True and False Conversion
By Harold Markham
Admittedly it is very difficult to know what another person actually believes. Belief sustained over time produces a way of life which can be seen by others. Just as apple trees produce apples and plum trees produce plums, true conversion and false conversion each bear distinguishing fruit. Consider carefully the outline below and examine yourself to see which type of fruit you produce.
I. True conversion has distinguishing fruit.
- It Bears the Fruit of Repentance (Matthew 3:8).
- It Bears the Fruit of Good Works (Colossians 1:10).
- It Bears the Fruit of Thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15).
- It Bears the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
- It Bears the Fruit of Righteousness (Philippians 1:11).
II. False conversion has distinguishing characteristics.
- It Has Immediate results (Mark 4:5).
- It Lacks Moisture (Luke 8:6).
- It Has Shallow Roots (Matthew 13:6).
- It Receives the Word with Gladness (Mark 4:16).
- It Receives the Word with Joy (Matthew 13:20).
- It Believes for a Season (Luke 8:13).
George Whitefield spoke about “mushroom” converts because they sprang up quickly but did not last. False converts have always been among God’s people. Korah was in Israel, and savage wolves were in the flock at Ephesus, the Lord spoke of false prophets (Matthew 7:15), false Christs (Mark 13:22), false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13), false brethren (Galatians 2:4), false teachers (2 Peter 2:1). "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us." (1 John 2:19). These false brethren have always been the minority until the advent of the modern evangelistic methods (largely introduced by Charles Finney). These methods appeal to the base part of man and produce no repentance and sorrow over sin.
This video is a small excerpt from John MacArthur's sermon on Mark 4:1-20 (The Parable of the Sower) entitled, "A Diagnosis of the Soils, Part 1".