Saved By Grace

Built on the Word. Standing For the Gospel.

February 12, 2023
John 6:34-48

A GIFT NEVER THROWN AWAY

Sam Storms in his book, Chosen for Life uses an imaginary situation to raise in the starkest way possible some of the issues of this morning’s scripture.

Bob and Rob are identical twins, raised by loving Christian parents.

As much as was humanly possible, their mother and father refused to play favorites. Both boys were shown the same affection, privileges, and bore the same responsibilities in the home.

They attended the same schools and were virtually equal in athletic ability, popularity among their peers, and grade point average.

The boys attended church regularly with their parents but showed no interest in religious matters. They would often sit at the back of the church and laugh at the sermon, mocking the appeal for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Alike in so many other respects, they appeared to share an equal contempt for the gospel.

Bob and Rob had just celebrated their nineteenth birthday and were looking forward to graduating from high school.

It was Easter Sunday. They were sitting in the same pew where they had sat for years, listening to the same pastor. But something was different. Nothing unusual had happened in their live.

By all appearances, it was just another Sunday morning. But this day, much to his own surprise, Bob suddenly found himself listening intently to the sermon, while Rob was doodling on the church bulletin, obviously without interest in anything being said.

Both brothers had heard countless sermons about the issue of sin and the promise of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Christ. But not until that Easter Sunday did either of them pay the slightest degree of attention.

Words and truth that had, until then, sounded silly and completely out of touch with real life, mysteriously began to make sense to Bob.

The existence of an infinitely holy God against whom he had rebelled, the prospect of eternal death, shattered his soul.

He glanced briefly at Rob to see if he was paying attention. Not a chance.

“The pastor’s right,” Bob silently concluded. “I am a sinner. Jesus is God in human flesh, and without him I have no hope. Oh, God! Help! Save me! Forgive me! Jesus, you are my only hope. If you had not died in my place and endured the Father’s wrath, I most certainly would have. Forgive me for being so utterly blind to your beauty until now. Oh, Son of God, I embrace you alone. I want to live wholly and utterly for you.”

Bob did not know how to explain what was happening. All he knew was that while listening to what he had heard so many times before, he “heard” it for the very first time. What he had read in the Bible so many times before, he now “saw” as if it had only then appeared.

Jesus of Nazareth, who until now meant nothing personally to him, suddenly seemed wonderful, amazing, loving.

He somehow knew that Jesus alone could deliver him from the spiritual turmoil, grief, and guilt that raged inside of him.

In in moments it was like he was being flooded with wave upon wave of peace and joy on the inside. The weight of his sin lifted from his shoulders and placed upon Christ, in whom it vanished from sight.

As the people stood to sing the words of the hymn he had so mindlessly sung …

Rob couldn’t help but notice that his brother was weeping. With a quick jab of his elbow in Bob’s side, he whispered: “Cut that out! You’re embarrassing me.”

But Bob was unfazed. What Bob now found wonderful; Rob continued to loathe. Bob’s unbelief disappeared under a flood of repentance and whole-souled love for Christ. By an act of his will, Bob embraced the redemptive sufferings of Jesus as his only hope and haven. He willingly turned from sin and reliance on self, and with happily rested everything he was and had in Christ.

Not Rob. Now he was even more indignant, in his unbelief.

Bob’s experience that morning made for a loud conversation in the car on the way home. He tried to explain to his brother what had happened, but Rob would not hear it. It made him mad.

They were so engrossed in conversation that neither of them saw the pickup truck jump the median into their lane. The crash was head-on and fatal for both.

Instantly, Bob left this life and entered joy in the presence of the Savior whom he had embraced only minutes before in saving faith.

Tragically, Rob faced the eternal opposite, separated forever from the presence of Jesus Christ. Facing nothing but the righteous wrath and indignation of the God and Savior He had over and over heard of and always rejected.

What accounts for the irrevocable and eternal division between these earthly brothers?

What made Bob differ from Rob? Why did one come to heartfelt and happy faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior while the other persisted in heartfelt hatred and disdain?

John 6:34-48

Context:

Obviously in the middle of a message and conversation Jesus is having about bread. The day before Jesus had done something completely outside the normal. Outside the normal for him.

He had supernaturally produced food enough for 1000’s of people out of a boy’s lunch.

Jesus was not a wizard who walked around waving a wand turning frog’s into princes, rocks into bread, shacks into palaces or worthless dirt into gold.

Back in John 4 Jesus is alone as he has a conversation with a woman by a well. Where are his disciples?

John 4:8 ESV

8  (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)

That is the normal way you get food. At the beginning of his ministry Satan tempted Jesus who was experiencing severe physical hunger, to turn stones into bread.

He did not. He answered with scripture.

