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January 17, 2010

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away…” John 6:37 (NIV)

One of the joys of watching football on television is that you see more than you would see if you were at the game. When the Bears score a touchdown, the replays show you what was happening from various angles, so that you get a fuller picture of all that was going on.

You see the play. Then you see it from the reverse angle. Then you see it from the camera on the goal line. You are looking at the same event, but the different camera angles give you a fuller picture. Placed together, they show you things that were happening in the play that you would have missed if you only saw the one shot.

Three camera angles on one event: Our salvation

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away…” John 6:37 (NIV)

One camera is trained on the activity of God the Father: “All that the Father gives me…” A second camera is trained on the sinner coming to Christ: “Whoever comes to me…” A third camera is focused on Christ receiving the sinner: “…I will never drive away.”

The Father gives, the sinner comes, and the Savior receives. These are the three great movements of your salvation. Viewing these pictures side-by-side will help you to see more clearly the full glory of what God has done for you in Jesus Christ.

The Father Gives

 

“All that the Father gives me will come to me…” John 6:37

The Father gives the gift of people to the Son

“All that the Father gives me…” John 6:37

Jesus speaks about people as the Father’s gift to him: “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me” (John 17:6). “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours…” (John 17:9). This is how Jesus speaks about believers. They are those that the Father has given to Him.

The people who are given to Christ come to Him

“All that the Father gives me will come to me…” John 6:37

Who are these people that the Father has given to the Son? How do we know who they are? The answer is that they are the ones who come to him. They come because they are given.

How do they come? “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (v44). The Father gives certain people to the Son. He draws these people to his Son, and they come to him.

Nothing can stop those given to Christ from coming to Him

“All that the Father gives me will come to me…” John 6:37

How many of the people who are given to the Son actually come to him? All of them! We get used to working with percentages. If you’re in sales: How many contacts turn into sales? If you’re in education: How many students end up graduating? If you’re in aviation: How many airplanes arrive on time?

Hebrews tells us that on the last day Christ will stand in the presence of the Father and he will say “Here am I and the children [You have] given me…” (Hebrews 2:13). He will not say to the Father “I’ve got most of them.” He will say “Father, I’ve got all of them!” Jesus makes this clear in John 6:

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day…” John 6:37-39

If you have come to Christ, you can have complete confidence in him. He says “I shall lose none of all He has given me…” (v39). I won’t lose a single one.

What is the Father doing? Is he standing by passively, waiting for sinners to come to his Son? No, He is giving people to his Son.

The Sinner Comes

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away…” John 6:37

The first camera was on God the Father, who gives certain people to his Son. The second camera is focused on the sinner who is coming to Jesus.

Christ invites all people to come to Him

“Whoever comes to me…” John 6:37

You cannot get more inclusive than that. “Whoever” includes all people, and it certainly includes you. The great truth that the Father gives certain people to the Son never excludes a person who wants to come to Christ. If you have an interest in coming to Christ, you can take that as a sure sign that the Father is working in your life.

I had a wonderful conversation with one of our high school students a few weeks ago. He said:

“For some years I kept worrying, asking myself: ‘What if I’m not one of the elect?’ One day I realized that if I never came to Christ, I would never know. Ever since I came to Christ, what used to worry me has become a great joy to me.”  

This high schooler had great wisdom. If you come, you will know great joy! Don’t worry about whether you are among the elect. Look to Christ! Come to him today. He will welcome you, and when you come to him, you will know that the Father has given you to the Son.

Those who come see something great in Christ

“Whoever comes to me…” John 6:37

John Bunyan wrote a whole book on this one verse. He asks the question: What have you found in Christ? What difference does knowing him make to your life? His point is that those who come to Christ are drawn to him—we see something in him that compels us.

The world sees little value in Christ, but to us who believe Christ is the treasure in the field, the pearl of great price. What have you found in him? Bunyan makes this point: Abraham found something big enough in Christ to make him ready to leave home and go to another country. Do you see something great enough to make you do that?

What Moses found in him made him glad to give up the comfort of a palace in Egypt, and suffer with the people of God. Do you see enough in Jesus Christ to put up with that kind of discomfort and choose it? What Daniel found in him was enough for him to live with integrity in an aggressively secular world, even when it meant being thrown in a den of lions. What have you found in Christ?

Coming to Christ involves seeing something in him that draws you to him. You see a love that compels you, a purity that draws you, a glory that lifts you. What you see in Christ weans you from your sins. It makes you tired of living for yourself. You find yourself saying “I want to be to be holy. I want to be forgiven. I want to be at peace with God. I want to live for Christ, to give my whole life to this Savior, who loved me and gave himself for me!”

That is why a ministry that leads to life change must have Jesus Christ at its center. Jesus said “When I am lifted up… I will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).

The Son Receives

“Whoever comes to me I will never drive away…” John 6:37

When you come to Jesus, he is there for you. He is ready to receive you: “I won’t drive you away.” The word “comes” is in the present continuous tense: “Whoever is coming… whoever is on the way…” Think of the prodigal son on his way home. He started his journey from the pigs, and he hasn’t arrived yet, but he is on his way: “Whoever is coming to me, I will never drive away…” Bunyan says:

“Jesus Christ has an eye upon, and takes notice of, the first moving of the heart of a sinner after Himself.” [1]

If you have the first stirrings of being drawn to Jesus Christ today, some sense of your own need, the first inkling of wanting to get free from your sins—he already knows who’s going to come to him, so he’s watching for it. If you feel drawn to Christ, you can be sure that

the Son of God sees you coming! His arms are stretched out to receive you. He says to you “I will not drive you away.” Look to him. You have every reason for hope in Jesus Christ!

