Dr. S. Lewis Johnson explains grace's impact on a believer as, "We move toward God as we are moved by God."
[Message] For our Scripture reading this morning we’re turning to John chapter 6 verse 41 though verse 51, John 6:41 through 51. You remember our Lord had just fed the five thousand and has also walked upon the water and now comes the discourse related to the feeding of the five thousand concerning the manna from heaven. Verse 41 we read,
“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. 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 forever: 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? Let’s bow together in a moment of prayer.
[Prayer] Our Heavenly Father, on this lovely day we turn to Thee with thanksgiving and praise for the great truths expressed to us in this section from Thy word. We thank Thee for the Apostle John who was guided by the Holy Spirit as he wrote his gospel that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that in believing they might have life through his name. And we thank Thee for the way in which this great document has been used down through the centuries as the instrumentality by which many have entered into the relationship with Jesus Christ that means eternal life. And Father we ask that again, for this particular hour may the preaching of the word of God bring any who are in our midst and do not have the assurance of eternal life to him.
We thank Thee and praise Thee to for all of the other blessings of spiritual life and physical life that are ours. We marvel at the grace that Thou hast shown to us, and we marvel also at the goodness that Thou hast shown to us as well. We thank Thee and we praise Thee. We rejoice in all that the Scriptures reveal of our God. We thank Thee for the confidence that we have that the purposes that Thou hast for us and for this world will be accomplished.
And Father we would pray today for the whole body of Christ. Build us up in the faith. Strengthen us. May there be additions to the body today as the word of God is preached. We look forward to the consummation of Thy purposes and the relationship with Christ, full and free and unhindered by the flesh in its sinful state. We look forward to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hasten the day if it please Thee Lord. We pray for the edification of the body today as the word is preached as well, for its increase, for all of the needful things that we have.
And Father, we pray for our country. We pray for the United States of America and its President, its government, and for other governments of the states and cities. We pray Lord that Thou wilt protect this nation. Keep us Lord free and free for the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Hold back the tides of unbelief and rebellion against Thee as expressed in the public life of this nation.
And Father, we pray for the sick. We remember those who are in the hospital as well. Minister to them, encourage them and give healing. We pray for their families and for those other requests Lord listed in our Calendar of Concern. Thy knowest them. We bring them before Thee. We ask that Thy wilt glorify Thy name in the answer to these petitions.
And we ask Lord for this meeting and the meeting that follows tonight at 6:30. May Thy name be lifted up in them. For Christ’s sake. Amen.
[Message] The subject that we have been seeking to develop a bit over the past few Sundays is, “The Method of Grace in Our Redemption.” We have sought to, for a few Sundays at least, do something a little bit different from the exposition of the books of the Bible which ordinarily is followed in the ministry of the word in Believers Chapel, and we have looked at the divine work of application in a very general sense, looking at 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 30 where the apostle, writing to the Corinthian church in his first letter to them of which we have record, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us wisdom,” a wisdom that consists of righteousness and sanctification and redemption. And we tried to stress the fact that the apostle, in that opening phrase, laid great stress on the divine initiative, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus.”
Then in the second study from John chapter 17 and verse 23 we just laid stress on the opening words of that particular verse which reads like this, “I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one,” pointing out that the goal of the application of redemption is union with Christ, eternal union, covenantal union. Covenantal in the sense that it is the expression of the divine purposes and plans made in ages past.
And then thirdly, last week we looked at the external means of “The Method of Grace in Our Redemption,” and laid stress upon the necessity of the ministry of reconciliation as set forth in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 20 where the apostle writes, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
Our last subject is “The Method of Grace in Our Redemption, The Internal Means,” for essential to the work and more particularly involved in the divine work of the application of redemption is the internal effectual application of Jesus Christ. That is expressed for us very plainly and bold too. In verse 44 and verse 45 of John chapter 6 where Jesus said to the Jews, to whom he was speaking,
“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.”
There are no benefits from Christ without union with Christ. There is no union with Christ apart from faith in Christ. And there is no faith in Christ apart from the Father’s drawing of the individual to Christ. And in fact we could say that there is ordinarily, and essentially, necessarily, there is no drawing without preaching.
