Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives exposition on the disciples' response to early difficulties Christ experienced in his Galilean ministry.
[Message] Now today will you turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 6 verses 52 through verse 71, and I want to read this section for our Scripture reading. John chapter 6 verse 52 we read,
“The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. (And here John inserts a word of his own.) For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Many of you reading modern versions will no doubt have words something like this, “We believe and we have come to know that Thou art the holy one of God.” The reason for that is that some of the manuscripts have “the holy one of God.” Some have “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” and there actually are one or two other similar readings in certain of the other manuscripts. Probably an early scribe copying this confession of Peter and thinking about the well known one recorded in Matthew 16:16 in the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi and remembering that Peter there said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” thought that perhaps the text should read that here. It was copied by other manuscripts down through the years and that’s represented in our King James Version. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” but it’s probably “Thou art the holy one of God,” that Peter actually said on this occasion.
“Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” Those last words I won’t have time to say much about them, but it’s quite obvious that when Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus in effect modifies this statement by saying, “Peter that’s true of the eleven, but remember there was one of the twelve named Judas Iscariot and that one was a devil.” And he was the one who was in process of betraying our Lord.
May God bless this reading of his word.
[prayer removed from audio]
[Message] Our subject for today in the exposition of the Gospel of John chapter 6 is “To Whom Shall We Go?” words that Peter uses in John chapter 6 in framing a question in the light of the fact that many of the disciples of the Lord Jesus because of the things that he was saying went back and were walking no more with him. The Apostle Paul has a phrase that might well be used as a title for this section, “The Offense of the Cross.” In fact the Greek word translated “offense” in Galatians 5:11 is a word from which we get the English word scandal, and we might even entitle this “The Scandal of the Cross.” One of the interesting things about the scandal of the cross is that when enlightened that which is a scandal becomes something that we glory in and in that same epistle in which the apostle writes of the scandal of the cross or the offense of the cross he also says, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.” As we sometimes sing, “I take O cross Thy shadow for my abiding place. I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face, content to let the world go by to know no gain nor loss, my sinful self, my only shame, my glory all the cross.” It’s not easy however naturally, in fact it’s impossible, for men to glory in the cross. And our Lord is obviously by the things that he is saying drawing near to conversations concerning the cross and it’s not surprising then that we read that some are being offended by the things that he says.
We’ve been looking at John chapter 6 for a good while and as you know the chapter begins with the feeding of the five thousand, one of the signs of the Gospel of John. It continues with the walking upon the water, another of the great miracles Jesus preformed, and then as is often the case there follows a sermon or a message or a discussion in which the Lord Jesus dwells on the spiritual significance of the things that are set out by the miracles that he has preformed and so this is a great sermon which might be entitled “The Sermon on the Bread of Life” for our Lord of course is that which is signified in illustration in the feeding of the five thousand. He is the bread upon which men should feed.
When you look at this chapter and particularly in the sermon that follows there are some key points in it, some turning points and they turn on things like questions on the murmuring of some of the people as they listen to him preach and then on the striving or fighting that took place among them. For example, in verse 25 we read, “And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” And in the answer to that question he engaged in some significant teaching concerning himself as the bread of life, and then in verse 41 after he has finished the first section of his discourse “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?” And so our Lord turns to answer those questions that cause the murmuring of them to take place, and finally having dealt with that in verse 52 we read, “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” and so the latter part of the message is taken up in answer to that question, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” And when Jesus finishes the discourse in verse 59 there is a difficulty that is raised by the individuals who are listening. They say, “This is a hard saying, and who can hear it?” Our Lord responds to that and finally in the last part of the chapter we have the departure of many of his disciples. So let’s look at the section and we’ll bare these things in mind.
I want first of all to ask you to look with me at verse 52 through verse 59 in which in a sense we have the discourse of our Lord summarized. Most of the thoughts that he has expressed previously in the chapter are found here again, and so what we have is repetition by way of summary. If we could put our Lord’s thought together it would be something like this, “I am the bread of life,” verse 35. “Men should eat the bread of life,” verse 50. “The bread is my flesh,” verse 51. “Therefore men ought to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” Now the occasion of these comments is described in verse 52. “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” That word “strove” is a word that really is the Greek word for fighting. And so they were scrapping among themselves as back and forth they argued some of the things that the Lord Jesus has said, and so “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” And in answer to that question Jesus speaks of salvation. He speaks of sanctification. He speaks also of the mediation of life through him.
