| NOT A WORD OF CHRIST SHALL EVER FAIL |
NOT A WORD OF CHRIST SHALL EVER FAIL
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away." Matt. 24: 35.
JESUS CHRIST here asserts that His words are more stable and enduring than heaven or earth: that while heaven and earth shall pass away, His word shall not pass away. When we consider the position that Jesus Christ occupied when He made this extraordinary claim, it appears absurd in the extreme. He was an uneducated artisan of an obscure and despised people. Furthermore, it was only a few days before His crucifixion. The man who uttered these words in less than a week was to be the butt of the scorn and ridicule of jeering mobs as He ended His life as a condemned malefactor on a gibbet, only a short walk from where He was now speaking. If these words spoken by such a man, at such a time, prove true, then He must be more than appears at first sight. Indeed, He must be as He claimed to be, Divine. Heaven and earth are God's own handiwork, and if Christ's words prove more stable than they, then He Himself must be Divine.
I. CHRIST's WORDS ARE SURE.
But these remarkable words of Christ after the lapse of more than eighteen centuries are proven to be true. This stupendous claim of Christ that not a word of His shall ever fail has been substantiated. That the words of Jesus Christ shall never pass away is proven by the tests that they have already stood.
1. First of all, the words of Jesus have stood the test of bitterest opposition. No sooner had Christ's words fallen from His lips than they were hated. They have been hated through the nearly nineteen centuries that have elapsed since they were spoken. This hatred has been most bitter, most relentless, most energetic, most skilful, most wily, most powerful, but it has been utterly ineffective. This hatred manifested itself in literary attacks upon the words of Christ, like that of Lucian the great master of satire in his day, in philosophical attacks like that of the great philosopher Porphyry, in learned attacks like that of the scholar Celsus, in physical attacks like that of the great Roman Emperor Diocletian, in which he summoned all the political and military forces of the empire with torch, and stake, and prison, and wild beast to obliterate from the pages of history the memory of Jesus Christ and His words. From those early days to this, this opposition has gone on, more than eighteen centuries of it. All the artillery of science, literature, philosophy, political intrigue, sarcasm, ridicule, worldly ambition, force, all the artillery of earth and hell, have been trained upon the words of Christ, and for centuries at a time an almost incessant cannonade has been kept up. Sometimes weak hearts have been shaken by the roar of battle, but the words of Christ have remained absolutely unshaken. There has not been one single stone dislodged from these fortifications. Words that can come out of eighteen centuries of such experience as that unscathed, unscarred, unmarred, will stand forever. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the words of Christ shall not pass away.
2. In the next place, Christ's words have not only stood the test of bitter opposition, but they have also stood the test of time. The test of time is a severe test of men's utterances. What seemed like wisdom when uttered a few years ago is seen to-day to be consummate folly. Ptolemy was by far the greatest astronomer of antiquity, and his utterances were considered the sum of all wisdom, but they have not stood the test of time, and his theories are to-day the laughing-stock of the schoolroom. What is true of the words of Ptolemy is true of all other books of the past but one; they are outgrown, but the utterances of Jesus Christ are not outgrown, they are as precious to-day as in that long-ago time when they were first spoken. They are as perfectly applicable to present-day needs as to the needs of that day. They contain the solution of all modern individual and social problems; they have perpetual youth. There is not one single point at which the teachings of Jesus Christ have been outgrown or become antiquated. The human mind has been expanding for more than eighteen centuries since Jesus Christ spoke here on earth, but it has not outgrown Him. Words that can endure eighteen centuries of growth and still prove as thoroughly adequate to meet the needs of the race and each member of it as when first given will stand forever. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the words of Jesus Christ shall not pass away.
Let me say in passing that in the light of history it is nothing short of preposterous, and even ludicrous, to hear men put forward the claims of the newly hatched philosophies of a day against the utterances of Jesus Christ that have stood the test of more than eighteen centuries, especially in view of the well-known fact that just such philosophies, full of self-confidence, have appeared by the thousands in the past, and after a brief day of notoriety have flashed out again into the darkness from which they had so recently emerged. The history of eighteen centuries of human thought is largely a history of men who counted themselves wiser than Christ, but whom it took only a few years to prove utter fools.
3. The words of Christ have stood a third test, the test of rigid scrutiny. No other words have ever been so examined, scrutinized, analyzed, pulled to pieces, subjected to the most minute, microscopic and unsparing examination, as have the words of Christ. They have undergone eighteen centuries of scrutiny, and what is the result?
a. The first result is, not one single flaw has been discovered. What would not men give to find one real flaw in the words of Jesus? What would not Ingersoll have given in his day? What would not some of our liberal teachers who would like to set themselves up by putting Jesus Christ down, give? What would not some of our professedly orthodox preachers, who care far more for a petty reputation for originality and advanced scholarship than they do for the untarnished splendour of the Son of God, give? They have searched for a flaw generation after generation of the enemies of Christ. One generation failing to find such a flaw has bequeathed the search to another, and this search has gone on for more than eighteen centuries with the best microscopes that could be devised, and the search has failed, utterly failed. The words of Jesus stand out absolutely flawless. The words that have stood eighteen centuries of such scrutiny will stand forever. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the words of Jesus Christ shall not pass away.
b. But there is a second result of this scrutiny: the words of Christ have not only proven themselves flawless, but inexhaustible. These eighteen centuries
have not only been centuries of scrutiny, they have also been centuries of profound, earnest, and honest study as well. Men have dug and dug for eighteen centuries into this mine of precious metal that they have found in the words of Christ. Thousands and tens of thousands have dug and the mine has proven absolutely inexhaustible. There is more for the new miner that comes to-day than there was for the first digger. Eighteen centuries of digging and discovery and no hint of touching the bottom of the mine. The bottom is farther off than ever. The mine that has endured eighteen centuries of such digging and not given out never will give out. With the confidence born of eighteen centuries of experience, we can shout, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the words of Jesus shall not pass away."
