Billy Graham – The Greatest Revival in History

Billy Graham – The Greatest Revival in History

Now tonight, the twelfth chapter of Matthew, Matthew, the twelfth chapter. “Then certain of the scribes and of the pharisees answered saying, master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign. And there shall be no sign given you but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly. So shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”.

Of course, Jesus was talking about his resurrection. He was rebuking the scribes and the pharisees. They were wanting a sign. Jesus said, “I am the sign. And my death and burial and resurrection will be a sign in every generation, that God loves the world and was willing to give his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life”. But it’s interesting to me that Jesus picked one of the most incredible stories in all the Bible to use as an illustration. It says that God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. In other words, he was custom made by God for the occasion. God prepared a great fish. We know that they’ve found whales that are 70 feet long. We don’t know what kind of fish it was. But God prepared it. And the whole thing is a miracle from top to bottom anyway.

In fact, the little Book of Jonah is a book of miracles. It’s filled with miracles. The wind that came up. The fish that was prepared. The gourd that grew. But the greatest miracle of all was the greatest revival in the history of the world, when one of the greatest cities of all of world history, turned from the king on down to God in repentance of sin and faith in God. Now before that happened, though, God had called Jonah. God said, “Jonah, I want you to go and warn the people of Nineveh to repent of their sins because judgment is coming”. Now the scripture says and Jonah said, “The word of the Lord came unto Jonah”.

Did you know that that expression or a similar expression is found over 2,000 times in the Old Testament? I believe the word of the Lord did come to them. I don’t believe they’d tell 2,000 lies in the Old Testament. I believe that this book, the Bible, is inspired of God. It’s God’s book. It’s God’s message to every generation. The word of the Lord came unto Jonah. And God’s word said, “Jonah, arise and go to Nineveh. Cry out against Nineveh for their wickedness has come up before me”. There comes a time when God can stand sin and wickedness no more. And judgment must come. That’s the danger in America right now. That’s the danger in the world right now. Our wickedness is so great that God may allow judgment to fall unless we as a people turn back to God.

The word of the Lord came unto Jonah. But you know, Jonah wasn’t happy about it. So Jonah decided that he was going to flee. He was going to get away. He was going to disobey God. And the Bible says that Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord. And he went down to Joppa. And he bought a ticket for Tarshish because you see, Tarshish was a great resort city. And he thought to himself, “I can go down there and lie on a beach and the Lord won’t even know where I am. I can get away from it all”. And that’s been true all the way through the Bible. Adam and Eve thought they could get away from God and hide in the garden. And hide behind the fig leaves that they sewed after they’d rebelled against God. But God came walking in the garden and said, “Adam, where art thou”?

The Bible says, you can make your bed in hell and you can’t get away from God. There’s nowhere for you to flee from God. And then the Bible says that he went down to Joppa got into the ship and went down into the bottom of the ship to go asleep. Sin always leads us down. Jonah went down. And when you sin and persist in sin it’s going to lead you down. Samson was one of God’s servants. And God put up with his sins for 20 years. The patience, the love and the grace of God toward Samson is one of the great stories of the Bible. But there came a time when God said, “It’s enough”. And Samson was captured and he was blinded. And Samson suffered the judgment of God because of his sins. Sin led Samson down. Sin led David down. David committed adultery, he committed murder. From that moment on his family seemed to get away from him. Some of them revolted against him. And David carried this terrible guilt that you find poured out in the 51st Psalm and many of the other Psalms.

Sin led down. And many of you tonight are down because of sin. And you’re trying to flee from God. You know, we flee by travel. Listen to that airplane up there. There’s a restlessness today. You go to the airports, they’re jammed. Go to the bus stations, they’re jammed. People going everywhere. Go out on the highways and you stop the average person, most of them would tell you they don’t know where they’re going. They just have to go. Everybody’s going. Everybody’s moving. No one seems to have any roots any longer. We’re trying to get away from something and we don’t know what it is. And many are trying to flee from reality, flee from their home situation or their business situation. But many of them without knowing it are actually trying to flee from God. And then we flee into lust. The lust of things.

Did you know that there are compulsive eaters, but there also compulsive shoppers? How many of you shop when you don’t really need anything to buy, you just go to buy something? It’s a habit with you. You’re addicted to it. Now I’m not talking just about women. I’m talking about men too. I know women, they seem to be born to shop. So there’s a little excuse for them. But you’ve seen compulsive shoppers just like shoplifters. Billions of dollars were lifted last year. And much of it was lifted by wealthy people. And people that didn’t need anything. Compulsive to get things. And a great deal of it is fleeing. It’s an addiction.

And then we flee into obsession with sex. We try to forget about it in a few moments of thrill and passion. We flee into mysticism and occultism, Satan worship. All kinds of things people are fleeing to. Some of our famous young people have been going to the far east and out to India to try to find some new Eastern religion that might satisfy, when all they have to do is open the Bible and God has the answer right here. You don’t have to take a trip to India to find peace with God. And those that went there didn’t find it. They came back disillusioned. It’s only found in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ can give you the peace and the joy and the rest and the satisfaction you’re looking for. You don’t have to keep running. Just go to the cross. And in the cross God has provided everything that you’ve ever searched for and ever wanted and ever longed for. But all of us have a restlessness. We escape into pleasure.

How many of us have to be entertained all the time because we’re restless? We’re trying to escape. They’re two roads in life. Jesus said one is a broad road. It ends in destruction. He said the other road is a narrow road. It ends in eternal life. Which road are you on? Jonah was on the road down. He was disobeying God. He was rebelling against the word of the Lord. And he went down, down. And the Bible has another interesting thing in the book of Jonah it says, “Jonah paid the fare thereof”. Yes sir, he paid for it. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard”. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death”.

Immediately when Jonah got on board that ship he became a Jonah. Tragedy began to occur. A storm came up. The sailors began to cry to their various Gods for help. They knew something was wrong. They began to throw their cargo overboard. But still the storm was about to tear the little ship apart. And they finally decided it must be somebody among them that was guilty of offending God. So they cast lots to see which one it would be. And it was Jonah. Jonah thought he was escaping God. Jonah had hidden himself down in the hold of the ship. He was asleep. He didn’t know that God sent that wind. And God sent that storm and God sent that adversity and God sent that tragedy to wake him up. And to get him back on the right path again.

That tragedy in your life. That problem in your life. That disappointment that broke your heart. You thought it was a tragedy. You thought it was by accident. It might have been sent by God. Because you see, your body is not so important as your soul or your spirit. Your body is temporary. It’s going to go to the grave. But your soul, your spirit will live on forever. And God is interested in saving your spirit. And sometimes he allows your body to suffer in order to bring your spirit to himself. You see the apostle Paul cried out three times, “Lord, deliver me”. God said, “No Paul, but I’ll show you what my grace can do”.

How many of you have problems and tragedy and disappointment in your life? Maybe God sent it like he sent this wind to blow up the storm, to wake you up. To cause you to repent of your sins and turn to God while there’s time. Jonah said, “I’ll go where I wanna go and live the way I wanna live”. That’s right Jonah. You’ve got that privilege if you’re ready to pay the price. But I want to tell you the price is tremendous. And then the Bible says that Jonah went to sleep in the boat.

Sin is like that. Sin is a sedative. You know, sin is at first exciting. Then it’s boring. Then after while you lose your conscience and sensitivity to sin. And your conscience becomes dead. And what a terrible thing it is when your conscience is dead. How many of you when you used to hear the Gospel years ago, tears would come to your eyes? Or it made you uncomfortable? Or it pricked your conscience? Now you can listen to the Gospel preached and it doesn’t even bother you. You can just turn it off. When that happens you’re in a dangerous position because God said concerning Ephraim, “Ephraim is joined to his idols. Let him alone”. Wouldn’t it be awful if God would say, “Leave him alone”. Don’t convict him. Don’t speak to him anymore. Let him go. He’s only got another ten years to live, or twenty years to live. Let him go!

Three times in the first chapter of Romans God says, “I give them up”. I give them up. I give them up. There is a sleep, the Bible says, unto death. A spiritual sleep that is produced by prolonged practicing of sin, that deadens the conscience, hardens the conscience. And then the Bible says, “The word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time”. You know there are not many places in the Bible where it says God gave a man a second chance like he did Jonah. But God gave Jonah a second chance. The Bible warns, “My Spirit will not always strive with a man”. The Bible warns, “He that hardeneth his heart, being often reproved shall suddenly be cut off and that without remedy”. But God gave Jonah a second chance.

You remember when God spoke to you the first time? It might have been at your mother’s knee. It might have been through a Gospel broadcast that you heard. It might have been through a Bible that you found in a hotel room. I don’t know where it was or how, but God spoke to you the first time. And you almost responded, but you didn’t do it. “Backward oh, backward oh, time in its flight, and make me a child again just for tonight”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn the clock back and go back to those moments that we turned God down when we had a chance?

Tonight God has allowed you to come to this stadium. And this is an hour that God is giving you another chance. Another moment to make your commitment to him. The thief on the cross was dying and he turned to Jesus at that dying moment. He was a murderer, he was a thief, he deserved to die. And he said, “Lord, remember me”. He took his one and only chance. And at that moment Jesus said, “Today thou shall be with me in paradise”. He didn’t have time to even be baptized. He didn’t have time to straighten up his life. He came just as he was. Hanging there naked, guilty of murder, guilty of robbery, guilty of everything. And all he said was, “Lord, remember me”. All you have to say tonight is “Lord, remember me”. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” the Bible says.

Well Jonah didn’t have to hear it a third time. Because the Bible says Jonah began to pray down in the belly of the fish. And what a prayer meeting that was. I want to tell you in a few minutes he graduated from fish university. It says the fish spit him up. And he went out on the beach and he started toward Nineveh where God had told him to go from the beginning. And he went to Nineveh. And the Bible says he began to shout up and down the streets, “Repent Nineveh, judgment is coming, repent, repent”.

And one of the greatest, and strangest and most thrilling events of all recorded history happened. The king, think of it now, the king of the whole nation sat down in sack cloth and in ashes and called the people to fast. Told them to turn from their evil ways. He said, “Don’t even let the animals drink or eat. Let’s show God we mean business”. And a great and mighty metropolitan area, as big as some of our modern cities, repented. And you know what the Bible says? The Bible says God repented. When God saw their repentance, God changed his mind. He deferred judgment. The judgment was about to fall. They repented.

