by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 13 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, From Vapor to Floods)
"Brother Hyles, my oldest daughter didn't get into First Baptist Church and under your ministry early enough. My younger children are fine but my oldest daughter was too old when we got here." These words were said to me in the past few days.
"Pastor, I have several children, but my oldest son was a teenager when we came to First Baptist Church. My oldest son is on dope. He didn't get here early enough." These are words that I hear over and over again. At least once a month somebody in this church says, "My oldest children or my oldest child got here too late."
I have been preaching now for over 25 years. I have preached long enough to see a generation of young people grow up. I have pastored five churches, and so I have seen a lot of young people grow up. Many of them have turned out right. God has given me preacher boys, dozens of them, all across the country. I am sorry to say, there are some who have not turned out so well. I was sitting in my office one day and there came a knock at the door. When I answered the door, I saw a young man who said, "My name is..." and he called his name.
I said, "Where are you going?"
"Just around the country."
"Where have you been?"
"Just around the country."
"Where are you staying?"
"Well, in just one rescue mission after another."
"I know who you are," I said.
"Well, of course," he said, "I'm 21 years of age now. I used to be in the Primary Department of your church in east Texas."
What is he? He is a narcotic. What is he? He is a drunkard, stumbling into one rescue mission after another at the age of 21. His mother and dad were faithful to the church that I pastored in east Texas.
One of the boys that I pastored in Garland, Texas, sits behind bars in prison today.
One of our finest men came to me last week and said, "My son is gone! He is just ruined!"
What is the difference? The difference is wrapped up in our little statement: Dwell deep! Those that turn out the best dwell deep.
What does it mean to "dwell deep"? The Lord said to Dedan, "Dwell deep." Jeremiah 49:8. Dedan was a tribe of Arabs dwelling with Edomites, the descendants of Esau. When the Dedanites were attacked by a powerful foe, they would pack up everything they had, take their children, leave the Edomites, and go to the rose-red city of Petra. There they would hide in the rocks. The messenger would say, "Dedan, dwell deep. Dedan, dwell deep." They would know a powerful foe was attacking, pack up their stuff, leave the Edomites, go to the rose-red city, and dwell deep. They would hide back in the caves of the rose-red city of Petra.
Anyone can see the powerful foes that are attacking our children today. It is no problem whatsoever to see the powerful foes: humanism, communism, rationalism, new morality, narcotics, our educational system, lewdness, dirty books and plays, etc. All these are our enemies. Satan is after your child!
Check sometime and see how many times the word "abide" is used in the Bible. Jesus said, "Abide in Me," not "visit Me." The word "abide" means "to dwell." He said, "Let My Word abide in you." He wants not only daily Bible reading, but the Word is to dwell in us all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Give yourself to God! Let God live in you. Live in Christ. Make Christ your habitat. Make Him your dwelling place. Do not just come to church Sunday morning, pay your respects to God and drop your collection in the offering plate, but live for Christ and live in the Bible every day of the year, every hour of the day, every minute of the hour, every little second!
Check in the Bible how many times the word "delight" is mentioned. Psalm 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 1:1, 2, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth He meditate day and night." Don't come to church like you pay your taxes on April 15. Don't come like you go to a dentist. Don't come to church like you take a dose of castor oil. Delight yourself in the church of God. Delight yourself in the work of God. Don't make it just a part of your life; make it your life. Dwell deep.
Check the Scriptures and see how many times you find the word "wholly" in the Bible. God wants all of you, every bit of you. Why does God want us to be what the world calls "fanatical"? Why does God want us to be a religious fanatics, if you please? Why does God want us to dwell in Christ, in the Word of God and serve Him all the time? Listen! This old world says, "Everybody needs religion. Everybody needs a little taste. It sort of holds you together. Everybody ought to have a little bit. Everybody ought to go on Sunday morning."
Oh, my brother and sister, God doesn't want just Sunday morning. He wants Sunday afternoon and Sunday night. God wants Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Why do you think God wants so much? I'll tell you. God knows what is best for you!
If we are going to rear our children right, we must learn to dwell deep! We have to say to our kids, "Sit up and listen to the preacher!" We have to say to our kids, "We are going to build our lives around the church. We are not going to have church and God on one side of our lives and friends and pleasure on the other side." We must say to our families, "The world is getting so rotten that we must dwell deep in the Word of God, in the work of God and the church of God."
I am thinking right now about a fellow who is on dope. He is one of our finest boys (so we thought). He grew up in our church. He has sung behind this pulpit. He is from one of our finest families. We have no better people than these people. I can recall in the last few months seeing him move toward the back of the auditorium. I remember seeing him slide down in his seat and whisper during a sermon. Let me tell you, my precious friend, if we want our boys and girls to be decent, we will have to say to them, "Dwell deep in the things of God."
God wants your children to turn out right, and if they do turn out right, we must, as families and as individuals, dwell deep!