4. The words of Jesus Christ have stood another test, the test of history, measuring the accuracy of His prophecies. Jesus Christ was a prophet. He undertook to tell the things that were to be. History is the touchstone of prophecy. The prophet who is not of God falls before the test of history, but Jesus Christ stands. Jesus Christ, while Jerusalem and the temple were still standing in their pride, magnificence and seeming security, foretold that the armies of Rome would come and besiege the city, that there would be a siege of such horror as was absolutely unparalleled in history; that not one stone should be left upon another, and that for long periods of time to come Jerusalem would be trodden under foot of the Gentiles. So it has come to pass to the letter, and so it is being fulfilled even to our day. Jesus foretold that the Jew, though crushed, scattered throughout the earth, subjected to unparalleled tyranny, would preserve his race identity until the Christ should come again. Centuries have rolled on, nations have arisen, fallen, been obliterated and forgotten, the Jew has not had a foothold anywhere for centuries, yet the Jew retains his race identity to this day as perfectly as he possessed it in the first century. It is the miracle of history, and the words of Christ stand. Jesus Christ predicted furthermore that the little church He was founding of obscure men in that obscure corner of the earth would spread throughout the earth until the nations of the earth took shelter under the branches thereof. The prediction seemed utterly wild and preposterous, but it has come true. The words of Christ have stood the test of history. He predicted furthermore that His church having spread thus outwardly, corruption would begin inwardly and that this corruption would spread "until all was leavened." It was a passing strange prediction to make about one's own kingdom, but it has been fulfilled to the letter. The apparently preposterous and impossible words of Christ have stood the test of more than eighteen centuries of history. The words of prophecy that can stand the rigid test of eighteen centuries of history will stand forever. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but Christ's words shall not pass away.
5. The words of Christ have stood the test of more than eighteen centuries of practical application. Through these more than eighteen centuries men and women have had these words of Christ before them to live by if they would, and thousands and tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, have decided that they would. Men and women have tested the words of Christ, His promises, His moral precepts, His commandments, His warnings, in all the relations of life. They have tested His promises and His precepts in the home, they have tested them in the church life, in the place of business ; they have tested them in prosperity and in adversity ; they have tested them in sick ness and in health ; they have tested them in the joys of peace, and in the horrors of war ; they have tested them in life, and when face to face with death; they have tested them in the sweet fullness of the unbroken family circle, and in the desolation when every earthly friend has been taken away. For eighteen centuries men have tested these words of Christ from the cradle to the grave, and the words of Christ have stood the test. They never fail, they never will fail. In all, these words of Christ have stood millions upon millions of tests and not one single case of failure. What may we say then without the shadow of the shade of a doubt? Not one word of Christ shall ever fail.
Heaven and earth shall pass away but the words of Jesus Christ shall not pass away.
If there is anything absolutely sure it is the words of Jesus Christ. Heaven and earth may pass away, they are material and subject to the changes and decay that are always going on in matter. They have stood for ages, but they will not always stand. There was a time, as both the Bible and science tell us, when the heavens and earth did not exist, and there will be a time when they do not continue to exist in their present form; but Christ's words are spiritual not material, unchanging not changing, eternal not temporal, and while the endless ages of eternity roll on they will still endure. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the words of Jesus Christ shall not pass away.
II. SOME OTHER THINGS THAT ARE SURE ALSO.
We see that Christ's words are absolutely sure. Not one word of His shall ever fail. But, if Jesus Christ's words are sure, some other things are sure also.
1. It is sure that there is a future eternal heaven and eternal hell. This, Jesus Christ plainly declares. The doctrines of an eternal heaven and an eternal hell are not speculations of the theologians, but proclamations of the Son of God. Jesus says that at His coming again all nations then living on the earth shall be gathered before Him and He shall separate them one from the other as a shepherd separateth his sheep from the goats, and that He shall set the sheep on His right hand and the goats to the left, and of those on the left hand He says, "These shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life." (Matt. 25:31-34, 41, 46.) Remember that these are not the words of some antiquated, mediaeval, bigoted theologian, they are the words of the Son of God, the words of Him not one word of whom shall ever fail.
2. It is sure again that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ shall receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life, no matter how greatly nor how long he may have sinned. Jesus says that He "has power on earth to forgive sins" (Mark 2: 10). He says again, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up : that whosoever believeth in Him may have eternal life" (John 3: 14, 15). These words seem incredible. They seem
too good to be true, but Jesus Christ is the speaker and not one word of His shall ever fail. The heavens and the earth shall pass away, but His words shall not pass away. This statement that there is pardon and eternal life for anyone who will believe in Jesus Christ is absolutely sure. Is there anyone here to
night who is heartily sick of sin, and heartily tired of death? Come, believe on Jesus Christ arid be saved and get pardon and eternal life to-night.
3. It is sure again that no one who rejects Jesus Christ shall see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon him. Men do not like that doctrine. They like to
think they can reject Jesus Christ and yet be saved by their imagined morality, or in some other way. There is absolutely no foundation for such a hope.
It is not the doctrine of "fierce old John Calvin" nor of "bigoted Jonathan Edwards," it is the declaration of Jesus Christ, who says in John 3 : 18, 19, "He that believeth on Him is not condemned. But he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation that light is come into the world and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." He says again in the 14th and 15th verses of the same chapter, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness: even so must the Son of man be lifted up : that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life," the unmistakable implication of which is that the one who does not believe shall perish, no matter what else he may do, and John sums up the teaching of the Lord Jesus on this point by saying, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him." Before you dare question the statement to your own eternal ruin, remember who makes it, the One not one of whose words shall ever fail.
4. There is another thing that is absolutely sure, it is sure that if a man is not born again he shall not enter into the kingdom of God. This is the word of Jesus Christ who says in John 3 : 3, 5, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. And again, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. It becomes a matter of tremendous importance to each one of us that we know whether we have been born again. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but Christ's words shall not pass away, and Jesus Christ says that no one who has not been born again shall enter His Kingdom. Oh man, oh woman, have you been born again?
5. Still another thing is sure : it is sure if one seeks to be a Christian without letting the world know it, seeks to be a Christian in the privacy of his own heart, it is sure that Jesus Christ will not acknowledge such a disciple when He comes. His words on this point are very plain. He says in Mark 8 : 38, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels." And again He says in Matt. 10: 32, 33, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess
before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Your own deceitful heart may seek to make you think that you can be a Christian and not tell it. False friends may try to persuade you of the same thing, but He, not one word of whose shall ever fail, says, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His father with the holy angels." Your opinion will pass away; your friends false arguments shall pass away, heaven and earth shall pass away, but Christ's words shall not pass away.
WHEREIN THE BIBLE DIFFERS FROM ALL OTHER BOOKS
Sermon to the graduating class of Bible Institute of Los Angeles, June 25, 1916.
"The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the straw to the wheat, saith the LORD." Jer. 23:28 R.V.
THE Bible stands absolutely alone. It is an entirely unique book. All other messages compared with the message of the Bible are as chaff as compared with wheat. The attempt to compare the Bible with other books as if it were one of a class, possibly the best of the class, arises either from ignorance or thoughtlessness, or else from the fixed determination to do the Bible an injustice. We shall see this morning that there is none like it. The Bible is not a book, it is the Book. It is an often repeated incident that Sir Walter Scott, when he was dying asked his son-in-law Lockhart to read to him, and that Lockhart asked, "What book shall I read?" to which Sir Walter Scott replied, "There is but one book." Beyond a question Sir Walter Scott was right. But some one may challenge that statement that the Bible stands absolutely alone as an entirely unique book. Anyone has a perfect right to challenge the statement and demand wherein the Bible differs from all other books, and this morning I propose to take up the challenge and answer the question.
