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SALVATION - THE WORK OF GOD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, May 30, 2004
at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"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).


Jesus fed five thousand men by miraculously multiplying five barley loaves and two small fish. The next day this crowd of people came looking for Jesus. But Jesus rebuked them because they were only looking for more food. He told them that they should have been seeking "that meat which endureth unto everlasting life" (John 6:27).

Then the people asked Jesus what "work" they should do to earn this spiritual food. He told them that the only "work" necessary was to believe. Then they wanted a sign. They said that Moses gave them "bread from heaven." Christ told them that He was the bread. He said,

"I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).

This shows that coming to Jesus is the same thing as believing on Him.

These people had seen Jesus, and had seen His miracles, and yet they had not believed on Him. They had come to Jesus only for food and material blessings. When they discovered that Jesus Himself was "the bread of life," they were not interested.

The people grumbled. They "murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:41). They thought that He could not have come down from Heaven, since He was the son of Joseph. Jesus told them that no one could come to Him on their own. They must be drawn to Him by God. He said,

"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).

Then Jesus quoted Isaiah 54:13, which said that they must be taught by God Himself in order to come to Him (John 6:45). Only God can teach you to come to Jesus. Only God can draw you to Jesus.

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

We learn four great truths from this verse.

I. First, this verse shows the utter inability of the natural man
to come to Christ.

Please turn to I Corinthians 2:14. Let us stand and read this verse aloud.

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14).

You may be seated.

The "natural man" refers to human beings in their natural human state. Unconverted people are worldly minded. They cannot understand the things of God on their own. They are unable to understand Christ and are unable to come to Him for salvation. Protestants and Baptists have always classically taught the utter inability of human beings to come to Christ on their own, without God drawing them. John Wesley said,

No man can believe in Christ, unless God gives him power (John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, Baker Book House, 1983 reprint, vol. I, note on John 6:44).

Dr. John Gill said that human beings are

…dead in trespasses and sins, and impotent to everything that is spiritual, and whilst men are in a state of unregeneracy, blindness and darkness, they see no need of coming to Christ… they are prejudiced against him, and their hearts are set on other things… (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, p. 819).

People in their natural state can see some things that are true. But they cannot come to Christ, Himself. You may see that it is good to go to church. You may see that you need Christian friends. But this is no more spiritual than those people in John 6, who saw that they needed food!

Without the gracious drawing of God, you will see no need for coming to Christ, Himself. You may learn things about Christ, but you will not come to Christ. You may learn Bible verses, and correct doctrine, but you will "see no need of coming to Christ" (Dr. Gill). Your heart will be "set on other things" (Dr. Gill). Your top priority will be your school work, or your job or your friends - it will not be Christ.

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

II. Second, this verse speaks of the "drawing" by which God
leads a person to Christ.

When God draws a person to Christ, He does so very gently. God shows you that you need friends. You come to church and find that meets your need for friendship. That's often the first thing God uses to draw you.

Then God usually draws people to think about eternal things. After you have been coming for awhile, God begins to make you think about your soul, and eternity. This is the usual way the drawing happens, although it may, in some cases, be much more sudden. I have known a number of people who were converted "on the spot," immediately upon hearing the gospel. But long experience has showed me that these are unusual, and that in most cases people go through a longer process of "drawing" before they are truly converted.

After a person begins to think about eternity, he usually tries various ways to make himself right in the sight of God. This is very similar to the thoughts those people had in the sixth chapter of John.

After much human effort is tried, the person finally comes under conviction. Conviction of sin is the critical point to which a person must be drawn by God. You will begin to see that you are hopelessly sinful in your heart. You will begin to see that you can't do anything to save yourself. You will begin to see that your sins on God's record condemn you. You will begin to feel very guilty of sin in the sight of God. Such conviction of sin does not come from your own nature - it comes from God. God Himself is convincing you of sin and causing you to feel guilty and helpless. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Please turn to John 16:8. This verse tells us that conviction of sin is the first work of the Holy Spirit in a human heart. Let us stand and read John 16:8 aloud.

"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8).

You may be seated.

Jesus said,

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

This "drawing" brings you to the place where you feel guilty and lost inside. That is not a bad thing. It is a good thing to feel guilty and lost. That is the work of God's Spirit - drawing you. Without feeling guilty and sinful and lost, Christ will not seem important to you. You will never see any real need for Christ until you are convinced of sin. Your heart will be set on other things until you are made to feel guilty and sinful by God's Spirit.

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

III. Third, this verse speaks of an actual encounter with the risen Christ.

I am thinking about seven classical conversions - the conversion of the Apostle Paul, the conversion of Augustine, the conversion of Luther, the conversion of John Bunyan, the conversion of George Whitefield, the conversion of John Wesley, and the conversion of C. H. Spurgeon. In all seven of these conversions, which occurred hundreds of years apart, the person I named tried to save himself in one way or another. Then he fell into a state of despair and great guilt. At last he came to Christ, and finally felt forgiven of his sins by Christ.

Yes, you may know that Christ died on the Cross to pay for your sins, and that He rose from the dead and ascended back to Heaven. But knowing those facts will not help you unless you come to Christ, unless you come in contact with Him, unless you encounter Christ Himself.

God draws you. God makes you feel guilty. God brings you to Christ for cleansing from sin in His Blood. Jesus said,

"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).

IV. Fourth, this verse speaks of the permanence of conversion.

True conversion is always permanent - because God is the author and finisher of it. Concerning the person who comes to Him, Jesus could boldly say, "I will raise him up at the last day." How could Christ be so sure of that? Simply because once you are converted, you cannot become unconverted. The truly converted person is eternally secure because Jesus is the author of "eternal salvation" (Hebrews 5:9). Jesus said,

"I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish…"
      (John 10:28).

Please turn to hymn number 6 on your song sheet. Now look up. The moment you come to Jesus, He gives you the gift of eternal life. Jesus said,

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36).

The moment you come to Jesus you have eternal life. It can never be taken away from you or be lost. That is why Jesus said, with great confidence,

"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).

That is why I tell you to come to Jesus Christ. His Blood will wash away your sins. He will save you by His resurrected life. Come to Christ! Come to Christ and live forever! Amen! Let's stand and sing, loud and strong!

For me was given the spotless Lamb,
      His Father's wrath to bear;
I see His bloody wounds and know
      My name is written there.

Forth from the Lord His gushing blood
      In purple currents ran;
And every wound proclaimed aloud
      His wondrous love to man.

For me the Saviour's blood avails,
      Almighty to atone;
The hands He gave to piercing nails
      Shall lead me to His throne.
("Propitiation" by Augustus Toplady, 1740-1778,
        first stanza altered by Dr. Hymers).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 6:41-47.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "I've Found a Friend"

(by James G. Small, 1817-1888).

THE OUTLINE OF

SALVATION - THE WORK OF GOD!

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).

(John 6:27, 35, 41; Isaiah 54:13; John 6:45)

I.   This verse shows the utter inability of the natural man to come to
Christ, I Corinthians 2:14.

II.  This verse speaks of the "drawing" by which God leads a person to
Christ, John 16:8.

III. This verse speaks of an actual encounter with the risen Christ,
John 6:44.

IV. This verse speaks of the permanence of conversion, Hebrews 5:9;
John 10:28; 3:36.

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