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Sunday Evening Sermon May 3, 1970
"Hearing, Knowing, Seeing"
By Dr. Jack Hyles
"I have heard thee by the hearing of the ear: but now
mine eye seeth thee." Job 42:5
May I say just a word—this is for Dr. Billings, slim,
old, lanky, Billings—first time in years he's seen a fellow who he's looked
down on. You felt like I felt when I went to Japan. (I believe I could have
made the Harlem Globetrotter Basketball Team in Japan because Japanese are
I was on the Ginza, the busiest street in Japan, I
guess. A little fellow walked up; he was a wicked man. He wanted to know if
I wanted a date. And Russell Anderson was with me and I, of course, had to
say no. But, anyway, he walked up and he said, "You fellas like dates for
tonight?" Well, he was a runt. And so, boy, I said, "No. Get out of here
quick as you can."
And boy did he ever run. He really did. He took off,
and I saw him two blocks down the street, just running like his heart was
about to pound out and scared to death. And I felt like Mad Mountain Dean,
boy, I really did. And I know how you felt a while ago. You're at least
one-sixteenth of an inch taller than he is, I could tell it. And that's why
you're on your tiptoes, by the way.
You know, a preacher much older than I, and much wiser
than I, many years ago said that to me. He said, "It's always a sign that a
church is healthy when people are joining by transfer of membership." It's
always a sign that a church is healthy. We have a lot of folks saved here.
But this morning, God gave us, I believe, as many new, solid, good families
as He's given us—I mean by transfer—as we've had in a Sunday in a long time.
And I, of course, was pleased to see that. There are so many reasons and
ways that God is showing His blessings to us.
Job said, first—have I prayed since I read that—I
don't think I have. Let's pray again anyway. "Father, bless us now. Speak to
us in power. Bless thy people, save the lost. Amen."
In the book of Job, one of his so-called friends said,
"Acquaint thyself with Him, and be at peace." In other words, the only way a
person can be at peace is to acquaint himself with his God. And then he
said, "And good shall come to thee."
After Job had been through his trials and heartaches
and been restored to his health and had his riches restored to him doubly,
he said, "Mine ears have heard of Thee, but now mine eyes have seen." Now I
want to speak on this subject, "Hearing, Knowing, Seeing."
Now in the first place, let's look at the word
"hearing." It is my opinion that each generation—now, I'll make this
statement, and then listen carefully because I'll come back and tie it into
the message—It is my opinion that each generation should rediscover the
Bible for itself. And each generation should come anew to the conviction
that the Bible is the Word of God, so that its religion of Christianity will
not be something that has been inherited, but something that is inherent.
When I first began preaching, as you have heard me say
several times, I'm sure, I got the Bible down and doubted it. I just doubted
the Bible and checked it as a doubter, as a skeptic, and discovered for
myself, not because Mother said so, though that's a good enough reason. Not
because my Sunday School teacher said so, though that's reason enough. But I
discovered for myself that I believed the Bible was the Word of God.
Now, one reason we have so much "hearsay Christianity"
and one reason why—by the way, that's the reason why the National Council of
Churches can become so popular. The people's doctrine means nothing anymore.
The Nazarene doctrine, the Church of God doctrine, our Baptist doctrine,
aren't peculiarly distinctive. They mean so little to us anymore. We are
willing to sacrifice the things for which our brothers and forefathers died.
Did you know—for example, in America in the early days
of our country—did you know in the state of Virginia that Baptists were
drowned in the baptisteries for baptizing? Did you know that? Did you know
that Baptist people in America were martyred for baptizing by immersion in
the early days of our country? That's one reason why, brother, I put a lot
of emphasis on baptism. You see, for me it's an important thing. We have our
founding fathers and forefathers who have died for this blessed truth that
believers ought to get baptized by immersion.
Now it doesn't mean anything. That's why churches will
give up their doctrines and go together with liberals and sacrifice their
heritage because we have received by inheritance what our fathers believed,
and to us it becomes simply tradition, ritual, form, ceremony, and so forth.
But the truth is, every generation ought to rediscover the Bible for itself
so it can say, "I believe, not because my father believed it, not because my
mother believed it, but because I believe it."
The Bible is the Word of God, and that's why the Bible
ought to be rediscovered by every generation so it'll not be something
that's just a heritage to us, but rather it will be a living, vital
experience, not just by hearsay, but we will actually know.
A poll was taken recently in our nation of the man on
the street, in general, and the question was asked of him, "Do you believe
religion is becoming less or more relevant to our society?" And in a great,
great landslide, our people in the poll voted that religion is becoming less
and less relevant to society in America. Now, what these fellows do not know
is this. They do not honestly know that in America today there are dozens,
yea hundreds of places where the churches are more virile, active, and
blessed of God than any era this nation has ever known.
This is the generation in our nation's history when
the greatest churches are being built, the greatest churches our nation has
ever known. Now, let me give you five things that a church has to have in
order to be relevant to its generation. Now follow me.
