Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds Christ's words about the work of the Father in drawing people to salvation.
[Prayer] If you want to be famous in Believer’s Chapel, I guess you should do something like that because he is going to be known from now on by this unusual act of response. It’s must better to eat the bread of life than swallow your gum. [Laughter] And that’s what we’re going to be talking about as we turn to John chapter 6, and read for our Scripture reading, John chapter 6 verse 41, through verse 51.
While you are finding John 6, let me remind you that our Lord fed the five thousand, and walked upon the water and then in response to some questions, which from time to time are offered him after that great event of the feeding of the five thousand, he gives the sermon, which has been called the Sermon on the Bread of Life, obviously drawn out by that incident of the feeding of the five thousand. So we are in that section of the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John, one of the great chapters on the true understanding of the sovereignty of God.
Most people who read the Bible at all will tell you that the believe in the sovereignty of God, but then when you ask them what do you mean by the sovereignty of God, it is obvious that they all have different ideas of what it means. It’s like people saying, “I believe in God.” They don’t necessarily believe in the same God. People who say they believe in the sovereignty of God don’t necessarily believe in the same sovereignty. And what this teaches this passage, is the sovereign sovereignty of God. And I think that you will see that as we go through these verses that when we say that we believe in the sovereignty of God there is a certain understanding of that sovereignty that makes it sovereignty, and it is possible to speak of the sovereignty of God and not really believe in the biblical sovereignty of God. So lets turn to John chapter 6, and I want to read verse 41 through verse 51 for our Scripture reading.
“The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 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. (Now that verse incidentally is introduced. I won’t have time to say anything about it in the message, but that verse is introduced because having just said, “Everyman therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me.” That verse might suggest that one must see the Father visibly in order really to learn of him, so our Lord corrects a possible false impression by saying, “Not that any man hath see the Father save he which is of God. He hath seen the Father.” But it’s possible to hear of him and learn of him without seeing him. That’s what he wants to make very plain. Verse 47,) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
May the Lord bless this reading of his word? Our subject for this morning in the exposition of the gospel of John is “Human Inability and Divine Ability.” And we are turning, as those of you who are in the service itself may know, to John chapter 6 verse 41 through verse 51. I suppose that there would be no debate at all among Christians over the fact that Jesus Christ is the most complete revealer of God and also the most complete revelation of God. And if that is true then we can also say that this passage adds to the revelation of him. Here he calls himself the bread of life. Whoever called himself the bread of life? One thing characteristic of the ministry of the Lord Jesus is that he was absolutely sure about God. He was certain about his character. He never did argue the existence of God such as we do in theological seminary. He did not argue the existence of God anymore than we argue the existence of sun of a beautiful sunny morning. If there should be some skeptic who does not want to believe in the existence of a sun we might take him out into the sunlight and say, “Here it is streaming down in all of its glory all around you.” And so Jesus Christ leads us into the sunlight of the living God, by simply asking men to consider the evidence that is before them.
What he said about himself and what he said God posed some of the problems that he himself had. If you ask a man today for example why he doesn’t believe in the deity of Christ, he might answer something like this as probably you have heard them answer, “Well my conception of God is so immense, so exalted, so spiritual that I cannot conceive of God taking to himself human flesh and coming down and become incarnate and dwelling with us, being born in a manger and dying on a cross. Who gave us this idea of the greatness of God?” Well in the final analysis the one who has most contributed to the idea of the greatness of God is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Or someone else might assert, “I cannot believe in God nor can I believe in Christ. There is too much pain and wickedness and evil in the world. Can there be a God much less a loving God in a world like this?” We might ask, “Where did you get the concept of a loving God? The heathen did not have any concept of a loving God. They thought of their gods as being irritable, jealous, holding grudges against men, fighting with one another. Where did the concept of a loving merciful God come from? Well the Lord Jesus is the principle reveler of the love of God. So in a sense the Lord Jesus Christ himself raises the difficulty of belief in himself.
