The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)


Lesson 16

ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME SHALL COME TO ME

(John 6:37)



INTRODUCTION:


1.     Last Sunday night we started into the “Bread of Life” discourse.  Tonight we will continue, and I would like for us to give particular attention to John 6:37.

2.     This passage is remarkable in many ways.  Certain preachers, who emphasize God’s sovereignty, stress the first half of this Scripture.

3.     Other preachers, who stress man’s responsibility, stress the second half.  Thank God there are many evangelistic, soulwinning preachers who preach the entire verse with power and unction from the Holy Spirit.

4.     Spurgeon was such a preacher.  He preached many times from this text.  In one message from this text he said, “My object in this discourse is to proclaim the fullness and the freeness of the grace of God, in the hope that some may be led to come to Christ and seek to obtain eternal life.”

 

I.    THE IMMEDIATE CONTEXT

1.     We have seen these past few weeks that our Lord has been addressing a Jewish crowd, which were following Him because of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes (6:24-26).

2.     Their minds were set on worldly things.  They wanted a worldly, political king who would deliver them from Roman oppression (cf. 6:15).

3.     Our Lord had irrefutably proven that He was the promised Messiah by His virgin birth, His sinless life, and His numerous miracles.  He had just fed over 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two small fishes (6:1-14).

4.     And yet they still asked for a “sign” (6:30).  Our Lord declared that He was “the bread of life” (6:35).  But they did not believe Him (6:36).

5.     These are the Scriptures leading up to John 6:37.  It is not uncommon for people to rip this (the first half) verse out of context to teach the doctrine of “irresistible grace.” 

6.     Before I define “irresistible grace,” let me say that we should also consider the Scriptures following John 6:37, particularly 6:44 and 65.  These three Scriptures are all used to defend the doctrine of “irresistible grace.”

7.     Now, what is “irresistible grace”?  It is the fourth part of the 5-pont “TULIP” acrostic:

(1)   Total inability or (Total depravity) – man must be regenerated before he can believe the Gospel.

(2)   Unconditional electionGod has (chosen) elected, based solely upon the counsel of His own will, some for glory and others for damnation

(3)   Limited Atonement – Christ died only for the elect.

(4)   Irresistible Grace – the special inward call of the Holy Spirit, which never fails to result in the conversion of those to whom it is made. This special call is not made to all sinners but is issued to the elect only.

(5)   Perseverance of the Saints – those “effectually called” (“the elect”) will persevere to the end.  This is said to be based upon the “immutable decree of election.”

8.     The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit draws sinners (John 6:44).  In John 16:8, our Lord used the word “reprove” (convict).

9.     A sinner will not get saved unless he is first convicted of his sin (cf. John 16:9).  Once he repents and believes he is saved. 

10. But whether or not he is saved, or whether or not he is lost, is not based upon a decree God made before the world began, or because he could or could not resist God’s call.  It is simply because he believed the Gospel or did not believe the Gospel (John 6:36, 40, 47).

11. But to teach that God “irresistibly” draws certain individuals (the “elect”) and damns the rest (the “non-elect”) is contrary to Scripture (Acts 7:51-54). 

12. According to Acts 7, these stiffnecked Jews “resisted the Holy Ghost” (7:51).  They “were cut to the heart” (7:54).  That is, they were convicted of their sin.  But they did not believe.

 

II.  THE CONTEXT OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

1.     The Gospel of John repeatedly emphasizes “whosoever will” (cf. 3:14-19; 4:14; 5:24; 7:37, 38; 10:9; 11:25, 26; 12:46).

2.     In John 20:31, we are told why the book of John was written.

3.     The theme of John’s Gospel is eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

4.     This is also the theme of the entire Bible.  Over and over again, we are told that God does not want to see sinners cast off into hell.  In Matthew 25:41, our Lord says that hell was originally prepared for the devil and his angels.

5.     First Timothy 2:4 says, God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

6.     Second Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

7.     Then why are so many people lost?  Is it because God the Father did not “give” them to Jesus for salvation (John 6:37)? 