And there’s one thing God cannot do. And that’s judge a man that’s repenting or a man that’s in Jesus Christ. Because you see, the word repentance means change. Change the direction of your life. Change the pattern of your living. Change everything in your life. Because you see, Jesus Christ is a disturber. He comes in to disturb. You can’t be the same again when you’ve met Jesus. You’re different. “Old things pass away and everything becomes new,” the Bible says when you come to Christ. That’s the reason Jesus Christ said, “You better sit down and count the cost before you come to me”. You can’t just come up to me and say, “Here I am, Lord. You’re lucky to get me”. You’ve got to come in repentance. You’ve got to say, “Lord, I’ve sinned. I’ve disobeyed you. I’ve rebelled against you. Lord, I come by faith to receive your son, Jesus Christ into my heart”. And all of Nineveh repented and turned to God. And they never faced judgment in that generation.

I think I hear the blowing of a breeze in America. I think American young people are beginning to say, “We want something more than materialism. We want something more than sex and drugs. We want God”. And so we’re beginning to read stories of young people turning by the thousands to Jesus Christ. Have you found Christ? Does he live in your heart? God loves you. I don’t care what sin you’ve committed. It doesn’t make any difference how far you’ve tried to run from God. He loves you. His eye is on you. He sees you. He sees you in that tenement house in New York. He sees you in that bar in Los Angeles. He sees that you’re trying to run and flee. But he loves you. And he has a plan for your life if you’ll only turn and repent. And maybe God has allowed this emptiness and this disillusionment and these problems to come on you to try to get you to turn.

You’re a sinner. You have to admit it and confess it and acknowledge it. And say, “Lord, I’ve sinned and I’m sorry for my sin. And I’m willing to turn from my sin”. Then you must receive Jesus Christ by faith. It is an act of faith. You cannot come to Christ the intellectual route alone. You have to come with your intellect. You have to come with your emotions. You have to come with your will, your total personality. Your total person must come to Christ and receive him as your Lord and your Savior and your master. You see he died on the cross for you. He died in your place. And God is saying through that death, “I love you. I’m providing a sacrifice for you. I’m providing an atonement for your sins”.

Christ shared his blood on that cross for a purpose. That blood became the cleansing fount where all of us can find a place to wash our sins away. Of course, the blood is symbolic of life. The life that was given for you. Now you must receive by faith God’s offer of mercy and pardon and forgiveness. And then you must be willing to obey him. That means to go back to your school and back to your business and back to your labor union and back to your farm and back to your friends and take your stand for Jesus Christ no matter what the cost. I’m going to ask hundreds of you to do that tonight.

During these past few days we have seen thousands of people come out on this turf to say yes to Christ. And I’m going to ask you to do it tonight. I’m going to ask hundreds and even thousands of you to get up out of your seat right now. And say tonight, I want Christ in my heart. And I’m going to ask you to come and stand in front of this platform. And as you stand there, when you all come, I’m going to say a word to you. Have a prayer with you. Give you some literature. A counselor will say a word to you. Then you can go back and join your friends.

And I’m going to ask those of you that God is speaking to now to come. Some of you’ve been running from God a long time. You may be Catholic. You may be protestant. You may be Jewish. You may not have any religious background at all. Or you may be the deacon of the Baptist church. I don’t know who you are. But you need Christ. You need repentance. You need a change in your life. I’m going to ask you to get up and come right now with these many that have come during the past few weeks. You may be in the choir. You get up and come. Why do I ask you to come? Every person that Jesus called in the New Testament he called publicly. There’s a reason. He said, “If you’re not willing to acknowledge me before men, I’ll not acknowledge you before my father which is in heaven”. You get up and come right now. The choir is going to sing as you come. Quickly, hundreds of you from all over and stand here in front quietly and reverently.

As you that are watching by television can see hundreds of people are coming from every part of this great Texas stadium to say yes to Jesus Christ. You could make that same commitment right now in your home or wherever you happen to be watching. You can say, “Yes, Lord Jesus. I want to receive you into my heart”. And he will receive you. May God help you to make that commitment. And plan to go to church next Sunday. God bless you and good evening.

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Billy Graham – The Holy Spirit and You

Billy Graham – The Holy Spirit and You

And now tonight, I want you to turn to that passage that Ralph Bell read to us a moment ago. He talked about the comforter, and that comes from a Greek word, and I’m not a Greek scholar, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to show off how much or how little I know but it means “Advocate” or one who helps alongside. That word comforter. And that is what the Lord Jesus Christ was promising just before he was to die on the cross and be resurrected and ascend into heaven, that he was going to send a comforter, someone to help alongside.

Now the apostle Paul wrote and said, “Now concerning matters pertaining to the Spirit, I would not have you ignorant”. Now we’ve all been aware that in the past few years we’ve had a movement called the charismatic movement. It hasn’t been limited just to certain denominations. It’s been in all denominations, whether it’s episcopal or Roman Catholic, or wherever. For example, down in Southern Poland, where the pope comes from, we held a crusade down there in a great Cathedral and there was a great charismatic movement in Southern Poland, and across the border into Germany, we sensed that God was working in those people in a new way.

Now some people interpret it one way, and some interpret it another way. And some people mean that we’re having a renewal or revival in our churches or among our people and they call that charismatic, and others may have certain gifts that they call evidences of the charismatic movement, and so forth. I’m not going to try to get into all of those differences tonight because I would be here all night and I’d be here all week, and all month, and for a year, because there are some differences of interpretation. But I think you know what I’m trying to say. But it’s impossible to understand the Bible, Christian living, or the structure of the church without understanding something of the person and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Timothy Leary, the former Harvard professor, was on a network program just a few days ago, and he said that he believed in the use of drugs as a route to tune into God and to turn on to God. Well, the route is the Holy Spirit, not drugs. The scripture teaches that he’s a person. He’s not an agent or influence, he’s God! And we’re never to refer to the Holy Spirit as “it”. Now there’s some mistranslations in the authorized version because in those days when this was translated, several hundred years ago, they referred to certain things about the Holy Spirit as it, because it was a neuter, but he is not “something,” but he’s “Someone,” and holy indicates that he’s holy within himself. Holy Spirit.

Now, some places in the authorized, it’s translated “Ghost”. As it was in those days, the word spirit was called ghost, but it didn’t mean ghost in the sense that we mean ghost today. Some film out of Hollywood in which a ghost comes along. The spirit is used in contrast to that which is flesh and material. Now the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. There is a Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and no one can explain. It’s like the the little girl, that was in her classroom, and she was about in the third or fourth grade and they asked how many of you can explain electricity, and one little girl lifted up her hand. And the teacher said, “All right, well, what is electricity”? And the little girl thought for a moment, bit her lip and she said, “I forgot”. And the teacher said, “Well, that’s too bad because you’re the only one that ever knew”.

Now the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is omnipotent. The word omnipotent means all-powerful. In Micah 3:8 it says “I’m full of power by the Spirit of the Lord”. And then the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is present everywhere at the same time. “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence,” said the Psalmist in 139:7. You can’t go anywhere and get away from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is everywhere. And that’s the reason when you have a sense of guilt put there by the Holy Spirit many times, that guilt will go with you even if you travel to a faraway island trying to get rid of it. The Holy Spirit convicting you of sin. The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus Christ who is the truth.

One young man remarked, who had been converted to Christ, “To induce spirituality by taking drugs is like trying to turn on your TV set by kicking it”. And many people do that. I found out that it’ll work sometimes. So that’s not a very good illustration. But there are those that think that because of drugs, or some trance or some hypnotism, that they can have this same experience that you have with the Holy Spirit is wrong, it’s false. You cannot! Oh, yes, there’s meditation and all kinds of things that can give you a high, but the real, permanent high comes from the Holy Spirit, and he gives you a high even in your low moments.

Some of you that are watching by television, have been convicted by the Holy Spirit and you need Christ. He’s trying to draw you tonight to the cross of Christ where that sin can be forgiven. And there’s a telephone number on your screen (+18777724559) now that you can call and a counselor’s standing by now to answer your questions and to help you to make that commitment to Christ, or to talk to you about whatever problems you may have in your life.

Now the Holy Spirit not only convicts, but he gives new life. The Bible says that we’re dead in sins. Do you realize that you’re a walking dead person? You’re dead toward God? You’re spiritually dead, your soul is dead, your spirit is dead, your body is alive, but you’re dead. The real you is dead. Now what needs to be done for a dead person? He needs to be made alive, and that’s the work of the Holy Spirit, to make you alive. Jesus said you must be born again, and that word actually means to be made born from above. Born from above, born by the Spirit of God.

You see, man without God is dead. And life is at best a bore. “Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God”. Have you been born again? Has that happened to you? We’ve got that expression born again, born again, born again, and people are getting a little bit tired of it. Because people are saying, “I’m a born again Christian,” or “He’s a born again Christian,” I’m not so sure but what it hasn’t become a phrase that really doesn’t mean what we really mean biblically about being born again. And back when Mr. Carter was president and running for president, they called him a born again Christian, and he certainly was a born again Christian, but then they began to use that word “Born again” describing automobiles. And they had an ad on television, said, “This is a born again automobile,” and then they said this was born again and that was born again until it became a phrase that was used out of its context. It means born from above, and Jesus said it to a religious leader, a person who’s more religious than most anyone here tonight.

Nicodemus, a professor of theology, and he said, “You need to be born again, Nicodemus”. “And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statues and you shall keep my judgments and do them,” God says through Ezekiel. “He dwelleth with you and shall be in you,” Jesus said in this 14th chapter of John. “Know ye not that you’re the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you”? The Holy Spirit comes to live within you, and when you receive Christ tonight, the Holy Spirit will come to live in you, to help you live the Christian life in you and through you. He also empowers us for service. “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me”. Power, supernatural power.

And I want to tell you, and I’m not going to boast, I say it with all humility, I believe that my preaching, and I’m not a great preacher, by preaching standards. If you took a group of theological students and they studied my preaching, they wouldn’t put me as a great preacher. But I believe that God has given me power in preaching, and there’s the power of the Holy Spirit. When you lift up Jesus Christ, and when you present him, there’s a power there. There’s a power in the cross. There’s a built in power in the Gospel. The power of the Holy Spirit. And then he produces the Fruit of the Spirit. When you receive Jesus Christ, you want to be a person of love and joy and peace and long-suffering and gentleness and goodness and faith and meekness and temperance and self-control. That’s produced by the Holy Spirit. Those are attributes of Jesus Christ himself. Love, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control, he had it all. You can have it all, but it has to be done by the Holy Spirit through you.

You cannot not, of yourself, live the Christian life. You’ll be a total flop and failure. It has to be the Holy Spirit living it through you, and producing it in you, and he will do that. You see, if you take up Romans, the seventh chapter, that’s a chapter of defeat. But then you pick up the next chapter, Romans 8, and you’ll find the Holy Spirit is mentioned eight times, and it’s a chapter of victory. You can have victory in the Holy Spirit. We’re told to walk in the Spirit. But the Bible also teaches that the Holy Spirit opens and shuts doors. And I found that true in our ministry, that he opens some doors, he closes others. And one of the greatest tasks that we have is deciding where to go, which city to go to next because we have invitations from many parts of the world. And where should we go next? Where should we put our emphasis?