You see, here's a church or denomination founded on
the Word of God, built on Revival, built on the old-time Gospel of Jesus
Christ. But the next generation comes along. And the children—well, dad was
an old-time, born-again believer. Mother was an old-fashioned Christian. But
we still go through the motions. We have our services. A bit more formal
than before. And a bit more ritualistic than before. A bit quieter and more
sedate than before. The music is not quite as gay and as spiritual as
before. The people aren't quite as happy as before. The crowds aren't quite
as big as before. But we still hold forth the same church building, the same
property, and the same articles of faith and so forth.
But, here's what happens. Nobody gets saved. The
blessings of God never fall. And so, because there is a vacuum—a church has
to be for something—and the church isn't getting anybody saved, and the
church isn't transforming any lives, the church isn't crusading for the
Gospel. The Bible has lost its power, lost its zeal, lost its joy, lost its
thrill, lost its excitement, lost its "hallelujah," lost its "Amen," lost
Now what happens is this. The pastor says, "I think
I'll go to Selma and have a march on Selma for the civil rights." Or he'll
say, "I think I'll go to Washington and, on the day of the moratorium, I
think I'll march with the folks about the moratorium in Washington." So the
pastor and the church become a social organization, trying to reach the
social needs of people, until the honest truth is—listen. The average person
in the city of Hammond, if it were not for the First Baptist Church of
Hammond, believe that the church's job is no more than to settle the ghetto
problem and solve the Negro/white problem, the race problem, and solve the
poverty problem and all of that.
But the honest, simple truth is, a church that
preaches the old-time Gospel will solve more race problems than all the
social Gospelizers put together. A church that preaches the old-time Gospel
will solve more ghetto problems and more poverty problems than all the
socializers put together.
Now, there are five things that a church has to have
if she relates—and I don't like these words they use, you know, relate to
society and relevant to society and relevant to our age and so forth—but if
she relates to society.
Number one, she has to have an infallible Bible. The
only churches that are growing in 1970 in America are the churches that have
an infallible Bible. The denominations that do not believe in the verbal
inspiration and the infallibility of this book are dying on the vine all
across this nation.
Number two, if a church is going to relate to society,
she has to have a man behind the pulpit who knows God. There's no way the
church can relate to society and a church be a driving force in society
unless there's somebody who stands behind the pulpit who knows God.
I've said this, and I've said it a thousand times if
I've said it once: if there is a man who lifts you closer to God; if there
is a man who, when you hear him speak lifts you closer to God, makes you
want better and feel better, travel a hundred miles a Sunday if you have to,
but go hear him every Sunday.
I'm sick and tired of people saying, "Well, I'm going
to go to the church nearer my neighborhood." The honest, simple truth is if
there is a place within a hundred miles of you where there is a man of God
who, when he speaks, makes you feel closer to God, and he helps you live
better for God, whatever you've got to do, you get there. Because there can
be no great movement unless God has his man to lift his people closer to
Number three, a church, if she's going to relate to
society, has to have an explanation of man's predicament. There can be no
great church, there can be no great spiritual movement, unless there is a
man of God who explains, from an infallible Bible, the predicament that man
is in. If man is not going to hell, why should he be saved? If man is not
lost, why be saved? If man is not without God, why point him to God? If man
is not in trouble, why tell him how to get out of trouble?
The honest, simple truth is there ought to be in this
generation a great revival behind our pulpits on subjects such as Hell,
judgment, sin, the wrath of God, from our preachers who know God and stand
behind the pulpits where our people can hear. Unless men know their
predicament, they will not turn to God. As Dr. Joe Henry Hankins used to
say, "You've got to get a man lost before you can get him saved." And the
third thing a church must have if she relates to society, she must explain
Number four, she must make clear the way out. She must
make clear the way out. Any time in this nation in 1970—oh, I know this is
not the day of revival, except we're having revival in our day. I know they
say it can't be done, but it is being done. Any time you find a church that
believes this Bible, who has a man of God behind the pulpit, who makes clear
man's predicament, and makes clear the way out of that predicament, you will
find a church that's moving for God.
Number five, now here's the crux, here's the main
thing that applies to my message tonight. Number five. A man must lead his
people to an experience with God. I repeat these five things that are
necessary and, by the way, if a man or a church has these five things, all
the devils in Hell can't stop our progress.
Five things. One, an infallible Bible, a Bible that's
not in error, a Bible that's the Word of God, word for word. Number two, a
man who knows God. Number three, an explanation of man's predicament. Number
four, a clear explanation of the way out of that predicament. Number five,
when people are led to an experience with God.
Now, it is being done today. Now the reason it's being
done is there's a preacher who plainly and bluntly and frankly says, "This
is the truth." I know personally and have preached in almost all the
churches that are the leading churches of our day. The largest church in our
nation, as far as I know, is the Akron Baptist Temple in Akron, Ohio. I'm
going now on the basis of Sunday School attendance. I understand they run
about 6,000 in Sunday School, maybe sixty-five hundred.
Dr. Dallas Billington is the pastor. He preaches a
Bible that is verbally inspired. He preaches that man is in a predicament by
nature, he is lost without God. He is going to Hell if he doesn't get saved.
He preaches that Jesus Christ and knowing Him personally is the only way
out. He preaches a clear plan of salvation by grace through faith. And he
preaches that people must have an experience with God if they go to heaven.
(Jim, give us a little, I think a little bit of air.
