John 6:44


We have to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to God, first for giving and sending his Son to be our Saviour, and then for guiding us unto his Son, in order that in fellowship with him we may experience the blessings of salvation. For in these two ways does the Father furnish us with a complete display of his love; in these two ways does he completely secure our highest good.

I. THE DRAWING OF THE SOUL BY THE FATHER.

1. The soul needs to be divinely drawn. And this because:

(1) By reason of sin it is estranged from God, is far from God, is even at enmity with God.

(2) There are other attractions, very powerful, and such as men are wont to yield to, which draw man's nature in an opposite direction. "The world, the flesh, and the devil" have great power; and in the case of very many exert that power efficaciously to keep the soul from God, and even to increase the distance by which it is so separated.

2. The instrumentalities, or spiritual forces, by which the Father draws human souls to Christ.

(1) The presentation of truth adapted to man's intelligence. The next verse brings this agency before us in explicit statement: "They shall be all taught of God."

(2) The utterance of moral authority addressing the conscience. Passion and interest may draw men from Christ; duty, with a mighty imperative, bids them approach their Lord and Saviour.

(3) Love appeals to the heart of man with mystic power.

"The moon may draw the sea;
The cloud may stoop from heaven, and take the shape,
With fold to fold, of mountain or of cape."
The attraction of Christ's character and life, of his gracious language, and above all of his sacrifice upon the cross, is the mightiest moral force the world has ever felt. "I," said he, "if I am lifted up, will draw all men unto myself." Thus in many ways, adapted by his own wisdom to the nature and circumstances of men, is the Father drawing men unto Christ.

3. The manner in which the Father draws the soul unto himself.

(1) This attraction is not of a physical, mechanical, forcible kind. Such compulsion would be out of all character, would not harmonize with man's moral freedom. And, indeed, it would not be the drawing of the soul.

(2) It is a moral, spiritual attraction, in accordance with the nature both of him who draws and of those who are drawn. The Holy Spirit of God is the power to whom we owe the action of those moral constraints which are the chief and most beneficent factors in the moral life of mankind.

(3) Mighty though this drawing be, it is for the most part gentle and gradual. Its influence is not always at once apparent; it becomes manifest with the growth of experience and the lapse of time. It is continuous, lasting in the case of many from childhood to old age.

(4) The power and efficacy of this agency is not to be disputed. The Father calls, and the child answers. The magnetism is exercised, and the soul flies to the attracting power. The light shines, and the eye turns towards the welcome ray.

II. THE COMING OF THE SOUL TO CHRIST.

1. There is an indispensable condition without which no soul can come to Christ. Christ must first come to the soul. The gospel must be preached, and must be received, for it is the Divine call, which alone can authorize the approach of sinful man to the Holy One and Just.

2. The soul's method in coming. It is easy enough to understand how when Jesus was on earth men came to him; they came actually, bodily, locally. Yet the principle of approach is ever the same; for our Lord said indifferently," Come unto me," and "Believe on me." The coming of the bodily form was useless apart from spiritual approach, sympathy, and trust. As it is the soul which the Father draws, so it is the soul which, being drawn, finds itself near the Saviour and in fellowship with him.

3. The soul's purpose in coming. It is impelled by conscious need of the Redeemer, as the Prophet, the Priest, the King, divinely appointed. It hopes to find in him that fall satisfaction which, sought elsewhere, is sought in vain.

4. The soul's experience in coming.

(1) There is welcome and acceptance; for he who comes is never, in any wise, cast out.

(2) There is a perfect response to the desire and need. The hungry is fed, the thirsty finds the water of life, the weary meets with rest, and the man who longs to serve has revealed to him the law and rule of consecration.

(3) There is the eternal abiding; for the soul that comes to Jesus neither leaves him, nor is left by him.

5. The soul's obligation in coming.

(1) Gratefully to acknowledge the infinite mercy by which this attractive influence has been exercised, and to which the fellowship with Christ is due.

(2) Diligently to act as the Father's agent in bringing other souls to Jesus. We can trace the Divine power in the human agency which was employed to lead us to the Saviour. The same God can still use the same means to the same result. - T.







The Jews then murmured at Him because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
I. THAT CHRIST'S LOWLY CONDITION IS A STUMBLING-BLOCK TO THE NATURAL MAN.

