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THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, October 4, 2009

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12).


Please keep your Bible open to this text.  These words were spoken by God against "Ephraim." Ephraim was the name of the largest of the northern tribes of Israel. The prophet Hosea used “Ephraim” as the name of Israel.  They broke away from the southern tribe of Judah, and rebelled against God. The sin of Ephraim is given to us in these words from God,

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12).

God spoke directly to Ephraim by the prophet Hosea.  But the people said,

“The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad” (Hosea 9:7).

Dr. Ryrie said of that verse,

The people [of Ephraim] reacted against Hosea’s somber warnings by declaring him a fool, whereas in reality he was the nation’s watchman (Charles C. Ryrie, Ph.D., The Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Press, 1978, p. 1344; note on Hosea 9:7-8).

Isn't that true in our day as well? If we say God speaks to us through the Bible, don't people say this also about us, as they did of Hosea,

“The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad”? (Hosea 9:7).

But they are just as wrong today to reject God's Word as they were then. As God said to Ephraim, so He says to those who reject the Bible today,

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12).

I have three things to say about the Bible this morning, and they are all three from this text.

I. First, the true author of the Bible is God.

God said, “I have written to him…” (Hosea 8:12a). Here is the Bible. Who wrote it? I open it and find that it contains sixty-six books. The first five books have Moses as their human author. I turn the pages and I find others who took up their pens to write: David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah. As I turn further in the Bible I find Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Paul, Peter, James and Jude as the human writers. But I ask myself, Who is the author behind these writings? Surely such an encyclopedia of books, psalms and epistles is more than the work of men! Great Spurgeon said,

I ask myself who is the author of it? Do these men…claim the authorship? Are they the [authors] of this massive volume?... Our holy religion answers, NO! This volume is the writing of the living God: each letter was penned by [the] Almighty finger; each word of it [came] from the everlasting lips; each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Bible,” The New Park Street Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1981, volume I, p. 110).

“Ah,” someone says, “You believe the dictation theory!” But it was not I that said that. It was Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” who said, “Each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit.” Find fault with him if you will, but I for one do not, for Peter himself said,

“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Peter 1:21).

And the Apostle Paul said,

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16).

It is not the ideas, or the thoughts that God gave by inspiration – it is the words of the Bible that holy men were moved by God to write! Jesus did not say “My thoughts and ideas shall not pass away.” No! No! Christ said,

“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31).

What Spurgeon meant, and what I mean, is that the first copies of the Bible contained only the words that God wanted there.  Liberals mock this as the "dictation theory," but it is really just the ordinary explanation given by all Protestants and Baptists before Biblical criticism came in, "plenary verbal inspiration."  It means that the Spirit of God gave to the minds of the prophets and Apostles (inspiration) the very words (verbal) that they wrote down on the pages of the first copies of the Bible (plenary).  This is the historic faith of all Protestants and Baptists before Biblical criticism came into the seminaries and made them deny the verbal inspiration of the Bible, that Spurgeon upheld when he said, "Each word of it [came] from the everlasting lips; each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit" (Spurgeon, ibid.).  We do not mean that God spoke words into their ears, but we do mean that He guided their hearts to write down exactly what He wanted in the Bible. 

In two great liberal seminaries, which denied that God authored the Bible, I was denounced for believing what they called the “dictation theory.” They rejected the fact that the very Hebrew and Greek words were “given by inspiration of God” (II Timothy 3:16). I believed every word of the Scriptures, yet I did not know how to answer their charge back then. But I will now answer them with the words of Spurgeon, the greatest Baptist preacher of the ages,

Each letter was penned by [the] Almighty finger; each word of it [came] from the everlasting lips; each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit (Spurgeon, ibid.).

Let it stand! Dr. John R. Rice agreed with Spurgeon, and so do I. Let it stand! “Each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit.” Let stand the words God Himself spoke in Hosea,

“I have written to him the great things of my law” (Hosea 8:12).

God said He wrote the Bible! That settles it for me – once and for all! Let liberals laugh! Let new-evangelicals cast scorn! Let sinners turn their ears away! Yet I will continue to believe that God Himself spoke to a mocking, Bible-rejecting world when He said,

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12).

Go ahead, lost worldling, go on rejecting what God said and call it a “strange thing.” But as for me, I will always and forever believe that God said,

“I have written to him the great things of my law.”

Amen! So be it! World without end. Amen!

I know the Bible was sent from God,
   The Old, as well as the New;
Inspired and holy, the living Word,
   I know the Bible is true.

Join me on the chorus,

I know, I know, I know the Bible is true;
Divinely inspired the whole way through,
I know the Bible is true.
   (“I Know the Bible is True” by Dr. B. B. McKinney, 1886-1952).

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12).

