Shall Never Perish

John 10:19-31

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the "Doctrine of Eternal Life," or Jesus' words about eternal security.

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[Message] The Scripture reading this morning is again in the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John, and we’re reading verse 19 through verse 31. John 10 verse 19 through verse 31, this is the beginning of the second of the discourses which our Lord gave and which is contained in John chapter 10. Now he has just finished speaking of the shepherd and the sheep, and from this on we read verse 19,

“There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a demon, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? (This word really means something like, how long do you pester us. It is annoyance that they express. How long are you going to pester us?) If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”

Now I think I read that wrong didn’t I? We should go back and read that. “You are not my sheep because you do not believe in me, as I said.” No I think I read it wrong that time didn’t I? [Laughter] You see that’s the way we often read that text without thinking. “You are not my sheep because you do not believe in me,” but the text says, “You believe not because you are not my sheep.” That’s very interesting. In fact that’s very striking. That would make me puzzled. Well he continues,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

I think I have time just to mention that this 29th verse in the opening phrases or two has in the original text several different readings. In other words, the scribes in the course of transcribing the New Testament someone made an initial mistake somewhere in copying as would often be the case. And the result is that the Greek manuscripts have different readings at this point. Many of them have, “My Father which gave them me is greater than all.” But quite a few of the very old manuscripts have something like this, “That which my Father has given me is greater than all.” Now you can see there is quite a difference in meaning. “My Father which game them me is greater than all,” or “That which my Father has given is greater than all.” In one case we are speaking about the Father and the fact that he is greater than all. In the second case it is what the Father has given that is greater than all, quite a bit of a difference in meaning.

Now it so happens that the older manuscripts have that second type of reading. “That which my Father has given is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. Now you can see the meaning would be slightly different. One is the Father is greater than all and therefore if we are in the Father’s hand we are absolutely secure. That’s a biblical thought and no doubt that’s the reason why even in some of the more modern versions that reading is preferred. The New American Standard Bible has that. The New International Version has it.

Most of the more recent students of the Greek text however feel that that is not the thing that John wrote. They rather think that he wrote, “That which my Father has given is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” We could understand how someone might modify that to the reading that you read in your text, rather than vice versa and if the reading that you have in your text is right no one would ever think of saying this. So if that is true then what he is saying is that the body of Christ, the church, the flock of God is greater than all. That is the greatness of the regard that the Father has and that the Lord has for the sheep guarantees that the shepherd will do all that he can to preserve them. So, both stress of course the fact that being related to the Lord Jesus we are absolutely safe. One saying, “The Father is greater than all, no one can therefore plunder the sheep.” The other saying, “The flock is of the greatest concern to the God-head and therefore we are safe because of the concern that they have for us. It’s an interesting question we cannot be absolutely sure at this point what was written. Both are excellent thoughts and certainly are true biblical thoughts. And then in verse 30 we read, “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.”

May the Lord bless this reading of his word.

[Prayer removed from audio]

[Message] The subject this morning is “Shall Never Perish,” or “Life Eternal.” Christians often speak of the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer. The phrase eternal security of the believer has the disadvantage of being a non-biblical phrase. Perhaps it would be better to speak of the doctrine of eternal life. That’s biblical and that’s positive. So, perhaps we would be better if we were to talk about the security that the believer possesses to simply say we have life eternal.

This doctrine of the security of the believer or the doctrine of eternal life is one that is related to the so called “Five Points of Calvinism.” Back in the earlier part of the 17th century the remonstrance who were influenced by James Arminius a reformed pastor and theological professor, in an attempt to get the reformed church of Holland to think again about some of their doctrines presented five points which were objections to the doctrine that was generally proclaimed and taught. In answer to the remonstrates where were the antecedents of Arminians the reformed church of Holland set out their own five points in answer to the five points of the Arminians.

We think of them today simply because theological students have often wanted a little pneumonic device to remember answers to questions their professors might give them as TULIP, TULIP being an acrostic device to remind us when we get into exam time of the five points of Calvinism. “T” standing for “Total Depravity,” “U” standing for “Unconditional Election,” “L” standing for “Limited Atonement,” a very bad name incidentally because everybody limits the atonement. The Arminians limit the atonement and much worse than the Calvinists because they limit the efficacy of the atonement. They have only a conditional atonement. They have an atonement that does not really save anybody. Calvinists limit the design of the atonement, but their atonement saves. What a vast difference. I much prefer, I must confess the Calvinistic atonement. It saves. The Arminian does not. The Calvinist limits the design or the extent of the atonement, but the Arminians limit its efficacy, which is in effect to say that God is frustrated. The “I” stands for “Irresistible Grace,” and the “P” of TULIP, the fairest flower in God’s garden, Dr. Garsner likes to call it, for the “Perseverance of the Saints,” TULIP, Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, the Perseverance of the Saints.

