Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 12 The all sufficient bread of life . Stop grumbling. Eat your food (Part 2)

. Stop grumbling. Eat your food (Part 2)


http://merrimacportumc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Bread-of-Life.jpgJohn 6:41-47 (ESV) 41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”


Last week I reminded you that the title “eat your food” had nothing to do with physical food, but I’m simply using it to refer to the importance of believing In Jesus. Jesus in the text before us is saying to the people, stop murmuring, stop grumbling, stop muttering, stop trying to figure out all of this, eat of Me, eat of the bread of heaven. What Christ knew well is that the Father would give people who would eat.


Now from verse 44 we deal with a section that many believers and obviously unbelievers battle with. Jesus makes the comment that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” This statement draws our attention immediately to the doctrine of election, maybe the most disputed doctrine amongst man.


As soon as you say, God chose you, or God elected you, you will hear arguments like “you mean to say that God ……….” And all the arguments AGAINST the doctrine of election follows, and man’s authority on the subject becomes more important than Christ’s authority. What we get is exactly what we saw in verse 42 last week. Look again at verse 42 and you will see two interesting phrases. The one is “they said” and the other one is “how can He say”? On this very topic of election you will often hear “how can you say that God elects”? – let me give you my view on the matter because what “I say” is more important. Something that amazes me is that the very proponents against the doctrine of election for us today, across the board have no problem with God’s election of Israel as a nation in the Old Testament. Nobody says that is unfair for God to have chosen Israel. Shouldn’t Israel have chosen God? So, the very proponents of the doctrine of election in the Old Testaments, in favour of God’s right to choose a nation are opponents of the doctrine of election in the New Testament as far as God’s right to choose a nation for Himself, based on His son’s merits and not ours.


Let’s be honest here this morning. How many of us have not battled with this? Another interesting question that I always get when I say that I believe in divine election and that my salvation from beginning to end was a work of God is that “so you are a Calvinist.” Calvinist? – ok, let’s see where that is in the Bible, no it is not amongst the 66 books, well maybe somewhere in my concordance at the back – no it is not there either, well I guess I am not a Calvinist because what I believe about election comes from my Bible and I do not find that word here. I will say more about that later.


For me it is always a sad and amazing thing to me that people would try to contend that unconditional election and effectual calling are obscure teachings.  Sometimes people even believe that we have invented these doctrines or that we either go beyond the evidences of Scripture or we simply just do not understand Scripture. However, when you look at the verses before you – you will quickly realize that belief in human inability and the certain, overcoming nature of God’s grace in salvation we are resting our beliefs squarely on the words of our Saviour Himself.


Far from some obscure teaching it is some of the plainest teaching found anywhere in scripture.  Far from having to twist the scriptures to come to these conclusions you would have to twist the scriptures to avoid these conclusions. I love the way Spurgeon put it. He said much more but let me quote part of what he said on this topic and let him tell you where Calvinism comes into the issue.   “I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor. (Spurgeon – In Defense of Calvinism)”


Now I agree with, him, not because I am a Calvinist or a Spurgeonist, but because I am a Biblicist and I agree with them because the verses before us teach what they taught.


Now there are four things we are going to see from the text. In the verses before us this morning we will see the truth of the natural man’s inability to come to Christ apart from grace, we will see the truth of how it is that any man comes to Christ, which is the overcoming gracious drawing of the Father, and we will see the way that the Father draws sinners to His Son, which is an internal teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, and we will see the result of God’s life in a human soul, which is faith.


I hope you will see that these doctrines are not human inventions but that they are the teachings of the very one who saved us.


Point 1. Man’s inability to come to Jesus (VS.44)

John 6:44 (ESV) 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”


Now remember that Jesus preached this as we said last week to people who oppose Him. Jesus is preaching human inability to lost people. I made reference last week that what Jesus is doing here is to confront the pride of man. If anybody thinks he will come to Jesus when he wants to and on his own terms he is making a mistake. I had a friend who one day said to me that he will keep on living as he wants to and if he sees those things written in the book of Revelation playing out, like the coming of the Antichrist, then he will know that the Bible is true and then he will turn to Jesus. With me this friend grew up in a context where we really as far as salvation is concerned were taught divine inability not human inability.


