THE AUTHORITY OF THE WORD OF GOD
Text: HEBREWS 4:12, 13
- The Bible is the very Word of God. Jesus prayed to God the Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
- The Psalmist wrote, “For Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name” (Ps. 138:2).
- And, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (119:105).
- And, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (119:130).
- The devil hates the Word of God, and so from the very beginning there has always been a vicious, unrelenting attack on the Bible.
- You will recall in the Garden of Eden, the serpent said to Eve, “Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1).
- The devil has been attacking the Word of God ever since.
- America used to be a Bible-reading nation, and God blessed America like no other nation on earth. The Bible used to be widely read here in America, but now it is widely ignored and neglected.
- The Bible used to be studied and read and memorized in all our schools and universities. Now it has basically been banished from the schools, with the exception of conservative Christian schools.
- There is a Satanic effort to set aside the authority of the Bible.
- One hundred years ago, Philip Mauro, a New York City attorney, noted that the authority of the Bible “is a direct obstacle to the democratic spirit of the times, which brooks no authority higher than that of ‘the people,’ that is to say, of man himself” (The Fundamentals, Volume II, edited by RA Torrey).
- This “democratic spirit” that Philip Mauro spoke of has brainwashed the multitudes here in America.
- But strictly speaking, America has never been a democracy. America is a republic. When I was a child I learned to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands…”
- Democracy simply means rule by the majority. In a democracy, the minority has no protection against the unlimited power of the majority.
- That is why democracy is often referred to as “mob-ocracy.”
- On the other hand, the purpose of a republic is to control the majority, and to protect the rights of the minority. The definition of a republic is: a constitutionally limited government with its powers divided between three separate branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
- By the way, this threefold division is from the Bible. Isaiah 33:22 says, “For the LORD is our judge (judicial branch), the LORD is our lawgiver (legislative branch), the LORD is our king (executive branch); He will save us.”
- The essence of a democracy is the supreme authority of man. This puts it in conflict with the Bible, which affirms the supreme authority of God.
- We are constantly being told today that more and more Americans favor so-called homosexual marriage. And we are told the majority of Americans support legal abortion.
- When Christians point out that the Bible condemns homosexuality, immorality, abortion, evolution, etc. we are told that the Bible has no authority. It is only the will of the people that matters.
- You can see where this will lead – female infanticide is now widely practiced in India and China; and wicked sins like incest, sex with children, polygamy, and bestiality are gaining in popularity right here in America.
- Most people do not care what the Bible says. For them the Bible has absolutely no authority. I remember talking one time to one of these government Child Protection workers. She was adamantly opposed to spanking children. When I pointed out that the Bible commands parents to spank their children, she bristled and angrily denounced the Bible.
- The apostle Paul wrote in II Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” We do not have time to expound the second chapter of Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians, but the idea is that this hostility toward God and His Word will increase over time, and will culminate in the emergence of the antichrist.
- I believe we are drawing very close to the fulfillment of that prophecy. This world hates God. And they hate the Word of God.
- Once the authority of the Scriptures is removed, mankind will have attained absolute independence from God. There will be no moral restraints – disgusting pornography, homosexuality, incest, bestiality – nothing will be considered wrong because there will be no more authority other than the sinking standards of a depraved, rebellious, sin-loving people.
- This will bring in complete lawlessness and anarchy, which is the idea behind “the mystery of iniquity.”
- One of the biggest problems facing America today is the homosexual movement. They now have so-called “gay marriage” in Massachusetts and California. It is only a matter of time before it happens here in NY.
- One presidential candidate openly supports the homosexual movement, and the other does not have the courage to speak out on the issue.
- One candidate recently attacked the authority of the Bible, and he specifically discredited Romans chapter 1 and the book of Leviticus.
- Why? Because Romans 1 and the book of Leviticus clearly condemn homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
- It is shocking that a man running for president of the United States would dare to attack the Bible. But these are perilous times indeed.
- We need man like our first president, George Washington, who said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
- President Abraham Lincoln said, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book.”
- This is a very important subject, and our time is limited, but I will do my best in the time we have to speak on the authority of the Word of God.
I. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE WRITTEN WORD AND THE INCARNATE WORD.
- There are many names and titles for the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Saviour. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.
- He is our Messiah. He is the Prince of Peace.
- Another name found several times in the New Testament is “the Word” (John 1:1, 14; I John 1:1; 5:7; Rev. 19:13).
- The Lord Jesus Christ is the incarnate Word. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14).
- So Christ is the incarnate Word. The Bible is the written Word.
- In Philippians 2:16, the apostle Paul says, “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
- “The word of life” (Phil. 2:16) means the Word of God is alive. Both the incarnate Word (Christ) and the written Word (the Bible) are alive.
- The written Word and the incarnate Word are so closely identified in Scripture that it is not always clear which is referred to. “Each is the revealer or tangible expression of the invisible God” (Philip Mauro).
- As the written Word conveys the mind of God to man, the Lord Jesus Christ reveals the invisible God to man.
- John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
- Our Lord said in John 14:9, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
- Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick (alive), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
- This clearly refers to the Bible, the written Word of God. But the next verse says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13).
