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Sermon #2184[i] — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Reprobation Asserted
Text: John 10:26
Subject: Reprobation Evidenced by Unbelief
Turn with me to the 10th chapter of John’s Gospel. —The title of my message is Reprobation Asserted. Most religious people have never heard the word “reprobation,” let alone heard a sermon on the subject. But reprobation is clearly taught in Holy Scripture. I hope you will see, before I am done, that it is a doctrine which should fill our hearts with praise to God our Savior, the Triune Jehovah.
Reprobation Asserted — That’s my subject. Here’s my text.
John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Read those words again. Be sure you read them just as they stand. Read nothing into the text. Leave nothing out of the text. Do not rearrange the words of the text. Read it just as it stands. Here is Reprobation Asserted, asserted by the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinner’s Friend.
John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
What unspeakably solemn words these are! The Lord Jesus is the only man who ever lived who knew who the elect are and who the reprobate are. He alone knows who his sheep are and who the goats are. And here he asserts in the plainest terms possible that these Jews who caviled at his doctrine in rebellion and unbelief, these men who wilfully stopped their ears and would not hear him, these people who were offended at his doctrine were reprobates. Now that their character was fully manifested the Lord did not hesitate to tell them that they were abandoned of God, left to themselves, reprobate! —— I repeat — What an unspeakably solemn thing this is!
The force of our Lord’s words is definite and clear. Yet, preachers and theologians and commentators, in their unbelief, have done their best to cut these words out of the Bible altogether. Almost all the commentators explain away the meaning of our Lord’s words in John 10:26 by reversing their order. They rearrange the Master’s words to make them mean what they want them to mean. They read the text this way: — “Because ye believe not, ye are not of my sheep.” — But the text reads…
John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Men always turn the things of God upside down, especially lost religious men! When man comes to something in the Word of God which he doesn’t like, something that doesn’t fit his religious system, something that is contrary to his high opinion of himself, instead of bowing to and receiving that which is written in the Book of God, he either ignores it or rearranges it according to his own whims.
I know a good many men who just cannot bring themselves to even read those words in public without explaining that the Lord didn’t really mean to say that! — What a pity! — What high arrogance!
Here the Lord Jesus is not only charging these very religious, very devoted Jews with unbelief, but he also tells them why faith had not been granted to them — they were not of his sheep. They were not numbered among the favored people of God. They were not chosen of God. They were not among God’s elect.
Proposition: Faith in Christ does not make us his sheep. Rather faith in Christ is the evidence that we are his sheep.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you believe because you were given to the Good Shepherd as one of his sheep before the world began. If you continue in your wilful, obstinate unbelief and perish in your sins, it is because God has left you to yourself, because God has abandoned you to your own will, your own choice, and your own way. You are reprobate.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” — What does the Savior refer to in those words? When had he previously avowed that these people were not numbered among God’s elect? When had he formerly declared them reprobates? Look at John 8. There he is talking to the very same people. In verse 48, they rejected his word, rejected his message, and declared him to be a worthless Samaritan, possessed of a devil. In verses 42-45 the Master tells us why they could not believe him.
John 8:42-45 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Again, in verse 47, the Lord Jesus told them that they believed not because they were not of his sheep.
John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
They heard not because they were not of God. They believed not because they were not of his sheep. In each instance he gives as the reason why they received him not the solemn fact that they belonged not to God’s elect. They were numbered not among God’s elect, but among the reprobates. They were not sheep, but goats.
Divisions: I want us to do three things in this message.
First, I want us to see the context in which our Savior’s words are found (vv. 19-30).
John 10:19-30 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? 22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
Here is a large crowd of religious people divided over doctrine! Religious people always are. What multitudes there are who defend, fight for, and divide from family and friend over doctrine, even fussing about Christ, who never trust him! — The Lord Jesus was standing in their midst, teaching the Gospel publicly, expounding the Old Testament Scriptures; but they believed not on him. They were divided over the Savior’s doctrine — “for these sayings” (v. 19).
· Sovereign Election
· Covenant Mercy
· Suretyship Responsibility
· Limited Atonement
· Irresistible Grace
· Holy Trinity
Some said he was a demon-possessed madman. Others objected. They would not go that far. But none believed (vv. 25-26).
Let us never be surprised if we see the same thing in our own day. Human nature never changes. So long as the heart of man is without grace, so long we must expect it to be enmity against God, ever despising the Gospel of Christ
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
God’s people and God’s servants should never think it a strange thing if they go through the same experience as our Master. Our Gospel is still the cause of offence and strife in our families and among our friends. If you believe and confess the Gospel of God, you will endure ridicule, harsh words, and petty persecution from this world. — “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” (Matthew 10:25)
Take special notice of the name our Lord gives to his people. He uses a figurative expression full of deep meaning. He calls us, — “My Sheep.”
Without question, the word “sheep,” points to something in the character and ways of God’s saints in this world. It speaks of the weakness, helplessness, harmlessness, and uselessness of his elect, all points of resemblance between the sheep and the believer. But the leading primary thing intended by giving us the name “sheep” was to remind us of the entire dependence of sheep upon their shepherd. Just as sheep hear the voice of their own shepherd, and follow him, so believers follow Christ. By faith we listen to his call. By faith we submit to his guidance. By faith we lean upon him, and commit our souls implicitly to his will and his direction. The ways of a shepherd and his sheep beautifully display the relation between Christ and the true Christian.
