by Jerry Gentry
"Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips" (Hosea 14:2).
The Bible is a living book, or at least it claims to be. In the Bible, we read: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Matt. 17:20). In this book called the Bible, Jesus teaches, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matt. 21:22). Yet to many Christians, such "cannons" of scripture are reduced to mere words on a page, "a form of godliness," to be talked about, with little or no personal application required.
These Christians "deny. . . the power thereof" (2Tim. 3:5). Many Christians say the Bible is true, yet they fail to heed personally what the Bible teaches. Such Christians are defined in the Bible as hypocrites. When we live as hypocrites, our life witness is much diminished.
To such Christians, Jesus rebuked: "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).There is an element of obedience, necessary for Christians to receive answers to prayer. "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (1John 3:22). Brother and Sister, are you walking in subjection, in yieldedness, in obedience today? Will you even now "do those things that are pleasing in his sight?" Is the Bible true for you in your daily life?
Take another example. The prophet Malachi challenges: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Mal. 3:10).
Are these Bible words true for you? If so, then have you applied them personally. If not, why not? And if so, you are a faithful tithe payer, upon whom "the windows of heaven. . . pour. . . out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
You say the Bible is your Holy Book, written by the very finger of your God, every word inspired by the Holy Spirit. You say the God of the Bible is your Saviour, your Lord, your Master. Then would you bet your very life on the veracity of His words found in this Bible, as three men of old submitted their lives upon the veracity of those very words?
After refusing to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden image, and failing to renege their faith, Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego were condemned to die in the flames of the burning fiery furnace.
"Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them. . . Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" (Dan 3:14, 15).
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter" (v. 16).
"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king" (v. 17).
"But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (v. 18).
"Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated" (v. 19).
"And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace" (v. 20)
"Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace" (v. 21).
"Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king" (v. 24).
"He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" (v. 25).
"Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire" (v. 26).
"And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them" (v. 27).
Thus, the God of Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego, the God of your Bible, proved to be more than just a cosmic first cause, who has disappeared far away into heavenly retirement. These three men found their God, to be very near and personal unto them, just as the prophet had said: "Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD" (Jer. 23:23-24).
The Bible may be looked upon as a great arsenal filled with "cannons" of truth, given to us by our loving Father. The Ten Commandments may be likened to ten great "cannons," each one loaded with great explosive power for those who will dare take those words and personally live by them, as Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego lived by them. Such a life requires more than superficial, Sabbath morning religiousity, more than Bible thumping and quotation. If the Bible is really true for you, then you will not ignore its many commands and promises. Will you become an obedient believer? Is the Bible true for you?
Why does the church of God today experience so few mighty miracles from God, that these three men experienced? Why do Christians often experience the reality that our enemies rise over us, as in: "he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail" (Deut. 28:44)? The Bible gives us the answer:
"Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still" (Isa. 5:24-25). What an indictment against disbelieving, disobedient Christians, even though they are not to be called unbelievers.
The prophet is telling us that the very people who were given the Bible have despised it's "cannons" and cast them off in favor of candy apple idolatry.
But you say, "Oh, no! Such is not the case in the church of God! Surely we are not guilty." Oh, but Christian, are you not guilty if disbelief in a thousand ways in word and deed? When you are sick, do you call the priests of poison pills and polluted waters, called M. D.'s? Or do you "call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him" (Jam 5:14-15)?
Will you follow the unholy grail of surgical intervention, or will you anoint yourself with holy oil of the Bible and "wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us" (Psa. 123:2)? Will you listen to the nay sayers and doubters and back biters, whom Jesus called a "faithless and perverse generation" (Matt. 17:17), or will you hear and believe the words of your Bible?
The God of the Bible states, "For I am the LORD that healeth thee" (Exod. 15:26). Of our LORD, the Bible says: "he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5). Now concerning Miriam, Moses' sister who was leprous, "Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee" (Num. 12:13). Miriam was immediately healed without the aid of sorcerers or surgeons, without pills or intraveinous pollution, without medicines at all, whether foul or not. God simply honored Moses' prayer. The word of God was true for Moses. Is it true for you?
If the Bible is true for you, then you will first find and do what your Bible says to do in all matters.