I. IN ITS DEPTH.
First of all the Bible differs from all other books in its depth. The Bible is unfathomable and inexhaustible. It is unfathomable not because of the obscurity of its style, but because of the profundity of its teaching. No other book is more simple in its style than the Bible. Its style is so simple and clear that a child can understand it, but its truth is so profound that we explore the Book from childhood to old age and can never say we have reached the bottom. However deep we may go there are always deeper depths beneath. For eighteen centuries many of the greatest minds the world has ever known have been sounding its depths, but the bottom is not yet reached. Men of the greatest possible intellectual reach and power have devoted a lifetime to the study of this book, but what man has ever dared to say or dreamed of saying, "I know now all that the Bible contains." If any man should say that he would be unanimously voted a sublime egotist or an egregious simpleton. Whole generations of scholars have devoted their lives to the study of this book, each generation having the advantage of the labours and researches and discoveries of preceding generations, but can even the latest generation say, "we have discovered it all now, there is nothing left in the Bible for the next generation to discover"? The whole human race has been unable not only to exhaust, but even to fathom this book. Well may we exclaim with the Psalmist, Thy judgments are a great deep (Ps. 36:6). The judgments of God, God's thoughts as revealed in this book, are beyond any man and beyond any generation of men. They are beyond the whole race. This Book, like God's other book, the book of nature, and unlike any book of man, is unfathomable and inexhaustible by men. This fact, if it stood alone would be sufficient proof of its Divine origin.
1. There are whole volumes of meaning in a single and apparently simple verse. A single verse of Scripture has often formed the basis upon which a literature of many volumes, both of prose and poetry, has been erected. This is true, for example, of John 3 : 16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." It is true of 1 John 4:8," God is love. " It is true of Ps. 23 : 1, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." What single utterance of any other book could be the foundation of so much thought and expression as these utterances of the Bible. Who but God could pack so many volumes into one little verse, or part of a verse?
2. The Bible is always ahead of man. The world is certainly making progress in its thinking. It is constantly leaving behind the scientists, philosophers, and sages of the past. But the world never leaves the Bible behind. It has never caught up with it. Show me a man who says he has outgrown the Bible and I will show you a man every time who is ignorant of the Bible and is talking of what he knows nothing about. Whence comes this Book which is always ahead of the age?
What other book ought to command the attention, the time, and the study that this book does, which is deeper than all other books, ahead of all other books, and ahead of every age. You study to-day the latest things in science and it will be out of date in less than ten years, but the Bible is never out of date. It is not only up to date, but ahead of date. If you wish to be not only abreast of the times, but ahead of the times, study the Bible. Jesus was ahead of His times because He studied so much of the Bible as then existed. Paul was ahead of his times for the same reason. Huss, and Wycliff, and Luther, and John Knox, and Wesley, and Finney, and Moody were ahead of their times simply because they sought their wisdom from this book.
II. IN THE ABSOLUTE ACCURACY OF ITS STATEMENTS.
The Bible differs from other books in the second place in the absolute accuracy of its statements. The Bible is the only book that always says all that it
means to say and never says anything more than it means to say. The more rigidly one examines the Bible and the more closely he studies it, the more will
he be filled with admiration for the accuracy with which it expresses the truth. It never overstates, it never understates the truth. There is not one word. too many and not one word too few. It is the model witness: it tells "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." A very large part of man's difficulties with the Bible comes from not noting exactly what it says. Time and time again men have come to me and said, "I cannot believe this which the Bible says," and then have quoted something which they supposed the Bible said. But I have replied, "the Bible does not say that," and when we have looked it up, lo, it is some minute modification of what the Bible really says that has given rise to the difficulty. The Bible is always so absolutely exact, that I have found the best solution for very many apparent difficulties in the Bible to be to take the difficult verses precisely as they read.
III. IN ITS POWER.
In the third place the Bible differs from all other books in its power. There is perhaps no other place where the supremacy and solitariness of the Bible shines out as in its power. Col. Ingersoll once said in Chicago that the money expended in teaching the supernatural religion of the Bible was wasted, and advised the ministers to "take for a series of sermons the history of the philosophy, of the art, and the genius of the Greeks. Let him tell," he continued, "of the wondrous metaphysics, myths, and religions of India and Egypt. Let him make his congregation conversant with the philosophies of the world, with the great thinkers, the great poets, the great artists, the great inventors, the captains of industry, and the soldiers of progress." This suggested scheme of Col. Ingersoll's was no new scheme, it has been tried over and over again, and I challenge any man who has eyes and is honest to say that the pulpits that have tried it have the power to elevate, save and gladden, that the pulpits have that preach the supernatural religion of the old Bible. The man who thus talks is either talking about something of which he has made no thorough and candid study, or else he is deliberately shutting his eyes to very evident facts. In either case he is playing the hypocrite in posing as a teacher.
In what directions does the Bible show a power that no other book or books possess ?
1. First of all, in its saving power. Does it need any proof that the Bible has a saving power that no other book possesses, and that all other books together do not possess?
a. The Bible has a unique saving power in individual lives. What book or books can match the Bible's record of men and women saved from sin and vice in
all their forms, saved from drunkenness, drugs, lust, greed, ruffianism, barbarism, meanness, selfishness, by the power of this Book? Worthless sots transformed into honest citizens and fathers; degraded prostitutes transformed into holy women of God; savages who drank blood from human skulls transformed into noble lovers of friends and foes; murderers transformed into ministering angels. Single verses of this book have more saving power than all other books put together. John 3:16 has saved more men from sin to holiness, from degradation to honour, from bondage to the Devil to sonship of God, than all books outside of the Bible. Try and account for it as you may, the fact stands and does not admit of a moment's honest denial or question.
b. But the saving power of the Bible is not limited to the lives of individuals. It has saving power in national life. Try to obscure the fact as you may, all that is best in America, Germany, and England is due to this Book, and in our own day nations have been lifted out of savagery into Christian civilization by this book. If this Book had been heeded the awful cataclysm of war that is devastating Germany, France and England to-day would have been avoided. The undermining of faith in this Book is the real cause of the present murderous war with all its unspeakable and immeasurable calamities, atrocities and horrors.
2. But the Bible has not only a saving power that no other book possesses, it has also a comforting power that no other book possesses. What book like this can stay the human heart in sickness and adversity, and comfort it in the bereavement that takes from us the light of our eyes and the joy of our homes. There is no heart wound for which the Bible has not a balsam. I hold in my hand a New Testament that is very precious to me because it was the gift of my mother to my grandmother, my father's mother, which was the stay of her life in her closing years. On the title-page of his Bible is written in my mother's hand, "Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal." This is true, but thank God something better is true, and that is, earth has no sorrows that the Bible cannot heal even in the life that now is.
