The Father's Wooing Love | John 6:41-50 | Dr. David Harrell
Shepherd’s Fire exists to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ through mass communications for the teaching ministry of Bible expositor David Harrell, with a special emphasis in encouraging and strengthening pastors and church leaders.
Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.
It is with great joy that we come once again to the word of God. Take your Bibles and turn to John's gospel, chapter 6. We find ourselves this morning in verses 41-50. John 6, beginning in verse 41. Follow along as I read the text to you,
“41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, 'I am the bread that came down out of heaven.' 42 They were saying, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, “I have come down out of heaven”?' 43 Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught of God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.'”
Galilee was absolutely electric with excitement. The primary word on everyone's lips was Yeshua, Jesus. Could he be the Messiah? Everyone had been either directly or indirectly affected by his miraculous powers, his miraculous works but certainly they were confused by his mysterious words. Twenty thousand, at least, had eaten the bread that had been created from his hands out of nothing, as well as the fish that he made. The vast multitude wanted to forcefully make him king so he could serve them but they would not worship him as the Son of God. The pride of their self-righteous hearts really fueled their unbelief, that foolishly they had convinced themselves that they were in good standing with God because of their intrinsic ability to somehow please him with their religious works. And for this reason, their hearts were hardened against his message of repentance and faith in him as their only hope of salvation.
Having fed the multitude, you will recall that Jesus and the 12 have now come back to Capernaum on the west side of the Sea of Galilee, the opposite side from where this glorious feeding had occurred. You will also recall that the crowd had seen Jesus put the disciples in the boat and send them away and yet he, himself, stayed behind. Then having slept on the ground that night, they were frustrated to find that Jesus was not around the next morning. I'm sure they were hungry, probably wanting him to make breakfast. They were also excited because they wanted to make him king so knowing that Jesus and his family resided in Capernaum, they quickly boarded boats, some of them walked, no doubt some of them ran the 9-10 miles around the northern end of the sea to find him and when they did, they were mystified to find him on the other side and with their Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem at hand, no doubt they were scheming in their minds, “How can we make him king?”
With this in mind, John introduces us to an even more formidable villain, shall we say. He simply calls them the Jews. Notice in verse 41, “The Jews therefore were grumbling about him because he said, 'I am the bread that came down out of heaven.'” The Jews are here distinguished from the Galilean Jewish multitude. According to verse 59, we see that these are the leaders in the synagogue there at Capernaum. We also know, as we look through the gospels, as we see the ministry of Jesus' life, we see how that the Jewish leaders really led the antagonism toward Jesus that was very infectious with the rest of the people. And like the majority of pastors in Christian churches today who really know very little about the word of God, the Jewish leaders were ignorant of the Old Testament that pointed to Jesus as their Messiah so they weren't able to recognize their Messiah standing in their midst, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. In fact, later Jesus will confront the indignant chief priest and scribes over their ignorance concerning him by saying, “Have you not read?” and the answer is no, they were too busy concocting and enforcing their own legalistic rules and promoting superficial worship to know the word of God and so, therefore, they could not see the God of the word standing right there before them. How exceedingly sad it is to see the same kind of ignorance and superficiality dominate the Christian landscape today and as a result, the person and the work of Christ is often distorted and dishonored and his sheep are spiritually malnourished, they are unprotected, ignorant, antagonistic even toward Bible doctrine including some of the ones that we will examine here this morning in this text.
So, here we have Christ teaching in the Capernaum synagogue to these Jewish leaders who are ignorant of the Old Testament Scripture, their hearts had been hardened because of their self-righteous pride, they were smug with self-satisfaction and certainly threatened by this miracle-working Jesus of Nazareth who was brilliant beyond anything they had ever experienced. He taught with authority; he preached with compelling accuracy; one whose very presence was something different than they had ever experienced. As we come to the sacred text this morning, I believe that the Spirit of God would have me give you a one point outline. There is one thing that I want to focus on, this one astounding promise that we see emerge from the text, that we see come forth from Jesus' discourse and that it was I would like to call the Father's wooing love.
Whenever I contemplate the essence of God's sovereign grace in my own salvation, I find myself so overcome with gratitude and praise that I often just get lost in the wonder of it all. Sometimes, and I’m sure you've experienced this, it just reduces me to tears. It's like I’ve got to sin; I’ve got to pray; I’ve got to shout. I pray the same would be true for each of you. We're truly on sacred ground here today, friends, and so I would ask you to remove your sandals spiritually speaking and stand still in the presence of your infinitely glorious and holy Redeemer.
