Unfailing Word

Unfailing Word

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21
Many books and famous people have come and gone, but the Bible remains the most inspiring and powerful book ever written. Why is it the only sure word of truth? This broadcast looks at the precious book of books, the Holy Word of God.
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In the British museum there is a small coin which is inscribed with these words: "Caesar Augustus Salvatore Munde" which means, "Augustus Caesar, Savior of the world." Once upon a time, the armies of the great emperor shook the world with their power and conquest. Now those legions are moldering in the dust of the ground. Caesar himself has long ago disappeared into the annals of the forgotten past. There remains very little to remind us of him except the tiny coin and a few historical references concerning his mighty deeds. But today the world knows far more about men such as Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Jonah, Paul and Christ. Why is this true, friends? Because they are recorded in a household book which is well-known to millions of people alive today. Yes, Caesar is gone and has been forgotten, but Christ remains, and His life is acknowledged by all the newspapers in the world as they adjust their dates from the time of His birth.

Undoubtedly, the Bible has been the subject of more controversy through the ages than any other publication. Yet, it remains today the best seller among all nations and in all languages of the world. What is the secret of its mysterious power and endurance? The finest works of the greatest human geniuses have finally been relegated to the dusty shelves of used book stores and libraries. But here is a book which is still found on the living room table in millions of homes everywhere. Some of the wisest men of the past and present have been students of the Bible. There is a reason why modern scientists, philosophers and statesmen attest to its inspiration and power. Although it was produced by forty different persons over a period of 1600 years, it still speaks with perfect harmony on the most controversial issues. There's not a false or discordant note on any of the great fundamental truths contained in its writings. This alone constitutes a mighty miracle of divine inspiration.

No one today would think of using a science book that is fifty years old or a book of medicine twenty-five years old. A psychology book is almost out of date before it can be printed. H. G. Wells revised his book The Outline of History before it was published. But the Bible refers to all these subjects and superstitious ideas and fanciful "science" of past ages. It would really astound us to know some of the wild erroneous beliefs that were commonplace at the time this book was written. Yet, today even its scientific utterances have been tested and verified by modern research. The only explanation is the Bible answer itself. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable." 2 Timothy 3:16. Again we read, "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21. For hundreds of years the skeptics mocked and laughed at the thought of an infallible book. Yet they were never able to disprove a single iota of its teaching or doctrine. On the contrary, one after another of the charges of the unbelievers have been answered by the testimony of archeology. Ancient sites have yielded their secrets to the spade and have vindicated the Scriptures completely.

One of the most recent and important discoveries was made in 1947 in a Dead Sea cave in Palestine. Several ancient scrolls had been stuffed into a clay pot and were discovered by some nomad shepherd boys. One of those scrolls, upon translation, proved to be the book of Isaiah. It was not the original copy, of course, but it had been written sometime very close to the time of Christ's ministry. But the amazing thing about the ancient scroll of Isaiah was the way it agreed almost perfectly with the one we have in our modern Bible. In other words, the context has not been lost or changed much by copying and translation through the ages, as the critics contended. My friends, God's miraculous providence has been overshadowing that Book through the ages to preserve it for us as an infallible guide of truth and practice.

The most shallow investigation will show that it is the Book of all books containing a strange power that no one can properly explain or understand. The most thrilling evidence of all concerning its inspiration is the way it provides strength to transform lives. Millions of people through the ages have borne witness that they were completely changed as a result of the influence of that Book. You talk about motivation and inspiration, nothing has been able to match the deeds performed under the influence of the Bible. History records that millions died the most terrible lingering death rather than to deny the truths of that Book. A second book of Acts can be written about the sacrificing missionaries who have gone forth to live and die in lands of heathen darkness and loneliness.

Take the story of Allen Gardner of Padagonia, for example. His life as a missionary was a record of terrible sufferings and privations. He was found at last lying dead upon the shore beside an upturned boat. And there, where it had fallen from his hands, was his diary telling of the hardships he had been through. The hunger and thirst, the wounds and the loneliness. But the last sentence, some scarcely legible words penciled before the dying hand could write no more, was this: "I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God." Think of it friends, here is a man who had gone out there and given his life gladly because of the commission of the Bible, and he died with a spirit of praise on his lips because he had answered the call of God.

