Are you a stony ground hearer? Are you a true or false convert? Have you fallen away from the faith?
We are told to test ourselves and examine our fruits. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:15-18.
We need to honestly examine ourselves to ensure that we are bearing good fruit, especially in these days of great apostasy and false teaching in the church, intended to lead as many astray as possible before the soon coming Day of the Lord. (“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 and “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Do we exhibit repentance, thankfulness, good works and obedience (keeping His commandments, as an expression of love and gratitude to our Lord — “If you love me, keep My Commandments.” John 14:15 — not a self-centered idolatrous attempt at salvation, which is only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone and not of works, lest anyone should boast), the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance), and the fruit of righteousness (”being filled with the fruit of righteousness, that is through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”)?
Are we running the risk of having these dreadful words directed at us?: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:22-23
Are we being led by the Spirit or by the flesh? “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. ” Galatians 5:19-21.
Can we look into ourselves and say, like Isaiah: “And I say, `Woe to me, for I have been silent, For a man — unclean of lips [am] I, And in midst of a people unclean of lips I am dwelling, Because the King, Jehovah of Hosts, have my eyes seen.’ And flee unto me doth one of the seraphs, and in his hand a burning coal, (with tongs he hath taken [it] from off the altar,) and he striketh against my mouth, and saith: `Lo, this hath stricken against thy lips, And turned aside is thine iniquity, And thy sin is covered.’ And I hear the voice of the Lord, saying: `Whom do I send? and who doth go for Us?’ And I say, `Here [am] I, send me.’” Isaiah 6:5-8 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT).
I particularly like Young’s Literal Translation of this scripture because Isaiah says: “for I have been silent…”, and I believe this is the sin of many Christians in these end times — we are being silent, when we should be shouting the Gospel from the rooftops. There are too many headed for the judgement of condemnation and the second death in the lake of fire. Our heart should be heavy and burdened for them such that we cannot keep silent. We cannot say that we love our neighbors as ourselves if we would allow them to race headlong into God’s judgment and condemnation without making sure they know there is another way, and that way is Jesus. Could we watch a neighbor’s house burn knowing they and their family were inside without doing everything in our power to warn them and save them from burning to death? We should be as, if not more, burdened for their eternal salvation. As Charles Spurgeon said: “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!” Spurgeon speaks truth, and the silence of so many professed Christians today begs these questions be honestly looked into and answered. Am I a stony ground hearer? Am I a true or false convert? Have I fallen away from the faith?
Listen to this teaching, looking honestly at yourself to see whether you are truly in the faith.
Mark 4:3-8, 13 “Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, 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 other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
Something we should ask regularly. We tend to turn a blind eye to our own rebellion and sin. Job 13:23 “How many are my iniquities and sins? Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.
Psalm 119:59 I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
Jeremiah 31:19 ‘For after I turned back, I repented; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed and also humiliated Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’
Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.
Haggai 1:5-7 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways!
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.