1. We Ought to Dwell Deep in Salvation.
What do I mean? I mean we ought to accept nothing but a know-so, positive, assured, born again salvation experience. Dwell deep in salvation. Satan wants us to join the church, take communion, get baptized, take the Eucharist, get confirmed, get sprinkled, be religious and believe in God, but he does not want us to be born again. Be sure in your heart that you have real, genuine salvation. Dwell deep in salvation.
A fool in this house today is that person who sits here and belongs to some religion or belongs to some church, but does not know that he is born again.
Dr. Walter Wilson once said to me, "Dr. Hyles, I want to tell you something. I know that I'm near death, but I know I am saved. That may sound trite to you, for I am a preacher, but did you know that there are a lot of preachers who are not saved? Dr. Hyles, I know I'm near death." (By the way, he lived many months after that.) "There is one thing I know, more than that I live. There is one thing I know! I've been born again! I know that I am saved!"
Then Dr. Wilson told me a very sad story: "A famous preacher was dying." (If I called his name, many would know of him.) "He served in Indiana for some years. He wrote books. He came to his deathbed. I went beside his bed and watched him die. Dr. Hyles, that preacher looked up at me and said, 'Walter, I've got something to confess to you.' I asked him, 'What?' He looked at me and said, 'Walter, I haven't been saved. I'm not saved!' I said, 'Make it right!' The fellow looked up with glassy eyes and said, 'I'm not saved! "I'm going to hell. I can feel the fire now!' I said, 'Okay, you know how to be saved. You've preached the Gospel. You know how to lead folks to Christ. You know the Bible. Then trust the Saviour.' He looked up and said again with glassy eyes, 'Walter, I'm not saved! I'm going to hell! I can feel the fire now!'"
Oh, my beloved friends, don't think that just because you believe in God you will go to Heaven! Dwell deep! Don't settle for church membership only. Don't settle for confirmation. Don't settle for baby baptism. Don't settle for living a good life or joining a good church! Know that you are saved! Dwell deep! Heed the admonition of the Apostle Peter in II Peter 1:10, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if we do these things, ye shall never fall." Are you born again? Dwell deep!
2. We Ought to Dwell Deep in Service for God.
This year every born again Christian ought to dwell deep in a fundamental church. I am talking to some folks who are born again but whose membership is in a church that is liberal. You have affiliated yourself with a denomination that belongs to the National Council, or other liberal organizations. Get out of those liberal, modernistic churches. I say to you this morning that the time has come when the foes are so rampant that we need to be dwelling deep. Get in a fundamental church! Get your family in a church that teaches the Bible, decency, morality and integrity. Get your family in a Gospel-preaching church.
You say, "I'm going to pray about it."
Get in it and then pray about it. You don't have to pray about with which crowd you ought to run. You don't have to pray about what kind of a church you join. The very idea of people lining up with the enemy! How terrible! The very idea of your lining up with enemies of the Gospel that deny the Bible, the virgin birth, the blood atonement and the new birth! Dwell deep in an old-fashioned, Bible-preaching church. These are serious days. These are days when every weapon of hell's armory has been pointed at your family.
If you are going to rear your children in the nurture and admonition of God, you will have to dwell deep in a Bible-preaching, fundamental church. Dwell deep! First Baptist Church people, dwell deep! Fellowship with this church. Come on Sunday morning, yes, but come back on Sunday night. Dwell deep! Come back on Wednesday night. Dwell deep! Be sure your boys and girls center their lives around the church. Dwell deep! Put your children in the children's choirs. Dwell deep! Put your children in Sunday school. Dwell deep! Get your teenagers in the youth activities. Dwell deep! Get your boys and girls in the soul-winning groups. Dwell deep! Get your kids coming to junior activities. Dwell deep! Make sure your children's lives are not built around public schools that are getting more godless by the day, but around the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dwell deep! Families, if you want to turn out like God wants you to, dwell deep in giving. Dwell deep in the Word of God. Don't read just two or three verses a day; dwell deep in the Bible. Don't say just a prayer before you go to bed at night; dwell deep in prayer. Don't pray just when it is convenient; dwell deep. Don't just teach a Sunday school class or witness occasionally if it is convenient; dwell deep. Don't live for Him just when it's convenient; dwell deep. DWELL DEEP!
Young parents, dwell deep as you put that baby in the nursery. Dwell deep and see that that baby centers its life around the work of God. Dwell deep, teenager. Dwell deep. There's not a one of you that will turn out right unless you dwell deep in the Word of God. You can't go out and flirt and hobnob with the world that is an enemy of the Word of God and turn out right. You must dwell deep. You cannot play around with the wrong crowd, play around with the wrong girls and date the wrong fellows and turn out right; you must dwell deep. You cannot read your Bible just occasionally, remembering a verse here and there; you must dwell deep in this Book to turn out right for God. You cannot say just a few prayers about a minute a day and expect to turn out right; you must dwell deep.