Matthew 4:4 ESV

4  But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

So it has been with deliberate purpose that our Lord has produced this food which has drawn many who experienced the meal to continue to track him down. They want more free food every day.

Please stand.

34  They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

36  But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

37  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

39  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

40  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

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.

This calling together of God’s people is the deepest key to history. “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world… then the end will come” (Mat_24:14).

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.

48  I am the bread of life.

prayer

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in v34 … crowd addresses Jesus as Sir, literally LORD. They consider themselves his disciples. But it is clear that He is not truly Lord to them, Sir, give us this bread always. … at all times.

But the point of the miracle is about something more wonderful than free food.

Jesus, the eternal Son of God, has come and He is the true food, the true drink we all need.

He can satisfy our deepest longings in a way nothing in this world can.

And Jesus says to them, “You want bread? Good. You’re hungry for bread? Good. But listen. I will give you better bread, and you will not go hungry.”

Have you ever noticed the thing about eating? You always want to do it again.

You eat breakfast and you want to eat lunch, and then you want to eat dinner, and then you want to eat dessert, and then you want to eat late night dessert, and then you want to eat snacks in between. Some of you are going to stuff yourself tonight while watching a football game. There will come a point where you might say, “I can’t eat another bite.”

By morning if not sooner you will be hungry again.

So it’s amazing Jesus says you eat this bread, you’ll not be hungry.

What does that mean? It means Jesus never runs out. Jesus never shrivels up. Jesus never gets old or moldy. Jesus is not a perishable food item. Whoever comes to Jesus shall not go hungry.

Have you ever considered that maybe the reason the world is not satisfying to you is because you were made for something more than this world?

Think of your greatest, craziest dream coming true. What is it? Your craziest, greatest dream coming, it’s a house on the ocean, it’s a house up in the mountains, it’s the promotion you’ve been wanting your whole life, it’s a certain sort of ideal family scenario, it’s a, you know, making a touchdown at the last second to win the superbowl? What is it? Think of that craziest, greatest dream coming true.

It wouldn’t be enough. It would not be enough.

John 6:35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Only Jesus is enough.

Salvation is not through a creed, a church, a ritual, a pastor, a priest, or any other such human means—but through Jesus Christ.

That is not what this crowd is looking for.

Before this chapter is complete most of these so called “disciples” will no longer be following Jesus.

John 6:66

… many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

They had had a front row seat of countless healings and miracles. Even a dead son being carried to his burial place had been raised to life. But it is not enough. You can know all about Jesus the bread of life, the water of life and never eat or drink of the life he has to offer.

Jesus begins to address that.

John 6:36

But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

Belief is not a leap into the darkness. These people have had a powerful opportunity to see, but they refuse to believe. This is a major issue.

In the prologue of this gospel John 1:10-11

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

Was Jesus a failure? Was God’s plan to rescue perishing people and give them eternal life a mistake? Is the gospel impotent and powerless?

Was Paul wrong when he wrote Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Even there at the beginning, the people closest to Jesus in time and experience end up changing their mind and walking away. What is going on?

Jesus says … John 6:37

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Let’s step back and see the big picture …

35  whoever comes to me shall not hunger, … whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

37  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

40  … everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life

45 … Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—

47  … whoever believes has eternal life.

51  … If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.

58 …Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

One of the games we played as a kid, I am sure it is not allowed anywhere now. Two lines of kids, holding hands facing each other. One side yells, Red Rover, Red Rover, let Frank come over. Everybody’s holding, holding, clenching their fists, and you start running, with all your might to break through.

Election and predestination are all big and important truths of the Bible. But don’t misunderstand how it works. Don’t think election works that way.

When somebody preaches the Gospel, and someone else says, “I’m coming to you, Jesus” don’t imagine it’s like the Father and Son and the Spirit are holding a Red Rover line, “Sorry, you didn’t make it through.” “Go back.”

Whatever you hear me say today be sure of this. If you will come to Jesus, if you will receive Him, if you will call on the name of Christ he will save you and give you eternal life.

There is no chance at all that you might come and He say, “sorry, you previous record is too awful, too inconsistent, too wicked.”

You will not come seeking life in Him and he reject you, and say to you, sorry, you are not on my list of people I want to be my child.

Any, whoever, all who come in faith, turning from sin and trusting themselves to calling on Him to be the Savior can and will be saved. Nothing more to do, nothing to prove, no paperwork to get together. Just come to Him.

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Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me, …
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Having said that, I have to point out that for those who come to Him, they will at some point discover that the beginning of their salvation did not start with them, but with God. The one who comes has already be given to Jesus by the father.

If you want to relate it to a school yard game think of tug of war. And God always wins the tug of war. All that the Father gives me will come to me

More than that, those who come to Him, He will never lose.

