THE SPIRIT QUICKENS BY THE WORD OF LIFE, #559
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (JOH 6:63)
Our Saviours ministry in Galilee, which was coming to a close, was filled with warmth and love. He had performed many wonderful miracles, and had set forth many gracious teachings. His gracious teachings had shown forth the light of life.
JOH 1:9 says, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
The Light, which is the condemnation of the world, is the joy and the rejoicing of the church because the Light reveals what is in the heart of man. The Light shines into our hearts and reveals unto us who we are and gives us to see what a wonder of wonders it is that God has given His only Son to redeem us from such iniquity. To redeem us from such a pit of filth and uncleanness and that Light gives us to understand the true love of God. The love of God in giving His Son and the Love of the Son in giving Himself.
Before such blessed revelations of the truth, unbelief was without excuse. Jesus told the multitude in JOH 6:35-36, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not."
Their hearts were not touched. They were void of the grace of God. It is the grace of God, which is the divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, which reveals itself in our walk of life, that they were lacking.
Even as in todays Christianity, those who had a selfish religion--seeking only the rewards of the kingdom of Christ--without surrendering to His Kingly scepter, they were offended when Jesus directed their attention to the way of the cross.
They were offended when the Lord Jesus said to them in JOH 6:53, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."
Why did his offend them? They were void of the grace of God.
Turn with me to TIT 2:11-15. Beginning with Verse 11, and adding other verses, I want you to see what we understand by having the grace of God and their void, the quickening power of the Holy Spirit. Verse 11 says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." We see in EPH 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith." And in verse 5, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)."
We are not saved without grace. Grace is the divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, which reveals itself in our walk of life. This is what they were lacking.
Notice what we read again in TIT 2:11: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men."
What does this mean? In other words, every person in the world can see the grace of God in you. They can see that divine influence of the Holy Spirit. They can see that influence on your life and on your attitude. It has appeared to all men.
Verse 12 continues, "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." They were lacking a heart religion. They were lacking that gospel of the cross, that gospel of self-sacrificial love. In other words, they did not have that crucifying of the old nature. The old man of sin still reigned in their hearts. They were void of the grace of God.
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." All the legalistic good works that they were doing as Pharisees had no profit in it. They were void of the grace of God.
Verses 13 and 14 say, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." That is what they were lacking. How do we see this take place?
TIT 3:2 tells us, "To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men." Where is the fruit? What is this the fruit of? Look at verse 4. "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared."
In other words, after you understand the love of the Father in giving His Son, then you become tender. Then you become delivered from these sins. Now, look at verse 5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
Our text says, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth." It is by the renewing and by the Holy Spirit. It is by grace that we are saved. It is by that renewing grace of the Holy Spirit upon the heart.
Our text continues with, "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
These words that I just quoted out of Titus are spirit; they are the spirit or the mental disposition or the attitude of Christ. They are that spirit of Christ that is being spoken to us. They are life. It is in the spirit of Christ that we find life. His words are indeed living words! They are a mirror revealing the depravity of the heart as much today as they did two thousand years ago.
Do you realize that when the Word goes home into your heart today, it is just as much a living Word as it was two thousand years ago when the Lord Jesus spoke it unto the multitudes. Why? It turns on the light. It reveals the depravity of our human hearts. The quickening of the Holy Spirit reveals the depravity of our hearts. It reveals what we see here in TIT 2:11. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men."
The word for is a connecting word. Therefore, we must go back to find what we are connecting to. Look at verses 9 and 10. "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
What does that word purloining mean? It means attributing something to your use that does not belong to you. In other words, stealing someone elses honor is purloining. Putting something to your use that does not belong to you. The honor that belongs unto God; the honor that belongs unto the Lord Jesus Christ, we may not take to ourselves. We see the corrupt nature of our own hearts.
Now we see in JOH 6:60, "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?"
Crucifying of the old man of sin, eating and drinking of the flesh and the blood of Christ, and feeding upon that self-sacrificial love of Christ is the hard saying. Who can hear it? Who can give up the pride of life, the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh? It is only by the quickening of the Spirit.
This word disciples (verse 60) comes from the Greek word mathetes, which means "a learner or a pupil." That does not necessarily mean they were followers of Christ. They were under His teaching. They had come together as they had heard His teachings. They were learners or pupils.
