6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: There is beauty and harmony and power in the tension between Calvinism and Arminianism. Calvinism and Arminianism are like two eyes giving a fuller perspective.

That was from the award winning movie, SeaBiscuit. [We showed brief Seabiscuit excerpt before sermon] Our jockey could win many races with just one eye, but he couldn’t win the close one, the tough one. One eye still has vision, and because it sees what it sees, it feels like it sees everything. But one eye always misses part of the field, and what it misses can be very important.

I remember when my sister had her eyes tested and was provided glasses for the first time. She was in the first grade. A few minutes after wearing glasses she said, “I didn’t know you could see leaves.” For her first five or six years she saw only a hazy halo of a globe called a tree. But with her vision corrected, she could see actual leaves.

The curious thing is that two years ago she had laser eye surgery and no longer needs glasses at all. I purpose to do spiritual laser surgery on some of us this morning. I want to give you 20/20 two-eyed spiritual vision.

Let’s Pray

My text this morning is from the mouth of Jesus. It is John 6:37: “All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” [KJV] "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." [NASB]

This was a day of unbelief and rejection on the part of the Hebrew leaders. They demanded more signs from Jesus that he was the biblically prophesied Messiah. V30 – “they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?”

In recent hours he had healed many, miraculously fed thousands and walked on water. And still they asked for more signs. Talk about poor vision. A woodsman who couldn’t read sign better than that would soon be eaten by a grizzly bear.

Jesus heard the unbelief and rejection in their voices. They were never going to believe on Him. His answer to those leaders who wouldn’t believe and accept him was this “All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.”

He was sticking it back to them. “Religious leaders, if you think you have veto power over my life mission, you are sadly mistaken and inept. I will have a kingdom and a people. My Father has chosen some to give to me, and all these will believe on me and will be in my kingdom, church and family. And to any of you who are considering following me, please know that my arms are open. Anyone who chooses to come to me will be received.”

In that sentence, Jesus gives the two eyes of seeing God, two eyes of seeing reality, the two eyes that sensible men and women always perceive, even it they don’t know why.

In that sentence, Jesus was stating that God was sovereign, that he rules and chooses, and no man or group can defeat what he intends. The first phrase says that God has chosen a people, has given these people to Christ, & these people must and shall come to Christ, and so shall be saved.

Yet Jesus was also saying that men and women have a free will, that each of us is responsible for our decisions and conduct, even decisions of faith, and that any one who will come to Jesus will be eternally saved. This is a statement without limitation of any kind. It leaves God’s free grace open, and whosoever will may come and may be assured that he or she will not be refused.

John 6:37 contains the full breadth of Christian doctrine. It contains that left eye, which is called Calvinism, though Calvin did not discover the sovereignty of God, for Moses and David and Paul and Jesus all taught it. Ephesians 1:4 teaches, God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: 5. having predestined and foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” That is a triplicate statement of sovereign election.

John 6:37 also contains the right eye, that school of doctrine called Wesleyan or Arminian, though Wesley did not invent the open invitation to all sinners to come to Jesus. For Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest,” and Paul said, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

My favorite preacher is still, C. H. Spurgeon. In 1884 he said of John 6:37, “These are two great truths; let us carry them both with us, and they will balance each other.”

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Michael Bolin

commented on Mar 3, 2010

Great sermon, full of wisdom and insight. May God continue to allow you to see with both eyes and thank you for helping me to see with both eyes.

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