- Here we see the relationship between the written Word (the Bible) and the incarnate Word (Christ).
- We often meet people who make disparaging remarks about the Bible, while at the same time they claim to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- This is absurd. You cannot separate the written Word from the incarnate Word.
- All we know about Jesus we know from the Bible, the inerrant and infallible word of God.
II. THE BIBLE IS INDESTRUCTIBLE
- Not only is the Bible alive – “quick and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12) – it is also indestructible.
- Voltaire, the famous French infidel (he died in 1778), boasted that in 100 years Christianity would be extinct and there would be no more Bibles in France. But 100 years later his house was being used by the Geneva Bible Society to print Bibles.
- Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” he said; and then with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
“And so,” I thought, “the Anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.” John Clifford
- The Bible is quick and powerful and indestructible. It has survived all the attempts that have been made to destroy it.
- Our Lord said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).
- In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an official command to kill Christians and burn all their Bibles. But the Bible survived because it is indestructible.
- After the persecution from pagan Rome, there was persecution from papal Rome. The popes vehemently hated the Bible and tried to have them all burned.
- Popes have come and gone, but God’s Word is still here.
- During the Inquisition, those who possessed Bibles without special permission from the RCC were commanded to deliver them up to the Catholic authorities under threat of arrest and torture.
- Many Christians bravely went to their deaths, refusing to give up their Bibles.
- In the early 1500’s, William Tyndale translated the first English Bible that was taken directly from Hebrew and Greek and that was published by a printing press.
- Tyndale’s translation was forbidden by the Roman Catholic authorities in England. Those who attempted to distribute copies were hounded, persecuted, and killed. Stacks of the printed copies were burned.
- Tyndale was forced to flee England. He hid in the continent for several years until he was betrayed by a false friend, brought back to England, burned at the stake.
- This persecution and Bible-burning not only happened during the Dark Ages and during the Protestant Reformation. Pope Pius VII, in 1816, condemned the Bible societies for publishing Bibles. He claimed that the distribution of Scripture was undermining “the very foundations of religion” and was “eminently dangerous to souls.”
- This pope said, “The Holy Scriptures, when circulated in the vulgar tongue, have, through the temerity of men, produced more harm than benefit.”
- All of the popes made similar statements (see David Cloud, Rome and the Bible: Tracing the history of the RCC and its persecution of the Bible and of Bible Believers).
- In addition to persecution from the popes, there was also persecution from the communists, Muslims, and others who hate the Word of God.
- The Bible is hated because it declares the truth about man, truth about this wicked world, truth about sin, and truth about the penalty for sin – eternal punishment in hell.
- In John 7:7, Jesus said to his unconverted brothers, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
- Sinners hate the Bible because the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. They hate the Bible because the Bible condemns their sin.
- The Bible says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
- The Bible says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).
- The Bible says, “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” (John 3:36).
- These Scriptures are not popular with indulgent, pleasure-loving sinners.
- Sinners are forced to make a choice – obey the Bible and get right with God or disobey the Bible and go to hell.
- Sinners do not like this choice so they lash out at the Bible.
III. THE BIBLE IS A DISCERNER OF THE HEART.
- Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
- No other book has the ability or power to discern the heart of man.
- The power of discernment belongs only to an intelligent living being. “For the word of God is quick (alive)…”
- Men have the power of discernment but nevertheless, men are often wrong. Consider Joshua, one of the great heroes of the Bible. Joshua was deceived by the Gibeonites at Gilgal (Joshua 9).
- Other great men have been deceived. Great men often lack discernment. Men cannot look into the heart of men. But the Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
- The Word of God changes, cleanses, edifies, counsels, directs, guides, teaches, illuminates, reproves, rebukes, exhorts, refreshes, strengthens, comforts, and blesses us.
- Only the Bible declares that men are hopeless sinners in need of salvation.
- Only the Bible tells us that Christ died for our sins in order to save us from the penalty of sin and the power of sin.
- The Bible tells us that Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25, 26).
- The Bible not only tells us how to live; it teaches us how we can live forever. No other book can do that.
- The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently released the results of a new survey.
- Seventy percent of Americans with a religious affiliation said they believe there are many different ways to heaven. This means seven out of ten religious Americans do not believer the Bible (John 3:16-18).
- That is bad enough, but fifty-seven percent of “evangelical” church attendees said they believe the same thing. This is further evidence that most so-called evangelicals are actually quite liberal, and many of them are not even saved.
- Eighty percent of “mainline” (liberal) Protestants and seventy-nine percent of Roman Catholics believe all religions lead to heaven.
- “The survey shows religion in America is, indeed, 3,000 miles wide and only three inches deep,” said D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist of religion.
- America needs to get back to the Bible.
- The Bible is the authoritative Word of God.
- I saw an article on the Internet the other day: “N.Y. Wants All Bronx Adults Tested for HIV.”
- The article said, “The decision, announced by The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, comes on the heels of a recent report which shows New York City residents have the highest rate of practicing unsafe sex, and one of the highest HIV rates in the United States.
- Instead of testing everyone in the Bronx for HIV, it would be far better to give everyone in the Bronx a Bible.
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