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DRAWN TO CHRIST!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, November 17, 2002


"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).


Some people will accuse me of being a hyper-Calvinist simply for choosing this text. But I am not a five-point Calvinist at all! Please listen to this whole sermon before drawing a conclusion.

We must remember that these are the words of Jesus Christ. I say that at the beginning of this sermon because the mind of modern man is so repelled by these words, that he often resists them without thinking who said them. So, remember that it is Christ Himself who said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." If you resist or reject these words, you are resisting and rejecting the plain words of Jesus Christ."

The words of the Saviour mean that it is utterly impossible for anyone to come to Jesus Christ unless he is drawn to Christ by God. That is the simple, plain teaching of Christ Himself in this verse:

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

Now tonight I will deal with this verse under three headings.

1. Why these words are resisted today.

2. What the drawing of the Father means.

3. How the Father draws people to Christ.

I. First, why these words are resisted today.

The teaching of Christ in this verse is disgusting to the modern mind. It is resisted, opposed, and refused by mankind in general, but particularly in our time. Why? Simply because modern thinking has been so deeply influenced by the humanism of the Enlightenment. Human sufficiency came over into the thinking of the common man in the second half of the nineteenth century. To make this very simple, people came to believe that they, as human beings, were in complete control of their destinies. This has now been replaced among intellectuals by various forms of determinism, but I am not going to deal with that, since you are not sophisticated enough to be greatly influenced by it. Common people like you are still under the influence of the humanistic sufficiency of man.

Now, isn't that true? If I quote this verse to you, don't you question it?

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

Doesn't that verse bother you? Doesn't it make you question whether it is true or not? It almost certainly does, if you are honest about it. And the reason these words of Christ bother you, the reason you doubt that it is the truth, is because you have a modern mind, influenced by the humanism which has filtered down to you from the Enlightenment. That's true whether you know it or not, whether you acknowledge it or not, whether you understand the terms or not.

Let me put it another way. You don't think any common person in the English-speaking world would have been bothered by this verse before the nineteenth century, do you? If you know anything historically about the way people thought before, say, the middle of the nineteenth century, you know I am right. Dr. Francis Schaeffer said:

"In the humanism of the High Renaissance flowing on to maturity through the Enlightenment, man was determined to make himself autonomous [free from God]" (Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? Revell, 1976, p. 148).

So, the first reason people resist these words today is because they have accepted the false idea of humanism that each human being controls his or her own life completely.

The second reason the verse is resisted is because of the Pelagianism introduced to Protestantism by Charles G. Finney in the mid-nineteenth century. Let's make that very simple. One of Finney's most popular sermons was titled, "Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts." The very title of that famous sermon by Finney reveals his Pelagian heresy. Finney followed the fifth-century heretic Pelagius when he denied the age-old Protestant and Baptist doctrines of original sin and human depravity. For hundreds of years, Protestants and Baptists had taught that man was totally lost, "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). They had taught, "by grace are ye saved" (Ephesians 2:8). But Finney changed these Bible doctrines into "Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts."

Finney's new ideas became so popular that preachers across the English-speaking world stopped telling people

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

Instead, these "new" preachers told people they could be saved whenever they chose, whenever they made a superficial "decision for Christ." This was quickly accepted by the masses of people because they already believed that they were in complete control of their own lives. They had already accepted the idea of man's sufficiency from the humanism of the Enlightenment. Finney's belief, "Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts," was what they already believed, because they had accepted the lie of humanism.

The third reason this verse came to be resisted so strongly was that people turned away from Calvinism. This didn't happen all at once. It came slowly, as a result of Enlightenment thinking gaining more and more control of people's minds. Now, I am not going to debate the questions raised by Calvinism tonight. I am not a five-point Calvinist. Anyone who reads several of my sermons will understand that. But Calvinism has truths in it that rise above their system of theology. They believe certain key doctrines that are greater than their own system. They hold certain doctrines that are essential Christian truths. Among these are (1) the complete lostness of unconverted man, and (2) salvation completely by the grace of God.

Finney and his modern evangelical followers, in essence and in practice, deny these essential doctrines. They may say they believe them, but "decisionists" like Billy Graham, and those who believe like him, in fact deny these doctrines, and follow Finney's Pelagianist errors on these essential Christian truths. That is why the average new-evangelical dislikes or rejects these words of Jesus Christ,

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

I have given the second half of the verse for a reason. New-evangelicals, who reject the first half of the verse, quickly affirm that they believe the second half. They believe "and I will raise him up at the last day." They believe in the rapture, when Christ will raise the bodies of dead and living Christians to meet Him in the sky (ref. I Thessalonians 4:16-18). But they are inconsistent to believe the second half of the verse and not to believe the first half. Human "decisions" do not raise Christians to meet Christ in the air. " I will raise him up at the last day." The rapture is accomplished by Christ, not by a human decision! And, as Christ is the efficient cause of true Christians being raptured, so the Father is the efficient cause of a lost soul coming to Christ!

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

No one can come to Christ unless God the Father draws him to Christ, and no one can be raptured unless Christ raises "him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

A dead man cannot raise himself at "the last day." Christ must raise the dead. And a dead man (Ephesians 2:1) cannot come to Christ. God must draw him to Christ!