One of the Puritans, whose works I like, trading on the fact that John and James were sons of Boanerges, or “sons of thunder,” said, “Let Boanerges and Barnabas try their strength. Let the angels of heaven be the preachers. Till God draw the soul cannot come to Christ.” That is a true expression of the teaching of the Bible. The occasion of these words that the Lord Jesus spoke is both important and revealing. If you’ll just think back for a moment, over the content of John 6, it’s very simple. In the beginning of the chapter John has recorded the feeding of the five thousand, a miracle preformed by our Lord. And then following that, he has told the story of our Lord’s walking upon the water, two miracles, two of the signs that John has set forth in his gospel that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that in believing they might have life through is name.
Now in the midst of this discourse there is a very plain asserting of the authority of the Lord Jesus. In fact if you read this chapter you will see that it would be impossible for any person to hold this view that we may follow Jesus Christ’s teaching but we cannot accept his understanding of his atoning work and deity. Listen to some of the things that he says. In verse 27 he says, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” Verse 33, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” And if there should be any doubt about whom he is speaking, we read in verse 35, “Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” And finally in verses 39 and 40 the Lord said, “This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” Now in order to stress the fact that he has the power of resurrection he adds, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” All of this performance of miracles, all of this assumption of authority is given in the context of the holiness of the Son of God.
Now, you’ll notice that the Lord Jesus recognizes that he is speaking to people who are perversely opposed to him. In fact he says in verse 43, “Murmur not among yourselves.” So he points out the fact, makes the point that they are perverse in their unbelief, but still the main point that he will make in the section that follows is that the reception of his teaching is the gift of God. Now that’s a striking thing. He has performed miracles. There are some people who think that men come to faith by looking or seeing or hearing of miracles. But it’s obvious our Lord does not say that. There are some, who may think that faith comes from other sources, but it’s quite clear in this context, he’s performed miracles, he has spoken to them in divine authority. He has done it out of a life that is in perfect harmony with the holiness of God and yet there must be a drawing that precedes believing. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Miracles will not do it. Authoritative words alone from the Son of God will not do it. A life that is a perfect life in the holiness of the Lord God will not do it. Drawing precedes believing. That is what our Lord offers here, and it’s an extremely important point that not only does our Lord make but almost all of the writers of Scripture who give us any information on this subject make as well.
Now I want to analyze verse 44 and verse 45 for a moment. Then we’ll turn briefly to the doctrine of the texts and finally conclude with the application of that doctrine. But let’s look at the analysis of these two very weighty comments the Lord Jesus Christ makes. He begins by saying, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Now lest there be any question about this when he says no man, he’s not making a sexual comment. He’s not suggesting that men cannot come but women can. The Greek text says simply, “No one,” and is inclusive of both the male and the female sex. Women are included. “No man,” whether man or a woman, “can come to me,” without the Father’s drawing. Natural qualifications will not make you qualified for the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and union with him. External advantages will not help you. Maturity will not help you. Money, religion, of course, all of these other things upon which so often we rely, they avail not, for everyone is dead. Everyone is impotent so far as coming to the Lord is concerned. And furthermore everyone is averse to the truth of God. So “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”
Now notice the Lord Jesus says, “No man can come.” He’s talking about a human inability, an inability that we might trace to the mind and to the heart. Let me try to stress this as much as I possibly can by saying a man may come to the word. You may come into Believers Chapel and hear the ministry of the word of God. You may come constantly to hear the ministry of the word of God. And I think that generally the ministry of Believers Chapel is a ministry that’s generally pure and sound in orthodox theology. As far as I know there isn’t anything seriously taught here that is contrary to the teaching of the word of God. I would hope that all of us, who have in our hands the responsibility of ministering the word of God, if there were such and we knew it, would change our teaching. For in the ultimate sense it is God’s word, and it is an offense to the Lord God to falsely teach his word. But you may come to the pure message of the word of God, like these Jews did, who heard the purest of the pure expound the Scriptures and still did not believe. You may come to the word. You may hear the word. You may consider the word. You may memorize the word. You may even remember what you have memorized, but if there is no drawing by the Father, there is no faith. Now that to me is a statement which is of the greatest importance for an understanding of the ministry of the word of God. Further, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”
Now, I’d like to lay just a bit of stress on that expression, “The Father which hath sent me.” This is covenantal business. Maybe you don’t like the term covenant. Some of you may have an aversion to the term covenant. It’s perfectly alright. It won’t hurt you a bit to pronounce the word, covenantal, because after all we do minister the benefits of a covenant, a new covenant. The Apostle Paul didn’t hesitate to call himself minister of the new covenant. I would like to be one like Paul.
