Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


We welcome you to this broadcast of Words of Life. We have been talking in this broadcast about words, the words of God, words that come from the inspired Word of God that we call the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. And if you were with us in a recent broadcast we talked in some detail about the authority of this Word of God. It comes as a source from God himself, thus, it has authority because it is God’s Word. He is God and he gives the Word power and authority. And with this Word comes a force of authority that maintains that we must follow it as we understand it.

And then we talked, secondly, about the vitality, the very life that is in that Word. It was the Word of God that brought into being the world and the universe, the great powers that exist in keeping the planets in their orbit and running together. And then we talked about how that Word brings redemption or salvation or spiritual birth, because we are all decaying. We are all growing old. We are all facing this thing called death. What is the solution for that? How are we going to escape death? Even if we go through it, if we are born again by the Spirit and the Word of God we have hope beyond this life.

And so there is indeed then the authority of the Word of God. My friends, we must believe it and follow it. There is the life that comes, words of life, if you please, from the Word of God that will give you life and hope and strength to deal with the pressures that come.

Think with me, then, as we share this broadcast today. Maybe you are a first time listener and you are now going to become introduced to Words of Life broadcast. We hope you will listen to future broadcasts as well.

And so we want to think in this broadcast about the eternity of the Word of God. God’s Word comes with his authority. It comes with great force. If you read it, it will affect your life. It possesses and presents a vitality that is creative and redemptive. It results in spiritual birth and spiritual growth and spiritual strength. And this authority and this light, this vitality gives us an eternal nature. The apostle Peter talks about that when he talks about the Word of God and how we are born again by the Word of God.
There are three encouraging concepts that I find here as we think of this eternal Word of God. There is, first of all, the eternal permanence of the Word. For over 2000 years, skeptics, unbelievers, infidels have been firing away at the Scripture trying to destroy it. And they make about the same impression on the Word of God as if you were shooting boiled peas at the rock of Gibraltar. It doesn’t have much effect. God’s Word is eternal. It is permanent. It is going to stand.

The Atheist Voltaire, well known to many, declared some years ago that his writings would replace the Bible and in 100 years, he said, the Bible will be forgotten. Well, guess what? Twenty five years after he said that the publishing house that printed his works became the center for the Geneva Bible Society. Years later, 90 beautiful bound volumes of his anti Bible writings sold for one dollar while a copy of the Old Testament manuscripts were sold at a price of over $300,000 dollars. Oh how wrong Mr. Voltaire has been proven to be. The Word of God is going to last forever. Jesus said it. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will never pass away. Men and their efforts and their movements come and go. But God’s Word stands forever.

A church built on this Word will stand even against the gates of hell, Jesus told us. And so there is the permanence of the Word of God.

But I am happy to say to you that the Word of God has relevance to me and to you wherever you live, some of you in America, some of you in large states or little cities, some of you in countries away from the United States. Wherever you live, the Word of God is relevant. It has meaning for you where you are. And because it is a permanent word, it is always relevant. It matters not that it was a thousand years or 2000 years ago that it was written. It still works today. It has something to say about the issue of women’s rights and the woman’s place in the church. It has something to say about marriage and what marriage is and the big question being tossed around in the courts of America today: is marriage between a man and a woman or between people of the same sex? Other moral issues are addressed by the Word of God.

That Word of God is divinely adapted to all countries, every culture and every century. The Word of God has relevance and application. That is why the gospel is preached. That is why we can reach people with the Word of God and lives will be changed when they hear the Word and believe the Word of God.

The divine method is for filling that God-shaped space that is in every human being and there is a place in there for God to come and dwell. And it is through the holy Scriptures that you learn about him and you allow him by a decision of your mind and heart to allow him into your life. Things are going to change. We live in a time of great change. Trends come and go. But, my friends, truth remains applicable to all ages and all age groups. Man’s basic nature, your and my basic need remain the same. And those things will be unchanged by social standards. It does not matter that somebody said it is all right to do this wrong or that wrong. It does not matter what education says or other matters that come along to tell us the Word of God is in error. The eternal gospel, the Word of God is eternally relevant to us in our world today. The Bible is the only source of this thing we call good news, the Word of life, the good news of the gospel. Within its pages we have the authoritative statement concerning this Word of God.

The writer says this in Hebrews chapter one the opening two verses. God, having of old times spoken to the fathers in the prophets by various means and various manners, he has at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son whom he has appointed heir of all things through whom also he has made the worlds.

Do you see the point, my friend? The Word of God has become alive in the person of Jesus the Christ. And Christ is that final and authoritative revelation of God that comes though the Bible and it tells us about him. And John reminds us that the Father has declared, he has revealed the Son. He reminds us of who Jesus is. And John’s gospel is written so that people might learn the truth that makes possible believing in Jesus as the Son of God with resulting salvation.

That is why we have this broadcast. That is why we come to you. That is why we make the effort and the expense to come to you, because this message is so vital and so important. And we take that Scripture. We focus it on the Lord Jesus. He is the central theme of the entire book we call the inspired Word of God, the Bible. And we see him and, in a sense, we are allowed to look into the very face of God.

This eternal influence of the Word of God relates to our redemption, to our being saved out of sin to be brought out from under the guilt that sin brings in every life of every human being. What man needs is obvious. We would argue little about the fact that we are in need of a savior. And the philosophies of men and the religions of the world are simply unable to meet that need. We need only the Word of God and the message that is found in the name by which we can be saved, the name of Jesus.