The folks are going to sleep on me. Don't make it colder, just let us
breathe something. Folks are going to sleep. I know it's not my preaching,
because as interesting as this is, you're bound to want to stay awake. It's
just you need some oxygen, I'm sure.)
The second largest Sunday School in America today,
would you like to guess? You guessed it. First Baptist Church of Hammond,
Indian. And our position as second is only temporary. Get ready for it now,
get ready for it. We're having next spring 6,000 in Sunday School. Get ready
for it. It's already planned. It's already in the bag. I've already got it
figured out. We're having 6,000 in Sunday School for the next spring
program, as soon as we get our building built. Six-thousand, now get ready
for it. You say, "Oh, we just can't do it." Well, just hang around, honey,
and we'll show you we're going to do it. You'll see.
And now the second largest church is this church. No
doubt about it. We believe in an infallible Bible. The pastor at least knows
God. Doesn't know much more, but knows God. We believe that men by nature
are lost in sin and must be born again by faith in Christ if they go to
Heaven. And we believe that salvation is an experience where a person
receives personally a living Christ.
The third largest church in the world, I'm talking
about in this age when they say, "The church is not relating to society, the
church isn't a guiding force in society, you can't have big crowds anymore."
They are having big crowds. The third largest church is the Canton Baptist
Temple in Canton, Ohio. I preached there a few weeks ago. Dr. Harold
Henniger is a man who believes an infallible bible. He believes. He's a man
who knows God. He's a man who believes that man without Christ is lost in
sin and on his way to Hell. He believes that Jesus Christ is the Saviour and
man must be born again by an experience of grace through faith in Christ if
he goes to Heaven.
The fourth largest church today is the Landmark
Baptist Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio. And I was hearing Dr. Rawlings on the
radio, some station this afternoon briefly. And, boy, he was getting with it
right away. Preaching on removing the ancient landmarks. He was getting with
it. And I said, "God bless, there is a man building one of the largest
Sunday Schools in the world."
How? Because he believes an infallible Bible. He
believes man by nature is lost without God. He believes that Jesus died for
men. Men must be born again by an experience of grace through faith.
The next largest church in the world is the First
Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. Dr. W.A. Chriswell, pastor there, believes
in an infallible Bible. He believes that man by nature is lost. In fact,
he's fighting a great and admirable battle trying to pull the Southern
Baptist Convention back to faith in the Bible. In fact, he's been standing
for the verbal inspiration of the scriptures.
Is it unusual that not a liberal church has one of the
ten largest Sunday Schools in the world? Not a church that says, "It can't
be done." But everywhere the work of God is going it's being done by a man
of God and a people of God who believe this Book, who believe that man by
nature is lost and in a predicament without God. Who believe that Jesus
Christ died for the sins of men and you must be born again. It is being
Now then, here's the modern trend. That we're all
searching for the truth. You heard this in college, and I heard it in school
until I wanted to lose my breakfast, lunch, and dinner and in some cases
have. I wanted to do what this fellow, this missionary to the prison, what's
his name? Mensick did. Over here in South Bend. Is there a prison in South
Bend? Somewhere near South Bend? Michigan City. He was there, and there was
a chaplain there who didn't believe that Jesus Christ was God's Son. And
Mensick used to be in the Mafia. He was converted from the Mafia and he's a
great big ole fella and he used to be as mean as the Devil.
And so he went to Michigan City it was—I think it
was—to preach. And the chaplain, a liberal preacher, came up, and he said,
"Ah, your Jesus," he said, "He's not the Son of God." And Mensick got his
old disposition back for a minute and just picked him up and punched him in
the nose and knocked him flat.
I mean, the warden there, who didn't have any respect
for the chaplain, because nobody respects a liberal, fake, a turncoat,
Benedict Arnold, traitor who stands behind God's pulpit and doesn't believe
the God of the pulpit. And so the warden looked at the chaplain on his face,
the blood streamin' down his face, and he said, "Boy, I like that. Do it for
me." And Mensick said, "Gladly." And he picked him up and hit him again.
Now, I don't think he ought to have done it, but since
he did, I'm glad I heard about it. And I'd like to have been there. But what
do they say? They say, "Each man is searching for some of the truth. Don't
be dogmatic and don't be authoritative because, after all, we're all
searching for the truth."
Doctor, suppose you operated that way. Suppose the
medical profession was that way. There's a fellow who's got a terrible pain
in his stomach, and you roll him into surgery, and you gather a bunch of
people and they'll all search for the truth. And Dr. Billings says, "What do
you think it is?" "I think it's his gizzard. I tell you, I think it's
gizzard trouble." "And what do you think, Cal?" And the doctor says, "I know
what it is. It's gall bladder." And I say, "Doctor, don't be authoritarian
now. Let's don't be authoritative. Let's don't be dogmatic. We're all
searching for the truth." Brother Hand says, "I think it's ingrown toenail.
I think that's what it is." And he said, "I think it's that nerve that goes
from the toe up to the stomach, and that's what it is." And the doctor says,
"Listen to me. I know what it is. The fella's going to die. He has gall
bladder trouble!" I say, "Doctor, hush! Don't speak out so dogmatically.
This is an enlightened age. We're all searching for the truth."
