Jack Graham - The Eternal Word of God
Now let me invite you to take God's Word and turn with me to the book of Isaiah chapter 40 and verse 8, which will be our primary text today. But please keep your Bibles open and be ready to turn from page to page because we're going to be looking at the subject today in our LEGACY series of "The Eternal Word of God". God is eternal, immortal. He is the great I AM, the Alpha and Omega, the Ancient of Days. Never been a time when He did not exist; never will be a time when He will not exist. God is eternal! His life is forever! And because God is eternal He has given us also a revelation of Himself, breathed out by the Holy Spirit; given to us by God Himself, written to us by God Himself. It is the Bible and the Bible is God's eternal Word.
Just as God is immortal and eternal... just as God Himself lives forever, so does the word of God, living, active, remains forever. The prophet Isaiah put it this way: "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will remain", stand, rise forever! Peter picked up on this same passage of Scripture and amplified it in the Scriptures for us in 1 Peter chapter 1:23. He says: "...since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for 'All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.'"
The psalmist said it like this, Psalm 119 and verse 89: "Your word, O Lord, is forever settled (sealed, secured) in heaven". The eternal word of God! God loves you so much that He wants you to know Him and experience life in all of its fullness. He created you to enjoy and experience a relationship with Him. But He didn't leave us without a clear record as to how to discover and develop that relationship with Him. And, not only to know what we believe and why we believe what we believe and why we are here to live, but also from generation to generation to give the faith to those who come behind us... our children, our children's children, our families and our family's families.
So in this LEGACY series we're talking about those things which live and live forever, that have provided such a great legacy for life. And we've been saying that it's so much better to live a legacy than it is simply to leave a legacy. I mean if you spend your time focusing upon living the legacy and the life of Christ, then you won't think too much about your legacy going forward. Your legacy will be there and strong for future generations. Over the years I've had a lot of parents talk to me about their children and making sure that their children share their faith and live the faith that they have been given in Christ. And the fear of the culture capturing our kids is very, very real in our times. I run across, literally hundreds of families who are concerned about this, who want to pass their faith along to their children... their families, but may not know how, do not understand how.
"I don't want to lose my kids", they say, "but how do I make sure my kids stay strong in the faith and carry the witness of Christ and the Gospel into the future"? And I always say be prepared; know and discover your faith, make sure that it is real in your own life, that your own relationship with Christ is strong, and that you are a disciple and follower of Christ, and therefore, leading your own children. And it is time to get serious about communicating truth to this generation and the generation which is to come. Very serious! Because truth is on the scaffold, and many deny the Word of God, others distort the Word of God, some add to it; others take away from it.
The Scripture is certainly under attack in our times. And if you want your children to know Christ and to follow Him, you better make sure that you yourself understand God's Word, walk in a relationship with Christ, and then are able to share your faith with your children. I will say this, that everything you and your family needs to know about life, all of the essentials are found in God's Word. The essentials regarding God, the essentials regarding life and family and marriage and work and relationships. All the wisdom of God, even the ways of God are described here in this Bible. The Bible is a book of principles; it is a book of precepts; it is book of promises that do not change! There's a term describing the nature of God which is immutable, which means God does not change. And just as God is immutable, His Word is unchanging and immutable and indestructible.
We say that the Bible is inspired; we say that the Bible is infallible; we say that the Bible is inerrant, and we say that the Bible is immutable. It is unchanging! And we know this, as we're going to see today, because the Bible has stood the test of time. It is ever new and ever true. It cannot and it will not be destroyed by critics and scoffers or skeptics. Satan himself, though he has tried many times, cannot destroy the Word of God. The ravages of time which can do a number on us humanly, can never change the Word of God. And every generation, generation after generation, has found the Word of God powerful and life-changing, a clear and certain message in a very changing world and an uncertain world. We have this anchor; we have this hope and comfort of the Scriptures.
We have the word of God! And yet, to so many the Bible is viewed as irrelevant and unnecessary; certainly unread by so many, even some in the church, their Bibles are on their shelves, they're not in their hearts. They're on coffee tables, stuck under magazines. The Bible, therefore, is like a secret buried treasure in their backyard that they've not yet discovered. The Bible, wonderful treasure of truth. There's no book like the Bible. It is preeminent among all of the books. Nothing is comparable; it is an incomparable book. In its circulation, over 400 different languages of the Bible translated. 1500 languages in parts and partials of the Bible. No other Book has been translated and reproduced like the Bible. It is mammoth in its circulation! In it's influence it is incomparable, preeminent.