Dr. Norman Taylor who was for many years a missionary in Mexico was working with a group of soldiers in the Mexican army in Mexico in an isolated post. To one of them he gave a New Testament once. The man was going to off for a few days, and he encouraged the officer to read the New Testament, and then when he returned in a few weeks to tell him what he thought of Jesus Christ. And when he returned Dr. Taylor said he said to him, “Dr. Taylor if there is a God in the universe and if he came to earth and dwelt among men in order to save them he would like this man Jesus.” He is a unique Son of God and he is the unique reveler of God. As John has said earlier in this book, “No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten son who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.”
Now there is another important revelation of Jesus Christ and oh, that men would respond to it. He tells us how and why we come to spiritual life in him. Now these questions how do we come to life? Why do we come to him for life? Are questions that have received varying answers through the years? Followers of Pelagious the British monk, who came to Rome in the days of Augustan and preached with great results there have always said, “I came by myself, and thus they deny the necessity of grace entirely.
Pelagians are individuals, followers of Pelagious, followers of his legalistic principle, who believe that men are saved by the things that they do. Sometimes these things are simply, well acts of benevolence, being a good citizen, paying one’s taxes, doing good turns, being interested in other people, giving money to the community, providing services for the community. At other times and probably more so in our land, religious things, like joining the church, like being baptized, like sitting at the Lord’s table, attending services, particularly at the 8:30 service, [Laughter] or the prayer meeting, and they think that by these things they may gain acceptance with God.
Now they are Pelagian, they of course wouldn’t recognize themselves to be followers of that 5th century British monk, but nevertheless that’s what they are. They deny the grace of God altogether. Men are saved by what they do. The Apostle Paul spoke clearly against them by saying, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.” Pelagians can boast. Semi-Pelagian are those who following much the same system, and ultimately the same nevertheless acknowledge the need of grace, but also acknowledge inconsistently the fact that we come of our free will. Semi-Pelagians say, “I wanted to come and God helped me.” They deny prevenient grace. That is they deny the grace that comes first that enables a man to respond to the word of God. They conceive of themselves as first responding, first choosing to come, and then being helped by God to receive Christ as Savior.
Many evangelicals today are unwittingly semi-Pelagians. They will say we are saved only by grace, but at the same time they will say we are saved through the exercise of our free will. They do not understand that those statements are contradictory. They do not realize that if we are saved by a self-movement first, then there is something that we do in order to be saved that others do not do. Ultimately salvation depends upon us to some extent as well as upon what Christ did.
Now I don’t doubt that there are many people who are Semi-Pelagian in their theology are Christians. They just do not hold those systems constantly, those thoughts consistently. They acknowledge we are saved by grace, but they acknowledge free will. They’ve not understood yet that those are self-contradictory doctrines. I have a good friend who is a philosopher, a Christian philosopher, very well known who likes to say about individuals who hold contradictory things that they have a, let’s see what it is he does say. [Laughter] I have forgotten actually. [Laughter] It will come to me though, but anyway they hold things that are contradictory at the same time.
Armenians are of two classes, Armenians are Semi-Pelagians as a general rule, but some are more evangelical than others. And some Armenians affirm that we are just simply saved by works, but Armenians of evangelical stripe following, such fine men as John Wesley, have answered the question how and why we come to him by saying, “God gave me sufficient grace to come because Christ died, and I cooperated with that grace.” They admit total depravity. They admit that all people could not come of themselves had not Christ died, but because he has died we all have been given sufficient grace. And if we cooperate with sufficient grace then that sufficient grace will become efficient and thus, well salvation depends upon us again, our cooperation with the sufficient grace of God.
One of the great things about the Lutherans is that they have seen the era of Arminianism. And so in answer to the question, how and why we come to Christ? Lutherans have always responded, “God brought me, and I didn’t not resist.” Reserving for men only the power to resist. But after all if the power to resist rests with men, what is it that gives some men the power to resist, and what is it that delivers some men from the power to resist. And again salvation logically depends to some extent upon what we do as well as upon what Christ has done. Reformed theologians have always contended that the answer to the question how and why we come to Christ is a very simple one. God brought me to Christ period. God brought me to Christ. What did Jesus Christ say about this? Our passage gives us the answer.