Let me tell you, and let me tell you now. If you have
not found Jesus Christ, you'll never find the truth. God, give us some
churches who hear truth. The honest, simple truth is most of our people have
only head but they have never come to know in a living faith, an experience
of salvation that Jesus Christ is the Saviour, the Son of the Living God.
Job said, "I've heard with mine ears, but now mine eyes seeth Thee." Now the
second thing is the knowing. Job heard, but that isn't enough. Then the
admonition to Job was, "Acquaint thyself with Him. Acquaint thyself with
Him." Did you know basically that's what Christianity is all about?
Basically, Christianity is a sinner acquainting himself with the living
Let me show you how to be saved. Dr. Billings, just
stand—just stay where you are and look over to Brother Streeter, and I want
you, Dr. Billings, to meet Cal Streeter. Cal Streeter, Dr. Robert Billings.
That's exactly what it means to be saved.
I come to you and say to you, "You're lost without
Christ. You must receive personally the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour or
you're lost forever. Acquaint thyself with Him." It is not the joining, as I
said, of an organization. It's not the observance of a sacrament. Young
people, it's not the acceptance of a dogma. It's not the uniting with a
denomination or religion. It's the acceptance of a living person. Acquaint
thyself with Him.
Hear John as he said, "Hereby do we know that we know
Him." Hear John as he said in his Epistle, "I write unto you because ye know
Him." Hear John as he said again, "He that knoweth God, heareth us." Hear
him as he says again, "That we may know Him that is true." Hear Paul as he
said, "That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection and the
fellowship of His suffering." Hear him as he says again, "I know whom I have
Don’t' you see, ladies and gentlemen, this matter—Job
said, "I heard" but now Eliphas said, "Acquaint thyself with Him." Come to
know Him. It's not enough to hear. Come to know Him.
I think I made mention of this somewhere the other
night, maybe in prayer meeting on Wednesday night. We used to have this
joint across the street. Isn't it wonderful that place is gone? Every time
you drive by there you ought to just jump up and down and shout and say,
"Thank God, those folks have moved on to bother somebody else."
We had a hippie joint over here called the Village
Boutique. And a bunch of idiots hung out over there, and they'd come to
church over here. And on Sunday night especially they loved to come, and
they thought they bothered me. One Sunday I looked back and I couldn't
believe what I saw. We had a couple come in. Which was the girl? I have no
idea. But, which was the boy? Must be two girls, may have been two boys,
maybe one of each. I have no idea. As the cartoon said, when the preacher
married a couple, he said, "Would one of you kiss the bride, please?"
And so they came in, and they had an army blanket.
They were wearing army blankets—just old, green army blankets. I thought
when I first saw them that it was Batman with a dyed outfit, you know. They
came in and they had their hands up like this and they came in, sort of
floating in, in army blankets and had sandals on and both of them had long,
stringy hair. And they came and they sat back here on the back row. And they
got up and walked out. And they came back in. They got up and walked out.
They came back in. And night after night they came.
And they started coming over. A lot of them started
coming over. And one night they met me in the office, one after another. One
had come and interrupted the service, and one of our ushers had gotten on
him. They went back and told the others about it, and they all decided they
were going to scare me. And so they came to my office after the service.
They lined up outside the door. And one by one they came in saying, "Now, we
don’t' want any trouble." And I said, "Okay, okay, then I suggest you don't
ask for it," you know.
Finally the leader came in. And the leader said, "I
just came to tell you that we won't cause any trouble if we'll have better
treatment." And I said, "They that be with me, be more than they that be
with thee." And if you've got any sense under those locks, you won't cause
any trouble at all, because you're not talking to pacifists now. You're
talking to activists." And I said, "Now I'm not trying to threaten you at
all, but I wouldn't be scared or afraid to." I said, "If you cause trouble
here, it'll be your plow that'll be cleaned and not ours."
Two of them came in once and I asked them, "Look, why
do you fellas come to hear me?" One of them said, "Man, you got soul, man.
You got soul, man." Now, I'm not sure what he had in mind. But I felt a
little backslidden nearly. I mean he didn't snap his hands, but he did sort
of like this—he said, "Man, you got soul. Man, you got soul."
And, you know what he meant? What he meant was, "You
preach what you think is right." What he meant was, we don't agree with you,
but you agree with you. And they'd come. We didn't make any appeasement. We
didn't have a coffee shop set up in the basement, so they'd come and play
their guitars and smoke their marijuana and sing their rotten folk music.
And let me stop and say again, I believe folk music with that beat—I don't
care of "Amazing Grace" is set to it—I think it's sin.
We preached a message that we thought was true. By the
way, we got a few of them saved along the way too. I was in New York
preaching. I told you about the little incident we had there after a
service. I'd had problems with hippies until 1:15 a.m. after the service
ended about 9:45 p.m. I'd been abused verbally and misused and everything
else with a bunch of hippies after the service.
After it was all over, I walked out and one of them
came up that had been one of the biggest antagonists and said, "By the way,
Reverend, I didn't like what you said, but I like the way you preach. I like
the way you preach."
You know what this nation needs? This nation needs
some people who just believe the Bible's true. And who say that a person to
be born again must acquaint himself with God. He needs to know God.