And then as we see all these computers coming, and we see new channels opening up on television, and we see new mediums of communication opening up, we ask ourselves just how can we use this effectively for spreading the Gospel of Christ. And this is where the Holy Spirit comes in to help us and to lead us and to guide and direct us, and we constantly are concerned about it and on our knees about it. “For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say”. He comes to teach us and to guide us, and to open and shut the doors. And then he magnifies and glorifies and exalts the Lord Jesus Christ. He shall not speak of himself.

If you find a person coming along saying, “The Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit”, never talking about Jesus Christ, you can know that that man is not speaking from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit exalts Christ! He exalts the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not come to talk of himself. And then he fills us. The scripture says, “Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit”. And that means to be continually filled with the Spirit. You have to be emptied of your selfishness and your own desires and your own gratifications so you can be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that’s a command! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!

Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? You can be, by faith, you can say, “All the, every known sin in my life has been forgiven, I’ve confessed every known sin. By faith I believe I’m filled with the Holy Spirit”. But also you can sin against the Holy Spirit, and the worst of all sins are the sins against the Holy Spirit. You can anger the Spirit. As I pick up the Bible, I do discover the wrath of the Spirit. The translation from the septuagint as we read in Psalm how often then rebelled and grieved him in the desert, the translation is “They disobeyed and made angry the Spirit of God”. They rebelled and angered his Holy Spirit, therefore he turned to be their enemy and himself fought against them.

Wouldn’t it be terrible to have the Holy Spirit as your enemy because you’d angered him? The word “Grieve” means to make very angry. And I would urge every one of you to be very careful lest you rouse the wrath of the Spirit. “My spirit shall not always strive with man,” God said way back in Genesis 6, in the days of Noah. And the Spirit of God ceased striving and the flood came and the world was destroyed except for eight people. The Holy Spirit can be lied against. In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira, “Thou has not lied unto men, but unto God,” said Peter. They acted a lie. They pretended to be what they were not. They were hypocrites. And they acted out a lie.

The Holy Spirit can be tempted. “How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord”? Many times sinners say “Well, if God is God, let him strike me dead”. There was a fellow years ago, down in Tampa, Florida where I was, and he stood out there with a watch, and he said, “All right,” (he was an atheist) he said, “If God is God, I’m gonna give him one minute and let him strike me dead”. Nothing happened. And some old brother on the front row said, “You cannot exhaust the patience of God in one minute”.

But it is like the story of the old eagle that I heard about on an iceberg on Niagara river, and he had landed there to eat on the carcass of a sheep. And uh, as he was floating down, he was getting closer and closer to the falls, and as he got closer to the falls, somebody from the shore yelled off and said, “Watch out, old eagle! Watch out! You’re near the falls”! But the eagle thought to himself, “With my strong wings, I can get up off this in a second”. But just as he came to the falls, and he lifted those wings, he found that his feet were frozen in the ice, and he couldn’t, and he went screaming over the falls. You can tempt God. “Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God”. You can wait too long. You can tempt God too long. And the day or the time will come when it’s no longer possible.

And then the Holy Spirit can be resisted. “Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit, as your fathers did, so do ye”. You can resist the Holy Spirit. And some of you tonight know that you need Christ, but you’ve been resisting the Holy Spirit. That’s a sin against the Spirit. A solemn thing to resist the Holy Spirit. You detect his voice, and yet you deliberately do nothing about it. It’s a dangerous thing. “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and have done despite unto the Spirit of grace”? Resisting the Holy Spirit.

Tonight you’re going to have an opportunity to receive Christ into your heart and to make sure of your relationship with him. The Bible says “Because there is wrath beware lest he take thee away with his stroke when a great ransom cannot deliver thee”. My Spirit shall not always strive. There comes a time when you go beyond a certain point and your heart gets so hard that even if the Holy Spirit speaks to you, you can no longer hear. That’s the reason the Bible says come to Christ in your youth, before the evil days come not. When your heart is tender, come to Christ. Anytime you hear the voice of the Spirit of God saying come, you better come, then and now. You may never have that moment again. “He that hardeneth his heart, being often reproved, shall suddenly be cut off and that without remedy”.

A friend of ours this morning was driving, and he came up over a hill, and he was going very slowly, and he had his wife and his daughter with him, and a man who wasn’t familiar with that particular territory and he came over the hill and he hit the side of their car, and by the time she got to the hospital, she was dead, never dreaming this morning when they got up, a happy, little family, that she would be gone before noon. How quickly it all happens. Come when you can. Come to Christ when you have a chance. You have that tonight. “He that being often reproved, shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy”. “Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth”. We don’t know that we’ll be alive tomorrow. You don’t know that if you’re alive you’ll have another chance like this. Come while you can.

You’re voting tonight. Every one of you are gonna cast a vote. This is election day. You’re going to vote either for Jesus Christ, or you’re going to vote for the devil. Jesus with you, the Holy Spirit in you. You say, “What do I have to do”? Three things. First, you must repent of sin, and the Holy Spirit has to help you in your repenting. And then the second thing is by faith you receive Jesus Christ who died for you on the cross by faith as your Savior and Lord and master. And then thirdly, you are willing to obey him in all the little things that he’ll speak to you about and teach you out of his word. You must be willing to say yes to all that. You must be willing to turn your life over to him and he becomes the master, he becomes the pilot of your boat, or the captain of your airline, of your airliner.

You’re like a plane going through the sky, and all of a sudden, the bomb will come, the destruction will come, unless you let Jesus in the cockpit, and become the pilot. He knows all the instruments. He’s been over the route before, he knows all the dangers. You turn your life over to him. He’ll help you in your marriage, as you heard Joni and Ken a moment ago tell so beautifully. Turn your life over to him as master and Lord and Savior. If you have a doubt of your relationship to God tonight, you make sure. Or you might be like that priest, you may be in the church, but not sure of your relationship to God. Make sure tonight. I’m going to ask hundreds of you to do what we’ve seen hundreds every night do here in Sacramento. I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat right now and come and stand in front of this platform symbolically and say, “I do want to receive him, I do want to know that my sins are forgiven, that I have eternal life, that I’m ready to meet God”.

Why do I ask you to come? Because every person Jesus called in the New Testament he called in public. Every person, think of it, in public. There’s something about coming forward openly. Like when I got married, I got married in front of witnesses. You come to Christ in front of witnesses and give your life to him. If there’s a doubt in your heart about your relationship, you come and settle it tonight. Hundreds of you, thousands of you, that God is speaking to. Do not resist the Holy Spirit. Do not say no to the Holy Spirit tonight. You come. He’s drawing you to the cross. We’re going to wait. And after you’ve all come, I’m going to say a word to you and have a prayer with you and give you some literature that you can take home and help you in your Christian life.

It’s very important that you do this, and it’s important that you come, and after you’ve come you can go back and join your friends, they’ll wait. If you’ve come in a bus or with a group, they’ll wait. But come and make this, and settle this tonight. Don’t wait another minute. There may not be any other time for you. Time may be running out. Young or old, man or woman, Catholic, protestant, Jewish, whatever your background, the door is open for you. You get up and come. We’re going to wait on you, now, from everywhere. Way back here, and over there. I’m going to ask that people not leave the service at this holy moment. It disturbs so many people. But you come, quickly. You may be in the choir, God has spoken to you, you get up and come.

You that have been watching by television, can see that here in Sacramento, California hundreds of people have been coming to make their commitment to Christ tonight, drawn, we believe, by the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you. I’m going to ask you to pick up your telephone and call the number that you will see on your screen, and make that commitment over the telephone. If it’s busy, call back again, and again. The counselors will be there all evening. May God help you to make that commitment, and be sure and go to church next Sunday. God bless you.

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Billy Graham – What Is Truth?

Billy Graham – What Is Truth?

Pilate asks the question, “What is truth”? And truth, not facts are what we’re talking about tonight, and there’s a difference. Facts are not necessarily the truth. They are the best we know at the time, but today’s newspapers, I mean, this day’s newspapers reported that public confidence in the leadership of our major institutions, such as the media, education, banking, government, the military, medicine, business, has sunk to the lowest in at least a decade. And every institution today is under attack in our country: the home, the church, the government. And many people asking, “What is the truth”? They’re asking what is the truth about the airliner that was downed off the coast of Japan.

And inside the pages of the Bible are stories of lust and hate and war and crime as bad as anything that we read in history. It’s called the Holy Bible. It’s holy because it tells the truth. It tells the truth about God, about man, about the devil. But Satan has caused a credibility gap to be established. Our magazines are filled with stories of Satan worship. Satan has his disciples. Demons, sorcery, witchcraft, and wizards are front page news today. And the devil and his legions seem to be gathering steam for the last great conquest of this earth. Now Jesus wasn’t afraid to call him what he was. Jesus called him a liar and the father of lies. He said, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own for he’s a liar and the father of it.

In the garden of Eden, God had said, “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die”. If you eat of that particular tree, all the fruit in the garden is yours, except that one tree. God was testing man. The devil came along. He was in the garden. How did the devil get here? Read the 14th chapter of Isaiah, the 28th chapter of Ezekiel and you’ll get some hints and ideas as to how Satan came to this planet. He was probably the finest and the most gorgeous of all the created beings of God. And one day his heart was lifted with pride and he decided he wanted to be greater than God. So, he led a rebellion against God.

Now we don’t know how that happened. That’s a mystery beyond our comprehension. There’s no use really spending any time on it because we just don’t know. But we do know what he said to Eve. He said, “Yea, hath God said”? He was putting doubt in her mind about the word of God. Just as the devil is still putting doubts concerning the inspiration of Scriptures. Are the Scriptures authoritative? Are they infallible? “Yea, had God said”? And then, “Ye shall not die”. That was the next thing she said. Universalism. Everybody will be saved eventually. And then, “You will be as God”. That’s what the secularist and the humanist are saying. We’re our own god.

Now the first time that man had to make a choice between God’s truth and the devil’s lie, he chose the devil’s lie. And when Adam and Eve rejected God’s truth and accepted the devil’s lie, that was the moment that all the troubles of the whole world began. Our sinful nation nature often sides with the devil’s lie instead of God’s truth, because you see, we are now sinners. We’re crippled, crippled for life and we side with the lie. We’d rather believe the devil’s lie than God’s truth. And a child can lie before it can talk. It can steal before it can walk. Ask your child before he can talk or walk, “Did you take your sister’s doll”? And he, being unable to talk, shakes his head no. He lied before he could talk; and he stole before he could walk. Now where did he learn to lie? The disease is inherited like other inherited diseases.

