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FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOREVER
By Dr. Jack Hyles
Dr. Jack Hyles preached the following sermon on
June 19, 1973, to a Father's Day crowd at The First Baptist Church. There
were over 3,300 in the auditorium. Every available chair was set up in the
auditorium for the overflow crowd that day.
As a result of the invitation, the altar was
flooded with people of all ages making decisions. Fifty-three were baptized
at the end of this sermon.
Electronic Printing, 1997 by FFEP
"For His Mercy Endureth Forever"
Twenty-six times in Psalm 136 we find these beautiful
words, "For His mercy endureth forever." One of the most comprehensive
statements regarding the nature of God in all the Bible--"For his mercy
endureth forever"--26 times it is mentioned in the chapter.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the
days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm
23:6)." The thought of the mercy of the Lord just overcame me this past
week. The fact that the Lord's mercy endureth forever, means nothing can
stop His mercy. I woke up Tuesday morning praising the Lord for His mercy. I
took the concordance and began looking up the places where I could find the
This morning, are you deep in sin? His mercy goes
deeper than your sin. Are you away from God? Are you living a life that's
not counting? His mercy goes beyond. No matter how deep you've fallen, His
mercy is sufficient. It doesn't matter how far you've strayed; His mercy
goes just a little farther.
A black man was on trial down south. He was trembling
with fear. The judge said, "Now look, fella, don't be so nervous; you're
gonna get justice." The prisoner said, "I don't need justice--I need mercy!"
And that's what I need. And that's what you folks need. And that's what
In Romans we read, "Grace and peace be unto you." When
a Jew met someone on the street, he'd say, "Peace" or "Shalom". They still
do it in Palestine. When you meet a fellow on the street down where I came
from you said, "Hi." But in Israel they say, "Peace." Paul wrote and said,
"Grace and Peace." Why? Because no one has peace until he has grace. I
Corinthians starts off, "Grace and peace be unto you." So does 2
Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and both books to
the Thessalonians. When you read I Timothy, it says, "Grace, mercy and peace
be unto you." I laughed and said, "Lord, I think I know why you said mercy.
Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and
Thessalonians were written to churches. But Timothy was written to a
preacher, a preacher needs more mercy than anybody else in the whole world!"
Read 2 Timothy, and again Paul said, "Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you."
In Titus he said, "Grace, mercy and peace be unto you." When God wrote to a
preacher, He thought, " A preacher had more burdens; more heartaches; than
anybody else." The Lord said, "To the church at Galatia, grace and peace;"
but when He got to Timothy, he said, "grace mercy and peace be unto you."
When the Lord wrote the epistles to an individual, He included mercy. Why?
Individuals need mercy. You need mercy this morning. There's not a one of us
here that doesn't need the mercy of God. None of us deserves to go to
heaven. None of us deserves the blessing of God. And so God gives us mercy.
"Thy mercies are new every morning," Lamentations
3:23. Why does the Lord say He is merciful in the morning? It looks to me as
if He would have said, "Thy mercies are new every evening" --after all,
during the day our meanness has been done, we need mercy after we've gotten
mad, had unkind thoughts and spoken unkind words. We need mercy after we
have grown impatient and lost our temper a few times. Most of us need mercy
at the end of the day when it's time to go to bed and we look up to Him and
say, "Lord, I didn't mean to do like I did today. I meant to do better.
Lord, forgive me." He would forgive us and then we could say His mercies are
new every evening. But why did God say every morning? Because we're mean
while we're sleeping. I preached in Texas the other day near a church I once
pastored. In that church I had what Dr.. John R. Rice calls a "long-horned
deacon." I drove past this church, where I had pastored. For 18 or 19 years
I hadn't had one evil thought in my heart against that deacon. I drove down
the streets in front of the church and went past the deacon's place and
thought, "Now, that place belongs to that old long-horned deacon." I asked
if he was still living--he is now in his eighties. They said, "Yes, he's
"I'm glad my heart's clean about that fellow. I don't
hold any bitterness." That night I dreamed I punched him in the nose! When I
woke up, I was glad I did it. Even while we're asleep, we need God's mercy.
We are sinners morning and evening, therefore the Lord said, "Thy mercies
are new every morning.
The psalmist said in the 19th Psalm, "Cleanse thou me
from secret faults, O Lord." Secret faults--those that other people don't
know about? That verse is talking about my faults I don't even know about.
