But The Word of God is Not Bound
Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-13
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” 2 Timothy 2:8-9
The religious leaders conspired together to have Jesus put to death. Yet they were powerless to keep Him entombed. He rose from the dead to send forth His disciples. Peter’s first and second sermons led to the salvation of thousands, much to the chagrin of the religious leaders, and the church kept right on growing. They arrested Peter and John but had to let them go on account of the people (Acts 4:21). They arrested the apostles a second time, “but during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out” (Acts 5:19).
Stephen preached truth to the religious leaders, but they refused to listen and stoned him to death. But Stephen’s death unleashed a great persecution which, instead of hindering the gospel, worked to scatter the disciples and their message throughout Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1). King Herod killed James and locked up Peter. But as the church was praying, God sent an angel who freed Peter from prison. Then the Apostle Paul’s witnessing efforts in Philippi landed him and Silas in jail. God sent an earthquake to set them free and used the event to save the jailer and his household. He was imprisoned again in Rome, which proved to be no hindrance to the gospel at all, for his brethren were encouraged by his example and the gospel was brought to the imperial guard and Caesar’s household!
Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). For two thousand years, Jesus has been building His church and the gospel message has rounded the world. Wherever it’s gone, it has been met with great opposition. So, it is to this very day. But just as the tomb could not contain Jesus, so it is impossible to lock up the Word. It is as the church father Tertullian once said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
The Puritan, John Bunyan, was locked up in prison by the Church of England for preaching the gospel. He used the time to study and write and said: “I never knew all there was in the Bible until I spent those years in jail.” During his imprisonment, he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, a bestselling fictional allegory of the Christian life. His book has encouraged countless souls, having sold some 250 million copies!
In the midst of that period of intellectual history called The Enlightenment, the famous skeptic, Voltaire, proclaimed that within 25 years, the Bible would be forgotten, and Christianity would be a thing of the past. However, 40 years after Voltaire’s death in 1778, the Bible and other Christian literature were printed in what had once been Voltaire’s own house!
History is filled with countless such examples. It is as Charles Colson has said: “The Bible—banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle, believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints.”
You hear some people state that we need to stand on the right side of history. The only way any one of us can do that is to stand on HIStory, which is what we have in the Bible. Don’t be alarmed, or afraid of the growing choir of secular voices which are speaking ill of Christ and His word. The truth is a sure and immovable foundation on which to stand!
“The Word of God is the anvil upon which the opinions of men are smashed.”Charles Spurgeon
THE ANVIL OF GOD’S WORD
“Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
“‘How many anvils have you had,’ said I,
‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’
‘Just one,’ said he, and then with twinkling eye,
‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’
“And so, I thought, the Anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.”
—attributed to John Clifford