Now it is covenantal in the sense that it’s a reflection of the agreement made between the persons of the trinity in ages past. Now we’ve had it right before us here. Notice verse 39, “This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing.” There is a determination that the Son is to do certain tasks. That is covenantal arrangement. Again in verse 40, “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life.” If you turn over to chapter 10 and verse 18 he says, “No man taketh it from him, I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received from my Father.” So the Lord Jesus ministers in the light of the commandments he has received as the mediating second person of the Trinity. So as the Father initiates the work of God and Son executes it in his priestly work, and the Spirit applies it, there is a covenantal arrangement between the persons of the Trinity.
The Christian church in the past has often called this the eternal covenant of redemption. It’s something upon which all evangelical students can agree. So “The Father who hath sent me,” this is covenantal business. Now we should not miss the point that the Father therefore is obliged to bring the people of God to the Son. Those whom he has given to the Son, as he says in John chapter 17, he brings to the Son, to whom, or who has the authority from the Father to give them eternal life.
Now fourthly, notice the expression, “Draw him.” “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Now that is a reference to powerful effectual drawing. What we would call very simply a benevolent bending of the will to be responsive to the word of God. It is not compulsion, nor is it moral suasion as theologians often have sought to define it. Moral suasion, meaning that the proposal of belief in Christ is presented and the issue of response is left entirely to the free will of the individual that is moral suasion, the proposal offered, but then things depend upon the individual’s response. That is not what our Lord speaks about. To my mind that kind of doctrine which is suitable for the expression of a so called spiritual free will is contrary to the word of God. In fact it is a deistic kind of doctrine.
Now for those of you who may not be acquainted with Deism. Generally speaking, Deism was a doctrine embraced by a number of the individuals important in the founding of the United States of America but going far beyond them, that God in heaven has created things and created natural law and is largely withdrawn from anything that happens in our society and thus things are pretty much left up to the operation of natural law. Now, when we talk about man’s free will, as if the decision ultimately depends upon that, that’s a Deistic doctrine, everything depending upon the human response apart from the divine drawing.
Now this text is a text that is very important in showing that that doctrine is false to the word of God. This word, “draw,” every time that this word occurs in the New Testament it refers to an effectual drawing. And surprisingly you can go to the critical commentaries on the Greek text and you will find men, many of them, who do not really give very strong adherence to the doctrine of efficacious grace, will admit that that is so. In fact one man admits that it’s so and then seeks, in his exposition to avoid its implications. It’s remarkable. But nevertheless this word always refers to that which is effectual. That is the person who is drawn comes, or the thing drawn comes to the intended goal. So, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” powerfully, effectually drawn, the benevolent bending of the will, and not moral suasion nor compulsion, but effectual persuasion, not moral suasion but effectual moral persuasion. That is what God does for those who are given to the Son.
Next the Lord Jesus says, “And I will raise him up at the last day.” This is the consummation of the life that is begun by divine constraint beginning with the drawing, concluding with the resurrection of the body. In between the divine drawing and the resurrection is the whole development of the spiritual life drawn by the Father to the Son, ultimately, raised by the authoritative Son of God, the God man, the mediator of the new covenant.
Now one might say at this point, “Is that new teaching?” Ann Landers, the other day in answering somebody’s question in her column, when the individual suggested something about the Lord Jesus Christ and Christianity, I don’t have it before me so I’m going largely by general idea of what the question was, replied that when Jesus came he started a new religion, not Judaism of the Old Testament. He started a new religion. Now the Lord Jesus undoubtedly had in mind just such people who claimed that what he was teaching was not really scriptural teaching. So he says, “It’s written in the prophets.” Look if you just read your own Scriptures it’s written in the prophets. “And they shall be all taught of God.”
