Skip to main content

Self-Interest Conversion

This is part 3 on the “Parable of the Soils” commonly referred to as “The Sower and the Seed” but as was introduced in part 1 "Soils and Hearts" it is not about the Sower or the seed but is about soils. Part 2 was on the first soil "Can't Hear Won't Hear" today we will be going over the second soil. “The parable of the Soils” can be found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke I will mainly be referring to the account in Mark 4:1-20.

“Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have 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” (Mark 4:5-6). The land of Israel is covered with lime stone, much on the surface and much with just a thin layer of soil on top of the lime stone. I have observed this to occur on the pavement on my driveway, a small amount of soil gets on top of the concrete the soil is moist, a plant quickly sprouts up out of the soil then dies just is quickly because it has no root system and thus no water source because the soil is to shallow. The Lord used this when referencing to a shallow heart, someone who at the surface is receptive to the seed of the gospel but can’t penetrate very deeply because just under the surface they have hearts of stone and a mind convinced against itself. In our Lords explanation of this parable He said: “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble” (Mark 4:16-17).

These people have a joyful exuberant reaction to hearing the gospel, they have tears of joy running down there face and a smile as big as the day. Lifting up their hands praising God saying Hallelujah, I’m saved. The preacher reads there name and says welcome brother so and so into the body of Christ the people of the church clap bringing greater joy to the one who had just come forward. They quickly become involved in the church, they are there every time the door is open, in Sunday school, church services and make all the social events, they may even become involved in a ministry at the church. But in time the euphoria of the new experience begins to die down, they learn the people in the church have problems and they have their own problems they sure don’t want to be dealing with someone else’s. They learn that the ministry that they got involved in is work and has time demands. Sunday school and church service seems so early and it feels so much better just to sleep in on the weekends so they begin to skip some services. Then they have a trial, their wife or husband leave them, their kids are in trouble at school and their mother or father is diagnosed with cancer, they think to themselves were is God in all of this. So they leave bitter and angry because this sure isn’t what they signed up for.

Notice that this all began with joyful emotion, the Lord used the words “with gladness”. Let me make a statement here. Being filled with joy having an emotional experience does not equal a spiritual conversion. In fact quite the opposite is more likely; in James chapter 4 he talks about the experience of coming to our Lord. “Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:8-9). Most people just stumble along in life and think that they are pretty good people and good people go to heaven, right? The problem is there are no good people the bible says: “There is none righteous, no, not one;” (Romans 3:10), “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). You thought all was good that you were a pretty good person, your eyes are opened for the first time, you see your sin before a righteous and Holy God and realize for the first time that you deserve death, you deserve Hell, but learn of the provision that this same God has made for you, through the death and resurrection of His Son. What do you do are you jumping for joy? No you, “Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:8-9).
These people have also responded to the gospel out of selfishness of their own self interest. If you come for self the last thing you’re going to do is stick around when you have trials and persecution. The Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 4:13 that we should be glad when we undergo trials. Trials cleans, people that belong to the Lord draw closer to him when they undergo trials, people that come for self interest run when trials come. That is why we have to preach the gospel in its entirety not just part of it, people must know the condition of their heart and God’s provision both. What are the implications to hearing the gospel?

1. Recognition of Sin – you learn that you are a sinner before a Holy God and that there is a penalty for sin called death in Hell.
2. Revolution of Character – You Repent, you turn away from your former sinful lifestyle.
3. Redirection of Energy – You focus your energy on God’s kingdom and serving Him.

None of these involve self interest; they all come about because you find out who you are and who God is. Finally the Apostle John said of these people; “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us” (1 John 2:19). In other words they left so that we might know that they were not our brothers and sisters. Some would have me be believe if you respond to an alter call and say a prayer you are always saved. I agree if you are saved you are always saved, salvation is eternal, but if you leave you were never saved to begin with! I was this person, I had a false conversion and left the church when I underwent a trail, I later came to repentance and faith alone in Jesus Christ on May 4th, 2003 when I realized who I was and who He Is!


Repent and put your faith alone in Jesus Christ,
Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