When Preaching Does No Good
By Joseph Chambers
The greatest hindrance to the Word of God is unbelief. Most people do not call their unbelief by its proper name. The Biblical idea of unbelief is someone that does not act upon the plain sense of Holy Scripture. Unbelief does not mean that you reject the Word; it means that you do not obey the Word and live by its principles. Such a person is one who hears the Word, knows it is God’s Word, but keeps living like they have never heard what was preached. It is the sad state of most of the church world.
This is exactly what happened to the Children of Israel as they marched out of Egypt towards the Promise Land. Read as Apostle Paul describes this hardness of heart that kept these Egyptian escapees in a wilderness forty years, even until they all died. “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:15-19).
This great company, representing God’s chosen people, could not enjoy the great promises by God because they would not live out the faith that He had given them. Their clothes and shoes did not show wear, they ate Heavenly manna, they drank supernaturally supplied water, and even saw the glory of God in the mountain. Yet, they acted like Egyptians serving Horus or another strange god. God’s laws were plain and full of divine life, but they loved their own will better. Because of this, they totally missed the Promise Land flowing with milk and honey.
Today, it’s happening all over the church world. The church is full of Egyptian “Christians.” You can change that in your life. Here is God’s invitation, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:1-3).
This “rest” is a breathtaking word. It means that you have heard what God said, you fully accept the finished work in His every Word, and are surrendered to do the whole truth. Every word of the Bible is “For ever, … settled in heaven” (Psalms 119:89). The Word of God is a finished system of truth. It is as though what God has said is already done, so you can start living in the finality of faith. Your whole life has settled into surrender and trust because “God said it and that settles it.”
The Holy Scripture is the finished work of Christ in final written form. It is His living words just like He is the Incarnate Word. The Bible and Jesus Christ are one and the same. One is written for us to follow and the other is seated at the Father’s right hand to see that it can never fail. If you trust and obey the Word of God, your life will be a picture of the Book of Acts. Please notice that there is no closure of the “Acts of the Apostles;” because it is only finished when He says, “Come up hither.”
Scholars — so-called — have tampered with the Bible until the argument is over which one to read. The one I read happens to be the exact rendering of the authorized manuscripts, so I treat it like an Infallible Bible. For fifty-seven years it has worked perfectly for me. I’m not going to spend my time arguing, but I can promise that my heart and mind is full of this great truth and it keeps me on a straight path.
Here are words in the same chapter that tell us of the supernatural power in God’s perfect truth. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
With such a Heavenly Bible, I treat it like a paper pope. I can quote it to my heart and peace floods my soul like a river. I use it as a sword when Satan’s imps show up, and they run for cover. When there are needs in my life, I find what has been settled in Heaven by His words and wait for the promise. It is not a life for immature doubters, but a life for the young and old that can obey simple instruction, “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (Isaiah 35:8).
Joseph R. Chambers