“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown,” Mat 13:23.
Despite the most persuasive advertising of any vehicle you are considering purchasing you would be wise to first take it for a test drive. While on this test drive you will be able to ask the salesperson many questions about the various specifications of the vehicle, and, you will gain valuable personal experience of the road holding ability of the vehicle and how it drives. You could, if you really wanted to, come back month after month and year after year and take the same type of vehicle for a test drive without ever paying the purchase price and owning the vehicle.
Around 2000 years ago Jesus had large crowds gathering around him for many different motives and reasons so he told them a parable to help them, and therefore us, discern what being a true Christian is actually all about. The word of God is continually being sown in the world by the Sovereign God through many different means, to which people generally respond in four different ways. The first group have impermeable hearts that refuse to accept the Good News. The second group have shallow hearts responding joyfully for a short while but then rejecting the Gospel. The third group have constricted hearts which from the outside seems to do quite well for a longer period of time but then worries and artificial attractions of society permanently squeeze out the word of God. There is a final group which responds in complete contrast to the first three, they have soft hearts which allows the message of the Good News to become a permanent reality in their daily living.
Going back to the analogy of test driving a car before making the purchase, the first three groups of people all take Christianity for a test drive for different motives and reasons and for different periods of time, but ultimately they all choose not to make the purchase. The last category represents the only group of true Christians, while all the groups hear the word of God, the last group with soft hearts are the only ones who hear and understand the word of God. It is quite normal and expected of all true Christians to go on and produce the fruit of the Kingdom of God, which is what they do. To not go on and produce the fruit of the kingdom puts us in the same category as any of the first three groups – we are not yet true Christians. Jesus is the One who confirmed this by saying, “By their fruit you will recognize them,” Mat 7:20.
You may well ask, “Is there such a thing as a false Christian?” Jesus confirms that there are, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Mat 7:22-23. Notice how Jesus says to them, I never knew you, so they fall into the same category as the first three in the parable of the sower, they took Christianity for a test drive, but never made the purchase.
Prayer: Father, help us to examine our hearts with truth and sincerity today. If we profess to be Christians then we must produce the fruit of the kingdom of God. Lead us by your grace to produce the kind of fruit that will last and grow your kingdom on earth.