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THE INDESTRUCTIBLE BOOK

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, November 4, 2012

“And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin” (Jeremiah 36:1-3).


The nation of Judah sinned against God. This was a time of great sin, apostasy and rebellion. We are living in a time like that tonight. But in the midst of the confusion we have this great passage of Scripture, Jeremiah chapter thirty-six.

I read this chapter again and again while I was attending a Bible-rejecting Southern Baptist seminary in the early 1970s. The professors would attack the Bible all morning in the classrooms. But when I got back to my room I took great comfort in reading this chapter night after night. It is a great chapter in the Bible. It tells us where the Bible came from. It tells us why wicked men hate the Bible, and how they try to destroy it. But it also tells us how God preserves the Bible, and the doom that awaits those who reject it.

I don’t usually preach from a whole chapter in the Bible, but we need to do that tonight because this passage is so rich, and so needed in the time of apostasy in which we live today. Come with me then, as we study this chapter, which shows us clearly that the Bible is the indestructible Word of our God! The chapter answers at least four questions.

I. First, where the Bible came from.

The answer is given in Jeremiah 36:1-2. Look at those verses.

“And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day” (Jeremiah 36:1-2).

This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord, “Write…all the words that I have spoken unto thee.” This is a description of the Bible’s inspiration. The Apostle Paul said,

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:15-16).

Here the Apostle tells us that all of the “Holy Scriptures” are “given by inspiration of God.” The Greek word translated “inspiration” is “theopneustos.” It means “God breathed.” That means that the Scripture itself is breathed out from God. Paul told Timothy that the writings themselves were breathed out by God. The writings did not come from man, and then had God breathe on them. No, God breathed out the very words and had man write them down.

Jesus made this clear when He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Every word of Scripture “proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Then, in II Peter 1:21 we read that the prophecy of Scripture “came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The word translated “moved” is “phero” in Greek. It means to “carry along.” So, holy men of God were carried along by the Holy Spirit as God gave them the words to write. God carried the minds of the prophets along so the words they wrote down were given directly from God. C. H. Spurgeon said,

      This volume [of Scripture] is the writing of the living God: each letter was penned with an almighty finger; each word in it dropped from everlasting lips; each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit. Albeit, that Moses was employed to write his histories with his fiery pen, God guided that pen [and so it is with every other book in the Bible]. It is God’s voice, not man’s; the words are God’s words…This Bible is God’s Bible, and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, “I am the book of God: man, read me. I am God’s writing; open my leaf, for I was penned by God; read it, for he is my author” (C. H. Spurgeon, “A Coffer of Jewels About the Bible,” pp. 45-46).

The Lord Jesus Christ continually spoke of the Bible as the perfect and eternal Word of God. He said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). He said, “The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). He said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father…” (Mark 8:38).

Notice, in Jeremiah 36:2, that God said to the prophet, “Write therein all the words that I have spoken.” So here, and throughout the Bible, we are told that it is the very “words” that were given by inspiration from God. It wasn’t the ideas, or the stories, that were given by inspiration. No, it was the holy “words” that were “God breathed,” given from the mouth of God. In Jeremiah 30:2, we read that God told Jeremiah, “Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.”

So, we hold in our hands the Bible, translated into English. We can be sure, from hundreds of Scriptures, that the original Hebrew and Greek words were “breathed out” by God, and the human authors wrote down the exact Hebrew and Greek words that they received from God. Notice that Baruch said in verse 18, “He [Jeremiah] pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.” God gave the words to Jeremiah. He pronounced them with his mouth. And Baruch wrote them down. That is how we got our God-breathed Bible!

Dr. B. B. McKinney said in one of his songs,

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.
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).

II. Second, why the Bible is hated.

Make no mistake here. The Bible is hated by uncounted thousands today – just as it has always been hated by many. Why is that so? Look at verse two again,

“Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day” (Jeremiah 36:2).

Notice the last few words, “All the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations…” That is why people hate the Bible! It speaks against them! Men hate the Bible because it tells them they are sinners. No other book has ever been written that condemns sin and pricks men’s consciences as much as the Bible does.

The atheist hates the Bible because it calls him a fool – “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

The idol worshipping Buddhist hates the Bible because it says that idol worshippers “became fools” (Romans 1:22).

Those who advocate same-sex unions hate the Bible because it says, “For this cause…God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (Romans 1:26, 28).

The abortion advocate hates the Bible because it says, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).

The evolutionist hates the Bible because it says, “God created” (Genesis 1:1; 1:24; 1:27, etc.).

