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Sunday Evening Sermon May 10, 1970
"The Uncertain Trumpet"
By Dr. Jack Hyles
"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall
prepare himself to the battle?" I Corinthians 14:8
I'd like to lift this text out of its story tonight,
and out of its position in the Scriptures, and just preach on the text
In I Corinthians, chapter 14, we have basically the
subject of the "unknown tongue." The apostle is writing to the church of
Corinth, which was composed of "baby" Christians, and trying to straighten
them out on the doctrine of tongues. In this discussion about tongues, the
apostle makes a statement something like this, "If we who have life do not
give a certain sound we are like instruments that have no life. Like a
trumpet, if you please, that gives an uncertain sound and once cannot
understand the sound that it gives. So people do the wrong thing."
Now a trumpet in the Bible was not exactly as a
trumpet is today. A trumpet was a wind instrument, made of the horn of an
animal or made like the horn of an animal. It was loud and audible at a
great distance. It was used for several purposes.
The trumpet was used, in the first place, in war to
assemble the army. When Gideon assembled his men to fight the Midianites, he
did so by the blowing of a trumpet. It was used not only for the assembling
of the army, but it was also used by a watchman as he would blow the trumpet
to sound the alarm around the cities. In fact, around Jerusalem, and some
other cities, there were walls in those days.
Many times those walls were so thick that people lived
between them. Folks would build little houses, dwelling places, between the
two walls. On the top of the wall there would be a watchman's place. The
watchman would walk and if he saw an enemy approaching, he would blow the
trumpet. So the trumpet was used to warn the citizenry of an alarm that was
It was also used to proclaim the crowning of a king.
When a king was announced or proclaimed or crowned, the trumpet was blown.
If you will read your Bible carefully, you will find that when Absalom was
crowned, the trumpet was blown. When Solomon was crowned as king, the
trumpet was blown. It was used as the blowing, or the proclaiming or
crowning of a king.
It also sounded the bringing in of the Year of
Jubilee. Those who have been with us on our Wednesday evening studies know
what the Year of Jubilee is. The Year of Jubilee was one year out of fifty
when all the people turned back to the original owner, all of his property.
Property was reverted to the original owner.
If you bought something in these days, in Bible times,
you only bought it for the amount of time left, until 49 years was up. If
you bought a piece of property and it had been forty years since the last
Year of Jubilee, you only bought it for the remaining ten. For each 49
years, the fiftieth year was the Year of Jubilee. Now this year was ushered
in by the blowing of the trumpet.
It also was used in battle as a warning of an attack.
It was used to start the attack, to stop the attack, to pursue the enemy,
and to stop the pursuit. Now bear in mind, not the same note, not the same
number of blows or toots, nor the same number was played. Each particular
event had a different number played on the trumpet.
When the offering time came, they would blow the
trumpet, also. Blowing of the trumpet one way meant offering time. Still
another way to blow the trumpet meant an oncoming enemy. Still another way
was the warning from the watchman on the wall. Still another way ushered in
the Year of Jubilee. Still another way proclaimed the coronation or crowning
of a king.
From all of these uses of the trumpet, we find tucked
away in I Corinthians 14:8, description of something else. It says, "For if
the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the
Now here's the picture. The apostle is writing the
church in Corinth and he's warning them about the use of tongues as they are
using them. They were talking in tongues in public, and no one was there to
interpret. They were doing it for their own self-edification. The apostle
was rebuking them for doing so and trying to straighten out these "baby"
Christians on the tongues issue.
He says, "It's a lot better to prophecy than it is to
speak in tongues." Now, prophesying is what I'm doing right now. Prophesying
is simply teaching and preaching the Word of God. "It is much better to
prophesy." In fact, he said, "It's a thousand times better to prophecy than
to speak in tongues." To illustrate that, he ways, "If the trumpet gives an
uncertain sound, the folks won't know what is happening."
Here's a fellow who is walking guard and looking out
from the top of the wall around the city. He sees an onrushing enemy and he
picks up the trumpet. He blows the trumpet and gives the sound for the Year
of Jubilee. The people get ready for the Year of Jubilee, but that isn't
what the sound meant. There is an enemy coming. There is an attack on the
way and the people are not ready for the enemy. Defeat and shame and death
come. Why? Because the trumpeter did not play the certain sound.
Here is a man watching on the wall and he sees the
enemy coming. He picks up the trumpet and he does not blow a certain sound.
The people do not know what is happening. He blows the sound for the
coronation of a king and the people say, "What's happened? The king dead?
Are we going to crown another king? What's happened to the king?" The people
do not prepare themselves for battle. Why? Because the man who played the
trumpet gave an uncertain sound.
Now, what the apostle is saying is this, "Let it
always come forth from the church of the Lord Jesus Christ a clear sound, so
people can always know the truth and the sound will never be uncertain."
Now, everyone else in our generation is giving a certain sound except the
church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nobody wonders what the pacifists think.
They demonstrate against the war in Vietnam. They make it loud and clear.
They give a certain sound on their trumpet that they're opposed to capital
They make no bones about it. They think we ought to
withdraw our troops. God pity our president if he cowers and bows to these
pacifists trying to leave our boys, who have gone to Vietnam and died,
without a thing worthwhile to be won.
You say what you want to say and you call me what you
want to call me. You can call me a hawk or a dove or a buzzard. (That's what
I'm usually called.) Call me what you want to call me, but we've got some
boys that shed their blood on the battlefield in Vietnam. What do you mean
pulling out without victory? American's never known anything like that
The pacifists don't give an uncertain sound. They
write on their placards and they walk up and down in front of the White
House. With a certain sound and with clear language, they tell us what they
A certain sound comes from the race rioters. Nobody
wonders what the late Martin Luther King and the Abernathys are doing. They
give a certain sound, loud and clear. We know their stand. Everybody knows
their stand. They have their demonstrations. They have their race riots.
They have their sit-ins. They have their love-ins. They have all these
things and nobody wonders what they believe. Why? Because when they pick up
their trumpet, they blow a certain sound.
