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THE FRUIT OF A REAL CONVERT!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, August 21, 2010

“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred” (Mark 4:20).


“The sower soweth the word” (Mark 4:14). This refers to Christ during His earthly ministry, and now to those who preach His word (Romans 10:14). The “sowing” refers to the preaching of God’s word, and especially preaching the Gospel of Jesus, the living Word, “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Now, there are four responses to the preaching of the Gospel of Christ.

I. First, those who immediately have the word taken away by Satan.

“And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts”
       (Mark 4:15).

This type of person is unmoved and untroubled by the preaching. He is indifferent and uninterested. Satan “immediately” snatches away the word that was sown in his heart. Then he goes away and we never see him again.

II. Second, those who endure for a time, but are offended and fall away when problems arise.

“And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended”
       (Mark 4:16-17).

They receive the word with gladness (“with joy” Luke 8:13). I think William MacDonald was right when he said, “It would be better if he received it with deep… contrition…But it is just a mental assent,” an emotion (William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995 edition, p. 1330; note on Mark 4:16-17). When he experiences trouble or “persecution” for professing Christ he is “offended.” Luke adds, “which for a while believe [only mentally] and in time of temptation fall away.” “Fall away” according to Reinecker is “go away, withdraw” (Fritz Reinecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing House, 1980 edition, p. 161; note on Luke 8:14). They “go away, withdraw” from their local church. They may go to another church for a while to salve their consciences, but they won’t last long there either because they “have no root in themselves” (Mark 4:17), that is, they are unconverted; they have never been “rooted and built up in him” (Colossians 2:7).

If they were raised by Christian parents in the church, they may stay around as long as their parents are paying for everything, but later when they are on their own they “fall away” when things get a little tough for them.

With all who are in this position it can be said, “He claims to be a Christian as long as it is popular to do so, but persecution exposes his unreality” (William MacDonald, ibid.; note on Mark 4:17). Our deacon Dr. Cagan said that this kind of person “will agree with the words of the Gospel, and smile – and then go back exactly as they were before. They won’t be able to grasp the truth of it, or live it in their lives.”

III. Third, those who are choked by the cares of this world and their desire to make more money.

Read it aloud.

“And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19).

William MacDonald said, “These people also make a promising start. To all outward appearances, they seem to be true believers. But then they become preoccupied with business, with worldly worries, with the lust to become rich. They lose interest in spiritual things, until finally they abandon any claim to be Christians at all” (MacDonald, ibid.; note on Mark 4:18-19).

Dr. McGee said, “They are not believers at all! They have heard the word and have only professed to receive it” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume IV, p. 73; note on Matthew 13:22). Life itself shows that this kind of person has never been converted. Often children raised in Christian homes appear to be converted. But when they are “on their own,” paying their own way because they now have a job, and no longer supported by their Christian parents, “the cares of this world” and the desire to make more money, “choke the word,” and, as Dr. McGee said, this shows that “They are not believers at all!” (ibid., note on Matthew 13:22). They knew the words of the Gospel, but the trials of life and the desire to have a better career, with more and more money, “choke the word,” showing that they were never truly converted.

IV. Fourth, those who are truly converted.

“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred” (Mark 4:20).

“And these are they which are sown on good ground.” What is that “good ground”? Luke adds that it is those who hear and receive the word “in an honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15). Dr. McGee said, “These are the hearers who are genuinely converted” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., ibid., volume IV, p. 281; note on Luke 8:15).

Before conversion no one has an “honest and good heart.” The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Dr. Gill said, “an honest and good heart; which no man naturally has; nor can any man make his heart so: this is the work of God, and is owing to his efficacious grace…This is a new and right heart…so he holds fast the word he hears, understands, and receives with all faithfulness and honesty: [and bring forth fruit, Mark 4:20] the fruit bore, and brought forth by such an hearer, is the true fruit of grace and righteousness, and is all from Christ, under the influence of the Spirit…and issues in the glory of God; and though not brought forth in the same quantity in all, yet is of the same quality; and is brought forth, as Luke says, with patience; constantly, and continually…and remains unto the end” (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, pp. 147-148; note on Matthew 13:23).

Thus, we believe that a person who is truly converted has a change of heart, or as Richard Baxter put it, “a change of affections.” God said through the prophet Ezekiel,

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

When a person is truly converted, he will “bring forth fruit” (Mark 4:20). This change of heart includes the “fruit of the Spirit,”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:22-24).

This change of heart also includes what Dr. John R. Rice called “the fruit of a Christian” – the fruit of bringing lost souls to Christ (see John R. Rice, D.D., A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Gospel of John: The Son of God, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1976 edition, pp. 294-300). Jesus said,

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8).

We believe that Dr. Rice was right, that true disciples “bear much fruit” (John 15:8). Jesus spoke of gathering fruit,

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together” (John 4:35-36).

And that is the fruit of souls brought to Christ that is spoken of as “The Great Commission,”

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

The person who is truly converted will have a new nature, a new nature that deeply desires not only to “hear the word, and receive it” – but also to “bring forth fruit” (Mark 4:20). The true convert will have a new concern for the lost, a new zeal in evangelism, a new concern for the lost in prayer, a new desire to help the lost feel welcome in the church – and a new thrill whenever a lost soul is converted!

“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred” (Mark 4:20).

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).

Please stand and sing, “Evangelize! Evangelize!” by Dr. Oswald J. Smith.

Give us a watchword for the hour, A thrilling word, a word of power,
A battle cry, a flaming breath That calls to conquest or to death.
A word to rouse the church from rest, To heed the Master’s strong request.
The call is given, Ye hosts, arise, Our watchword is, evangelize!

The glad evangel now proclaim, Through all the earth, in Jesus’ name;
This word is ringing through the skies: Evangelize! Evangelize!
To dying men, a fallen race, Make known the gift of Gospel grace;
The world that now in darkness lies, Evangelize! Evangelize!
   (“Evangelize! Evangelize!” Words by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986;
      sung to the tune of “And Can It Be?” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

Now sing the chorus of “Bring Them In.”

Bring them in, bring them in, Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, bring them in, Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.
   (“Bring Them In” by Alexcenah Thomas,19th century).

(END OF SERMON)
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THE OUTLINE OF

THE FRUIT OF A REAL CONVERT!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred” (Mark 4:20).

(Mark 4:14; Romans 10:14; John 1:14)

I.   First, those who immediately have the word taken away by Satan,
Mark 4:15.

II.  Second, those who endure for a time, but are offended and
fall away when problems arise, Mark 4:16-18;
Luke 8:13; Colossians 2:7.

III. Third, those who are choked by the cares of this world and
their desire to make more money, Mark 4:18-19.

IV. Fourth, those who are truly converted, Mark 4:20; Luke 8:15;
Jeremiah 17:9; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Galatians 5:22-24;
John 15:8; 4:35-36; Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 14:23; Proverbs 11:30.