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THE RAPTURE AND SALVATION COMPARED

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, December 3, 2006
at the 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).


I want you to notice the second half of this text,

“and I will raise him up at the last day.”

That phrase was mentioned by Christ four times in this passage of Scripture.

“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39).

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).

“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54).

And our text this morning,

“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).

Four times Jesus used that expression:

“But should raise it up again at the last day.”

“And I will raise him up at the last day.”

“And I will raise him up at the last day.”

“And I will raise him up at the last day.”

New-evangelicals have no trouble with that. It’s called the “rapture,” referring to that future time when Christ will come in the clouds,

“And the dead in Christ shall rise first…to meet the Lord in the air” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

It is the generally held belief of new-evangelical Christians today that Christ will come and raise dead Christians to meet Him in the air at the “rapture.” And I am in full agreement with that. The text speaks of it:

“And I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

No one would say that a dead man in the grave lifts himself up to meet the Lord on that day! No one would even say a dead man helps to lift himself up to meet the Lord in the air! Everyone would strongly agree and affirm that the “rapture” of dead Christians will occur solely by the power of God, completely by the grace of God, without any admixture of human “decision,” or any human act of will. All are in agreement that the “rapture” will occur by the power of God alone, solely by the grace of God.

“And I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

And yet, is it not strange that these same new-evangelicals so often have trouble with the first half of the text?

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

We learn two important things, then, from this verse.

I. First, a man is as unable to come to Christ by his own power now,
as he will be to rapture himself in the future.

Have I gone too far? I don’t think so! In the decisionist apostasy of our time, many who are monergists regarding the rapture are Pelagianists regarding salvation! “Monergism” means that God alone does the work. “Pelagianism” is the heretical belief that man does the work. Many are monergists regarding the rapture, saying that God does the work. But they are Pelagianist heretics regarding salvation, saying man does the work! I say that the whole thing is the work of God – from beginning to end – from salvation to the rapture – the entire work of salvation is by the grace of God alone – without any admixture of Roman Catholic works-righteousness whatsoever!

Little wonder so many new-evangelicals see no difference between their faith and that of Rome. When you give up salvation by grace alone, you have given up the very underpinning of our historic Baptist and Protestant faith!

“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).

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Grace! ‘tis a charming sound,
   Harmonious to the ear;
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
   And all the earth shall hear.
(“Grace! ‘Tis a Charming Sound” by Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751).

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
   Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
   Grace that is greater than all our sin.
(“Grace Greater Than Our Sin” by Julia H. Johnston, 1849-1919).

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
   That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
   Was blind, but now I see.
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

That is our Baptist and Protestant heritage. That is our belief across the ages of time! That is the faith of our forefathers! That is the preaching of the Reformation and the Great Awakenings! That refutes the Roman Catholic heresy of “decisionism,” insinuated back into modern evangelism by that vile Pelagianist Charles G. Finney! That is the faith of our bleeding Baptist martyrs and forefathers! That is salvation by grace alone, without man’s works, without man’s efforts, without man’s decisions!

“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 the Word of God, plain and clear, on the page of Holy Scripture! Don’t run from it! Don’t water it down! Preach it as it is – on the page of your King James Bible! Man is as unable to come to Christ by his own power now, as he will be to rapture himself from the grave at the Second Coming of 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, a man who is spiritually dead must be saved
by a power from outside himself.

I can hear someone whisper, “Hymers is a hyper-Calvinist.” That’s a lie! I reject three of the five points of Calvinism. I’m no hyper-Calvinist! The Calvinists wouldn’t even accept me. They would say I believe a hodge-podge of the doctrines of Richard Baxter, John Goodwin and Martin Luther. But I’ll tell you one thing – I do believe that man is dead in sin! I believe it because the Bible says so! It says so plainly, on the page of your Bible:

“We were dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5).

Not “we were sick.” Oh, no!

“We were dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5).

That is total depravity! And I believe what God says on the page of my Bible!

My friend, if you are a lost sinner, you are

“dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1),

and nothing can bring you to life but the grace of Almighty God!

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

Your heart is so cold and dead that you couldn’t come to Christ if you tried with all your might to do so!

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

A man who is spiritually dead must be saved by a power outside of himself – by the power and grace of God!