Nobody wonders what the communists are trying to do.
They stand up now in America and blatantly tell what they are trying to do.
Their job is to destroy American freedom and close the doors of
Fundamentalist churches. Don't let them kid you for a minute, they are only
for freedom as long as they are in the minority.
They are using the freedom that God's people have died
for in America to get a foothold; to spread their propaganda so someday they
can destroy and choke the freedom that our country now knows. They blow a
certain sound on their trumpet. Nobody wonders what they're trying to do.
Nobody wonders about their goals. Everyone knows they have their goals set
to take from America our capitalistic system, (which by the way, I am for,
and, by the way, I like the world "capitalism.")
Everyone is giving a certain sound. The sexists, they
blow their horn, their trumpet loud and clear. They are going to destroy
everything decent in America. The Playboy magazine blows its horn loud and
clear. They homosexual advocates are blowing their trumpets loud and clear.
On every side, marching like armies from hell, there
come the enemies of the Book and the church and our nation. From every place
these people mach; they are playing trumpets and everyone can understand
what they are playing.
I heard with these ears, a young lady, a high school
teacher, make this statement. I'm not quoting because it is not an accurate
word-for-word quote. We were talking about the book, Of Mice and Men, which
is, in many of our public schools, required reading for our young people.
In that book, Of Mice and Men, by Steinbeck, the most
vulgar words in the English language are used. I mean the kind you used to
see written on the sidewalk and restroom walls.
That English teacher said, (and these ears heard her
say it,) "We're not using it in our English class but I see nothing wrong
with freshmen high school students reading that book for required reading in
our high schools." She made no bones about it and by the way, I made no
bones about my answer either.
One of the teachers said to me, "Well, they'll read
that kind of language on the restroom walls." I said, "Yes, and when you
make the restroom walls required reading, I'm going to fight some more too."
I'm simply saying everybody says exactly what everybody believes except the
preacher, and he's scared.
Everybody blows a certain sound on the trumpet.
Everybody makes a loud noise and says, "This is right and this is wrong."
Ladies and gentlemen, the Bible says that the preacher of the Gospel is
supposed to preach a message across the pulpit to the ears and hearts of the
hearers that is clear and unmistakably clear, and not an uncertain sound
from a wavering trumpet.
I get weary in my soul of everybody being dogmatic but
the preacher. Everybody can holler but the preacher. Martin Luther King can
holler. Abernathy can holler. Rap Brown can holler. Carmichael an holler.
All the racists can holler. All of the pacifists can holler. Emotional men
can get up and run for office, but let a preacher get a little bit excited
and beat the pulpit and holler a little bit and he has become somewhat of a
I'll tell you, my brother, people are never going to
sit up and take note of the Gospel of Jesus Christ until we can get as
excited about the truth as they can about their filth and rot. If the
trumpet play an uncertain sound, who is going to know the battle is on? It's
time the pulpit made a certain sound. Why? Same reason they had back in
Israel's day. The preacher is supposed to be a man on a wall. The prophet
Ezekiel had it written to him in Ezekiel, Chapter 3, and again in Chapter
33. Twice the Lord said, "I have sent thee as a watchman on the wall. If you
see Israel in her sins and do not warn her, she will die in her iniquity.
And her blood will I require at your hands. But if you warn her, if you blow
the trumpet," he says, "and she dies in her iniquity, her blood will I not
require at your hands."
God said, "Ezekiel, you are a trumpet player. You must
sound the warning when the enemy is come." Let me tell you, as long as I
preach in this pulpit and sit in this chair and stand in this place, if
God'll give me sound mind and strength of body, I aim to blow the horn when
I see the enemy coming.
Now you say what you want to say, you call me a bigot,
you can call me what you want to call me, but I'm not going to let people
take over our children and rob their minds and ruin their lives and distort
their futures and wreck their decency. I'm not going to let it happen
without sounding the trumpet and saying, "The enemy is on his way."
There's nothing wrong in Hammond that preachers could
not cure. Tonight, while I'm standing here, there are dozens of them sitting
at home watching television with closed doors and lights out in the
churches. They call themselves men of God.
No wonder our nation's headed for hell. No wonder our
young folks have lost their decency. No wonder our schools have lost their
honor. No wonder our politicians have lost their integrity. Why? Because the
men of God, who have been placed as watchmen on the wall to blow the
trumpet, have not sounded the trumpet. Because of that, the average American
doesn't know much is wrong anymore. The trumpet plays an uncertain sound
folks will not know.
Communists are coming, blow the trumpet, men of God!
Atheists are coming, blow the trumpet, men of God! Immorality is coming,
blow the trumpet, men of God! I'm not an old man, but I can recall in my
life when you saw a preacher you knew he stood for something and stood
Nowadays, with sex education creeping like a
rattlesnake into our public school systems, the tragedy is, if you see a man
who's a preacher, you don't even know what side he's on. The honest truth is
some little "namby-pamby" (Now I don't talk about Fundamentalists like this;
I'm talking about liberals.) Little "namby-pamby" fellows wear skirts while
they preach, get up in pulpits, and give a little sermonette to some
Christianettes who smoke cigarettes. They play a bit and give a rosewater
pink tea and lemonade book review and they don't know a thing about the Word
of God. In fact, many of them deny the Word of God.
These very men are on boards and committees in our
neighborhood trying to cram this filthy, rotten, communistic sex education
down the throats of our young people. God pity them. I'd rather be a
bootlegger at the Judgment Bar of God than a man who's been given a trumpet,
but blows an uncertain sound. Atheism is coming, blow the trumpet! Enemies
are approaching, you watchmen on the wall, blow the trumpet! Battle is
There is something else. We ought to blow the trumpet
clearly and plainly about the fact that the King is coming. The Israelites
blew the trumpet when the king was coming. Boy, it's time the ministers of
the Gospel of Jesus Christ looked up to heaven, looked to see what's going
on in our world and made our people realize, our Lord's coming draweth
night. The King is coming! Blow the trumpet! The enemy is coming! Blow the
trumpet! Hell is raging! Blow the trumpet!