When the powerful foe came, the Dedanites left the Edomites and hid in the rose-red city of Petra. They went alone. They would dwell deep. Why? The enemy was coming. The danger was at its peak. They must dwell deep.
Somebody asked me one time about David, my son, when he was a little tyke. I said, "David is going to turn out right."
The fellow said, "You're cocky! How do you know he is going to turn out right?"
I said, "Because I'm going turn him out."
When Becky was born, I got her home from the hospital and put her on the floor. I got on my knees over her and I looked down beside her and said to Satan, "Devil, I do not know where you are, but this is one you are not going to get!"
You say, "Well, you just can't ever know how they are going to turn out."
That is not true! THAT IS NOT TRUE! There is a way you can know. You take the child when he is born and put him in the nursery.
You say, "He may get a germ!"
I've been to your house, and that nursery is ten times as clean! By the way, I would rather that he get a germ at the church than for him to be in a sterilized place at home. Put him in the nursery. Rear him there. Bring him to Sunday school. Don't let him miss. When company comes, bring company along to Sunday school, or let them stay at home by themselves. Teach your child the Bible. Teach him honor. Teach him decency. Teach him character. When he gets to be four years old, put him in the Beginner Choir.
You say, "But he can't sing."
Let him croak! Every time the Sunday school class has a social, be sure he is there. Every time the Sunday school doors are opened, be sure he is there. For every service, be sure he is present. On Sunday night, be sure he is there. On Wednesday night, be sure he is there. When he is four years old, enroll him in the Hammond Baptist junior kindergarten, and let him grow up through the kindergartens, the elementary school, the junior high school, the high school and the college.
Dwell deep, oh Dedan! Dwell deep, moms and dads! Dwell deep, teenagers! Build your life around God. Have your social life at church. Have your dating at church. Go with girls at church. Marry somebody who is born again! Dwell deep in the Word. Dwell deep in prayer. Dwell deep in separation. Dwell deep in your life for God. Dwell deep in church. Dwell deep in fellowship. Dwell deep. DWELL DEEP!
I know I am going to lose some people. I am sure I already have. I don't want to lose anybody; I love everybody in this church. God knows that I do. That is one reason why I do the best I can to preach like I am preaching this morning.
Somebody is going to get mad and say, "I just cannot stand it any longer!"
I would rather help you than keep you. I do not want to lose you, but I would rather help you than have those numbers on that attendance board. I am not trying to have just the largest Sunday school in the world; I want the First Baptist Church of Hammond to be composed of a great crowd of people who love God, love the Bible, love the people, dwell deep in the life for God, hide in Christ, and give themselves wholly to God.
Dwell deep! DWELL DEEP! The enemy is approaching. Narcotics are tempting all of our kids. Dwell deep! The best of our kids are tempted with liquor. Dwell deep!
The Dedanites leave the Edomites and dwell deep in the rocks of the rose-red city.
If you are saved and if you are a parent, I beg you to lead your family to dwell deep. Young people, teenagers, children, dwell deep!
You say, "Brother Hyles, there is one youth activity that I just don't like. I just don't enjoy that one."
Then just go and have a bad time. Dwell deep!
"I just don't like the director of my choir."
Go anyhow. Dwell deep!
"But Brother Hyles, I don't like it."
Well now, that's too bad. We would not want you to have anything that you would not like. It just so happens that I didn't like the medicine I had to take. I can recall my mother getting castor oil and giving it to me. She also gave me black draught. My mother would say, "Open your mouth, son."
Did you ever give medicine to a dog? You stick that spoon in, you pry his mouth open, you pour it down and you shut his mouth quickly.
I would like to be able to open your mouth and say, "If you don't like it, take it anyway; it's good for you."
The doctor says, "Take three spoonfuls of this a day."
"Well, I don't like it."
"Take it anyhow; you need it!"
"I don't like the youth prayer band."
"Take it anyhow; you need it!"
"I just don't like all the things we do on the youth activities."
"Do it anyway!"
"I don't like the Bill Rice Ranch."
"I don't like to go with all these kids that go on the activities."
"Go anyhow! You need it!"
Don't you realize that we don't try to give you stuff that always tastes good; but that we try to give you what you need? You need it! Dwell deep! I decided a couple of years ago that we may lose our kids, but we are going to die trying!
I wish you could stand in the pulpit just one time and know what it is to know what they need. You have the medicine they need. You know it. Stand up here like I do, and watch some turn out bad. Watch some mother come to the office; wonder if she is going to live. You get your handkerchief and wipe her tears off her cheeks, close the door, and then remember how you had begged, tried, preached, hoped and dreamed. You wonder, was it worth it?
Thank God, there are still some who are obedient. Kids, dwell deep. Moms and dads, dwell deep. Dwell deep. Trust me like you would trust a doctor, like you would trust a lawyer; trust your preacher! I see things you do not see. By the way, when it comes to a thing like this, I know things you do not know. Dwell deep!
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“I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.” —Billy SUNDAY