Let me ask you a question. Do you know God? I didn't
say do you know about Him. Do you know God? I didn't ask if you're a
Baptist. I said do you know God? Do you know God? Do you know Cal Streeter?
Do you know Dr. Billings? Do you know John Colsten? Do you know Charles
Hand? Do you know God? Why, what's so unusual about that? Do you know Him?
"Acquaint thyself with Him." Job said, "I have heard"
and the admonition came, "Acquaint thyself with Him, acquaint thyself with
Him." But there's something else. Job said, "But now mine eye seeth." He
comes to the last chapter of his book and he's been restored. He's seen the
blessings of God and he says, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the
ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee."
And if there is a need tonight across this great
nation, it's for people who have seen God, for people who've seen God. I
think one of the great Scriptures in all of the Bible is that scripture in
Hebrews Chapter 11, that talks about Moses and says, "Moses endured, as
seeing him who is invisible."
How did Moses take the toil and take the rough spots
and take the criticism and take the persecution? How could Moses take it
when the people rebelled against him? How could Moses take it when it seemed
like there was no way to go? How could Moses take it when he had
three-and-a-half million Jews and a Red Sea before him? How could Moses take
it when the folks murmured against God and said, "We want the old bread. We
want to go back to Egypt. Our soul loatheth this white bread. We want to go
back to Egypt. The onions, cucumbers, and garlic of Egypt."
How could Moses take it when the people said, "You
brought us out here!" How could Moses take it when they criticized and
murmured? How could Moses take it when Aaron and Miriam turned against him?
How could Moses take it? I'll tell you how he could take it.
Back yonder one day on the back side of the desert, he
was taking care of the sheep and all of a sudden he looked, and he saw a
bush that was burning. He noticed that bush was not consumed. Moses looked
into that bush and saw the God of Israel. Moses said, "I can take it because
I saw God. I've seen God. I've seen God."
How could you take it, Job? How could you take it,
Job? Lying, sitting there in the ash heap, in the garbage dump of the city.
How could you take it, Job? With your children killed, all ten, and gone to
eternity. How could you take it, Job? When your heath is gone. Boiling sores
all over your body, running, filthy corruption all over your body. And you
scraped yourself with a piece of metal in an effort to find some relief.
How could you take it, Job, when your wife said,
"Curse God and die?" How could you take it, Job, when your friends, so
called, came and rebelled against you? How could you take it, Job, when
everything you owned was gone? How could you take it, Job, when health and
wife and family and friends all were taken? Job said, "I'll tell you how I
can take it. I can take it because I saw God. I saw God."
How could you take it, Isaiah? How could you take it
when folks would hiss at you when you preached? How could you take it,
Isaiah, when folks would stop their ears while you preached? How could you
take it, Isaiah, when people would shake their heads while you preached? How
could you take their impudent faces, they would hiss and make fun and gnash
and gnaw at you and curse you and slap you? How could you take it?
And Isaiah said, "I could take it because back yonder
in the sixth chapter I saw the Lord high and holy lifted up, and his train
filled the temple. I saw the Lord. I saw God."
What this old nation needs is a generation of
preachers and churches and people who know God. Who have seen God. Do you
know Him? Have you seen Him?
How could you take it, Stephen, when those men stoned
you outside the city? How could you take it, Stephen, as you suffered for
preaching the truth? Stephen could say, "I could take it because I saw God.
I saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at His right hand, that's how I
How could you take it, John? On the Isle of Patmos,
exiled alone. How could you take it, John, when you had to go—you who had
walked with Christ, you who walked with the twelve, you who saw the
multitudes. All of a sudden you were left—taken from Ephesus and taken to
the isle of Patmos to be alone forever. How could you take it, John? John
said, "I could take it because I saw God."
He said in his first epistle, he said, "These hands
have felt Him. These eyes have seen Him. These ears have heard Him. I saw
God. And out here on the Isle of Patmos I've seen God. I've seen the vision
of the great rapture of the church. I've seen the marriage of the Lamb. I've
seen the great Judgment Seat of Christ. I've seen the great revelation with
Christ on a white horse coming back with all the saints of Heaven with Him
on white horses."
"I've seen the glorious millennial kingdom. I've seen
Jesus reigning from Mount Zion. I've seen the people of God as heirs of God
and as princes of God ruling and reigning with Christ. I've seen the
knowledge of God cover the earth as waters cover the sea. I've seen the New
Jerusalem. I took it because I saw God. I saw God."
Away with this religion that has nothing to do with
experience. Away with this dry-eyed religion with a shallow heart and a
hollow heart and an empty heart with no "Amen," no "Hallelujah," no feel of
pulse, no increase of the blood pressure when the word "Jesus" is mentioned
and Gospel of Christ is preached.
God gives us a revival in our nation of real
old-fashioned, heartfelt experiential salvation where people can speak,
"I've been born again" confidently, and know they've seen Christ and been
How could you take it, Peter, as they turned you
upside down and crucified you as you died for your stand for Jesus Christ,
and you said, "Don't crucify my like Jesus was crucified. Let me be
crucified upside down." And they nailed you on a cross and put you head
down. How could you take it? "I could take it because I have seen God."