Rebellious sinners hate the Bible because it shines its light upon their sin.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:19-20).

III. Third, what rebellious sinners do with the Bible.

The scroll, upon which was written the words of God from the mouth of Jeremiah, was read to the wicked king, Jehoiakim. Look at verse 22.

“Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words” (Jeremiah 36:22-24).

That wicked rebellious king burned the Word of God, a page at a time! What else is new? Certainly not the fact that sinners hate the Bible! They have always hated it. In the Garden of Eden, Satan slyly whispered to Eve, “Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1). Then Satan directly contradicted the Bible when he lied to Eve and said, “Ye shall not surely die” if you disobey the Word of God (Genesis 3:4). And Satan has been leading wicked sinners to attack and belittle the Bible ever since.

People often say that they reject the Bible because they are more thoughtful, or more educated. But they have only deceived themselves. The real reason they reject the Bible is because they are enemies of God. The Apostle Paul said,

“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

The carnal, unconverted mind of Bible haters leads them to rebel more and more against the Scriptures. King Zedekiah was not more intellectual than Jeremiah. And he was certainly not more educated! No, he didn’t burn the Bible because he was intellectual or educated! He burned the Bible because his wicked, carnal mind was “enmity against God.”

I have heard drunkards and dope addicts use the same arguments against the Bible that unbelieving professors used at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary when I was studying there in the 1970s. Why did those so-called “learned” professors use the same arguments against the Bible that drug addicts and sex perverts use? The answer is simple. They were unconverted. They were only “natural men” because they had never experienced the new birth! The Bible says,

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).

Until a sinner is converted, he will naturally rebel against the Bible, and attack it, as that wicked king did, who threw the Bible into a fire in Jeremiah’s day. Those who attack and criticize the Bible are always unsaved men, under at least a certain amount of Satanic control (Ephesians 2:2). Dr. McKinney said,

Though foes deny with a spirit bold,
   The message old but still new,
Its truth is sweeter each time ‘tis told,
   I know the Bible is true.
I know, I know, I know the Bible is true,
   Divinely inspired the whole way through,
I know the Bible is true.

IV. Fourth, how God preserves his Word.

The wicked King Jehoiakim took a penknife and cut up the pages of God’s Word. Then he cast the pages of the Bible into the roaring flames in his fireplace. “Yet they were not afraid...neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words” (Jeremiah 36:24). Of the wicked we are told, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). Sinners can only be brought under conviction of sin, and made to fear, by the Spirit of God. Men will never fear the coming judgment unless God opens their blinded hearts!

Now the only copy of the book of Jeremiah was burned – every word of it! Was that the end of this part of the Bible? No, it was not! Look at verse 27.

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned” (Jeremiah 36:27-28).

Now look at verse 32.

“Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire...” (Jeremiah 36:32).

The Bible is the only book that can never be destroyed! Why? Because the Bible is indestructible. The Apostle Peter said, “The word of the Lord endureth for ever” (I Peter 1:25). The prophet Isaiah said, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). And the Psalmist said, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). Dr. John R. Rice said that verse (in Psalm 119:89) “certainly teaches the eternal character of the Scriptures, settled and preserved in Heaven” (John R. Rice, D.D., Our God-Breathed Book – The Bible, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1969 edition, p. 358).

You can be sure that the Gospel is true because the Bible says so! And “the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (I Peter 1:25). Christ Jesus came down from Heaven, took your sins upon Him, and went to die on the Cross – to pay the penalty for your transgressions, and your sins. And Christ “was buried, and...he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:4). Turn from your sins and trust Christ. He will save you from sin, from Hell, and from the grave. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

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write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Psalm 119:9-18.
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 INDESTRUCTIBLE BOOK

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin” (Jeremiah 36:1-3).

I.   First, where the Bible came from, Jeremiah 36:1-2; II Timothy 3:15-16;
Matthew 4:4; II Peter 1:21; Matthew 24:35; John 10:35; Mark 8:38;
Jeremiah 30:2; 36:18.

II.  Second, why the Bible is hated, Jeremiah 36:2; Psalm 14:1;
Romans 1:22, 26, 28; Exodus 20:13; Genesis 1:1, 24, 27;
John 3:19-20.

III. Third, what rebellious sinners do with the Bible, Jeremiah 36:22-24;
Genesis 3:1, 4; Romans 8:7; I Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:2.

IV. Fourth, how God preserves His Word, Jeremiah 36:24; Romans 3:18;
Jeremiah 36:27-28, 32; I Peter 1:25; Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 119:89.