1. Had He come as a conqueror with royal favours for His followers they would have received Him willingly; but their pride refused to believe that the lowly prophet was from God.

2. There is nothing surprising in this. It is human nature showing itself in its true colours (1 Corinthians 1:23). Thousands reject the gospel because of its humbling doctrines. Christ's teaching and example they admire, but His blood they cannot away with.

II. MAN'S NATURAL INABILITY TO REPENT AND BELIEVE, until the Father draws him. We are spiritually dead and without the power to give ourselves life. The will of man is the part of him that is in fault. It' would not be true to say that a man has wish to come, but no power; it is that a man has no power because he has no desire.

III. THE SALVATION OF A BELIEVER IS A PRESENT THING. It is not said that he shall have life at the judgment day, but that he has it now.

(Bishop Ryle.)

I. The enigma of CHRIST'S HEAVENLY ORIGIN (vers. 41-43).

1. The mystery propounded. The difficulty was not that the Messiah's origin should be mysterious. The popular opinion, based on Daniel 7:13, was that when Christ came no one should know whence He was (vii. 27). But the Jews supposed that they knew exactly whence Jesus was, and that He should have come down from heaven seemed absurd.

2. The mystery resolved. What to the learned Scripturists of His day was a puzzle He left a puzzle. To have refuted their objections by a declaration of what took place at Bethlehem would only have increased their incredulity. The true method of faith is not to believe that Christ is Divine because the Incarnation story is authentic: but that Christ having been powerfully declared to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection (Romans 1:4), the account given of His conception must be correct.

II. The enigma of MAN'S RESPONSIBLITY (vers. 43-45).

1. The difficulty set forth. Christ blamed His hearers for their unbelief (ver. 36), and yet affirmed (ver. 44). This is what the intellect of centuries has wrestled with.

2. The difficulty set aside.(1) Not by denying the fact of man's responsibility (John 5:40; John 6:36). This the Scripture often declares (Romans 1:18; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 5:6; 1 Peter 3:12) and conscience confirms.(2) Not by explaining away the alleged necessity of Divine grace (vers. 37, 44, 45). But —(3) By showing that the Father's drawing interferes pot with human freedom. In naming it "drawing" and a "teaching" Christ makes it a moral suasion.

III. Enigma of SAVING FAITH (vers. 46, 47).

1. The perplexity stated. If no one could come to Him without first hearing and learning of the Father, then no one could come (Exodus 33:20; 1 Timothy 6:16). This, though not expressed, was clearly the hearer's thoughts.

2. The perplexity recognized. He admitted that no one had ever seen the Father.

3. The perplexity removed. He, the Son, had seen the Father (vers. 19; 1:18; 16:28). Hence to hear and learn of the Father was to hear and learn of Him whom He had sent. To learn of the Father one must be a disciple of Christ.

IV. The enigma of ETERNAL LIFE (vers. 47-51).

1. The riddle proposed. The manna had only supported physical life for a few years, and those who had partaken of it were dead. The Jews were at a loss to know how Christ could do more for them than Moses.

2. The riddle read.

(1)The bread of life was a living, spiritual Person (ver. 48).

(2)It was in itself living and life-giving.

(3)When eaten by the soul it communicates to the soul the life itself contained.

(4)The soul thus vivified could not die.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

There is nothing so truly reasonable as to exclude reason from the province of faith; and nothing so truly irrational as to lose sight of reason in things which are not necessarily of faith. The two excesses are equally dangerous — to shut out reason, or to make it all in all. Faith tells us what the senses cannot tell; but it never contradicts them; it is above, and not against them.

(Pascal.)

Consider that murmuring is a mercy-embittering sin, a mercy-souring sin. As the sweetest things put into a sour vessel sours them, or put into a bitter vessel embitters them, so murmuring puts gall and wormwood into every cup of mercy that God gives into our hands. The murmurer writes "Marah," that is, bitterness, upon all his mercies, and he reads and tastes bitterness in them all. As "to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet," so to the murmuring soul every sweet thing is bitter.

(T. Brook.)

