Help Us Out If You Can!
If you have benefited by the books & sermons on The Jack Hyles Home Page, please consider a small donation to help pay for the increased bandwidth hosting costs. You can donate using a major credit card. You don't need a PayPal account to donate - simply click on the "DONATE" button below. Thanks so much for any help you can give.
"Some Strange Bedfellows"
By Dr. Jack Hyles
"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
I need your very rapt attention this morning. I'm not
going to be very deep, but I'm going to be hard to follow. Now, very rarely
am I ever hard to follow. My sermons are usually so simple that even Brother
Hand can understand them. I make them that way.
I often say when I preach in colleges that I preach to
the layman, but if a theologian will listen very carefully, he can get it,
too. So I beg your rapt attention this morning. I am going to speak on the
subject, "Strange Bedfellows."
I often teach around the country. In fact, I did an
institute this week to a bunch of preacher boys. I often teach to preachers
a little course that I have which call, "The Proper Balance for a
Christian," which is aimed at trying to teach the preachers to be
well-rounded men. I know a lot of well-rounded men and a few that are not
well-rounded. I want our young preachers to be men of conviction, and yet
feeling. I want them to be men of love and strong character. I want them to
I want our young folks to have the same thing. I want
our young people to be strict at school and stand for what is right. Yet I
want them to do it in the right kind of spirit, not in an overly pious or a
hypocritical way that rubs piety in everybody's nose and disgusts the world
in general. I want our people to be zealous. I want our folks to pass out
tracts; and yet, I want our folks to know the Bible.
Two months after I came to pastor here, I got a
letter. I guess it must have been one of the sweetest letters in my life.
Strange thing, the lady is gone now. She wasn't here very long and I can't
quite remember her name, but here's what she said: "Pastor, before you came
I had prayed often for God to send us a Bible-teaching type pastor, somebody
who would teach us the Bible." And then she said, "I'd say the next day,
'No, Lord. We need an evangelist. Someone who's zealous and bold.'" But then
she said, "The next day, I'd change my mind. 'Send us a Bible teacher.'" And
she said, "I'd just pray one day, 'Send us a Bible teacher' and the next
day, 'An evangelist,' and I couldn't really figure out what kind of pastor I
Then she wrote a sweet little conclusion and she said,
"Brother, I didn't realize that God would send us both in one man." That was
one of the sweetest letters I ever read in my life until she got made and
left! But that's what I want to be. That's what I want you to be.
I want us to be the most zealous church in town and
the most honest church in town. I want us to be the church that has the most
zeal and the church that has the most knowledge. I want us to be the
strictest folks in town. In fact, I often tell about the fellow who said,
"Brother Hyles, are you against…?" and I said, "Yes, I am." He said, "I
haven't said it yet." I said, "There isn't anything I'm not against. I'm
against it all." I want us to be strict.
At the same time, I want the most courteous folks in
Hammond to be the members of First Baptist Church. I want the best
Christians in the high schools to be our young people, and I want the nicest
Christians in the high school to be our young people. I want the hardest
working students in the high school to be our young people. I want our
people to be properly balanced. This is not today's message, but this is
what I teach around the country a great deal.
In the Bible, there are some strange bedfellows, some
that rarely ever go together. There was a verse a while ago, where I was
reading about two of them. Psalm 5:10, "Mercy and truth are met together."
Strange bedfellows-mercy and truth. Then it says, "Righteousness and peace
have kissed each other." Strange bedfellows are those. Hardly ever do we
find righteousness and peace in the same place. In my little message that I
give every so often, a little Bible study, John 1:14 says that our Lord was
full of grace and truth. Strange bedfellows are those. If you find somebody
who has righteousness, he is for the right so he fights all the time. Here
is a fellow who has peace; he won't fight for anything. He doesn't stand for
anything. Here is a fellow who is for mercy, so he lets the whole world go
free. Convicts run loose. He's against capital punishment. He lets the world
go in sin. Never punish anybody. Let Cassius Clay go ahead and run loose
even though he defies the government and is a draft dodger. You hardly ever
find, in the same bed, mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, and then
grace and truth.