8.     No, it is because they refused to believe in Jesus (cf. John 5:40).

 

III.    THE PROPER INTERPRETATION OF JOHN 6:37

1.     I have spent most of this message explaining what this verse does not mean, but precious little time explaining what it does mean.

2.     In the closing minutes of our time tonight, I will try my best to explain what this Scripture means as well as what it does not mean.

3.     God does not set up arbitrary, impossible, and unobtainable terms for our coming to Christ.

4.     God does not violate man’s moral accountability or personal responsibility to believe the Gospel.

5.     John 6:37 is a blessing to the saved and to the lost.  To the saved it is a blessing to know that we are safe and secure in Christ.  This is repeated over and over again in the Gospel of John (cf. 10:27-29; 17:1, 2).

6.     Note in John 10:28 and 17:2 it is eternal life.

7.     Note in John 10:29 and 17:2 the Father gave us to Christ.  In fact, this precious truth is repeated several times in John 17.

8.     John 6:37 should be a blessing to the lost because Jesus said, “and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

9.     I mentioned Spurgeon earlier.  In a sermon entitled, “Come and Welcome,” Spurgeon said, “Let me also remind you, brethren, that this message has been true hitherto.  What Jesus said to these Jews has stood fast for more than eighteen centuries.  There is not a sinner, now living, who can bear testimony that he has come to Christ, and that Christ has cast him out.  There is not a soul in hell that, with all the fully-developed sin of that dreadful place, dares, even in blasphemy, to say, ‘I came to Jesus, and he cast me out.’  Nor shall there ever live in the universe one soul, however guilty and defiled, that shall be able truthfully to say, ‘I came to him, but he shut up his bowels of compassion against me, and cast me out’” (1876).

10. Then how are believers said to be “given” to Jesus?  The Bible teaches election.  The apostle Paul says in his epistle to the Ephesians that we are “chosen” in Christ before the foundation of the world (1:4). 

11. I do not have the time to get into all of that this evening, but I will say this for now.

a.      In the Bible, the doctrines of election and predestination are always in reference to believers, never unbelievers.

b.     Believers are said to be saved because they believe, not because God chose them “unconditionally” (II Thess. 2:13).

c.     First Peter 1:2 says we are “elect (chosen) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”

d.     Foreknowledge and foreordination are not the same thing. 

e.      Foreknowledge means God knows the future because He is sovereign and omniscient (cf. Acts 2:23).

f.       Foreordination (according to Calvinism) means God has foreordained every event throughout eternity including who will go to heaven and who will go to hell.

g.     The word “foreknowledge” is found in the two verses I just cited.  The word “foreknew” is found once – in Romans 11:2.  The word “foreknow” is found once – in Romans 8:29.

h.     The word “foreordained” is found once – in I Peter 1:20 and it is in reference to Christ.  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (I Peter 1:18-20).

 

CONCLUSION:


I would like to conclude with a true story from the life of the great evangelist R. A. Torrey.  It blesses my soul whenever I read it, and I trust it will bless you as well.  Note his steadfastness in soulwinning, and his firm faith in the Word of God (in this case, John 6:37).

 

One time I received a letter, a very heartbroken letter, from a father who was a Presbyterian minister. He wrote that he had a son who was in awful spiritual darkness. The son thought that he had committed the unpardonable sin, and he was plunged into absolute despair. Would I take him in at the Bible Institute? I replied that though I had every sympathy with him in his sorrow, the Bible Institute was not for the purpose of helping cases like these, but to train men and women for Christian service. The father continued to write, beseeching me to take his son, and got other friends to plead for him. Finally I consented to take the young man. He was sent to me under guard, lest he might do some rash thing by the way.

When he was brought to my office, I showed him a seat. As soon as the others had left the room, he began the conversation by saying, "I am possessed of the devil."

  "I think quite likely you are," I replied, "but Christ is able to cast out devils."

  "You do not understand me," he said, "I mean that the devil has entered into me as he did into Judas Iscariot."

  "That may be," I answered, "but Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. Now He says in John 6:37. 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.' If you will come to Him, He will receive you and set you free from Satan's power."

