by Dr. Jack Hyles
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this
Russian Roulette is a game played with a pistol and one bullet.
A gun is taken, pointed at the head, and the trigger is pulled,
knowing not if the bullet is in that particular cylinder. You
have one chance in six to die; five in six to live. It was reported
recently in a local newspaper of a young man being killed while
playing such a game. Such folly is unbelievable. Yet, there is
a spiritual Russian Roulette played by many that is more dangerous,
more tragic, more condemning, and more deadly than any kind of
Russian Roulette played with a man-made weapon.
There are three dates set in your life. You must face these
dates whether you like it or not. You have to face these dates.
They could take place any day. They could be today; they could
be tomorrow; they could be ten years from now. These dates are
indelibly set. In God's wisdom He has set them. We know not when
they will be. Yet, if any one of these happened to a lost man
today, he would be eternally condemned.
I. The Coming Of The Lord Jesus Christ May Be Any Day
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doeth
come." --Matt.24:42. Now, suppose that this moment the clouds
of Heaven were to break open and the shout,"Come forth!"
were to come from the lips of the Saviour. Suppose that today
the voice of the archangel were to shout and the trump of God
were to ring through Heaven's splendor. Suppose the dead in the
grave were suddenly to rise and those who were alive and remain,
who were saved, should be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
If that took place today, would you be ready? There is a date
set for His coming. The Bible says the angels know not when; the
saints in Heaven do not know; the Father has written down on some
heavenly note the date of the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It may be October 27, 1976. It may be June 1, 1995. It may be
September 11, 1961. I do not know when it will be. You do not
know. Jesus on earth did not know. The saints in Heaven do not
know. The angels do not know. Angelic hosts do not know. Only
God knows. I ask you a question: Could it be today? It may be
out yonder in the year 2000, it may be 1980, it may be in 1975,
it may be 1962. But, my friend, there is at least one chance,
is there not, that it could be today? Now, if it could be today,
the unsaved are playing spiritual Russian Roulette with the second
coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. For there is at least one chance
that today might be the last day. There is at least one chance
that Jesus might come today. There is at least one chance that
you might condemn your soul by saying "No" to Jesus
Christ today. It may be June 3, 1987, but it is logical, whenever
it is, to be ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I recall when I was a boy, I went to hear an evangelist preach
who said that Jesus was coming by Christmas. That was 1936. He
said, "Jesus is coming by Christmas." I believed it.
I thought He was going to come by Christmas, too. I was scared
to death. I went home and cried. I said, "Mother, if He does
come by Christmas, what will I do?" Mother answered "Son,
it all depends on whether you're saved or not." I got on
my knees before Christmas and got converted. I came to Jesus Christ
and I know today by my faith in Him and the fact that I have been
born again that if Jesus comes today, I will rise to meet Him.
If all of a sudden this building were to be made of transcendent
splendor and the clouds of Heaven were to open and Jesus Christ
the Son of God were to shout and come back in the clouds of glory,
I know that I would rise to meet Him in the air. This robe of
flesh I'll drop, and rise To seize the everlasting prize; And
shout, while passing thro' the air, Farewell, farewell, sweet
hour of prayer.
A date was set for Noah's generation. By Usher's chronology
it was estimated to be May 17, 2448 B. C. Nobody knew when it
was. Noah did not know. The people did not know that the day,
(possibly May 17, 2448 B. C.) was a date that God had set on His
calendar. The people did not know when the destruction would come.
Noah did not know the day of the flood. Only God knew. God had
placed the date in the heavenly record book of , let us say, May
17, 2448 B. C. When the day came the people tried to get in and
tried to get help. Many good people were not prepared. Many people
who were sincere were not ready and were destroyed in the flood.
Why? Because they played Russian Roulette with the flood.
My precious friend, if I were you today and had not received
Christ as my Saviour; if I did not know that if I died today I
would go to Heaven; or that if Jesus came today that I would rise
to meet Him in the air, I would receive Him now as my Saviour.
I would say "Yes" to Christ. I would turn from my sins
and turn to Jesus Christ. I'm trying to say, my precious friends,
that Jesus is coming again. I would not play Russian Roulette
with my soul and the second coming of Christ. I'm trying to say
that the glory of God is going to come from Heaven and Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, is coming back again. If you are not saved, if
you have not become a Christian, you are playing Russian Roulette
with your soul. I beg you, in Jesus' dear name, turn to Christ
and be saved by faith in Him and be ready to meet Him when He
comes in the air.