II. Second, the great questions of life are answered by God in the Bible.

God said,

“I have written to him the great things of my law…”
       (Hosea 8:12b).

The word “law” is a synonym for the Bible. God said He has “written…the great things of my law,” I have written the great things of the Bible! The Bible is the law of God, and the Bible speaks of great things!

The Bible answers the great questions of life: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Without the Bible we would not know that we are all members of a fallen race. We would not know that the first man sinned and brought ruin down on all of his descendants. Without the revelation God gave in Scripture, we would not know that

“…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin”
       (Romans 5:12).

We would not know that all men are

“dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

Without the Bible we would not know that, in this dead condition, we are

“alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in [us], because of the blindness of [our] heart” (Ephesians 4:18).

Without the Bible we would not know the great truth of God’s love for the fallen, human race. We could never discover by human reason that

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Without the Bible we could never know that

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

Without the Bible we could not know that Christ, in

“…his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree”
       (I Peter 2:24).

And again, without the Bible we could not know of the coming kingdom of God, wherein the righteous shall dwell with Christ,

“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

And without the Bible we would not be warned of the eternal damnation of the lost, when Christ will say,

“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire”
       (Matthew 25:41).

We would not know, apart from the Bible, that

“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Nor could we know, without the Bible, the reason we are born again,

“created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”
       (Ephesians 2:10).

Yes, it is the Bible that answers the great questions of life: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?

The skeptics and Bible critics stand speechless before these issues. Your secular college professor has no answers to these all-important questions. To the critics and skeptics and liberal professors you are only a dumb animal, living a meaningless life, ending in an empty and hopeless death. The Bible alone gives us answers to these great questions! It was God Himself who said, 

“I have written to him the great things of my law…”
       (Hosea 8:12b).

But there is one more clause in our text, which leads us to the last point.

III. Third, the lost world rejects the God-given Bible.

Please read the text aloud.

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12).

Lost men think that the Bible speaks of "strange things."  Why do they think that? Some think the Bible is “a strange thing” because they never read it! Have you actually read it? If you have not, no wonder it seems strange to you! Before our deacon, Dr. C. L. Cagan, became a Christian he read the Bible from cover to cover. No wonder he was soon converted! May you also do the same. Before you reject the Bible as “a strange thing,” read it – from cover to cover! The Psalmist said,

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130).

Dr. Cagan earned a Ph.D. in mathematics at UCLA.  He was a teaching assistant there while he studied for his Ph.D.  Dr. Cagan was an atheist, but he thought, "I have read the great books of the Western world, Plato, Socrates, Homer, Dante, Shakespeare.  I have read these great books that shaped civilization, but I have not read the most important of them all, the Bible."  Therefore, Dr. Cagan sat down and read the Bible from cover to cover in a couple of weekends.  Two verses stuck in his mind,

"Riches profit not in the day of wrath" (Proverbs 11:4).

"And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:  but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (I John 2:17).

No wonder he was soon converted!  And if you read the Bible all the way through, you may be converted as well!  You can read the full story of Dr. Cagan's conversion in a book titled, From Darwin to Design.  Click here to order it from Amazon.com.   

There are others who think the Bible “a strange thing” because they hate it! Satan was the first to hate it. The Devil cast doubt on the Word of God in the Garden of Eden, when he asked that subtle question,

“Yea, hath God said…?” (Genesis 3:1).

And then that old serpent said the Word of God was wrong, that it was full of errors.  That's what he said to our first mother in the Garden - "Don't believe what God said! It's full of errors!" (cf. Genesis 3:4-5).

Satan still hates the Bible. He still whispers to lost souls, “Yea, hath God said…?” That is why God said,

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12).

It is Satan who twists and distorts, and casts doubt on the God-given Scriptures!

But if you wish to become a real Christian,

“Submit yourselves…to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Resist the temptation of Satan! Submit to God! Come to His Son Jesus Christ! Be cleansed from your sin by His Blood! Let us stand and sing hymn number 4 on your song sheet. Sing it!

There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
   And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains;
   And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.
(“There Is a Fountain” by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers’ sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Hosea 8:11-14.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I Know the Bible is True” (by Dr. B. B. McKinney, 1886-1952).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing” (Hosea 8:12).

(Hosea 9:7)

I.   First, the true author of the Bible is God, Hosea 8:12a; II Peter 1:21;
II Timothy 3:16; Mark 13:31.

II.  Second, the great questions of life are answered by God in the Bible,
Hosea 8:12b; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1; 4:18; John 3:16;
I Corinthians 15:3-4; I Peter 2:24; Matthew 25:34, 41; John 3:3;
Ephesians 2:10.

III. Third, the lost world rejects the God-given Bible, Hosea 8:12c;
Psalm 119:130; Proverbs 11:4; I John 2:17; Genesis 3:1, 4-5;
James 4:7.