The psalmist said, "Lord, forgive my sins," more than that, "forgive the
sins that nobody else knows about but me." And more than that, "cleanse the
sin I don't even know about, those unholy motives I have, those tainted
purposes, the things I shouldn't do, and the things I leave undone that I
should do." That's why I think the writer of Lamentations said, "Thy mercies
are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness."
I got to thinking about the events in the Bible where
"His mercy endureth forever." In 1 Chronicles 5:17, Solomon had finished
building the Temple. He comes to dedicate the Temple and when the ark of the
covenant is brought in, singers began to sing, instruments began to play,
and the writer said, "His mercy endureth forever." The king, stood and
prayed the dedicatory prayer. While we was praying, Solomon stopped and
said, "His mercy endureth forever." I got to thinking about how God blessed
them by giving the Shekinah glory in the holy of holies, so bright that the
priest could not minister. They said, "His mercy endureth forever."
I began to recall the years here at this church, how
good God has been to us. Try to think of a service here in the church when
God didn't suddenly speak to someone in the choir, or someone didn't give us
an extra special blessing or there wasn't some special conversion or some
special blessing that God gave us. I do not know of any church in the world
where God has faithfully blessed anymore than He has blessed us; Sunday
after Sunday, week after week, and blessing after blessing. Every one of us
ought to stand up and say;, "Blessed be God--His mercy endureth forever!"
Somebody came to our services recently saying, "When
we want a blessing, we come to First Baptist Church, Hammond. We know we'll
always get it." That's what I'm talking about. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
When the Holy of Holies in the Temple was opened and
the glory of God filled the place, the people sang and said, "His mercy
endureth forever." But that isn't all. In 1 Chronicles 16:41, the phrase is
mentioned again. The ark of the covenant had been removed from Israel; the
Philistines had taken it to Gath and Ekron and Ashdod. For years the ark of
the covenant had been gone; and now the ark returns to Jerusalem. Do you
remember David's happiness when the ark came back? David, King of Israel
danced around the ark. When his wife, Michael looked down and saw her
husband, she said, "It's a disgrace for a king to dance, making a fool of
himself." It's like someone accusing you of being a Nazarene because you
shout. Praise God and shout "Amen". We ought to dance around the ark of the
covenant and praise the Lord. Ladies and gentlemen, kings ought to praise
the Lord. Preachers...deacons...Ph.D.s...schoolteachers...doctors...
lawyers... presidents...senators...congressmen...judges--all of us ought to
join hands in saying, "His mercy endureth forever." And so David said again,
"His mercy endureth forever."
But there's a third time. The Temple was destroyed;
the Israelites were led away in captivity into Babylon. The walls had been
leveled, their homes had been destroyed and the Temple had been desecrated.
For 70 homesick, lonely years they lived away from their home. For 70 years
they sat down and wept by the River Chebar in Babylon. They wouldn't play
their harps and they wouldn't sing the psalms of joy. One day God burdened
Zerbbabal to return and rebuild the Temple. Ezra 3:11 tells how God's people
came from far and near, they laid the foundation for the rebuilding of God's
house. The people were happy. The Bible says the singers sang and they
played their instruments. They shouted, "His mercy endureth forever."
Stop and think how sinful you were, and the mercy of
the Lord forgave you. Stop and think of the attitude we've had this week.
Remember the things we've done we shouldn't have done. We can't forget the
harsh words we've said when we should have been quiet. We are guilty of envy
and covetousness and jealousy, and impatience without longsuffering--yet the
dear Lord looks down from heaven and "His mercy endureth forever." Psalm
107:1 tells us, "His mercy endureth forever." In these psalms David
remembers as he does in the 136th Psalm, "The seas were parted, for his
mercy endureth forever. And Pharaoh's armies were drowned, for his mercy
endureth forever. And he fed us with manna from heaven, for his mercy
endureth forever. And he gave us water from the rock, for his mercy endureth
forever..." Over and over again, the Psalmist remembers the blessing of the
Fourteen years ago today I didn't want to come to
Hammond, Indiana. If I ever hated a city, it was Chicago. When I left
Chicago, I said, "This is the last place in the world I'd ever want to
live." God has put me here and now it looks as if this is going to be the
last place in the world I'll ever live. I didn't want to come to Chicago. I
quote a part of a poem to Jim Vineyard about once a week to keep him here.