Not only that, Jubilee is coming. They blew the
trumpet for the Year of Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee represents that
heavenly city, God's home prepared for us in heaven. Blow the trumpet!
Look, I've been preaching from behind this pulpit or
one just like it, and by the way, this pulpit is exactly like the one we had
in the other building. It's a different color, it has a few different
ornaments—but the shape, the size, the height, are exactly the same. I had
it made that way because I felt at home with the other and I wanted the same
for here. I've got a lot of markings up here where I hit the pulpit. You'll
see them right here if you're ever up here.
I was in a certain church not long ago. It was a
beautiful, beautiful church and I preached. In one sermon, I got so excited
I scarred the pulpit all up on the top. When I finished, they appointed a
committee to come up and see how they could paint the top of the pulpit.
That just tickled the fire out of me.
I preached behind this pulpit and the one next door
for ten years. I've been called a bigot. I've been called too funny. Folks
have said, "He preaches too long." Some have said, "He preaches too loud."
Some have said, "He's too mean." Some have said, "He's right wing." Some
have said, "He's anti-democratic." Some have said, "He's too blunt," but
nobody has ever walked out that door one Sunday morning or one Sunday night
and wondered what I believe. Nobody.
Why? Because the trumpet sounds a certain sound. When
I preach on hell, you'll know I believe it's hot. I preached one day over in
the other building on the fiery serpents. I'll never forget as long as I
live. I preached on the fiery serpents and I said, "The Israelites were
bitten by these fiery serpents. They were everywhere."
I said, "You'd wake up in the morning and you'd see 'em
on the floor." I said, "You'd go outside for air after you'd eaten breakfast
and they would be at the front door." I said, "You could open a drawer to
get your underwear in the morning and you'd see the serpents in the drawer."
"Why," I said, "they were under your feet." The whole row of little boys and
girls lifted up their feet like this. Why? I make the message plain.
When I preach on hell, you know it's got fire. You
know I believe it's got fire. I've had dozens of people say this to me in
these years. They say, "We don't believe what you preach, but we think you
do. We like to hear a man who believes what he preaches."
Make the message plain. Blow the trumpet clear. When I
preach on heaven, you know I think it has golden streets and gates of pearl.
When I preach on heaven, you know I think it's a place where God's
born-again people go. When I preach on going to heaven, I make it clear,
you've got to get born again or you're going to go to hell. I never leave
any doubt at all. Never.
Why? I'll tell you why. I'm not trying to build a
church. I'm not trying to compromise. I'm not trying to make friends. I'm
trying to warn people of the wrath to come.
Make the message plain. Sound the certain sound on the
trumpet. That is what he Bible says here. It says, "If the trumpet give an
uncertain sound, how shall folks prepare themselves for battle?" When I
preach on sin, on the Bible, nobody walks out of here wondering what I think
about the Bible. The honest truth is, if you know anything about churches,
you can walk in that door and watch this choir come in and watch us walk in
and, before I saw one word, you'll know we are a Fundamentalist church.
If you can't tell there's something different by the
fellows up here on this platform, or by the way we walk in, then I ought to
fire every one of them. Why? I want the whole city of Hammond to know and
the whole world to know, we believe the Bible is the Word of God; every word
in this Book is inspired by God Almighty.
Make the message plain. "If the trumpet give an
uncertain sound, how shall folks know to prepare themselves for battle?"
I'll go one step further. It was also blown at offering time. Now I don't
say a great deal about money, but I make it very plain that I think you're
walking on thin ice if you don't give God ten percent of your income. I warn
you tonight. Now listen.
There are many people whose bodies rest in the Elmwood
Cemetery or Oak Hill. There are hundreds and thousands of people who have
died prematurely and whose bodes rest tonight under the ground in Hammond
because they robbed God and did not give God ten percent of their income.
The hospitals are full of people like that. The papers are full of car
wrecks because of this. I have not minced any words to say this, if you do
not give God one dime out of your dollar, you are walking on thin ice.
You're not a good Christian and you're playing with dynamite.
Make the message plain. Sound the trumpet! The enemy
is coming! Sound the trumpet! The King is coming! Sound the trumpet! Jubilee
is coming! Sound the trumpet! It's time to give! Don't sound the Jubilee
trumpet when it's time to fight. Don't sound the coronation trumpet when the
enemy's on the way. Make the message plain. Sound the trumpet.
Now there are four reasons for our problems in America
today concerning the trumpet. The first problem is the unblown trumpet. The
second is the unheard trumpet, and the third is the uncertain trumpet. The
fourth is the unheeded trumpet.
Now in the first place, let's discuss the unblown
trumpet. I say again, Ezekiel 33:6 warns the watchman, "If you see the
people in their sins and see the enemy approaching and as a watchman on the
wall you do not blow the trumpet, their blood will I require at thine
hands." So says the Lord.
Why is it that preachers don't blow the trumpet? Why
is it churches cease to be soul-saving institutions? If the National Council
of Churches would get their lobbies out of Washington, D.C., and clear their
ranks of all their pinks and commies, if they would get back to the Bible
and believe the Bible, and get their churches to preaching a new birth
instead of a social Gospel, if they would get more concerned about people
getting born again and going to heaven than they are about the colored folks
marrying the white folks, they would do more accidentally, for the social
ills of our nation, than they're doing on purpose tonight.
A nation's going to hell. The trumpet goes unblown.
Communism is sweeping like a black tornado and the trumpet goes unblown. Our
youth are being condemned and wrecked and ruined by atheistic teachers, and
the trumpet goes unblown. The unblown trumpet.
Now in the first place, the trumpet's blown because of
unconverted blowers. Our pulpits are filled with men that know nothing about
regeneration. There are thousands of men, who, with their frock on, came in
this morning and stood behind pulpits. They lighted candles and performed
ritual and sprinkled water. There are thousands of them who know nothing
about regeneration. They are not born again, themselves. They do not know
how to blow the trumpet.