You see, we inherited from our parents and they inherited it from their parents on back to Adam and Eve. It’s a disease that is all through the whole human race. No group of people in the world are exempted from the disease of sin. And it’s the disease of sin that is at the heart of the troubles of the world at this moment. Sin is taking sides with the lie. Now the Bible, speaking of the antichrist says in II Thessalonians 2, this lawless man is produced by the spirit of evil and armed with all the false wonders and signs and falsehood can devise. To those involved in this dying world, he will come with evils undiluted power to deceive, for they have refused the love of truth, which could have saved them. God sends upon them, therefore, the full force of evils delusion so that they put their faith in an utter fraud and meet the inevitable judgment of all who have refused to believe the truth and who have made evil their play fellow.

And God also says in Romans 1, these men deliberately forfeited the truth of God and accepted a lie. God, therefore handed them over to disgraceful passions. They see truth as a lie and the lie is the truth and they make money, power, sex experience, and other things, their gold, and their gods. And they accept the lies of the devil and many young people that are here tonight are accepting now the whispers of Satan in your ear. Come down this path, take this drug, sleep with this girl, do this, do that and you will find pleasure and happiness. That’s the way you ought to live. And then there’s religious hypocrisy that brings no lasting peace. Millions of young people go to church without having a personal relationship with Christ.

I remember I used to be taken to church by my parents and I hated church. They made me go to church and I had to sit there. And my cousins and I sometimes could slip away and crawl under the seats, or we could make little paper airplanes and fling them. And my father would always see it. And he would say, I’ll see you when we get home. And he never forgot, never forgot. And I got many a whipping because of what I did in church. And I couldn’t wait to grow up and go away from home, so I wouldn’t have to go to church. But then when I was about 16 or 17, I received Christ as my Savior. And I went back to church and the next Sunday I told my parents, I said, “You know, Dr. Lindsay is certainly is preaching a wonderful sermon. He’s learned something from this evangelistic campaign in our city”. And they said, “No, he’s preaching the same type of sermons, but you’re just listening with different ears”.

And I was and I began to make notes on the sermons I was hearing. Come to Christ. It’s so easy to be in the church. Why they even me the president of the young people’s class and they elected me the treasurer even. And I was looked upon as a good person and they didn’t know that I was rejecting Christ all the time and rejecting the teachings of the church and couldn’t wait to get away. I was a hypocrite. Now there’s another delusion that’s going around among young people and that is that peace is just around the corner. It is not. There will not be any peace in the world until the Prince of Peace is taken into account and the Prince of Peace comes; but we find deception, delusion, and the practicing of the lie on every hand. The credibility gap is seen everywhere.

What is the answer? What can young people do? Turn to Christ. Turn to the truth. He said, “My truth will set you free from the bondage and shackles of sin”. And you that are watching by television, pick up the phone and call that number that’s on the screen right now. There are counselors standing by. There’ll be happy to talk to you. And if first you call and it’s busy, call again. Call several times. They’ll be there all evening to help you in your Christian life or to find Christ right now.

Now, many of you with problems in the home or problems with drugs or alcohol or whatever, call and talk to that counselor now. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”. He is the truth. He said, “I am the truth”. I’m the embodiment of all truth. It’s in Me. You come to Jesus Christ and He’s the truth. He’s not the lie. And He tells the truth. Jesus did not say you shall know a truth or any truth, but the truth. There are usually truths in every religion and every philosophy. But He’s the embodiment of all truth.

The scripture says about Jesus Christ, that He’s the image of the invisible God. The firstborn of every creature. For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible. Whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things. And by Him all things consist, that in all things he might have the preeminence for it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell. That is the truth I’m asking you to receive and believe tonight instead of the devil’s lives. Jesus said, “If you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins”. If you don’t believe that and don’t accept that and know Christ, you’re going to die in your sins, and you’ll be lost.

Jesus Christ claimed to be ultimate truth. Are you willing to face the truth? Jesus Christ told the truth about everything. He told the truth about sin. He said, “For within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts and the adulteries and all the other sins that we commit”. It’s out of the heart. War comes from the human heart. Family tensions and problems come from the human heart. Rebellion comes from the human heart. We are that way by nature. He told the truth about love. He said, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. God loves you.

You say, “Billy, how do you, how could God love me? You don’t know what I’ve done. You don’t know what a big hypocrite I’ve been”. I don’t have to know. I just know that whatever you’ve done, whatever you are now, God loves you. And He loves you with a love that you don’t even know anything about because there is no human love comparable to divine love. God’s love sent His son to the cross to die and shed His blood for you. And He would have died had you been the only person in the whole world. He loves you. Don’t ever forget He loves, loves, loves, loves you. And He sees you sitting there.

And when He was on the cross because He was God, He had the capacity to look down these 20 centuries and see you and say, “For you, Jim, I’m hanging on this cross and there’s being put on Me right now your sins. You’ve told lies, Jim or Mary or Suzy or whatever your name is. You’ve committed immorality. You’ve stolen. You’ve been a big hypocrite. You’ve listened to the devil. You’ve done all those things. Well, let me tell you, Jim, Mary Suzy, your sins right now are being put on me. I’m dying for you. I’m taking your judgment and your hell on me now. And I’m going to stay on this cross. I could come down and you could go to hell, but I love you too much. I’m going to stay here and die for you”. And that’s exactly what our Lord Jesus Christ did. And God raised Him from the dead and He’s alive.

And so, I do not preach to you a dead Christ hanging on a cross. I preached you are risen Christ who is alive tonight and who is coming back. Yes, God so loved. And then he told the truth about judgment. Jesus warned people to flee the wrath of God. Yes, God is angry with the wicked every day. God has anger. And that anger is going to explode into the judgment. Jesus said every idle word that men speak; they shall give account in the day of judgment. Every idle word, all your thoughts, all your words, everything you’ve ever done will be at the judgment. And you will be condemned by your own words. He said, except you repent, you shall perish.

Now that’s truth, Unless you repent. Unless you Mary, Bill, Suzy, unless you repent, you’re going to perish. What is repentance? Have you repented? Are you sure? I was a good boy in church. I’d never repented. I might’ve said something to the elders when they met with me to see if I was okay to join the church at 12, I didn’t know what they were even talking to me. I’d memorized the catechism. I couldn’t understand it. It was just some memory things for me. I hadn’t really repented because repentance means that I change. I change my mind about God, about myself, about my fellow man. I change my way of living. But you know, I don’t have any strength to change. I can’t really change. I can’t really become a Christian. Why? Because I’m dead in trespasses and in sins. God has to help me change. He has to help me repent. And I say, “Oh God, help me to repent”.

And then the second thing, not only do you have to repent, but by faith, you must receive Christ into your heart as Savior and Lord. And Jesus told the truth about conversion. He said, he indicated you cannot be born into the Christian faith. You have to be born from above, born again. And the process is called conversion, which includes faith. And Jesus said, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. In other words, he’s not telling people to become like adults. He’s telling us to become like little children and have child-like faith. Some people try to enter the kingdom of God headfirst. They want to understand it, but you can never understand it all.

There are many things in the Bible I don’t understand. You come by simple faith, like a little child trusts its mother and its father. And you put your total confidence in Jesus Christ by faith. Have you done that? Repent, receive by faith, and then obey Him. Live the life, follow Him, serve Him, whatever the cost. And it’s costly. Let’s face it, in the world in which we live, if you hold on to Christian values and you live up to moral standards laid down by Christ, it’s going to cost you. It’ll cost you some friends. It’ll cost you some money. It’ll cost you a lot of things and certain pleasures of the world. It’ll cost us. And sometimes I have a hard time deciding on some things. Whether I should have this or have that. Whether I should go there or go here because we lived in a confused world.

Satan has confused us and no longer do we even hear many sermons on being separated from the world. What does it mean to be separated from the world? The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The world and the lust thereof shall pass away, but he that doeth the will of God shall abide forever”. I remember preaching sermons on that and hearing sermons on that years ago, separated from the sins of the world, having our own lifestyle, having our own Christian culture. Where is it? We somehow think we can hold hands with the world and make it to heaven. We somehow think we can have one foot in the world and one foot in heaven and we’re going to make it. We won’t.

So, there’s repentance, there’s faith, and there’s obedience, following Christ even to the death. He said, “Even to the death of the cross”. Are you willing to do that? “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”. Every day, newspapers, radio, and television tell us of demonstrations and marches and protests and bombings. All of which are designed to gain some sort of freedom. A little baby, for example, may scream and cry and waive its arms and legs trying to be free, but without restraint and care, it would soon be dead. I read about a baby. I think it was locked in a car. I don’t know whether it’s here in Sacramento or was here in California and all this heat. And the mother went into the store and she was only gone a few minutes and she came back, and the little baby had suffocated. Baby needs care. A teenager rejects his parents in search of freedom and soon finds himself dependent on some drug or on some gang.

Thousands of laws indicate that we do not have total freedom. Jesus said He would give you total freedom, spiritual and moral freedom, and ultimately freedom from the very presence of sin when we get to heaven, Pope John Paul gave a message last week in Austria on the prodigal son. And we have just made a motion picture, by the way, on the prodigal that’s being released just about now throughout the country. And I hope you’ll see it. It’s the best picture we’ve ever made. We’ve been making them for 30 years. But the history of mankind, he said, is the history of the misuse of freedom. The history of mankind is the misuse of freedom. Jesus will teach us how to use our freedoms for the glory of God and will bring fulfillment in our lives.

Before you come to Christ, you’re a slave of sin. No other truth can free you. Scientific truth can’t free you. Mathematical truth or philosophical truth will not free you. Suicide will not free you. That only kills the body. It doesn’t kill the spirit or the soul. Zacchaeus was freed by Christ from greed and Mary Magdalene from lust, and Peter was freed from his cowardice. Christ truth makes you free. Free from the penalty of sin. You’ll never have to go to hell. You’ll never face the judgment. Freedom someday from the presence of sin. Freedom from the power of sin now. Sin shall no longer have dominion over you from right now on if you come to Christ. Right now, the devil snaps the whip and you obey. You’re his slave. You don’t think you are, but you are. You can be free right now by coming to Christ and letting him change you.

I’m going to ask you tonight to do something we have already seen hundreds of people do in this crusade. And we’ve seen thousands on every continent, Oriental people, black people in Africa, Europeans, Latin American people in every country in Latin America, except Bolivia, where we’ve held crusades. We’ve seen them do this same thing. I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat and come and stand in front of the platform as a symbol, a symbolic act in which you are saying, I do repent the best I know how, with God’s help. I do receive Him. I will follow Him and obey Him. Or maybe you’re coming because you would like to be sure. We had a Bishop come forward one night in a city, not too long ago. And he said, “I came forward because I wanted to make sure of my relationship with Christ”.

