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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, June 17, 2018

Please turn in your Bible to II Timothy, chapter three. It is on page 1280 in the Scofield Study Bible. Now look up. Please keep your Bible open to that chapter.

I consider II Timothy, chapters three and four, to be one of the most important passages in the Bible for us today. II Timothy is the last thing the Apostle wrote for the Bible. It was written in about A.D. 67. Paul was arrested by the Emperor Nero for being a Christian teacher. He was chained in the Mamertine Prison, a short distance from the Colosseum. My wife and I went down into that dark prison. It was there that Paul wrote this epistle. He was beheaded a few months after he wrote II Timothy. II Timothy was written to show us how to live as Christians in a time of apostasy – a time of unbelief and rejection of Christianity. It was written especially for the time in which we live! The 20th and 21st centuries are the most godless period of world history. Look at chapter 3, verse 1.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (II Timothy 3:1).

Look up, please. Some writers say this is the entire period of time since the ascension of Christ. I don’t believe that. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “We are, I believe, moving into the last days...I believe we are now [living] in those ‘perilous’ days. I don’t know how much longer it will last, but I’m sure it is going to get worse” (McGee, Thru the Bible; note on II Timothy 3:1). The next few verses graphically picture the time in which we live. Look at verses 2-7.

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:2-7).

It sounds like a list of the people who split our church when Mr. Olivas left. We are in the last days! Now look at verses 12 and 13.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Timothy 3:12, 13).

Look up.

These verses describe an apostate world, a world that has rejected God and the Bible, an evil and sadistic world where many people act like savages, a world where “all that will live godly” [Christian lives] will be persecuted in one way or the other, a world where good Christians are despised [verse 3]. We are seeing all that today. The secularists are threatening Christians who stand up against the “sexual revolution.” It frightens many church members. 200,000 Southern Baptists fled from their churches last year. More are running for their lives this year – out of fear, in this “perilous,” dangerous, and demonic time. The Muslims are coming. Bombs are going off. Drug abuse is skyrocketing. Crosses are being torn down. Children are being told they can’t pray in school. Everybody seems to understand that terrible things are about to happen in our nation and in our world.

You and I live in this perilous time. The British evangelist Leonard Ravenhill said “These are the last days!” A few seconds after I wrote that sentence I heard that Muslim terrorists attacked Paris in several places. The Muslims murdered over 120 people in cold blood. Only 24 hours earlier Obama said, “ISIS is contained.” What a joke! Obama was the weakest president America had since Jimmy Carter!

These are perilous times. These are apostate times. Our churches are full of lost people. Many pastors are so afraid someone will leave their church that they don’t even preach the Gospel – for fear of making some lost person angry! Your colleges are full of dope-smoking professors who tell you the Bible is full of lies. You know they do! You know I’m right! What is the answer? What should we do? The Apostle gives the answer in verse 14,

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (II Timothy 3:14).

“Continue in the things thou hast learned.” Keep coming to church no matter what happens! “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned.” Dr. Lee Roberson (1909-2007) was a great Baptist patriarch. His motto was “Three to Thrive” – “a motto I have been preaching for more than sixty years!” – “Faithfulness in worship – Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening” (Lee Roberson, D.D., “Three to Thrive Statement,” The Man in Cell No. 1, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1993, back cover).

What’s wrong with that? Nothing is wrong with that! Be here in church instead of running off to a party with unbelievers! Be here in church, rather than running off to Las Vegas, or to the wicked city of San Francisco! Be here every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, and every Wednesday night! No matter what comes up! As the apostasy grows darker, “continue thou in the things which thou hast learned.” Amen to that! Now look at verse 15.

“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” (II Timothy 3:15).

Look up. Dr. McGee said,

The only antidote against a world of apostasy is the Word of God [the Bible]. The only resource and recourse for the child of God is the Word of God.

If you don’t read the Bible every day, you will be confused and flummoxed by today’s apostasy. Now look at verse 15,

“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” (II Timothy 3:15).

Dr. McGee said,

The Scriptures not only give us the [way] of being saved...but it saves us in this present evil world...It is my contention that the constant study of the Word of God is [the answer]. It is able to make us “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” makes us wise in knowing how to live down here [in this evil world].

Why should we read the Bible, and obey it? It is because the Bible is not like any other book. Look at verse 16,

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16).

Dr. W. A. Criswell (1909-2002) was a great champion of the Bible. He said,

The clearest way to give Paul’s meaning is to translate it as follows: “All Scripture, because it is God-breathed, is profitable...The origin of Scripture is stated: it is God-breathed (theopneustos, Greek), i.e., the words of Scripture are to be received as from God Himself. The doctrine of Scripture maintained by the Bible is that its words are “God-breathed”... Second Peter 1:21 furnishes additional evidence that the Holy Spirit communicated to the authors of Scripture precisely those [words] which God desired to transmit (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., The Criswell Study Bible, note on II Timothy 3:16).

II Peter 1:21 says that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” “Moved” is from the Greek word pherō. It means “to carry along.” The Bible is infallible because the Holy Spirit “carried, or bore along” the authors who spoke and wrote the words of the Bible. The Holy Spirit gave the human authors the words to record without error. Thus, the words of the Hebrew and Greek Bible are God’s Word to man. Dr. Henry M. Morris said, “‘All scripture,’ every individual ‘scripture’ is included ...not just the thoughts but the actual writings, the words written down. Thus the words are [given by inspiration] of God...the true doctrine is plenary verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures” (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, note on II Timothy 3:16).

“Plenary” means “all.” “Verbal” means “words.” “Inspiration” means “God-breathed.” All the words of the Bible are given by inspiration. That is plenary verbal inspiration, the correct doctrine of orthodox Christianity (Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.).