Now we want to look at it, and we want to look first for just a moment at the antagonism of the Jewish people to Jesus Christ. One of the striking things today is the fact that among the Jewish people all over the western world, and also in the east I think I see something of a turning toward the claims of Jesus Christ, but nevertheless in our Lord’s day the generation was not happy with him. They murmured him because he said he was the bread that came down from heaven. And they said about him, “Is not this Jesus the son of Joseph whose father and mother we know. How is it then that he saith I came down from heaven? How can he call himself the bread of heaven? How can he liken himself to the manna?”
Now what is very ironic about this is these glorified ancestors of the Lord Jesus Christ, these men who glorified the ancestors of the Lord Jesus Christ, had not always held this manna is such high esteem. When the manna was given Israel murmured against the manna, and as you know in passages like Numbers chapter 11, and verse 6, they spoke out very strongly against the thing that God had provided for them. We read in Numbers chapter 11, and verse 6 about the generation that received the manna, “But now our soul is dried away. There is nothing at all beside this manna before our eyes.” But their ancestors or their descendents, they glorify their ancestors and speak well of the manna. Isn’t it characteristic of us? We look what the past, and so we glorify the past when if the men were with us, we would not like the things that they say.
Now that is characteristic of men. Zechariah said, “You glorify the prophets, but if the prophets were where you wouldn’t like what they would be saying to you.” We have today reformation day, reformation day when we celebrate the reformation of four hundred years ago. Our churches celebrate reformation day, but very few churches believe the things that the reformers believed. Men today like to say, “I am a follower of the doctrines of historic Christianity.” But the facts are that the things that they preach and proclaim in their church bear little resemblance to the historic doctrines of Christianity. That’s characteristic of the human nature.
Did you ever notice that Jesus did not attempt to correct these impressions that men had of his sayings? When they said, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, and how does he say, I came down from heaven?” The Lord Jesus never says, “Now wait a minute you are misunderstanding me. I don’t mean that I really came down from heaven. I am speaking figuratively, or I am speaking symbolically. I didn’t really make these claims?” No he doesn’t attempt to do that, because essentially the things that they were saying were the truths, and furthermore you can see here that this is really an agreement with the doctrine of the virgin birth though John never does explicitly state that Jesus was born of a virgin. Some have said because Matthew and Luke do and John doesn’t that indicates there was a difference of opinion in the early church over that question. Not so. John’s words are precisely harmonious with them, and the very fact that Jesus never attempted to explain away these claims that he was making is evidence of the fact that he did believe those things about himself. Well our Lord answered by saying, “Stop murmuring among yourselves. 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.”
Now here is the answer to the question how do we come to him? Efficacious grace is the answer, how we come to him. What is efficacious grace? What is it that God gives that means that we will come to Christ? Efficacious grace is a divine influence upon the mind and will of a man, which operates directly upon his mind and will, and overcomes his hardness, overcomes his blindness, overcomes his rebellion and brings him to the knowledge of the one whom to know is everlasting life. It is not resistible ultimately nor is it irresistible. It carries the will spontaneously with it. Efficacious grace.
Now they had been murmuring among themselves and saying, “How is it that he said, I came down from heaven?” You might expect the Lord Jesus to give an explanation in answer to their question. No he does not. He doesn’t bother to answer their arguments. He goes right to the heart of the matter because you cannot explain truth to individuals who are blind. You cannot explain truth to people who are rebellious. You cannot explain to truth to people whose hearts are hardened because, “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.”
Now you can look at this text and immediately see that the word “draw” is very significant. “No man can come to me except the Father. Draw him.” What does it mean to be drawn by the Father? Now some people like to say, before we look at that, some people like to say, “Well the things that Jesus said are very difficult.” And in fact in this chapter many will say, “These things will say these things are very hard.” And some will go back and walk no more with him. Men are inclined to think, “Well perhaps John has given us something that’s really not true to our Lord or true to the Bible or true to the New Testament.” Let me say to you this, that the absoluteness of the giving, drawing and learning that is set out by the Lord Jesus Christ is also the radical and exclusive testimony of the Apostle Paul. For he himself says, “No man can say Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit.” So here is the Apostle Paul saying, “No man can really come to the place where he calls Jesus Lord except through the Holy Spirit.” Jesus says, “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me. Draw him.”