The influence of the bible in history, even the history of our own nation, America, was written in the Scripture, the Word of God! The founders and the framers of our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, many of those were Bible believing Christians! And certainly this nation was founded upon the beliefs of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The laws and the politics of this society is founded upon God's Word. In literature, in history, in government, in politics, in any strain of life, any season of life, the Word of God is paramount. To say that anything else comes close is to simply be ignorant of the facts and the truth! The Word of God, the testimony of Jesus!
And this is true because the Bible provides so many benefits and so many blessings to our lives. The Bible gives us guidance for life's questions and solutions to life's problems, comfort when we hurt. And how many of us have pillowed our heads at night through tears on the promises of the Word of God? The Bible gives us strength for life and endurance. The Bible gives us hope when there seems to be no hope. The Bible gives us faith to believe, for "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". The Word of God gives us joy and pleasure: "Thy words were like honey; I did eat them and devour them".
The Word of God gives us peace. How many times have we been calmed and soothed by the Scriptures as these wash over our souls? The Word of God gives us freedom to enjoy the fullness of our life in Christ. The Word of God gives us protection against the enemy, and power to face every attack. The Word of God gives us deliverance, and the Word of God gives us the message of salvation in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone. This is the Word of God! The hero in the Bible is Jesus, the message of the Bible is Jesus, all this book is about Jesus. It is the story of redemption and salvation. And reading and believing God's Word brings amazing favor upon your life. God's Word is insight, it's instruction as to how to live. So to sum it up, Scripture is the vehicle that God has chosen to reveal Himself in a supernatural way to you.
Turn in your Bibles to 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 16. This is one of the great "3:16's" of the Bible. You know John 3:16; well you should know 2 Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture". That means the Bible is inspired in a plenary sense. All of the Scripture is inspired; every book of the Bible, all of it in its totality; and it's infallible in its totality! "All Scripture is breathed out by God". Remember, I said the life of God is in this Book. Your breath is the flow of your life, and the breath of God, He breathed out this Book. While He used human authors, this is the breath of God, this Book. God wrote this Book! It is breathed out by God. That's the word inspired, or literally expired! God's Word. "...and it's profitable for teaching and for reproof and for correction and for training in righteousness".
I learned years ago, I don't know who first said it. "It is profitable for teaching (that is, to tell us what is right), it is profitable for reproof (That is, to tell us what is not right), for correction (to tell us how to get right) and instruction in righteousness (to tell us how to stay right.)" This is the Bible! And all of it is inspired. This is the supernatural miracle and the revelation of the Bible! Another miracle of the Bible is the miracle of illumination; when the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and applies it to our lives. We understand it. We are able to assimilate it, we are able to "get it"! That's illumination. That's another miracle of the Bible.
When God opens our eyes and opens our hearts to His Word. But there is another miracle and that's the miracle that I want us to concentrate on now for just a few moments, and that's the miracle of the preservation of the Bible. God must make sure that His word is not lost, that His word is not distorted, that it is not changed in any way; that it is not deluded or polluted. So God supernaturally superintended the process in the keeping and the guarding of His Word through the generations! This miracle of God making sure that what we hold in our hands today is the Word of God, not the work of man!
Now that's a miracle in this sense: that the Bible was written, as you know, long ago. It is an ancient Book; it is an age-old story and written thousands years ago, over a 1500 year span by forty generations. Over forty generations by forty different authors! And every one of the authors came from a different way of life, from priest to kings to shepherds to scholars, to rabbis and common laborers. The Bible was written in many different places, from houses to fields to wilderness to prisons and dungeons the Bible was given. It was penned in its original state in three languages, three very vibrant languages that God knew would be essential for communicating His Word.
First, in the very picturesque and powerful Hebrew languages, and then in Aramaic, and then the Greek language which was the common language of the day of the New Testament. The Old Testament in Hebrew; portions of the New Testament in Aramaic, but primarily in Greek. The Bible tells the story the records of faith, the exciting records of faith, the adventures of the Bible. I've been loving them all of my life. It records hundreds of psalms and other powerful principles and proverbs for life. It covers variably every subject in life. I defy you to think of any subject that the Bible does not speak to that is essential for life and essential for living. Yet it maintains a constant theme and a purpose throughout, and that purpose is to introduce us to God and His redemption and His love and His salvation; and to point us to Christ who died on the cross and rose again.
This is the scarlet thread of redemption that runs through the Scripture. So God made sure that through the centuries that His word was kept. Just as God Almighty keeps us in Christ, preserves us where there is the security of the believer in Christ, there is the security of God's Word. God cannot allow His word to be misused or abused, so "He keeps it"! What did Jesus say about it? That's important. Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 5:18. Matthew, the fifth chapter. Right at the outset of the great Sermon on the Mount, "For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away not an iota, not a dot". These are small markings in the Hebrew language. Jesus was quite familiar with the Hebrew Bible, of course, since He wrote it; and He said, "not an iota, not a dot will pass from the Law", speaking of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. "Not a jot, not a tittle shall depart from the Word of God until it is accomplished".
