The Unfailing Word of God
May 17th, 1970 @ 10:50 AM
THE UNFAILING WORD OF GOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-17-70 10:50 a.m.
On the radio and on Channel 11 television, you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. The title of the message is The Sure and Unfailing Word of the Lord, and I read a text for a background. We are in Daniel, and this is in the second chapter of Daniel. After the interpretation of the vision that the king saw in the night, Daniel says: "The great God," This is verse 45, Daniel, chapter 2, verse 45. The prophet said to the king after the interpretation of the vision:
The great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
God likes to use that word "sure." "The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure." In the passage of Scripture that we read from the first chapter of 2 Peter: "We have a more sure word of prophecy," sure word of prophecy. And that is the most astonishing thing that Simon Peter has written there; for in the passage that you read, he was speaking of the glory of the Messiah, the Lord Christ. And Simon Peter says, "We were with Him in the holy mountain, when we saw His face transfigured and the deity of God shown through the veil. And we heard the voice of the Father saying: This is My beloved Son" [2 Peter 1:16-18].
Now after Simon Peter describes the glory of God that he had seen with his own eyes, then he writes, "But we have a more sure word of prophecy" [2 Peter 1:19]. Now that is astonishing! What Simon Peter had seen with his eyes and had described with his own words, he says, is not a verification of the deity of Christ comparable to the prophecy in the Bible. Ah, the reverence that true men of God have for the Word of the Lord; the sure word of prophecy – "the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."
Now, the dream is familiar to all of us: Nebuchadnezzar in the nighttime saw a vision of a tremendous man with metallic differences as you go down the torso of his body, finally to the feet and toes which were made of iron and clay. But he says – in the story in the second chapter of Daniel – he says that he forgot the dream. So he calls in his astrologers and his magicians and the Chaldeans. They are used technically to refer to the priests of the great Babylonian temple, Bel Merodach.
He calls in those men and tells them that: "I want you to explain to me the meaning of the dream."
So the Chaldeans and the astrologers and the magicians say, "You tell us the dream, and we will tell you the interpretation thereof."
And the king says: "I have forgotten it" [Daniel 2:5].
Well, I don’t know whether he had really forgotten it or whether he feigned his forgetfulness just to test those astrologers and magicians as to whether they were speaking from God in the interpretation. Now the reason that I think he might have feigned it is because, from verse 6 here for about a dozen verses, he is – the Scriptures are belaboring the point of that forgetfulness. Had he really forgotten it, he could just say that he forgot it, but it goes on and on and on here for verse after verse about the king’s saying that he forgot it.
And he says to those magicians and astrologers: "You tell me the dream, then I will know that it is of God – your interpretation! But if you can’t tell me the dream, how do I know that your interpretation is of God?" [Daniel 2:7-9].
Now, that’s not bad: we are encouraged in God’s Word to test the spirits [1 John 4:1-3]; we are to prove God; we are to try God; we’re to test the Word – see if a thing is genuine or not. I think of that admonition from the Lord with regard to our speaking in tongues. They have a gift from God of speaking in tongues. Well, that’s a strange thing that they just pick out that. There were three miracles at Pentecost: one, the sound of a rushing mighty wind. Not a rushing mighty wind – the "sound" of a rushing mighty wind. And the second one: there was let down from heaven fire, a great burning flame, and it separated, it was cloven as it came down, and it burned lambently over the heads of each one of the witnesses at Pentecost. Third miracle: and they spake in languages, in tongues, and the people who heard them each heard the gospel in his own language, in his own tongue [Acts 2:2-8].
Well, why pick out the third one? Why don’t you pick out the sound of a rushing mighty wind, because God could do one just as He could do the other, if it is of God? Why don’t you pick out the sound and let’s hear the sound? Or why don’t you pick out the lambent flame and let it burn? Why don’t you pick that one out? Why do you pick out the miracle of the speaking in tongues? I know why you do it: because you think I’m stupid, and you can dupe me into believing that you’re talking in tongues!