Thank God, I settled that myself. I settled that matter a long
time ago. You can laugh at it, make fun of it, say what you want
to say, get on me for hollering and screaming and shouting and
crying and laughing and praising God. Say what you want to say.
If you got it the way I got it, you'd have it the way I have it,
and you'd act like I act too, a little bit. I'm trying to say
this, my dear friend: Receive Jesus before Jesus comes, else you
will be left when He comes. Do not play Russian Roulette with
the coming of Christ.
Years ago in one of my pastorates a new family moved into our
neighborhood and started attending our services regularly. The
mother was soon saved and baptized. The children, ages 13, 9,
and 6, were saved also and baptized. The father would not receive
Jesus. One night the man came to church and heard my sermon on
"Hell." As he left he snickered and said, "I'm
only 39 years old and I'll get saved in my own way." Two
days later, on Tuesday morning, a man rushed into the church building
screaming, "Come quickly, Pastor! A man is dying." I
rushed down the street to find this lost 39-year-old man lifeless
on the bed. His wife was over him administering artificial respiration
and crying, "He waited too late, Pastor! He waited too late!"
After the doctor pronounced him dead, I was asked to go to the
school and tell the children. I gathered the three around me and
told them that Daddy was dead. The six-year-old asked, "Where
is Daddy now?" What could I say? What a tragedy when men
play Russian Roulette with God.
II. Death May Come Any Day "And as it is appointed
unto men once to die..." --Heb. 9:27 The second date is the
date of your death. All men must die. Lamech lived for 777 years,
but he died. Enos lived for 905 years, but he died. Caanan lived
910 years, but he died. Seth lived 912 years, but he died. Jared
lived 962 years, but he died. Methuselah lived 969 years, but
he died. You too must die. God in Heaven has written down on His
heavenly records the date that you are going to die. I do not
know when it will be. You do not know when. You have no idea what
the date will be. God may have written down April 18, 1984. I
do not know. But one thing I do know: The Bible says it is appointed
unto men once to die and after death the judgment. Every man,
every woman, every boy, every girl someday must die, and when
you die, you must face God. That means that someday you will stand
before God. God will look at you and you will look at Him and
you will tell Jesus Himself why you did not receive Him as Saviour
You're going to die. There's coming a day when they will pronounce
you dead. The doctor will look at your family and say, "He's
gone," or "She's gone." The family will come and
throw themselves over your body and weep, "Don't go! Don't
go!" There will be the horrible experience of the funeral
service. There will be days of readjustment because you are gone,
but you are going to die. I do not know what date it will be,
but I do know one thing: it is some day. It may be June 5, 2006.
I don't know. It may be March 2, 1986. I don't know. But, it could
be today. If there is one chance in a thousand you could die today,
that means that if you are not saved you are playing Russian Roulette
with your soul. It isn't worth it, my dear friend.
The Bible says life is like a shadow that is here and gone;
like a flower that blooms in the springtime and fades in the fall;
like the dew that comes in the morning and is gone by noontime;
like the grass that grows green in the early summer and is brown
by the fall and winter.
My father did not know that May 13, 1950, was the date that
God had set on His calendar. My father was not a Christian. I
preached to my father just before he died. He refused to accept
the Lord Jesus Christ. Little did I know when I preached to my
father that God had written on His calendar in red letters--May
13, 1950. He didn't know that. I didn't know that. If I had known
that, I would have begged him to get saved. If I had known it,
I would have gotten on my knees and said, "Dad, don't put
it off! You have only a few weeks to live. May 13 is your last
day. I beg you, Dad, I beg you, don't put it off." But we
didn't know that. However, we did know one thing: it could be
May 13, 1950. We knew it could have been the day I talked with
him. We did not know and I promised God on the grave of my father
that I would preach every Sunday as a dying man to dying people
and beg people not to put off this matter of salvation. Dear friend,
someday you are going to die. I'm preaching today to mortal people
headed for death and plunging toward eternity, and there is a
chance it could be today. I beg you, prepare for death. I'm happy
to say today, not because I'm good, or because I deserve it, or
because I do more good things than bad things, but I'm happy to
say that if I died, I would be in Heaven. If next Sunday I'm preaching
and all of a sudden I slump over and Brother Lyons rushes and
catches me and Brother Chamblin says "He's dying" and
deacons rush to give artificial respiration and they carry me
out of the building and say, "Brother Hyles is gone; he's
dead," don't weep, but rejoice, because I'll be with the
Lord Jesus Christ before you get to my body. I know that. I wouldn't
trade all the money in the world for that. I wouldn't take anything
in this world for the blessed assurance that if I die this minute,
I'd be in Heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ.
