Tuesday, September 02, 2014

SERMON: Have you accepted God’s offer?

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Ottawa Herald | 6/28/2013

In the gospel of John, Jesus makes a statement that ultimately caused many of his followers to forsake him.

Jesus was teaching and had fed the large crowd that had begun to follow him. Then his lessons began to take a turn. The Jews were grumbling among themselves. Jesus answered them. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

In the gospel of John, Jesus makes a statement that ultimately caused many of his followers to forsake him.

Jesus was teaching and had fed the large crowd that had begun to follow him. Then his lessons began to take a turn. The Jews were grumbling among themselves. Jesus answered them. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?” (John 6:60).

By saying “no one can” Jesus indicates there is a moral inability for the sinner to believe in Christ. Just as the thief will not look for the policeman, the sinner will not pursue God.

On the horizontal plane of life, we have the ability to choose. We choose to get an education or not get an education; work or not work. Our relationship with God on the vertical plane is much different. In John 1:12-13, John says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood, not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” This last sentence creates a problem for many people, as they feel the need to contribute to their own salvation.

The heart is naturally hard and will not accept God’s invitation, unless a special work of God’s grace takes place. Jesus repeats the statement again in John 6:65, saying, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” The sinner’s moral inability to choose Christ must be overcome by the gracious and sovereign power of the Spirit.

That’s why Jesus tells Nicodemus, a ruler of the Pharisees, a religious sect whose purpose was to keep the Mosaic Law in order to see the kingdom of God, he must be born again. We can never bridge the gap between a Holy God and ourselves without the intervening work of the Holy Spirit, which will result in the new birth.

We do not choose God. In Ephesians 1:4, we read that “God chose us in (Jesus) before the foundation of the world.” Our minds cannot understand or see the things of God. We have no emotion or passion for God and even though we have permission to believe through the universal offer of the gospel to everyone we do not have the ability. Such is the desperate condition of the sinner. Yet we do not have to stay in this state.

God has chosen us.

Salvation can only be obtained by accepting this gracious offer of God’s grace.

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