Yesterday, Billy Graham went home to be with Jesus. There have been many great evangelists throughout history, George Whitefield, Charles Finney and Billy Sunday just to name a few. However, none of these great men can match the evangelistic outreach ministry of Rev. Graham.
The Billy Graham crusades have reached millions of people with the life-changing message of the gospel. Graham’s messages were simple and direct – turn to Christ!
The main focus of his message was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This is the gospel message in its purest form. First, the word πιστεύω (believes) means to have complete trust in Christ as the Son of God. The word excludes any other name by which a person can be saved. As the Son of God, he and he alone holds exclusive rights to salvation. Second, the life Christ gives us is eternal. When a person trusts in Christ, He gives them life without end. Although a person dies physically; the person lives spiritually. John 11:25, “Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” The good news is that salvation promises life after death. And those who trust in Christ go immediately to heaven and are ushered into the presence of Christ. Third, those who reject the message of Christ will perish. The word ἀπόλλυμι (perish) conveys the idea of being spiritually brought to ruin. Rather than spending eternity in heaven, the person will be banished to the fires of eternal damnation. Like heaven, Hell is a real place of torment and pain. The lost person will be thrown into “the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:50). Hell is a place of torment and separation from the presence of God. Not for a short period of time, but for all eternity. The prospect is not good for the unbeliever. Today, Billy Graham would say “turn to Christ and live with Him forever!” The choice is yours. Choose wisely!
Pastor Michael J. Frazier