How could you take it, Hebrew children, in the fiery
furnace when the furnace was heated seven times its normal heat? How could
you take it? "Because we saw God in the fiery furnace."
How could you take it, Thomas, out in India dying in
the Indian mission fields for the Gospel of Jesus Christ? How could you take
being persecuted and martyred in the far away country of India so far away
from your loved Palestine? How could you take it? "I could take it because
one day in the Upper Room I came and I said, 'I'll not believe till I see
the scars in His hands.' Jesus held out His hands, and I reached and touched
the scars. He said, 'A spirit hath not flesh and bone. Thomas, if you don't
believe, just touch the scars and see.' So I saw Him and I said, 'My Lord
and my God.'"
Oh, let me say this tonight. I am so glad. I am so
thankful to God that I have a salvation that is an experience with God. I
was thinking tonight, this afternoon, I was thinking, "How could I have
taken these years?" Don't misunderstand me, sir, I'm sure I've not suffered
as you've suffered. I'm sure I've not given up as much as you have. I have
no physical scars. I have maybe an ailment or two that's been caused because
of what I stood for, what I thought was right, but I have no physical scars.
The doctor says that I have a little something wrong
with me that was caused by the trouble we had here ten yeas ago when we
pulled out of the American Baptist Convention. But I won't die. It won't
kill me. And it doesn't even give me any inconvenience. It's something that
just happens to be—you know, just cancer of the brain. But, the doctor said
a little something that was caused by the strain and the battles and so
I've seen a few battles. I've fought a few battles for
what I believe. I don't deserve any medals. I don't plan to get any in
heaven for it. But, I've thought so many times I would quit. I'd quit. How
could you take it? You see, beyond any shadow of a doubt I'm the most hated
man in Hammond. Not a person in this city is hated like I'm hated. Not
another person in this city is loved like I'm loved, either. But nobody is
hated by as many people as I am. Nobody. (I want you to fee sorry for me
now. I want you to cry.) Get your handkerchiefs out now and cry.
It is not unusual for me to walk down the street and
have people see me and then look the other way; they do not speak. Nothing
unusual for me to speak to someone and say, "Good morning, how are you?" And
they'll look at me and stare and make some snide remark, nothing unusual for
Nothing unusual for me to go somewhere and preach and
when I get through preaching, anywhere across the country, folks to come
down and try to cause trouble with me. I was in Springfield, Missouri,
preaching. I preached on the sex education bit. "What's Behind the Sex
Education Program." Seven pastors came to me after the service; they began
to cause trouble.
They said, "We don't believe in self-defense." And I
said, "Well, wonderful, if I punched you in the nose then you wouldn't punch
back?" And they said, "That's right." I said, "Great." And, boy, when I did
that they trembled because they saw—But anyway, nothing unusual.
If it were not for the fact that I met God when I was
an eleven-year-old boy, I would quit. I know I met God; I was born again; I
know God; I saw Him. I don't mean I saw Him with my eyes, but I know I was
born again. If I did not know that back yonder as sure as I stand behind
this pulpit that the God of Jacob and the God of Elijah laid His hands on my
hand and my heart and said, "I want you to be a preacher." I would have quit
What's the trouble? What's the need? The need is for
people to know God; the need is for people to have seen God. Job said, "Mine
ears have heard, now mine eyes have seen."
Let me ask you a question. What is your need? I said
to my class this morning, "The purpose of the Bible, of the churches, of the
preaching, of all the budget, the Sunday School, the Training Union, the
Youth Program, the music program, the bus ministry, the children' program,
the WMS program and all the childrens' choir programs—the purpose of all of
it is God made man to fellowship with himself.
Now listen. God made man to fellowship with Himself
and man broke that fellowship. In the Garden of Eden, man left God. He
strayed from God and broke that fellowship. God loves man. And oh, the
hungry heart of God was broken.
May I saw this. Ron, do you mind my telling your
burden? Ron and Sarah Purkey, God bless them. Ron was a deacon here and a
trustee. God gave them the news that a baby was going to be born. I think
this story is about right. The baby was born dead.
Their first baby lived twenty-five days. And you can
understand how attached you'd become to a little baby in twenty-five days.
Suddenly, the baby was taken on to Heaven.
Then God gave them a second little baby. How long did
it live, Ron? Six and one-half months it lived and for some reason—and you
can understand how attached to a little baby you can become in six and
one-half months—and suddenly, for some reason, God took the baby to Heaven.
And then God gave them a third little baby. How long
did it live? I see. A miscarriage with the first baby, and the second one
then lived twenty-five days, and the third one lived six and one-half
months. And don't you recall, how many recall the old building over here
when the Purkeys would bring their baby in. They sat up on my right, facing
this way up here on the right. They'd bring the baby in.
And somebody said one day, "I don't think the Purkey
baby's normal." And somebody else said, "No, the Purkey baby doesn't seem
normal." It wasn't normal. They found out the baby had a brain problem or
some kind of problem, it wasn't normal. And I stood up at the Hubert Funeral
Home on 165th Street back in that little back room there. We had a little
service and there was that little six-month-old baby.
Why? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know why. One
little baby taken before birth. One little baby taken in twenty-five days.
