From the Pulpit of a Holiness Preacher "The Bible: Inspiration and Power" April 2011
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An email newsletter ministry of Richard D. Swift, publishing the sermons of Rev. Reed A. Swift (1899-1973), a holiness preacher
[Editor's note: This sermon was preached in the Free Methodist Churches of W.Hollywood, CA (Dec.6,1936), Pomona, CA (Dec.8,1946), and MiraLoma, CA (Dec.1949) This sermon is based on "Why I Believe the Bible" by David James Burrell, DD,LL.D (1844-1925). The Roman numeral points are the chapter headings in that book. The title of the book is not mentioned in the sermon. Appearing at the top of the first page of this sermon, there is written, "Forward! The Story of the Conversion of David James Burrell". The only other clue that this sermon came from a book is the beginning sentence under the VIth point. So I had to do some research and finally found out the title of the book. Burrell was president of the Anti-Saloon League of New York state. He was also President of the Lord's Day Alliance for many years. He pastored the Marble Collegiate Church, New York and contributed to "The Fundamentals, A Testimony to the Truth" edited by R.A.Torrey. Because of the
sermon's length (21 points), I've elected to divide it into three parts, one per month.]
The Bible: Inspiration and Power
II Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Hebrews 4:12 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.
Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
II Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
IITimothy 3:16,17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
I. The Antecedent Presumption
If the Bible contained both truth and falsehood, I as an honest man could not believe it. It is not however, true in just spots, but is true and trustworthy from beginning to end.
The presumption: "If there is a God anywhere in the universe, and if that God is our Father, He would certainly not leave us in doubt as to the great problems in which are unsolved the issues of eternal life." Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
II. The Claims of the Bible Verified
A. 1. It claims to be inspired. IITimothy 3:16
2. In a definite and singular way IIPeter 1:21
3. This claim made for all Scripture IITimothy 3:16. However, not all Scripture is for the same purpose. IITimothy 3:17
B. Is the claim of the Bible verified? If tested as in a court of justice, we must have a fair minded jury that is unprejudiced. Jesus said in John 7:17 "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." If any man is not willing to know the truth, "if he be convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
The only way to prove the Bible is to live it.
III. The unaccountable Unity
The Bible contains a volume off sixty-six books, on many themes, by some forty plus writers of various tongues and nationalities, writing at intervals over a period of sixteen hundred years, on all degrees of moral and social life. Yet, these sixty-six books form a harmonious and consistent whole, yielding one system of doctrine, one code of ethics, and one rule of faith and for all mankind.
There are two volumes of books in the Bible, the Old and the New Testaments. The harmony and perfect accord runs through both. Augustine said, "The New Testament is enfolded in the Old, and the Old Testament is unfolded in the New." Both volumes are comprehended in John 3:16. The trail of atoning blood is traced from the gateway of Paradise so that "The seed of the woman could bruise satan's head."
There were four hundred years of great darkness [between the Testaments], when behold the Bethlehem star shines, and the angels sing, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, goodwill to men!" The Old Testament was schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The Old Testament patriarchs looked forward to Christ as we look back. We must have a knowledge of the Old to comprehend the New. There is but one God, and He has given us but one book, the Bible. The Bible alone points the Divine Plan of Salvation.
IV. Its Completeness
It was written to abide full and complete, supplying the human race with all moral and spiritual needs from the beginning to the end of time. The "Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be thoroughly [or completely] furnished unto every good work."
V. Its Sufficiency
The Bible supplies all moral and spiritual light to lead all classes of men to repentance. See Isaiah 53:11. It meets every requirement. The Parable of Dives and Lazarus pictures the choices of men and the results of choices. The Word of God is true. "The soul that sinneth shall die."
VI. Its Literary Value
This chapter is explained by another of the Lord's parables, viz. the Householder and his Treasury found in Matthew 13:52. This represents an oriental home at eventide with the host showing his wealth, old and new to his guest. Just so with one who knows God's Word. He is to bring forth the wealth of the Scriptures(Old & New) to impress his guests. the commission is to all, "Search the Scriptures". Many biblical scholars of the centuries give glowing tribute to the literary value of the Bible.
"A glory gilds the Sacred page,
Majestic as the sun:
It gives a light to every age,
It gives but borrows none.
The Hand that gave it still supplies
the gracious light and heat:
Its truths upon the nations rise,
They rise but never set."
The Bible simply as a literary work:
1. Its poetry. Solomon, etc. "Glory to God in the highest", etc.
2. Eloquence: Judah pleading with his brother in the Egyptian court for their brother, Benjamin. Aaron's plea to Pharoah, "Thus saith the Lord, Let my People go!" John the Baptist crying in the wilderness, "Repent ye, repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Peter at pentecost, Paul on Mars Hill, but Supreme over all, "Jesus spake as one having authority."
3. Historical wealth: Here we have the only authentic record of the beginning of time, "In the beginning, God..."
4. Scientific prepositions. It teaches botany, biology, astronomy, geology, zoology, and other departments of science.
5. The ethics of scripture. It is the universal standard of morals. Here is the source of all civil, social peace, and order. Outstanding examples are Enoch, Abraham, David, Elijah, Ruth, the three Marys, Paul, Sons of thunder, all who are saved from sin. Again, Jesus outshines them all.
6. The Bible storehouse yields a wealth of doctrine. It teaches our origin and our destiny, the fact there is a God, heaven, hell, and final judgement. In all these fields, the bible yields a wealth no other book can yield. Jesus is the hidden Treasure of the Word of God. The Bible is the best selling Book!
VII. Its Up to Dateness
The Bible is the oldest book in the world, yet it is the most up-to-date. The Bible is so constructed by Divine wisdom as to meet with approval by the progress of the ages.
1- The Bible is a book of science abreast with the age. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Scientific propositions of Scripture have been greatly criticized but still remain as proven facts.
2- The Bible is a book of history. The unearthing of the scriptural accounts of the exodus, of writing before Moses time, the Hitttites, etc.
3- The Bible as a master-piece of literature. The once most popular books become almost forgotten, but the Bible still lives and is the best-seller of the world. Many are prejudiced against the Bible who donot know for themselves at all what it contains.
4- The Bible as a reigious book- the secret to opposition of the Bible is found in the key words, "The carnal mind is enmity against God." There has nothing ever been found to blot out the sinful past but the blood of Jesus. John 3:16. The Bible has come to stay. "The Word of God abideth forever."
Part 2 next month,
For Radical but sweet Bible Holiness,
Richard D. Swift