Take the example of the teenage boy David, who was later called "a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will" (Acts 13:22). Here is a mere teenage boy, who shows up at the battle lines where his older brothers are enlisted in King Saul's army. Every day now, one giant Philistine, called Goliath, comes out and curses the God of Israel: "And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid" (1Sa 17:24). David hears the challenge, and responds: "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (v. 26).
"And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine" (v. 32).
"David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee" (v. 37).
"And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine" (v. 40).
"Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied" (v. 45).
"This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (v. 46).
"And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands" (v. 47).
"And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine" (v. 48).
"And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth" (v. 49).
"So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David" (v. 50).
"Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled" (v. 51).
The Bible was true for the boy David. His faith not only carried him into church, where he heard the Word preached, where he prayed and where he sang praises and worshipped. The Bible was true for the boy David, even in the midst of the battle field, where he fired God's "cannon" of truth into action and willingly defended the reputation of the God of Israel, even at great personal risk. Is the Bible true for you, Christian, as it was true for the boy David? In the coming judgment, no one&emdash;not even you&emdash;can plead ignorance. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11).
"But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach" (Rom. 10:8).
Christian, the word of God is nigh in your mouth, when you read, memorize and meditate on the Bible daily. But that is only your starting point. Will you set off the holy blast of God's "cannons" and lighten your night of darkness with the brightness of His truth? Will you declare, "It is written" in the face of near certain defeat, and turn your circumstances to the glory of God. Will you pull the trigger on the most powerful gun in the universe, the the very "cannon" of God's Word? Is the Bible true for you, personally?
We learn in the Bible of a time of great persecution and tribulation coming upon the entire world. Will you be among the remnant of Israel who escapes the worst of this great tribulation, this time of Jacob's trouble? "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21). Is this verse of the Bible true for you?
Such is a time of great darkness and evil. "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child" (Rev 12:13).
"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent" (v. 14).
"And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood" (v. 15).
"And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth" (v. 16).
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (v. 17).
Note a few facts about this woman, called the remnant of Israel. She is "given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place." Note that she was given wings, but it is she who must fly. She must take action, if she is to escape the flood of the Dragon. Further, she must be found in "her place," at her proper post, when that time comes. Where is that place? She must be inside the ark, called the living church. She must be yielded to the headship of the living remnant church "which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Does your church qualify?
Christians flying solo will not find the place of safety in the wilderness, no matter how diligently they search. Only the remnant of the living church, will be found in "her place" of safety and protection. Such a church will be actively teaching both "the law and. . . the testimony." Cult groups who know only "the law" will not be in "her place" of divine seal and protection. Neither will grace only Christians, who denounce "the commandments of God." It is both "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). The whole purpose of the testimony of grace is that we might live. . . according to the commandments through the power of the Holy Spirit. Is the Bible true for you?
Christian, are you saved by faith in Jesus Christ? Yes? But do you "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ?" Do you "tremble at his word" (Isa. 66:5). Do you embrace doctrinal purity? Grace only antinomian Christians will experience much tribulation, even martyrdom, in the coming time of Jacob's trouble. Pharisaical keepers of the law who despise the testimony and doctrine of Jesus will fare no better. Would you better yield to God now in times of peace, than to be broken later through exposure to great tribulation and even martyrdom?
Whether now or later, Christian: "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth" (Phil. 2:10).
"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God" (Rom. 14:11).
Look at what this Bible says to a few believers who take the Bible seriously: "Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed" (Isa. 66:5).
Christian, is the Bible true for you? Will you take up your "cannon" of five smooth stones and with the boy David do battle against Goliath? Will you run into battle and hit the mark, by faith? Is the Bible true for you? When you are sick, will you call for a modern medical sorcerer, or will you "call for the elders of the church," confess your sins, be anointed, and "wait upon the LORD" for divine healing. Will you say "No!" to the golden image of the one world government church, even when it means you can no longer buy even an apple to eat? When you are cast into the burning fiery furnace, will God meet you there and shield you from the flames? Have you settled it beforehand, as Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego settled it? Do you know for sure that even if your God does not deliver you, you will still not bow down to the golden image?
Christian, if the Bible is true for you, you will put your priorities straight. By the grace of God you will beg, "LORD, please let the Bible be true for me." With the father of one possessed of a demon, whom Jesus would cast out (Mar 9:24), you will say, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
I ask you today, "Is the Bible true for you?"