Another baby taken six and one-half months. So Ron and Sarah said, "Brother
Hyles, could you help us adopt a baby?" And I said, "Why sure, I'd be glad
to." And I found a little lady that was in trouble and was going to have a
baby and had no home for the baby. So we helped them get the baby, and now
the baby is five years old. They began to notice something was wrong. The
baby has brain damage. At best, the baby will be retarded. The brain is only
a third or two-thirds normal.
Why? Only God knows why. Only God knows why. But what
am I saying? I'm saying now here they are. Ron doesn't know and Sarah
doesn't know. How could anybody know? Oh, thank God, there's a God in Heaven
Whom we can know. There's a God in Heaven who loves us and a God Whom we can
It is not going to help Ron and Sarah with the burdens
and heartaches they have had—lighting a few candles won't help them any.
That won't help. A few rituals, that won't help. And no, the choir singing,
"Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen," won't help any. And a hearsay Christianity,
that won't help you. Job said, "I've lost my children. They're all gone. I
need to see God." That's what you need to do—see God. Do you know Him? Do
you know Him?
I've said so often; you need a personal Saviour. You
people who go to church on Sunday morning and a preacher comes out in a
kimono and a choir comes out and they sing, "Blah, blah, blah… in the minor
key and amen, amen, and amen, and the Lord is in His holy temple, let all
keep silence before, o'er, o'er, o'er Him, Amen, amen, amen." And they take
the offering and the choir sings again, "All things come of you, of God, and
of thine own give we unto Thee, Amen, amen, amen, aaamen, aaamen."
And then the preacher at the end lifts his robe, and
his robe forms a cross under his arm, and the red cross shows to the people,
and there's a beautiful stained glass window and the choir sings. He can't
finish his prayer, he gets tired and the choir has to say his "Amen" for
him. And it's "Amen, amen, amen, aaamen."
You don't need that. You know what you need? You need
a God in Heaven who stands beside you at the grave when you laid to rest the
dearest of life. A God who can reach out and touch you on the arm and you
can look up and say, "Oh God, You are real. I know You are real. I met you.
Oh God, please give me help." That's what you need.
You need a God, Mrs. Dunsworth, when Harley is taken
suddenly from us. We stand here, all of us, and I thought my heart would
break, and I looked at my dear deacon brother, Ed Rausch, who was probably
the closest friend that Harley had. Ed had beat him in horseshoes right
before he died. That's what killed him by the way. But anyway, our Deacon
Dunsworth and Mrs. Dunsworth had leaned on him all these years. And no
decision she made herself, and now he's taken.
Mrs. Dunsworth sits down here on the front. You know
what she needs? She doesn't need some austere, omnipotent, omniscient,
omnipresent God of Jeroboam and Rehoboam and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
who sits up in the heavens somewhere and we come on Sunday morning and say,
"Wherever you are, we worship Thee."
No, she needs a living, loving, personal Christ to
come and sit beside her and say, "God bless you." And she needs to look up
and say, "Oh heavenly Father, Abba Father, help me." And God can say, "I
will." A very personal God, a very personal God.
And so Job could say, "I'd heard of Thee." But the
word comes, "Acquaint thyself with Him." And the word comes again, "I have
seen Thee with the seeing of the eye." That's what we need, and that's what
you need. And that's what God made you for.
Now that little baby that we laid away, that little
Purkey baby and others too, the Giffords over here, who lost their little
baby—One morning they went to the crib to pick up the baby and it was dead.
Nothing wrong at all. And that little Lovely baby, the name "Lovely," the
Lovely family in our church, the baby was being given a bath, just fifteen
months old, I think, and just a little bit of water, not enough water to
drown in, except he did. The mother came back and found the baby face down.
Drowned in the bathtub. And I stood, and I thought my heart would break as I
tried to say a few words of comfort.
Don't tell me that your heart isn't broken because
fellowship is broken. Don't tell me that the little five-year-old boy whose
brain is having a trouble, only two-thirds normal, at best, don't tell me
there won't be times when the mother and father would not wish the boy could
give all—100%--a normal mind in love and devotion.
And don't tell me that the God of Heaven Who made you
in His own likeness and the likeness of His own dear Son, his own self—Don't
tell me the God of Heaven Who loved you so much that when you went away from
Him that He gave His own Son from Heaven, and said goodbye to the Son, and
the Son came and went to the cross and the Father turned His back upon Him;
and God the Father let His own Son die on the cross with His own Father's
back turned toward Him—Don't tell me a God that loves you that much, that
loves you enough to die on the cross, and the Saviour that loved you enough
to die on the cross separate from the Father—don't you tell me His heart
isn't broken when you don't fellowship with Him.
That's what it's all about. That's why God said,
"Acquaint thyself with Him." The Lord said to Amos through His people, "I
despise your smelly feet. Your perfume offerings, your incense is a stink to
my nostrils." He said, "Take away your songs, take away your vials. My ears
don't want to hear them." God doesn’t care about your ritual, your high
church, or your inherited religion. God's concerned about one thing. Do you
know Him? Do you fellowship with Him?
