Coming Sinners Welcome To Christ.

Adapted From A Sermon By

George Burder

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

(John 6:37 ESV)

The hymn we have sung tells of rest, and light, and life for those who come to Jesus. And most encouragingly, our text this morning, John 6:37 shows us how Coming Sinners are Welcome To Christ: whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Now two things are necessary to encourage a convinced sinner to come to Christ for salvation: the one is, that he is able to save; the other is, that he is willing.

That he is able to save, few comparatively doubt. And who can doubt at all, if he believes that Christ is the great Creator of the world? For “is anything too hard for the Lord?"{Genesis 18:14} Nor is there the least reason to doubt of his goodwill to save. And yet how many are distressed with fear on this account? There are few who say-"If you can do anything, help us!"{Mark 9:22} but there are many who cry-"Lord, if you will, you can make me clean!"{Matthew 8:2} Happy the soul that comes this far. Jesus will answer, as he did of old, "I will; be clean."{Matthew 8:3} This assurance he gives us in many parts of the Scripture, but in none, so fully as in the text.

Here our Lord is speaking to a multitude of the Jews, who, having seen the miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves, followed him a great way, in hope of seeing another such miracle, and perhaps of living upon his generosity. But he exhorts them to seek the bread of life for their souls; laments their unbelief; but comforts himself in this, that all who were given to him by the Father will certainly come to him; and declares his perfect readiness to receive every coming soul.

This is indeed good news; good news of great joy to those of you who are seeking salvation, and who know that it is to be had only in Jesus; especially if your fearful hearts have been tempted to think he will not receive you. Be faithless no longer, but believing; he says, that if you come, he will never cast you out—he will on no account whatever reject or refuse you, but readily embrace you in the arms of his mercy, and give you pardon, peace, holiness, and heaven. Now, that we may clearly understand this, and get the full comfort of it, let us consider,

I. What is meant by coming to Christ, and,

II. The encouragement held out in our text to all comers.

I. What is meant by coming to Christ. Clearly this cannot mean coming to him with our bodies. This is now impossible; for the heavens have received him out of our sight; and though his divine presence is everywhere, his glorified body is only in heaven. And even were he on earth, as he once was, coming to him with our bodies only would be of no use, as appears later in this chapter where he says to the people who were round about him-"You have seen me and yet do not believe."{John 6:36} Nor is it merely coming to his house, where he is preached; nor to his table, where he is set forth. Many do all this, who are none the nearer to Christ.{Ezekiel 33:31}

But this coming is to be understood spiritually; it is the coming of the heart; it is the motion of the mind; it is "the flight of the soul to Christ." It is therefore much the same as believing in Christ; "Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst;"{John 6:35} the same person is intended, and the same act of the mind.

But you will observe, that such a comer to Christ is convinced of his sin and danger, and comes to Christ for help; just as it is said by the prophet Isaiah, the “great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost... will come."{Isaiah 27:13} No man will go and beg for bread until he is constrained by need. The prodigal son never said, "I will arise, and go to my father,"{Luke 15:18} until he was ready to perish with hunger. It is a sense of sin and a fear of hell, together with a hope of mercy, that drives a man to come to Christ; for he himself declares, when speaking to the Jews, "You refuse to come to me that you may have life."{John 5:40} Life, you see, is what a sinner must come for; the life of his soul, for he now sees that he is exposed by sin to eternal death. Now, "all that a man has, he will give for his life."{Job 2:4} When this is in danger, he will be in earnest; he will be in haste; and the language of the coming sinner is-"What shall I do to be safe?"—"Lord, save, or I perish!"

This coming of his soul to Christ supposes faith. No man can come to him until he has heard of him; and no man can hear of him but by the Gospel. Now the Gospel means good news. The Gospel tells us that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;"{1 Timothy 1:15} that he "came to seek and to save the lost:"{Luke 19:10} that "the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin."{1 John 1:7} The Gospel also calls and invites poor sinners to apply to Jesus, that they may have life. For instance, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."{Matthew 11:28}

Now the sinner hears these gracious words. The Holy Spirit gives him light to understand them. He mixes faith with them. He believes them to be true. Now, he cannot believe these things without being affected with them; without having a desire to be interested in them. If he is persuaded of the freeness, fullness, and suitableness of the salvation that is in Christ, his thoughts will often turn to this; his affections will be moved; in other words, he comes to Christ, his mind runs to him for refuge, and there it rests.

