Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


We welcome you to the broadcast of Words of Life. Think of what that means. Words have such tremendous power, do they not? Words to heal, words to hurt, words to encourage us. And so we are here in this broadcast to bring you encouraging words from the Word of God and they are, indeed, words of life.

There used to be a saying here in America many years ago: Hats off to the past and coats off to the future. In other words, the idea behind that little saying is we take our hats off to what has been accomplished in the past, but we take our coats off in order to work to guarantee a good future. This says to us that there is a future time. There is work to do. There are opportunities and we must take advantage of those.

But with the passing of time every new millennium ever new year, every month, every day there are those mysteries, those unknowns, those things that jump up in our lives that we don’t know are going to happen and the uncertainty about a multitude of things becomes very obvious.

Many of these beyond our understanding, even the understanding of the most brilliant scholar. Why did this horrible tragedy occur? Why did this happen to this country or this city or to this person or to this family?

So though we know not what the future holds as someone has said, we know who holds the future. And for the Christian, for the believer in almighty God that is none other than Jehovah God himself. There is that bulwark never failing, the song writer writes about, that never failing God and his Word. Isaiah chapter 40 and verse eight puts it this way. The Word of our God stands forever. What a beautiful thought that is as a place that we can put our confidence. As you read in the prophecy of Isaiah to this point he writes mainly about the judgment of God. But now he turns his attention to the subject of salvation and joy. Listen in Isaiah 40 to the reading of the first five verses.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, her iniquity is pardoned. She hath received of Jehovah’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of one crying: Prepare in the wilderness the way of the Lord. Make level in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, every mountain and hill made low and the uneven will be made level and the rough places will be made a plain. And the glory of Jehovah will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Here is the contrast. Here are words of incomparable hope, of unquenchable joy because of what God has promised that he would do. And the writer Isaiah contrasts the failure of man, the inability of ma not solve all of these perplexing, mysterious problems that occur and he compares that with the faithfulness of God. Listen to what he says about man beginning in verse six of Isaiah chapter 40.

The voice of one crying. And he said: What shall I cry? All flesh is as grass. All the goodliness thereof is the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades because the breath of Jehovah blows upon it. Surely people are as grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God shall stand forever.

Here is man. Here is the fact that all of us are like grass that is drying and growing old and eventually we pass into eternity, but God, on the other hand, he and his Word stand forever. You read the rest of that passage written by the prophet Isaiah under the inspiration of the Spirit and you find out about this omnipotent, eternal, sufficient Jehovah God. And Isaiah emphasizes that like he is, like God is, so is his divine Word. They both are going to stand forever.

Oh, my friends, it is a comfort to me to turn from the change and decay in all around I see as the song writer puts it. And do you not see that around you? Do you not see tragedy and death, horrible killings and murders, tragedies that are happening all over the war torn world. That is the condition of the world in which we live. But it is in this world with all the difficulty, with all the sorrow that the Word of God comes to encourage us and to give us hope and to give us strength. It is in this Word that we find divine direction for life. We find a chart and a compass that will take us even through death into eternity.

Allow me to talk a little bit about this Word this morning, God’s Word, our divine directive. And think of the authority of this Word of God. In Isaiah’s day such a word as the Word of God was so very vital and so very important. In that day the Scriptures were incomplete. He had none of the New Testament. Many of the other books had not been written, were not in his hand. And yet what was true of the Word of God in the prophet’s day is equally true of the Scripture of our generation. We who are fortunate enough to have the entirety of the Word of God, the entirety of that Word carries authority with it. Now for authority to be valid, that is for it really to have meaning, we need to know something about it. What is the source of the authority? Why can we say I need to obey the Word of God? Why? Because from whence it comes. What is the authority of the Word of God? It is the source. Where did it come from? For a source to be a reliable source it must be infallible. We must believe what the Bible states about itself. We must believe what time and testing have proven true. All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God.

Inspiration is that supernatural act of God on the human mind by which the prophets, the apostles, all the sacred writers of the Bible were qualified to set forth divine truth without any admixture of error. Now we understand that all of the things they wrote hundreds and even thousands of years ago have been passed down to us in the original writings of the prophets and the apostles. Everything was exactly as God said it would be. And it is marvelous to me of the accuracy that still is maintained in our present translations of the Word of God. We have translated from the Greek and from the Hebrew and from the Aramaic languages and we have very old copies of even the book of Isaiah as well as others. And we are amazed at how accurate our present translations are as they were given thousands of years ago.
Saint Augustine said this. When the Scriptures speaks, God speaks. The Word of God: the source of it is none other than God himself. Well, it comes as no surprise that if we have a word from such a source as God that it is going to have with it power. It is going to have with it great blessing for those who will accept it. The force of the authoritative Word of God. Because of the infallible force, that is God himself, the Bible carries this irresistible force. It is God’s rule, God’s directions for mankind concerning matters of faith and practice, how we live and how we conduct our social order.

It doesn’t mean that the Bible teaches us everything about everything. We don’t mean to indicate that, but the man facts and truths that are there that would help us as we labor in this world and we learn the things of God as he has given them to us. The Bible reveals much truth which our unaided minds would never find no matter how much research or understanding we might have.