And we read back in chapter 3 in verse 27 of this gospel, “A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven.” That’s John the Baptist’s words. John the Baptist says, “No man can receive anything except it be given to him from heaven.” Jesus says, “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me. Draw him.” Paul the apostle says, “No man can call Jesus Lord except through the Holy Spirit.” What we are talking about is the claim of the Baptist, the ambassador of the King the claim of the great apostle to the Gentiles, and the claim of the King himself that no man can come except he be drawn by the Father. That is the total inability of man to come to Christ.
Now it’s clear that this word “draw” is a key word then. Do you know this is a word that is used in the same sense in which our uses it in the Old Testament. The prophet Jeremiah writes, “With loving kindness have I drawn thee.” In Jeremiah chapter 31 and verse 3, and then following the statement, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” He says, “Therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee. I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” So we can add the testimony of the prophets. The prophets believed that the drawing was by God the Father. Jesus believed that. John the Baptist believed it. The Apostle Paul believed it. Do you not realize that when you say as the Semi-Pelagians have said, as Armenians have said, as others have said, that salvation is not completely of the Lord that you are arranging yourselves over against the prophets of the Old Testament, the apostles of the New Testament the ambassador of the King, and the King himself? “No man can come to me.” It is our Lord who says that, “except the Father which hath sent me. Draw him.” I would not like to be on the side of those against this great testimony of these men.
One of the commentators on the New Testament has said with reference to this word “draw” it’s used of the attractive power of Jesus Christ crucified in John 12:32, when he said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” Obviously he means both Jews and Gentiles for in that chapter that’s the chapter in which the Gentiles came seeking Jesus. Then later on the gospel it’s used again. It’s used of Peter drawing his sword in order to slice off the ear of the high priest’s servant. It’s used of the drawing of nets to the shore, with the fish in them. In Acts chapter 16, it’s used of the drawing of Paul and Silas to the magistrates.
Now in each case there seems to be something of a bit of resistance. But nevertheless the resistance is overcome. In other words this word always contains within in it the idea of a successful force. Astoundingly William Barclay, a well-known interpreter, after giving all of this with reference to the usage of the term says, “Always there is this idea of resistance. God can and does draw men, but man’s resistance can defeat the pull of God.”
Now you can see the kind of God that William Barclay has. Leon Morris an evangelical on the other hand says, “There is not one example in the New Testament of the use of this verb where the resistance is successful.” And I will challenge you if you disagree to go through the Bible and look for any instance in which the resistance is successful. When the Lord Jesus says, “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me. Draw him.” That drawing is always a successful drawing. Johnny Calvin says, “As far as the manner of hearing goes, it is not violent so as to compel men by an external force, but yet it is an effectual movement of the Holy Spirit turning men from being unwilling and reluctant into willing.” So, “No man can come except the Father who hath sent me. Draw him.” And that is a successful ministry of the Lord God in bringing men to Christ.
Now when he says, “No man can come,” you cannot teach more definitely the total inability of man. The same God who sends Jesus Christ draws men to him. Look at the text again. “No man can come except the Father who hath sent me. Draw him.” So it is the Father who sends Christ or who gives Christ and it is the Father who gives Christ to them, drawing them to the Lord Jesus. Furthermore he says, “And I will raise him up in the last day.” That, to my mind, is the consummation of the spiritual progress that begins with divine constraint. In between there is the whole development of the spiritual life. For you see spiritual life begins with the drawing, which brings us to the Lord Jesus Christ, and it does not end until and individual is raised bodily at the last day. So everything that God does for us begins with the drawing in history, and then does not finish until we have been made like Christ with a resurrection body. What a magnificent train of the work of God. He draws us to Christ. He keeps us in Christ and ultimately Jesus Christ himself raises us at the last day. What a magnificent we have, the sovereign work of a sovereign God. Everything in between is guaranteed. For everyone who is drawn to Jesus Christ by the Father will be raised by Jesus Christ at the last day. Isn’t that magnificent? To me, that is one of the most magnificent truths that you can find in the word of God. I do not understand why some men do not rejoice in this. Well now someone might say, “If he had been a member of those men who were listening to our Lord, is that the teaching of the Bible?” Jesus says in the 45th verse, “It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God.”