I said, "Let me walk in the fields." He said, "No,
walk in the town." I said, "But there are no flowers." He said, "No flowers,
but a crown." I said, "But the air is thick with fog, and the fog is
obscuring the sun," He said, "Souls are sick and they walk in darkness,
Jim Vineyard comes to my office occasionally and says,
"Quote that poem quick!" A fellow walked in my office this week and said,
"Hey, Preacher--that poem that you quote Jim Vineyard--could you quote that
to me?" He was serious. I said, "Why?" He said, "I was thinking about
leaving this area and I need that poem, quick." We need to be reminded of
God's leadership in our lives.
I didn't want to come to Hammond and we had battles.
For a year--I mean for a year, it was hell. And yet, the victories! Oh, the
goodness of God. Think of our preacher boys that stand in pulpits around
this country and around the world this morning, proclaiming the same mercy
that we proclaim from this pulpit. Think of the churches that have been
changed, their ministries transformed and preachers set aflame with the
gospel of Christ. Think of these 14 blessed years. Oh, we've had some
heartaches. We had a fire that destroyed a building. We had to put our
nurseries in the hallways of the educational building. We had to buy a
furniture store and in one week we had to remodel it and put up temporary
walls. We had to live in all kinds of inconvenience for a long time, but His
mercy has endured forever. We've had people call us nuts, and we've had
folks hate us. One man said, "I have to drive down Sibley Street to work,
but I won't drive by your church." I said, "Why?" He said, "Every time I see
your church, I see my liquor and my dirty sins and the life I live. The very
presence of that building is a sermon against me." I said, "Thank God, even
our buildings speak out against unrighteousness and for decency."
We've felt attacks and tried not to retaliate. That's
one reason I think His mercy has been good. We've tried to love everybody.
We've tried to be gracious and kind. No word has ever come from across the
pulpit against any man of God, no matter what denomination. We've tried to
stand for God's men and tried to call this country back to God. If any
church in the whole world ought to say, "His mercy endures forever," we
ought to stand up and shout the blessed praises of God.
The psalmist said it in Psalm 106 and 107 and 118,
verse 1. As I read these verses I jumped up and down and I said, "Praise the
Lord, His mercy endureth forever." God puts up with people like us. God uses
people like us. God forgives people like us. God loves people like us. His
mercy endureth forever.
Then again, you find in Jeremiah 33:11, "His mercy
endureth forever." Jeremiah saw the coming kingdom. He saw the lion lying
down with the lamb; he saw the little child leading a lion down the street.
He saw the kingdom of righteousness and peace. And Jeremiah said, "Praise
the Lord! Look what He has in the future for me! His mercy endureth
Did you know God will be merciful to you as long as
you live? When you young people get old, the mercy of the Lord will still
endure. When you middle-aged people get toward the senior years, the mercy
of the Lord will still endure. You dear people in your 70's and 80's and
90's, when most of life is over and you wonder about death and what it's
like--I'll tell you what it's like. The mercy of the Lord will be there when
you go through the valley of the shadow and when somebody sits at your
bedside, waiting for you to go home to be with the Lord.
The young lady sang this morning about how she wants
to see her father. I thought of her father, Bill Gifford, who helped us up
in the baptismal room. He was a great man of God. When he was dying, I went
to his bedside; he looked up at me and said, "Pastor, for me to live is
Christ and to die is gain." Oh, when you come to the valley of the shadow,
His mercy endureth forever. When cancer eats the body up--as it is this
morning for some people--His mercy endures forever. When you cross the
chilly Jordan and go into the presence of our Lord, His mercy is just
beginning. When we see Him, His mercy endures forever. when we rise to meet
Him in the air, His mercy endureth forever. When we come back to earth with
Him, His mercy endureth forever. When we walk the streets of gold and
through the gates of pearl, His mercy endureth forever. When we've been with
Him ten million years, His mercy endureth forever. That means, no matter
what happens, God's mercy is there and will always be there.
In the future, God may allow squealing brakes, burning
rubber on the pavement, crashing of steel, and bodies hurling into the
culvert or on the shoulder of the road. It may be that God will allow you to
lie there for awhile and wonder if you're going to die. It may be that God
has a wheel chair for you as He does for this lady here. It may be that God
is going to let you be deaf, like those folks back there. It may be that
you'll never hear the voice of a whipporwill again, or the sweet music of
the choir. But His mercy endures forever. It may be that God will allow
pressures to come in your life. You may fall to the bottom of society and
one day stumble into a rescue mission like some of these men here. But his
mercy will endure forever.