3. Furthermore, the Bible has a joy-giving power no other book possesses. There is no other joy so great, so exceeding, so overflowing, and so enduring as those know who study and discover the truth contained in this Book. This is a fact that any of you can discover by observation, and better yet, that all of you can know if you will by blessed experience. There are many who have sought joy wherever it was to be found, in pleasure, in study, and in sin, and have at last found a joy in the Bible they found nowhere else. There is a countless multitude who have been lifted out of awful depths of despair into lofty heights of unutterable joy by the truths this Book contains, and the speaker of this morning is one of them.
4. The Bible has a wisdom-giving power that no other book possesses. "The entrance of thy words giveth light." (Ps. 119 : 130.) I have known people of very meagre educational advantages but who have studied the Bible, who have more wisdom in the things of greatest practical and eternal import than many very learned men who have neglected this Book of matchless wisdom.
5. The Bible has a courage-giving power no other book possesses. No other book has made so many and such peerless heroes, it has made them too out of most unpromising stuff. It has transformed beardless boys and tender maidens into heroes.
6. The Bible has a power to inspire activity that no other book possesses. It makes lazy men industrious; half alive men fully alive. There are said to be but two things of which a professional tramp is afraid, water and work, but I have seen the very tramp from whom I got this information transformed into a man of untiring industry by the matchless teaching of this Book.
IV. IN ITS UNIVERSAL ADAPTABILITY.
The Bible differs from all other books in its universal adaptability. Other books fit certain classes or certain types, or certain races of men, but the Bible fits men universally.
1. It fits all nations. No nation has ever been discovered that the Bible does not fit. Charles Darwin, the greatest naturalist of his day, thought he had discovered in the Terra del Fuegans a people the Bible would not fit, and frankly stated that missionary work among them would be in vain. His exact words written after his visit to Patagonia were, "Nothing can be done by mission work ; all the pains bestowed upon the natives will be thrown away, they never can be civilized." But more humble believers in the universal adaptation of the Bible and the gospel it contains thought differently, and proved their faith and so thoroughly convinced Charles Darwin by facts of his mistake, that he became a regular subscriber to the funds of the society they represented.
2. The Bible not only fits all nations, but it fits all ages. It is the child's book, the young man's book, the book of the middle-aged, and the book of the old.
3. The Bible fits all classes. It fits the poor and it fits the rich. It fits the palace and it fits the garret. It fits the learned and it fits the ignorant. It fits the nobleman and it fits the peasant. It fits Gladstone, and James D. Dana, and Eomanes, and Neander, and it fits the man so illiterate that he can scarce spell out its words.
4. The Bible fits all experiences. It is the book for the hour of gladness, and the book for the hour of sadness ; the book for the day of victory, and the book for the day of defeat; the book for the day in which we have achieved the greatest moral triumph, and for the day when we have fallen deepest into sin; the book for the day of clearest faith, and the book for the day of darkest doubt; the book for the wedding day and the book for the day of funerals. There is not an experience in life wherein the Bible does not have the message which we most need. To that fact there are tens of thousands of people of all classes in many nations ready to testify. The testimony is from such a host of witnesses and such competent witnesses that the only one who can doubt it is the man who is bound he won't believe.
V. IN ITS HISTORY.
The Bible differs from every other book in its history.
1. The Bible lias been hated as no other book. No book has ever aroused the animosity of men of all classes as the Bible has. The Bible has been hated by rich men and it has been hated by poor men. It has been hated by the scholar and it has been hated by the fool. It has been hated by common people and it has been hated by rulers, governors, and kings. No other book has so aroused the bitterest antagonism. Men of seeming moderation and kindness of heart have been aroused to such a pitch of hatred by the Bible that they became murderers and torturers of men, women, and children; for example, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Even in our own day kind fathers and tender husbands have been moved by hatred of this Book to brutal treatment of children and of wives who have
been led to accept the truth it contains.
2. It has been loved as no other book. If it has been intensely hated it has still more been intensely loved, loved by all classes, loved by the rich and loved by the poor; loved by the illiterate and loved by the greatest scholars the world has ever known; loved by men digging in the ditch, and loved by men ruling on a throne. Men, women and tender children have gladly laid down their lives for this Book.
3. It has been victorious as no other book. Though the Bible has been so bitterly hated and so vigorously assaulted, it has come off a complete victor. Centuries of assault have served only to prove its indestructibility and confirm its power. Celsus, Porphyry, Lucian, Diocletian, Voltaire, Volney, Hume, Tom Paine, Wellhausen, Graf, Kiihnen, Cheyne, and an innumerable host have trained their mighty guns against this Book. They have brought to bear against it all the powers of science, philosophy, literary criticism, ridicule, force, political and military power, and every other form of power that they possessed, and all their assaults have come to nothing. The Bible has come off a complete victor in every conflict. Anyone who will take the pains to consult history will have no doubts as to the outcome of the present attacks upon the Bible. Individuals of the past have talked just as boastingly of what they would do with the Bible in a few years as do the individuals of to-day, and with far more show of reason. But their confident boasts proved empty and futile and as we recall them now in the light of the established facts of subsequent his tory they only move us to a pitying smile. Voltaire is dead and forgotten, but the Bible is still alive and marching on. Attacks on the Bible may do injury to a few weak individuals, principally callow young men and romantic young maidens in high schools, colleges and universities, who allow themselves to be thus robbed of the saving, comforting, joy-giving, ennobling power there is in the Bible, but they do not hurt the cause of truth, for they but prove anew the Divine indestructibility of the imperishable Book of God.
VI. IN ITS AUTHORSHIP.
Finally, the Book differs from every other book in its authorship. Other books are men's books. This is God's Book. Much that has already been said proves
this. Its inexhaustible depth proves it. Only an infinitely wise God can be the author of an inexhaustible book. Its absolute accuracy proves it. Men understate or overstate: God alone always states things just as they are. Its Divine power proves it. Only a book that comes down from God can lift men up to God as this Book does. Its universal adaptability proves it. Only the Creator of all men can make a book that is fitted to all men and every need of these men. Its history proves it. Only God can make a book so indestructible against assault, against human reasoning, and human philosophy as this. An omnipotent book must have an omnipotent author. There are many other facts about this Book that prove its Divine authorship, but these are enough. There is evidently a certain Infinite character about this Book that points unmistakably to the Infinite character of its author. What this Book says God says, and whoever speaks according to this Book speaks the message of God and God speaks through him. He is God's mouthpiece.
- R.A. Torrey
| 2012/2/12 12:40|
| Re: NOT A WORD OF CHRIST SHALL EVER FAIL |
Sister the Word did not become a book to be discussed, debated, or pondered. But the Word became a Person to be followed, loved, and enjoyed.