Now, these disciples, or pupils were clearly distinguished from the Twelve. They were not taken in the same category as the Twelve, who were attracted to the Person of Christ. They were not attracted by the loaves and fish, but they were attracted by the Person of Christ.
I want you to see this in JOH 6:66-67. "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?"
Now, I want you to see the response of Peter, speaking on behalf of the Twelve, to see the distinction between those Twelve and those whom Jesus referred to as His disciples, those who were sitting under His teachings. Verses 68 and 69 say, "Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."
Their attention was fixed upon the Person of Christ, and there is the distinction between the nominal Christian, or we will say, todays professed Christian, and the true believers. The true believers have their hearts fixed on the Person of Christ. It is not a selfish religion.
I was talking to a man just the other day, and he was admitting that there was a lot of rebellion in the family, but there was one thing about it, they were justified. They had accepted Jesus and they were going to go to heaven, even while admitting that there was a lot of rebellion. They werent willing to give up this and this and this. They were not willing to crucify the old man. They were void of the grace of God. They did not have that influence of the Holy Spirit upon them whereby they were able to give up.
It says in TIT 2:12, "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." Godly means that we love God with our hearts, our souls and our minds. Righteously, meaning we crucify self and that we serve others ahead of ourselves. These teachings apply to us and our walk of life.
Now, when these disciples saw Jesus only as the wonder worker they were determined to take Him by force and make Him their King, as we see in JOH 6:15, but when He spoke of giving His flesh and blood "for the life of the world," as we see in verse 51, they were offended.
They could use a king who was a wonder worker who they could glorify in the way that it would glorify their flesh. If He could be king and the world would see what a powerful king they had, they could walk under that. However, they didnt want to walk under a king who says, "Take up your cross and follow Me, because I am going to be crucified, and unless you drink My blood and eat My flesh you have no part in Me." They were not able to walk in the self-sacrifice of the cross. Then they became offended.
Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God shed light upon mans depravity, and Gods wrath upon sin! When you start to understand the gospel of Christ, the first thing it does is reflect a light into our hearts that we may see the sinfulness of sin.
The Apostle Paul said in ROM 1:16-17. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth... For therein is the righteousness of God revealed."
That is why He is not ashamed of it. Start to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and the love of the Father in giving His Son, the love of the Son in giving Himself. Then add the righteousness of the Father that He would rather bring His wrath upon His own Son than to let one sin go unpunished. Now, the light begins to shine into the depravity of our hearts. Now we start to understand the depravity of the human nature and how that the Lord redeemed us from it.
The effect of the light of the gospel is to see how wroth God is with sin. We see God was so wroth with sin that He would rather put the wrath upon His own Son than to let one sin go unpunished. When the Light reveals this to us, it calls for repentance.
How can we sin lightly? How can we sin willfully when we see how wroth God is with sin? Now then we understand why the preaching of the gospel begins with the word repent. I want you to take notice in MAR 1:14b. "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God."
Jesus was preaching the good news of the kingdom. In others words, that the kingdom of God has again been opened that you and I, wretched and undeserving as we are, can again enter His service. You and I can again come under His kingship.
Verse 15 continues, "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." The kingdom of God is here today. Today, its at hand. We must come into His service today. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel." Believe that good news. Believe the good news that God has opened the way whereby we can again return into His service and serve Him effectively. We can serve Him in a way that is acceptable.
Now, the effect of the light of the gospel of Christ offended them; His pupils hopes for a wonder-working king had been dashed and He preached a self-sacrificial gospel. To them, there was no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Until we understand the depravity of our own hearts, theres no beauty in the self-sacrificial cross of Christ.
JOH 6:60 says, "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" I want you to see that it was the many therefore that left. He finally addressed the Twelve. A multitude was present while Jesus taught them. He fed five thousand. The many left, and then He said to the Twelve, "Will ye also go away?" Do you know what that tells us? All He had left was twelve.
The many today are still offended when they hear a gospel that directs a light into their depravity and sin. A gospel that teaches the quickening of the Spirit, repentance, and the sanctification of the Spirit still offends today.
"It is the spirit that quickeneth [It is the Spirit that gives the divine influence upon the heart, a desire to live a godly life, and a desire to crucify the flesh.]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (JOH 6:63) A legalistic obedience is abominable in the sight of God. There is no profit in it. This is what our Saviour was telling the scribes and the Pharisees: that all their rituals and all their dos and donts, and all their legalistic obedience, while their hearts were still sepulchers filled with dead mens bones, was of no value in the sight of God.