Now we don’t have time to turn back to that passage in Isaiah 54. You’ll recognize the context of the suffering servant of Jehovah. Isaiah chapter 53, and in chapter 54 there is the Messianic community of believers, and Isaiah is speaking about the Messianic community of believers and he says of them, “They shall be all taught of God.” In other words the characteristic thing about a believer in Jesus Christ is that he is taught of God. Now anybody who is in company of believers no matter whether they are Baptists or Presbyterians, or Methodists or Independents if they are genuine Christians there will ultimately shine through this great fact that they have been taught of God.
Last night I participated in a wedding at First Baptist Church. Three preachers were in the wedding. That couple is truly married. [Laughter] Dr. Criswell participated. I participated. The father of the groom participated. We knew each other. We were speaking outside before the wedding began. In fact we were so earnestly in conversation we forgot our cues, and they had to come get the preachers. [Laughter] One of them had been a Baptist preacher. He’s been the pastor of an independent church. He’s in a Mennonite church at the present time. Dr. Criswell at the First Baptist Church here, and I at Believer’s Chapel, and there was a distinct impression given by all of us that there was something we had in common. And that something that we had in common in the midst perhaps of some little difference here and there was the fact that we each had been taught of God. That was evident. That’s characteristic of the children of God. They are all taught of God, and having been taught of God they have learned of him, and they have come to Christ. So all believers need no instruction from men. They have taught of God. They carry within themselves the effect of the divine instruction. There are three steps Jesus said. There is the step in the drawing of the Father. There is the step of the Father’s teaching, our listening and learning, and our coming.
Now, Mr. Prier when he was telling you what he was telling you before hand, of course had not heard this message, but he knew what I was going to say. Mr. Prier has studied logic and mathematics. He’s a graduate of Annapolis, and he also has taught mathematics in the University of Oklahoma, and he has studied logic, and he likes anything logical. And he first many years ago pointed this out to me that a necessary condition is a circumstance in whose absence a given event could not occur. Or a given thing could not exist. For example in verse 65 of this chapter we read, “Therefore said I unto you that no man can come to me except it were given unto him by the Father.” That’s the necessary condition for the existence of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “No man can come unto me except it were given unto him of the Father.” That’s called a necessary condition. No man can really come to Jesus Christ unless it has been given to him to do it by God the Father.
Now all of the elect are the given of God. We will later see that very plainly in the Gospel of John. The Father gave the body of believers to Jesus Christ. We are the given ones by God the Father. And no man can come unless he’s given. Now a sufficient condition is a circumstance such that when ever it exists a given event occurs or a given situation exists.
Now we have a sufficient condition in verse 37. Notice the words. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” Now when we have a necessary condition and a sufficient condition, well we have what we call logically an airtight case. There is no way in which we can escape the fact that the Bible teaches an unconditional election of the people of God, a sovereign sovereignty. Let me illustrate. “No man can come to me unless he’s given. Everyone given shall come. No man can come unless he’s given. Everyone given shall come.”
All right, can you think of some exceptions? Perhaps you would say, “Suppose everybody is given. Suppose sufficient grace means that everybody is given.” Well if everybody is given then verse 37 says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come.” Thus we would have to believe in universalism, but the Bible clearly does not each universalism. Well that won’t work. Suppose none are given. Suppose there is no such thing as being given. Suppose there is no such thing as this doctrine of election. Well then no man can come to me except it were given him of the Father.” No one would be saved if there is no given of the Father.” Well suppose we come by our free will. Well it says in verse 65, “No man can come to me except it were given him of the Father.” We cannot come of our free will, which by definition means that we come of ourselves. We have to be given by the Father. So free will cannot do it.