Now, of course perseverance of the saints is not really the true story. Mr. Spurgeon used to say, “It’s not so much the perseverance of the saints that is prominent as it is the preservation of the saints by God,” or to put it another way, he said, “It’s not so much the perseverance of the saints as it is the perseverance of God in saving the saints. Well, when we think of eternal security we are looking at the perseverance of the saints from the divine side. God is the one who secures their salvation and keeps them in it.

Sometimes you know a theory is a handicap to practice at least so it seems. Have you ever asked a cook for a recipe for some dish that you really enjoyed, and often if it’s a good cook, very good cook, she may not reply, or he may not reply by saying, “Well, I took recipe number four hundred and twenty-four out of the American Cook Book and just followed it precisely.” I know we used to have a cook in Charleston that made the most magnificent biscuits I’ve ever tasted. I thought it would be wonderful if I could get that recipe from, her name was Martha, and have that recipe with me wherever I went, wherever I went I could give this recipe and somebody could cook those biscuits for me. So I went in to Martha and I asked Martha about this recipe. “Well,” she said, “I don’t really know exactly how I do this. I just put some of this and a little bit of this and a dash of that and…” Well when I got through I didn’t have any recipe at all much. She said, “I don’t really know what I do.” Well I have a little bit of something that looks like a recipe, but nobody has been able to follow that recipe and produce those biscuits exactly like she could.

Well, you know theory is often a handicap to practice and professors can hinder preaching as well. We were never told to preach the eternal security of the believer to an audience in which there were unbelievers because obviously if you were to tell them that once you have come to faith in Jesus Christ you’re never going to be lost, that would mean that they would immediately say, “Well, if you believe once saved always saved then you can just go out and live as you please.” It seems such an obvious response to a doctrine like that that we were often advised, “Don’t preach eternal security to the unbelievers. Preach it only to the believers.” One of the difficulties of that if I had had something of the sense that I have now then I would have said to my professor, “How can we always be sure that our audience is an audience only of believers?” And of course, we cannot be sure.

But something helped me a great deal more when I came to study the New Testament in several places and particularly in this passage. It’s quite obvious that the professor’s advice was contrary to Scripture because the Lord Jesus preached his strongest sermon on the eternal security of the believer or the doctrine of eternal life to an audience composed of a great number of unbelievers. That’s very clear. Those who were listening here were not simply believers. They were the unbelievers and furthermore they were the enemies of the gospel of Christ. They had just said, “You’re mad.” And yet it is to them that he preached. And so in the same spirit that our Lord preached, I preach to you, not that you are enemies, but I’m going to preach to you in this way. I’m going to preach the doctrine of eternal life or the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer in order to show you if you are an unbeliever what you are missing, just what you are missing, and perhaps by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit you’ll be attracted to faith in Jesus Christ and enjoy these wonderful promises that believers have.

Well, this magnificent word that our Lord spoke concerning life eternal was given not too long after he gave that sermon on the shepherd and the sheep. And it’s rather interesting that in the cannons of the Synod of Dort in which the Calvinists answered the Arminians five points by their five points, they defended the perseverance of the saints by speaking of Christ as the shepherd of the sheep. So they did it in the context of this biblical teaching concerning the Lord Jesus as the shepherd, and we are the sheep. And that ought to encourage us to believe these great doctrines of the security of the believer.