You may be a leader in the church, but you’re not sure that your sin is forgiven, that you’re going to heaven, or that you are free. The kind of freedom that Christ is talking about. He’s the truth that can set you free. And after you’ve all come and stood here, we’re going to have a prayer, and I’m going to say a word to you and then give you some literature and you can go back to your friends. If you’re with friends and relatives, they’ll wait on you. If you come from that top stand up there, it’ll take you almost two minutes, so start now. Hundreds of you come from everywhere from the back, from the front and after you’ve come, we’ll have our prayer, give you your literature and you can go back and join your friends, but get up and come. If there’s a doubt in your heart tonight that you’re ready to meet God, you come and make sure that your sins are forgiven, that you’re going to heaven. Quickly, get up and come right now. We’re going to wait on you.

You that have been watching by television. There’s a telephone number there that you can call and find help by talking to a counselor that’s standing by waiting to talk to you about some of these things that I’ve talked about tonight about your relationship to Christ. Make that call. And if it’s busy, keep trying, May God help you to make that commitment tonight. And may God bless you and be sure and go to church next Sunday.

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Billy Graham – When the Chips Are Down, Can You Survive?

Billy Graham – When the Chips Are Down, Can You Survive?

Now tonight I want you to turn with me to the third chapter of Daniel. Now, at this time, Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon and he was the greatest of all the kings probably that ever lived. And he conquered Jerusalem. and he takes some Jewish captives among the young men, many of them in their middle or late teens. They were scientifically inclined. He takes them back to Babylon to train them to help him as be builds his empire. very much like the Soviets and the Americans after World War II. They took German scientists. I remember one of them was Wernher von Braun who made a great contribution to the American military power.

And I remember sitting with Wernher von Braun not long before he died. We were at a banquet in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza Hotel. And my wife and I happened to be at the table with him. And we’d known him quite a long time. And he told us how, intellectually, he’d come to believe in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Not just by faith alone, but he became convinced that there was a God and that drove him to study the Bible and the New Testament and he came to know Christ as his Savior. Now among the captives of Nebuchadnezzar there were a number of top young Jewish men. Four of them are named in this passage. Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego. And they were disciplined in all the ways of the Babylonians so that they could help as Nebuchadnezzar extended his empire to become the greatest empire in the world at that time.

Now Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego knew assertive discipline early because, as we’ve already heard in the Scripture that was read to us by John Wesley White, they refused to eat of the king’s meat and drink of the king’s wine because the king’s meat had been offered to idols and they knew it was against the law of their God. Now they were 1,500 miles from home. Who would know? Who would care? But they knew God was watching and as young men they dedicated themselves and they committed themselves totally to God. Now Daniel had had a dream and he called in the astrologists and the soothsayers and the scientists and all the other people and he said, “Tell me what the dream is”. Nebuchadnezzar had the dream and they said, “Well, tell us the dream”. He said, “I can’t tell you the dream. I can’t remember it, but it troubles me. Tell it to me. If you don’t’ tell it to me,” he said, “I’m going to have you hacked to pieces”.

Boy, that really made them study and work and try to come up with the answer, but they said, “We can’t tell it to you unless you tell us the dream. We can’t interpret it”. And so, Daniel called one of the guards over to him and he said, “I can interpret the dream. God has revealed it to me”. My God has. And he went to see Nebuchadnezzar and he said, “Don’t kill all the astrologers and the soothsayers, and the wise men of Babylon. I’ll tell you the dream and I’ll interpret it”. He said, “What you dreamed was the dream of a great statue. And it had a gold head And its breast and arms were made of silver And its thighs and stomach were made of brass It had legs of iron and had feet of clay mixed with iron”. Or iron mixed with clay.

And Nebuchadnezzar said, “That’s right. God has revealed it to you. Now, what’s the interpretation”? And so, Daniel interpreted and said, “You, sir, are the head of gold. You are the greatest empire, the greatest king that will ever live and then it will decrease on down till the end of history and then will come the stone cut out without hands and will crush the image and it will come tottering down”. In other words, Daniel was being told by God that all the empires of the world will someday fail and only the kingdom of God is going to survive, but that’s the second chapter.

Now we come to the third chapter. There is another image. Nebuchadnezzar has become very powerful, very egotistical, as men of power often get, and so he decides he’ll build a statue to himself. A big image. Ninety-nine feet high, made of gold, and he calls thousands of his subjects from many of the countries of the Middle East to come on the plain of Dura. And there he says, “When you hear the trumpet sound and you hear the music play and you see the flags coming in and you see the marching of the soldiers, I want all of you to bow down and worship the image and if you don’t, I’m going to throw you into flames of fire, and you’ll be burned up”.

You see, false religion does not hesitate to use force. The Bible teaches that Satan is the god of this world. He’s the prince and power of the air. He’s the prince of this world and he uses force to get people to believe strange things and we’re seeing force used by religious groups today all over the world as tensions are mounting on a scale so rapid that we cannot keep up with them. And we’ve seen even in the past few days things happening that we never dreamed would happen, but they’re happening. and it seems as if the world is rushing madly toward World War III and World War III will be Armageddon.

The four horsemen of the apocalypse are already riding. I can hear their hoofbeats. And unless we repent and turn to God, they’re going to come with all of their war and their destruction and starvation and diseases and the death and the hell that they bring with them. He commands that they worship the image. But Christ also was asked to worship an image. He was asked to bow down and worship the devil in Matthew 4. But Jesus didn’t argue. He didn’t debate. He said, “It is written”. All he did was to use the Word of God. That’s the reason it’s important to memorize passages in the Bible because He just used it as a weapon. And He said, “Thou shalt worship the Lord Thy God and Him only shall thou serve”. God had said in the very first commandment of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”. Jesus said in Matthew 6, “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other”.

You cannot serve God and materialism at the same time. You have to choose. That’s a choice that every person in this room will have to make. It’s a choice that every person watching by television will have to make It is a choice that every one of us has to make between bowing down to the things of this world that are evil and wrong and bowing down before the true and the living God. And the images that Satan calls upon young people to bow down to today: pride, lust, many other things. Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego restrained their desires in situations of temptation, and they said, “No, we will not bow down to the image”.

Now Nebuchadnezzar could destroy the body, but not the soul. and Jesus warned about those who could destroy the body and the soul. In Matthew 10 He said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”. You have a body, but living inside of you is your soul, your spirit. That’s the part of you that will live forever. The part of you that remembers, and the part of you that feels, and the part of you that’s the real you will live forever. And Jesus said, “Fear the one that can destroy both body and soul”. That’s the devil. Because hell was created not for you but for the devil and his angels. And if you persist in bowing to the images of this world and rejecting the true and the living God in your life, then you’re going to follow the devil to hell. Now to disobey God’s commands is called spiritual and eternal death.

Now these three Hebrews did not bow down. They stood up. They were the only ones of the thousands that were there from the different languages and the nations and the ethnic backgrounds of the whole world of that day that came to bow before the image of Nebuchadnezzar, they stood stiff like this as ramrods. They wouldn’t bow. And of course, it was reported immediately to the emperor. Now the alternates before them. They could have taken an alternate route. First, they could have bowed and avoided trouble. It would have compromised all that they believed in. They could have rationalized and said, it’s our duty to obey the king and that’s our first duty. But they had a higher law. They had The Ten Commandments. They had God. And secondly, they could have said it’s just a matter of form. After all, religion is a matter of the heart. God knows that inwardly we’re true to him, even though outwardly we’ll bow down to the image. Or they could have stayed indoors that day. That would have been cowardly. They had an opportunity to witness to thousands that day and they took an opportunity to do it.

Jesus said, “He that loveth father and mother more than me is not worthy of me”. The Bible says, “If sinners entice thee, consent not”. “Follow not the multitude to do evil”. Then they could have said “We’re far from home. God doesn’t expect us to live like we did in Jerusalem. Who will know? Who will see us”? Or they could have said we’re under obligation to the king and they were. He’d been very good to them. Or they could have refused to bow, which they did. They refused to bow. “Choose you this day whom you will serve,” says the Scriptures. Who are you going to serve? The true and the living God, or are you going to serve these things that the devil brings in your path? The images that he placed before you to bow to, for you to give in to. The decision could not be put off. They had to make a decision then. When the heralds announced it. When the announcement was made, they had to make a decision.

Just like some of you will have to make a decision tonight. You can’t put it off. “He that hardeneth his heart, being often reproved, shall suddenly be cut off and that without remedy”. God says, “My Spirit will not always strive with man”. There comes a point beyond which you can go in which it is very difficult to return. And tonight, for many of you, this is the decision night. It’s either yes or no. You say, “Well it may be maybe”. Some of you will try to straddle the fence and live in both worlds, but God doesn’t allow that. Jesus will not compromise with you. He will not make it easier for you. He will not lower His standards. If He had lowered His standards, He wouldn’t have gone to the cross. But He went to the cross and He died; and He shed His blood for our sins. He rose again from the dead. He’s coming back to rule this world someday.

The gospel plan is all set and God says, “You have to repent”. You have to receive Him by faith. You have to accept My Son into your heart as Lord and Savior and let Him rule your life, if you’re to enter My kingdom. Yes, they refused to bow to the devil and give in to the devil. What if it does cost you a few pleasures in order to save your soul? Would it not be better to be thrown into the fiery furnace here than to have both body and soul cast into hell forever? When your trial comes, and it will if you’re a true born-again Christian. If you’re following Christ you’re going to be tried and tempted and shaken as you’ve never been before. When if comes, act in the light of eternity.

Do not judge the situation by the kings’ threat or by the heat of the burning fiery furnace but by the everlasting God and the eternal life which awaits you. Don’t let the music of this world fascinate you. Don’t let the drumbeats cause you to march to the drumbeats of this world. March to another drumbeat that the world cannot hear. The drumbeat from heaven. March by the steps ordered by the Holy Spirit and set by the example of Jesus Christ.

And if you want to make that commitment… You’ve been watching television you’ll see a telephone number there. Pick up your phone and call that number. Somebody is waiting there to talk with you, to help you make that commitment, and that decision right now. Some of you are feeling the pressures, some of you are going through trials and tribulations and temptations which are too great for you and you need help, you need prayer. There’s someone there that will pray for you. And if you dial and it’s busy, call back several times. They will be there all evening.

These brave young men dared the rage of the infuriated tyrant. And because they saw Him who is invisible and had respect unto the recompense of the reward, they believed. But the king gave them another chance. Now after this life is over, the Bible does not promise that you’ll have another chance. No place in the Bible do I find where you’re going to have a second chance. The moment you die, that’s it. But the king gave them another chance, another opportunity. And they answered. Tremendous answer. “O Nebuchadnezzar,” they said. “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, that our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, then He will deliver us out of thine hand, O King. But if not, if not, be it known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up”.