Now, we have a right to test the genuineness of that so-called perverted gift. One of our seminary boys went to a tongue-speaking group, and he spoke with tongues. He got up and he quoted those first verses in Genesis like all of us schoolboys do when we go to the seminary: "Bereshit bara ha elohim et ha shemayim…" and he went right on down, speaking in a tongue. So they quieted and then they waited for the interpreter, and the interpreter stood up and told some crazy far-out thing a million miles away that he had said, when he was speaking in that Hebrew.
Paul said: "Seek the best gifts!" [1 Corinthians 12:31]. And I am under an admonition to seek the best gifts – and that’s not one of them! And wherever it appears, as it did in Corinth – that’s the only church that we know where it ever happened – wherever it appears, it is divisive, and it dishonors Christ. If you want to bring the gospel into reproach, and if you want to undignify the church, and if you want to unloose all of the divisive sectarian spirits in a congregation, let’s talk in tongues. It is not acceptable! Paul said: "I would rather speak five words with my understanding that I might edify the brethren than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" [1 Corinthians 14:19].
Well, that’s what this king did here with these magicians and these astrologers and these Chaldeans – he tested them: "You tell me the dream, and then I will know that your interpretation is from God because God can tell you the dream just as well as He can tell you the interpretation. So that I know that you are speaking the truth of God, you tell me the dream."
Well, that’s the story; and of course they couldn’t, because it’s not of God. The astrologer, the magician, all the Chaldean – that’s not of the Lord! But Daniel’s intercession and Daniel’s humility in prayer and appeal was of God! And the Lord revealed to Daniel the meaning of the dream. And he spoke it, laid it before the king, and when he finished, he finished with the words of my text: "The great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure" [Daniel 2:45].
What we’re going to do this morning is to answer the question: why the prophecy? Why the vision? Why does God write these prophetic revelations on the sacred page for us to read? Answer number one: God gives us these prophecies, these predictions – the outline of the future, the great purposes of God in the world – God does that first in order that we might be delivered from mistaken judgment. For you see, we are so limited in our vision; we can seek and understand so infinitesimal, inconsequential part of what God is doing in time and in history. We are limited in time – such a little space.
I read where a geologist said that if you could liken the creation to the Empire State Building; and it starts down there at the bottom – that’s the first year of it – and goes clear up. After you get to the top of the Empire State Building, one thousand, two hundred fifty-five feet high, put a nickel on the top of it. And the thickness of that nickel represents the entire era of man. We are limited in time – it’s so short – and understanding.
And we’re limited in space: of all God’s vast creation, our world on which we ride around the sun is a tiny minutia of a speck. And we’re limited in truth: truth is like a vast mountain, and we see just one little side of it, and the top of it, the pinnacle is above the clouds. And we’re limited in purpose: for us, so much of life and the development of history is elaborate. The devious ways are almost beyond our marking out. That’s why the revelation.
God reveals to us the great sweep and purpose of human history, and He does it in these prophetic utterances. And I say one of the reasons that God does that is to deliver us from tragic error and mistake. Now I’m going to illustrate that to you. One: God preserves us and delivers us, those of us who will read the revelation and the prophecy of God. We are delivered from false assurances and false persuasions of security. God has certain things to say about us and our world and our future, and if we will listen to them and read them and heed them, we will be saved from, first, these false assurances of security.
An older contemporary of Daniel was Jeremiah, and Jeremiah said, "There is war coming!" But the false prophet said, "Peace, peace." And Jeremiah replied, "They cried, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there will not be peace! The Babylonians are coming and Nebuchadnezzar is coming! War is coming, but the false prophet said, ‘Peace’" [Jeremiah 6:14].