Now look first at his words concerning salvation in verse 53, 54, and 55. He speaks negatively and then he speaks positively. First he says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” One might ask the question at this point, “What does he mean by his flesh, and what does he mean by his blood, and particularly what does he mean when he says, “Eating the flesh of the Son of God,” and what does he mean when he says, “Drink his blood?”
Some commentators, a very few, but nevertheless, some of them have said that he’s talking about the Lord’s Supper, but I think of course as you read the context there is not anything in this section that suggests the Lord’s Supper other than the words flesh, drinking his blood perhaps. What he really says is, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you,” and I feel that someone sitting or standing in his presence at this time would have perhaps thought of the Passover because the Passover was the great event by which the children of Israel celebrated their deliverance from the land of Egypt and characteristic of the Passover was the shedding of the blood, the blood of the lamb, the blood that was sprinkled on the door posts and on the upper lintel of the homes in Egypt and then the members of the family sat around the lamb and they ate of the flesh of that lamb.
Now he has already spoke of himself as the Lamb of God so I would suggest that if we are to look for any event as the back ground of this it should be to the Passover. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you,” and I would suggest that the blood suggests deliverance just as the blood from the Passover lamb was deliverance from the bondage from the land of Egypt and I would also suggest that the flesh, the eating of the flesh, suggests the life that Israel derived by virtue of the fact that they were delivered from the bondage in Egypt. So, to fill out what our Lord is saying, he means simply I say unto you except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, that is if you do not respond to the saving work of the cross at Calvary you shall not have deliverance and you shall not possess that which to possess is to possess life.
Further he says, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” And so the life that we derive from eating his flesh and drinking his blood is a life that will never leave us. And all who participate in this life have the assurance of the resurrection at the last day. And so, there is an assurance here of the eternal security of a believer.
Now I think it’s also significant to notice the tenses of the verbs in verse 53. When he says, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,” he uses a tense that suggests action as an event, and thus he looks at the event of eating flesh and drinking blood as if they were an event, and that of course would be fitting for the occasion upon which we enter into the possession of spiritual life.
Now he goes on in verse 54 to use the present tense, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life;” because those who do enter into the experience of eating his flesh and drinking his blood in salvation do go on participating in our Lord by virtue of our union with him thereafter. So these words I think are words that have to do primarily with salvation, but in verse 56 he puts it all in the present tense by saying, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him,” and this dwelling in is suggestive to me at least of the doctrine of sanctification because the Bible teaches us that we are saved by sovereign grace, that is we are saved by the work of God. But the Bible also teaches that we are kept in our salvation by the sovereign grace of God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
In other words, we come to the possession of eternal life apart from works. We come by virtue of the work that Jesus Christ has done. We enter into the possession of salvation by grace, but when we have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as our own personal Savior and have entered into union with him that work is carried out to its conclusion of the resurrection on into eternity by the continuous work of the Holy Spirit who indwells all of the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. So I think that when he says, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him,” he’s talking about responsiveness to the continuous work of the Holy Spirit within us, and I think the two signs of John chapter 6 beautifully illustrate that because in the feeding of the five thousand we have a beautiful illustration of the possession of life and in the walking upon the water we have a beautiful illustration of our Lord’s keeping ministry for those who have entered into life. The feeding of the five thousand points to our Lord as the giver of life, and the walking upon the water points to him as the guide of the life that he has given to us through the Holy Spirit.
Now these words were spoken, John says, in the synagogue as he taught in Capernaum. Well now he said some rather difficult things. He has said, for example, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” He has also 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.” He has also said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood ye have no life in you.” “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it?”