That is the Spirit of Christ. The words that He spoke unto them is the mental disposition that you and I must learn to understand-that we have a self-sacrificial walk of life, taking up our cross and following Him. Those words are spirit, and they are life.
These "words" of Christ are the Word of God; they penetrate the most secret thoughts and intents of the heart, which reveals our deep depravity. When the Holy Spirit comes with the Word of God there isnt one secret thought that doesnt get revealed. This is what was offending the many. When the Lord Jesus says to those Pharisees, "He who is without sin cast the first stone," they each walked away. There wasnt one left. When the Holy Spirit shines into the heart and when the words of Christ, "He who is without sin," penetrated their hearts, not one of them had a stone left to throw. It convicted them in their own consciences. It is the words of God that reveal this depravity.
Look at HEB 4:12-13. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
When the Holy Spirit comes with the quickening power of His grace in the heart, then He reveals the depravity of the heart unto the sinner. Then the sinner begins to understand what beauty there is in a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, who bore our iniquities, who by His stripes we can be healed, who was the fountain open for all sin and uncleanness. What a beauty we start to see in such a Saviour, who came to redeem us from all iniquity. Now we start to see beauty in a Man of sorrows. Then He becomes the chiefest of ten thousand, the all-together lovely.
It is the quickening of the Spirit that makes the Word alive! Jesus said in our text, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Those words become alive.
Where Jesus said in our text, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing," He presses upon His critics what He had already said in JOH 6:44. "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
What the Lord Jesus presses upon them is that very thing that He had said in JOH 6:44, and that is, "that no man can come." When the Light shines in the heart and the depravity of our evil hearts and our evil natures gets revealed, the first effect is it drives us away. It takes that quickening grace of the Spirit, that divine influence that changes our attitudes, our love, and our desires. It takes the grace of God. It takes that divine influence that brings salvation, and reveals it unto the world.
Believing upon Jesus-appropriating the saving value of His death upon our soul is not an act of the flesh. Believing upon Jesus, that grace of God, that changes our whole being, our whole desires, our whole attitudes, that is not the work of the flesh. "The flesh profits nothing."
Jesus is re-emphasizing in our text that it is the drawing power of the Father that brings a sinner unto Christ. When the light of the gospel truly enters the soul we can say with David in PSA 40:12, "For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up."
When the Lord really brings our sin before our eyes, and when the Lord takes His Word and He places it deep in our hearts, then we are not able to lift our eyes anymore. Then our faces are filled with shame; we see the shame of our sins.
I know in my own life, there are things that I used to think when I was a young boy that today would make me blush, that I would not dare to raise my eyes before God, because now I see the spirit of the law. Now I understand the sinfulness of heart sin. Heart sins that I used to cherish as a little boy have become exceedingly sinful.
David says, "I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me."
Our text says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." The flesh is our greatest hindrance to coming to Christ. The flesh not only profits nothing, but it becomes our biggest stumbling block. It is the pride that still remains in our hearts that has that tendency to keep us away from God. It is that love of the things of this world that still gets between us and the Lord. It is those things of the flesh that keep us away from God. The flesh is our biggest hindrance from coming to Christ.
The Spirit convinces us of sin by the persuasion of the Word! Our text says, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." The Spirit comes by the persuasion of the Word of God. The Spirit does not act independently of the Word. When you see charismatic people and all they are doing is making noise, it is not in the Spirit of Christ, because the power is in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit does not act independently of the Word. Do you know why? He did not come to glorify Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ says, "The Spirit shall take the things of mine and show them unto you."
Who is the Word? The Spirit does not come to glorify Himself. If it is not the Word that the Holy Spirit is using, it is not the Holy Spirit. He convinces of sin by the Word. It was when the Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees, "He who is without sin." The words that He spoke convicted them. The Word has the convicting power.
Our text says, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit [The Spirit quickens. The Word is Spirit.], and they are life."
Jesus is speaking of the regeneration of the Spirit in our text. First He tells us we need the regeneration of the Spirit who is His Agent. The Lord Jesus is telling us that the Holy Spirit is the Agent whom He sends to do the job-the quickening. Then He tells us the sword or the instrument that He uses to do so.