Now it was around December. It was the time of Hanukah, the festival of the Jews that we know about today that is practiced right here in our community. It was the time of the deliverance of Israel from Antiochus Epiphanies. It was the time of the Feast of Lights as it is also called. And so the idea that was predominant in the minds of the Jewish people at this time is the idea of deliverance. And it may well be that John records this here in order for us to gain the distinct impression that true deliverance comes from the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Well we read there was a division among the Jews. Some said, “He’s a demon.” Others said, “Well these don’t sound like the words of a demon to me. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” The Old Testament had said only God can open the eyes of the blind, and surely a demon is not one who goes around opening the eyes of the blind. And John said all this happened in Jerusalem in the feast of the dedication and it was winter, and the Lord Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon’s porch, just outside among the colonnades. And the Jews surrounded him and asked him, “Why are you continuing to pester us?” Now they’re not in suspense so much as they are annoyed by him. And so they tell him if you’re the Messiah tell us plainly. And so the Lord Jesus responds by telling them who he is. He says, “I’ve told you and you believe not. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. The Old Testament said that only a divine being can open eyes, and it said that the Messiah when he came would open eyes. I’ve just opened the eyes of the blind man. The conclusion is obvious. I am the Messiah.

And furthermore he tells why they have rejected him. He says, “You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep, not, “You’re not my sheep because you don’t believe,” but “You do not believe because you’re not my sheep.” In other words, you’re not really the object of the Father’s eternal love and because you’re not really the object of the Father’s eternal love that manifests itself in your unbelief, just as those who are the objects of the Father’s eternal love manifest that in their belief. Hard words aren’t they? No wonder some people said, “He’s mad.” No wonder some got mad and threw rocks at him. In verse 31 we read, “The Jews took up stones again to stone him,” and the implication of the text is that these were large stones. They bore stones. They didn’t look around for a pebble. They got some big rocks in order to throw at him. Anyone who would say things like this surely is an upsetting kind of person. And one who says it with such authority as Jesus said it. That’s enough to make anybody mad, someone might say. It’s well for us to remember who is speaking.

Now finally he comes to, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish. Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” That’s the heart of the passage. And this is the passage in which he tells them what they’re missing by not being among his sheep. Now this is such an important text that I think you can make something out of almost every word in it. Let me show you.

“I give unto them eternal life.” Now let’s don’t pass by that first pronoun. “I give unto them eternal life.” Now I do not think that that “I” is to be limited to the fact that he is standing in their presence. He has just told them that he has done the works that the Messiah does. So when he says, “I” that includes his entire mission. His mission of incarnation, his mission of living the life that he was supposed to life, his mission soon of his death, his burial, his resurrection, and also his mission at the right hand of the Father, by which as the great high priest he prays and works to bring all of the sheep into the presence of the great shepherd. But now it’s true, is it not, that God does not do unnecessary things. Rarely do you find anything in the Bible that suggests that God does that which is unnecessary. It’s very difficult to find.

Now if that is true, and he says, “I” give unto you eternal life, we’re perfectly safe in saying that this implies that man cannot save himself. If man can save himself then the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is not necessary, but if he should say to them, “I give unto them eternal life,” that it seems to me says very plainly that eternal life comes through the Lord Jesus Christ and his ministry alone. There are people who think that you can obtain eternal life by joining the church, by praying, by doing good works, although it’s impossible for anyone outside of Christ to do a good work. Oh, that is if we mean a good work by the Bible standards of what is a good work. Oh sure there are philanthropists. There are people who do nice things for their friends. But those are not biblical good works.

There are two requirements for a good work. One, it should come from faith. Two, it should have as its goal the glorification of the Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit. All other works are not good by biblical standards. Therefore there is no good work possible by a man who does not have faith. All other motives are the motives of his good works. Sometimes he does them for personal gratification. Sometimes he does them in order that people may praise him, all kinds of reasons for human good works, human standards. Why you know if you can find what a good work is, you can define it solo, that you can finally say, “If we do the best we can, God will accept that.” And in fact you don’t have to have any good works. You can just say, “God is a loving kind of God. He’ll accept us all no matter what we do.” But the Bible doesn’t say that. The Bible says you must present God with a perfect righteousness. No one can get to heaven by his good works. Only Jesus Christ can save. “I give unto them eternal life.” God doesn’t do anything unnecessary and when he says, “Jesus Christ gives eternal life,” that means man cannot save himself. If man could save himself then all of the work of Christ is unnecessary. The greatest blunder in the history of the universe would be the crucifixion of Christ. The only perfect man who ever lived would have no meaning in life what so ever. The Apostle Paul refers to this when he says, “I don’t frustrate the grace of God. If righteousness come by the law by what we do, then Christ is dead in vain.” “I give unto them eternal life.”