Now let us remember that there were three groups of people in the presence of the Lord as he was teaching. There is first of all a great number of Jewish people who were listening. They are spoken of as the Jews in this section. Then there is also a group of people who have attached themselves to the Lord Jesus, who might be called disciples, and then there is the twelve, now only eleven, well twelve so far, but only eleven really since Judas attached to the twelve is not really one of them, but “The devil,” as our Lord says. So we have the Jews. We have disciples and we have also the twelve and Peter their spokesman.
Now let’s remember that and when we read in verse 60 that many of his disciples when they heard these words said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” that they were responding to the message of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes I think that people think that if the Lord Jesus were the preacher everyone would respond. If the Apostle Paul were preaching in Believers Chapel there would be much better results. Well, I’m willing to grant there would probably be some better results, but let me assure you it would not be because when a man gives a clear presentation of the gospel and gives it in a greater spirit of love that there must therefore be a response. Just think for a moment, who was preaching? The Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever gave the gospel message more clearly than he? No one would debate that. Whoever spoke out of a greater sense of divine love than the Lord Jesus? What was his response? Well he was crucified.
Furthermore how many numbers of people have responded to his message? Well, not a whole lot more, and in fact, not as many as attend Believers Chapel often on Sunday. Amazing thing when you think about it. I remember a few years back it was quite popular for people to say, “When love is felt, the message is heard.” That’s not true. When love is felt the message is not necessarily heard. The facts are that men are unresponsive to the word of God. They are unable to come. They rebel against the Scriptures for the mind of the flesh is enmity against God. It’s not subject to the law of God. Neither indeed can be so that they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Have you ever studied the traditions of the lives of the apostles? Very few of them escaped martyrdom according to tradition. We’re not really certain of the end of most of the apostles, but tradition is almost unanimous in their martyrdom. So when those who were listening to the Lord Jesus said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” they were really representative of human nature.
Now some think that when this statement is given, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” that what John means is that they were simply saying it’s very difficult to understand his words, but that’s not the force of this word translated “hard.” This word is a word that does not mean it’s “hard” to understand but hard to take. “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” But it’s hard because it’s hard to take. It’s offensive. Men rebel against it. Men don’t like to be told you must be born again. They don’t like to be told there is nothing within themselves that makes them acceptable to God in heaven. That’s what we don’t like to hear. So this is a saying that is hard to take. “Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood; ye have not life in you.”
When we are told that we have our eternal life through the blood of Christ many are repelled by the very idea that the blood of Christ should be that upon which we rest our salvation. Many years ago I had a Bible class in a home here in Dallas of a man and his wife who had been members of a large Methodist church in this city for many years. I don’t not question that one of them may have been a Christian, but one of them always said that she had not been a Christian until relatively late in her life when through a series of circumstances into her home came a group of intervarsity students because one of her children was in college here in the city, or at least in the state, and they had invited me to speak to them and in the course of the message I had happened to give the gospel and made reference to the blood of Christ. She said that was very offensive to her. Her husband had held every office in the Methodist church that it was possible to hold except the office of minister of the church. He had been a steward for many years, a very respected well known business man in the city. She said that was exceedingly offensive to me to say that my salvation was dependent upon the blood of Christ.
But the Holy Spirit was working and worked with her over a considerable period of time and finally she attended one of the meetings, or began to attend the meetings of what is not Grace Bible Church, the church that I was the first pastor of. And one morning she came out of the meeting in the Highland Park Junior High, the school in which we were meeting at that time, and she got in the car and she turned to her husband and she said, “Jay something happened to me today. I don’t know how to explain it, but something happened to me today.” Well what arose out of it was that it was the day in which she was born again she felt and all because she had been first repelled by the idea of the blood of Christ being the foundation of her salvation. These men say, “It’s a hard saying,” that is it’s a repellent saying. It’s one that causes me to rebel. It’s hard to take. Who can understand it?