I said to my class this morning, I can recall when
Becky was about that high or that high. Becky had golden ringlets when she
was three and four, five years of age. I mean gold. There's not a girl, a
child in this house that has hair as golden as Becky's was. It was golden. I
mean golden. In the Hebrew that means golden. And just ringlets all over. We
have a picture at home, a big picture of her with these little ringlets all
over her hair. And I'd come home off a trip and Becky would say, "Daddy's
home. Daddy's home. Oh, Daddy's home. Daddy's home!" And she'd jump up and
I'd say, "Becky, I'm going to go to the grocery store. You want to go with
me?" "Oh, goody, goody, goody, goody, goody. I get to go to the grocery
store with Daddy." And I'd say, "Becky, you want to come to the office with
Daddy?" "Oh, I'm going to get to go to the office with Daddy. David, I'm
going to go to the office with Daddy." And David would say, "Is that right?"
And we'd go to the store, and my heart would beat
faster. But they grow up. Sort of sad, isn't it? They grow up. And last
year, I said, "Becky, Becky, guess what? You want to go to the Holy Land
with Daddy?" She said, "No, I want to stay here with Tim." Boy, what an
idiot she is. The day came when I'd say, "Becky, you want to go on a trip
with Daddy?" "No, no." Now, it's not that she's a bad girl. It's the fact
that she's growing up.
And, oh, the Father in Heaven, He wants you to
acquaint yourself with Him. That's one reason why there is rejoicing in
Heaven when a sinner repents. Here's a person who goes through his ritual,
he does this and he lights the candles. And he goes through his high
churchism. And he takes communion and he gets confirmed. And he gets his
sprinkling and he's a church member. And he has a high church ritual and the
worship and the formalism.
And then someday he comes out on a Sunday night to
hear a man of God preach. And the man of God says, "You've got to know God;
it's not enough to belong in the church. You've got to know God; it's not
enough just to have ritual. You've got to know God. Acquaint thyself with
Him and be at peace, therefore, good shall come to thee." And all of a
sudden, you say, "I believe he's right."
There's more to it than just the ritual. There's more
to it than just the ceremony. More to it than just the form. More to it than
just a cross. More to it than just a stained glass window. More to it than
just a high church service. I need to know God.
And so you come down the aisle and you kneel here and
some godly deacon takes his Bible and shows you how you can be saved. And
you say something like this, "Dear God," that's a good start. And I think
the Lord in Heaven said, "Huh? What? You talkin' to me?" "Yeah, yeah."
Becky came home from Christmas and I said, "Becky, I'm
going to the store, or going to the shopping center. Want to go with me?"
And she said, "Yeah. Yeah." I said, "You do?" "Yeah." Not because she wanted
to go. She's smart now. She's learned to be nice to Dad after a while. Some
of you kids will learn that one of these days, I hope. And we went out and
had a bit to eat together. I bought her a dress.
And the Lord looks down and somebody says, "Dear God."
And the Lord looks down and says, "Huh? That's my name. What? You talkin' to
me? Not going through your ritual now are you?" "Oh, dear God, this is not a
ritual. I'm talking to you. Lord, be merciful." And the Lord says, "I've
been wantin' to do that. That's what I've been wantin' to do. That's what
Calvary's all about. That's what I gave my Son for. That's what my Son died
for. I was merciful. And you're asking me to be merciful."
And you say, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." And
the Lord says, "I sure will. I sure will." "And save me." "Oh, that's what I
want to do." "And for Jesus' sake, I trust you as my God and as my Saviour."
And the Lord said, "Oh, that's all right."
And the years come and go and you can sing, "And He
walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His won, and the
joys we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known." Oh, Job said,
"I used to know about Thee. I've heard about you. And," he said, "I got to
know you." And then he said, "Now I've seen with my own eyes."
I'm talking to two groups of people who need what I'm
preaching tonight. I'm talking to Christian people who've not said, "Dear
God" in a long time. The Lord said, "Don't you want to talk to me? Don't you
want to talk to me?" You know, David's a big boy now, sixteen. He's as big
as he'll ever be. Smart as he'll ever get. You get dumber, you know, the
older you get, after you pass sixteen.
But, he's go this own activities and so forth. And
usually he just grunts. I say, "Dave, how's school?" He says, "Uhhh." And I
say, "Dave, how's everything going?" "Uhhh, yeaaah." "Dave, how's Barbara?"
"Uhhhh." But sometimes, like last Saturday a week ago, he came back and he
said, and his eyes were like they were when he was a little boy. He said,
"Dad, guess what? I won fourteen today to Christ. Fourteen." And I said,
"Let me tell you something, Doc. I'll win fifteen next week."
I went out soul-winning Sunday afternoon, I did. I won
more people than that. I won seventeen folks last week. Why? I'm not going
to be second-best soul-winner in my house. I'll turn him out and say,
"Depart from me." But, there's not a father out here whose boy is sixteen
years old that doesn't know something about the heart beating faster when
occasionally the clock is turned back and those eyes get as big as silver
dollars just for a few minutes.
Oh, don't you think God says to some of you tonight,
"It's been a long time since your heart—your eyes got big. It's been a long
time since you said, 'Dear God, I need you.'" Oh, you go to Bible study
groups, you teach a class, you're fundamental. You carry a Scofield Bible.
But I wonder sometime if the Lord doesn't get hungry for you to open your
eyes big like you did when you were two or three years old, spiritually.
Let us pray.
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