The Word is Jesus himself who lives in us. Not the Bibke.
I have amplified more on this in my thread on What is meant by the Word?
| 2012/2/12 12:56|
| Re: NOT A WORD OF CHRIST SHALL EVER FAIL |
The Savior or the Scriptures?
Throughout history men have fallen into one extreme view or another. This is as true in the spiritual realm as in every other realm of life. Instead of maintaining a balance of truth, we follow one truth to the neglect of an equally valid truth. Others, in reaction, may focus their attention on the neglected truth but thereby fail to give proper attention to the truth that others have wrongly made their exclusive concern. Let us explore how a proper balance has been violated in regard to two equally important and vital truths.
Our Focus on Jesus Personally:
The Lord Jesus declared, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). (Unless otherwise noted, the New American Standard Bible is used.) Jesus Himself is the focus of our faith, our life, and our discipleship. Again and again, Christ drew our attention to Himself Personally:
· "I am the door of the sheep" (John 10:7).
· "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11).
· "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25).
· "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).
· "I am the true vine" (John 15:1).
This focus on the Lord Jesus is clearly revealed in John, chapter 6. Our Lord declared, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (v. 35). Throughout this chapter, Jesus emphasized how essential it is to come to Him (vv. 44-45), behold Him (v. 40), and believe in Him (v. 40). We must even "eat His flesh" and "drink His blood" (vv. 53-56). Only through personally appropriating Him or spiritually consuming Him will we "live forever" (vv. 51,58) and "not die" (v. 50). Only through Him can we have life in ourselves (v. 53), an eternal life (v. 54) that issues in the resurrection (v. 54). Through responding to Jesus personally, particularly in His flesh and blood sacrifice, we will abide in Him and He in us (v. 56). Indeed, our entire life now and forever is utterly dependent on our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus knows that our spiritual life now and eternally is directly related to Him personally. In the words of the hymn writer, we must cry to the Lord, "Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord, my spirit pants for Thee, O living Word."["Break Thou the Bread of Life," (by Mary A. Lathbury).
Christ is the theme of the entire New Testament. Through a perusal of its pages we discover that Jesus was the object of preaching. Philip "preached Jesus" to the Ethiopian (Acts 8:35). Paul likewise declared, "I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (I Cor. 2:2). Describing his preaching to the Galatians, Paul wrote "Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified" before their very eyes (Gal. 3:1).
The New Testament writers stressed that through Jesus Himself and through our response of faith in Him, we have such blessings as redemption and forgiveness (Eph. 1:7), the promised Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:14; Eph. 1:13), reconciliation with God (Rom. 5:10-11), a heavenly inheritance (1 Pet. 1:3-4), and experience the grace of God (1 Cor. 1:4). It is quite clear that no personal merit, no good deeds, nothing within ourselves can appropriate Jesus or His salvation blessings. We can merely respond to Him in a submissive, obedient faith (Romans 3:24-25; John 3:36; Heb. 5:9). Salvation is of the Lord!
The apostle Paul was passionately devoted to the Lord Jesus after he was delivered from sin. He wrote of this devotion on many occasions: "Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him" (Phil. 3:7-9a). At another place, Paul wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20). Just as Paul saw the necessity of having this deep and rich spiritual relationship with Christ personally, so we must see and experience it. We must trust, love, know, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and abide in Him.
Our Focus on Christ's Word
There is a parallel theme in Scripture to what we have noticed above. The Word of Christ or the Word of God does not conflict with focusing our faith and life on Jesus personally but rather complements this. The Word of God itself is emphasized again and again, not in competition with Christ Jesus but as His active and powerful agent in accomplishing His saving purposes.
Notice how this underlying theme is found throughout the New Testament. Jesus said, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). We "live" (or find spiritual life) through God's word, just as we noticed above that we "live" through Jesus, the Bread of life. Furthermore, Jesus said that the "words" He spoke "are spirit and are life" (John 6:63). Later He said that if one "keeps [His] word he shall never see death" (8:51). While discussing the truth with His opponents, Jesus showed His entire devotion to God's Word with the statement: "The Scripture cannot be broken" (10:35). Jesus held the Word of God in highest esteem. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus said, in prayer to the Father, "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth" (17:17). Jesus so elevated His words that He could affirm, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35).
Not only did the Lord Jesus emphasize His Word (which was actually the Word of God), but this same theme is conveyed in the remainder of the New Testament. In the book of Acts, the apostles began to "speak the word with boldness" (4:31) and were careful not to "neglect the word of God" (6:2). The Samaritans and the Gentiles "received the word of God" (8:14; cf. 11:1). Sergius Paulus "sought to hear the word of God" (13:7) and nearly the whole city of Antioch "assembled to hear the word of God" (13:44; cf. v. 46). We also notice that "the word of God kept on spreading" (6:7) and "the word of the Lord continued to grow and be multiplied" (12:24; cf. 19:20). When Paul preached Christ to the Bereans, "they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so" (17:11).
As we continue reading, repeatedly we find references to the Word of God. In Romans, Paul uses the Scriptures, or the written Word of God, as the basis of his reasoning and argument. He frequently quotes it to end all disputes. He asks, "What does the Scripture say?" (Romans 4:3). To Paul, God's Word is inspired or God-breathed and is "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" and through the written Word "the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Scriptures give encouragement (Rom. 15:4) and lead to salvation through faith in Christ (2 Tim. 3:15). The Hebrew writer reminds us that "the word of God is living and active" and is "able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (4:12). Peter refers to "the living and abiding word of God" (1 Pet. 1:23-25).
An Unbalanced Focus on Either Christ or Christ's Word
We have noticed how the theme of Christ Jesus Himself and the theme of Christ's word (or God's word) are parallel themes that run through the entire New Testament. Both emphases are true and both are essential. We would have no faith in Christ Jesus were it not for the testimony to Him that the Scriptures bear. But we would have no Scriptures were it not for the fact that God inspired them to bear witness to His dear Son. Jesus Christ is the object of our faith and devotion-but so are the Scriptures, the written Word of God. From the time of Christ until the present age, men and women have often emphasized the one while neglecting the other.
Consider a prominent illustration of a nearly exclusive emphasis on the Scriptures alone. Even in the time of His earthly life, we find Jesus interacting with the Pharisees who were intense students of the Scriptures and of the accumulated traditions that were meant to interpret the Scriptures. Yet, very often, all of this devotion to the Scriptures merely involved a dry and academic exercise of the mind that left the Pharisees void of any real devotion to God Himself-the ultimate Author of the Scriptures that they professed to know and obey!
