The Ministerial Trumpet Giving an Uncertain Sound
1 Corinthians 14:8-9
For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?…

I. THE "BATTLE." In every battle you must suppose two parties. Ever since the fall there always have been two parties. In the first family Cain was on the one side and Abel on the other. And so it was after the flood — it was so in the patriarchial ages, the Mosaical dispensation, and when Christ appeared on the earth, and up to this very moment. Sometimes efforts are made to multiply these divisions — the righteous on the one hand, and the wicked on the other, with different gradations. But the lip of truth says, "He that is not with Me is against Me." "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." There are but two parties — the people of God and the people against God and with the devil. The two armies are in combat. What constitutes the sorest point is this — they have separate interests, feelings, hopes, ambitions. The grand interest of the people of God is the glory of their Redeemer in the salvation of their souls; the other party are for their own glory. One man belongs to the party because he loves pleasure, another man because he loves power and influence, another because he loves money, another because he is the slave of some lust. But, however these regiments have a little distinction in their facings, they have but one heart, one spirit, one interest!

2. Some people say, "There is no need of a battle. Cannot the irreligious and the people of God go on comfortably and happy, and let each other alone?" No; the people of God must beseech all those who are not His people "to be reconciled to God." The great commander on one side is Christ, and on the other the devil; but let the hordes of Satan do their best, Christ must conquer.

II. THE MEANING OF THE SENTENCE, "IF THE TRUMPET GIVE AN UNCERTAIN SOUND." There can be no doubt that the "trumpet" means the gospel ministry. The gospel minister is to warn men lest they peril and eventually ruin their souls, and to press them to secure the eternal happiness which is offered them, drawing the telling conclusion, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" But the blessed trumpet is not only a trumpet of warning, but is a trumpet of welcome to Calvary's cross, to the fountain for sin and all uncleanness. The trumpet gives an "uncertain sound," therefore, if it does not state —

1. Man's entire inability.

2. Completely and fully the work of Christ.

3. The holiness of the gospel.

4. If firings of confessedly minor importance, Church government, discipline, etc., have an undue importance.

(H. Allon, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

WEB: For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war?

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