Well suppose we say, “We must exercise faith.” That’s true. We must exercise faith. Faith is however the coming and that faith is given. So everyone who is given to me shall come. He shall exercise faith. Faith itself is the result of the giving of God. In the ages past in the counsels of the eternal Trinity, the Father elected a people of God. The Son of God agreed to come and execute the work of redemption laying the foundation for their salvation, winning for them eternal life and the gift of faith by which they would receive it, and the Holy Spirit also covenanted to apply that gift to the people of God. That is what is meant when we read, “Everyone given shall come and no one can come unless he’s given.” This, my dear friends, is the doctrine of the prophets. It is the doctrine of the ambassador of the King. It is the doctrine of the apostle to the Gentiles. It is the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the doctrine of heaven, and unless we bow to this doctrine we shall not understand the teaching of God. “No man can come to me,” Jesus said, “unless the Father who sent me draws him.” But when we come by the grace of God he will raise us up at the last day. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, what a doctrine, what comfort, what assurance we have in all the experiences of life. We are given by God the Father to Jesus Christ as the people of God.
Well it’s an airtight case. I don’t know why people don’t rejoice in this. I don’t understand why they don’t shout from the house tops the wonderful program and plan of God, and incidentally we are called upon to preach a universal gospel because we don’t know, we mere humans we don’t know the make up of the final family of God. We proclaim this message. Trust the Holy Spirit to be the instrumentality of the Father’s drawing to Jesus Christ. We preach the glories of the Son of God the greatness of his salvation and invite men to come to him, and promise them on the authority of the word of God eternal life. The Lord Jesus says in the last few verses, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.” What a magnificent claim. In fact his is simply a reiteration of those claims.
This recalls to mind Rabbi Duncan’s great Trilemma which C.S. Lewis and others have laid a great deal of stress upon. Rabbi Duncan said, “No mortal man made the claims that Jesus Christ made. If they were to make them, we would think that he was mad.” Duncan who was the professor of Hebrew at the University of Edinborough said, “Christ the deceived man kind by conscious fraud. Oh ye was himself diluted, or he was divine. There is no getting out of the Trilemma.” And it’s been called, Rabbi Duncan’s Trilemma since that time. Christians have never been in any doubt about which of these propositions is true. He is not deceived. He is not a deceiver. He is divine. “I am that bread of life.”
What did he mean when he said, “I am that bread of life.”? Well you remember in the Old Testament God fed Israel with the manna. He fed them everyday. This manna came down from heaven. They went out and gathered it. It lasted for one day except when it fell on Friday morning. Then it will last two days, through the Sabbath. Modernists have sought for a long time to find something out in the deserts there that might correspond to the manna. So they could say it really wasn’t something supernatural. It was just imply feeding off of things that fall off the tamarisk tree or off the lichens or perhaps there are some insects that give out some little globules of something that’s kind of sweet. They forge that the text says, “It came down from heaven, and vast multitude was fed by the manna for years and years as they wondered through the desert.” It’s a supernatural provision of the Lord God who gave them quails in the evening and the manna in the morning.
Now it was designed to feed them through the time of the wilderness journeys and when they reached the end of them. They had been fed miraculously by a loving caring Lord God. He said, “I am that brad of life.” You can see the analogy between the two. In the case of the manna it was incomprehensible. If you had picked up the manna as they did, do you know what they called it? Manna, mon hou in Hebrew its not really quite Hebrew, maa hou would be Hebrew. Mon hou. But since mon is also a word found in some of the cognate languages of the east, mon hou means what is it? And so it’s like picking up something and saying, “What’s it name?” Like a minute ago when I couldn’t remember that saying which was not in my notes. A sign of old age of course. [Laughter] So anyway they picked it up and they said, “What is it?” it was incomprehensible to them. It was God’s provision for them. Something like warfrost it has been said, but nevertheless it was incomprehensible, so the person of our Lord is incomprehensible ultimately to us for he’s the divine Son of God. It was small round, white, transparent, tasted like honey. Oh, the preciousness of the antitype. The Lord Jesus Christ, all of this designed to represent facets of his own character. It also tasted like fresh oil. For he was one who was born through the Spirit and anointed by the Spirit for his ministry, but in the case of the manna it was physical life as over against he spiritual life of the bread of life. It was a temporal existence as over against the eternal existence that comes from the Son of God, when we believe in him.