Now if you’ll go back to Isaiah 54 and verse 13 you will see that that passage has to do with the Messianic community and those who belong to the Messiah are those who are taught of the Lord. They don’t need any instruction from men. They are taught by the Lord. They shall all be taught of God, and they carry in themselves the effects of the divine instruction. Every individual in this audience who has a possession of eternal life within is the object of the divine drawing, effectual drawing and deep down within you have within your own heart the effects of that divine instruction. The Lord God had drawn you to Christ. You do not need to be instructed by men. Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that we do not need to study the Bible or study commentaries on the Scriptures or things like that. We’re talking about the fundamental relationship to the Lord God of which our Lord is speaking. We do not need instruction from men. We have instruction from God. Now he may use many instrumentalities. You may even come to the Lord by reading a critical commentary. There have probably been a couple of guys who have done that in the past. But still what we’re talking about is the fundamental fact that all who have come to Christ and have eternal life have been drawn by the Father to the Son. That’s the fundamental thing.
Now, let’s stop and secondly discuss the doctrine that is taught here. You can put it very simply — it’s, we move toward God as we are moved by God. We move toward God as we are moved by God. What is the Father’s drawing? I think that requires further explanation. Well it’s a rational drawing. No man comes to God having no understanding at all of scriptural things.
This morning as I was getting ready to come here, I listened to the introduction of a man who was going to give a message. He’s with the Lord, and his doctrine is absolutely pure now. And his doctrine was relatively pure back in the days when he was alive. I love to listen to him, M. R. De Haan. He had a voice that reminded me of the gravel in a driveway that I used to have. [Laughter] But it was very plain, very clear, very much to the point, and they are playing some old tapes of Dr. De Haan’s Bible study our broadcast, or the radio Bible class. In the introduction one of the announcers was summing up what Dr. De Haan was saying. He was saying, and essentially, he said something like this, that it’s not even necessary to have understanding to have life. One must simply believe.
Now that’s the kind of doctrine that a church might put out saying, “It’s not a matter of what you believe, just rest on the church and we’ll take care of you.” There is a rational foundation of our faith, an intellectual foundation. I don’t want to mislead anyone. But what he is talking about is a rational persuasion. Involved in it is an understanding of some biblical truth. It may be minimal, but it must be there. It is moral; a kind of drawing that is moral. That is it has to do with our perverse will which does not want to respond to the things of the Lord naturally. It is also volitional for we do not lose our will when we are lost. Our will is simply made rebellious by Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden. The mind of the flesh is enmity toward God. So the Father’s drawing is a rational, moral, volitional persuasion. It is both a tender of the marvelous promise concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and accompanying it for the people of God is the power of God. It’s what Hosea is talking about when he says, “I draw on you with the cords of a man.” That is the kind of persuasion that is suitable to men who have a mind, who have a will, and who have affections. So it is both a tender of the gospel and a power to back it up for the people of God.
Now I had a colleague in a theological seminary in which I taught in another city who liked to say that efficacious grace is, “The rape of the soul.” Now I have no doubt that this man is very sincere and as a matter of fact I like him very much personally. He’s a very entertaining man in many ways, but I cannot help but feel that that comment is very, very close to being divine blasphemy, “The rape of the soul.” In the first place it cannot be called rape since the work of God is not forced upon the man against his will in a violent attack. It’s a gentle persuasion that leads to a running toward God. It’s the thing of which Jeremiah is speaking in chapter 31 and verse 3 when the prophet in these marvelous words says these things, “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” That’s precisely what efficacious grace is, “With loving kindness have I drawn thee.”
Furthermore I would say to my friend if it were such a thing, what then can we say about prayer for an individual who’s not disposed to come to the Lord, and the Scriptures say we all are not disposed to come to the Lord naturally? Can we then pray, “Lord, save my father, my brother, my sister, my children?” If to have the Lord work in the heart is the rape of a soul, you could not have prayer. Is such a pray then for the rape of the soul? If it is not and if the decision is the Deistic one of the free will, then my friend, why ask God to do anything? What’s the point of prayer if the individual decides of his free will without any influence or influencing from the Lord God? Would not that influencing, they must believe that, my friend believes in this, wouldn’t that influencing be just what those who believe in sovereign grace affirm of efficacious grace? That’s what we say.