In Psalm 96 is a verse from which my book, Blue Denim
and Lace, is taken. Psalm 96:6 says, "Honour and majesty are before him."
Strange bedfellows are those. Honour and majesty. You find a fellow who has
majesty. He runs for office, but he hasn't got any honor. You find a fellow
who has enough honor and he won't run for office. It is hard to find honor
and majesty in the same person.
Then he goes on to say, "Strength and beauty are in
his sanctuary." I look around this morning and I find very few people in
whom I see strength and beauty. You fellows who have strength, you are as
ugly as homemade sin. Then I find you ladies that have beauty and some of
you men that have beauty, you're weaklings. Hard to find strength and
beauty. In fact, the only place I know is looking in the mirror. That's the
only place I know, but it is hard to find. Seriously, these are strange
bedfellows: righteousness and peace, mercy and truth, grace and truth, honor
and majesty, beauty and strength.
It says in Romans 10:1-3, "Brethren, my heart's desire
and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them
record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For
they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish
their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the
righteousness of God."
You see, it is so hard to find someone who has the
proper balance between zeal and knowledge, I mean, someone who is on fire
for God, and yet has the proper knowledge of the Bible. You see, Bible
teaching and zeal hardly ever go together. Dr. Bob Jones used to say, "Everytime
they hire a Ph.D. on the faculty at Bob Jones University, they have to have
a two-week revival to offset it." Why? Because it's hard to find a Ph.D.
that's on fire for God! It's hard to find a scholar that's on fire for God.
It's hard to find a fellow who'[s on fire for God that's a scholar, too!
Here's a fellow on fire for God and he says, "I don't need no learning. I'm
just on fire for God and that's all." You're saying, "That's okay. That's
all right," but you can still love God and have a little learning.
I like to tell the story about the teacher who sent
the note home to the mother and said, "Would you have your child bathed,
please? He stinks." The mother did nothing about it; the child wasn't
bathed. So the teacher sent a letter home again and said, "Would you please
bathe the boy? He stinks." No bath followed. The third time the teacher
wrote back and said, "Please answer this letter. The boy stinks. Bathe him."
The mother wrote back and said, "He ain't no rose,
don't smell him. Learn him." It is hard to find a person who has some
learning and smells good, too.
Strange bedfellows are these: righteousness and peace,
mercy and truth, grace and truth, majesty and honor, strength and beauty,
zeal and knowledge. Then Paul said in Romans 12:9, "Abhor (hate) that which
is evil; cleave to (love) that which is good." You know it is hard to find a
person who loves and hates properly. A strange bedfellow is one who loves
and hates, one who has grace and truth, one who has zeal and knowledge.
Now, I want to say three things. Please don't leave me
now because I am going to go down deeper than this, and I want you to stay
with me and follow. Let me have your mind this morning as well as your heart
and your ear. Now listen.
1. These should go together. As members of First
Baptist Church of Hammond, people see us in the shopping center, in the
bank, on the street, in our neighborhood, in school, in the public park. Now
you know what people think about me, no secret there. Many folks think that
I am some sort of a nut. I hope they think I am an intelligent nut and a nut
with purpose, but they think I am sort of a nut and "…those fanatics, they
don't believe in drinking liquor." That's right. We don't believe in
drinking one swallow of the filthy trash. I want us to be that way, and as
long as I'm here, we'll be that way. That's the kind of preaching you'll get
from this pulpit. I don't mind folks saying we're narrow. Let them say it.
Thank God. America needs some old-fashioned, narrow Christians.
On the other hand, I'm not going to walk around the
streets slapping beer bottles out of people's hands. You see? I got on an
airplane one time and a stewardess came up to me and said, "Do you want a
Bloody Mary?" and I said, "Oh, I didn't know she was hurt." (I didn't know
what a Bloody Mary was. I really didn't.) Yes, I said, "I didn't even know
she was hurt." (Obviously you folks know what it is. You must be a bunch of
drunkards.) I didn't know. I'm a Christian. I didn't know.