God says in the prophecies that wars are determined unto the end! [Daniel 9:26]. Let’s see how that affects America, affects us. When I was a boy, practically all of the preachers were post-millennialists. They all believed that the world was going to get better and better and better and better, and finally the dawn of a millennium would come through human efforts, and the preaching of the gospel, and the conversion of the worlds to Christ. That’s the gospel I heard all during the years of my boyhood.
Then in the 1920s and the 1930s, these pacifists preached from one side of this nation to the other: "We fought a war to end all wars. Now let America disarm herself," and America did! We threw away our battleships, and we threw away our navies, and we threw away our armies. And in 1939 when Hitler loosed those dogs of war on the earth, it seemed to me for several years that we were lost! We literally hung by a shoestring over the abyss of destruction. And I think, had it not been for the intervention of Almighty God, Hitler would have won the war, and the world, earth, including Britain and the United States, would have been under the iron heel of a Nazi dictator. Why? Because of the false voices of men who do not read God’s Word – but reading it, don’t believe it! That’s one reason God writes the prophecy: that we might be delivered from false judgments. And one of those false judgments is that we’re going to have peace. There will be no peace, God says, until the Prince of Peace comes. Wars are determined to the end! And this final denouement of the age comes in the battle of Armageddon, when Christ intervenes in that vast final battle of the Almighty God [Revelation 19:11-21]. If you know the Book, and if you read the prophecies, and if you believe God’s Word, you’ll be delivered from those false assurances of security.
All right, let’s take another one. We are delivered from mistaken judgments when we read God’s Word and read prophecies. Here’s another one: as to the source of violence and crime, the sociologist has said – and he has said it almost to this present moment – the sociologist has said, "It is poverty, it is the ghetto, it is the sub-marginal life of these downtrodden and poor that breed violence and crime. That’s where it comes from." So they have said to the United States government and to all the agencies of civic and economic welfare, "What we need to do to solve crime and to solve violence and to solve all of these things that afflict society – what we need to do is to make everybody affluent. And when everybody is affluent, we’ll have no more crime, and we’ll have no more violence."
So attributing our problems to economic factors, we have worked and worked and worked to elevate the standard of living in America. Why, a poor man in America is richer than a rich man in Kenya or in Malaya or any of those poor downtrodden nations. But they said what we need to do is to solve the economic factors that lie back of these ghettos, and then we won’t have any more crime, won’t have any more violence. Well, we have worked at it, and the standard of the Americans has risen higher and higher and higher. And something else also has risen higher and higher and higher. Guess what it is? I happened to turn last week on the television to a channel that I didn’t even know it was there. It’s Channel 39, I think. Didn’t know there was such a thing; I just happened to turn it on. And I happened to turn it on right in the middle of a panel discussion on crime, and one of those panelists said: "The incidence of crime, the graph of it, is rising fearfully in America. It’s rising in every Western nation of the earth, but fearfully so in America."
And then another panelist said: "And the incidences of the rise in crime is not because the poor are more violent or wicked, but the incidences of the rise of crime and violence is among the affluent." These are the people that are turning to promiscuity, and to drugs, and to violence, and to everything else that we’re seeing develop on the American scene. It is the affluent. Not these that are down here in the ghetto; it’s the affluent!
So the sociologist is changing, and here is what I read this week: one of their finest numbers said, and I read it, that what America needs to get rid of the crime and the violence and all of this stuff that is shaking the very foundation life out of the faith of our fathers and the foundations of our nations, he said what we need is a tremendous old-time Depression where people are poor and have to work! Then they’ll get over the crime and the violence.
Now doesn’t that beat anything you ever heard in your life? They preached to us for years, and years, and years, and years, and years that the reason for crime is poverty! And now they’ve turned around and said if we’re going to solve this problem of crime, we’ve all got to be poor again so we get down to working.
Now, that’s what I’m telling you when I say, if you will listen to the prophecies of the Lord and the Word of God, you would be delivered from mistaken judgments, and that’s one of them – the mistaken persuasion as to where crime is. What is the seed of crime? God’s Book says it’s in the human heart, whether you’re rich, whether you’re poor, whether you’re learned or whether you’re unlearned. It’s in the heart! Jeremiah the prophet said: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" [Jeremiah 17:9].