Use this as an incentive in coming to Christ. I don’t know how fast the prodigal son walked when he was coming back to the Father, but I suspect he walked slowly. He probably expected a long lecture on wasted money, wasted gifts and wasted years. Maybe that’s one reason why he stayed away so long.

But now he is so desperate, he thinks he has no other choice, so with his head hanging he begins the long trudge home. Put yourself in his shoes. You expect to be raked over the coals, but then you hear a voice calling your name. You look up and your father is running towards you, his arms reaching out, tears run down his face. When you see that, you will run towards him. When you see the love of God, you will gather the courage to repent.

As you come to Christ look ahead of you: You will see the outstretched arms of Jesus: “Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away…” When you have come to Christ, you can look backwards. You will see the giving of the Father, who drew you to the Son: “All that the Father gives me will come to me…”

Use This Truth

Use this truth…

…to strengthen your grasp of God’s love

“I pray that you may have power to grasp… how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” Ephesians 3:18, 19

When Paul prayed for Christians in the church at Ephesus, he told them: “This is what I am praying for you…” Why does he pray like that for Christians? First, because no matter how much you experience of God’s love, you only know a small part of it. Second, because most Christians have only a faint impression of the love of Christ. Many Christians find it difficult to believe that God really loves us.

Use this truth to strengthen your grasp of Christ’s love for you. The Father knew everything about you before you were born. He knew all that you are, and all that is in you. He knew everything you would ever do, and He gave you to his Son. And here’s something just as remarkable: The Son received the gift.

The love of God is more personal than many Christians think. God loves the world, and we rejoice in that. But, Christian, God wants you to know that he loves you! He has set his heart on you. “The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Behind Christ’s death on the cross for you, and behind the story of how you came to faith in him, stands the Father, giving you to the Son, and the Son receiving you as the Father’s gift to him!

Try to picture this: The Father says “Son, I have a great gift for you.

I’m going to give you Jim and John and Mary and Melissa… He goes on and speaks the names of thousands upon thousands, millions of people from every nation and continent, every language and generation in the history of the world. And now He says your name!

He does not read these names, though they are written in the Lamb’s book of life. He knows every one of them. They are on his heart. The Father says “I give them to you.” The Son says “I will redeem them.”

The Father says “I will draw them.” The Son says “I will receive them, and I will never, ever drive them away.”

My prayer for you today is that you will get a bigger view of God’s love for you. That you would say “I knew about the love of God, but

I never knew he loved me like that!”

Use this truth…

…to sustain your commitment to Gospel ministry

“They intended to come and make him king by force.” John 6:15

If you look at what was happening in the ministry of Jesus here it was not encouraging. Christ fed the 5000, multiplying the loaves and fish, and the crowd wanted to use Jesus for their own agenda. They wanted to politicize Jesus.

So Jesus withdrew from them and went to the other side of the lake, but the crowd followed and found him. Jesus said “You are looking for me…because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (v26). He begins to speak to them about “food that endures to eternal life” (v27).

Then Jesus speaks with absolute candor about eternal life, saying “I am the bread of life…” (v35, 48), “the one who feeds on me will live because of me” (v57). By the end of the chapter we read: “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”

Christ is revealing the most glorious truth about himself and about eternal life, but these people are supremely disinterested in spiritual things: “You have seen me, and still you do not believe” (v36).

Where do you go from there? You’re trying to reach neglected kids, an unreached people group. You find that they want you to join their thing, but they show no real interest in the Gospel. After a while you get discouraged and you feel like packing it in. What’s the point? Is it really worth it?

The biggest pressure of all is to say “Well, people aren’t interested in the Gospel, the words of Jesus, or in spiritual things. Maybe we can help them in some other way?” How do you keep going? What sustains you in Gospel ministry? “All that the Father gives me will come to me.”

God sends his people to some tough places. Taking the Gospel to all nations means going to some highly-unresponsive groups of people, both here and around the world.

Luke records what happened when Paul went to Corinth—it was the Las Vegas of the early world, a really tough place for Gospel ministry. Paul “gave himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ…” (Acts 18:5), and they “opposed Paul and became abusive…” (v6). Where do you go from there?

Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of a man called Titius Justus. The first thing that happened was that the synagogue ruler, a man called Crispus, and his whole family believed in Christ. Many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

Then one night, Christ spoke to Paul in a dream: “Don’t be afraid, keep on speaking… I am with you… I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:10). The Son of God says “The Father has given me many people in this city. They will come to Me!” The Father has given many people in this city to Christ and they will come to him! I can’t think of a greater encouragement to sustain Gospel ministry.

All that the Father gives me will come to me! Satan can’t stop them. Sin can’t stop them. The culture can’t stop them. Persecution can’t stop them. All that the Father gives me will come to me—this is our guarantee of the progress of the Gospel.

Use this truth…

…to deepen your confidence and joy in Christ

“Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away.” John 6:37

Not now, not in the future, not ever. Not only is this a marvelous incentive for sinners coming to Christ, it is a wonderful assurance for believers who have come to Christ: “Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away.” The Son will not and cannot cast out any who come. They are the gift of the Father! That is why they have come.

The Father never gives unwanted gifts. The Father gives them; the Son keeps them.

Do you ever wonder if Christ will tire of you when he sees how weak your faith is? No! Never! Do you wonder if He might lose interest in you when he sees how slow you are to change? No! Never! When you have fallen into temptation and Satan says “Well, there’s not much hope for you now…” Christ says “I will never drive you away!” There will never come a time when Christ will say “I am done with you.” No! Never! So come to him.

[1] John Bunyan, “Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ,” p. 92



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