We were taught about all that Jesus would do for us if we were just willing, and as long as we are unwilling, He cannot do anything because of divine inability. In other words, if you give Jesus permission, He will do a work in your life but if you are unwilling there is nothing He can do. God is held captive by the will of man.  But what does verse 44 say. Let’s read it again. It says: “I cannot come to a man unless a man draws me… ” right? Wrong!! Verse 44 says: 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”


It is not divine inability that Jesus preaches, but human inability. These Jews needed to hear that and my friend needed to hear that. You see if my friend could come when he wanted to then firstly the words of Jesus here are utter rubbish and secondly my friend has a reason to be proud because he will prove himself to be greater than the Father in the work of salvation.


What Jesus is saying if this: ‘if left to human ability, NO ONE receives Christ’. But there WILL be people who receive Jesus BUT the reason they will receive Him will be because God, by His Spirit and Word, and by His grace, overcomes the unwillingness and the powerlessness of the sinner.  A man whom God has chosen for salvation is graciously changed.  His blindness is overcome.  His bondage is overcome.  His unwillingness is overcome.  He is won by the Spirit of God, and the mighty grace of God, so that He DOES come.


It is true that Jesus is received by people who receive Him, but how does it happen. We all remember John 1:11-13 (ESV) 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. So how did you and I receive Christ? We were born, not of blood, or human endeavour, or by our own will, but born of God.


What do you see in verse 13, divine inability or human inability? So these Jews with all their Old Testament theology, natural children of Abraham were totally helpless when coming to Christ unless the Father drew them and enabled them. Jesus was not only confronting the pride of these people, but they had to see their need of Christ.

As long as you are in a position where you can control the moment you believe and the extent to which you believe you do not need God. I sadly for many years as a young man sat under ministries where I was taught, that I could come at my own, when I felt like it, the only urgency was, what would happen if I died today? So I was willing to take the chance and I thought I could come one day as well as another. Many young people might be sitting here today and think, let’s have fun, it’s worth the gamble. Don’t be a careless sinner. If the Father is drawing you come, if you agree under the convicting powerful work of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, you come.


Remember salvation for everyone is in the hand of God. This is exactly what Jesus taught here. And remember Christ is clear. He says: “no one” and what does “no one” mean, it means “no one”. It does not matter how good you are or how bad you are, you have to come to Jesus as He is your only hope. What is our hope?

Point 2. God’s ability to bring people to Jesus (VS.44)

John 6:44 (ESV) 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

There is hope!  Thank God for the word UNLESS. No man can COME to me, decide for me, believe in me, and embrace me – with faith, with love; UNLESS the Father who sent me draws him. There is ONE WAY.  There is ONE WAY THAT MEN WILL COME TO ME.  That is, if the Father who sent me DRAWS THEM.


I AM VERY THANKFUL FOR THIS WORD “DRAWS”.  It is not a weak word; indeed it is a powerful word. The word is “helko - helko”. It is word that speaks of something brought, something dragged by force, by power.  The word also includes the idea of resistance.  There is resistance, but the resistance is overcome, and something or someone is brought to a place. The word is used of a sword drawn from a scabbard.  There is resistance, the sword must be brought out against the resistance of the scabbard and the hand that takes hold of it is mighty enough to draw it out. The word is also used of someone dragged to a place, someone taken hold of and brought to a place.


The good news is that there is not one New Testament verse where in this kind of drawing the resistance is not overcome. In spite of the resistance there is overcoming. I can give you many examples from the New Testament, but let me give you a few.


John 18:10 (ESV) 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)”

John 21:11 (ESV) 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.”

Acts 16:19 (ESV) 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.”

Acts 21:30 (ESV) 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut.”

James 2:6 (ESV) 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?”


That’s the word, it is to draw by force, by power, to draw one to a place and they always arrive there. You will not beat this arrive alive campaign. Don’t misunderstand the teaching here. It is not that God drags men kicking and screaming against their will into His family.  God never brings a man to His Son without building a desire in the man for His Son, indeed to treasure His Son above all things. Man always comes willingly, but out of himself he would never have been willing, unless the Father drew him. It is not some outward force but it is an inward power, wrought by the Holy Spirit, which is sweet and heart-breaking and humbling and creates a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and creates repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.


In this way a man is brought to Jesus.  It is not that he has never resisted, it is that his resistance is overcome by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit with the Word of God. This is a personal, divine drawing. This is the 1st person of the Trinity sending out the 3rd person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit to induce people to come to Christ, the 2nd person in the Trinity. And notice that this drawing always results in salvation. And everyone who was given to the Son by the Father is drawn in this way (vs.37). Well, how does the Father draw people to Jesus?