It was also non-atoning bread as over against the atoning bread of life, who as he himself says here, “I will give for the life of the world. Both Jews and Gentiles may receive the life that I give.” Oh, the immense nature of the Father’s provision. He gives the Son and he guides the saints to the Son. Isn’t that magnificent? Look at verse 32, “Verily, verily I say to you, Moses gave you not that bread, from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. I am given by the Father.” And then verse 44, “No man can come except the Father who hath sent me. Draw him.” Verse 65, “No man can come to me except it were given unto him of the Father.” He gives the Son, and he guides men to the Son. And thus we are saved. If you are here today and you have received the forgiveness of sins it is because in ages past you were given to Christ by God the Father, and he has guided you to him.
Many years ago I read the story of George Muller. Magnificent man. By faith in God fed thousands of orphans in Bristol. Never sent out any appeals, never sent out any prayer letters, didn’t send out and said we’re doing this and we’re doing that. And we’re doing the other things, and here is a self addressed enclosed envelope for you to give. He relied on the Lord. That’s what all Christian work should do, rely on the Lord then we can tell what’s Christian and what’s not in harmony with his word. As it is now it’s a work of propaganda. But at any rate Mr. Muller looked to the Lord. He was a German. He arrived in Britain, a young man having graduated from university. Had studied under some very interesting men. We don’t have time to talk about. But in the story of Mr. Muller, he said when he arrived in Tynemouth in England he was studying the Scriptures, and he learned several things. First of all he came to except the supreme authority of the Bible. He also learned some other things. He learned the importance of the doctrine of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which he had not realized previously, and then he changed his attitude to the doctrine of election. He said that he arrived in Tynemouth he called it a devilish doctrine. Isn’t it amazing? People can call a devilish doctrine, Christians can call the doctrine of election a devilish doctrine when it is given by the Lord, given by Paul, given by the prophets, given by John the Baptist, given by the whole teaching of the word of God, and men have the nerve to call it a devilish doctrine.
I preached over in the southeast. Had two or three preachers over there that like to go around whenever my name is mentioned. They way his doctrine is from the pit of hell. Mr. Muller said he thought it was a devilish doctrine. Then he says he began to read the New Testament about this, these are his precise words. “To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truth, and even those few shortly after when I had examined and understood them serve to confirm emergency in the above doctrine of the sovereign election.” So the election of God my dear friend, is sovereign election it’s sovereign sovereignty in which God is the author of our salvation.
Someone may say, “But don’t I have to respond?” Yes, you have the responsibility of responding to the word of God. The key word is eat. Verse 50 and verse 51, “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (Verse 51,) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever:” Eat, Augustan said crede et monducoste. Believe, and you have eaten. Trust and you have eaten. We invite you to trust, and then if you have any questions about it. Trust, but the time will come. Being taught of God and learning of him you’ll come to understand that the act of trust was the sovereign gift of a sovereign God, and then in your prayers down upon your knees you’ll glorify the God of heaven by saying salvation is of the Lord.
May God help you to come to that place? May God help you to realize that salvation is the work of God? And may not one of you be turned away thinking maybe I am not elect. You know you can settle that question right now. Do you know how? Creded trust. Come to him. Renounce your own self-righteousness, in your own heart say, “Lord, I rely upon what Jesus Christ has done for my salvation. He’s paid the price for the sins of sinners. I rest upon him.” If you are not willing to come, why do you complain? You have exactly what you wish. May God help you to come to Christ? Believe in him. That’s a decision I can’t make for you. Your father cannot. Your mother cannot. Your wife cannot. Your husband cannot. Only you can make that decision. May God bring you to that place of trust right now?
[Prayer] Our gracious God and heavenly Father we are so thankful to Thee. We acknowledge the sovereignty of electing grace. We thank Thee that Thou hast brought us to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. “No man can come to Thee except the Father, which hath sent me. Draw him.” We thank Thee Lord and we look forward to the conclusion. I will raise him up at the last day. Oh, Father if there should be one person in this audience who has not yet come, oh give them n o rest nor peace until they rest in Christ. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.