Now our Lord responds very simply by saying if you find this repellent, if you find this to be very disagreeable, hard to take, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” What’s going to happen when you see the Son of Man go to the cross and there have him crucified as a common criminal with the Romans and the Jews standing about mocking and then see him being placed in a sepulcher and so far as you know, not rising? What’s going to happen then? If you’re repelled by the words that I’m saying, how are you going to respond to the events that are soon to transpire? But I want you to understand, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” Don’t think about eating physical flesh and drinking physical blood. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” He does speak figuratively when he says, “Eat my flesh and drink my blood.” He means to appropriate him in the work that he will do of giving his flesh and shedding his blood for the life of both Jews and Gentiles.
And finally he says, “But I know there are some of you that do not believe, and that explains why an individual says, “These things are hard to take; who can understand them?” because there are some who will not respond to the gospel, some who do not believe. And our Lord added at this point, “Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” Now we don’t like to respond to something like that. We like to say they didn’t respond because he didn’t give the message plainly enough, clearly enough, or he didn’t speak in sufficient love, but Jesus said, “Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”
Now we said a few words last Sunday concerning verse 65 and in relationship to the unconditional election of God. I want to just repeat one or two things because there may have been some of you who were not here. We don’t have time to deal with it in full, but nevertheless we do have such a significant statement in verse 65 when compared with verse 37 that I think it’s worthwhile to remind us again of the connection between them. Remember last Sunday I said that a necessary condition is a circumstance in whose absence a given event could not occur or a given thing could not exist. In other words, if a man is not given to Jesus Christ by the Father, then no man can come to him. Every person who comes to Jesus Christ can only come if he is given by the Father. That’s the necessary condition. We must be given to Christ by the Father. Now these are the words of Christ. They are not my words. They are the words of Christ.
A sufficient condition we said is a circumstance such that whenever it exists a given event occurs or a given thing exists. And we have a sufficient condition in verse 37, the first part of the verse. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” Every one given shall come. No can come unless he’s given. Everyone given shall come. Now that is logically, philosophically a proof of unconditional election. I defy anyone to find anything that will controvert that. So when a necessary and sufficient condition for the occurrence of a given event, here divine election, or the existence of a given thing, election to salvation, is found we have a circumstance in whose absence the event could not occur, or the thing could not exist and which also is such that whenever it does exist the event occurs or the thing exists. And that’s what we have. Everyone given by the Father shall come, shall exercise faith. No one can come who is not given. No I think I can understand how a person not understanding these things yet should say, “This is hard to take.”
I have a good friend who taught me some theology. We were talking about the doctrine of election. He was asking for some explanations of why I refer to the doctrine of election frequently in preaching. And I say, “Well, it’s taught in the Bible and furthermore you were the first one that led me into a line of thinking that led to my conviction concerning this. I said actually what you are hearing,” he was hearing some reports of my preaching, “What you are hearing is only that I am preaching the doctrine of unconditional election. I don’t apologize for that. Jesus taught it. The apostles taught it. The prophets taught it for that matter.” I said, “I think you would understand what people say if you preached it too.”
Now he was my teacher, but I had grown so old by then that I could speak to him man to man, and I ask him, “Why don’t you preach it?” Then you will understand why reactions occur negative to it. He said, “I don’t preach it because it’s too divisive.” Well now it appears to me that that’s a fairly good reason if we were thinking humanisticly, but if we are thinking from the standpoint of something taught in Scripture, and if we do believe that everything taught in Scripture is taught by the expressed will of God, that is as Calvin said, “He’s not let slip something hurtful to the church.” Then it should be preached. It’s part of the word of God. It is revealed to us and we should proclaim it.
Now if someone should say to me, but you over emphasize it. I’d grant that. That’s possible, but my brethren so neglect it that I feel that I must over emphasize it to give proper expression to the doctrine on the part of the whole body of Christ. You see there is no way in which we can escape this. Someone may say suppose everyone is given. Well then if everyone is given, they all shall come. For everyone given shall come. And we would be forced to conclude that the Bible teaches Universalism. We know that’s not true. Suppose none are given. Well then no man can come to me except it were given to him of my Father. No one shall be saved. Suppose we come by our free will. That’s insufficient, “Therefore said I unto you that no man can come unto me except it were given unto him by my Father.” Suppose we must exercise faith. That’s true. That is true. That’s human responsibility, and furthermore he goes on to say in verse 37 in connection with that, “All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me,” and to come to him is to exercise faith in him. It’s true. We do believe. That’s human response. Faith is coming and the faith in coming is the product of what? The giving, “Everyone given shall come.” You find that hard to take? Who can hear it? Well that’s what they found. They found it hard to take. They found it very difficult because there still rested in them a vestige of self righteousness, the thought that there must be something in us that God finds acceptable and upon which we can rest our hope for salvation. “From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him.”