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

II. Second, what the drawing of the Father means.

John Wesley, well known as an Arminian, was not a Pelagian heretic like Finney. Wesley said, "No man can believe in Christ, unless God gives him power" (John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, volume 1, comment on John 6:44). That is historic Biblical Christianity! If the modern mind rejects it - so be it. The modern mind also rejects what the Bible teaches about Hell. What are we supposed to do, stop preaching on Hell like Robert Schuller and Rick Warren? No! We must preach the truth about Hell whether people hear us or not! And we must preach what John Wesley said, "No man can believe in Christ, unless God gives him power," whether lost evangelicals and a mocking world like to hear it or not! It is historic Christianity! It is what the Bible teaches! Take it or leave it! But if you reject it, remember that these are the words of Jesus Christ, the one who will judge you at the end of time! He said,

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

Now, what does this "drawing" mean? It means, first, that God draws you to a place of willingness to come to Christ. The Bible says, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power" (Psalm 110:3). Before God draws a person, he is completely unwilling to come to Christ. The Bible says of Christ,

"He is despised and rejected of men…and we hid as it were our faces from him" (Isaiah 53:3).

The unconverted person naturally, by nature, despises and rejects Christ. This is the reason that unconverted evangelicals have little to say about what Christ has done for them. In their "testimonies," they generally say a great deal about how bad they were and what a great change in behavior they experienced. But they generally have very little to say about Christ, or what He did for them. By asking questions and listening to their answers, we find that Christ is not at the heart of the "testimony." It is all man-centered, because Christ himself is still despised and rejected by them.

It is only when God draws a person that he begins to see how important the Son of God is.

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

Then, too, a person will wonder how to come to Christ before God draws Him to the Saviour. Jesus has risen from the dead. He has ascended back into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus says,

"Come unto me…and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

But the unconverted person wants to know how to come to Him. They think that coming to Christ is a mechanical thing. They think it is something they can learn, and that they can do - like turning on a light switch. But John Flavel made it clear "That it is utterly impossible for any man to come to Jesus Christ, unless he be drawn unto him by the special and mighty power of God" (John Flavel, The Works of John Flavel, London, Banner of Truth, 1968, volume II, p. 69).

The actual uniting of a human soul with Jesus Christ is a supernatural, miraculous event, that goes beyond the laws of nature. That is the reason you can't learn it, or do it. There is no use at all in trying to "figure out" how to come to Christ. The actual union of your soul to Christ is out of your hands!

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

III. Third, how the Father draws people to Christ.

Flavel correctly says that "This blessed work is carried on by the Spirit gradually: bringing the soul step by step in the due method and order of the gospel to Christ; illumination, conviction, compunction [repentance] prepare the way to Christ; and then faith unites the soul to Him" (ibid., p. 71). Without these works of God within the heart, no one will come to Christ.

First, there is illumination. God causes the lost person to think that he needs to be in church. That takes great illumination by God's Spirit. The average evangelical believes the Satanic lie that you don't need to join a church and be faithful to it. So, if you see the need to be here regularly it is because God has given you light. That's what "illumination" means - God giving you light.

Then, if you believe the Bible it is because God is illuminating you. The lost people of the world do not believe the Bible. They say it is full of errors and contradictions. There is an answer, of course, for every one of their attacks, but they will not receive those answers. They go right on rejecting the Bible. It takes great illumination, light from God, for a person to believe the Scriptures. So, God draws you by giving you light on these things.

But that is only the beginning of the drawing. Then God brings you under conviction. This is what Spurgeon called "The Withering Work of the Spirit," in his great sermon by that title ( Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, volume 17, p. 373). In that sermon Spurgeon shows that our boasted goodness must be withered and burned by God. Our own strength must be withered and burned by God. All of our hopes must be withered and burned. This is the "withering" that comes with awakening, and precedes true conversion. The greatest single error of modern evangelism is that preachers try to get people to come to Christ before their self-reliance is burned away, and their sins are made clear to them, by God. It's as impossible to get an unawakened man to come to Christ as it is to get a dead body to walk over to you from its coffin! A dead body cannot come to you. And a man who has not been awakened to his helplessness and sin cannot come to Christ!

The Spirit of God shows you that you are helpless. The Spirit of God brings you under conviction, showing you the corruption of your heart, and reminding you of your sins. This is what Flavel called "conviction, compunction." This prepares you for Christ. It may happen slowly, or it may happen in a few moments of time - but it must happen - or you will not truly come to Christ. You will only experience a false conversion.

Here is the conversion of my son, Wesley:

It was about seven o'clock on a Saturday night, November 30, 1996. Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. was preaching on sin and judgment. As he was preaching, I was getting more and more aware of my sins recorded in God's books, and the judgment that awaited me if I did not have them erased. As he continued preaching, I was still thinking about my sins…I began to see how horrible and dreadful my sins were in the sight of an Almighty and sovereign God…Then, for the first time, I simply fell on Jesus. That is (in my own words) the best possible way I can describe it. The falling was like jumping off of a tall building and falling on a giant pillow…Now I am telling you that all salvation is by the grace of God. God gave me an awakening to see my sins before His eyes and to see the condition of my trickery and deceitfulness against Him that would have driven me to Hell and damnation had it not been for His grace. There has never been and never will be a person that got converted by trying to work his way, or talk his way, into Heaven. The Blood of Jesus can wash away the sins of as many people as will come to Him. I am most grateful for God sending His Son Jesus to wash away my sins (see Today's Apostasy by Hymers and Cagan, p. 180).

That is part of the testimony of a thirteen-year-old boy. It shows clearly that salvation is all by grace, because

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44).

May God awaken you to your helplessness and sinfulness. Then it will be miraculously easy to come to Jesus - like falling onto a giant pillow!


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 6:37-47.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Not What These Hands Have Done" (by Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889).

THE OUTLINE OF

DRAWN TO CHRIST!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

I.   Why these words are resisted today, John 6:44a;
Ephesians 2:1,8; John 6:44b.

II.  What the drawing of the Father means, Psalm 110:3;
Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 11:28.

III. How the Father draws people to Christ, John 6:44.

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at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."