I've seen folks die in every conceivable place. I've seen them
die in the grocery stores. A man who was to speak in our church
one night dropped dead before he spoke. I only met him five minutes
before. I do not know when my day is going to be, but it could
be today. Today could be the date written on my tombstone. It
could be: Jack Hyles--Born 1926; Died--March 15, 1961. It could
be that; I don't know. But if I were not ready to meet Christ
today, I would be playing spiritual Russian Roulette with my soul.
My dear friends, when are some of you folks going to get saved?
When are some of you going to walk the aisle to do what you ought
to do? There are some folks who say, "I'm going to, I'm going
to," yet you are going to wait one of these days and the
angry pangs of death are going to come and wrap their ugly tentacles
around you and you will be in Hell without God and without hope.
I beg you, quit tampering with God's spiritual calendar. Several
years ago I was giving the invitation after a morning sermon.
A couple raised their hands for prayer. Neither of them was aware
of the other's action. They shook, cried, perspired, and came
close to the kingdom. Nevertheless, they rejected the Gospel appeal.
After the service they said that they planned to be saved soon.
Before a week had passed, she shot him in bloody murder. A short
while later, she was killed in a drunken escapade. If they had
A young man recently heard me preach and rejected the Gospel.
After the service I talked with him and warned him of the danger
of neglect. He laughed and walked away. That night he was killed
in a head-on collision on the highway. If he had only known! Quit
playing Russian Roulette with death.
III. Your Last Chance For Salvation May Pass "And
the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for
that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty
years." --Gen. 6:3. The third date that is set is the date
of your last chance of salvation. There is a time, I know not
when, A place, I know not where, Which marks the destiny of men
To Heaven or despair. There is a date on your calendar that marks
the last date you will have a chance to get saved. I do not know
what it is. Maybe it is April 3, 1965; maybe it's March 25, 1998.
I don't know when it is, but it could be May 15, 1961, and this
could be the last chance you will ever have at salvation.
The Bible says in Genesis 6:3, "My spirit shall not always
strive with man." In Exodus 8:1 it says, "Let Pharaoh
alone, he has hardened his heart." In Hosea 4:17 it says,
"Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone." In Genesis
15:16 it says, "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full."
In Romans 1:26 it says, "God gave them up." In Romans
1:28 it says, "God gave them over." God someday gets
tired of begging you. Soul winners have been in your homes. Some
folks have been in your home four, five, six, and seven times.
They have begged you to make a stand for God. They have pleaded
for you to come to Christ. They have said, "Please don't
put it off." One of these days God in Heaven will draw that
line and you will step across it and you will have not one more
chance as long as you live.
Aaron Burr was a student in Princeton University. Aaron Burr
was in a revival meeting back in the days when Princeton was a
hotbed for God. They were having an old-fashioned revival and
Aaron Burr was under conviction. God spoke to his heart. He walked
out one night beneath the stars and looked up to God and said,
"God leave me alone! God did. From that moment to this God
left Aaron Burr alone. You go right ahead and say "No"
to Christ. There is a line drawn and those who continually reject
Christ someday will cross that line. Someday you will say "No"
the last time and God will say, "I've said 'Please ' enough."
God will say, "Depart from me into everlasting fire, you
workers of iniquity." I beg you, I beg you, don't say "No"
to Jesus Christ.
On January 1, 1950, my father sat in my service--about five
or six rows back. he was a rough man, a tough-looking man. He
used to be a wrestler. I was his preacher boy. On December 31,
1949, I found my father in a tavern. I awalked inside that tavern
and said, "Dad, you're going home with me this weekend."
Taking my big old Bible that I had preached from for years, I
walked up to the bar. The drunks looked at me and wondered what
a Bible was doing there. I had never been in a tavern before.
I sat down beside my father, put ,my hand on his shoulder and
said, "Dad, you're going to Marshall, Texas, with me today
and I'm going to preach to you tomorrow, on January 1, 1950, New
Year's Day." Dad looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and
sort of half drunk said, "I'm not going." I said, "You're
going, Dad." (He weighed 235 lbs., was over 6 feet and every
inch a man.) I said, "Dad, you weigh almost twice what I
weigh, but you're going with me, Dad, if I have to make a scene
in this tavern. If I have to drag you bodily, you're going with
me." I took my dad to the car and to Marshall, Texas.
