Today I want to continue on the subject of the wide gate convert because it would be a tragedy for someone to be under the illusion that they were a child of God, that they went through the right gate that will lead them to Heaven, and to find out that they were a wide gate convert. How horrible would it be to find out that they were religious, and even a good person, only to find out that what they thought was good was not good enough to get them to Heaven. How sad would it be to be one of those who said Lord, Lord, have we not done all these things in Your name, and for Him to respond, I never knew you. Pay close attention, because there is a way to fix the problem.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Each one of us needs to examine himself to see if he is in the faith. If we are, we are to give proof of it. What is the proof that one is truly a child of God? This is the question we need to answer.
Many of the parables are full of teachings about false converts and true converts. Many are under the impression that they are saved, but they are filled with their own self-righteousness. Once you accept that our churches will be filled with both narrow gate converts and wide gate converts, the parables come alive.
The first parable that Jesus told was the most important. It is so important that Jesus took the time go give its interpretation. The parable of the Sower and the parable of the Wheat and Tares are the only parables that Christ himself interpreted for us. Christ placed extreme importance on the parable of the sower when he remarked to his disciples:
…Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (Mark 4:13)
This parable is found in three of the four gospels and therefore it had a profound effect upon the apostles. It is perhaps the key to unlocking the rest of the parables that Christ gave.
Parable of the sower
Three out the four types of soil received the seed and one did not. These soils represent the hearts of men.
- Hard Ground — Hardened Heart — No reception.
- Stony Ground — Shallow Heart —- No Root.
- Thorny Ground —- Busy – Croweded Heart — Root but no Fruit.
- Good Ground — Receptive heart — Root & Fruit.
The first soil represents a lost person who does not receive the seed. The next three all receive the seed in different measurements, but only one of the three produces fruit. The fruit answers our question, how can a person know if he is truly saved? Of the three that receive the seed, two of them are false converts, and only one is a true convert.
The stony ground receives the seed, but it is so shallow that the seed cannot take root. This is a picture of those who just want to try this “Jesus thing.” They only receive the seed because they are interested in fixing their problems in this life, or because their friends are doing it, and it feels good. There is no conviction of sin or repentance.
The thorny ground receives the seed, and actually produces a root, but the person is too busy to produce any fruit. The things of this world crowd out the things of God and no fruit can grow.
The good ground is where we find the true convert. The other two soils that receive the seed are false converts. Everything looks good for a while, but no fruit is produced. In the good ground, the stones have been removed and the weeds are cleared out. There is room for the seed to take root and bear fruit. There are various types and quantities of fruit, but there is fruit.
The Wheat and the Tares – Matthew 13
Again, Jesus took the time to give the interpretation of this parable.
Tares are something that looks like wheat, but is not wheat. Those who are tares are either fooled themselves, or are trying to fool others. The tares are not removed because it would harm the wheat. In this parable we clearly have a true and a false convert.
Good Fish Bad Fish – Matthew 13
Not all of the fish caught in the net were good fish. The bad fish represent false converts and the good represent true converts. There will be a separation of the good from the bad at the judgment.
Good and Foolish Virgins – Matthew 25
In this parable we have the good virgins who were prepared, and the foolish virgins who were not. They were all dressed for the wedding, but only five had oil in their lamps. Oil is used in Scripture as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. If you are saved, you have the Holy Spirit. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you are not saved. Again, this parable speaks of true and false converts. They all seemed to be the same from outward appearances, but something was missing inside.
Separate the Sheep from the Goats – Matthew 25
If you shave sheep and goats, they look the same, but they are two different animals. The false convert can look like the real thing, but in the judgment they will be separated.
Two Sons – Luke 15
Luke 15 is called the lost chapter, not because it is lost, but because it has three parables about something that is lost. The most famous is called the parable of the prodigal son.
In this parable, the younger son asked his father for his inheritance, and then wasted it on riotous living. This is a picture of the rebellion of mankind against God. When this son came to himself and realized his sinfulness, wickedness and rebellion against his father and against Heaven, he repented and returned to his father, asking for mercy. He did not demand to be returned to his position as a son, but just to be a servant of his father. This is a picture of salvation and a true convert. He had true remorse for his wretchedness, and his father restored him back to full fellowship.
We need to look at the other son. His reaction to the good news was anger and jealousy. He was full of his own self-righteousness. He was the perfect picture of a religious lost person. He feels he is entitled to the fathers blessings, but he is lost forever, and will remain lost.
The lost sheep
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)
Are there people in this world who don’t need to repent, who don’t need salvation? Are there people who are justified because they are good and need no repentance? No, the Bible teaches that all have sinned.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)
Clearly the celebration was over a lost sinner repenting. But look at the ninety and nine that were ‘just’ and needed no repentance. They are filled with their self-righteousness. They are much like the older son who was ‘just,’ and never transgressed the father’s commandments.
Remember, when Jesus told us about the wide gate, He said many would go in thereat. When He spoke of the narrow gate, He said few would find it.
Is it true that the ninety and nine and the older son had never sinned and do not need to repent? The Bible says no one is good, save God. (Mark 10:18) All have sinned and will need to repent if they hope to see life. The ninety and nine are the ‘many’ that enter the wide gate who will say “Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name….” (Matt 7:22). The single lost sheep that was found is the ‘few’ that enters in at the narrow gate just like the prodigal son who repented and was saved.
The lost coin
This is another example of the same principle in this chapter. The rejoicing is over the one that is found.
There are certain traits that identify the false converts.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:20)
- Affliction and trials cause them to flake away – LACK OF ENDURANCE (Stoney Ground)
- Worldy – Carnal — (Thorny Ground)
- Immature – I Cor 3:1-3
They prefer the milk and not the meat. The meat takes too much time to digest and they don’t have the time for that nor an appetite. They want the chicken soup for the soul and will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears (II Tim 4:3).
- Divisive – Vs. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
- Lack Fruit — The Good ground — produced the fruit. The others did not.
More people are more interested in APPEARING to be SPIRITUAL than simply BEING spiritual.
When the religious come to John the Baptist he said:
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: (Matthew 3:8)
Have I been talking about you? If so, please repent and turn to God before it is eternally too late. Don’t let pride stand in the way of your salvation.
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