She said to the fellow next to me, "Would you like a
Bloody Mary?" and he said, "Yes, ma'am, I would." I told her, "I don't drink
any kind of poison." I was just kidding her a little bit, you know, and I
had already been nice to her. I had already been courteous. I had already
winked at her when I got on the plane and tried to be courteous. (Now,
please don't let that out. I know what's going to happen tomorrow.) I was
courteous and kind to her. She had spilled some coffee on me as she came by
and I was nice and didn't say anything bad about it, and she appreciated it
and so I had been kidding her a bit.
The fellow was beside me drinking his Bloody Mary, and
he said, "Why don't you drink?" I said, "I am a Christian." He said, "So am
I" and he said, "What profession are you in?" I said, "I'm a preacher." He
said, "What kind?" I said, "A Baptist preacher." He said, "Where?" I said,
"First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana." He said, "Why is it you don't
talk like it? Where is your hometown?" I said, "I grew up in Dallas, Texas."
He said, "Do you know any preachers there?" I said, "I know every preacher
there. I pastored a church there seven years." He almost dropped his Bloody
Mary. He said, "Do you know my pastor?" I said, "What's the church?" He
named his church and I told him I knew that pastor and he said, "Don't tell
him about this!"
Now, I didn't say, "I'm just going to tell him.
Naughty, naughty on you and I'm writing your named down!" No, I didn't tell
him that. I didn't do that. You see, I want us to stand for what's right,
but I want us to be decent about it, nice about it. I don't want us to think
we are holier than thou. I do not care if the whole city of Hammond hates my
insides because I hate the liquor traffic and because I hate Communism, and
because I hate the social tendencies, and because I hate the hippie parades
they had in Washington the other day.
I don't care who hates me because of that, but I tell
you what. I am going to speak to you nicely on the street and I am going to
pay my debts on time, and I am going to try to show the city of Hammond that
you can be decent, and you can be nice, and you can be courteous, and you
can be honest, and at the same time be an old-fashioned, rock-ribbed,
Fundamentalist Christian. That's what I want you to be. I don't want you to
be the kind of person personally who can let people know that you can be a
nice person and a good guy and yet, be a Christian. They ought to go
Courtesy and truth ought to go together. Righteousness
and peace ought to go together. Grace and truth ought to go together. You
ought to have love and yet, stand for something. Honor and majesty ought to
go together. Zeal and knowledge, strength and beauty, love and hate ought to
2. They do go together. Not only ought they go
together but they do go together. They must go together. They have to go
together. Billy Sunday used to say, "You can't love flowers unless you hate
weeds" and you can't. Go out someday, you folks that love flowers, and
fertilize your weeds. Go on. I don't want to be negative.
So many theologians in our Bible schools and Bible
colleges and seminaries are way out in left field on this. They'll get up
there and say, "Don't preach any negative gospel, don't get up there and
say, 'Thou shalt not.'" Dr. Bill Rice was preaching on why it's wrong to
dance, and why it's wrong to curse, and why it's wrong to smoke, and why
it's wrong to drink and the pastor called him off and said, "Look, you ought
to preach a positive message. It shouldn't be negative." Dr. Bill Rice said,
"You know, I believe you're right." He got up that night and announced that
the next night he was going to preach a positive message. He said, "I've
been preaching on what's wrong with drinking, what's wrong with dancing,
what's wrong with smoking, what's wrong with cursing" and he said, "I
realize now I ought to be positive." So the next night he preached and his
first point was, "I'm positive I'm against drinking" and the second, third,
and fourth points figure out for yourself.
I told you it was going to be deep. Now follow me. I'm
saying that you cannot have true peace without righteousness. You can't do
it. You see, you must punish unrighteousness in order to have peace. Now
follow me. There is no way in this world to have peace, true peace, without
righteousness. They must go together. That's why you can withdraw your
troops from Vietnam all you want to, but you won't have peace that way. You
see, you may have some kind of a synthetic temporary peace, but you cannot
and will not have real peace until wrong is punished and justice is met.
That's the only way.
In the Edenburg Review in Scotland many years ago they
had a sign that said, "The judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted."