The Hebrew and Greek words of the entire Bible are “theopneustos” – “God breathed” – given by inspiration from God. The prophets and Apostles wrote down the Hebrew and Greek words as their minds were “moved along” by the Holy Spirit. Inspiration does not extend to any translation, including the KJV, but only to the Hebrew and Greek words that were written down by the prophets and Apostles. The Dead Sea Scrolls show the extremely high degree of the preservation of the Hebrew Bible. The Textus Receptus Greek is a very reliable transmission of the original Greek New Testament. When you open the King James Bible you are reading a highly reliable translation of the God-breathed words of the Hebrew and Greek Bible.

Why does this matter? Dr. B. B. McKinney was for many years the head of the music department at Baylor University, a Southern Baptist school. Already, in the 1920s, liberal teachers at Baylor and other Southern Baptist schools were teaching that there were errors in the Bible. That’s why Dr. McKinney wrote that song “I Know the Bible is True.” Dr. McKinney was a friend of Dr. John R. Rice, and he believed in the inerrancy of the Scriptures. That’s why McKinney’s song says,

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.

Though foes deny with a sprit 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.
   (“I Know the Bible is True” by Dr. B. B. McKinney, 1886-1952).

I learned the Bible from my long-time pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin, who was an impressive Bible scholar, and taught in the graduate department of Bob Jones University. Later he went on to be the president of China Evangelical Seminary in Taipei, Taiwan, following the presidency of Dr. James Hudson Taylor III, whom I met several times. My other teacher was Dr. J. Vernon McGee, whom I listened to on the radio every day for over ten years. I learned from these great scholars that the Bible is literally true.

So, when I went through Cal State, Los Angeles, earning my bachelor’s degree, I was not confused by the Bible-rejecting liberals who taught there. I knew they were wrong, and that the Bible was right. Then I earned a Master of Divinity degree at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary near San Francisco. Virtually every professor there was a Bible-rejecting liberal. I hated being there. It was cold and lifeless and dead. I was taught by professors who were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) – professors who had their “understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that [was] is in them, because of the blindness of their heart[s],” Ephesians 4:18.

I memorized the lies they told and gave the answers they wanted on the tests I took. But I did not believe one word of the liberal trash they taught us. Three verses in the 119th Psalm helped me get through the horrible three years I spent in that apostate seminary,

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:97-99).

Near the end of my study in that demonic rat-hole of liberalism, I felt almost like a dead man. The only thing that kept me going was the Bible. Many a cold and lonely night I went to sleep in the dormitory with my Bible opened to Psalm 119 – lying across my chest. I completely agree with Dr. McGee when he said, “The only antidote against a world of apostasy is the Word of God. The only resource and recourse for the child of God is the Word of God...and it will adequately meet our need...All Scripture is given by inspiration of God – it is God-breathed. It says what God wants said, and it has said everything He wants to say. For this reason it meets the needs of the human heart” (McGee, ibid.; notes on II Timothy 3:14-17).

I want you to memorize these blessed words of God. Turn to Proverbs 3:5-7. It’s on page 673 of the Scofield Study Bible.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).

Memorize those verses. Repeat them to yourself. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). The next passage I am going to have you memorize is Psalm 119:97-99. It is on page 660 in the Scofield Study Bible. Let us stand and read it aloud.

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:97-99).

You may be seated.

How I pray that those words, given by God Himself, will help you get through a secular education without being led astray by unbelieving professors. Those words will protect you from God-denying books you must read to graduate from a secular college.

In these evil days of apostasy and sin, I pray that you will read the Bible every day. You will learn to love it. It will become your dearest friend in times of the loneliness and heartache that we all go through in life. My mentor Abraham Lincoln said, “The Bible is the best gift God has given to man. Take all of this book upon reason that you can and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man.”

Here is another verse to memorize. Turn to Hebrews 13:17. It’s on page 1304 in the Scofield Study Bible. Stand and read it aloud.

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).

You may be seated. Those who “have the rule over you” are the pastors of the church. In Acts 20:28 the Apostle Paul said to pastors and leaders, “Shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” The pastors and leaders in the church are given to guide and lead you like shepherds lead their sheep. Pastors are not perfect. But I found that, though my pastor was not a perfect man, he was a man who loved and served God. I would not be a pastor today if I had rebelled against him.

And here is one more passage to memorize. Turn to Hebrews 10:24, 25. It’s on page 1300 in the Scofield Bible. Stand and read it.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24, 25).

You may be seated. This is a major way to keep yourself in a spiritually good place. One of the best ways to do that is to be in a small prayer group with a few people you trust. I am in constant contact with a few men in our church. Without Dr. Cagan and the young men in my prayer group, I would have given up several times.

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed”
        (Proverbs 13:20).

And one more thing. Do what the Bible says and you will be converted. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). When you believe on Jesus, when you trust Him with all your heart, you will be saved. He died, nailed to a cross, in your place, to pay the penalty for your sin. His Blood poured out of the five wounds in His body. That Blood was shed to cleanse you from all sin. Come and trust Jesus, and you will be saved for all eternity. The Bible says so – and the Bible cannot lie, for it is the Word of the living God!

Thou truest friend I ever knew,
Thy constancy I’ve tried;
When all were false, I found thee true,
My counselor and guide.

The mines of earth no treasures give,
That could this volume buy,
In teaching me the way to live,
It taught me how to die!

The precious, unchanging Saviour Jesus is revealed to us in the pages of this Holy Book! Amen!

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Noah Song:
“I Know the Bible is True” (by Dr. B. B. McKinney, 1886-1952).