Listen to Paul writing to a young man, a young evangelist named Timothy in 2 Timothy three verses 16 and 17. Every Scripture is inspired of God. It is profitable for teaching and reproof and correction and instruction which is in righteousness. Why? That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.

And so we must understand that the Scriptures came from the Holy Spirit guiding the writers as they wrote it down. And it is that same Holy Spirit then that helps us understand it. Do you have a problem understanding some parts of the Bible? Then, indeed, you must rely upon the Spirit to help you, for the natural man, the man without the Spirit, the person who is not yet born again into the family of God Paul says in 1 Corinthians two verses 14 and 15, the natural man, that is the man who is not a Christian does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness unto him. He cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged or discerned or understood. But he that is spiritual, the one who has the Spirit of God judges all things and he himself is judged of no man. I must have the Spirit of God to understand the Word of God and feel the force of the authority of that Word of God. Oh that we could learn the lesson about the rules of life that are given to us and base every decision we make on the infallible and inerrant Word of God. The Bible speaks with authority to every area of my personal life and how I live. It teaches us how to live in society with one another. It helps us with our family living. It helps us in our ecclesiastical or our religious, our spiritual, our church life. Here is our direction through time and eternity. God will only bless those lives, those ministries, those efforts that honor the authority of his Word in every detail.

And so here is the authority of an infallible source and an irresistible source and force of the Word of God.

Now it would come as no surprise to us if we have such a Word as we have described, if it comes from an almighty God, if it comes through the power of his Spirit that it is going to be full of life. This broadcast is called Words of Life and vitality in life is so very important. The authority is useless if it has no life, if it has no power. But we learn that it stands forever. It rises up. It stands firm. The contrast in that Isaiah passage we read earlier is between the withering, dying grass of human flesh and the vitalizing Word of God.

Think of two areas in which the Word of God is active and it demonstrates life giving power. First of all there is a creativeness to the Word of God. It is the spoken Word of God that brought creation into being. When God said in Genesis one: Let there be light and the firmament came into being, what power was manifest in the Word of God at that very time. And it was no surprise, then, that the gospel writer John opens his book with these words, “ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not anything made that has been made. In him was life and the life was the light of men.”
Here is the confirmation of the spoken Word of God being creative, having the power to bring into existence the very world and the universe itself. John says in that same chapter in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and it dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, glory as the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth.”
Here is Jesus coming into the world. Here is the Word. We have the written Word. He came as the living Word. And we learn in the book of Hebrews that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. God put it together. God controls it. He upholds all things by the power of his word. The Hebrew writer tells us in that beautiful faith chapter as we think of those people of faith. Hebrews 11 and verse three, notice the reading.

“By faith we understand that the worlds that have been framed by the Word of God. And so what we see has not been made out of things which appear.” God made the world out of nothing. He simply spoke it into being. What an astonishing truth this is. And to realize that everything lives and moves and has its very being by the power of God. We have been pervaded by this great vitality, this great sustaining power that emanates from the outgoing Word of God.

The question of scientists through the years has been: How does the universe hold together? Why and how do all of these spinning planets out in space stay in their orbits? And how do they not jump into each other’s way? Just this morning in the paper of the city of Louisville there was an article about a lady who discovered a brand new planet that had not been seen before. Oh, the skies are full of the things that God has put out there and they run in their orbit and they run exactly like God intended them to be.

Paul revealed that 2000 years ago when he said the Lord Jesus is before all things and in him all things consist or hold together. God speaks universes into existence and at his voice the earth melts and by his power they are held together. Oh, the creative power, the creative vitality of the Word of God.
The apostle Peter writing in the book of 1 Peter chapter one gives us the passage of Scripture that tells us, beginning in verse 23, about God and his Word. We have been begotten again, not of corruptible seed—now we were born of seed that is corruptible. We are going to die one day. But now we have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the Word of God that lives and abides. And then he quotes that Old Testament Scripture. All flesh is as grass. The glory thereof is the flower. The grass withers, the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord abides forever. And this is the word of good tidings that we preach unto you.
The anointing of the Spirit rests upon the utterance of every Word of God. Paul told Timothy: Preach the Word. And it is through the vitality of the Word of God that we can know the truth, we can be born anew and experience a spiritual birth. Something miraculous happens when the Word of God is heard and accepted by faith. We are then able to experience spiritual growth, 1 Peter 2:2. We take the sincere milk of the Word that we may grow thereby. Oh, what a joy to see individuals grow in the faith. And then we gain spiritual strength from the Word. The Word of God abides in you and you have overcome the wicked one. Spiritual birth, spiritual growth, spiritual strength, what a great need there is for that today. No other secret of victory is there. How can I win a victory over a world system that is evil, dark and evil? How can I defeat my flesh nature that is against God? How can I defeat the evil one, the devil? Only through the strength that comes by the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God am I able to go from just spiritual strength to spiritual depth and richness.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. What an impact on the world there has been by those who have followed the Word of God, those who have read it and heard it and believed it. And so from every pulpit of every gospel church goes the message of the Word of God. And through this Words of Life broadcast we bring that word to you. Thank you for tuning in. We are going to share a second part of this message next time the broadcast goes forth. And we will say more about this Word of God.

(Continued in Part 2)


Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ, Bohon, KY