The departure of many disciples is not an unusual phenomenon. “From that time many went back and walked no more with him.” The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 16 or 15 makes a statement that is very similar. He says in 2 Corinthians chapter 2 verses 14, while you might be finding it in your bibles, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” Paul is expounding the principles that governed his ministry,
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
And we must speak in Christ even if the words of Christ prove divisive; we must still speak to words of God in Christ. “From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him.” The Lord Jesus turned to the twelve and he said unto them, “Will ye also go away?” That’s very interesting isn’t it? Disciples have left him. Now it’s possible to understand these as believers who found his doctrine of unconditional election something that they didn’t like to respond to, and they left. That’s possible. I don’t want to debate that point because it really would take us far astray from this text. It’s my own personal opinion that that’s not the case here, that these are individuals who are outwardly his disciples, but not really his disciples. Now I think they had gone along with the crowd. People like to go along with the crowd. Where is the crowd going today? And so they go. But they are not really part of what’s really happening, and they weren’t part of what was really happening. They had gone with the crowd.
Later John tells us in his first epistle concerning some who had been among them and who left. He said, “They went out from us because they were not of us.” They were in our midst. They were of us in the sense that they were in presence with us bodily, but they were not really of us. They didn’t have the same disposition. They didn’t have the same life. They didn’t have the same appreciation of the truth that we had. They went out from us but they were not of us. And furthermore he said, “If they had been of us they would have continued with us, but they went out that it might be manifested that they were not really of us.” “Many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him.” You see the Lord Jesus preferred a little not of men confirmed in the faith, resolve to make the sacrifice it imposed rather than have a large crowd of individuals who were only in appearance attached to his person. He was not interested in statistics. He was interested in men who were of them and who were willing to make the sacrifice for the preaching of the gospel of Christ. Well Peter responds to his question, “Will you also go away by saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go, Thou hast the words of eternal life and we believe and we have come to know that Thou art the holy one of God.”
Now that question has wide ramifications. I wish it were possible to talk about some of the things that come to my mind when I hear Peter’s words again, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Shall we go to philosophy? Someone has called philosophy man’s attempt to befuddle himself scientifically. [Laughter] Philosophy however is a valid study. When men study philosophy they deal with the consistency and clarity of things that have to do ultimately with reality. Philosophy is perfectly alright providing we understand it to be under the word of God. The Apostle Paul in Colossians chapter 2 and verse 8 tells men to, “Beware of philosophy which is vein deceit.” But philosophy, the study of laws of thought, for example, logic, and the study of metaphysics and epistemology and other things that have to do with consistency and clarity regarding reality is a good study, and in fact if you had studied philosophy you would appreciate even more what it means to have sufficient and necessary conditions. You’d understand the force of the argument that is produced by those words. When we, however, put philosophy above the word of God, that’s something else. As Helmut Thielicke has said with reference to that, that when we make philosophy superior to the word of God then the gods take over, the gods not of heaven, but the gods of earth. The laws of identity, or the laws of thought inclusive of the law of identity, are laws that we must know about, and we must of course be responsive to them.
Shall we go to science? The world today thinks of science as a neutral endeavor, but it’s not a neutral endeavor. It begins with presuppositions. People like to think well in religion you take things by faith. But in science you deal with facts. How foolish. How foolish. Let me just for a moment tell you why science is a faith endeavor just as much as spiritual things are a faith endeavor. Science is supposedly grounded in the scientific method of observation, hypothesis, and conclusions.