On New Year's Eve night we had a Watch Night service, a blessed
time. I said to my father, "Dad, are you having a good time?"
He looked at me, smiled, and great big tears rolled down his whiskered
cheeks, as he said, "Son, they don't have this much fun where
I stay." I took him outside the building and said, "Dad,
I'm so happy! I want you to be one of my deacons. I want you to
get saved." Dad began to cry. "Son, I'd love to be one
of your deacons." "Dad, would you receive Christ?"
He didn't receive Christ that night. The next morning I preached
to him. He sat about four or five rows back, next to the aisle.
An old one-legged deacon, an old country farmer deacon, sat next
to him. As I preached, my dad wept. When I got through preaching
I just knew he would walk the aisle that day. I gave the invitation;
I told everything I knew to tell. I said, "Wouldn't you come
to Christ?" He didn't do it. My old one-legged deacon put
his arm around him and my dad reached down and clutched the pew
and actually dug his fingernails into the pew as he wept and cried,
but didn't come. I closed the service and said, "Tonight
he'll come! Tonight he'll come!"
That afternoon we went out in the pasture near the little country
church. I put my arm around his big old shoulders and said, "Daddy,
I've always wanted you to be a Christian. Dad, I'm a preacher,
I'm a pastor; but Dad, you drink, you curse, you are separated
from Mother, our home is broken. Wouldn't you receive Christ as
your Saviour?" My dad put his arm on my shoulder (it was
almost as big as my body), looked me in the eye and said, "Son,
I'm going to do it! I'm going to do it!" I said, "That's
wonderful. That's wonderful. Dad, let's kneel and pray."
"Not now, Son. But I'm going to do it in the spring or early
summer. I'm going to Dallas and sell out and I'm going to come
to East Texas and buy a little fruitstand or a little grocery
store and go into business down here. I'm going to live close
enough, Son, to hear you preach every Sunday." Then he said
to me for the first time, "Son, I'm proud of you. I want
to come back and settle down and I'm going to take you up on that
deacon proposition and I'm going to receive Christ and let you
baptize me." That was on January 1, 1950.
I lived for the spring and summer. Every time I baptized anyone
in that little country baptistry and said, "Buried in the
likeness of His death, and raised in the likeness on His resurrection,"
I pictured myself in the springtime or early summer taking my
big old 235-pound dad and lowering him in the water and raising
him in newness of life, rejoicing because I had baptized my own
dad. I looked forward to the day when I could place my hands on
Daddy's head and say, "God bless you, Dad," and have
him as a deacon in my church. I longed for it. I lived for it.
On May 13, I had preached a radio sermon at 9 a.m. I finished
preaching, went out to the little parsonage in the country and
sat down to read the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The telephone rang.
Mrs. Hyles answered. "Rev. Jack Hyles please, long distance
calling." I picked up the telephone and a man on the other
end of the line said, "This is Mr. Smith. Your dad just dropped
dead with a heart attack on the job." I put my paper down,
put my head in my hands and said, "Dear God, it isn't fair!
I've been trying to get folks right with God and my own dad is
lost and now has died and as far as I know, was unprepared."
I wept and prayed as I went to Dallas, Texas, and followed the
hearse down to the little cemetery in Italy, Texas, and watched
them put my dad's body in the grave. I went back a few days later
and got on my knees on the mound under which my daddy's body rested
and said, "Dear Lord, You help me and I'll preach every Sunday
just like my dad was in the crowd." I never go to bed on
Saturday night without taking the only picture of my dad that
I have, looking at it and saying, "Dear Jesus, tomorrow when
I preach I want to preach like Dad was in the service." Oh,
if only I had January 1, 1950, to live over again! I wouldn't
let him wait until May or June or the spring or summer. I'd say,
"Don't wait, Dad." We didn't know what the date would
be, but God had written back there in the ages of eternity, "May
13, 1950." There is a time, I know not when, A place, I know
not where, Which marks the destiny of men To Heaven or despair.
I beg you, my dear friends, I beg you--Jesus may come today; you
may die today; you may cross the line today. I beg you, if you
don't know that if you died today you would go to Heaven, receive
Him now as your Saviour. Then you can say with me that you know
that if you died today, you would go to Heaven. Don't play Russian
Roulette with God!
Know for sure that you will
go to Heaven someday. Here's