They didn’t know that God would ever deliver them. They did not cringe and say, “We beseech thee, King Nebuchadnezzar, please don’t throw us in. Your majesty, don’t. Think it over sir. We can’t disobey God, but we don’t want to disobey you either”. And they didn’t say, “Let’s have a consultation and come to terms”. And they went into this terrible furnace and the men that threw them in were burned up. That’s how hot it was. They said to God, “Thy will be done”. And God says, “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life”. It was only after their decision. They made a decision. After they made their decision it was then that God intervened and delivered. He says, “Lo, I am with you always”. And when you have troubles and difficulties He says, “My grace is sufficient for you”.

And then the king looked into the furnace, standing back as far as he could so he wouldn’t be burned up, and he was astonished at what he saw. What did he see? He said, “I see four men. and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God”. Three men had been thrown in. They should have been nothing but a crisp. They were bound. But he sees four men and the fourth is like unto the Son of God. God had either sent His angel there or it was the Son of God Himself that had come. God is with His people in the fiery furnace. He is with His people in times of temptation and trouble and trial. “Nothing shall separate us from the love of God,” says the Scriptures. They have no hurt. “The Lord shall preserve thee. He shall preserve thy soul, for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil”.

And who is he who will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good. The way they walked into the fiery furnace, calm, self-possessed, joyful. Christ was with them. God was with them. Their bonds came off and when the king ordered them taken out, they came walking out straight as a ramrod with their head high. Not even a hair of their head was singed. Their clothes, they’d gone in fully dressed, their clothes didn’t even have the smell of smoke on them. And the king bowed down before them. And he said, “Your God is the true and the living God”. And he ordered all the wise men and the soothsayers, and the Chaldeans thrown into that furnace and then he ordered that great crowd from all over the world to bow down to the true and the living God. And he destroyed the image he’d built. And it changed Babylon because three young men dared stand alone. Dared to die. Dared to look death in the face and say, “I believe”.

That’s what Jesus Christ did. He stood before the cross. The cross was to be the next day. And that night, on Gethsemane, He knelt down with His disciples and He prayed all night, and He sweat drops of blood, and He said, “Lord,” to His Father, “My Father, not My will but Thine be done”. If there is no other way to save the human race, if there is no other way to save Bill and Jim and Suzy and Mary down yonder in 1983, I’ll go to the cross. They deserve death, they’ve broken the law, they deserve judgement, and they deserve hell, but if You want Me to and if it’s Your will, I’ll go and take their hell and their judgement in their place. So, He stepped out the next day. They put a crown of thorns on Him. Here He was the Son of God with 72,000 angels with drawn swords ready to come and deliver him and sweep this whole planet out of existence. He said, “No, I love them”.

And then He took that cross on His back and staggered after they’d beaten Him and His back was bleeding and they’d pulled His beard and His face was bleeding and they led Him up Golgotha’s mount and there they put a spike in each hand and a spike through His feet and a spear in His side and He hung on the cross, naked in front of a mass of people shouting, screaming at Him and He stayed there for you and for me. He took it all alone on that cross for you, so that you could have everlasting life. He took the furnace of hell for you, so that you might be forgiven of your sins and when you die, go to heaven. And have peace and joy here and now. And have Christ with you through the Holy Spirit now.

Every day. You don’t have to live one minute alone. Every problem and every difficulty that you face, He’s there. He helps you in deciding whom you’re going to marry, or what your vocation is going to be or what your life is going to be or help you in your studies, to help you in your relationships with other people. He’s there to help lift your burdens here and now. That’s besides the life to come. He gives both, life here and now and life to come. And it’s all yours if you put your faith and confidence in Him.

You say, “Well, what do I have to do”? Three things. First, repent of your sins. How many of you here tonight could tell me what repentance is? You think you really know Christ, don’t you? You go to church, you’ve been baptized, you’ve been to Sunday School, but you probably don’t even know what repentance is. Repentance means change. The change of your mind, the change of your way of living. If when you came to Christ, your life didn’t change dramatically, over a period of time, then there’s something wrong with that decision. If you have a doubt in your heart or mind that you’re ready to meet God right now, you better settle it tonight and recommit your life to Christ and say, “Lord, I need you”.

I was the leader of the young people in my church, but I really didn’t know Christ in a personal way. And one night, I found him. He found me, changed my life completely and it was a totally different Billy Graham than the one that just went to church and led young people and told the elders of the church that I believed all the catechism and believed all those things. I did believe them with my head, but not my heart. My will had not been surrendered to the will of Christ.

And then the second thing is by faith you receive him. The word faith means commitment. We’ve heard that word tonight. Commitment. That means you totally surrender for the rest of your life to Jesus Christ not only as Savior but as Lord. You surrender your personal life, your body, your mind, everything to him.

And then thirdly, you’re willing to obey Him and follow Him and serve Him. Three things: repent, believe. And the word believe is where we stumble because we do believe with our minds, but I’m talking about believing with everything you have. Surrendering it all to Him. And then obeying Him no matter what it cost. The world or the furnace, which will it be? Because there is a judgement to come. And if you’ll make that decision tonight, I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat.

We’ve seen several hundred every night do what I’m going to ask you to do. I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat and come and stand in front of the platform and say, by coming, symbolically, I do repent of sin. I do receive Christ as best I know how. I will follow Him with his help. I’m going to ask you to come and stand here and after you’ve come, I’m going to say a word to you, have a prayer with you and we’ll give you some literature to help you in your Christian life. It’s a lifetime commitment to Jesus Christ. Quickly, you come. We’re going to wait.

You that have been watching by television can see that many people here in Oklahoma City are coming to make their commitment to Christ. You can make that commitment where you are. Pick up the telephone and call the number on your screen. And if you don’t reach someone, keep dialing. They’ll answer after a while. May God bless you and help you as you make this commitment and be sure and go to church next Sunday.

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Billy Graham – House of Mercy

Billy Graham – House of Mercy

Now I want you to turn with me tonight to the 5th chapter of John’s Gospel, to the 5th chapter of John’s Gospel, the 5th chapter of John’s Gospel. I won’t read it to you, I’ll just tell you the story. And you will be able to pick it up as I tell it and save the time of reading it. Jesus was going up and down the country. And He was preaching and teaching; and the scripture says that He taught as one having authority. He never did say, “I hope this is the way to heaven”. He said, “This is the way”. He said, “This is it”.

He taught with great simplicity also. He always told stories to illustrate spiritual truth. He also spoke with great urgency. He indicated that what He was saying was very important and that you must listen. And He also taught with repetition. Someone has suggested that He repeated himself perhaps as much as 500 times. And then, another interesting thing about Jesus, He kept the law, the laws of Rome. He said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s”.

He never led a demonstration against Rome. You never find Him leading a vigil. And Rome was a strong and powerful and cruel nation that occupied His own homeland. I don’t know if they had martial law like we read about today in some countries, but they certainly controlled it. But Jesus never led a fight against them. But what he said, and what he did, and what he taught undermined the whole Roman Empire within a relatively short time after his death, burial and resurrection. He taught with authority. He taught with compassion, as we’ve already heard tonight. And He had compassion upon the poor and the needy and the oppressed and the sick. But Jesus’ fame began to spread abroad. He makes His way to Jerusalem to attend a great feast.

Now had I been in Jerusalem at that time, and had I been looking for Christ, where would I look for Him? I probably would have gone to the Temple, where all the religious leaders were. And I would have said I’m sure that He’ll be here. But that’s not where he was. Jesus was at the pool of Bethesda that had a pathetic crowd of broken humanity. He was where the people were hurting the most. And so, Jesus had gone to this place that was almost like a hospital. It had nine porches. Bethesda. And Nehemiah had built nine gates to Jerusalem and one of them was called the sheep gate. And that’s where this pool was located, at the sheep gate. And when Jesus went through the sheep gate, He probably was reminded of the fact that John the Baptist had said, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world”.

Jesus was the great lamb that was to come. Because, you see, through this sheep gate came the lambs that were to be slaughtered upon the alters as sacrifices to God, looking forward to the day when the great lamb of God would come. Because, you see, all the animals of the Old Testament that were slain, were slain in anticipation of the one that was to come that was to lay down His life for the sins of the world, on the cross. And the most vivid expression or description of the cross is found in Isaiah, the fifty-third chapter, eight hundred years before Christ was even born. And you find descriptions of the death of Christ upon the cross in the Old Testament, because the Old Testament looked forward to the day when Jesus Christ would become the great lamb of God, and offer Himself upon the cross for our sins.

And you’ll never understand the Old Testament. Many people call it a bloody religion. Yes, there was a lot of blood shed in the Old Testament on the Jewish altars, but that meant something That showed the hideousness of sin because the blood that was shed on Jewish altars was for sin. And that blood was symbolic of life that was leaving the animal, that was only made good when Christ laid down His life upon the cross. When he laid down His life upon the cross, that made all the sacrifices made in the Old Testament made them good and acceptable to God, because they were only symbolic of that which was to come in Jesus Christ, because Christ’s death was planned before the foundation of the world. Because God could look forward and see you and me as lawbreakers and sinners in need of a savior, and He was offering His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die upon that cross as the great Lamb of God.

And Jesus, I’m sure, when He went through that sheep gate and saw these sheep going through, could not help but think that in a short time, He would be on the cross shedding His blood for our sins. Now, these porches contained a great many sick people. And they had an idea, the pool was bubbling. They had an idea that every day an angel came, or every few days an angel came, and stirred up the water and made it bubble, and if you were the first person into that water, you would be healed. And so people, as soon as the water started bubbling early in the morning, they would all try to be the first one in. This poor man that Jesus went to had tried for 38 years. He’d been paralyzed for 38 years! He couldn’t get in there first. How discouraged he must have been.

Jesus looked upon that scene of terrible misery and he had compassion upon them. He sees the moral and the spiritual and the psychological and the physical cripples here tonight, because, you see, there are people here tonight that are physically well, but spiritually you’re a cripple. You don’t have peace with God. You don’t have the assurance in your heart that your sins are forgiven. You don’t know that you have eternal life. You’re not certain of it. Oh, you might have been baptized or confirmed, or you joined a church somewhere and you have some little bit of religion. But you’re not sure of your relationship with God. You have a doubt about it.

Well, before this night is over, settle it and make sure. Come to the cross where Christ died for your sins. He sees you. He sees the moral cripples here and the spiritual cripples and the psychological cripples and even the physical cripples. And the Bible describes us all as sick. The root cause of the world’s problems tonight is sin. Sin is the sickness. Sin is the problem, and we go around treating the symptoms, when the root cause is sin. We’re lawbreakers. We’ve come short of God’s glory, and the Bible says, “all have sinned”. You’re a sinner. I’m a sinner. A lawbreaker. We’ve all broken God’s law and we’re headed toward judgement, and we’re headed toward hell.