And God says: "A man must be born again" [John 3:3]. We must be regenerated; that’s what God says! That the source of crime and the fountain of evil and iniquity is not in a man’s economic circumstances, but it’s in a man’s heart, whether he is poor or rich. I might incidentally say I used to wonder if those sociological prognostications about how to get rid of crime, get rid of poverty, I thought this was the strangest doctrine I ever thought of in my life, because I was poor. I was poor, but it never occurred to me when I was poor that poverty and criminality were like that. We were as poor as – even the poor people thought we were poor. We were as poor as we could be. But in that house where I lived was godliness, and virtue, and the Word of the Lord, and trusting Jesus, and I grew up like that!
Don’t you ever let any sociologist or pseudo-sociologist persuade you that sin and crime and violence are found in any other place except in the depraved heart of a man, whether he’s rich or whether he’s poor. That’s what God teaches us.
Well, we can’t stay here all day on that. Let’s just take one other. What you learn when you read the prophecies, and what you learn when you study God’s Book, and how it delivers you from grievous and tragic error – here’s one: God said to Abraham, "Blessing, I will bless you. And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Then in the middle of that promise to Abraham, He said, "I will bless them that bless you. I will curse them that curse you" [Genesis 12:2-3].
There has never been a nation on the horizon of human history who persecuted Abraham’s children but came to a grievous and tragic end. And under my own eyes, I’ve seen what has happened to Germany – poor, wretched, divided Germany. Not in the foreseeable future will that nation ever be together again – just like you divide the United States down by the Mississippi River and our fathers and mothers live on that side and we live on this side. Such a heartache! Such a heartbreak! But that’s a judgment of God upon Germany.
I think one of the reasons that God has blessed America is because of our love for and our friendship to the children of Abraham. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem," said the psalmist in 122 Psalm, "pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee." These things we learn from God’s Book. That’s why God gives the prophecy that we might understand.
All right, let’s look again: why does God give the prophecy? Why does He write it out here for us to see? Second: prophecy exalts and honors the Lord God; it points Him out; it lifts Him up. There’s none like the great and mighty God! For He alone knows the secrets of the future, and He reveals them to His servants. God does that!
Why don’t you find prophecy in the other religious books of the earth? There is no religion in the earth that has prophecy in it except this faith, the Judeo-Christian religion. Why don’t you find prophecy in those other religions? Simply because if those prophets in those other religions had sought to write down predictions of the future, their false predictions would have castigated and condemned them on every page where they wrote. They dare not predict; they dare not prophesy because the spurious prediction would be immediately apparent! God’s not afraid of that! God says, "Trust Me and try Me and see."
And God will predict – not what is going to happen one hundred years from now, and He will do that – or what will happen five hundred years from now; He will do that – God will predict what will happen thousands of years from now!
To me, one of the most unusual predictions in the earth is what you call the protevangelium, that promise of God to Adam and Eve that in her Seed – her Seed! – Satan would find his ultimate destruction: "in the Seed of the woman" [Genesis 3:15].
"Well, what in the word did that mean," the old rabbis said, "For that promise, ‘the Seed of the woman’? Because the woman doesn’t have seed. It’s a man that has seed; a woman doesn’t have seed." But God said to Eve, "The Seed of the woman, the Seed of the woman shall crush Satan’s head."
We didn’t know what that prophecy meant, and it was uttered thousands, and thousands, and thousands, and thousands of years ago! We didn’t know what that meant until the Lord was born of a virgin [Matthew 1:22-25]. He had no human father; no human male seed. He was born of a virgin, came from God out of heaven. God’s not afraid to do that: thousands of years ahead, God will prophecy what is coming because He knows, He sees the end from the beginning.