As the River Nile bringeth forth many crocodiles, and the scorpion many serpents, at one birth, so murmuring is a sin that breeds and brings forth many sins at once. It is like the monster hydra — cut off one head and many will rise up in its room. It is the mother of harlots, the mother of all abominations, a sin that breeds many other sins, viz., disobedience, contempt, ingratitude, impatience, distrust, rebellion, cursing, carnality; yea, it charges God with folly, yea, with blasphemy. The language of a murmuring soul is this, "Surely God might have done this sooner, and that wiser, and the other thing better."

(T. Brooks.)

No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him
I. THE RELIGIOUS ACTION OF WHICH CHRIST SPEAKS. Coming to Him — a frequent Scriptural phrase expressive of the first step in religion.

1. Its nature. An act of the soul. There was no impediment to a literal approach. He was always accessible. Coming is used for faith in Christ as prophet, priest, and king, and living on His fulness for all spiritual purposes.

2. Its importance.

(1)Implied in the invitation of Scripture, "Come unto Me."

(2)In the promises (ver. 37).

(3)In the directions, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ."

(4)In the decisions, "If ye believe not ye shall die."

II. THE INABILITY OF MAN TO PERFORM IT OF HIMSELF. Whence does this arise?

1. Not from any Divine decree, for it would be neither just nor reasonable to command men to believe and to decree that they should not. But —

2. From the depravity of the heart.

3. And in some cases carnal policy operates to fetter the mind to its moral powers. Success in life is the one thing needful.

4. From religious mistakes. Some imagine that they have come in sacramental actions, or by the repetition of certain words, or by good works.

III. THE DIVINE AGENCY BY WHICH IT IS ACCOMPLISHED.

1. The Father. He draws by moral and persuasive means. He draws man as guilty that He may be pardoned; as ignorant, that he may be instructed, etc.

2. The process is generally conviction of sin, desire for salvation, direction to the cross, discovery of a Saviour, trust, safety, rest.

IV. THE DELIVERANCE PROMISED.

1. The solemn event which the language implies. We must die.

2. The resurrection promised. The event is general, but the benefit is particular.

3. The agency by which it is effected. "I," which shows the dignity and power of Christ.

4. The period of its performance — "the last day." The day for which all others were made, and to which they are introductory.Conclusion:

1. In coming to Christ nothing can prevent your salvation (John 10:27-29).

2. In turning from Him-nothing can save you from perdition.

(J. E. Good.)

ised by Him: —

I. OUR COMING TO CHRIST.

1. This is not to be understood corporeally. It was not so taken by Himself. "Ye will not come," and yet many literally come from captiousness, curiosity, for loaves and fishes, and under temporary emotion, and after awhile "went back."

2. But the expression is taken from the body, and there is hardly a part of it that has not been used to hold forth the operations of faith. Sometimes the reference is —

(1)To the eye; then believing is seeing Christ.

(2)To the ear; then believing is hearing Him.

(3)To the taste; then believing is eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

(4)To the head; then believing is knowing Him.

(5)To the feet; then believing is coming to Him.

3. This coming to Christ implies —

(1)Absence. Else why come?

(2)Accessibleness. How can we come unless we can approach Him? "Lo, I am with you alway."

(3)Application. We come to Him —

(a)As the way that we may walk with Him;

(b)As to a refuge that we may enter Him;

(c)As to a fountain that we may be cleansed;

(d)As a foundation on which we may build;

(e)As to a physician for cure;

(f)As our prophet, priest, and king, to be taught, saved, and ruled over by Him.

4. Faith is trust, confidence.

II. MAN'S INABILITY WITHOUT DIVINE AGENCY.

1. This is a very unwelcome doctrine, even to those who admit human depravity; but it is wrapped up in that depravity.

2. This is a Scriptural doctrine — "In our flesh dwelleth no good thing."

3. This is a doctrine based upon the nature of things. As we cannot perform natural actions without the concurrence of nature, how can we perform spiritual actions without the concurrence of the Spirit?

4. This is a doctrine of importance.

(1)It serves to show those who are the subjects of this work what is their duty to bless and praise God for His sovereign grace.

(2)It serves to show sinners their duty to pray to Him who wills all men to be saved.