I flew Friday afternoon to Baltimore and preached there Friday night and
flew back during the wee hours of the morning. I got on the airplane on the
way to Baltimore. (It didn't even dawn on me that we'd have as many hippies
on the plane as we did.) The plane was almost full of hippies, and I talked
to a few of them. There were many of them in the back of the plane talking,
and they said, "What are you going to Washington for? For the moratorium?" I
said, "Maybe." They got to talking and I just listed to those dumb bunnies.
I just listened and they kept saying, "Peace, peace, peace; yes, have
No, you cannot have peace. Look, as long as you've got
a criminal running loose in your neighborhood, you'd better not sell your
gun. I'm saying godless Communism has dedicated herself to conquering and
ruling the world! Unless we take care of the criminals we will not have any
real peace. Real peace never comes without righteousness. They're strange
but necessary bedfellows.
Now the same thing is true about grace and truth.
Grace and truth must go together. You can have no grace unless you have
truth. You can have no real love unless you have love for truth; love for
truth hates error. You see, there can be no quality existing without the
presence of its counterpart (read my book Blue Denim and Lace). You cannot
be hot if you've never been cold. You cannot be tall if there are no short
I was in Japan. I spoke in Japan, and I walked down
the street looking down on the head of everybody. I just felt like a Harlem
Globetrotter, except a white one. I felt like a professional basketball
player. I got legs walking around Japan. Why? Everybody was a runt. You see,
unless the opposite quality exists-unless you have fear, you can have no
courage. Unless you've been empty, you cannot know what it means to be full.
Unless you hate error, you cannot love truth, and that's why grace cannot be
grace unless it's built on the foundation of truth.
Let me illustrate with our race problem. You can no
more legislate people to love Negroes than you can cut the moon in pieces
and have it for lunch. You can pass all the laws you want to pass, but
you're not going to legislate love. You can't do it. They only way you're
going to have the race problem solved is when people believe the truth, and
know Him Who is the truth and get born again; then the love of Christ fills
their hearts and they are compelled to love their neighbor.
You can pass all the laws you want to pass. You are
not going to have love or grace until you have truth. You can have no true
majesty without honor. Majesty is not majesty unless it is honored majesty.
You can have no beauty without strength. Now listen carefully. I know girls
that spend more time at their vanity bench looking at their faces and
putting a mask on and getting what you call "beautiful," and yet they do not
work on the strength of character, decency, principles, virtue, honesty,
integrity and loyalty. If you don't work on that, you have a beauty that has
no strength. It is not beauty at all; it is only a mask that you wear on
Sunday. After a while, the real you shows through that mask and you don't
have beauty at all. You can't have knowledge or zeal without knowledge and
vice versa. You can't have love without hate.
Let me say very quickly, there are three things that I
want you to get. In the first place, every one of us should be well-rounded,
well-balanced Christians. We ought to ask God to give us love for hate and
right for wrong. We ought to ask God to give us a stand for the truth and
yet, to stand properly. As I say so often when I am preaching to young
preachers, by the grace of God we will stand for this Book. We'll fight the
Devil, the liquor traffic, we'll fight Communism. We will fight and die for
truth. At the same time, personally, we'll be kind, friendly, loving. As the
Quaker preacher said, "I would not hurt thee. I would not harm thee. I would
do thee no ill. I would not lift up my hand against thee, but, Sir, thou art
standing where I am about to shoot."
Don't you see what I am saying? I am saying you don't
have to push old men down steep hills in wheelchairs to stand for the truth.
Again, I say to preachers, be a Fundamentalist who stands for something. If
someday he accidentally made a mistake and loved somebody, I think God would
forgive him for it. On the other hand, the world is so lovesick for
preachers who don't stand for the truth, they don't love at all. You don't
love a man who is plunging down toward Hell, going to die without love, face
God and burn forever in a lake of fire and brimstone, if you do not stand up
and tell him about the Truth. It is a shallow, synthetic, critical kind of
The kind of love that I am talking about is a kind of
love that says to a lost one, "You're going to Hell and I don't want you to
go. Christ went to the cross and died for you; and if you call on Him, He
will save you and take you to Heaven. Oh, please! Come and trust Him!"