Then there are those who are liberal. If I belonged to
a church and my pastor was not blowing the trumpet, I'd get me a new trumpet
player. I would. I'd get me a man that knew how to play the trumpet or had
enough blow to do it. If you'll check in the 19th chapter of Exodus, you'll
find that when they blew the trumpet, the Lord said, "Blow it loud and
long." That's what I try to do. I blow it loud and long.
Suppose that you walked by Carnegie Hall in New York
City and you saw a sign out there that said, "Trumpet Concert Tonight.
Trumpet concert. (Lindsay, you play the trumpet, don't you? "Lindsay Terry
playing a trumpet concert tonight." Oh, I suspect that would draw eight or
ten people. Let's see, there's Rex and Mrs. Terry and there's Mother—anyway.
Let's say that he could play the thing and give a certain sound on it. So
you said, "I want to go hear a trumpet concert.")
You walked in and he didn't play the trumpet. He got a
French harp and told all the virtues of the French harp and why the trumpet
wasn't really a good instrument in the first place.
You said, "Play the trumpet." "Well, I don't even
believe all the trumpet's there." I don't even believe the trumpet. "Well,
on the outside it says 'Trumpet Concert'." Yeah, on the outside of a lot of
buildings it says "churches" too, but they don't believe the trumpet
anymore. They don't believe the Bible. That's one reason why the trumpet is
not blown, because of unconverted liberals.
Look! They use the words of the Fundamentalist so they
can deceive the few born-again people they've got left in their churches and
keep them there. Every once in a while somebody comes up to me and says,
"You're a sheep stealer." Now I'm not trying to steal one member from a
Fundamental church. If you belong to a Fundamental church tonight, and you
want to join our church, that's your business. But I'll not walk across this
street to talk you into it.
But if you belong to a church where they don't believe
this Bible, I'll fly across the country to get you out of it. Is that plain?
In my own tactful way, I try to get across what I believe. God pity the
preachers who don't blow the trumpet. What's a preacher's job? To be a
watchman on the wall and to say, "The enemy's coming." I'll bind you one
thing, boy, there's enough enemies today, I keep winded from blowing so
There's a second trumpet, or trouble, and that is the
unheard trumpet. Oh, the trumpeter blows all right, but he blows so softly
nobody can hear it. When I came to Hammond I preached one day on Hollywood.
Now you know that some of us condemned Hollywood back yonder, when they were
showing Mickey Mouse, knew what we were talking about. Mickey Mouse was a
foot in the door to wreck your family.
I preached on Hollywood. A fellow walked up and said,
"You don't have to do that. Everybody knows our position on that." I said,
"How?" He said, "It's in our minutes." And I said, "Oh, I didn't know that.
Why didn't you tell me? I wouldn't have had to preach on it?" But before I
quit preaching on it I said, "We are going to pass a copy of the minutes out
to everybody who walks in the door."
You see, we want the trumpet to be heard. Here's what
happens. Here's the young preacher. Every young preacher starts off blowing
the trumpet loud until some older preacher gets ahold of him. Somebody said,
"The happiest fellow in the world is a young preacher before he ever meets a
theologian." I know, I met one, one time. I've been dodgin' him ever since.
But, here's the young preacher. Boy, he gets up and he
preaches, "Yeah, you'd better get born again or you're going to hell."
That's mighty good preaching, buster. You won't beat that. You won't outgrow
that. You may deteriorate from that, but you won't outgrow it.
What happens? He blows the trumpet and someone says,
"You're blowin' too loud." So he gets a flute and he plays the same message.
Then he gets a harp, a violin, or a saxophone. Brother Hand, can you imagine
a sergeant coming by revelry time, with a violin? Huh? You don’t' like that
kind of preaching, do you? That's why you need it so bad.
You say, "You're sort of uncouth for a Reverend."
"Thank you." Let me as you a question. Do you know what I believe? Then I
must be getting the point across. Does a sergeant play revelry softly with
an orchestra, with a little gal playing on a little flute? No, sir. Boy, the
guy got outside the window and blew loudly. Listen, I still don't like a
bugle to this day.
The sergeant walked in and he didn't say, "Good
morning, beloved," and he didn't wear a robe! The big, barrel-chested
buzzard walked in. "Hey!" he said, "the Japanese are coming. Hey! Germany
just attacked! They're dropping bombs! Get up, you lazy, censored, censored,
censored, censored. Take the children out quick!"
He didn't play a flute. He played a trumpet. It's a
funny thing to me that every time you turn on your television, some
extremist is screaming about rot and filth. If we don't get a generation of
prophets to call our few people back to God and blow the trumpet, we are
gone as a nation. I mean gone.
In El Paso, Texas, they defeated the sex education
they are trying to put in the schools there because they had enough
Fundamentalist preachers that will preach like I'm preaching tonight. Now
that's the great need. "Well," you say, "my pastor's against it but he
doesn't quite say it like you say it." As long as you get the idea and the
whole town gets the idea, it's all right.
Somebody said, "You'll chase folks off." I'm not
interested in chasing folks or bringing folks. I'm interested in preaching
the truth to those that show up. I've got a conviction as deep as my soul
that God's got a lot of good people that'll show up. I'm simply saying, my
brother, the time has come when everybody's playing the trumpet but the
preacher and the church.
The third problem is the uncertain trumpet. The
unblown trumpet comes from liberals, the unheard trumpet comes from
preachers who believe right but won't preach it. Then there's the uncertain
trumpet. Our colleges and seminaries today are turning out preachers by the
thousands. They are spending so much time teaching them that Dr. Rice says,
"They don't make contact."
I like what that fellow, Noel Smith, wrote about my
debate in Christian Life magazine with this liberal and "middle-of-the-roader."
He wrote, "I never did like words like committal and committed and
communicate." He said, "I don't like that any more than I like folks that
spit on the sidewalk." He said, "Say what you mean." I believe that.
They call the new birth now, complete committal. Why
don't you call it a new birth like Jesus called it? He said, "You must be
born again." What's wrong with that? What's wrong? What's wrong with blowing
the trumpet where folks can understand it? Blow a certain sound on the
trumpet. What's wrong with that?