Now he says, “I ‘give’ unto them eternal life.” We do not earn it. We do not deserve it. It is not by works of righteousness that we have done, that we are saved. As Paul puts it in Romans chapter 4 verse 4 and verse 5, very dramatically he says, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” So, we do not earn eternal life. We do not deserve eternal life. Those fine feelings of praying which you have, which you’ve stuck like feathers in your cap. “Pray that you recollect what you really were,” Mr. Spurgeon says. So easy for us to be proud of the little things that we do. Have you ever gotten down on your knees and start praying and pretty soon this devilish thought floats across into your mind, “I sure am making progress in the spiritual life. There are very few people who are sitting by their bed side now praying like I am.” That will just show you how self-righteous our nature really is at its bottom. “I give unto them eternal life.” It only comes as a gift and it only comes from Christ.

Now he says, “I give unto them eternal ‘life’.” Now if he gives unto us life what does that imply? Think for a moment. That means we didn’t have life. That means we were dead. Now he does not say you were sick. He doesn’t say you were weak. He doesn’t say you were ignorant. He says, “I give unto them eternal life,” which means simply that you were dead in your trespasses and sins.

Now notice he says, “I give unto them ‘eternal’ life.” Not eternal existence but eternal life. This is something you have to be born into. You can in ever understand it otherwise. There are all kinds of levels of existence in life. Have you ever thought about it? When there is a rock sitting out on the ground, it has existence, but it doesn’t have any life. And then there is a little plant by the side of the rock. It has existence and it has life, but it has plant life. Now the plant life is such that it cannot speak to us. It cannot speak to the rock, except on the comic pages. On the comic pages things like this can happen. Plants can speak. Rocks can speak, but not in life. So we have rock which has existence. We have a plant which has life and existence, but plant life. Then we have a little squirrel running around and the squirrel has animal life. Striking thing about a squirrel can speak to squirrels, but it cannot speak to us.

Some people think they can speak to squirrels. There are certain things you can communicate to them. If you pull out your pellet gun and fire at them a couple of times [Laughter] the next time they see you and you reach for it, you communicate. And they quickly manage to escape. That is if you’ve missed previously as I always do.

But anyway a squirrel has life and a squirrel has a different kind of life, but a squirrel cannot speak to us. It cannot speak to the plants. It cannot speak to the rock. And then there are people who have their own kind of life. They have minds. There is something unusual about man. Man has human life. One of the characteristics of human life is that humans ordinarily have the ability to worship, not necessarily the true God, but to worship. You never find squirrels out in the yard calling a prayer meeting or calling for a meeting of the ministry of the word of God or even for any other kind of meeting for that matter.

Oh, occasionally blue jays will gather around and squawk because one of the blue jays has lost a wing and they’re happy to see him die, it seems to me that that’s what they are trying to do. They’re having a meeting, and they are passing judgment on a fellow blue jay, something like that. But, that’s the kind of life they have.

Human beings have human life, but you know people may also have not only human life, but they may have spiritual life, just as you are born into physical life, so you are born into spiritual life. And the striking thing about spiritual life is that those who have spiritual life can only communicate with those who have spiritual life. You cannot communicate to someone who is walking around, dressed like you do, live like you do, eat like you do, but doesn’t have spiritual life. You cannot communicate. For you see, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him. Neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.” The mind of the flesh is enmity against God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, “They that are in the flesh cannot please God.” There is a barrier between the spiritual life that we possess as a gift from Jesus Christ and the natural life that we possess by reason of the relationship of our mother and father. So now when we read, “I give unto them ‘eternal’ life.” That’s something that must be given to us. Eternal spiritual life, the Lord Jesus is speaking of it often in this gospel. He says, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” spiritual life.

Now the Lord Jesus adds, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.” In the original text that’s very emphatic. In fact this particular construction is about the most emphatic way in which a prohibition may be expressed in Greek. “They shall by no means ever perish,” is the force. Now, I think that that means that no matter what happens an individual will never perish. If for example, a person receives spiritual life from the Lord God, and if he should lose that spiritual life, Jesus could never have said, “You shall never perish,” because they would have perished. Our Lord’s words would have proved faithless. But he says, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.”

Now I’d like to say to you who are believers that this is a very comforting word too because this means that no matter whether I’m living on that mountain, or whether I’m living on the valley, if I have eternal life I shall never perish. It means that though I may pass through the tempests or whether I’m in the calm, I have eternal life. It means that whether I’m living or whether I’m approaching my death, I have eternal life. It means that whether I’m in time or in eternity, I have eternal life. “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.”