  The conversation went on in this way for some time: he constantly asserting the absolute hopelessness of his case, and I on my part constantly asserting the power of Jesus Christ and His promise, "'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'" After a while I sent the young man to his room. Days and weeks passed, and we had many conversations, always on the same line, and I always holding him to John 6:37.

  One day I met him in the hall of the Institute, and made up my mind that the time had come to have the battle out. I told him to sit down, and I sat down beside him.  "Do you believe the Bible?" I asked.

  "Yes," he replied, "I believe everything in it."

  "Do you believe John 6:37?" I asked.

  "Yes, I believe everything in the Bible."

  "Do you believe that Jesus Christ told the truth when He said, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out'?"

  "Yes, I do; I believe everything in the Bible."

  "Well, then, will you come?"

  "I have committed the unpardonable sin."

  "I replied, "Jesus does not say, 'Him that hath not committed the unpardonable sin that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.' He says, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in on wise cast out.'"

  "But I have sinned willfully after I have received the knowledge of the truth."

  "Jesus does not say, 'Him that has not sinned willfully after he received the knowledge of the truth that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast our.' He says, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "But I have been once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have fallen away, and it is impossible to renew me again unto repentance."

  "Jesus does not say, 'Him that has not tasted of the heavenly gift, and has not fallen away, if he cometh to me I will in no wise cast him out.' He says, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "But I am possessed of the devil," he answered.

  "Jesus does not say, 'Him that is not possessed of the devil that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.' He says, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "I mean that the devil is entered into me as he did into Judas Iscariot."

  "Jesus does not say, 'Him that the devil has not entered into, as he did into Judas Iscariot, that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.' He says, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "But my heart is hard as a millstone."

  "Jesus does not say, 'If a man's heart is soft and tender, and he come to Me, I will in no wise cast him out.' He says, 'Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "But I do not know that I have any desire to come."

  "Jesus does not say, 'Him that hath a desire to come, and comes unto Me, I will in no wise cast out. He says, `Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "But I do not know that I can come in the right way."

  "Jesus does not say, 'Him that cometh to Me in the right way, I will in no wise cast him out.' He says, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "Well, I don't know that I care to come."

  "Jesus does not say, 'Him that careth to come to Me, and comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out.' He says, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  The man's excuses and subterfuges were exhausted. I looked him square in the face and said, "Now, will you come? Get down on your knees, and quit your nonsense."

  He knelt and I knelt by his side.

  "Now," I said, "Follow me in prayer."

  "Lord Jesus," I said, and he repeated, "Lord Jesus."

  "My heart is as hard as a millstone."

  "My heart is as hard as a millstone," he repeated.

  "I have no desire to come unto thee."

  "I have no desire to come unto thee."

  "But thou hast said in thy Word."

  "But thou hast said in thy Word, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will no wise cast out.'"

  “'Him that cometh to Me I will no wise cast out.'"

  "Now the best I know how I come."

  "Now the best I know how I come."

  "Thou hast said, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "Thou hast said, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "I believe this statement of Thine."

  "I believe this statement of Thine."

  "Therefore, though I don't feel it, I believe thou hast received me."

  "Therefore, though I don't feel it, I believe thou hast received me."

  When he had finished, I said, "Did you really come?"

  He replied, "I did."

  "Has He received you?"

  "I do not feel it," he replied.

  "But what does He say?"

  "'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'"

  "Is this true? Does Jesus tell the truth, or does He lie?"

  "He tells the truth."

  "What then must He have done?"

  "He must have received me."

  "Now," I said, "go to your room: stand firmly upon this promise of Jesus Christ. The devil will give you an awful conflict, but just answer him every time with John 6:37, and stand right there, believing what Jesus says in spite of your feelings, in spite of what the devil may say, in spite of everything."


He went to his room. The devil did give him an awful conflict, but he stood firmly on John 6:37, and came out of his room triumphant and radiant. Years have passed since then. Though the devil has tried again and again to plunge him into despair, he has stood firmly on John 6:37, and he is today being used of God to do larger work for Christ than almost any man I know.



<< Back                                       Next >>