Now, how does God do that? How does God the Father draw dead sinners to Christ? Jonathan Edwards studied this with utmost diligence, and worked by the hour learning of it, both in his study and among the people he counselled in his church. No man was ever a more serious student of the conversion of lost sinners than was Jonathan Edwards. Listen to him, lost sinner, with an attentive ear. Edwards said,

The drift of the Spirit of God…has been effected by leading [lost sinners] more and more to a sense of their exceeding wickedness and guiltiness in his sight; their pollution, and the insufficiency of their own righteousness; that they can in no wise help themselves...burdened with a sense of heart-sins, the dreadful corruption of their natures, their enmity against God, the pride of their hearts, their unbelief, their rejection of Christ, the stubbornness and obstinacy of their wills (Jonathan Edwards, “The Manner of Conversion Various”).

He went on to say that awakened sinners think of the sin of their past. Then they try to reform themselves and live better lives. But this brings them no inner peace. Yet though their efforts do them no good, they try to do the same thing again and again, even though it always fails. They see others saved, but this only makes them angry, jealous, and bitter toward God. They are tempted to stop striving to enter the strait gate. They may think they have committed the unpardonable sin. Their emotions thrash them back and forth. Everything seems to them as dark as midnight.

God is putting them through this terrible inner struggle to beat out of them any dependence on themselves. Edwards said,

Some are brought to this conviction by a great sense of their sinfulness in general, that they are such vile, wicked creatures in heart and life: others have the sins of their lives in an extraordinary manner set before them, multitudes of [their sins] coming just then fresh to their memory, and being set before them…Some have their minds especially fixed on some particular practice they have indulged. Some are especially convinced by the sight of the corruption and wickedness of their hearts. Some, from a view they have of the horridness of some particular exercise of corruption…whereby the enmity of the heart against God has been manifested. Some are convinced especially by a sense of the sin of unbelief, the opposition of their hearts to the way of salvation by Christ, and their obstinacy in rejecting…his grace (ibid.).

All of this is done by God in the sinner’s heart to humiliate him, and to prepare him for salvation in Christ until, at last, “Christ is distinctly made the object of the mind, in his all-sufficiency and willingness to save sinners…Some are struck with the glory and wonderfulness of the dying love of Christ; and some with the sufficiency and preciousness of his blood, as offered to make an atonement for sin…In some the excellency and loveliness of Christ [comes to mind]…and in others, the excellency of the way of salvation by Christ” (ibid.).

Persons after their conversion often speak of religious things as seeming new to them; that preaching is a new thing; that it seems to them they never heard preaching before; that the Bible is a new book…because they see [it] in a new light. Here is a remarkable instance of a woman [over 70 years old, who had been to church all her life]. Reading in the New Testament concerning Christ’s sufferings for sinners, she seemed to be astonished at what she read, [that it] was real and wonderful, but quite new to her. At first…she [thought] that she had never heard of it before; but then [remembered] she had often heard of it, and read it, but never till now saw it as real. She then [thought] how wonderful this was, that the Son of God should [go through such suffering] for sinners, and how she had spent her time in ungratefully sinning against so good a God, and such a Saviour [although she had lived an apparently] blameless and inoffensive life (ibid.).

She was so overcome with emotion, thinking about Jesus dying to pay for her sins, that those around her thought she was dying!

Some persons have had such longing desires [for Christ]…as to take away their natural strength. Some have been so overcome with a sense of the dying love of Christ…as to weaken the body…and they have talked, when able to speak, of the glory of God’s perfections, the wonderfulness of his grace in Christ (ibid.).

May you experience a similar conversion! May you be drawn by God the Father to Jesus, the Saviour, who shed His Blood on the Cross to wash away your every sin! May you come, by the grace of God, to Jesus Christ,

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”
      (John 1:29).

Let us turn to hymn number four on your song sheet. Please stand together and sing it heartily!

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed?
   And did my sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
   For such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done
   He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
   And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
   And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker, died
   For man the creature’s sin.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
   The debt of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
   ‘Tis all that I can do.
(“Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed?” by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748;
      to the tune of “O Set Ye Open Unto Me,” Belmont).

If you would like to speak with our deacon Dr. Cagan and myself about salvation through Christ Jesus, please stop at the little foyer leading into the Fellowship Hall, as we go upstairs to have refreshments together. May God the Father draw you to Jesus the Saviour, for cleansing from sin by His Blood. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 6:39-40, 44, 54.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Saved By Grace” (by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE RAPTURE AND SALVATION COMPARED

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 6:39-40, 54; I Thessalonians 4:16-17)

I.   First, a man is as unable to come to Christ by his own power now,
as he will be to rapture himself in the future, Ephesians 2:8-9.

II.  Second, a man who is spiritually dead must be saved by a power
from outside himself, Ephesians 2:5, 1; John 1:29.