Now this application of the soul to Jesus has a respect to the various offices and characters which he assumes for our salvation. For instance. Is he called a Savior, that is, a deliverer? the soul desires and hopes for deliverance from sin and hell by him alone. Is he a Prophet? the soul, sensible of its woeful ignorance, comes to him, with a humble teachable spirit, to be taught and made wise to salvation. Is he a Physician? the convinced sinner, sick to death of sin, eagerly applies to him for health and cure. Is he a Priest? the sinner, longing for pardoning mercy, depends alone upon the merit of his sacrifice. Is he a King? the soul, heartily weary of Satan's tyranny, willingly submits to his mild government, and relies on his heavenly protection. In a word, he "receives Christ Jesus the Lord," as offered to him in the Gospel.

Here let us stop a moment, and consider a question. We have been told what believing is; what coming to Christ is; now the urgent question is, Do we come to Christ in this way? He that comes will be saved; but he that does not come, will not be saved. O let us not neglect this great concern! "How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"{Hebrews 2:3} Think of a dying hour. Think of the judgment day.

And O! how dreadful would it be, if Christ should say to any one of us—"Wretched creature, ruined sinner, your destruction lies at your own door! You were told of your danger; you were invited to believe in me; you were assured, that if you came to me, I would save you; but you refused; you would not come to me, that you might have life. Perish therefore. Perish without pity. Perish without remedy!" God forbid that we should hear such dreadful words! rather let us, one and all, this very moment, run, in the wishes and desires of our hearts, to this compassionate Friend of sinners.

But perhaps there are some here who earnestly desire to be saved, yet their hearts are full of fear that they might be rejected. They have such a sight of the greatness of their sins—of their ignorance—of their unworthiness—of the wickedness of their hearts, that they are afraid to come, lest the Lord should cast them out.

This is a very common case. You must think that scarcely anyone feels and fears as you do. Were you to talk with serious persons in general, you would find that almost all of them, especially at first, have had the very same fears, and have been so much distressed at times, that they were almost in despair. Jesus Christ knew beforehand that this would be the case; and he therefore graciously spoke these kind and encouraging words, on purpose to comfort poor, doubting, trembling, coming sinners—"Whoever comes to me I will never cast out." That we may take the comfort of these precious words, let us,

II. Consider the encouragement held out in the text to all comers; To every single one who comes—"whoever comes;" let him be who he may: high or low: rich or poor: young or old: learned or ignorant: indeed, even great sinners; the chief of sinners; all who come will be welcome. Great sinners need great encouragement; and here they have it. What more encouraging words could have been spoken to the distressed sinner?

Many are afraid that there is something peculiar in their case; something, on account of which they will certainly be cast out: but our gracious Lord, who well knew what timid creatures his people are, has provided in these words an effective antidote to their fears. This word, Whoever, takes in all sorts of persons, in all ages and places: all sorts of sinners, even the greatest: it includes liars, drunkards, harlots, thieves, murderers, and all other kinds and degrees of sinners whomsoever.

If any doubt of the truth of this, let them turn to the following texts: Isaiah 1:18. Matthew 12:31. Matthew 21:31. Mark 16:15, 16. Acts 13:39.

Only let them come, they will be received; no difficulties made; no objections started: whatever they have been, whatever they have done, they will not be cast out. Even more, Jesus says—“I will never cast him out." I will not by any means, or on any account whatsoever, let it be what it may, cast him out: though he may deserve it: though he may dread it; let him take my word for it. I will receive and embrace him; I will show him all the mercy he needs, for pardon, peace, and holiness: I will save him forever.

Such is the meaning of these most glorious words. And this might be enough, were it not that sinners, who are coming to Christ, have many fears and objections, and can scarcely be persuaded of this truth: it seems too great and too good to be true, at least as applied to them, who see their unworthiness and feel their guilt. For the greater encouragement, then, of such trembling souls, let us attend to a few considerations, from which it will appear, that Jesus Christ will heartily welcome every coming sinner.