That's the kind of love I am talking about, the love that warns often, but
does in tenderness. It's a love that spanks, but does so in compassion. It's
a love that rebukes, but does it with tears. It's a love that stands firm,
but at the same time, the heart is broken when it has to stand firm against
someone it loves.
3. They do go together in Jesus Christ. Not only
should we try to have these bedfellows-and the real McCoy will bring the
other bedfellow with it-they must go together. I say very quickly, and this
in the last place, they do go together in Jesus Christ.
Jesus offers mercy, but based only on truth. He offers
peace, but based only on righteousness. He offers grace, but based only on
truth. He offers majesty, but only through honor. He offers beauty, but only
a strong beauty. He offers zeal, but only through knowledge. He offers love,
but based only on hate for wrong. Christ is the perfect blend of love and
hate, strength and beauty, honor and majesty, zeal and knowledge,
righteousness and peace, mercy and truth. Let me illustrate what I mean.
Let's take mercy and truth. God is a God who is
merciful. Now, follow me carefully. God is a merciful God and he comes up
and says to Mr. Streeter, who is a sinner, "Mr. Streeter, I want to forgive
you. Come back to Me. So, would you come to Me?" Now this was God's mercy.
God's righteousness says, "Hold it, Mr. Streeter. Hold
it! You've sinned, and that sin must be paid for. You can't come to Me
unless that sin is paid for." Now watch me again. His mercy says, "Come unto
Me," but His justice says, "You cannot come until that sin is paid for."
Now follow me. His mercy said, "I'll take your place.
I'll sit where you sat. I'll pay the price on the cross for your sin. I'll
take your sin upon Me and I'll die a bloody death and condemn My own soul
into Hell so that My justice can be satisfied, and because of My mercy, I
must have My justice met. I must have My righteousness met. But I am so
merciful, I'll pay the price myself. And so, Mr. Streeter, on that cross I
went and I paid the price for your sins. Now my justice is satisfied, and
now would you come to Me?" Once again, fellowship is restored.
Why? Because of the justice. Justice and mercy. Mercy
and truth. Look, that's why I say so often that Christ died for God. Yes,
Christ died for sinners, sure, but Christ died for God, for God would never
have taken one sinner back to Himself. He would never have offered mercy to
anybody unless His justice had been met, and His justice was met on the
cross. That's why you cannot be saved unless you come to the way of the
cross, no other way but the way of the cross, for "the way of the cross
Why? He was not just some man dying on a cross showing
us how to died, not somebody suffering on a cross to show us how to suffer,
but Jesus was suffering on the cross to satisfy the righteous, holiness of
God. So man now can come to God, and God can be merciful and righteous at
the same time, and, by the way, right in there, dear friends, is the crux of
the entire plan of salvation. That is why joining a church is not going to
take you to Heaven for God's justice has to be satisfied. God said "The soul
that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:40 Your sin must be paid for. Either
you pay for it or accept Christ's payment for it and, if you don't accept
His payment for it, you have got to pay for it and go to Hell yourself.
Join all the churches you want to, but how about your
debt? You can be baptized all you want to, but how about your debt? Do good
deeds all you want to, but how about your debt? Take communion all you want
to, but how about your debt? Go to confession all you want to, but how about
your debt? There is a debt, ladies and gentlemen, charged against your
record. That is called "a sin debt." Somebody has to die and go to Hell.
Christ has done it for you or you must do it for yourself, and that's why
the only people who are going to heaven are those who trusted what Jesus did
on Calvary as the substitute for their sins.
God's mercy and truth have met. God offers peace, but
peace only through righteousness. He looks at Mr. Streeter and He says, "Mr.
Streeter I want you to have peace. Come to Me and have peace." Hold it!
Peace He offers, but not yet. You have to have righteousness first, and
where do you get that righteousness? It is imputed to you by the gift of
God's righteousness through Jesus Christ His Son and so, in Jesus Christ,
righteousness and peace meet.
To go back to our list of FREE books
© Copyright www.JackHyles.com