Point 3. God’s way to bring people to Jesus (VS.45-46)

John 6:45-46 (ESV) 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.”


How does God do this?  What form does this drawing take? What we cannot explains is that mysterious work that the Holy Spirit does in a human soul, but what we can explain is that what we do know.


It takes the form of teaching even as it was recorded in the Old Testament. Jesus refers back here to what was recorded in the Old Testament. Isaiah 54:13 (ESV) “13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”


This is how a true child of God comes into being.  We are saved by faith in Christ, but how do we come to see Christ as He really is?  How do we come to desire Christ for what is really found in Him?  How do we see the beauties that are represented in Him that we could not see before?  How do we come to trust completely in His sufficiency and to cast off all hope that we ever attached to ourselves? God personally, secretly, internally, but truly teaches us the doctrine and the person of his own Son. He taught us Jesus.

-He enlightens the mind.
-He opens the heart.
-He gives sight to the spiritual eyes.
-He gives hearing to the spiritual ears.
-He gives a heart that is tender the truth.


Do you realize that you will never see God do that, you will just see the results of it?


In John 3, Jesus compared it to the wind. You cannot see where it comes from and you cannot see where it is going but you see the results.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion.


Paul talks about this in 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 (ESV) 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”


We also see it in the case of Lydia. Acts 16:14 (ESV) 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” This is the experience of all Christians.  Every single child of God is taught by God.  Verse 45 says: They will all be taught by God.” This only refers to those who come, because the verse says so, “all those taught by God comes.” So there is the human inability of man, but there is the divine ability which is demonstrated through a drawing, but what is the result?


Point 4. The presence of faith and life (VS.47)

John 6:47 (ESV) 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”


Maybe it sounds like I have just read a verse that seems to contradict everything I was saying so far. Did you know that wherever you find faith you find that eternal life is already present? But did you know that faith is a gift of God. The reason you can generate it is because God has put it in you.  With the command to come to faith, God by His power puts that faith in you.


Remember when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had no ability to respond unless there was power in the command for him to come forth. In himself he was dead. You could tell Lazarus till you are blue in the face, have faith, believe and so you can go on. And it is the same with the person who according to Ephesians is dead and damned in his natural state. But praise God for the gift of faith.


Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”


It is like God saying to you it is going to cost you R 10 million to get into heaven, and here it is. Wherever there is true faith in the son of God it is because the Holy Spirit has granted life with the command to come to Jesus. James 1:18 (ESV) puts it this way: 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

Let me wrap up this sermon with another quote of Spurgeon the prince of preachers again on this whole topic. “I am often charged with preaching doctrines that may do a great deal of hurt.  Well, I shall not deny the charge, for I am not careful to answer in this matter. I have witnesses here present to prove that the things which I have preached have done a great deal of hurt, but they have not done hurt either to morality or to God’s church; the hurt has been on the side of Satan.  There are not ones or twos but many hundreds who this morning rejoice that they have been brought near to God; from having been profane Sabbath-breakers, drunkards, or worldly persons, they have been brought to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ; and if this be any hurt may God of his infinite mercy send us a thousand times as much.  But further, what truth is there in the world which will not hurt a man who chooses to make hurt of it?  You who preach general redemption, are very fond of proclaiming the great truth of God’s mercy to the last moment.  But how dare you preach that?  Many people make hurt of it by putting off the day of grace, and thinking that the last hour may do as well as the first.  Why, if we never preached anything which a man could misuse, and abuse, we must hold our tongues forever.  Still says one, ‘Well then, if I cannot save myself, and cannot come to Christ, I must sit still and do nothing.’  If men do say so, on their own heads shall be their doom.  We have very plainly told you that there are many things you can do.  To be found continually in the house of God is in your power; to study the Word of God with diligence is in your power; to renounce your outward sin, to forsake the vices in which you indulge, to make your life honest, sober, and righteous, is in your power.  For this you need no help from the Holy Spirit; all this you can do yourself; but to come to Christ truly is not in your power, until you are renewed by the Holy Spirit.”

How does anybody ever come to see Jesus as Lord? It is by the work of the Holy Spirit.  So, stop grumbling, eat of Jesus and thank God that your ability to eat, came from Him.



Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church – 15 November 2015