Now it describes the different people who were sick there, which we can spiritualize and apply to ourselves tonight. First, it says the impotent people. Who are they? They are the ones who had the law of Moses, but they had no power to keep it. You try and keep the Ten Commandments. Not a person in this audience has ever kept the Ten Commandments. Nobody. There’s no such thing as a person being morally perfect. And then the scripture says this. If you break one commandment, you’ve broken them all. So, I have to say, “I’ve broken all the commandments”. And yet, if you’ve broken only one commandment, you’ve broken them all and that makes you a sinner and no sinner can be accepted in the sight of God. You must be clothed in righteousness to come into the presence of God. God is a Holy God. Yes, these people were impotent. They had no power to keep the law.

You see, that’s the reason I cannot say I live the Christian life. I can’t live it. I can’t live by the golden rule. Christ has to live it through me and in me. That’s the reason, when you come to Christ, He gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came in this age to help us live the life that Christ taught and to obey him.

And then it says the blind were there. Blind, and you say, “Well, I’m not blind”. You may have 20/20 vision, but your spiritual eyes are blind. You’re blind to the fact that you’re a sinner before God. You’re blind to your spiritual needs because the Bible says that you were supernaturally blinded. Do you know who blinded you? Listen to this in II Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”. The god of this world is the devil. Satan blinds us. He puts blinders on us. Only the Holy Spirit can remove that blindness. That’s a supernatural act of God. When you receive Christ, He removes those blindfolds.

Then it says the halt were there. Who were they? Well, they’re the cripples who were spiritually and psychologically crippled. They have no strength to obey their conscience. Why? Well, you’d like to read the Bible, or you’d like to pray, but you’re just too crippled to do it. Too spiritually crippled. You don’t have any desire to pray. No desire to read the Bible. No desire really to go to church. You go just because it’s the thing to do, maybe, or because your parents want you to go. You know Christ will not let you be a half-way Christian. And there are some people trying it though. They’ve got one foot in the kingdom of God, and trying to keep the other foot in the world. They’ve got them in both camps, and neither one is happy. Step on one side or the other. Go all out for Christ.

And then he said the withered were there. Who are they? They had withered hands. Our wills have been paralyzed by sin. You see the Bible teaches there are three little men living inside of us. There’s the intellect, the emotion, and the will. Now by wisdom, by your intellect alone, you cannot come to Christ. There is that step of faith. Timothy Dwight, who was president of Yale until the later part of the last century, The second Timothy Dwight said that truth can only be dimly seen by the intellect. And how right he was. Just dimly seen. You can never come to the truth by the intellect alone. It must be faith.

There is that step of faith that you must take and receive by faith. But my emotion looks at Christ on the cross and I say I can love Him, He died for me. I look at the judgements that are in the Bible and I’m afraid. That’s emotion. But the thing that God is really getting at is your will. He wants you to say, “I will receive Him as Savior and Lord”. But, you see, your will has been affected by sin. Paralyzed in some cases. You just can’t say that. When you got married, or when I got married a number of years ago, the minister said, “Will you have this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife”? I didn’t say, “I love her”. I didn’t say, “Well, she’s lovely”. I didn’t say, “Well, we get along fine”. I’d already settled all of that. I said, “I will”. I yielded my will to her. I yielded by will. Just a simple declaration. And that’s what you say to Christ.

Now isn’t it interesting that you go and stand in front of a minister and he signs a piece of paper. Maybe the wedding lasts 30 minutes or 15 minutes or 40 minutes or however big you have the wedding, maybe 5 minutes, and you’ve made a lifetime commitment, supposed to be. Just by saying, “I will”. And when you come to Christ you say, “I will,” and that’s a lifetime eternal commitment forever. And He receives you and forgives you and cleanses you. What a wonderful good news that is.

Now this man had been waiting 38 years. He’d tried everything else. He had tried 14,000 times to get in that water, if you count every day. And perhaps you could do that. But he was now hopeless, helpless lying there on that pallet, crippled. No friends to help him in the water first. And Jesus goes up to him and He went to him probably because he was the worst case there. And he said, “Do you want to be healed”? And I want to ask you tonight, “Do you want spiritual healing tonight? Do you want your sins forgiven”?

If you do, you that are watching by television, pick up the telephone and call that number that is on the screen right now and if you don’t get it immediately, keep calling and talk to someone about your need tonight and get it settled over the telephone. And you that are here in this great audience, you can get it settled this very night, this very moment by saying yes to Jesus Christ. But, you know Jesus’ question to this man sounds almost cruel. Every day he’d tried. But then you start to think about it, it wasn’t so cruel after all. Do you really want Christ in your life? Do you? Do you really want Him to come into your heart? Are you really ready to meet His demands and surrender everything to Him and make Him your Lord?

It’s not easy. It means that some of those things that you’ve been doing that are wrong you’ll have to give up. It means there will have to be new attitudes in your life. It means that He becomes Lord of all of your decisions. He helps you to make the decision about marriage. He helps you in your vocation. You must turn to him at every turn. And read the Bible and pray and witness. And get into the church. It means that your total life is committed totally to Him, as Lord and Savior. Do you really want that? Jesus said to this man, “Do you really want to be healed”? Do you? You can be tonight. You see, the closer we get to Him and realize His demands, the more we’re not sure. Jesus said, “Will you be made whole”? Would you let Christ make you whole tonight?

Apparently, this man answered, “Yes, I want to be made whole”. That’s all you have to say. “Yes, I want to be made whole”. Now, there are three important things that happen. You must have faith. Jesus said, “Rise”. Now, this man had been trying to rise for 38 years. And just at the command of Jesus Christ to rise? But he had faith in Jesus Christ. He looked up and he saw something, and he felt something, and he knew something that was different than anything else that had ever come into his life. And when Jesus said, “Rise,” by faith he took that first step on those paralyzed legs and he walked. He’d tried it a thousand times before and had failed.

Now he looked at Jesus with faith. Something about the way he looked, or the voice of authority, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead,” you can be saved tonight. And then there must be repentance. You see, you have to leave the old lifestyle. He had to leave that old pallet. Take it up and throw it out. That old dirty place, and get out of that place with all of that thing that was there. The old lifestyle had to change. And what a new lifestyle this man had because he was jumping around. His legs were as good as new. For the first time in 38-years he was not paralyzed any longer. That could happen to you tonight spiritually. And then you have to accept the responsibility. Accept the responsibility. Jesus said, “Walk”. Walk a new road. Walk the narrow road with Christ. Walk in discipleship. And when he did that, there was instantaneous healing.

And it’s interesting to me that the people that came to Jesus in the New Testament, Most of them came to Christ and had instantaneous, instantaneous conversion to Christ. They received Christ right then and there, in a moment. And they did it openly and publicly. Nobody, except Nicodemus, ever came to Jesus by night. And we’re not sure that was the night Nicodemus really found Christ. But all the people that came to Jesus came to him publicly and openly. And He said, “If you’re not willing to acknowledge me, publicly and openly, before men, I’ll not acknowledge you before My Father which is in heaven”. He said, this is a public decision.

You see, when He died on the cross, He died publicly for you and for me. Now we must publicly say yes to him, openly. It’s not something done in a secret or quiet place necessarily. It may be made in secret, yes, but there comes a time when you make it public and open and you make your witness known either by the fruit of the Spirit or by telling people or however. And Jesus told him a very interesting thing in verse 14 in this passage. Jesus met him later at the Temple. And Jesus said something to him that I want you to always remember. He said, “Sin no more, lest a worst thing come upon you”. What could be worse than 38-years of paralytic? Jesus was teaching that man something about judgment and something about hell that is yet to come if we go on the way we’re going. The narrow road, He said, leads to eternal life. The broad road, which most of the people are on, leads to destruction.

Yes, you must do something. Jesus told this man to do something. Rise and walk. I’m asking you tonight to get up out of your seat and walk and stand in front of this platform, as we’ve seen thousands do all over New England and say by coming symbolically, I want a new life. I want to know my sin is forgiven. I want to know that I have eternal life. I want to receive him tonight, or I want to recommit my life to Christ tonight. I want to settle this thing. I want Christ tonight. I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat right now, hundreds of you and come and stand in front of the platform. And as you stand here, that will be a symbol, an outward symbol, a public symbol of what you’re doing inside, the decision that you’re making. And then after you’ve all come, I’m going to say a word to you and we’re going to have a prayer together. Then we’ll give you some literature to help you in your Christian life. And then you can go back and join your friends.

If you’re with friends and relatives, they’ll wait. You get up out of your seat and you that are watching by television. Pick up that telephone and call someone right now. So you come right now from all over, hundreds of you just get up out of your seat. Now you may be a member of the best church in town, whatever religious background you come from. I’m not asking you to join a specific church tonight. I’m asking you to come to the person of Christ. You may be a professing Christian, or you may not have any religious background or Christian background. And if you’ve come in one of those buses, they’ll wait. It’ll take you about a minute or two to come from that top stand up there, so start now quickly. As many people are already on the way you come and join them.

As these are coming forward this evening here at Nickerson field, take time to call that phone number on your screen. Write the number down and if the line is busy, call back. We want to help you now. As you can see here in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston University football stadium, hundreds of people have already come and many more on the way to make that commitment to Jesus Christ. You can make that same commitment where you are in your hotel room, at home, or wherever you are. Say yes to Christ and call that number that you see on your screen. God bless you and be sure and go to church next Sunday.

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Billy Graham – Is the End of the World Close?

Billy Graham – Is the End of the World Close?

Now today I want you to turn with me to II Peter the second chapter beginning with verse five. I hope you brought your Bibles because we want to talk about a very important subject today. The judgment of God, the love of God, and the coming again of Jesus Christ, and the end of the age. Not the end of the world. There’s not going to be an end to the world. But there is going to be an end to the age in which we live, that’s dominated by the devil and dominated by evil. That will come to an end and Christ the Messiah is going to come back. We want to talk about that a little bit today. The second chapter of II Peter.

Now, II Peter in your Bibles comes right after I Peter, if you’re having trouble finding it. Beginning with verse 5, “And spared not the old world but saved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow making them an example unto all those who would live ungodly in the future. And delivered just lot, vexed with the filthy lifestyle of the wicked. For the righteous man dwelling among them and seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations and trials”.

If you’re going through a serious temptation now or trial now God knows how to deliver you. If you’ll turn to him and pray by faith and believe. “And to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment”. Those that are outside of Christ, those that live wicked lives are being reserved until the Day of Judgment. There is a Judgment Day coming. The biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah comes down to us today as an example of what could happen even in this decade, or in the decades ahead if we don’t turn to God. Now Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities. And they were at the place that now the Dead Sea is in the Middle East. The Dead Sea is ten miles by fifty mile inland lake in the lower Jordan valley. It’s a mineral saturated body of water which is 1,260 feet below sea level. It’s the lowest part of the world.

