Billy Graham - Blood, Sweat and Tears to Salvation
Now the nineth chapter of Hebrews. Hebrews, the nineth chapter, the twenty-second verse. These words, "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". No remission. And everywhere we turn, we meet blood. Whether it’s a highway accident, or whether it’s the various wars that are being fought in the world today, blood is being shed. Wherever we look, blood is being shed. And there is so much to say about blood in the Bible. Crime is the shedding of blood. The Red Cross stands for blood.
A few years ago, one of the most popular novels was "In Cold Blood". And Judaism and Christianity have both been called a bloody religion, or a slaughterhouse religion. And it’s true that the Bible speaks often about blood. And I want to answer in just a few moments tonight what the blood means and how you cannot get to heaven, and you cannot have your sins forgiven, unless the blood was shed for you on the Cross. In Leviticus 17:11, the Bible says, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood. And I’ve given it to you upon the alter to make an atonement for your souls. For it is the blood that maketh the atonement of the soul". That word atonement is used 80 times in the Old Testament. It’s used 101 times in the New Testament. The word atonement, at-one-ment, bringing God and man together. Making an atonement. Taking man’s place in death and suffering and hell upon that cross.
Now in the average person you have five quarts of blood. It circulates every 23 seconds, so that every cell in the body is constantly supplied and cleansed at the same time. The blood carries the garbage off, and it carries the oxygen in. And it’s the most mysterious substance probably of the body. It composes the real life of the body. And the Bible teaches that all of us, whatever the color of your skin, whatever your background, we’re all related by blood to Adam. We’re made of the same blood. We don’t know what color skin Adam had. We’re not told whether it's black or white or yellow or brown, but we know that the blood is the same. We know that Jesus was not a white man. Nor was he a black man. He came from that part of the world that touches Africa, Asia, and Europe. He probably had a brown skin as the people of that day did have.
But the Apostle Paul said, in Acts 17, "He hath made of one blood all the nations of men that dwell on the face of the earth". We’re made of one blood. We’re all related to each other. And we all have our common origin in Adam and Eve. Now it’s Adam’s blood which courses in every man’s veins, whether he be black or white, Jew or Gentile, pagan or cultured, whoever you are, Adam’s blood is in your veins. And this blood of Adam carries in it a disease. A fatal disease. The sentence of death. The moment you’re born, you’re sentenced to die, because in the bloodstream is death. A fatal disease that the Bible has labeled sin.
In Romans 5, the Apostle Paul says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men, for all have sinned". And he said, "In the day", God had said to Adam and Eve, "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die". You cannot eat of this particular tree. If you eat of it, you’ll die. God was testing man, because God had given man a gift. The gift of choice, the freedom of choice. Man could serve God and love God and build a world with God, or he could rebel against God and try to build his world without God. But God said if you choose that way you will suffer and you will die. You will die physically, you will die spiritually, you will die eternally. And man was tempted. He yielded to the temptation. He sinned, and by that one man’s sin, Your father and my father, Adam, death passed by sin to all men.
And tonight, you and I, whoever we are, are under the sentence of death. Man suffers from blood poisoning. but so powerful was the poison of sin that thousands of years later all of us who are related to Adam by human birth, still succumb to the poison of sin which is transmitted to us through the blood. The penalty is death. And every person in this audience a hundred years from now will be dead. Fifty years from now most of us will be dead. Ten years from now a great portion of this great audience of 30,000 people will be dead. Now, where does the blood come in? God said, "Without the shedding of blood, there's no forgiveness". There has to be an atonement. There has to be a substitute for you, who will take the judgment that you deserve, the death that you deserve. And that substitute became the Son of the living God, Jesus Christ.