III. THE INFLUENCE BY WHICH THE SOUL IS BROUGHT TO THE SAVIOUR. In a general way the Father draws thus.

1. There is a confliction of sin

2. This produces distress and fear:

3. Hence renunciation and despair.

4. Yet along with this is hope.

5. Concurrently new desires after Jesus.

6. Reception of Jesus as a Saviour, and reliance on His salvation.

IV. THE FINAL BLESSEDNESS RESULTING FROM THIS.

1. The speciality of this reference. He will raise all, but the privilege is limited to some.

2. The memory of this blessedness. It is the completion of the blessedness of a persevering Christian life. Without the body the Christian man would be incomplete. Man will be raised infinitely improved.

3. The Author of it. Christ is not only the model of this resurrection, but its accomplisher.

4. Its certainty. If it were not so, He would have told them. "Because I live ye shall live also."

(W. Jay.)

I. MAN'S INABILITY. Wherein does this consist?

1. Not in any physical defect. If in coming to Christ moving the body should be any assistance, or includes the utterance of a prayer, man can come.

2. Nor in any mental lack. Man can believe in the Bible and in Christ as in anything else. But —

3. In his nature, which is so debased by the Fall that it is impossible for him to come without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. To enter into the subject of this inability note —(1) It lies in the obstinacy of the human will, which is set on mischief and disinclined to that which is good.(2) The understanding is darkened so that it cannot perceive the things of God until opened by the Holy Spirit.(3) The affections are depraved and must be renewed. We love that we ought to hate, and hate that we ought to love.(4) Conscience has been impaired by the Fall, and must be repaired.

4. So that while largely this is a question of the will, it is not exclusively so, for sometimes even in the regenerate there is will without power, much more in those who are dead in trespasses and sins.

5. Were it otherwise, how are we to account for the uniform testimony of the Scriptures that our salvation is wholly due to God?

6. This doctrine is condemned for its hurtful tendency. But what doctrine is there that will not hurt a man if he chooses to make hurt of it? So with this otherwise it only hurts Satan's kingdom.

7. You are not warranted in saying, "If I cannot save myself and cannot come to Christ, I must sit still and do nothing." There are many things you can do.

(1)To be found continually in the house of God is in your power.

(2)To study the Word of God.

(3)To renounce outward sin.

(4)To make your life honest, sober, righteous.

8. But your want of power is no excuse, seeing you have no desire to come, and are living in wilful rebellion. Suppose a liar has been a liar so long that he says he has no power to speak the truth, is that an excuse? Ii a drunkard has become so foully a drunkard that he cannot pass a public-house, do you therefore excuse him? No; because his inability to reform lies in his nature, which he has no desire to conquer.

II. THE FATHER'S DRAWINGS.

1. God draws men by the preaching of the gospel, but not by this alone, for the men of Capernaum had the gospel in its fulness, and attested by miracles. There is such a thing as being drawn by a minister without being drawn by God.

2. Clearly it is a Divine drawing, a sending out of the Third Person in the Holy Trinity.

3. In this there is no compulsion. Christ saves no one against his will.

4. How then does the Holy Spirit draw him? By making him willing. He goes to the secret fountain of the heart and he knows how, by some mysterious operation, to turn the will in an opposite direction. But he is saved with full consent, for he is made willing in the day of God's power. "Draw me and I will run after Thee."

5. How this is done is a mystery, but the apparent way is:(1) He finds a man with a good opinion of himself — an effectual barrier to coming to Christ — and lays bare,the man's heart, full of sin, so that he stands aghast.(2) The man says I will try and reform — another barrier — but the Holy Spirit shows him he cannot do this.(3) The heart sinks, and the man is ready to despair — then the Spirit shows him the Cross and enables him to believe.

III. APPLICATION:

1. One says, "If all this be true, what is to become of my religion? I must give it up and begin again." That will be better than building on the sand of your ability, and as soon as you say, "I cannot come to Christ; Lord draw me," grace is begun in your heart, and God will not leave you till the work is finished.

2. Careless sinner, thy salvation hangs in God's hand, and He is the Gad thou art grieving every day. Does not this make them tremble. If so the Spirit has begun to draw.

3. Some of you are conscious that you are coming to Christ. It is the Father's doing — "With lovingkindness have I drawn thee."