You are persuaded by the Word. It is when the Holy Spirit takes the Word and instills it in the heart that you are quickened. ROM 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
We must be born not only of the Spirit, but also of the Word. The Holy Spirit, being born again, is to be born of the Word and Spirit. Look at JAM 1:18. "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth [in other words, we were born of the Word], that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
It is by the spiritual application of the Word of God that the Holy Spirit quickens and sanctifies the soul in the new birth.
I want you to notice and to think about a man lying in the grave four days. His own relative said, "By this time he stinks." He was dead and dead long enough that corruption had set in. It was by the power of the Word, when the Lord Jesus stood before the grave and He said, "Lazarus, arise," that the dead became alive.
The Scriptures teach us of a man whose hand was withered. Do you think that of his own flesh (the flesh profits nothing) and of his own free will that he could have taken and stretched his hand forth? No. But when the Lord Jesus said unto him, "Stretch forth your hand," he stretched it forth.
The power of the Word gave life. We need to understand this teaching. As the Holy Spirit quickens, He quickens by the power of the Word.
This new birth comes only by the Word as we see in 1PE 1:22-23. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God."
How does the Holy Spirit quicken? By taking the words of God and applying them to the soul. That is how salvation comes into the heart.
I heard a pastor say one time: "I was in the pulpit and I was so closed up that I couldnt bring out my message, so all I did was keep citing Scripture." When he came out of the pulpit he felt sure that the deacons and the elders would say, "We cant have any more of that." But he said that right after the service a lady came up to him and said: "You know, there was such power in that Word that I was delivered. I have been struggling under the power of sin for all these years. And it seemed like every verse that you cited was just exactly for my soul."
Where was the power? It isnt in what I say. The power is in what the Word of God says. That is where the quickening grace is found, in the power of the Word. It is by the promises in the Word of God that the Spirit molds us into that blessed image of Christ.
Look at 2PE 1:3-4. "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
It is by the Word that you and I are delivered from the power of sin. It is by the Word that the Spirit of Christ is instilled in the soul. It is by that precious Word of God that the Holy Spirit does His quickening.
The blessed harmony and oneness between the "Word" and "Spirit" come through so beautifully in our text. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
Wheres the quickening? He says, "The Spirit quickeneth." "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." It is the Word of God. It is that blessed truth of the Lord Jesus Christ that has quickening power when the Holy Spirit attends it in the soul.
The words of Christ are spiritual; they are employed of the Spirit to impart life.
I want you to see how important this is. Many people will tell you that they came to Christ because they saw the trees and the creation of God. They saw God in the trees and in this and in that, which brought them to Christ.
Well, just let me tell you something, if they were quickened by something outside of the Word and Spirit they were not quickened unto spiritual life. They may have a lot of imagination in their heart about what all they have; they think they have come to the Christ, but they havent come to the Christ of the Bible. They dont know anything about the depravity of the heart. They dont know anything about the truth as it is in Christ if it came to them outside of the Word.
This is the way the words of Christ are spiritual. They employ, or they are employed of the Spirit to impart life. This is why we must examine the preaching of those who say they are sent to preach the gospel.
The Lord has really laid this verse on my heart in the way of my own calling. What the Lord is doing in JER 23:22 is sorting out those who were false prophets, who were not sent by the Lord, and then He goes on to say what the qualifications are of those who are sent. And does it not fall beautifully in harmony with MAT 7, where the Lord said to beware of false prophets. I want you to see the harmony in this. Take notice of JER 23:22. "But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words."
I was talking to a man just the other day who had read one of my books. "Yeah, well but you said, and you said, and I believe." I had caused people to hear the Words of God, and I cautioned him, "These very things that you are criticizing me for-take notice-they are within quotation marks. They are indeed the Word of God, and youre telling me what you believe stands above the Word of God."
Now watch what JER 22:23 says, "But if they had stood in my counsel and had caused my people to hear my words." I dont need to waste my time telling you what I believe. What I need to tell you is what Christ said, what the Word of God says. "Then they should have turned them from their evil way." If they had stood in His counsel and had caused the people to hear His words, they would have taught repentance. They would have taught the nature of the human heart. They would have taught the corruption of our human nature. Then those listening would have turned from their evil ways and from the evil of their doing. That would have been the result.