And prophecy exalts the Lord; and the prophecy plainly – and I haven’t time even though I have almost an hour this morning – prophecy plainly lays before us that the Lord God rules, rules in the kingdoms of the earth and in the lives of men. For example, Daniel starts off like this: "And the Lord gave Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar" [Daniel 1:1-2]. God did it! God did it! "The Lord God gave Jehoiakim": it was a judgment, and God did it! [2 Kings 24:1].
And what happens to the nations of the earth we think is just inadvertent; it’s just adventitious; it just summarily happens. No! There is not anything that summarily happens! These things are of God. We just don’t understand them, and our little narrow vision cannot comprehend them, and our little finite mind cannot enter into them. But the prophecy is for the purpose to show us that the great sweep of life and the great flow of human tide in history is under the surveillance of Almighty God. He reigns and shall forever and ever!
All right, the third reason for the prophecy. First, that we might be delivered from mistaken judgments and error; second, that the Lord might be honored and exalted; third, the prophecy is written for our comfort and our assurance. Look at this: when a judgment of God falls – and it never fails; if God does not judge wrong and iniquity, then He is not God, for righteousness and holiness is in His character. And no man without holiness shall see the face of God. Judgment is from God. "The soul that sins shall die" [Ezekiel 18:4, 20]. That’s God! God put that together, and no man can unweld that chain.
Now, when judgment falls, it falls upon the good as well as the bad; upon the faithful as well as the blasphemer. Look at those four Hebrew children, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah – those four boys. Did you ever see four finer God-fearing young men? Did you ever read about them – going back these two thousand, six hundred years into that history just to find four young men like that? But they’re captives and they’re slaves in a heathen court. Why? Because the judgment of God fell upon Judah and the judgment of God fell upon Jerusalem, and these four boys fell with the rest of them. When they were carried into captivity, those four glorious lads were hauled off into captivity also.
Now, that’s why God’s people sometimes raise their voices and their eyes to heaven and cry in desperation and in frustration and in a broken heart, "O God, why? Why? Why?" We believe God’s forgotten His promise; could it be? We believe God doesn’t know; could it be? We believe God doesn’t care; could it be? And the righteous cry before the judgments of Almighty God! Look at the whole history of Israel: God blessed Abraham and gave him a promise [Genesis 12:2-3, 7]; God blessed Isaac and gave him a promise [Genesis 26:3]; God blessed Jacob and gave him a promise [Genesis 35:12 7]. God blessed David and gave him a promise that he would never fail of a son to sit on a throne, and his kingdom, the Davidian kingdom, should last forever and ever and ever [2 Samuel 7:12-16]. God said that! And then 722 BC came along, and the Assyrians carried off the northern ten tribes; 587 BC came along, and Nebuchadnezzar took away Judah and Benjamin and the other two tribes. And then, in 70 AD, after they had come back, a little remnant, and rebuilt the nation, in 70 AD the whole nation was destroyed for the centuries and the centuries.
And you come before God and say, "Lord God, where are all of those promises? Where has the promise that Israel should have the land forever? Where is that promise? And where is the promise that David should have a son that would sit upon his throne forever? Lord, have You forgotten? Lord, are Your promises fallen to the ground? Lord, are we not to believe in God’s Word?"
That’s why the prophecy: God lays it before us in order that we might see that these little ripples, these little incidental inconsequential, and these developments in history are just a part of the judgment of God upon sin and iniquity in the human race. "But be of good cheer, little flock, it is the Father’s good wish to give you the kingdom" [Luke 12:32]. And out of all the turmoil, and the violence, and the war, and the bloodshed, and the rioting, and the judgment of God upon this world, out of all of it, shall God preserve His own and give to them the kingdom.
Now, the prophecy is an assurance of that. You see, when God outlines a great prophetic future, if part of it is fulfilled, that’s an earnest and a harbinger and a promise of the faithfulness of God to fulfill the other part of it. For example, this great vision that Daniel saw, you know, interpreted it to Nebuchadnezzar, and God showed it to Daniel. It was a picture of a giant man, a great, great image of a man. And the head up there was of gold, and Daniel said, "God says that is your kingdom, the kingdom of Babylon."