Jesus exposed this hypocrisy by saying to them, "I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves" (John 5:42). He said that they were hypocrites who were outwardly righteous and devoted to God but inwardly they were "full of robbery and self-indulgence . . . of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matt. 23:25,28). They worshipped and honored God with their lips but their hearts were far away from Him (Matt. 15:8-9). Although they studied the Scriptures, they did not understand them or the power of God (Matt. 22:29).
The tragedy of the Pharisees was that they seemed to be devoted to the Scriptures but in reality they closed their hearts to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life" (John 5:39-40). They searched for eternal life in the Scriptures and, in a sense, this is the very source of our knowledge of salvation and Him who gives it (2 Tim. 3:15). But the tragedy is that they went no further than this. They were unwilling to come to Christ Himself, the author and object of Scripture, that they might indeed have eternal life! The example of the Pharisees should be a warning to us of the danger of emphasizing the written Word of God while neglecting a warm and loving relationship with God through Christ Himself!
Others besides the Pharisees have had a misplaced emphasis on the text of Scripture without the needful and corresponding love for the Author of the Scriptures-the very God who inspired them! They too have stressed the importance of knowing the Scriptures. They may spend countless hours reading, studying, and meditating on the written Word of God. All of this is good-and needful. But these same people who seem to be devoted to the Bible may be spiritually dead, void of the Spirit, lacking in a love for Christ, and separated from any deep emotional response to God the Father.
We must acknowledge that most professing Christians plainly do not have a burning desire to know, love, and serve Jesus Himself. They may be like those in Ephesus who left their first love (Rev. 2:4) or they may have allowed their love to "grow cold" (Matt. 24:12). They may be similar to the Laodiceans who were lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, in their devotion to the Lord (Rev. 3:1 5-. 16). They make some form of commitment, claiming to be Christians, but their hearts are not ablaze for God! They tragically "profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him" (Tit. 1:16; cf. 1 John. 2:3-6). Although they hold to "a form of godliness," they have "denied its power" (2 Tim. 3:5). Inwardly, like the Pharisees, they are cold and devoid of spiritual life.
However, in addition, we must also observe that most professing Christians do not have a burning desire to search the Scriptures, know the Scriptures, and obey the Scriptures (John 5:39-40; Luke 8:21). They have neglected to read, study, and seek truth in the written Word of God. They have either minimized the importance of the Bible or have become entangled in their "desires for other things" that "enter in and choke the word" so that "it becomes unfruitful" (Mark 4:19). In short, they neither have a fervent devotion to glorify and love Jesus personally nor do they have a firm commitment to His Word or delight in seeking the truth of Scripture."
Christ and His Word
Christ Jesus and His Word are so intimately related and connected that if we rightly emphasize Christ we will necessarily emphasize His Word or teaching. Likewise, the Scriptures are so centered on Christ Jesus that to focus on the Word of God is to focus on Jesus in all of His glory. We cannot divide Christ from His Word that bears witness to Him.
Notice several passages that reveal this relationship quite clearly. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7). These two relationships-abiding in Christ Himself and His words abiding in us-cannot be divided. It is impossible to abide in Christ if we refuse to allow His words to abide in us. And it is impossible to have Christ's words abide in us if we refuse to abide in Him!
In another place, Jesus said, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day" (John 12:48). Judgment will come to those who reject Jesus and do not receive His words or teachings. It is not one or the other-but both.
Consider another instance. Jesus declared, "Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:34). It is not simply being ashamed of Jesus alone but also being ashamed of His words as well. Jesus is so closely related to His words that we must not separate them.
Peter could see this relationship. After the disciples of Jesus walked away from Him because His teaching was too difficult for them (John 6:60,66), Jesus asked the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" (v. 67). Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God" (vv. 68-69). He was convinced that Jesus was the Holy One of God. But he also was convinced that Jesus spoke "words of eternal life." He saw the relationship between Christ and His words-a relationship that we also need to see.
At the conclusion of His "Sermon on the Plain," Jesus said, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46). Once again we can see that there is a relationship between Jesus and His words. It is one thing to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and respond to Him personally but this is only genuine if one actually accepts what Jesus has taught and obeys it. One cannot accept the Person of Jesus while rejecting His teachings.
This intimate relationship between Christ and His words is seen very clearly in John 14. Notice how Jesus expresses this: "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me" (v. 21a). We relate to Jesus personally when we are willing to respond to His words. He continues, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word .He who does not love Me does not keep My words" (vv. 23a, 24a). It is not simply a matter of loving Jesus and disregarding His words. Nor is it a matter of obeying Jesus' words and neglecting Him. Instead, we must love Him personally as well as respecting and obeying His words.
These passages are sufficient for us to see how Christ and His Word must both be accepted. We are never justified in emphasizing Christ while neglecting His Word nor are we justified in having a preoccupation with His Word while neglecting Him personally.
Has it ever come to your attention that some of the same descriptions are given to both Christ and His Word? Notice several of these:
(a) Christ and His Word give life.
Christ: "The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live" (John 5:25b).
Word: "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life" (John 6:63).
(b) Christ and His Word will judge.
Christ: "Not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son" (John 5:22).
Word: "The word I spoke will judge him on the last day" (John 12:48).
(c) Christ and His Word save.
Christ: "Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15).
Word: "In humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls" (James 1 :21b).
(d) Christ and His Word make disciples.
Christ: "Whoever does not carry his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27).
Word: "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine" (John 8:32b).
(e) Christ and His Word are truth.
Christ: "I am... the truth" (John 14:6).
Word: "I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice" (John 18:37).
(f) Christ and His Word will prevent spiritual death.
Christ: "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die" (John 6:50).
Word: "If any one keeps My word he will never see death" (John 8:5 1).
What are we saying by these comparisons? We must conclude that these comparisons may be made because the Word of Christ is an extension of Christ Himself. Christ is revealed or manifested through His Word. Christ is so identified with His own Word that what is affirmed of Him may be affirmed of His Word. Therefore, we must never emphasize Christ to the exclusion of His Word nor must we be so engrossed in His Word that we neglect the One who gave that Word.
Christ as the Word
It is helpful for us to remember that Jesus Himself is called the "Word" (Greek, logos). John writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). He then identifies this Word: "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (v. 14). The Word became flesh and was born of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judea 2,000 years ago. The Word was God's "personal manifestation." (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, sv. "Word.") Thus, John could write, "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him" (v. 18). Christ, the "Word" has made the Father known to us (cf. NIV). Therefore, His name is declared to be "the Word of God" (Rev. 19:13), and He is called "the Word of Life" by John (1 John 1:1). He has revealed or manifested or personalized God the Father to us (cf. John 14:9-11).
Christ is the personal, living "Word" of God. But He also speaks the word of God. Jesus said, "The things which I heard from Him [God], these I speak to the world. . . . I speak these things as the Father taught Me" (John 8:26b, 28b; cf. 7:16; 8:38). In prayer to His Father, Jesus said, "Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them" (John 1 7:7-8a). He explains this more fully in this way: "I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me" (John 12:49-50). He said, "The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me" (John 14:24b; cf. v. 10).