4. Rejoice in this love those of you who have come.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. We must never suppose that the doctrine of this verse TAKES AWAY MAN'S RESPONSIBILITY to God for his soul. On the contrary, the Bible always distinctly declares that if any man is lost, it is his own fault (Mark 8:36). If we cannot reconcile God's sovereignty and man's responsibility now, we need not doubt that it will be all plain at the last day.

II. Nor does Christ's teaching here LIMIT THE OFFERS OF SALVATION TO SINNERS. On the contrary, we must hold firmly that pardon and peace are to be offered freely through Christ to all without exception. We never know who they are that God will draw, and have nothing to do with it. Our duty is to invite all, and leave it to God to choose the vessels of mercy.

III. We must not suppose THAT WE, OR ANYBODY ELSE, ARE DRAWN, UNLESS WE COME TO CHRIST BY FAITH. This is the grand mark and evidence of any one being the subject of the Father's drawing work. If "drawn" he comes to Christ, believes, and lives. Where there is no faith and love, there may be talk, self-conceit, and high profession. But there is no "drawing" of the Father.

IV. We must always remember THAT GOD ORDINARILY WORKS BY MEANS, and specially by such means as He Himself has appointed. No doubt He acts as a sovereign. But we must carefully maintain the great principle that God ordinarily draws through the instrumentality of His Word. The man that neglects the public preaching and private reading of God's Word, has no right to expect that God will draw him. The thing is possible, but highly improbable.

V. WE MUST NEVER ALLOW OURSELVES OR OTHERS TO WASTE TIME IN TRYING TO FIND out, as a first question, WHETHER WE ARE DRAWN OF GOD the Father, elect, chosen, and the like. The first and main question is, whether we have come to Christ by faith. If we have, let us take comfort and be thankful.

(Bp. Ryle.)

Man is like a waggon sunk in the mire under a heavy load, and Divine love is the strong team which draws it up and draws it forward.

(R. Besser, D. D.)Just as the magnet does not attract everything, but only iron, so there must be in man a disposedness of heart, before God's drawing can take hold of him.

(Theophylact.)

I have seen a captive eagle, caged far from its distant home, as he sat mournful-like on his perch, turn his eye sometimes heavenwards; there he would sit in silence, like one wrapt in thought, gazing through the bars of his cage up into the blue sky; and after a while, as if noble but sleeping instincts had suddenly awoke, he would start and spread out his broad sails, and leap upward, revealing an iron chain that, usually covered by his plumage, drew him back again to his place. But though this bird of heaven knew the way to soar aloft, and sometimes, under the influence of old instincts, decayed, but not altogether dead, felt the thirst of freedom, freedom was not for him, till a power greater than his own proclaimed liberty to the captive, and shattered the shackles that bound him to his perch. Nor is there freedom for us till the Holy Spirit sets us free, and by the lightning force of truth, breaks the chains that bind us to sin.

(Dr. Guthrie.)

You see a mother with her babe in her arm. You put a knife into her hand and tell her to stab that babe to the heart. She replies, very truthfully, "I cannot." Now, so far as her bodily power is concerned she can if she pleases, there is the knife, and there is the child. But she is quite correct when she says she cannot do it. Her nature as a mother forbids her doing that from which her soul revolts. It is even so with a sinner. Coming to Christ is so obnoxious to human nature that, although so far as physical and mental forces are concerned men could come if they would, it is strictly correct to say that they cannot and will not unless the Father who hath sent Christ doth draw them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

And they shall be all taught of God
I. WHAT IS IMPORTED BY OUR BEING TAUGHT OF GOD.

1. Negatively. The text is not to be understood(1) of any extraordinary, visional appearances, or miraculous and immediate voice of God (Numbers 12:8; Hebrews 1:1, 2),(2) nor as opposite to or exclusive of the teachings of men. Saul was taught of God (Galatians 1:12). Yet the ministry of Ananias was honoured (Acts 9:4, 17).

2. Positively: the teachings of God (2 Corinthians 4:6: John 14:26) are —(1) The sanctifying impressions of the Holy Spirit by virtue of which the soul receives marvellous light and insight into spiritual things, and this not only at conversion but continuously (1 John 2:27; John 7:17; Jeremiah 31:83). Sanctification gives the soul experience of the truths of Scripture.(2) The gracious assistances of the Spirit as our need requires (Matthew 10:19; John 14:26).