I know there are people who say, “Well if you believe that you can just go out and do as you please.” That’s the response of the man who doesn’t have eternal life. He doesn’t understand. So that’s his natural response. There was a banker friend of Alfred Gibbs in Scotland who was converted. His friends learned that he was saved and that he was saved in the gospel hall and it was known that in the gospel halls they preached the doctrine of eternal life. And so they said to him, “Ah, you now believe once saved always saved.” The banker said, “Yes.” They then said, “Then you believe you can do what you like.” He said, “Yes, I do, but now I’ve got different likes.” You see when a person has been born again he has a different nature. And now he doesn’t want to do what he wants to do. He wants to do what the Father who has brought him into this wonderful life wants him to do. He loves what has happened to him so much that he wants to please the one who is responsible for giving it to him. See how foolish a comment like that is? It’s the kind of comment that a rationalist might make who doesn’t understand life. And you can be almost sure that a person who makes that comment does not possess eternal life. It forgets also that the Bible says that when you come into the family of God, the Father disciplines his sheep. He’s careful to discipline them like a good father ought. So we don’t go out and live like we please. We’re subject to the discipline of the family of God. There are many other things that could be said, but for lack of time we pass on.

He says, “I give unto them eternal life and ‘they’,” that is the people, the individuals “shall never perish,” not necessarily their thoughts, their comforts, their possessions, their works, those things may go. You can lose your job. You can lose your portfolio of securities. You can lose your income. You can lose your friends. You can even lose members of your family. But “I give unto them eternal life and ‘they’ shall never perish.” You can be deprived of a thousand things without any violation of this promise. Mr. Spurgeon said that the ship shall not go down to the bottom, but that the passengers shall get to the shore. Not that the house shall be burned down, but that we shall escape, “Even if so as by fire,” Paul says. They shall never perish. What a comforting thing this is. No matter what happens to me, my security is settled because of what Jesus Christ has done and is doing at this very moment for me. If it were not for the fact that he is doing that right now praying for me at the right hand of the Father, preserving the effects of his work, I would be lost in a moment.

He says, “I give unto them eternal life. They shall by no means ever perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” That’s the word pluck that is used in verse 12 of the wolf that comes and catches the sheep and scatters them. No wolves are going to come and scatter the sheep of God. As far as their eternal destiny is concerned it is settled by what Jesus Christ has done.

Now the fact that we read here that “No one shall pluck them out of my hand,” is evidence of the fact that we have enemies. We have great enemies of our soul. Satan would love to grasp us and to destroy us. He would like to destroy us thoroughly so far as spiritual life is concerned, but he cannot do it. The Lord Jesus said to Peter, “Peter Satan is desired to sift you as wheat.” He said as wheat because Peter was a believer. “Sift you as wheat,” but I have prayed that your faith fail not. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful.” He preserves us. This implies we have enemies. And we do have enemies, and we need to feel this and we need to feel also that from within there are weakening things too. We are still sinners. We still have the sin principle dwelling within us. We just simply have someone stronger than the sin principle who’s anxious to preserve us. It’s perfectly alright to feel the sense of our sin. We ought to.

There was a man who got up in a meeting one time and spoke about the fact that he had this tremendous sense of the corruption of the presence of the sin nature within him. Another brother got up and said that he was so thankful to God through Jesus Christ that he didn’t have any sense of the corruption of sin and of the presence of the sin nature within him, and no sense of any problem along that line at all. There was quietness in the meeting until another brother got up, a very wise brother, he didn’t say anything. He just read a parable of the Pharisee and the publican. And the message came through. And you remember how the publican came in, he beat on his breast, and he spoke about what a great sinner he was. And the Pharisee said, “Lord, I thank Thee. I’m not like that publican there.” I do this and I do that and I do the other thing. We don’t believe that anymore, you know what we do? We say, “Lord, I thank Thee that I’m not like that Pharisee.” It’s so easy for the old self righteousness to arise and to fail to see that we really still are indwelt by the sin principle, but we have someone stronger.