Christ's words were God the Father's words. As we listen to Christ we are listening to God speaking to us! The one who receives Christ is receiving God and the one who receives Christ's words is receiving God's words (cf. Matt. 10:40; John 13:20). The one who rejects Christ is rejecting God and the one who rejects Christ's words is rejecting God's words (cf. Luke 10:16). This shows the sober responsibility of responding to both Christ personally as well as the words of Christ!
What Have We Seen?
We began with the observation that Christ Jesus is the theme of the Scriptures (cf. Luke 24:25-26, 44-47; John 5:38-40). The Gospels reveal His coming to earth to be the Savior of the world and show how, through His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, Jesus is the only way for people to be reconciled to God. The book of Acts shows us how Christ was preached and people responded to Him for the forgiveness of their sins. The remainder of the New Testament documents show how our faith in Him is to be manifested in our personal lives and in the body of Christ or community of believers.
We also noticed how crucial the Word of God is to our life. Through God's Word we are led to faith in Christ and nourished in our spiritual life. What we know about Christ is what we have learned from the pages of Scripture. We know the will of Christ and of God from what we see in the written Word.
We know that vast numbers of professing Christians have departed from this proper balance regarding Christ and His Word. Some have searched for a rich, deep, and meaningful relationship with Christ but have neglected the written Word of God. They have wandered into mystical experiences, emotional excesses, aberrant theology, and false teaching because they have wandered from their Scriptural moorings and have suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Perhaps some few others have diligently applied themselves to the Scriptures and academic disciplines in an attempt to please God and know His will. However, they have become lost in intellectualism or tradition or cold and heartless religion. They have failed to find a rich and real relationship with God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. Tragically, most professing Christians have taken neither of these routes. They have neither had mystical experiences through a spiritual quest nor have they become preoccupied with God's will in Scripture. They have been content to remain in a worldly and superficial form of religion.
What does God have planned for us? God our Father has reached down to us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and has made provision for our present and eternal salvation from sin, death, and eternal destruction. Those who come to God through Christ enter into a deep, rich, and fulfilling fellowship with Him and with others who are savingly related to Him as His children. This personal and corporate relationship with God in the Holy Spirit has been created, formed, and sustained by God's written revelation that we know as holy Scripture. Through God's Word we are saved, forgiven, born again, and given new life; through it we grow and are nourished in our new life; and through it we are encouraged to endure to the end. The Word of God is God's divine agent in accomplishing His purposes with men and women. We disrespect God and Christ if we neglect the Scriptures, and we disrespect the Scriptures if we neglect God and Christ who give us their Word in Scripture.
God's "Love Letters"
Let us imagine that a young man loves a girl but must be parted from her for a long period of time. Each day he writes his beloved a letter, explaining his day, aspects of his character, and describing his continued love and devotion for her. What if we discover that the girl continually receives these letters of love and carefully places them on her dresser-without opening them and without reading them? She may profess to love this young man, but we must question whether she really knows the meaning of love. Why? Because the man 's letters are extensions of himself his words reveal his heart, his mind, his character, his plans, and his dreams. His words also reveal his response toward this girl whom he loves. If the girl really loves him and receives his love, she will eagerly read each letter as soon as it arrives. She will open it expectantly, read over it receptively, search out the meaning of his words and expressions, and find deep delight in his words of love toward her! If she does not respond to his words in this way, her profession of love is in vain.
There is a lesson in this illustration for us. Christ loves us and wants us to respond to Him by responding to His Word. If we do genuinely love Christ and are devoted to Him, we will have a delight in reading, studying, discussing, listening to, and meditating on His revealed Word. If we do not respond to Him by believing His Word, loving His Word, and obeying His Word, we thereby demonstrate our lack of devotion to Him personally.
Think of it in this way. Jesus said, "The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart" (Matt. 12:34b). Christ speaks to us from what fills His heart. Therefore, we learn something of the heart and mind of our Savior by being receptive to what He has spoken-whether personally or through His chosen apostles and prophets (cf. 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Thess. 4:2; 2 Peter 3:2; 1 Thess. 2:13). Since Christ's thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways (cf. Isa. 55:8-9), the only way we can learn of His mind and heart is through what He has revealed to us. This is why it is so utterly vital that we respond in faith and love to His revealed Word. And this is also why we must respond in humble submission and total obedience to what He has make known to us in Scripture. We respond to Jesus Christ personally by responding to His Word, the Scriptures!
We must never separate what God has joined. We must never seek a relationship with God or with Christ on our own terms-through subjective revelations or mystical experiences. But neither must we fall into a cold and heartless devotion to the Scriptures that leaves us devoid of spiritual life and without a warm and vibrant fellowship with God through Christ. Paul warns, "If anyone advocates a different teaching and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the teaching conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing" (I Tim. 6:3-4a). We must have an absolute commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and we must have a like commitment to The sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Anything less than this dishonors both Christ and the Word He has given.
- Richard Hollerman
| 2012/2/12 13:56|
| Re: |
Christ is the theme of the entire New Testament.
Christ is the 'theme' of the entire Old Testament as well.
| 2012/2/12 14:14|
| Re: The Wird|
It is not the book, but about the Author of the book, Jesus. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. For sure the book testifies of Jesus. But we go to him, the Word for life and fellowship. We worship him who is the Word, not the book.
| 2012/2/12 14:18|
| Re: |
Corrie Ten Boom [just for one] wrote in a letter to the Church, that one of the Main things that will get us through what is ahead of us, as she wrote of the persecution that came to China when it began and that she believes will come to our own door one day - is to Fill our mind and spirit with His Word, while we are still able.
Amo 8:11,12 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
"Study the Scriptures" (John 5:39).
"How do you read it?" (Luke 10:26).
Next to praying there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible-reading. God has mercifully given us a book which is "able to make [us] wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). By reading that book we may learn what to believe, what to be, and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace. Happy is that man who possesses a Bible! Happier still is he who reads it! Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice!
Nevertheless it is a sorrowful fact that man has a sad ability to abuse Gods gifts. His privileges, and power, and abilities, are all ingeniously perverted to other ends than those for which they were bestowed. His speech, his imagination, his intellect, his strength, his time, his influence, his moneyinstead of being used as instruments for glorifying his Makerare generally wasted, or employed for his own selfish ends. And just as man naturally makes a bad use of his other mercies from God, so he does of the written Word. One sweeping charge may be brought against the whole of Christendom, and that charge is neglect and abuse of the Bible.