We come to verse 41, the Jews therefore, they're grumbling about him because of something that he said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” The term “grumbling” is a translation of the same Hebrew term used to describe Israel's murmuring against God in the wilderness both before and after God provided them with manna to eat. Grumbling against God seems to be a favorite pastime of the arrogant and the ignorant who have no appetite for the bread that came down out of heaven. We see that to this day.
Verse 42, “They were saying, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, 'I have come down out of heaven'?” Obviously, they knew Jesus' earthly father but they did not know his heavenly Father nor did they know the eternal word that had become flesh, the Incarnate God, the Lord Jesus Christ. They knew nothing of his heavenly origin; they knew nothing of his virgin birth; they knew nothing of his purposes for becoming a human being although he was fully God yet fully man. But no man will ever know these things unless God does something, unless the Father reveals them to him as Jesus is going to explain.
Undoubtedly, the Jews also grumbled against him for other things that he said. After all, he claimed to be the source of eternal life. He calls the people to repentance and faith as a prerequisite for even entering the kingdom. They're basically saying, “Who does this guy think he is? God?” The answer is yes. Worse yet, Jesus was preaching something that utterly destroyed the whole basis of their religious system, their whole works righteousness mindset. He's making claims that salvation is by grace alone, in him alone. Moreover, he is saying that it is God, not man, who is ultimately the source and power of salvation. Today we would say, “My goodness, Jesus is a Calvinist.”
I want to camp on this for a moment because many times there is confusion about this. I want to help you understand how some of these truths that Jesus taught are so maligned so bear with me for a brief digression. John Calvin was a 16th century theologian who helped launch the Protestant Reformation along with men like Martin Luther and John Knox and others and he held to a very high view of Scripture and, therefore, championed God's sovereignty in salvation. This is often explained by the acronym T-U-L-I-P. The T stands for total depravity; it's also know as total inability or original sin. The U stands for unconditional election. The L for limited atonement or sometimes it's called particular atonement. The I stands for irresistible grace. And P, perseverance of the saints or eternal security. And often this is derisively called the Five Points of Calvinism. I've had a number of people call me a heretic because I am a Five Point Calvinist and you've probably heard that.
These are strong distinctives that were taught by other early church fathers like Anselm and Augustine and many others and certainly we see it all through the New Testament. It's blatantly obvious in Paul's epistles and in the teachings of Jesus. In fact, we can see all five points of Calvinism in what Jesus just told the multitude. Remember when they wanted another sign before they would believe him? Look back at verse 36, “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.” Friends, there's total depravity, total inability. Man is so ruined by sin that it is impossible for him to understand either God or his will. He will not seek God; he will not desire God unless God grants him new birth and gives him the gift of faith.
Verse 37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” There is unconditional election and irresistible grace. God chooses the elect, according to the kind intention of his uninfluenced will because left unto himself, man is unable to know and unwilling to seek God unless God takes the initiative and when God calls his elect unto salvation, they no longer resist the grace of God but they will freely, they will willingly respond as a result of the Spirit's regenerating work within them. He renews their will.
Verse 38, we go on and we see him say, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” There we see the issue of limited atonement or better, particular or specific redemption. You say, “How so?” Well, you look at many other passages and you see what is the will of the Father who sent Jesus. We see it all through John 6. We read about it for example in his high priestly prayer in John 17. The will of the Father was for Jesus to come and to actually, not potentially, atone for the sins of all whom the Father had chosen and given to him. Jesus actually satisfied the wrath of God toward his people by taking their judgment upon himself. He actually redeemed them. It wasn't some potential thing and he actually reconciled those specific persons to God.
Jesus expands on this very theme in verses 39 and 40, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” Here you have the final point of the acronym, the P, perseverance of the saints or better, the perseverance of God with his saints. We are, in other words, eternally secure in Christ. As we look at the word of God even in this text, we see that God perseveres with his elect, keeping them from falling away, which we would certainly do were it left up to ourselves. Perseverance then becomes the ultimate proof of election.
So these are the essential truths of the gospel. God's sovereign grace is always at work and he uses us to accomplish his will in evangelism. With this theological background, let's examine what happens here in the Capernaum synagogue. Because of Jesus' claim to be the source of eternal life, that he came down from heaven, because of his call for repentance and faith as a prerequisite to entering the kingdom and certainly his declaration that all this is ultimately dependent upon a work of God's grace, the people grumbled. They murmured against him. People are still murmuring about these things to this very day.