Now look at what the Lord Jesus says in MAT 7:15. "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheeps clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You will know them by their fruit." What is the fruit of their teaching? Do they cause people to stand in the counsel of God? Does their preaching cause them to hear His words? Does it cause them to turn from the evil of their doings? "Youll know them by their fruit." Is the fruit of repentance the fruit of their preaching? If it is not, He says, "Beware of false prophets. They come in sheeps clothing."
In other words, they come to you as though they are part of the flock. Theyll come to you preaching to you a Jesus that is not the Jesus of the Bible. They do not shine the light into the heart nor take the words of Christ and administer them to your soul. You know why? They know the many will be offended. The collection plate isnt going to stay full when they do that. You see, when the flock shrinks down too far, then their salary and their high earnings are at stake. Thats where the problem lies.
Our text says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." All this preaching about a Jesus whos going to save everybody from hell, without preaching a Jesus that is the light to the world, that shines the truth into the soul, and teaches us the depravity of our human heart, that teaches us the need of repentance and the need of turning from our evil ways. If this is missing, its not the gospel of Jesus Christ. No man is saved by any enticing words of mens wisdom, but only by our Saviours words of life.
Look at 1CO 2:2-5. "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." When the Lord Jesus said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood," He is talking of a crucified Saviour. And they were offended.
The Apostle Paul said, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." The crucifixion of the flesh. The flesh profits nothing. It has to be crucified. Continuing with verses 3 and 4, "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of mans wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power."
Oh, these people who can make such a fair speech and can be so convincing by what they believe. They can entice men, but they cannot save a soul. They cannot quicken a dead soul. He says here, "but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power."
Verse 5 says, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." This is where our faith has to stand. Our persuasion comes from the power of God, not the wisdom of men.
The words of Christ maintain a blessed balance of truth. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit [they were offended, they were turning away from Him. They wanted to seek to kill Him. And He said, the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit. They turn on a light, that the many were offended], and they are life." (JOH 6:63)
Man has nothing to do with the quickening work of the Spirit. It isnt anything that I say or do that is going to quicken your soul. It is only when the Holy Spirit takes the words of God and instills them into the heart and enlightens the heart and the soul that theres any quickening power at all.
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." The Apostle Paul said he was "in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words."
The flesh profits nothing. The only thing that has any profit is when the Holy Spirit takes the Word and that Word enlightens your soul, and that is by the grace of God. It is by the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, which is seen in your life, that salvation is come.
So are we to fold our hands and act as though we have no obligation at all? That is fatalism. That is the other principle that Satan loves. He loves either a gospel that is void of the spirit or he loves a gospel that encourages fatalism.
Far from this, Christ is not teaching fatalism. Christ follows right up by saying, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Do you know what He is saying by that? You have enough light and understand the truth. Your problem is you dont want it. That is where your problem lies. This is by nature. This is the many, whose own heart condemns them when they see the Light. That is why the Light is a condemnation to the world.
This speaks of responsibility on our part. In HEB 10:26, we read, "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins."
In other words, if our hearts desire is to continue in sin, and therefore we reject the truth, there is no more sacrifice for sin. It is the only sacrifice for sin and the only way of salvation.
After "we have received the knowledge of the truth," we are responsible to act upon it. Now, Im going to show you the other side of the same principle. It is the spirit that quickens, but when the Holy Spirit gives us the Word, we must act upon it. We must act on the revealed will of God. When the Word of God clearly tells us the will of God, we are now responsible to act upon it. Can we claim impotence as our defense to continue in sin because we need the Spirit to quicken? Can we continue on and say, "Well it has to be given."
Our text says, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." It is speaking of present tense. They are spirit. What this is saying is that you and I are responsible if we have heard the Word because the Word is spirit. It has its quickening effect, and you and I will be judged by the Word.
Can we plead our inability to come unto Christ when we have such blessed promises in the Word. We need the Spirit. Do we desire the Spirit? Then look what we read in LUK 11:13. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Now why is it that we dont have the Holy Spirit? Weve heard the Word and the Word is spirit. We dont have it because we dont want it; it is a condemnation to us. We love sin and the light becomes our condemnation. Thats the way we are by nature. We refuse to ask. You have a child who comes unto you and will not give up until he gets what he is asking for because he is hungry. You give it to him because he is asking. If he hadnt bothered to ask you probably wouldnt have given it to him. You would have probably waited until suppertime, but that child is crying, and he needs something to eat because he is hungry. He asks, and you give it to him. The Lord wants to be asked.
