nothing but nice things to say about them and even flattering things to say. The devil is not the meanest preacher in town, but the nicest preachers and the smoothest preachers are the ones he deceives people with.

The way to destruction is easy and takes no real effort. The way to destruction is filled with people who think that they are on the way to heaven when in fact they are almost in hell. The way to destruction has many deceptions about sin, our own hearts, other people, church, and Christ Himself. What we must see is that the way to destruction is full of deception. The deceptions are numerous and they are very deceptive. Only Christ can teach us the truth as He is the Truth. Only Christ can open our eyes by His life and light to see just how deceived we have been and perhaps still are. Only Christ can give us a new heart and give us true faith. Only Christ can drive His word into our hearts and make them bear fruit and to overcome and be steadfast in the difficulties. The narrow road is difficult, but Christ is the Way on that road and it ends in the presence of the living God.

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