Verse 43, “Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do not grumble among yourselves.” You see, their grumbling betrayed the hardness of their hearts. But then he makes this solemn statement, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” The term “draw” means “to irresistibly compel,” or to put it a different way “to impel a person to do what he will not and cannot do on his own initiative,” namely come to Christ in saving faith, in earnest, not out of duty but out of desire, utmost inner desire. So, the idea here is one is drawn to God by an irresistible and supernatural force. I like to think of this as the Father's wooing love. Even as a man woos his lover to himself, as he courts her for the purpose of marriage, so too the Father woos the bride he has chosen for his Son and when the sinner who once hated Christ sees his sin and sees the Savior for all that he is in all of his glory and redemptive purposes, he then will passionately desire to run into his open arms and be saved.
Verse 44 is really the negative side of what Jesus said earlier in verse 37. There Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Herein is the only hope of salvation for those who simply cannot and will not repent and believe in Christ. The Father will see to it that his chosen bride will come to her groom who will never turn her away, verse 37. Here in verse 44 we see the negative counterpart to that promise, “No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him.” Please understand: Jesus is not trying to discourage his antagonistic hearers. He's trying to give them hope. He's offering them hope. They had no hunger for the bread of life, nor will they unless the Father draws them. It's as simple as that. They had no love for Christ as their Redeemer. Their inveterate rebellion of their will exposed their inability to come to him in saving faith. They saw all of these things that he did; they heard his words and yet they could not see him as the Son of God in whom they should place their trust. This is true of all men. Think of it: they saw all that Jesus did, heard everything that he said and what do they say? “We want to see another sign. We want to see another sign?”
So Jesus says in verse 36, “You have seen me yet do not believe.” There's the point: they do not believe because they cannot believe unless God does something. Friends, if I could put it this way, man can no more act contrary to his will than water can flow upward. Man can no more humble himself and become a child, so to speak, in repentant faith and belief than a thistle can produce grapes. Do you get the idea? If I can put it another way: man will no more repent of his sin and love Christ than a pig would renounce mud and want to wear a tuxedo. It's just not going to happen. It's completely against his nature. And here's why: according to Scripture we know that man loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil. Scripture is filled with these things. He loves his sin; he hates holiness; he is alienated from God; he is separated from God; his heart is darkened; his understanding is darkened; he is enslaved to his sin; he is spiritually dead; he is a spiritual cadaver; he's hostile to God; spiritually blind and deaf; he is incarcerated in his unredeemed humaneness; enslaved to his own lust; he is trapped in Satan's kingdom of darkness. And yet he loves it. He doesn't want to leave it. He sees no need to leave it and he is powerless to change his nature. He is incapable of grasping spiritual truth and he's powerless to come to Christ on his own free will. So, man's only hope of salvation lies outside of himself. He has no capacity to even see the hopelessness of his situation so he sees no need for saving grace or for the Savior because he cannot and he will not acknowledge his sin. Moreover, he will never ask for help; he sees no desire for deliverance.
People will quickly say, “Yes, but doesn't a person have a free will to choose whatever his heart desires?” Well, yes, all people are free moral agents but it's not a man's will that is the problem, it is his desire. He has no desire to accept the gospel. It is contrary to his nature to do so. When offered the gospel, man will invariably and he will inevitably will to reject it unless his desires and inclinations are compelled to do otherwise. Moreover, when a man is born-again and comes to Christ, God never prevents him from believing against his will. In fact, Jesus has already said in verse 37, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out,” but then he adds in verse 44, “No one can,” underscore that, “no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” Why can't he come? Because it is against his nature. Inevitably, the sinner will freely and voluntarily choose to remain in his sin in unbelief because he finds nothing in Jesus that appeals to him. So, my friends, herein is the good news and what Jesus is saying about the Father's wooing, about the Father's drawing. It is absolutely impossible for a person whom the Father has given to the Son in eternity past to fail to come to faith in Christ because “all that the Father gives me shall come to me.” That is exceedingly glorious news. To put it differently: all the elect will come to faith in Christ.