God pity. I'll say this. Some of you people, you come
out to First Baptist occasionally and you visit. You want to hear a trumpet
solo every once in a while, but you want violin music on Sunday morning. So
you come out here for a trumpet concert, and then you go back to your
harpist on Sunday morning. I'm a harpist. I harp on everything I know of
that's wrong. (And ain't nothin' that's wrong that I ain't fiddled with.)
Now I'm simply saying it's time you got your family in
a church where people believe like you believe. You say, "Brother Hyles, I
live fifty miles away." I don't care if you live a thousand miles away, go
to a church where the trumpet's played clearly.
I can recall when I was a kid going to my Uncle Roy's
house. He lived about 15-20 miles from where he went to church and he went
in an old car. I can recall when they didn't come home after the church
service. They had dinner on the grounds. They left early in the morning.
They'd chug that old car and get stuck and back it up and crank the crazy
thing with that old crank they used to have. If you didn't do it too well,
you'd hear, "Mmmmmmmm," and there was an old spark. You'd sit up here on the
side, on one side was the throttle, on the other side was the spark.
You poor kids don't know anything about the old Model
T Fords. A big old car that would take them a half-a-day to get there and a
half-a-day to get back. They would stay all day. Why? It's what they called
"Meetin' Sunday." They didn't have preaching every Sunday; they only had it
about every quarter time. They'd go to Sunday School three times and the
preacher would come by and preach once a month for them, but they would go
and stay all day.
Now I'm simply saying, you had better get your child
under a fellow who blows a certain sound on the trumpet. It's hard enough in
this generation, to rear a kid when a fellow blows the certain sound. I'll
tell you what, sometimes I look over here at these kids and I wonder if any
of them are going to stay out of the penitentiary. And if it is clear to
anybody when I say, "Sit still! Shut up! You and you!" I can't blow any more
certain sound on the trumpet. I work at it awfully hard to rear these kids
right, and yet, sometimes I get discouraged and wonder if it's worthwhile.
Well, brother, with all the preaching they get and the
teaching they get and the warning they get, pray tell me, how can kids grow
up today without a preacher that gives a certain sound on the trumpet?
What happens is this—the preacher gets up and says,
"Hey, the enemy is coming!" You don't say, "The enemy's coming, I think, at
least if you don't mind. He's coming as it were, in a fashion, all right?
Well, let's have a deacon's meeting and ask the deacons if it's all right
that the enemy's coming. Well, let's ask the rich fellows if they mind me
saying that the enemy's coming."
I dare one of you deacons to tell me how to preach. I
dare all of you. I dare one of you rich rascals to try to buy me off. You've
never seen the fur fly like you'll see it fly, and you've seen it fly here.
So what happens? Folks say, "Well, we just don't like war." Well, I don't
like war either but, goodnight, if they're coming, let's go get 'em. "We
just don't like attacks," and so the preacher says, "Okay, I'll play the
coronation sound on the trumpet. You think they'll like that better?" The
enemy comes and war comes and defeat comes and death comes, and it's the
preacher's fault. He's the guy that's supposed to blow the trumpet.
The man who's supposed to stand for righteousness in a
city is the man of God. Every pulpit in a city ought to be a warning place
where folks are warned about the devil and warned about wrong and warned
about evil and warned about the coming wrath of God.
Let us go on. The fourth problem is the unheeded
trumpet. I won't have time to turn to scripture, but Amos, Chapter 3, Verse
6, says that they played the trumpet and played it clearly, but folks
wouldn't listen to it.
I know some things you don't know. I've been to
preachers' meetings, I've been to preacher's schools. I've sat in the
classes. I know. Listen, there is a pastor right now who is on the board of
the school where I attended. He is pastor of a large church and he's one of
the leading Texas Baptist pastors. I can hear that fella saying to me in
college time and time again, "Jack, what do you mean 'born again'? What do
you mean born again? I don't know all that." "Why," he said, "I think I'm a
Christian, but I don't know when it happened. I'm not sure I was what you'd
call converted." Now that man tonight fills one of the biggest places in the
Texas Baptist Convention.
I can hear that fellow behind me in Greek class now
saying, "Psst, psst, Jack. What's the answer to Question Four?" I can hear
that man trying to cheat on a Greek test so he could learn to teach and
preach the Word of God better. Now that man became an evangelist. He goes up
and down this country tonight preaching as an evangelist. He cheated his way
through Bible college! I wouldn't give you a dime for a carload of them.
Now I know some things that you don't know about. I
know what goes on and I'll tell you what, my brother, there's only one
problem that we have in America tonight. That's a preacher problem. I was
down in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I was preaching and a little lady
stood up and said, "I'll have testimony." She stood up and said, "I was
saved under my own preaching." I thought, "Well, what in the world is coming
She said, "I was six years old. We were playing church
and I stood up. It was my day to be the preacher. And I stood up and said,
'If you don't get born again you're going to hell'." She said, "The Holy
Spirit convicted me under my own preaching playing church. I stopped our
little service and got saved then."
I was preaching in my old home church, where I grew up
as a preacher. I went there until I was twenty-five years old and until I
came here ten years ago, last Friday night. By the way, one of our families
was there; I didn't know it until after the service.
When I preached there, a young man, (he's thirty-one
years of age now, named Carmen Hartsfield,) drove down from Dublin, Texas,
probably a hundred miles, to get to see me. He hadn't seen me in eleven
years. He was one of my first young men at Miller Road Baptist Church in
Garland. I talked to Carmen a little while, not long. David was with me and
he talked to him and sat with him in the service.
When Carmen was an eighteen-year-old boy, I think it
was, God had called him to be a preacher. I went out in the country one day
and found an empty house. I rented that house so Carmen could start a church
out in the country. He started the Spring Creek Baptist Chapel and it was
just what the name implies, Spring Creek Baptist Chapel.
We knocked the wall out between the living room and
dining room and put a little chapel up there. We put a pulpit right in front
of the fireplace and put a little sign out in front and he had preaching
One Saturday, Carmen was coming up to church and he
said, "Brother Hyles, I need some chairs to put in my little chapel for
tomorrow. We're having a big special day and I need some chairs."
