If God Draws People to Faith, Why Has God Not Drawn My Lost Family Member?

This week, Pastor J.D. answers a question submitted from Linda. She asked, “If God Draws People to Faith, Why Has God Not Drawn My Lost Family Member?”

Show Notes:

  • Linda’s question came in response to a message I preached at the Summit Church. I talked about John 6:44, Philippians 2:14, and John 1:12.
  • Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:3 that you can’t say that Jesus is Lord unless the Holy Spirit gives you the power to say that. So that leads you to the question, “Why hasn’t God done that for this person that I love or the 950 million people in India?”
  • This conversation has rules. Think of it like CrossFit. You have to obey the rules—otherwise when you start lifting heavy weights you’re going to get hurt. I want you to walk with me through them because I think they will help.
    • A lot of this was systematized by John Calvin. I’ve always thought it was helpful that John Calvin identified his favorite verse as Deuteronomy 29:29. It says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that have been revealed belong to us and our children forever.”
    • What this shows you is that there are secret things when it comes to theology and there are revealed things. The revealed things are where you and I live—they belong to us.
    • So we have to ask, what is revealed about God’s desire for us to be saved? The first thing that is revealed is what we said right at the beginning: If you came to Jesus, it’s because he drew you.
      • There’s simply no way to read the verses of the New Testament and not see that if you came to Jesus it’s because he put that desire in you and he drew you to himself. That is what is revealed.
      • There’s another thing that’s revealed in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
        • So when I think about my family member that needs Jesus, I’m thinking about 1 Timothy 2:4. I’m saying “Lord, you’ve told me your desire for them to be saved. YOu’ve told me that my prayers make a difference. You’ve told me that you will bless me and generations after me and Lord I’m bringing those promises to you to be revealed.”
  • In my mind, I don’t see how that and the truth that for someone to come to Jesus, God has to draw them to himself, I don’t how those two things can coexist in the same universe honestly. It seems like one cancels out the other, but Scripture presents both of them.
    • We have to accept that people only come to Jesus because God draws them and God desires all people to be saved.
  • I know some of you want a resolution on this.
    • Well what if this was a secret thing that John Calvin was talking about?
  • What I want to emphasize to you is that you have to play by the rules. When it comes to think about your own future, your own salvation, that’s where you’re supposed to bring those calvinistic verses in. Those verses are supposed to bring assurance.
    • And when it comes to thinking about the lost, I apply the second one of those: that he desires all to be saved and prayer actually matters.
  • One more thing to ask yourself, what if God’s sovereignty was to put me in this situation and to raise the concern in my heart about this person so that I will pray? What if that is his sovereignty expressed? I say that because of a story in Exodus 34 where Moses prays and as a result, God changed his mind. But then Exodus 34 goes on to say God won’t change his mind. When you put it all together you realize that God was the one who put Moses in the situation where he could see what was happening with the children of Israel, so that he would come to God to bring the request that would “change his mind.” In other words, God put Moses in a place to ask the question that would give God the opportunity to do what he wanted to do all along.
  • So what if these people that are in my life who need God, what if the impulse to pray and share is God sovereignly moving in me so that they can hear and be saved?
  • So here’s my final answer to Linda’s question: Applying the rules and the revealed things of Scriptures means this—you can trust that God is drawing them. You can trust that if they’re not coming, Jesus is lamenting it. You can trust that your prayers are changing things and God desires for them to be saved. He is going to work on your behalf. Don’t get stuck in the secret things.

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