So, how can a man be saved? Well, the Father must draw him; he must compel him; he must woo him to Christ. And yet we see all through Scripture that the sinner's responsibility is to come to Jesus. He must come and believe as Jesus commands. For example in verse 35, and herein is that inscrutable mystery of God's sovereignty in salvation and man's responsibility, a tension that must always be held and respected but never considered incompatible with God. But ultimately, even as God gives a man physical life and sustains physical life, God must also take the initiative in the new life in a man being born-again and then sustain that new creature in Christ through eternity. God must overpower the sinner; he must give him spiritual life and cause him to see the desperateness of his condition, the horrors of his sin and give him this insatiable appetite for the bread of life which is the theme of this entire discourse and only then, when God has done that, will a man crave the spiritual food that will satisfy his famished soul and give himself to Jesus. Only God can grant spiritual life to the spiritually dead. Only God can break through those stubborn walls of unbelief.
Herein is the hope of Jesus' words in verse 44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” What will a man do when he hears this? I believe the very thing that many of them did, they will beg for mercy, they will cry out for help, they will say, “Father, I cannot come to Christ unless you draw me to him so I beg you to do just that.” And by virtue of the fact that they experience that need in their heart and they express those words, they prove that indeed the Spirit of God has awakened them. The attitude of this kind of heart confirms the fact that it is God that has created this hunger for the bread of life that had never been there before.
Paul described this in 1 Corinthians 1:23-24. He said this, “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” The called here refers to that irresistible effectual call of God which will certainly and without fail result in a sinner responding in faith and accepting God's offer of salvation. Perhaps you've heard people say as I have, “Well, whatever you do, avoid the topic of God's sovereignty and salvation in evangelism.” Why? Jesus didn't. Where do you see that in Scripture? You see, folks, without it, without an understanding of this, a basic at least awareness of it, a person has no hope. Share with them what Jesus told these unbelieving Jews, let a person be troubled by the truth, let them wrestle with this, cause them to think. This is part of the gospel. Are you ashamed of the gospel? It's the power of God unto salvation. Let them struggle with these things and the Spirit will use these solemn promises to bring conviction and cause them to cry out for help. You know, by avoiding the truths of sovereign grace and salvation, we end up hiding them as if we're ashamed of them somehow. No wonder so many people today hate these doctrines. Man has such a rabid commitment to self-determination to begin with and we hate the idea that somehow God is ultimately in charge of our lives but what we don't want to do is come along and fuel this.
I want you to notice something else: this rules out the errant doctrine that you hear many times among our Arminian brothers, the doctrine of what's called prevenient grace or preparatory grace. Prevenient means going before or preparing. It's a preparatory grace in their minds that is dispensed to all sinners. They assert that God has freed every man's will and granted him the power to turn to God as an act of divine grace. Now, if that is true, verse 44 begs for relevance to me. Such a claim seems contrary to the selective drawing of the Father. Think of it this way: if all men have been granted some special grace that counteracts the natural bent of their depravity if they will only act upon it, then why would the Father have to draw a person to Christ? That makes no sense to me. He says, “No one can come to me. No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.”
Furthermore, I want you to understand that this divine drawing is selective. It is limited to the whom the Father has chosen to give to Christ. Verse 37, “All that the Father gives me shall come to me.” Some will try to dull the edge of this claim by appealing to John 12:32 where Jesus promises, “To draw all men to myself.” But you must understand the context of that passage makes it clear that he is referring to all men without distinction, not just the Jews. He's not referring to all men without exception so don't get hung up on that. Child of God, please hear this, there can be no more humbling doctrine than this: had the Father not chosen you, had he not chosen me, had he not worked this miraculous work within me and within you to draw us to Christ, we would remain lost in our sins. What a miracle. And think about it: it's one that far exceeds the miracle of the fish and the loaves.