1. Consider the gracious nature, the kind disposition of Christ towards sinners.

"God is love." Jesus is love incarnate. He is the God of love in human nature. "His heart is made of tenderness, it melts with love." We are to remember that he is the brother of our nature. Because we are flesh and blood, he became such, that he might be a merciful high-priest, and, through death, abolish death.{Hebrews 2:14, 17} "You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich."{2 Corinthians 8:9} Had he not loved sinners, he had never forsaken the throne of heavenly glory; condescended to be born of a poor virgin; to be laid in a manger; to be always a man of sorrows, labors, and sufferings; to endure the contradiction of sinners against himself; and, after all, to be betrayed, falsely accused, scourged, struck, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross. Who, that considers this, can doubt whether Jesus loves sinners?

The names of Christ, both in the Old and New Testament, point out his gracious nature. Simeon waited for the consolation of Israel.{Luke 2:25} Now, if Jesus did not have a gracious heart, his appearance in the world would have been no consolation to sinful men. The prophet Isaiah says, "He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young."{Isaiah 40:11}

Jesus is this good and gracious shepherd, who even laid down his life for the sheep; who feeds them in his pleasant pastures, and guards them with his almighty hand. He is the tender and skillful Physician, who heals the sick, disordered, and dying souls: who never refuses a patient, nor fails in the most desperate case. He is the Good Samaritan, who pities and helps the wounded and dying traveler, neglected and forsaken of men. He is the Husband of his church, a name that implies tender care and a kind affection; and whose love is the pattern for mortals to imitate. In short, he is, as his enemies reproachfully said, the Friend of sinners; not of sin, as they pretended, but that best of friends, who "delivers us from our sins."

2. Consider the Office of Christ, as another argument to prove his readiness to receive a coming sinner.

Jesus Christ, as touching his godhead, is equal with the Father; but he condescended to become a servant for our salvation. As such he often speaks of being "sent;"{Matthew 10:40, Luke 4:18, John 4:34...} and of doing "not his own will, but the will of his Father."{John 6:38} And what, do you think, is the will of the Father! “This," says Jesus, “is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.”{John 6:39-40} Jesus Christ is "the Apostle and High-Priest of our confession."{Hebrews 3:1}

The high-priest was an officer of the Jewish church, whose business it was to offer gifts and sacrifices; it was necessary for him to be tenderhearted to the ignorant, and those who were out of the way, and to be faithful to God and man. Thus Jesus, our great High-Priest, is compassionate; is able "to sympathize with our weaknesses; in every respect was tempted as we are; and being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him."{Hebrews 4:15, 5:9}

Now it is the office and business of Jesus Christ to save sinners. The high-priest of old had nothing to do but with sinners. It was an office on purpose for sinners; and this was the only errand of Christ to our world. He came "not to condemn the world:”{John 3:17} he declined anything of that sort; he came only to save. And as to proud, self-righteous people, he had nothing to do with them; for he did “not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."{Luke 5:32}

Look then upon Jesus, as a public officer, appointed by divine authority to dispense mercy and pardon to every sinner who comes to him; to everyone who comes to God for mercy through him. As it is the duty of a judge to dispense the laws, and do justice between man and man; or as it is the duty of the physician of a hospital to take care of all the sick who are in it; so it is the gracious office of the Lord Jesus to dispense mercy, pardon, grace, life, and salvation, to all who apply to him; and were it possible, which it is not, that the blessed Jesus should refuse and reject one sinner who comes to him for life, he would be unfaithful; but this can never be; we have his word for it in the text, "whoever comes to me I will never cast out."

3. Consider, once more, the gracious conduct and behavior of our Savior when he was on earth.

"He went about doing good."{Acts 10:38} And who were the objects of his attention? Were they the princes and rulers, the rich and prosperous, the wise and learned? No. These, in general, despised and rejected him. He turned his attention to the poor and needy, the sick and miserable; indeed, to tax collectors and harlots, that he might reclaim and save them. This was his reproach—"a friend of sinners."{Luke 7:34}

Did he see a multitude of ignorant people following him for instruction? How did he exert himself in teaching them; in houses, in synagogues, in the temple, in a ship, on a mountain! How plainly, how movingly, how forcibly did he lead them into divine knowledge! Nor did he forget their bodies. Were they hungry, and ready to faint? he had compassion on them, and worked miracles to supply them with food. See also what vast numbers of diseased persons apply to him; the blind; the deaf; the dumb; the diseased with fever, leprosy, palsy; and others possessed with the devil; he heals them all. You never read of one poor, sick, miserable creature that he rejected; if they came, they were welcome: he never sent them away disappointed, and do you think he will show less pity to the sorrows of the mind, to the diseases of the soul? Surely not; for the salvation of one soul is more precious than all the thousands of bodily cures he effected upon earth. Every man and woman that Christ healed, died at last; but he whom Jesus saved shall "not perish but have eternal life."{John 3:16} And yet this, great as it is, is as easy to him as to say to a leper, Be clean. Only come to him, and he will at once say, Be saved.