And then the chest and the arms were of silver, and God said that represents the two-armed kingdom, the Medes and the Persians. And then God said the thighs are of brass and that represents the Greco kingdom, the kingdom of Alexander the Great. And He said the legs are of iron, and that represents the Roman kingdom; the East and the West Roman empires. And then, God said the feet are of clay and iron that don’t mix, two of them, and that represents how the world will be when Jesus comes again, when the great stone comes out of the mountain and strikes the image on the feet [Daniel 2:36-45].
Now, that’s what God said in 605 BC. Well, good night! We’ve got two – I ought not say that – we have two thousand, six hundred years of history to judge that. Well, let’s look at it. Was there a silver kingdom of Medes and Persians? There was, just like God said. Was there a Greek kingdom? There was, just like God said. Was there a Roman kingdom? There was, just like God said.
Then God says: "There will never be another worldwide kingdom. There will never be another one because the nations of the world will break up into, like, iron and clay, and they will be in two groups." Well, is that so? I have two thousand, six hundred years of history to test it. Is it so? There has never been a kingdom that covered this earth since the Roman Empire, just like God said. Those barbarians who came down and sacked Rome, they tried to build such an empire and failed ignominiously. Charlemagne tried it; Napoleon tried it; Kaiser Wilhelm tried it; Adolph Hitler tried it! The communist world is trying it today. It will never come to pass because God said it will never come to pass! And you can just test it in history.
Now, if these things that God has prophesied, if I see them fulfilled, do I not have an earnest, and a harbinger, and a promise that God will fulfill the rest? For example, God said that out of the mountain carved without hands there will come a great stone, and it will strike that image on both of its feet down here at the end time when all of the kingdoms, two groups of them, totalitarian and democratic, just like the Lord says, and that stone is going to come and destroy all of these kingdoms of wickedness, and it’s going to grow to fill the whole earth. And Daniel said that meant that the kingdom of God is going to come in the glorious appearing of the Messiah, and we’re going to have a universal kingdom of peace, a millennial kingdom of joy, and it will last forever and ever.
Having seen the first fulfilled, can’t I trust God for the other? Isn’t it a harbinger of what He is yet going to do? In the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel, Daniel said he saw the Ancient of Days, and One came before Him called the Son of Man. And there was given to Him a kingdom that should never end, and He would reign over it forever and ever [Daniel 7:13-14]. Can’t I believe that? That’s the prophecy, and what has been fulfilled is an assurance that the rest will be fulfilled.
The life of our Lord is like that. Oh! There are so many minute prophecies concerning the coming of Christ here in that Old Testament. Oh, so many of them, so many of them, and they were fulfilled in the minutest details, one after another after another – little old details that were prophesied about Christ! All right, I can test that and see it. Can I not therefore believe the details when the Lord speaks of the second coming of our Lord? Can’t I? When He came the first time, according to the Book, every detail in the prophecy was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus when He came the first time. Now, I have a reason and a right to believe that God will fulfill the prophecies in the second time; when He comes again, it will be just like it is here in the Book: "Behold, He cometh with clouds and every eye shall see Him" [Revelation 1:7]. Can I believe that? Could this old stolid earth ever be moved to transfiguration with a vision beatific when the Lord comes again? I have a right to believe it. This is the Word of God. That’s why it’s written there, for our assurance and comfort; so we can trust in it.
When I was preparing this sermon this last week, I received a long distance telephone call from a young man in Chicago. He must be a very fine and educated young man because the English he used, the grammar he used in talking to me was very, very fine. Well, this is what had happened. He said that when he was eleven years old, he had given his heart to the Lord; that he trusted in the Lord as his Savior and that he was baptized when he was eleven years old. He says: "Now I’m in a group, and they find fault with my conversion, and they think I wasn’t really saved." And he said: "I’m so disturbed. And I called you. I want you to tell me how can I know whether I’m saved or not. Please," he said, "can’t you tell me?"