John 6:37

37  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

That phrase “I will never cast out” is called by grammarians, a Litotes, a figure of speech featuring a phrase that uses negative wording to express a positive statement.

We use them all the time.

·      I’m not as young as I used to be.

·      Not a bad idea.

·      He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.

·      That car was not cheap!

So if you walk up to me after church and say, “Do you like cookies?” I might say, “Well I don’t hate them.” In other words, “I like cookies.”

You are talking with someone, and they say, “you’re not wrong,” they mean “you are right”.

You are negotiating with someone and you say, I’ll give you $100 for that. If they say, ”I can’t turn down that offer.” It means you got a deal. They accept your offer.

When Jesus says, “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” What does he mean?

Some would say He means what I was just speaking about a moment ago, that whoever comes to Him in faith, to receive Him and His offer of life will not be turned away. They would say I will never cast out, means, “whoever comes to me I will welcome.”

And while that is true, it means much more than that.

The issue is what is the meaning of “cast out”. What is the opposite of cast out.

The Greek word being translated is ek-bal’-lo.

This word is used often in John in and the New Testament. It always means to cast out, throw out, kick out, someone or something already in.

When Jesus drove the money changers from the temple … John 2:15

And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out (CAST THEM OUT) of the temple,

When Jesus restored a blind man’s sight on the Sabbath. It upset the Pharisees who did not like the blind man’s response to their questions. In John 9:34 we are told they cast him out” of the synagogue.

In John 12:31 Jesus speaks of Satan who He describes as the ruler of this world … but in Jesus He will be cast out.

In Acts 7:58 Stephen faced martyrdom. But they took him out of the city to kill him. They cast him out of the city and stoned him.

In Acts 27:38 describes a ship in a storm, and they end up throwing the food overboard into the ocean. they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.

When Jesus says, John 6:37 … whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

He means once you are mine, once you are in, I will never drive you out. I will do the opposite; I will keep you in.

Which is exactly the point that the next three verses drive home.

John 6:38-40 ESV

38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

And what is his Father’s will?

39  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

He restates even more categorically …

40  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

stand

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake!”

Thank you be seated

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·      This crowd who has called Jesus Lord,

·      who the day before wanted to make Jesus King,

·      who have heard His words of authority,

·      have said about Him he speaks as no one else,

·      whose words have been authenticated by miracle after miracle,

yet they will not see Him for who He is, the Son of God.

“Bread from heaven? He is saying he came from Heaven!

Why we know he is just one of us. We know his family, his brothers and sisters. His mother Mary and his Daddy Joseph.

He lived his life here. Fixed our furniture. Went to some of our birthday parties.”

Notice Jesus does not defend himself. It would have done no good.

Jesus says, “Stop your grumbling” and goes right back to the real issue.

You are not going to figure this out on your own.

John 6:44-45

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 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—

There is in our salvation a Sovereign work of God.

The beginning of salvation is not with you, but is with God.

You must choose the Lord,

you must come to Him,

you must believe

but understand, there is a choice prior to your choice.

We are not just puppets on a string. A puppet does not have a will. A puppet is moved by a puppeteer. A puppet moves by external coercion, an outside force. You move the string, and they move.

That is not what God’s sovereignty means.

God sovereignty renews your will. He works so that while once you were dead in your trespasses and sin, unable to believe, unable to come, unable to receive, spiritually dead, now you are made alive.

AMAZING LOVE HOW CAN IT BE

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Now of your own will, a will renewed, born again, you of your own choice come to Him. Receive Him. Follow Him. Believe in Him.

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I stand here this morning calling you to come to Christ, knowing that in His grace and kindness, as you are born from above you will come.

None of us could come apart from God’s work. And those whom he calls and draws will come.

If you have not come to Jesus, the implication is unmistakable. You have not heard from the Father and you have not learned from the Father.

There are not many different roads to knowing God.

Don’t fool yourself into saying, “I don’t have to go through Jesus.”

Jesus is saying as clearly as it can be said, “If you don’t come to me, you have not learned from the Father, you have not heard the Father.”

It is impossible to be God’s true disciple and not come to Christ.

Is there a miracle at work in your life? Maybe even this morning, a miracle at work in your life.

Maybe everyone around you thinks you’re a Christian; you know you’re not a Christian. You know you haven’t really believed this. You attend, you go through the motions. Someone wants you here.

Maybe you’ve even been a leader in this church, and you haven’t really been a Christian. Is there a miracle at work in your life? Can you feel the Father drawing you to Himself?

Can you hear the Savior calling? The sheep know His voice.

Planned from eternity,

accomplished on the cross, and

 

now at work in your life, maybe even right now, to come, eat, drink, believe, live, and all that the Father has chosen will come.

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