II. WHAT THOSE SPECIAL TRUTHS ARE WHICH BELIEVERS LEARN.

1. That there is abundantly more evil in their natures than they ever discerned before (John 16:8-9). There is threefold knowledge of sin.(1) Traditional in the rude multitude;(2) discursive in the more rational;(3) intuitive in the divinely enlightened.

2. The wrath and misery which hang over the world in consequence of sin. Scripture threatenings were before slighted (Isaiah 28:15; Psalm 1:1.21); now they see that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6.).

3. That deliverance from sin is the greatest business man has to do in this world (Acts 16:30).

4. That though it be obligatory to strive after salvation, yet one's own strength is insufficient to attain it.

5. That though the case be sad it is not remediless. There is a door of hope and way of escape.

6. That there is a fulness of saving power in Christ whereby any soul that duly receives Him may be delivered from all its guilt and misery (Hebrews 7:25; Colossians 1:19; Matthew 28:18).

7. That we can never reap any benefit from the blood of Christ without union with Christ (1 John 5:12; Ephesians 4:16).

8. That whatever is necessary in order to this union is to be obtained in the way of prayer (Ezekiel 36:87).

9. To abandon their former ways and companions (Isaiah 55:7; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 119:115), and to see the beauty and excellency of the ways and people of God (Psalm 16:3; Zechariah 8:28).

10. That whatever difficulties there maybe in religion they must not be discouraged or return to sin (Luke 9:62; 1 Corinthians 9:24).

III. WHAT ARE THE PROPERTIES OF DIVINE TEACHING. God teaches —

1. Powerfully (2 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 14:25).

2. Sweetly (Song of Solomon 1:3; Song of Solomon 5:16),

3. Clearly (2 Corinthians 3:16; Luke 24:45).

4. Infallibly (John 14:13).

5. Abidingly (Psalm 119:98; Jeremiah 31:33).

6. Savingly (2 Timothy 3:15; John 17:3).

7. Penetratively (Matthew 11:25; Isaiah 32:4).

8. Transformingly (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 6:17).

IV. WHAT INFLUENCE DIVINE TEACHINGS HAVE UPON SOULS IN BRINGING THEM TO CHRIST.

1. They have an influence upon the means (2 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 3:7).

2. Upon the mind to remove what hindered it from Christ.

3. They powerfully allure the sinner to Christ (Hosea 2:14).

V. WHY IS IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANY MAN TO COME TO CHRIST WITHOUT THE FATHER'S TEACHINGS. Because —

1. Of the power of sin

(1)Sin is co-natural with the soul (Psalm 51:4; Isaiah 48:8).

(2)The power of sin hath been strengthened by long continued custom which gives it the force of a second nature (Jeremiah 15:23).

(3)Sin is the delight of the sinner (Proverbs 10:23).

2. Of the indisposition of man (1 Corinthians 2:14). Before he can come to Christ —

(1)His blind understanding must be enlightened, which is the work of God (2 Corinthians 4:6; Revelation 3:17; Ephesians 5:8).

(2)His hard heart must be broken and melted (Acts 5:31; Ezekiel 36:26).

(3)His stiff and obstinate will must be conquered (Philippians 2:13).

3. Of the nature of faith, everything in which is supernatural.

(1)The habit (Ephesians 2:8).

(2)The light (Hebrews 11:1, 27).

(3)The adventures (Romans 4:18).

(4)The self-denial (Matthew 5:29).

(5)The victories (Hebrews 11:33-34; Acts 15:9; 1 John 5:4).

(John Flavel.)

I. THE RECIPIENTS OF THE TEACHING. The people of God; all of them, from the least to the greatest; and that not only instrumentally but directly.

II. ITS SUBJECTS. Spiritual things generally, called —

1. "Things of God," pertaining to Him and our relationship to Him. His nature and ours; His moral character and ours; His sovereignty and our dependence and duty; His salvation and our need of it.

2. "Things of Christ," relating to His person, offices and work.

3. "Things of the Spirit," our need of Him; the reality of His influence; His indwelling.