I said: "Son, I certainly can. You’re not saved by any kind of an experience, as though that saved you; you’re saved by trusting Jesus. He saves you! We can’t save ourselves, no matter what experience we seek for or might have. He saves us!" I said, "It is just like the eleventh and twelfth verses of the first chapter of John:
He came unto His own, but His own received Him not.
But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become the children of God, even those that trusted His name.
I said, "Son, don’t trust in experience, whatever it was – big, little, bad, indifferent, laugh, cry, weep – whatever. Don’t trust the experience! And don’t trust anything else but Jesus. Just trust Jesus!" And I said, "Son, if you start looking at yourself and examining yourself, you’re going to be miserable because you’re going to find all kinds of things wrong with you, with me, with us. Don’t look at yourself; it’s the most discouraging prospect in the world when you look at yourself." I said, "Son, lift up your eyes and look at Jesus. He is all right. We may not be all right, but He is all right. We may be weak, but He is strong. We may not have the answers, but He has got them all." I said, "You look to Jesus!" And I said, "Put your trust in the Lord and in that blessed promise ‘that as many as trusted Him, to them gave He the right to become the children of God." I said, "Son, you can wake up at two o’clock in the morning, and that promise is still right there; and you can grow old, and that promise is still there; and when you come to die, that promise is still there; because God’s Word doesn’t change! You trust God and His promise!"
So the young fellow burst into sobs over the telephone up there in Chicago. I just could hear him cry. He said: "Oh, thank you! Thank you! That’s what I’ll do." He said: "I’ll trust God’s promise, and I’ll look to Jesus."
That’s all we need. If I were to see an angel from heaven, I’d thank the Lord for the vision, but I’d never think to make it a part of my conversion. If I were to see a light from glory or a ball of fire like at Pentecost, it would never occur to me that was a confirmation that I’d been saved. For I’m not saved by angels, and I’m not saved by light, and I’m not saved by balls of fire; I’m saved by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and His promise that if I’d trust Him He would see me through, and I don’t need anything else. That’s enough. I’ve got the Word of God and the promise of the Lord, and I don’t need anything else. Like that old, old-time song:
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith in His matchless Word?
What more can He say than to you He has said,
You who under Jesus for refuge have fled?
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient shall be thy supply,
The flames shall not hurt thee –
Like in the third chapter of this Book, in the fiery furnace:
The flames shall not hurt thee, I only design,
Thy dross to consume, thy gold to refine
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I’ll never, no never, desert to its foes.
That soul, though all hell shall endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
["How Firm a Foundation"; John Rippon, 1787]
That’s why God wrote the prophecy, and that’s why God made the promise, and that’s why God gave us the Book, that we might have assurance and quietness of heart and be without fear or apprehension whatever any day of any future may bring. That’s what God has done for us. Why, when you get to thinking about these things, your heart can hardly contain the fullness of God’s goodness to us.
Now our time is almost gone, we must sing our song. A family you to come, a couple you to come, a one somebody you to come, make that decision now, and in a moment when we stand up to sing, on the first note of the first stanza, step into the aisle, down the stairway of your balcony and come here to me: "Here I am, pastor, here I come. I make it now." Do it. May God bless you and angels attend you in the way as you come, as we stand and as we sing
THE UNFAILING WORD OF GOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. To deliver us from mistaken judgments
A. Our false assurance of security has tragic affects
B. Our false persuasion concerning the source of crime
C. Our false attitude toward the Jews
II. To Honor and exalt the Lord God
A. He alone knows the secrets of the future
B. He rules in the destinies of man
III. To give assurance to God’s people concerning the future
A. Tragedies that can befall God’s people
B. God’s earnest pledge of His faithfulness