There was a man there in our church named Cortez
Pippin. Cortez was there that day with overalls on. He said, "Let me help
you, Carmen." So the two of them loaded a pickup truck with chairs and drove
them out in the country to Spring Creek Baptist Chapel. They got out in the
country and Cortez said, "Carmen, I'm a little backslidden. I just feel cold
in my heart." He said, "I need something to help me get warm." Cortez used
to shout. He'd always say, "Praise Jesus." He didn't shout. He's say,
"Praise Jesus" not real loud, just a little bit, but in the service he'd say
He said, "I'm a little cold." And Carmen said, (and he
had overalls on too,) "Well, I've got my Bible here and in it is the sermon
I'm going to preach tomorrow morning. Now, if you'll sit down there I'll
preach it to you."
Well, Cortez sat down. Carmen got up and opened his
Bible and preached the entire sermon he was going to preach the next day.
Well, Cortez got happy and he said, "Praise Jesus" and Carmen got loose. He
just cut loose and preached. There he was in the pulpit with overalls on.
One fella was sitting out in the audience with overalls on, and the whole
truck was being unloaded by another fellow.
Well, suddenly the door opened over here on the left
and a young fellow walked in. He was seventeen years old. How would you feel
if you walked in a country house, saw a fellow in overalls standing up and
hollering and screaming (I guess he was preaching about cigarettes; that's
what we always talked about in those days), and another fellow sitting out
in the audience saying, "Praise Jesus, Amen, Praise Jesus."? Well, that's
the way he felt.
So he came on in, had a seat, and took off his hat.
Carmen didn't break stride. He just kept on preaching. (Now he'd doubled his
crowd—that's pretty good growth you know.) So he kept on preaching. Time
came to finish his sermon and he said, "Now, would all of you bow your
heads." All two of them did. They bowed their heads.
"Now," he said, "is there anyone here without Christ
and you'd like to be saved? Raise your hand." Would you believe it—that
fellow who walked in late raised his hand for prayer. Carmen stood and he
said, "Okay, we're going to stand and sing 'Just As I Am Without One Plea.'"
Everybody sing it. Cortez sang the invitation by himself, and he was a bad
That fellow came down the aisle and got converted.
Why? It's not your organ music and it's not your formal worship service and
it's not your robes and it's not your atmosphere and it's not your candles.
It's the preaching of the Word of God that gets people saved.
One of our teenage boys was talking to another
teenager about Christ. He tried to win him and couldn't. So, the other
teenage boy said, "How do you get saved?" He said, "Well," he said, "I don't
exactly know how to tell you but," he said, "here, I've got Brother Hyles
outline that he preached from last Sunday morning and if you'll come to my
church, I'll preach it to you." (I think it was David Loser.)
David got that boy, brought him in the old auditorium
over here before it burned, and sat him down in the empty building. He got
up and preached the whole sermon and the boy got saved. Why? It pleased God
by the foolishness of the preaching to save those that believe. That's the
great need, somebody to sound the trumpet.
Now you hear me and you hear me well. If you are not
saved, and you die in that condition, you're going to go to hell. That's a
clear and plain sounding of the trumpet. If you are not saved, you've got to
get born again, by faith in the finished work of Calvary, in order to go to
heaven. That's a clear sounding of the trumpet.
If you die without God and go to hell, you will burn
forever and forever and forever. That's a clear sounding of the trumpet.
Jesus is coming again. It may be tonight! When He comes, He'll divide those
who are saved from those who are lost, and those who are lost shall be left.
It could be tonight. That's a clear sounding of the trumpet.
This book is God's Word, word for word, inspired by
God as he breathed upon holy men of old. That's a clear sounding of the
trumpet. If you are saved you ought to get baptized as soon as you can.
That's a clear sounding of the trumpet. If you're saved and have no church
home where this Word is honored and preached, where the trumpet is sounded
clearly, you ought to have one. That's a clear sounding of the trumpet.
If tonight, you're saved and you don't give God ten
percent of your income, you are walking on thin ice. God is going to lower
his ax on you and you are going to face the judgment of God. God is going to
send you to premature death, or God is going to send tragedy to your life or
to your family. That's a clear sounding of the trumpet. If you're not right
with God, you ought to get right with God. That's a clear sounding of the
May I beseech you tonight. May I beseech first the
people of this church. If this pastor drops dead tonight, if I do not preach
another sermon from this pulpit, call you a man that will mince no words. As
long as you are in this church, you stand and you call a man who will mince
no words and will sound the trumpet clearly every time he preaches.
If the day comes when you have a minority vote, and
they call a man who does not make a clear sounding of the trumpet from
behind this pulpit. If you do not know he believes the Bible is the Word of
God, if you do not know he believes the Virgin Birth, if you do not know he
believes the perfect life of Christ, if you do not know he believes the
Atonement, if you do not know he believes in a heaven that has golden
streets and a hell that has fire, and you cannot swing the vote, then you
get out. Just get out!
In my absence from this pulpit, when I'm away, if
perchance some man should stand in this pulpit and say, "The Bible is not
the Word of God" and cast doubt and reflection upon the cardinal truths of
this Book, every one of you men run as fast as you can to the pulpit. Tackle
him and take him out and throw in the street, in love.
It is a sad commentary on America when the prophets of
God don't have any more decency and any more conviction than the hoods do.
I'd hate to be a preaching, trying to cram sex education down the throats of
the kids in our schools, standing at the Judgment Bar of God.
You say, "Preacher, I didn't know what you believed
about that." Well, that's why you came, to find out what I believe, and
that's what I aim to tell you when you come.
For you folks who belong to a church that has an
uncertain sound, you've got a church home where the trumpet's played
clearly! It's time we prayed for God—listen, you young preachers, you Moody
students. If you go out and pastor churches and don't blow the trumpet so
everybody can understand what you're saying, God pity you.
I'm not concerned about your not blowing the trumpet.