III. ITS NECESSITY.

1. They must be taught. Why so?

(1)Because an all-wise God has ordained it.

(2)Because our ignorance and spiritual darkness require it.

(3)Because this knowledge is the germ of everything of a saving and holy character in a sinner's heart.

2. None but God can effectually teach them.

(1)He does not supersede the teaching of His servants, but energizes it.

(2)When the ordinary means fail He does His own teaching.

IV. ITS MEANS.

1. His written Word.

(1)To this all others are subsidiary, and are only helpful so far as they are related to it. Preaching; creeds.

(2)This excludes tradition, modern, so called, inspiration.

(3)But the written Word is not sufficient without the aid of the Holy Spirit to act upon the heart and to apply its truths.

2. His providence. The man of commerce forgets, e.g., that "they that will be rich fall into a temptation and a snare," and the God of providence by a calamity brings it to his mind.

3. The Christian's inward experience. This harmonizes wonderfully with Scripture, throwing light upon it, and confirming it.

V. ITS EFFECT. God teaches that He may —

1. Save.

2. Comfort.

3. Sanctify.

4. Make useful.

5. Make meet for heaven.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

The gospel is a picture of God's free grace to sinners. Were we in a room hung with the finest paintings, and adorned with the most exquisite statues, we could not see one of them if all light were excluded. Now the blessed Spirit's illumination is the same to the mind that outward light is to the bodily eyes. A compass is of no use to the mariner unless he have light to see it by.

(Toplady.)

Take the cold iron, and attempt to weld it, if you can, into a certain shape. How fruitless the effort! Lay it on the anvil, seize the blacksmith's hammer with all your might, let blow after blow fall upon it, and you will have done nothing; but put it in the fire, let it be softened and made malleable, then lay it on the anvil, and each stroke shall have a mighty effect, so that you may fashion it into any form you may desire; so take your heart, not cold as it is, not stony as it is by nature, but put it into the furnace; there let it be molten, and after that it can be turned like wax to the seal, and fashioned into the image of Jesus Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

No human teacher can do it. Conscience cannot do it. Law in none of its forms, human or Divine, can do it. Nay, the gospel itself cannot do it. Although the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, yet, unless the Spirit of God draws forth that sword, it lies powerless in its sheath. Only when the Spirit of God wields it, is it quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, a discerner of the thoughts and purposes of the heart. Therefore, as the work of convincing the world of sin is one which nothing less than the Spirit of God can effect — and which yet must be effected thoroughly, if sin is to be driven out from the world — our Saviour was mercifully pleased to send the Comforter to produce this conviction in mankind.

(Archdeacon Hare.)

I. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THE PROMISE IS MADE.

1. They must be living ones or they cannot be taught anything. They become so by being quickened together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).

2. They are described in Isaiah 54:13.

3. All that the Father hath given Christ (vers. 37, 39). Given

(1)in the covenant of grace to preserve and to teach;

(2)in effectual calling (John 17:6).

4. In short, they are those who are loved by the Father, redeemed by the Son and quickened by the Spirit.

II. WHAT SHALL THEY BE TAUGHT?

1. To know themselves

(1)as sinful (Luke 15:18; Romans 7:18).

(2)Their own helplessness (Isaiah 38:14; Matthew 14:30; John 15:5).

(3)Their own ignorance (Psalm 25:5; Job 36:22).

2. To know Christ as their way of life and salvation.

(1)The suitableness of His righteousness (Isaiah 45:24).

(2)The completeness of His atonement (Hebrews 1:26).

(3)The riches and efficacy of His grace (John 1:16; Titus 2:12).

(4)In short to embrace Him as their wisdom, etc. (1 Corinthians 1:36), and their Saviour from the charge, punishment, guilt, love, and dominion of sin.

3. To use the means of grace —

(1)Prayer;

(2)Reading and hearing God's Word.

(3)The Lord's Supper.

(S. Barnard.)

Preacher's Analyst.
The text shows us —

I. WHAT FAITH IS. COMING TO CHRIST.

II. THE REASONABLENESS OF FAITH. It is not the offspring of a diseased imagination, but the result of Divine teaching.

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF CHRIST. All God's teaching is designed to make us feel our need of Christ.

(Preacher's Analyst.)

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