Remember, too, what a kind attention Jesus paid to mourning sinners. Remember the penitent harlot in the Pharisee's house: she came behind him, and washed his feet with penitential tears: she was despised by the Pharisee, because she had been a great sinner; but Christ speaks kindly to her, and says, "Your sins are forgiven."{Luke 7:48} Remember what he said to another great sinner, the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar—"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”{John 4:10}—If you knew the worth of salvation, and would ask it of Christ, you should have it; and he says the very same to us: "If you knew the value of my salvation, felt your need of it, and would apply to me for it, you should not be denied."

Remember, how Jesus mourned and wept, when hardened sinners were about to perish in their unbelief; remember how he wept to think of Jerusalem's approaching destruction. Remember, too, how he rejoiced at the prospect of a sinner's salvation. Though he was a man of sorrows, this filled him with joy; and can you doubt, after all this, whether Jesus will receive you or not: Do not be faithless, but believing. Do not stagger at this precious promise through unbelief; but be strong in faith, glorifying God.


From what has been said, we may learn what an important thing it is to come to Christ. We are all, by nature, at an awful distance; and "they that are far from him," if they die in that state, "shall perish."{Psalm 73:27} This then is the first and most important thing in religion, to come to Christ; that is, so to believe the Gospel, as to apply in heart and mind to him for salvation. It is not enough to come to church, or come to meetings, or come to sacraments; all is for nothing, if we do not come to Christ: for salvation is to be had of none but Christ, and not of him neither, without coming for it.

Come then, if you have never come before. You will have heaven if you come; hell must be your portion if you do not come. Pray to God to draw you. "Draw me after you," says the church, "let us run."{Song of Solomon 1:4} Come quickly. You may be less disposed to come tomorrow; Indeed, tomorrow itself may never come to you.

Consider these encouraging words of Christ. "Come to me," said Jesus, "for I am gentle and lowly in heart."{Matthew 11:28, 29} You need not be afraid to come, for he says, and you may believe him, "whoever comes to me I will never cast out." Don’t make excuses. Do not say, I am ignorant. Come to him, and he will teach you. Do not say, I have a hard heart. Come to him, and he will soften it. Do not say, I have a corrupt heart. Come to him, and he will sanctify it. Do not say, I am a great sinner—this is the very reason why you should come. "This man receives sinners;"{Luke 15:2} he came on purpose to save them, and invites you to come, that he may save you. Do not foolishly think, first to make yourselves better, and then come to him; you will never be better until you do come.

And you who have come—bless the grace that inclined you to come; that made you willing in the day of God's gracious power, and that made you welcome in the day of his wonderful mercy.

Consider what God has done! Is it not good to draw near to God? Have you not tasted that the Lord is gracious! All the way from the gate of hell where you were, to the gate of heaven, where you are going, God has strewn with flowers out of his own garden . Behold, how the promises, invitations, calls, and encouragements of the Gospel lie all around you. O keep near to your Savior; there is safety, there is peace.

Lastly, coming to Jesus, is, to every believer, a sure mark of his election. Do you sometimes fear whether your name is written in heaven; whether you are among his elect? Behold the certain proof. "All that the Father gives me will come to me."{John 6:37} Have you come to Christ? Well, then, this is the proof of your being one of those who were given to him. And in this way “confirm your calling and election;"{2 Peter 1:10} your election, by your calling. (John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him,” confirms the logic of this proof of election.)

Finally, let those who have come to Christ, by faith, rejoice to think, that in the heavenly world they will come to him in a more excellent way. "Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face:”{1 Corinthians 13:12} Faith will be changed into sight, and hope into possession. "and so we will always be with the Lord."{1 Thessalonians 4:17}