I'm concerned, however, about your blowing it like a flute or putting a
muffler on the end of it. I'm concerned about that. Make the message plain!
I like what Dr. Monroe Parker says. He was about to preach one day and a
rich fella walked in, I think this is the story as he told it.
Anyway, for some reason or another, he decided to
preach a message that wasn't so tough as the one he was going to preach. He
decided to trim it a little bit. The choir sang that night, the song that
says, "Make the message plain." Yes, "Christ, receiveth sinful men."
Dr. Parker was sitting in front of the choir and he
was going to trim his message a little bit. The bass had a real loud part
that said, "Make the message plain, make the message plain." Dr. Parker said
he sure was glad when that chorus was over the first time. So he said they
came to the chorus again and they sang it as loud as ever, "Make the message
plain, make the message plain."
The third time they sang the chorus, he said, "Okay,
Lord, I'll preach that sermon you want me to preach." He preached it and
made it plain. That's what the world needs tonight. A certain sound on the
trumpet. A certain sound on the trumpet.
I like the fella…(my mind's running wild tonight. It
may run wild for another hour, too, I don't know. Everything I think about
reminds me about ten more things.) I like this fella. He said, "Boy, that's
the best horse you ever saw in your life." He told his friend, "That's the
best riding horse you ever saw in your life." The other fella said, "Okay,
The guy got a big old two-by-four about that long. He
ran over. He hit that horse in the head and knocked him down. He hit him
across the back end, knocked him almost unconscious, and then got on him.
The other fellow said, "What did you do that for?" "Well," he said, "there's
one little thing about this horse. You got to get his attention first."
Now you're not going to wake folks up with a flute or
a fiddle. It's going to take a trumpet. Now, tonight, if you're here and you
have not lined up your influence, your life, and your family, in a church
that plays a certain sound on the trumpet, you need to get you a church
This is Mother's Day, and I'm glad I preached tonight
a sweet Mother's Day message, I knew you'd want to hear one before the day
was over. This is Mother's Day. Mothers, you keep your children going to
church and Sunday School where the message is not plain, where the trumpet
is not played clearly, and one day you'll be sorry.
I started to say awhile ago, I guess the hardest thing
I face as a preacher (See, I play the trumpet. I blow it loud. I blow it
long. It's heard.) is certainly the unheeded trumpet.
I've had young folks sit over here in these pews where
you sit tonight and I've begged them to do right. I've warned them about
tragedy down the road. I've cried, I've preached, I've hollered, I've
screamed. They wouldn't listen to those of us that love them. They went on
and married some unconverted person. The girls married some fella after
Brother Hyles said, "Don't do that. Don't do that." They went on. I blew the
trumpet. It was played clearly, but they wouldn't listen.
I watch them as they go away from God and away from
God's will. I guess one of the hardest things I face is to play the trumpet
when folks don't listen. I'm thinking now—I could tell you case after case
after case going through my mind. A young lady going with a young boy. He
drank liquor. He promised her he'd quit drinking. I said, "Don't marry him.
He's not a Christian. Don't do it. He's not one of the good. He's not a good
boy. Don't do it." She went ahead. She married him. It wasn't three months
later, I guess, when she came back to me. Her life was wrecked. Her face was
all swollen, her nose was all puffed up here. Her face was black and blue
where he'd hit her. I blew the trumpet but she didn't listen.
Young folks, listen to me tonight. I look here because
most of you are over here. Now you may think I'm a nut. You may think I'm a
hard-boiled Fundamentalist preacher. Okay, I'll tell you what you should do.
You do everything I preach from this pulpit and you won't be sorry you did.
Now you just won't. You say what you want to say. I know I'm eighteenth
century. One theologian said to me not long ago, "Yeah, you're eighteenth
century." I said, "Brother, I'll tell you what. They sure had a lot more
than we have in the twentieth century."
Now you listen to me and you listen well. You think
you're smart. You go ahead and suck on those cigarettes and act like you're
a big guy. You get down here to the school and get across the street to that
little restaurant. You get yourself all fixed up like this. Put your hand in
your pocket, and get you a pair of blue jeans that they have to saw you out
of. Hot-rod it around town and go out and neck with every old girl out on
the street. Park in these parks and run around with the wrong crowd and go
ahead with the drinkin' crowd. Be in the "mod" group, you know. Go ahead and
have your hair grow long, you boys. Wear your long hair. You girls wear your
miniskirts, three or four inches above your knees. Go ahead.
Don't you laugh at me when I'm preaching to you! Girl
in the white blouse, don't you ever laugh at me while I'm preaching to you
again! You heed. You listen! I'm warning you about a devil that's trying to
take your soul to hell and wreck your life, your body, your future,
everything that's right and decent. Heed! People just like this all across
this church have not heeded. Tonight they lie in places of sin and
heartbreak and heartache. Homes are broken, wrecked, and ruined and lives
are in shame. Why? They wouldn't heed. Unheeded trumpet. Unheeded trumpet.
I recall that man in Texas. Mr. Parker was his name.
He was up in years. He came to my church. I begged him to get saved, he
said, "No." I begged him. I blew the trumpet loud and clear. He wouldn't do
it. He wouldn't listen. He wouldn't get saved. One day I was at home. They
called me on the telephone. They said, "Rush to Cannes Memorial Hospital,"
downtown in Marshall, Texas. I jumped in my car and went down to Cannes
Hospital, and went up to the second floor.
I walked in and there was Mr. Parker, under the oxygen
tent. He was trembling like this and his brow was broken out with beads of
sweat. He looked up at me and his eyes were frenzied and he said, "Preacher,
it's hot and burning. I'm burning. I'm burning. I'm burning." I watched that
man go to hell. I watched him go to hell. I heard him describe it while he
"Help me, Preacher. Help me! I'm burning! I'm burning!
I'm burning! I'm burning!" I watched him go to hell. I thought of the times
I stood before that man and cried and wept and pleaded and begged. I had
blown the trumpet loud and clear, but he wouldn't listen. He wouldn't
I recall that night I preached to a young man, I won't
tell you his name. He came to church. He was twenty-two years of age. He
laughed at me while I preached. That's one reason why, brother, when I
preach a message like this, you'd better listen. You'd better sit up
straight and you'd better listen. You'd better heed.