In fact the biblical illustration is the biblical illustration of the Lord’s courting of Israel, and anybody who knows anything about love knows exactly what is meant by the desire to influence a certain person to be responsive to you. Now come on there are some people in the chapel who are in love, or have been in love, or were at one time in love, though you’re still married. [Laughter] You know what I’m talking about. That is precisely what the Scriptures, that’s the kind of metaphor that the Scriptures use. Now if you ask me for the details of it, I cannot tell you that. That belongs to the Lord God. His methods and the power with which he carries out his will is a marvelous thing. Sometimes you may have hoped that some lovely young lady would be responsive to your overtures and she wasn’t. Well that just proves you’re not the Lord God, but when he exercises his overtures he’s successful for efficacious grace is by definition effectual. So, what is the Father’s drawing? a rational, moral, volitional persuasion.
Listen to what one of the old Puritan’s says. And I think he puts it perfectly. “This is that which the schools call ‘gratia efficax,’ effectual grace, and others ‘victrix delellatio,’ an overcoming conquering delight, a certain heavenly sweetness. Thus the work is carried on with a most efficacious sweetness. So that the liberty of the will is not infringed, whilst the obstinacy of the will is effectually subdued and overruled. For want of this, there are so many almost Christians in the world; hence are all those vanishing and imperfect works which come to nothing, called in scripture, a morning thud, an early dew.” So then God draws then not only in a moral way by proposing a suitable object to the will, but also in a physical way or by immediate powerful influence upon the will. Not infringing the liberty of it, but yet infallibly and effectually persuading it to come to Christ. And you know, call it the “rape of the soul” if you like, to me it’s blasphemy. But even if you were attempting to make a case like that, I’d like to suggest to you that I’ve never found a person yet who has been so raped who was not so happy to be so raped.
Second, how does the Father draw? Well we can only describe it from the outside. He does it gradually. He gives illumination. He brings conviction. He gives a sense of guilt. He brings repentance and finally trust. He does it agreeably by showing the excellences of the Lord Jesus Christ. He does it powerfully. In fact Paul describes it by the use of creation as a metaphor, how God called the light out of darkness, and he has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It’s an exercise of the ultimate authority of God and my dear friend that’s exactly what it takes to save you. That’s what it takes to save me, the same power that brought this universe into being, to create a responsive individual out of a rebellious sinner. It’s effectual, and it’s a final thing. We are drawn to the Lord. We are never drawn away from him. Scriptures say, “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 can pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
Why is it impossible to come otherwise? Why couldn’t a man come apart from effectual grace? Why to come is beyond the power of human nature in its fallen condition. You cannot come. You cannot understand. You cannot come. You cannot believe. That’s what Paul says. That’s what our Lord is saying. That’s what the New Testament says over and over again. Paul says no man can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Spirit. If you truly call him Lord you’re the recipient of work of God the Holy Spirit. Of course we could spell this out in great detail. That’s not necessary with u. You’re intelligent enough, I know. We could talk about your proud heart for you have one. We could talk about what the Puritans used to call, “Darling lusts,” the kinds of things, not necessarily immoral in themselves but the kinds of things that we prefer to knowing the Lord and to fellowshipping with him, to having our life arranged under the relationship with him, enjoying communion with him. It includes all of those things that divert us from the most important thing, the right relationship to the Lord God.
Now may I in a few final words apply a little more deeply some of these things? First of all, how deep must be the depravity of man? He must be drawn to ecstatic joy. What could be more wonderful than to possess eternal life though the Lord Jesus Christ? What greater promise could a man have? Have over here a few millions in Krugerrand, well the President has said no Krugerrand, over here some Mexican, whatever they sell down there, coronas or whatever, or Canadian maple leafs or whatever, a few millions of that and over here eternal life, which would you pick? Why you’d pick eternal life if you had any sense in your brain at all. You’d pick eternal life. But look, man is so depraved he has to be drawn by the Father to make that choice. He would pick the other, but drawn by the Father, given enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, only then will he receive ecstatic joy, eternal life. We must be restrained from entering into deeper sin, but we have to be drawn to communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. How deep is the depravity of the human heart naturally?