The expression, “My Sheep,” points to the close connection that exists between Christ and his people. We are his by gift from the Father, his by purchase, his by calling and choice, and his by the willing consent and submission of our own hearts. In the highest sense imaginable, we are Christ’s property.
Our dear Savior declares the vast privileges of mercy, love, and grace he has bestowed upon us as his sheep in verses 27-28.
John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
· Christ knows his sheep with a special knowledge of approbation, approval, and love.
· Christ gives his sheep “eternal life.” He has freely bestowed on us a right and title to heaven, pardoning our many sins, clothing us with his perfect righteousness, and making us new creatures by his grace. Money, and health, and worldly prosperity he often wisely withholds from his sheep. But he never fails to give them grace, and peace, and glory.
· Christ declares that his sheep “shall never perish.” Weak as they are, they shall all be saved. Not one of them shall be lost or cast away. Not one of them shall miss heaven. When they err, they shall be corrected. When they stray, they shall be brought back. When they fall, they shall be raised up again. The enemies of our souls may be strong and mighty, but our Savior is mightier; and none shall pluck us out of our Savior’s hands.
Second, I want to show you the meaning of our Savior’s words in our text (v. 26).
John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep!” — What do those words mean? Does the Lord Jesus Christ speak those awful words to you? Obviously, our Lord here asserts the reprobation of these people.
Romans 9:10-24 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
1 Peter 2:6-8 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 12:39-40 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
The same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay; and the same Gospel that melts the hearts of God’s elect hardens the hearts of the reprobate.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep!” — What do those words mean? I’ll tell you exactly what they mean. Those words mean…
Isaiah 6:6-10 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. 9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
“Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep.” — That means God is determined to destroy you. There is no hope for your soul.
Illustrations: Pharaoh — Hophni and Phineas
Sin unto Death
God has mercy on whom he will; and whom he will he hardens. There is no question about that fact. But, having said all that, I want you to hear this. No, your unbelief will not nullify God’s purpose or alter his will. Your everlasting damnation will cause no grief in Glory. The only person you injure by you rebellion is yourself. And you heap upon yourself the fire of hell forever by you unbelief. God will send you to hell because you demanded that he leave you alone. God will send you to hell only because you justly deserve to go to hell (Romans 6:23; Proverbs 1:23-33; 29:1). If you go to hell it will be your fault alone. You will have no one to blame but yourself.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Proverbs 1:23-33 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
While the Word of God asserts in clear, unmistakable terms that reprobation is by his eternal decree, no one goes to hell because of God’s decree. — Sinners perish under the wrath of God because they refuse to believe God, because they choose rebellion, because they refuse to bow to Christ.
I’ll tell you something else: — You will not go to hell because of Adam’s sin in the Garden. — “The soul that sinneth, it shall die!” Divine judgment is always God’s just retribution upon the ungodly. It is always a matter of justice.
Third, I want us to see that our Lord’s assertion of reprobation should inspire praise and thanksgiving in the hearts of God’s elect (vv. 27-28). The Lord God could have left you to yourself. He could have abandoned you. But he chose you to salvation!
John 10:26-28 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Every time we think about God’s just judgment upon poor reprobates, lost forever, forever abandoned by God, let us lift our hearts in praise to our great and glorious Lord God, the God of all grace, the Father of mercies, who has saved us by his grace (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
2 Corinthians 4:3-7 But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? If you do, you believe because you are one of his sheep.
Do you choose unbelief? Do you stick your fingers in your ears and scream to God, “Shut up! Shut up! Leave me alone! God, leave me alone! Just leave me alone!” — Oh, how I pray that God will never do that to you! O God, step into that poor, deluded sinner’s life! Stop him in his mad rush to hell! Save, oh, save sinners by your omnipotent mercy, for Christ’s sake!
Oh, how I thank God thank he refused to take “no” for an answer from me! Don’t you?
How I rejoice and give thanks to my God that he sweetly forced me into the arms of my dear Savior, fulfilling his Word in me, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power!” — “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto thee!” How I pray that God will not leave you to yourself. If he does, there is no hope for your soul!
(Isaiah 55:1) Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
(Isaiah 55:3) Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
(Isaiah 55:6) Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: (11) So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (12) For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Come humble sinner, in whose breast
A thousand thoughts revolve;
Come with your guilt and fear oppressed,
And make this last resolve.
“I’ll go to Jesus, though my sins
Like mountains round me close;
I know his courts, I’ll enter in,
Whatever may oppose.
“Prostrate I’ll lie before his throne,
And there my guilt confess;
I’ll tell him I’m a wretch undone
Without his sovereign grace.”
I’ll to the gracious King approach,
Whose scepter pardon gives;
Perhaps He may command my touch,
And then the suppliant lives!
Perhaps He will admit my plea,
Perhaps will hear my prayer;
But if I perish, I will pray,
And perish only there.
I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know,
I must forever die.
But if I die with mercy sought,
When I the King have tried,
This were to die (Delightful thought!) —
As sinner never died!”
[i] Danville — Sunday Morning — July 21, 2013
Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Princeton, NJ — Friday-July 19, 2013
East Hendersonville Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC – July 30, 2013
Burnside First Baptist Church, Burnside, KY — April 9, 2014
Sovereign Grace Church, New Castle, IN — Sunday, October 19, 2014
Reading: John 10:1-42