Interestingly enough, some of the stories that are most questioned and attacked, those stories regarding creation, those regarding Noah and the great flood, and mankind's sin, Adam and Eve: all of those foundational truths of the Bible were in the Law, in the Pentateuch. And Jesus said, concerning these books of God's Word: None of this shall be distorted or tossed aside. Not one! And then in the final chapters of Matthew... turn to Matthew 24, verse 35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will not pass away". Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
There's coming a time when all your stuff is going to be gone! Your car, your house, your computer, your flat screen, all that good stuff! It's all going to pass away! But the Word of our God will shall rise forever! This is why we need to live for what lasts and give ourselves to those things which are eternal rather than what is temporal. Not a word of it! So we believe not only in the plenary inspiration of the Scripture, but the verbal inspiration of the Bible which means God did not only give us the great thoughts and the ideas of the Bible, but He gave us word for word His truth! This is the inerrancy of the Bible! Truth without any mixture of error! And so God is so committed to you knowing Him that He miraculously made sure that you heard from Him, and that His word is preserved. The Word of God will stand forever!
And while the ravages of time and man and Satan himself... Look, the original sin in the Garden was from a question mark from Satan put in the mind of Eve, who said, "Have", when Satan slithered into the Garden and suggested to Eve, "Has God said"? If anyone puts a question mark regarding the Word of God, you can know exactly where it's coming from! Certainly, if I were the devil, I would make sure that people began to question the Word of God, and question its authority, question its accuracy, question... like detours and ditches... the eternal truth of God's Word. And we see that happening, of course.
The next time somebody says to you, "what about all of those inaccuracies in the Bible? What about all of those inconsistencies in the Bible"? what I want you to just say... ready for this? Just say, "Show me one. Where's one"? Now most people are gonna tuck their tails and go the other directions because they're only repeating what somebody else said. There are no inconsistencies in the Bible. The Bible is timeless; the Bible is always truthful. So the point is this Book is eternal. And I want to close this message by asking you: for you is it personal? It's very personal to me, this issue of the Bible. Here's how I've studied the Bible. Someone gave this little idea as to how to approach the Scripture to me when I was just a teenager, and I've been doing it ever sense.
Number one, when you come to a text in the Bible, read it through. You want to pass your faith along to your kids? Get the Word of God in you first, so read it through. Read it through slowly, read it through systematically. Better to read the Word of God slowly than skimming and skipping over great passages.
Think deeply, read it through! There's so many opportunities now. There are Bible applications, there are applications on your cell phone for goodness sake that will give you Bible reading plans. Wherever you go. And then think it clear. I typically will bombard every text with questions like: Is there some truth here for me to understand? Is there some duty here that I am to perform? Is there sin here that I am to confess? Is there some error here that I am to avoid? Is there some promise here that I am to trust and to believe? Is there some example that I am to follow? Think it clear! Ask God to speak to you through His Word!
Thirdly, write it down! Write in the margins, underline your Bible! Get a journal notebook and journal your walk with Christ. I promise you, if you want to give a legacy to your children, give them a Bible that has been used for your lifetime, filled with the Word of God, filled with underlined scriptures and quotations and what God has said to you. Or give them a journal what Christ has done in your life. And this will be the most valued treasure of their lifetime.
Write it down. Then pray it in. So many wonder how they're going to spend time praying? How do you spend 30 minutes praying? How do you spend an hour praying? Well, one way is to pray the Scriptures. When you pray the Scriptures properly you are always praying the Word of God. You're praying the will of God. And when you pray the Scriptures there is a powerful sense of God's presence as the Bible becomes alive in you. It saturates your soul. You pray it in! I'm reading a devotional journal this year... Sarah Young's Jesus Calling, and the reason I like it so much is she simply takes scriptures and puts it in a relational form where Christ is calling to us, God is speaking to us through the Scriptures. Well, you can journal like that. You can personalizes the Scriptures and pray it in as God speaks to you.
Number five, live it out. Don't just be a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word. Test the Word of God, apply the Word of God to your life. This is not theory, this is not theology alone. This is the timeless applicable truth of God's Word for your daily living! Try it!
Number six, give it away. Tell someone what you're learning in God's Word, especially your children, and share it with your spouse. And if you learn something from God's Word that is life-changing, you want others to know what God is teaching you. Now don't go to every person at work like a know-it-all, like you know something that they don't. But just sincerely share what Christ is doing in your life, and be a witness of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus, and watch lives change around you. "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand again and again and again, forever and ever and ever". Amen.