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HAVE YOU COME TO CHRIST?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, November 9, 2003


"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).


The religious leaders in Christ's time studied the Old Testament Scriptures carefully. But they missed the fact that the Scriptures spoke of Christ - and so, they did not come to Christ, and receive salvation through Him. There was a common saying among them, "He that has the words of the law has eternal life" (Matthew Henry, note on John 5:39). But Jesus said that the Scriptures testify of Him,

"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:39-40).

They were trusting the words of Scripture, but they were not trusting the Christ spoken of in those Scriptures. Dr. Walvoord said, "Similarly many people today think that Bible study is an end in itself" (Walvoord and Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Victor Books, 1984, volume II, p. 292).

They came to the Bible, and trusted the words of the Bible - but they would not come to Christ and trust Him.

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

There is a terrible tendency in fallen mankind to come to something other than Christ, to trust something other than Christ.

"We hid as it were our faces from him" (Isaiah 53:3).

"Their soul also abhorred me" (Zechariah 11:8).

"But they cried out, Away with him, away with him" 
      (John 19:15).

This is the way all mankind treats Christ. Apart from the grace of God, in one way or another, it can be said of all mankind,

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

Without the grace of God, no human being would ever come to Christ. Jesus said,

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

Is God drawing you this evening? Do you feel that you need Christ? Do you feel that you are lost without Him? If you do, God is drawing you away from your false ideas to Christ, Himself. Listen carefully to what I say, give up your false ideas, and come to Christ. Until now, you have not come to Christ. Until now, Christ has said to you,

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

I. First, what people do instead of coming to Christ.

People with a Pentecostal or Charismatic background often think that salvation comes through experiences and feelings. The "Holy Spirit" often takes the place of Christ as the mediator between God and man (cf. I Timothy 2:5). Jesus, in reality, is often replaced by the "Holy Spirit."

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

People with a Roman Catholic background tend to replace Christ with acts of penance - contrition, confession, and good deeds. They try to be saved by confessing their sins one by one, or by trying to follow Christ day by day. These human works replace Christ.

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

People who are from the background of other world religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc. believe that salvation does not depend on Christ. They may give lip service to Christ as "a great prophet," but they do not believe that Christ alone can save them. They generally depend on living "a good life" for salvation.

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

Baptists and evangelicals also tend to trust something other than Christ. Dr. John R. Rice said,

Millions of church members are unconverted, unregenerated sinners living under the wrath of God. In Hell today there are countless millions of…orthodox Baptists…who have gone to [Hell], never having been truly saved. [They] missed the way, had a false hope and are now in torment (Dr. John R. Rice, Religious But Lost, Sword of the Lord, 1939, p. 8).

Dr. Rice then said,

From the many times this is brought up in the Bible, it is evident that there is a real danger of one's being deceived and depending on a false hope, only to discover at last that he is eternally lost (ibid.).

Baptists and evangelicals often trust the "sinner's prayer" rather than Christ. They say, "I asked Him to save me. Isn't that enough?" No, it is not! You must come to Christ to be saved! You must not trust your own prayers! You must trust the Son of God! Christ did not say to ask Him. He said to come to Him. Christ said,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

You have been deceived by asking Him, rather than coming to Him!

Others are deceived by believing what the Bible says, rather than coming to Christ. They know the "plan of salvation" in the Bible. They know that Christ died for their sins. They know that He rose from the dead. They believe those Bible facts, but they have never come to Jesus, Himself. As Dr. Walvoord said, "Many people today think that Bible study is an end in itself."

How are you different from those Pharisees? Jesus said to them,

"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:39-40).

These, then, are some of the things people do instead of coming to Christ. Is it possible that you have made such a mistake?

II. Second, why ways other than coming to Christ will not save you.

When you stand before the throne of God, at the Last Judgment, Jesus will say to you,

"I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity"
      (Matthew 7:23).

Why will He tell you to depart from Him into Hell fire? Because He "never knew you." The reason He never knew you is because you never came to Him! It's as simple as that!

You tried to be saved by saying the words of a prayer or by believing something in the Bible. But those things won't save anyone. Turn with me in the Bible to John 6:28-29. Let's stand and read it out loud,

"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:28-29).

The only "work" which is acceptable is to believe on Jesus! "Believing on Jesus" is another way of saying "come to Jesus." "Believing on Jesus" and "coming to Him" are two different ways of saying the same thing. Let's read verses 44 to 47 out loud.

"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. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on  me hath everlasting life"
      (John 6:44-47).

You may be seated.

We see, in this passage, that coming to Jesus and believing on Jesus are simply two different ways of saying the same thing. Now, my question to you is this - have you come to Jesus? Have you believed on Him?

Nothing but coming to Jesus will result in salvation - because no one but Jesus can save you! No one but Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. No one but Jesus rose physically from the dead to give you life.

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

You must come to Jesus or you will not be saved. All other methods, and all other ways, lead to Hell. But up to now you haven't come to Him, have you? You believed what the Bible said about Him. You even asked Him to save you. But you still haven't come to Him - have you?

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

III. Third, how to know whether or not you have come to Christ.

You may say, "I don't know if I have come to Christ or not. How can I tell?" The way to tell is given in II Corinthians 13:5. The Apostle Paul said,

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…" (II Corinthians 13:5).

Concerning this verse, Spurgeon said,

Examine yourselves because if ye make a mistake ye can never rectify it, except in this world…I cannot afford to have my soul cast into hell. What a frightful hazard is that which you and I are running, if we do not examine ourselves! It is an everlasting hazard; it is a hazard of heaven or hell, of God's eternal favor or his everlasting curse. Well might the apostle say, "Examine yourselves" (C. H. Spurgeon, "Self Examination," The New Park Street Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1981 reprint, vol. IV, page 429).

Dr. J. Vernon McGee gave this comment on II Corinthians 13:5,

Paul says we should examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith or not. We should be willing to face up to the issue (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1983, vol. V, page 145).

Asahel Nettleton, the major evangelist of the Second Great Awakening, said,

In this business [of self examination], every individual must sit in judgment on himself. Deal faithfully with your souls. A false hope is worse than none. A mistake in this momentous concern is awful. Examine well the foundation on which you rest your hopes of heaven, lest you discover your mistake too late (Asahel Nettleton, Sermons From the Second Great Awakening, International Outreach, 1995 reprint, pp. 323, 333).

Go back and think of the moment of your salvation. Did you come to Christ? Or did you do something else? As Dr. Nettleton said, "Examine well the foundation on which you rest your hopes of heaven." Did you actually come to Christ? Is Christ, Himself the foundation of your hopes? If you did not actually come to Christ back then, you ought to come to Him tonight. Jesus said,

"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

Jesus said,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' Blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
     ("The Solid Rock" by Edward Mote, 1797-1874).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 5:39-47.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"The Solid Rock" (by Edward Mote, 1797-1874).


THE OUTLINE OF

HAVE YOU COME TO CHRIST?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

(John 5:39; Isaiah 53:3; Zechariah 11:8; John 19:15; 6:44)

I.   What people do instead of coming to Christ, I Timothy 2:5;
Matthew 11:28.

II.  Why ways other than coming to Christ will not save you,
Matthew 7:23; John 6:28-29, 44-47; Acts 4:12.

III. How to know whether or not you have come to Christ,
II Corinthians 13:5; John 6:37.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."