He says, “I give unto them eternal life. Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” The hand is the place of love in the Bible. There are passages which express that. We’ve been engraven on his hands for example. It’s the place of power. God has accomplished his work of redemption through is arm and through his hand. The Father’s hand is about me, and the Son’s hand is about me to. “My Father which gave to me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” You know if you’ve taught children or if you’ve seen children taught, you’ve seen Bible teachers teaching children draw two hands. Make an object lesson of two hands and then a red heart. And then the red heart is placed in the hand of the Lord Jesus and another hand is put over the hand of our Lord in order to express the double sense of the protection that this text suggests. “No man is able to pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all. No man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” So we have a double kind of protection. It’s like having your money in the bank and also in the vault. They wouldn’t put mine in the vault. There’s no need to. It’s not that much. Maybe some of you, you have your money in the vault. You have it in the bank and you have it in the vault, a double protection.

Well, finally in the 30th verse he says, “I and my Father are one.” What a magnificent text that is too. It’s amazing. Just a short little text, but what it does speak. Here is the Lord who said, “I give unto them eternal life. They shall never perish. Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

I wasn’t in a Bible conference in New Jersey once, and after this subject came up in the meeting, a lady came up to me and she said, “You know I really rejoiced in what you said, and I believe everything that you said about that security of the believer. The other day however I was speaking to an individual about the gospel of Christ. The subject came up and I expressed to them my security that I was in the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this person said to me, “But suppose you slip through the fingers?” Well, I had my Greek text with me and so I took great delight, I must confess, in opening it up because the Authorized Version says, “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” In the Greek text it says simply, “Neither shall anyone,” not a man as over against someone else, an angelic being, but “anyone” inclusive of men and inclusive of angels as well. “No one shall pluck them out of my hand.”

There is another story about an unbeliever who was speaking with a very simple woman. They were debating the term security and she appealed to this passage, and she pointed out that she was in the Father’s hands. The unbeliever said to her, “But suppose you slip through is fingers?” And she said, “Well I could never do that. Paul says, ‘You’re the body of Christ, and members in particular,’ Hallelujah I’m one of the fingers.” [Laughter] So there is no way to escape it my friends. When Jesus Christ says, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.” If anyone who ever possesses eternal life should fail, we cannot believe the word of Jesus Christ. You shall never perish if you have eternal life.

Some people don’t like this kind of teaching. They didn’t like it. The Jews took up stones again to stone him. They carried them some distance. That word “bastazo” that is used there means to carry stones. So, they carried stones to stone him. They were going to try to get rid of him for preaching false doctrine.

What shall we say in conclusion? Well that salvation plus security is ours. Luther once said, “If we perish, Christ perisheth with us.” “If we perish, Christ perisheth with us.” If we perish, saints, apostles, martyrs perish, “When we are persuaded that the righteous shall hold on his way, and he that have clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger.” There is a great deal of responsibility expressed here. It’s put in the words of our Lord as “Hearing his voice.” “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Do you wish to have this life? Do you wish to have this security, this assurance? Well, the way is open. The door is open. The Lord Jesus is the door. Enter the door and receive eternal life, and then you can say, “The Lord Jesus has given to me eternal life, and I shall never perish.” What a wonderful thing it is to possess eternal life. Could there be any more significant promise in all of the Bible addressed to humanity, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish?”

Now of course it’s possible you’re not interested at all. You don’t want to respond to this gospel message. So far as you it’s nonsense. It doesn’t have any significant meaning to you at all. Well then of course you’re getting what you wish. You’re perfectly happy outside of Christ. Well by happy in your happiness. We’re concerned. We want you to come to enjoy what we enjoy. We’d like for you to have this higher life, this spiritual life, not existence but spiritual life. We want you to come. We’re concerned. The Lord Jesus is giving this universal invitation. Come to Christ. Believe in him. “I give unto them eternal life.” It’s not necessary to join the church, not necessary to join this church, not necessary to attend this church. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. May God give you grace. May you come. Come to Christ. Believe in him. Receive eternal life and you will never perish. Magnificent promises, what a shame to pass them by. It may have eternal consequences. Come, believe in Christ.

[Prayer] Father, we are so grateful to Thee for these magnificent promises given to us, eternal life. Who could measure the significance of those words? We are grateful. Lord, if there should be someone in this auditorium who has not yet come, may in their hearts, at this very moment, they be saying, “Lord, I do need life. I need forgiveness. I need justification. I need life, spiritual life. I want to know Thee truly. Christ has died for sinners, so the Scriptures say. By Thy grace I lean upon him and him alone for time and for eternity. O God may there be, through the Holy Spirit, some who utter these words in their hearts…


Posted in: Gospel of John