This is why; secondly, excellent sermons often fail. There will be people who leave here this morning, no doubt, who will hear what I say and either not understand it or simply rebel against it. I remind you, this is the word of the Lord. This is the word of Christ. This is the word of our Lord and his apostles. You don’t rebel against me. People can rebel against Dr. Johnson and get away with it because he’s occasionally wrong. He was wrong in nineteen thirty-eight one time. [Laughter] No, I’m constantly wrong, just ask Martha. She’s not here. She’s with the children this morning. But I’m wrong constantly. But this is why excellent sermons fail. It’s because the word of God is preached, but the Holy Spirit in his sovereign authority does not receive directions from the Lord God and draw an individual to Christ.
You know the Apostle Paul discussing ministry in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 speaks of himself and Apollos, and mind you the Scriptures say of Apollos that he was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, but he went on to say when it comes to ministry the ministers are nothing. He says we’re not anything. Now, Paul that’s an exaggeration, isn’t it? Not anything, it’s God that giveth increase. That’s why sermons fail, one of the reasons why. Of course it may fail if a man is unprepared. They may fail for other reasons, but that’s one of the reasons why you can preach a brilliant sermon and there be no response. The Holy Spirit does not receive direction from the Father, “Draw him, or her.” But this is a encouraging thing too. The necessity of perseverance over those for whom we have been praying, our mother, father, brothers, children, many of them are like the impotent man lying beside the pool at Bethesda. For thirty-eight years he had been lying by that pool hoping someone would come and enable him to make a contact that would give him deliverance. And finally the Lord Jesus Christ came, thirty-eight years. And you may be praying, I’ve prayed for some people in my family longer than thirty-eight years, about forty-five. And some of them have not come yet, but this is encouraging to me. As hardened as their hearts might be, when the Father determines in his sovereign grace to draw, they will come. I hope it’s soon.
If none come without the Father’s drawing we cannot be drawn from the Lord except the Father leave us. And Scriptures make it very plain that he will never leave us. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” So, this is the teaching of the Bible. This is the method of grace, the internal means by which we come to the Lord. Listen it’s not just our Lord’s teaching. We’ve heard about Paul. Even John the Baptist understood this. John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven,” John 3:27. John 4:23 the Lord Jesus said, “The Father seeks worshipers.” Paul said, “No man can call Jesus Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 7 the text that Augustan says was the text that caused him to understand the grace of God, Paul makes the same point that John the Baptist did, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”
I get some very interesting letters from people who write over the radio and then sometimes I get some marvelous letters from people right from this congregation. This is a letter to me recently from someone in this congregation. She writes from studying the word of God in Believers Chapel that, “The teaching and the tapes have helped me understand so much more than God’s election. I learned that God is as the Scriptures depict him, regardless of my opinions. And along with that I have learned submission to scriptural authority. I’ve learned to love God has he is and not as I would have him be and therefore can worship in truth.” She goes on to say a number of other interesting things and then she has a P.S. to it, and in the P.S. she says, “Do you know that I began attending classes at the chapel five years ago due to your tape on God’s sovereignty.” It’s funny how you can invite folks and never even know that you did. “I came not because I liked your tape, but because I didn’t. Isn’t that odd?” she said. “Now I enjoy offending people with the same tape.” [Laughter] Well I know the sense in which she means that. She wants them to try to face up to the same truth that the Lord enabled her to face up to.
Oh, the immense prevision that the Father has made for the sons of God. He gives us the Son. He guides us to the Son, his given ones. He gives the Son authority to give life to them and to raise them up at the last day. May God in his marvelous grace enable us to give all for him who used his power to draw us? What a wonderful thing to be drawn by the Father to the Son. I hope that’s your experience. I cannot give it to you. I can only say there is such a thing. And there are literally scores and scores and down through the centuries millions of people who have experienced the efficacious drawing of the Father. May God cause you to understand that Christ has died for sinners that you’re a sinner, and that in coming to Christ you will possess the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life. May God in his marvelous grace draw you to the Lord Jesus and may you experience eternal life. Come to Christ. Believe in him. Trust in him. We exhort you. We seek to persuade you through the Holy Spirit to believe in Christ. May we stand for the benediction?
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for these marvelous words. We thank Thee for that which Thou hast so supernaturally done for the saints of God. Oh, Father, continue that work. Glorify the son by building up the saints and increasing the number of them if it should please Thee. Help us to understand what it is that has brought us to this saving knowledge of Christ, the love of the Father that …