In January 1956, the world was electrified with shock and horror at the death of three young missionaries who were attempting to bring the gospel to the Auca Indians in Ecuador, South America. Those young men did not have to risk their lives on the sandy jungle landing strip. But they too had responded to the commission of the Book of God. They had gone to carry the gospel message to the people living in darkness and the shadow of death.

Most of you have heard of the Mutiny on the Bounty, but I wonder if you understand just what part of the Bible had to do with the transformation of those bloody mutineers and their descendants. Perhaps you did not know that they finally settled on an island called Pitcairn in the South Pacific, having taken certain native women from Tahiti to be their wives and companions. There were only nine white sailors and seventeen natives, six men and eleven women who began that refugee life on lonely, rock-bound Pitcairn. One of the sailors discovered how to make alcohol while they were living there and the island became tremendously debauched. In fact, it was transformed into a drunken, vice-ridden, bloody place where carnality and sin ran rampant. Before very long, the sailors began to kill each other until finally there was only one of the mutineers left. His name was Alexander Smith. He was left alone with the women and children of the island. In one of the chests which had been saved from the old Bounty, he discovered a Bible and began to read it, and to teach the few people about the truth it contained. Within a short time, the whole colony had been completely changed. In 1808, just twenty years after the mutineers landed upon the island, the United States ship Topaz put a boat ashore for the first time. They discovered a prosperous community with no crime, no jail, no drunks, no insanity. To this very day, Pitcairn Island remains a monument of the power of the Word of God. All of its inhabitants are Christians, they still maintain no jail and no police force. Shut away from the corrupting influences of modern society it is a veritable textbook of true Christianity in operation.

You know friends, I've noticed something very interesting. Our skeptic friends are always choosing to live in lands where the shadow of the Bible has fallen. It doesn't take very long to go to places where there are no churches, no YMCA's, no preachers, no deacons, no religions. Yet, strange as it may seem, the men who hate the Bible the most always choose to live where the Bible has held its influence and power. The doctrine of the unbeliever and the evolutionist concerning the natural upward progression of mankind somehow fails to produce the kind of society they want to live in. The fact is, that their doctrine has only produced cruel, savage, blood-smeared cannibals. The gospel comes, and within a single year makes them into gentle, submissive, Christian families. Let the evolutionists try to make a new creature out of the African Pigmies by telling them that they have originated from the monkey family or that they have some kind of animal ancestry. It just doesn't work. They are changed only by the power of God as revealed in the one book, the Bible.

Now, let's think of another incredible fact. In spite of the mushrooming sales and distribution of the Bible, over ten million copies of it every year, there is still an amazing ignorance of the Scriptures also. Indiana's Wabash College conducted a Bible literacy test and the results were astounding. In this non-church college, out of 83 professing Christian students tested, seventy could not name the four gospels of the Bible. Only three of the students knew a book with the Lord's prayer in it. Thirty-four thought the Beatitudes were in the Old Testament. Twenty-nine did not even recognize Genesis as the first book of the Bible. Fifty-five could identify the Koran, but only four knew what the Apocrypha was. Out of 2,000 students tested of church and non-church members, over half of them spelled the word "prophet" as "profit." Now what does all this mean, friends? It simply means that there is too little serious study today being given to this tremendous Book of God, the Bible.

It reminds me of the story of some savages who got hold of a sundial. They were so desirous of giving honor to the sundial and keeping it sacred that they housed it in and put a roof over it. Of course, it was not able to give them any readings of the sun when it was covered by a roof. But could this same thing happen to us? All our religious customs and practices that have been given in the Bible, have we built something around them which prevents them from being utilized for our blessing and good? The danger is that we'll just take them for granted; that we will recognize and accept them without actually experiencing them. What benefit comes to us anyway from this miraculous Book? What do the verses of the Bible mean to us? We memorize a lot of them, yes. But have we accepted personally the message that they contain for our own lives? There are times when we need to read the Bible to see what God says about nations, and about the world and about the human family. But there are times also that we need to read it to find out heaven's plan for our own life. There is a personal message in it, friends, that we must believe and receive. God means what He says here, and He has written it for you.

In this desperately wicked world which is so full of the deadly deathtraps of Satan, we need the power this Book provides. No other generation has had to meet the naked power of Satan as we are having to face it. There will be no holds barred in the final clash between good and evil. Our only hope must be in Christ. And we can only find Him in this Book, the Bible. And when you read it each morning claiming the power of its many promises, just remember that in more than a thousand other languages, the black, the white, the yellow, and the red-skinned peoples of many nations, are also reading it along with you.

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