That young man laughed while I preached and walked out
and said, "Not me." He came down to the front after the service. I begged
him to get saved and he said, "Not me." He went outside and got in his car
and drove away. Less than five miles a way, a drunk met him on the top of
the hill. There was a head-on collision and that man went to hell that
night. Why? He didn't heed.
I recall that morning when I stood and preached to a
small crowd of people in my church. Over here on the right there was a
couple named Berry. I'll never forget it. She was a big, tall, very
attractive lady. I guess the Berry's were in their middle thirties. He was
rough-looking but attractive. He was a very refined kind of fellow.
That morning when invitation time came with heads
bowed and eyes closed, his hand went up on one side and hers went up on the
other. Neither knew the other hand went up. They both clawed the pews, they
cried, and they sweated. Conviction gripped them all during the invitation
time. Neither came.
The next Thursday night, I got in my car and drove
across town to their house. I'll never forget it. I got on my knees at the
front door. I talked to them over two hours. They wouldn't get saved. I gave
the message. I played the trumpet clearly. I got on my knees and I begged
them, on my knees, to get saved. I'll never forget it.
She said to me, "God killed a little baby for me a few
years ago and I'll never trust a God like that." On my knees I said, "God in
His mercy knew why He took that baby. Maybe the baby was going to be
afflicted, maybe the baby would have mental problems. Maybe God looked down
and saw what was going to happen in the future and God wanted to avoid some
heartache and tragedy."
She said, "No," and on my knees I begged her. Her name
was Berry. I went to my hometown, Dallas, Texas, for a couple of days. When
I got back I picked up the newspaper, the Marshall News Messenger. Headlines
across the front said, "Mrs. Berry Shot Mr. Berry In Cold Blood." He was on
his knees begging for mercy less than two days after I got on my knees and
gave them the trumpet—that certain sound on the trumpet.
That man was on his knees begging for mercy and his
wife got a gun, put it right here at his head and shot him down through the
head, down through the throat, and down through the neck. He was murdered.
Before she knew it, she got in the car and raced down
Highway 43, going 80 miles an hour over a hill. She lost control of the car,
and plunged into a tree at the bottom of the hill. I can see the tree right
now, right across the street from the Grange Hall Methodist Church. Mrs.
Berry went to hell. The unheeded trumpet. The unheeded trumpet.
A man came to this church one time and sat over here
in this auditorium. He did not heed the message. In less than six days he
was shot in cold blood in a murder here in this town. I could tell you case
after case that would curl your hair of people who have not heeded the
Now you hear me, brother, and you hear me well. I'm
not a good preacher and I know it, but I'll tell you what. I'm an honest,
sincere preacher and I blow the trumpet so that you can understand it.
There's not a person in this house tonight who will walk out that door and
wonder what I believe about anything that I've spoken about tonight. You've
gotten the message clear. You've gotten the message plain. If you've come to
hear a man of God and he warns you, you'd better heed what he says. You'd
better heed what he says.
You young preachers tonight who are going to be
pastors one of these days, you laugh at me. You criticize Hyles and you
criticize Fundamentalists. You saw we're rabble-rousers. Do what you want to
do, but you're going to face God one day for what you do with the message
when you hear it preached plainly and simply. You're going to face God.
Brother, we haven't got time to play church. Our
country's going to hell. We don't have time to go down deep, stay down long,
and come up dry. We have a nation tottering tonight on the brink of
disaster, ruin, and catastrophe. Somebody's got to do something!
We may not have much time. Listen, Paul Revere didn't
run through saying, "Hello, George. Hi, Sue. Got a message. The British are
coming." When Jonah went to Ninevah and preached he said, "You have forty
days and then Ninevah shall me destroyed." He preached it loud and clear.
If you're here tonight and you're not saved, you heard
the trumpet sound tonight. You've heard. You hear it sound time after time,
week after week, across this desk. You'd better get saved or your hell will
be tenfold hotter than it would have been if you'd not walked inside this
If you're here and saved, but you do not have a church
home where the Bible is believed and preached, one day you'll stand before
God and give an account. God will say, "You heard a man of God preach in
certain terms, the clear sound of the trumpet and he warned you."
Look, when I take my kiddos and arrive at this church
on Sunday morning, I rejoice. I rejoice and delight to know what kind of
people are teaching my boy and my girls. My boy sang awhile ago. He was the
one that was on tune, the only one I think. He's the one that's got the red
nose and the red face. He thought that instructions on the sunlamp said "two
hours" and it said "two minutes." He's going to suffer two weeks. I thank
God that my boy's grown up—now forgive me for putting it this way. I'm
sorry, I don’t' mean to be cocky, but I just thank God that my boy has grown
up under the preaching of a guy like me.
I mean it’s not very good but, brother, it sure has
been loud. I'll tell you that for sure! He knows what's right and wrong. He
does. Now I've hung some gerunds and split some infinitive and dangled some
participles in these years, but you've gotten the message. You've gotten the
message. You've gotten the idea, and you're gonna face God.
When folks walk out the door where you preach, you
preacher boys, if they need to know there's a hell that's hot and a sin
that's black and a heaven that's real and an eternity that's long and a
Christ that saves.
Are you here without God tonight? Let me make it
plain. It's Christ or it's hell. It's the new birth or eternity without God.
Are you here tonight without a church home? Let me make it clear. You will
face God for the teachers that teach your boys and girls in Sunday School,
and for the man who stands behind the pulpit and preaches to your family.
Are you here tonight and not tithing? Let me make it
clear. You are walking on dangerous ground. You'd better give God that which
is His or God's going to pour His wrath and judgment out on you. Are you
here outside the will of God? Get back in the will of God. Get right with
Has God called you to preach? Then preach. Has God led
you to be a missionary? Then do it. Do it. Do it. These are not days to
flirt with God.
Let us pray.
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