Notice the presuppositions in science. Think about them for a moment. The universe can be understood by rational procedure. Where has that ever been proved? That’s never been proved. That cannot be proved. That’s a presupposition. Order exists in the universe and is discernable. That’s a presupposition. That’s never been proved. That cannot be proved. Third, that nature behaves in the same way whether we observe it or not, another presupposition. The phenomena that we observe here and now are valid there and then. That’s a faith presupposition. The human mind is able to form descriptive concepts of the universe. That’s a faith presupposition. That a direct correct correspondence exists between the events of the universe and man’s sensory brain responses. That’s a faith presupposition. That’s never been proved. Seventh, that the scientist’s fellow workers do and report their work honestly, that’s been disproved many times. [Laughter]
Science is a faith endeavor. When we say religion we take by faith science we look at facts, who is fooling who? The scientists, if they have that idea, are the ones who are living by faith. Shall we go to science built on induction? You can never know anything from induction. In fact science has done such a great job of propaganda that people say the way to study the Bible is by inductive Bible study. Would anybody question that? Well they ought to. You can never know anything by induction. You can never actually know anything by induction. In the first place you can in ever know you have all of the facts necessary for the induction. You can never know that your hypothesis is the hypothesis that explains the facts as you see them. So, you can in never know that your hypothesis is the only possible hypothesis. You can never know anything by induction. People ought to know things like this, but they don’t, unfortunately.
Bertrand Russell who was one of the great thinkers of the 20th Century, although he was an unbeliever more than once pointed out that the inductive principle is incapable of being proved or disproved by an appeal to experience. He’s told an illustration of the way in which we might induce facts by observance of things, for example, a horse that’s been driven along a certain road resists the attempt to drive him in a different direction. Or let’s take a chicken. He said the man who is fed a chicken everyday throughout his life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken. [Laughter] An induction of the facts would not have helped him a great deal when he lost his neck. Shall we go t science?
Shall we go to materialism? The Lord Jesus tells a parable about materialism about a rich man whose money was producing so much that he was able to have programs on hundreds and hundreds of radio stations.
“The ground of this rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Shall we go to materialism? Shall we go to Moses and the religion of Judaism? Moses said go to Christ. Shall we go to religion itself? Why Jesus said to the most religious man of his day, “You must be born again.” There is no place to go. Peter said it well, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Philosophy, science, materialism, Moses, religion, they are not saviors of the helpless. They are not saviors of the unable. The Lord Jesus is the Savior of the unable.
Occasionally people will say, “Well if we are unable to believe then there is nothing we can do.” You know the Bible does not teach the absolute inability of men to come to Christ. It teaches the absolute inability of men to come apart from Christ, but it teaches the ability of men to come through Christ. For our Lord is the Savior of the helpless. As to the man with the withered hands Jesus said, “Stretch forth your hand.” He couldn’t stretch his hand forth. He was unable to do it. That’s why he’s the man with the withered hand. But by the power of God though Christ, through his word, he stretched forth is hand, and so the unable are able to come through Christ. He is the Savior, the only Savior of the unable. He’s the only Savior of the helpless. He’s the only Savior of those who cannot save themselves. “To whom shall we go Lord, Thou hast the words of eternal life.” Peter was right when he said simply, “We believe and we are sure that Thou art the holy one of God.” Jesus only questioned one aspect of his confession. He said, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is the devil?” Peter you’re absolutely right except that there is one of you who has not come. And that one is Judas.
Well I’d like to suggest because our time is up that the proper response to Peter’s words, “Lord to whom we shall go?” is best expressed in the words of the prodigal. “I will arise and go to my Father.” May God help you in your inability to come to Christ who saves the unable. In your helplessness come to him who saves the helpless, and in your guilt and in your condemnation come to him who removes guild and condemnation. Come to Christ. Receive him as your own personal Savior.
[Prayer] Our gracious God and Heavenly Father, We thank Thee and praise Thee for these wonderful words of the Lord Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is to know that there are those given by the Father to the Son. And while we do not know their identity and cannot count their number, we see them in those who respond by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, believing in him. And Lord if there should be someone in this audience who is not yet come, O give them no rest or peace until they rest in Christ…
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]