As I was thinking about this, I believe this may be part of the reason why Jesus launched into this astonishing revelation concerning the sovereignty of God in salvation at this particular time in his ministry. Not only to get them to think and to give them hope but also to display the glory of his grace in salvation. Let me try to explain what I mean. I fear that many times we, like those Jewish people, are more moved by his miracle of the feeding of the multitudes than we are the miracle of the drawing of the elect. Do you see the difference in that? You talk about a miracle, now that's a miracle. There is a lesson to be learned here and I believe it is this: the most awe inspiring of God's works are not the phenomenal acts of power, not his phenomenal acts of power but his acts of grace. Let me give you an example. Do you remember when God spoke to Elijah after he fled from Jezebel and hid in a cave in Mount Horeb? Do you remember that story in 1 Kings 19? You will recall that God had performed this amazing miracle with the prophets of Baal and so forth and now suddenly he's terrified of Jezebel who wants to kill him and so he's running for his life and he is absolutely fed up to here with Israel's rebellion. He has had it. He feels like his ministry is a failure and you remember he thinks he's the only faithful one left in all of Israel and so he just wants to die. I've felt that way before, haven't you? And do you remember how God answered Elijah? Through four successive miracles he demonstrates his awesome power to Elijah to teach him a lesson. First, God tells him to go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord and behold the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord but the Lord was not in the wind. Then he sends an earthquake. Imagine being there. But he makes it clear, he says, “But the Lord was not in the earthquake.” Then he sends fire but the Lord was not in the fire. Then the text says that after the fire there was the sound of a low whisper, a still small voice, a faint whisper and when Elijah heard that, the word of God says that he wrapped his face in his mantle and the reason why is because God was in the whisper. So Elijah wraps his face in his mantle and the text says that he goes out to the opening of the cave to hear more from God and in that whisper, God not only rebuked Elijah but he also gave him instructions pertaining to his ministry that would ultimately bring about the utter abandonment of Baal worship from all of Israel. But he also taught Elijah and each of us a very important lesson and I believe it is this: that God's most exceptional displays of power are not in things that are seen but in things that are not seen like the wooing love of the Father who draws his elect to the Son, like the invisible and indescribable wind of the Spirit that blows upon those who were ordained in eternity past to come to Christ and causes them to be born-again.
Dear friends, like Elijah I think we need to wrap our face in our mantle when we contemplate the sovereignty of God in our salvation. Don't seek the sensational. Don't be looking for the spectacular, for another sign, for more fish, more bread, more whatever because the most important displays of divine omnipotence occurs within the souls of men. Like a seed that germinates within the ground and eventually bears fruit, the work of God in the inner man will go unnoticed until it bears fruit for his glory. So we need to hear the whisper here. Hear the whisper, “No man can come to me unless the Father draws him.”
Jesus continues by explaining from the Old Testament Scriptures that the Father causes a sinner to come to Christ, he says in verse 45, “It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” A fascinating text here: Jesus paraphrases a section of Isaiah 54:13 that speaks of the coming millennial kingdom where the teachers will sit along with the King in Jerusalem and ultimately it will be the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, who will teach and settle all questions of right and wrong based on the infallible record, just one record and that is the word of God. It says that “all your children, all the elect shall be taught by the Lord.” What is Jesus saying here? Why is he saying this at this point? It's for this reason: he's saying that the Father's drawing includes teaching. We know that, don't we? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. We're not to be ashamed of the gospel. It's the power of God unto salvation and so forth. You see, no man can be drawn to Jesus apart from first hearing the word and learning from the Father. God has to give him ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart that can perceive the truth of the gospel. So, Jesus is saying that a supernatural internal illumination must take place and when it does, a sinner will run into the outstretched arms of the Savior.
Beloved, this is the irresistible drawing of sovereign grace and Jesus goes on then to elaborate on what he's just said concerning the Father drawing and how it includes being taught of God. In verse 46 he says, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.” In other words, “I am the only one that can dispense the Father's knowledge. I am the one that has come from him.” Said differently: if you want to be taught of God, you need to sit at the feet of Jesus who himself is God very God. He is fully qualified to speak of the Father and reveal him. I might also add that this is a subtle rebuke here to the Jewish leaders. Think about it: had they been “taught of God” through the Old Testament Scriptures, they would have embraced Jesus rather than murmuring against him.