You cannot get outside His mercy. You may go to the
depth of the sea, but His mercy is there. You may go higher than man has
ever gone, but His mercy is there. You may stumble into a tavern and give up
your life and your virtue, but His mercy is always there. Why? His mercy
endureth forever--that's why. God's mercy goes beyond your deepest sin, and
beyond your loneliest hour. His mercy endureth forever.
You will recall the story of two men who came to the
Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other was a publican. The
Pharisee said, I am thankful I'm not as he is--I'm a good man. I don't
commit all the dirty sins he commits, and I do good things he doesn't do."
The publican could not so much as lift up his eyes to God. He smote his
breast and said, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner." Listen to me this
morning, are you here this morning and you're in sin; you don't know if you
died you would go to heaven? His mercy endureth forever. This morning , God
would save any person in this room that would look up to God and say, "O
God, I know I'm a sinner, and I'm sorry. Be merciful to me, a sinner." The
mercy of God would cove every sin of your life. His mercy endureth forever.
You say, "Are you sure?" Yes!!! Look at Ephesians 2:4.
"God is rich in mercy." His mercy reaches out to you this morning.
Forty-four people came to my office for conferences,
from 3:30 Friday afternoon until 11 o'clock last night. So many of our folks
have needs. What about the many people who didn't come, but they also have
needs? For everyone who came to my office, God's mercy endureth forever. For
everyone who didn't come to my office, His mercy endureth forever.
There's a lady here this morning who wonders if life
is worth living. Lady, His mercy endureth forever. There's a man here this
morning with cancer eating up his body, and he wonders what the future
holds. Sir, His mercy endureth forever. There's a young lady here this
morning who deeply loves the man she married, but he's not been faithful to
her. "Mam, His mercy endureth forever.
The word "endure" means nothing can stop it. It comes
from a Greek word which means "to conquer." It means His mercy conquereth
forever. So you have heartaches? his mercy conquereth heartaches. So you
have sickness? his mercy conquereth sickness. So you go into sin? His mercy
conquereth sin. His mercy conquereth forever. You can say, with the song
writer, Dr. Weigle:
I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus, Since
I found in Him a friend so strong and true. I would tell you how He changed
my life completely; He did something that no other friend could do. No one
ever cared for me like Jesus.
In the Weigle Music Center at Tennessee Temple
College, they built a little apartment for Dr. Weigle. he was nearly 100
when it was finished. At the dedication, the Mayor came and cut the ribbon,
and I preached the message. After everybody had gone, I decided to go see
Dr. Weigle. I went to his room and started to knock on the door, but I heard
a voice say, "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!" I just listened to him shout for
awhile. Finally, I knocked on the door. He came to the door, with the look
of heaven on his face. I said, "Dr. Weigle, what are you doing?" He clapped
his hands and said, "Just practicing for heaven!" We ought to practice for
heaven this morning and praise the Lord a little bit. "Blessed be God!" "His
mercy endureth forever!"
Go home today and have a meal--shout the praises of
God. Say, "His mercy endureth forever." Reach up and touch your eyes. If you
can see say, "Hallelujah! His mercy endureth forever!" If you can hear the
sound of this beautiful music, say, "Glory to God! His mercy endureth
forever." If you can walk out of this building without being rolled out in a
wheel chair, say, "Praise the Lord! His mercy endureth forever." Or if you
have to roll out in a wheel chair or walk out deaf or blind, or if you don't
have food to eat, just jump up and down anyhow and say, "Hallelujah! His
mercy endureth forever." Say it with me. "His mercy endureth forever."
Forever, and ever, and ever.
When kingdoms have crumbled for the last time, His
mercy endureth forever. When dictators have waged their wicked battles for
the last time, His mercy endureth forever. When the stars have fallen like
untimely figs from a tree shaken by the wind, His mercy endureth forever.
When the sun refuses to shine and the moon has turned as black as sackcloth
of hair, His mercy endureth forever. When people shall die no more and
cemeteries shall not dot the horizon, His mercy endureth forever. When
shoulders shall never stoop, nor brows wrinkle, nor faces become furrowed,
His mercy endureth forever. When all of us awake in His likeness to live
forever around His throne, His mercy endureth forever. Blessed be God! His
mercy endureth forever!
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