To prove this charge we have no need to look elsewhere: the proof lies at our own doors. I have no doubt that there are more Bibles in our country at this moment than there ever were since the world began. There is more Bible buyingand Bible sellingmore Bible printing and Bible distributingthan ever was since we were a nation. We see Bibles in every bookstore, Bibles of every size, price, and stylelarge Bibles, and small BiblesBibles for the rich, and Bibles for the poor. There are Bibles in almost every house in the land. But all this time I fear we are in danger of forgetting, that to "have" the Bible is one thing and to "read" it quite another.
This neglected Book is the subject about which I address the readers of this paper today. Surely it is no small thing what you are doing with the Bible. Surely, when the plague is spreading in other lands, you should search and see whether the plague-spot is on you. Give me your attention while I supply you with a few plain reasons why every one who cares for his soul ought to value the Bible highly, to study it regularly, and to make himself thoroughly acquainted with its contents.
I. In the first place, "there is no book in existence written in such a manner as the Bible."
The Bible is "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). In this respect it is utterly unlike all other writings. God taught the writers of it what to say. God put into their minds thoughts and ideas. God guided their pens in writing down those thoughts and ideas. When you read it, you are not reading the self-taught compositions of poor imperfect men like yourself, but the words of the eternal God. When you hear it, you are not listening to the erring opinions of short-lived mortals, but to the unchanging mind of the King of kings. The men who were employed to write the Bible did not speak themselves. They "spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). All other books in the world, however good and useful in their way, are more or less defective. The more you look at them the more you see their defects and blemishes. The Bible alone is absolutely perfect. From beginning to end it is "the Word of God."
| 2012/2/12 14:54|
| Re: |
Commenting on the statement you made:
"We must acknowledge that most professing Christians plainly do not have a burning desire to know, love, and serve Jesus Himself."
Isn't it because most do not know what the Living word of God really is! People are "should-ed" to death from all sides using the living word of God! They are not told He desires above all to know them and help them and that He loves them. That HE came to serve US He is not calling us to serve Him!
They do not realize, they have not really been told that God , creator of the heavens and the earth, creator of all things has caused His word to be written for us on paper and HE MEETS WITH US THRU THE CREATED things of this earth that He designed like wood and ink, but oh it is NOT just ink on ground wood pulp, contained within is LIFE and love, it is similar to listening to news from the home land when I am far away in a distant land, but I hear His voice. He meets with us thru bread, wine, oil, hands, and He can meets with us personally thru burning bushes or whatever means He so chooses for any of us. His greatest desire is for us to know Him who IS love!
They have not been told He is huge and HE IS UNDIFILED, FULL ,PURE BEYOND OUR IMAGINATION LOVE and wants to communicate to them! They have not been told The first thing you will see about Him when you open the living word is He SPEAKS ......AND HE speaks to man and desires to walk with us and live with us and dwell in us and for us to know Him and He desires to make all things right for us! God said..............I AM LOVE
Tell them that is the only filter they need to be given to truly discern and know Him and recognize His voice..... then they will want to know Him!
TELL the GOOD NEWS!!!! News so awesome your heart is made light and you are made hungry by all it's benefits!
| 2012/2/14 15:25||Profile|
| Re: NOT A WORD OF CHRIST SHALL EVER FAIL |
Amen sister Thank you for this!!!
| 2012/2/14 16:33||Profile|
| 2012/2/15 11:20|
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The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11-12).
The thought strikes me that the famine is not so much for the lack of speaking as the lack of hearing. I have had the increasing impression that Gods people do not know how to hear the word of God. Or, unlike the Thessalonian converts from paganism, they do not believe that the word they are hearing is indeed Gods word. Therefore, the word is received casually if not indifferently as the word of man, that is to say, without effect. Perhaps we have been filling up on verbal junk food and have dulled our appetites for real food by the profusion of much speaking of our own that leaves us sated if not bloated, and therefore we suffer malnutrition in the midst of seeming plenty. Certainly we lack the evidence of growth and change that the word of God should accomplish, and we seem fixed in our immaturity and shallowness.
Perhaps we need to consider that the act of hearing is as much an act of grace as that of speaking itself. Surely Gods word requires an attentiveness and retention for which the world has not schooled us. The sobering caution, When you hear My voice, harden not your hearts implies that Gods word will not allow our indifference. If there is not a hearing, then there will certainly be a hardening! Even now, vast numbers of us are numb. We are hearing but not hearing. We are unchanged in both our life and our knowledge of God, and consequently find ourselves itching for any momentary and engaging novelty. Man shall, after all, live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God and if people are deprived of the word of God, their spirits will become as gaunt and desperate as the victims of any famine.
Is it not here that our deficit of faith, hope, love, patience, forbearance and all the resiliency of our spirit is to be traced?
How many of us are numbed, unresponsive, not reflecting, not internalizing, and not doing the word? We do not retain the word, hold it, cherish it, and speak of it in the way to one another, but too quickly dismiss it in a sea of forgetfulness. We lack a mindset that cultivates and nurtures an attitude toward the word of God as is appropriate to the great privilege that is ours to be able to hear it.
Perhaps it is too late, and we are already under judgment for a callous attitude of indifference and disregard. If it is only the pure in heart who see God, what corresponding purity of heart is needed to hear God? How often have we dismissed His word because it has come through an earthen vessel not of our choosing and whose accent and coloration conceals God, but does not make Him mute? Better to choose to believe God in that speaking than to dismiss it as man. Paul rejoiced that the Thessalonians, on hearing his word, received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectively works also in you who believe. It performed such a work as not only to turn them from their idols to serve the living God but also to wait for His son from heaven
who delivered us from the wrath to come! Would not the whole level of our church life become apostolically elevated if Gods people came to the hearing of the word with such an expectancy? Would not our ministers of the word need to seek the Lord more earnestly for His word if they knew they were standing before congregations of such a kind? Would we not then all go on from faith to faith and glory to glory? Then could we testify with the Psalmist, He sent His word and healed them (Psalm107:20).
What is yet more frightening is that we are doing with the reading of the word the same that we are doing in the hearing. Has it not become for us what Ezekiels spoken words became for his generation, a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice (33:32) and we do them not? We do not receive the word of God as something that would affect our conduct and our relationships.
O the impertinence that stands above the word as we humanly determine what is to be considered or employed to the degree that it fits into the parameters of our acceptability! Pity the Israelite who scorned the word of the blood and chose not to bend to dip so as to apply it! For how many of us is the value of Gods word lost for just that lack of humility and submission before the word of God and the God of the word? If we will not be subordinated to the word of God, then how much less to each other? Rightly did the great theologian of the 20th century, Karl Barth, state that our full and perfect salvation consists in this subordination to Him, and in this subordination is the co-ordination with its fellow creatures which is ordained by Him. Let us humble ourselves before the word of God that we might live.
A Famine for the Hearing of the Word
- Art Katz
| 2012/2/19 23:28|