We see that in EZE 36:37. "Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." Why? He has just said in verse 26, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." [I will give them a new heart, and I will give them a heart of flesh.] Look at verse 27. "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
What wonderful promises. And now He says in verse 37, "I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them."
Do you know why that is? The Lord doesnt want anybody serving Him reluctantly. The Lord wants us to serve Him from a heart motivated by love. He wants us to ask for that Holy Spirit. He wants us to ask for that quickening grace because that shows there is an appetite there.
Now as Jesus opened up these blessed truths unto His disciples or His pupils, His blessed Words shined into their darkened souls--then see what Jesus said unto them in JOH 6:64-65. "But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."
He knew who it was who didnt believe and who had no desire for Him. That desire, that new desire, is the grace of God. As our Saviour teaches their inability in the flesh, or the unprofitable nature of the flesh, He also presses upon them their responsibility to hear His words and change their attitudes.
The reason we "cannot" come unto Christ until the Father draws is clearly set forth in JOH 5:40. "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." Why will man by nature not come unto Him? They see no beauty in that type of a king; they have no desire for Him.
Jesus said in MAT 18:3, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted [the element that is necessary is that converting power of the Holy Spirit], and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
You cannot come into His service. You cannot serve the Lord acceptably unless your pride has been broken. Unless the old man has been crucified and the flesh has been eliminated, you cannot serve acceptably. The flesh profits nothing. The Lord wants your heart and your attitude changed. He wants you to serve Him with a spirit of love.
The reason "that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father," is because we need that change of attitude to "become as little children." That is by grace.
That is what we see in TIT 2:11. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." That means the entire world can see. We become the light of the world. We become the salt of the earth. They see Christ formed in us. They see that Spirit of Christ. We need our attitudes changed to become as little children, before we are willing to come as a little child before our heavenly Father. Theres only one way that you and I will ever come before our Father and get what we ask, and that is to come as a little child and ask for the Holy Spirit. This is where our Saviour separates the sheep from the goats.
Look at JOH 6:66. "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." When that spirit, that mental disposition, that attitude, was being preached as the way of salvation, they were offended. They had no desire to walk under Him as their authority.
Now, as we ponder our responsibility to obey our Saviours words to come unto Him, we must also recognize the sovereignty of God in our salvation. We have to see a blessed harmony in the sovereignty of God and our willingness to come. We see that in PHI 2:13. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
I want you to see the blessed harmony between the free will of man and the sovereignty of God. He makes us willing, and the Lord has no desire for any one to serve Him in a wrong attitude because it is not acceptable service. If you come to serve the Lord out of compulsion you are not serving Him. The Lord wants you to come because it is your pleasure and your highest desire to do His will.
PSA 112:1 says, "Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments." That is acceptable service.
Our blessed Father will not deny His Holy Spirit to any who sincerely desire and pray for it, but the truth is that our desires after Christ and His Spirit only come by the drawing power of the Father.
This is the amazing harmony. You and I, without that drawing power of the Father, have no desire for it. We see no beauty in it. Having that desire is the grace of God.
Therefore, we will be held accountable to act upon and govern our lives by the revealed will of God, and praise Him for His sovereign good pleasure in giving us enabling grace "to will and to do of his good pleasure." What a wonder that will be when we come before the Lord in a right frame of mind. We praise Him for giving us that childlike spirit, that childlike reverence for Him and His will.
In ACT 13:46-48 we read, "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you [the Jews who rejected the gospel of Christ]: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life [thats where we stand in judgment when we reject the gospel of Christ. We count ourselves unworthy of everlasting life], lo, we turn to the Gentiles."
Those who rejected the gospel will be judged on the basis of their own rejection of the truth and not upon the secret will of God. We continue with verses 47 and 48, "For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
You see it is those who believed were ordained to eternal life. Now I want you to see that blessed harmony in JOH 6:66, "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him," but then see the solemn question our Saviour asks those who are of His inner circle in verse 67, "Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?"
Will you and I be offended by the Word of God? Does it draw us closer to Him? Our Saviour has no pleasure in any person serving Him out of compulsion. Can we truly answer with the same faith clinging unto our Christ as Peter said in verses 68-69, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God."
That is when we have the true working of grace in the heart. That is the grace of God.
These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion and sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.