Paul told young man Timothy in 2 Timothy three and verse 15: And you from a baby have known the sacred writings, that is the Word of God. Timothy, you have known those and they are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Now let’s develop that just very, very briefly. Timothy was taught the Scriptures by his mother and his grandmother. And from those Scriptures he learned about this one we just read about, Jesus who is the revelation of God. And Timothy learned that he could put his faith in what Jesus had done at Calvary and he could be born again into the family of God and could become a Christian. His sins would be forgiven. He would have this Word of God by which he could have spiritual birth and spiritual growth and spiritual strength and spiritual depth. He learned about Jesus.

The writer of the book of Acts says in chapter four and verse 12: Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Oh, my friends, salvation is in the person and work and the name of Jesus. That is why we are baptized into the name of the Father and the Son Jesus as well as the Holy Spirit when we become Christians. That name is so very important.

For Timothy it made him wise unto salvation, his perfect and personal salvation. It is personal with you. No one else can be saved for you. No one else can be born again for you. And you cannot do it for your children or grandchildren as much as some of us might like to do that. It was a personal salvation for this young man Timothy.

And then there was an integration of this Word into the life of Timothy as he became a servant of God. The sanctity of married life is addressed in the Scriptures. The security of your family life and how successful it is and then the stability of social life, society as we have it. Where you live, how strong is social life? Is there a lot of divorce, a lot of killings, a lot of robbery, a lot of evil that runs rampant? I am afraid that is typical in most parts of the world and worse in some places. These moral difficulties, we have rejected the ethical standards taught in the Bible and we are paying the price that the social problems that we have. The Word of God can meet those needs. We learn from the Bible that righteousness exalts a nation, that sin is a reproach to any people. Righteousness that comes from the Word of God. No other book has such a possibility of giving life and redemption and taking moral outcasts and regenerating them, changing them completely, taking distressed souls down in the depths of depression and sorrow and sin and difficulty and turning them around and cheering them up. Oh, it is of such righteous things that great nations are made and you can be remade by the power of this Word of life.

Never has the world known a higher code of ethics than the Word of God. Do you know any other book that has influenced literature and language and art and music and education as has the Word of God?
We have attempted, rather feebly and surely inadequately, in two brief lessons to talk about this Word of God. It is, indeed, a divine, directive for those of our day, for you where you are. Without it, we do not have a chart. We do not have a map to know where to go. We do not have a compass to point us in the right direction in life or death or in time or—think about it, my friend—in eternity. Were will you spend eternity?

But in the Word of God there is direction. There is stability. There is hope. God himself is the authority behind this Word and he gives it to us with great force. There is a vitality, a life to the Word of God that is created and redempted. And in it is to be found this spiritual growth and strength that we all need. We have found that this Word is eternal. What was true about it a thousand years ago is true about it today. What worked then, works now.

In the book of Acts chapter two when someone said: What must we do to be saved? The apostle Peter gave some instructions. Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of your sins. It worked then 2000 years ago on the day of Pentecost. And, my friends, it works today, because the Scriptures are eternal and permanent in their depth and in their power. They have been challenged, never defeated. Many a hammer lies broken beside the anvil of the Word of God. This Word that is relevant to you and to your light. This Word that is such an influence in our day to provide for us personal salvation, to make our society a safer and better and happier place to live, to make nations to grow and prosper and to be a blessing to others. We must resolve to learn the Bible and love the Bible and then live the Bible.

You may have heard of a man whose name was Matthew Maury. He served as a United States naval officer before suffering an injury that forced him to retire from the military. He was then placed in charge of the depot of charts and instruments of the hydrographic office of the Navy from 1841 to 1861. Mr. Maury was a Christian who loved the Word of God. Here is what he learned from the Word of God. One day while reading Psalm eight—and I urge you to read that Psalm in your time—he was struck by the truth contained in verse eight of the psalm. There he read that God gave man dominion over the fowls of the air, the fish of the sea, and listen, whatever passes through the paths of the sea. Now we could go through the woods and there is a path made by an animal or somebody else. If you are on a farm your cow leaves a path between the barn and the pasture. But have you thought about a path in the ocean? Can you see the path? He saw the significance of this verse and recognized that there must be currents of water in the oceans just like a river running through the ocean as well as he learned from Ecclesiastes 1:6 about the wind and the currents in the atmosphere.

And so what did he do? With confidence in the accuracy of the Bible he determined to discover the paths of the seas and the global wind circuits that circulate up in the sky. And he utilized charts and log books that were at his disposal and he discovered and plotted the wind currents and circuits, those that are in the great Gulf of Mexico. Some of them are 40 miles wide, 2000 feet deep going into the Atlantic. He charted the Japanese current and the California and other. He learned from the Bible there are paths in the sea. Guess what? The great sailing ships of our day follow those currents and those winds at great advantage. Applying the Bible correctly will always be that way. There is a monument erected by the state of Virginia to the memory of Matthew Maury. The plaque on it reads this way. Matthew Fontaine Maury, pathfinder of the seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and the atmosphere the secret of their laws. His inspiration, holy writ, Psalm 8:8 and Ecclesiastes 1:6. Would we say Mr. Maury was a genius? No, simply a Bible believing Christian who trusted the inerrancy of the Word of God.

My friends, may we help you learn more about the Bible? Please contact us. Let us send you some material or help you make a decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Thank you for joining us today.


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