In Genesis 13 we read about Abraham. And Abraham is going through that part of the world with all of his flocks and all of his family, going to the land that God had promised him. He was a man of God. And he had his nephew with him by the name of lot. And he saw that the servants of lot and his servants were not getting along too well. So he said to lot, “Lot, let’s divide, we’ve gotten too big. There are too many of us. Too many cattle. Your cattle and my cattle are getting mixed up. You choose wherever you wanna live. If you wanna go west”, toward what is now Palestine “Or if you wanna go across the Jordan and go to the Jordan valley which is lush like a Garden of Eden. You take a choice and I’ll take the other way”.

So lot looked all around and he looked down towards Sodom, he looked down toward Gomorrah. And he saw that was a very wealthy part of the world. A very wonderful part to live in. He consulted his wife. She said, “By all means we want to go to Sodom”. She wanted to go where the good times were. And so lot told Abraham, “All right, uncle Abraham. We’re going to go, we’ve chosen to go down to Sodom and Gomorrah. And go down to the lush valley of the Jordan. And we’ll take our cattle and our servants and our people and our family and that’s where we’ll go”. Abraham agreed, said all right. The Dead Sea was surrounded in that time, it was no Dead Sea, of course, but at that time it was a lush, unbelievably lush part of the world. But with their wealth came a lifestyle of hedonism, sexual obsession and perversion. The like of which has hardly ever been equaled in the history of the world.

So that today the word Sodom is used to describe a certain lifestyle that people may adopt. As God had sent a flood to destroy a corrupted humanity in Noah’s day, so upon Sodom and Gomorrah he sent a totally destroying judgment of fire. And that fire of brimstone that fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah not only destroyed it, but sank that part of the world to the lowest part of the earth. Now what were the sins of Sodom? Why did God allow that judgment to fall? The first sin that they had was false security. They were secure. And we today have a security behind our oceans and behind our military power. President Yeltsin has stated that the whole world can be standing unknowingly on the edge of an abyss. And you saw in your papers this morning the problems they are having in Russia right now, in the government. We have a false security.

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt”! Now Egypt in that day did not have much to do with Israeli people. And yet, time after time, the Israelis would go down to Egypt for help. And he said, ” woe to them that go down to Egypt for help and stay on horses and trust in chariots, but they look not to the holy one of Israel neither seek the Lord. Now the Egyptians are men and not God and their horses flesh and not spirit”. Isaiah the prophet is speaking in the 31st chapter when he says that. They had false security. They thought they were absolutely secure. Nobody could ever take Sodom and Gomorrah. Then their second sin that the scripture mentions is pleasure. They lived for pleasure.

In Job 20 the fifth chapter it says, “The joy making of the wicked is short and the joy of the hypocrite but a moment”. You only have a moment to enjoy it. Then you have eternity to regret it. The scripture says there are pleasures in sin for a moment. Then it’s all over and then there’s nothing but the remorse and the guilt. The scripture says, “There’s a way that seems right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death”. “Even in laughter,” the scripture says, “The heart is sorrowful and the end of mirth is heaviness”. Even when you’re laughing, many people. In Psalm 53:1, it says, “The fool has said in his heart there’s no God”. If you go back to original language in Hebrew here’s what it says: “The fool hath said in his heart no to God”. He’s not saying there’s no God. He’s just saying no to God.

You see you can’t prove scientifically that there is a God and you can’t prove scientifically there’s no God. But everybody knows there must be a God. And then there’s another sin that Sodom and Gomorrah committed. It was overindulgence. The majority of the world, a great part of the world, lives under what we call the poverty level. And in Luke 21 it says, “And take heed to yourselves lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of this life so that day comes upon you unaware”. John Eastwood wrote some time ago, “People do not decide to be drunkards or drug addicts or prostitutes or murderers or thieves. But they pitch their tent toward Sodom and the powers of evil overcome them”.

And how many of us are like that? We pitch our tent toward Sodom. We sort of live half in Sodom and half with Abraham. We sort of enjoy Sodom. We long for the things that Sodom has. We’d like to have the fun and the pleasure we imagine that they’re having. We’d like to have all that money. But the powers of evil will overcome you and you will die before your time and be lost from God. In Jude the 12th verse it says, “There are spots in your feast of charity when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear”. How many times we see charitable events, and we thank God for those that are sincerely interested, but they go to have a big time and to be seen. And there’s a spot in their charity and that’s the spot.

And then the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had some new strange Gods. Whenever a man seeks or honors or exalts anything more than God that’s idolatry. And there are many of us that are guilty of idolatry. But we don’t realize it. In Psalm 44 , it says, “If we’ve forgotten the name of our God or stretched out our hand to a strange God, shall not God search this out”? Romans 1 , it says, “We’ve changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator”. We worship our bodies and we worship our good times and we spend more on our cosmetics than we do worshipping God and Christ. That’s modern humanism.

And then they were also guilty of greed. Greed was a plague on the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. And one of the addiction that today has thousands of Americans in its vice is gambling. And part of the gambling motivation is greed. Workers throughout the industrialized world are becoming increasingly traumatized by overwork and their effort to earn more than their needs require. So we neglect our families to get more money so that we can, and we don’t really need it. God has promised to supply all of our needs, but he’s never promised to supply all of our greeds. And then in the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, so bad that God gave them up.

In Romans 1 it says that God just gave them up. Three times, he said he gave them up. Has God given you up? No, the very fact you’re here today shows that God has not given you up. God is still speaking to you. There’s still a chance for you to come to Christ. There’s still an opportunity for you to receive the love of God and the gift of God in Christ. In II Timothy 3 it says, “Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient, unthankful, unholy”. And anyone who believes in high morality today is laughed at. Jeremiah said that they had forgotten how to blush and there’s a lot truth in that.

Now God warns Sodom. He sent some angels to Abraham to tell Abraham what he was going to do. He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone. And Abraham said, “Wait a minute, Lord. If I would find some real believers in Sodom, if I found fifty righteous men, would you spare it”? And God said, “Yes”. He couldn’t find fifty so he said to the Lord, “All right, Lord, what about if I found forty”? Then after awhile, he said, “Thirty,” then “Twenty”. Finally he said, “If I find ten, Lord, would you spare them”? And God said, “Yes, if you find ten righteous people in Sodom I’ll spare Sodom”. But he couldn’t find them. And that is a lesson to us. The importance of a dedicated minority. A minority of people who believe and who live it. “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a small remnant, we should have been as Sodom. And we should have been likened unto Gomorrah,” says Isaiah 1:9 to you Christians, Jesus gave a warning.

He said, “Remember lot’s wife”? The angels told you not to look back. If you did look back, you’d be turned to a pillar salt. Well, she did look back. And she was turned to a pillar of salt. And Jesus said, “Remember lot’s wife”. That’s an example for us today, “Remember lot’s wife”. One of the shortest verses in all the Bible. Don’t look back. Many of us look longingly at the world and many are like demas, having forsaken Christ because of the love of this present world.

Now the climax of history is going to be judgment. The Bible warns that the world is in for a gigantic judgment. The only bright spot is the promised return of Jesus Christ. Because the scripture teaches from one end to the other that Christ is going to come back someday. He’s going to set up his kingdom. And evil and the devil are going to be eliminated and this is going to be heaven on earth, when Jesus comes back. You see, Jesus Christ loved us so much that he went to the cross and died for us. He took all the hell and all the judgment on him at the cross. And the scripture says “God so loved the world,” God so loved this present world “That he gave his only begotten son that whosoever,” that includes you, “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

You say, well, when is Christ going to come back? Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man. No, not even the angels of heaven, but my father only”. We don’t know the day, don’t speculate. It’s coming, it’s sure. He left us certain signs, I wish we had time to go into all of them today. I believe that every one of those signs is being fulfilled right now. And Christ could come back at any time. How will Christ come? “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout and the voice of the Archangel and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first”! What a glorious time that’s going to be when Christ returns. The voice of the Archangel, I’m looking forward to hearing that voice. I’ve never heard an Archangel. And the trump of God, what trumpets that will be. That will also be a time of personal judgment when you if you’ve really never received Christ, now you may be baptized and you may be confirmed and you may be a church member and all of that.

That’s wonderful. I’m thankful. But that’s not enough. Jesus talked to Nicodemus and said, “Nicodemus, all of your religion is not enough. You must be born again”. The moment you receive Christ, the moment you open your heart and surrender to him as Lord and master and Savior, at that moment, your name is written in the book of life. And if my name were not written in that book of life, you’d never get me out of this stadium until I’d made sure it’s been written there. Because only those who are written in the book of life are going to enter the Kingdom of God.

You see, for those who are written in the book of life, Jesus Christ died on the cross. They put nails in his hands and a spike through his side and a crown of thorns on his brow and he suffered one of the most agonizing physical deaths that a person can suffer. But that wasn’t his real suffering. The real suffering of Jesus Christ was when he said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”. Because in that moment, God took your sins and my sin and laid on Christ. He bore our sins. He went to hell for us. He took the judgment for us. So the cross is a judgment. What do you have to do? Repent of your sins. And you’re not sure that you’ve repented. To surrender totally to Christ. Your heart, your mind, your body, your life so that Christ is first in your life.

I’m going to ask you to make that commitment this afternoon. I’m going to ask you to do what we’ve seen thousands of people do this past week. Get up out of your seat from all over this stadium and come and stand in front. And after you’ve all come I’m going to say a word to you and have a prayer with you and you can get up and go back and join your friends. We’re going to give you some literature, a book that’ll help you in your Christian life. But you get up and come and don’t delay, because he says, “Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation”. You may never have another moment like this as long as you live. When will you ever see another thing like this in Pittsburgh? Maybe another generation or maybe never. And as far as you’re concerned, it may never be. We’re going to wait for you. You come from way up there, wherever you are, God is speaking to you. And back here, where the seats have filled in, you come and join them.

You that have been watching by television here in this great three rivers stadium in Pittsburgh where three rivers come together right here, you’ve heard the message and God has spoken to you and we’ve seen hundreds of people come here. Many more hundreds are on the way. You can make your commitment to Christ where you are. You can say yes to Christ. He loves you. He wants to forgive you. He wants to change you and give you a new life. Let him come into your heart right now. Just say:

Lord, I am a sinner and I’m sorry. I do repent of my sins as best I know how. I’m not sure that I know how, but Lord, help me to repent and help me to believe, Lord. I need your help even in the believing. And help me to follow you and serve you.

Popular Bible Verse Topics

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