Then Jesus makes an amazing statement. He says in verse 47, “Truly, truly, I say to you,” in other words, this is extremely important for you to understand, “he who believes has eternal life.” Folks, you've got to understand that this is not an invitation, this is a declaration. Belief is evidence of new life. The point is: when as a result of the Father's drawing a sinner believes, in other words, he places his faith in Christ, his belief proves that he has been born-again. You see, believing is not the cause of a man obtaining eternal life, it is the effect of it. To be sure, there is an implicit invitation in Jesus' statement and he has previously stated that a man must come, a man must believe, verse 35. But taken in context, his simple point is this: that an unregenerate man will never believe on his own, he must first be given spiritual life and then he who believes, has eternal life. That's the point. Think of your own conversion. Do you remember that time, perhaps in your own life, that season of time where the Father's love was wooing you? Where he was drawing you and you probably didn't know it at the time. You certainly didn't at the time, you did later. Remember when the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit began to really amplify the voice of your conscience and you began to recognize how you were not right with God? You became aware of your sinful condition? You began to see your sin for what it was and agonized over the misery of it all? You became aware that there was something that was separating you from your God, that you were alienated from him, that you were in rebellion against him. Then you gradually became more and more broken and contrite as you felt the icy grip of hopelessness and helplessness grabbing a hold of you, not letting you go. That you couldn't escape in your own mind the scenes of the horrors of hell and you even stood in silent agreement with God's sentence upon you. Then weak and weary, broken and contrite, you hear the words of Jesus, “Come to me. Believe in me. Take my yoke upon you and I will give you rest.” Suddenly, nothing else in life mattered but coming to Christ. You ran to the foot of the cross, you cried out to God, “Oh, have mercy on me a sinner!” My friends, your heartfelt belief at that moment did not cause you to receive eternal life but rather it was evidence that it had already been granted to you. Now that's the miracle of the power of God's grace that is being put on display here in this discourse. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.” He said it earlier in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life.” 1 John 5:1, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”
Then Jesus concludes this section of his discourse by saying in verse 48 and following, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” It doesn't say it here but he's probably doing this, “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven.” You see, Jesus alone can satisfy the famished soul and without him, man will eventually perish in his sins. The manna that God sent in the wilderness only met physical needs, it fed their bodies and eventually they died, that's Jesus' point. But those who feed upon Jesus will never die spiritually, they will never experience the second death which is eternal. And we eat of him by appropriating Jesus by faith which will be the substance of the rest of his discourse. This is one of many texts, my friends, that affirms the glorious doctrine of eternal security, of the perseverance of the saints. I want you to know this, that there is a word that is missing here. You do not read the word “unless.” There is no “unless” in Jesus' promise. He doesn't say, “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven so that one may eat of it and not die unless he does this or he does that.” We don't see that. You see, beloved, the life that Christ gives is eternal. This is so simple, so profound: by sovereign grace God imparts spiritual life without end, it cannot be forfeited, it cannot be renounced, it it not perishable, it is imperishable. Colossians 3:3, Paul says, “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Again, no “unless.”
I wish to close with this scene that I would leave with you in your mind. Jesus in the synagogue in Capernaum, the ruins of it are still there today, you can go and see it, it's an amazing place. You can stand on the front of it and you can turn and look back across the sea to the Golan Heights where Jesus performed that miracle. No doubt, many of these Jewish people were doing that as they heard Jesus speak because they couldn't all fit into the synagogue. My friends, I believe that it is fair to say that some day we will meet some of those very Jewish people in glory. They didn't know it at the time, but the Father was drawing them. A year later, this same Jesus would give his life as a ransom for all who would believe in him. Then he would rise from the dead, he would ascend back into heaven and then a year after that, the church would be born at Pentecost. You will recall in Acts that 3,000 souls were added to the church that very day and you go on to read that there were many more that came to Christ. Again, I believe it is reasonable to assume that many of these same Jews that grumbled against Jesus, that wanted to make him King for the wrong reason, that resented his claims of deity, that resented all this stuff about God's sovereign grace and our salvation, I believe that many of them will be in heaven with us and perhaps we will be able to talk with them and they will say, “Yes, I remember when I pursued him for the wrong reasons. Yes, I remember when I bristled at his claims to deity. I remember how I resented his call for repentance and faith in him. But now I can see that all along I was the undeserved recipient of the Father's wooing love that gave me eternal life and, therefore, caused me to give my life to Jesus.”
I pray the same can be said of all of us. I pray that the Father may be drawing some of you to Christ today. Won't you humble yourself and ask him to save you today? And in so doing, prove that you have eternal life. Amen? Amen.
Let's pray together.
Father, we rejoice in these astounding truths. We will never be able to fathom the depth of them. Lord, they are beyond our ability to understand but, Lord, you've given us enough to understand, to cause us to fall on our faces before you with utmost humility and gratitude for your saving grace. Lord, may we champion these truths not because we want to seem erudite or theologically intelligent or anything such but, Lord, may we champion them because they give you so much glory and if there be one that knows nothing of our blessed Savior, Father, draw them this day unto yourself that they too might be saved. We ask all of this in the precious name of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus. Amen.
Shepherd’s Fire exists to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ through mass communications for the teaching ministry of Bible expositor David Harrell, with a special emphasis in encouraging and strengthening pastors and church leaders.