Even in the very beginning, God was teaching man that he could only come to Him by the way of blood. Adam and Eve had sinned. They were naked. God slew some animals, the blood was shed, and they were clothed with those skins, so that they would not see their nakedness. The first murder was committed by Cane, their son, who slew Able. Why? Because he became jealous of Able. They had both brought sacrifices to God, but Kane had disobeyed God. He did not come by the way of blood. He tried to offer some vegetables to God. and God had apparently taught him that the only way is by blood, but Cane said, "No, I don't want any of that kind of religion". God refused his sacrifice. He accepted Able's sacrifice, which was blood sacrifice. And Cane became jealous, and he slew his brother, and that was the first murder. And the first murder was committed in the name of religion, and all through history men have fought in the name of religion.
That's another subject entirely. And Noah built an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast and every clean foul, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Blood was shed in Noah's day. Abraham. God said, "Abraham, I want you to go and take your son. Isaac. I want to you to offer your son, Isaac, as a sacrifice". Abraham did not doubt God. He didn't argue with God. He obeyed God implicitly. And he took his son on a three-day journey to Mount Moriah, where Jerusalem is located today. And there, he laid his son on the altar, took his knife, and was ready to plunge it into his son's heart, when God reached out and grabbed his wrist and said, "No, Abraham. There's a ram caught in a thicket over there in his horns. Get him, he's the sacrifice. I now see that you trust Me and believe in Me".
I want to ask you something. Do you believe in Christ? Do you believe in God that much that you'd do what Abraham did? No wonder he was called a man of faith. No wonder he's called the father of nations. He believed God saw implicitly that he was willing to offer the only son, or he had had Ishmael, but the son of the bloodline on the altar, because God had told him to do it. And then remember that night in Egypt? All the plagues had come, and God had said, "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you".
In other words, go out and get a lamb. I'm going to destroy the firstborn of every family in Egypt. I want you to get a lamb, slay it, take the blood, put it up on the doorpost, And when I see the blood tonight, when I pass through Egypt, killing the firstborn of every house in Egypt, there's a judgment upon Egypt because of their refusal to let the people of Israel go, I will pass over. It'll be a sign. And when the death angel came across Egypt that night, and there was groaning and moaning and wailing in Egypt. because the firstborn of every family died, unless, unless the blood was there. He didn't say, "When I see your good resolutions, when I see all your religious credentials". He said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over". I want to ask you, "Have you been to the cross to have your sins washed away in the blood of the Lamb"?
You say, "Billy, I don't like that kind of preaching" "That's not modern preaching". I know, but the Bible is full of it. And without the shedding of blood on that cross, there's no forgiveness of sin. You can't be forgiven without the shedding of that blood. Let's come to the New Testament. The cross is the symbol of Christianity, whether it's Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, whatever it is. On every church, you'll see a cross. The communion, what is it? We take communion every Sunday in some churches. What is it? The heart of the worship is the communion table. And it speaks about the blood that was shed on the cross. Whether you're a Catholic or Anglican or whatever you are. When you take that cup to your lips, it's symbolic of the blood that was shed for your sins. John, the Baptist, looked at the Lord Jesus Christ, and he cried out, "Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world".
Why did he use the word lamb? Jesus was coming as the sacrificial lamb. The Lamb of God that God Himself was going to offer. for the whole human race. And because that Lamb shed His blood on the cross, you can have eternal life, you can have forgiveness of sin, you can know you are going to heaven, and you can become a new person tonight in Jesus Christ. I see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. I see Him perspiring in the garden. I see Him shedding His blood on the cross. Fourteen times, Jesus predicted his own death. He said He'd come to give His life as a ransom for many. Remember the interview with Nicodemus where he said, "You must be born again". He also said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up".
The death of Christ is mentioned 255 times in the New Testament. It is the very heart of the gospel. One half of all the Gospel of John, one fourth of the other gospels, given over to the time around, the events surrounding the death of Jesus Christ. The death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ is the most important single historical event in the history of the world. Nothing else compares to it. If the blood of Christ doesn't forgive our sins and cleanse us, and isn't an atonement for our sins, and if He didn't rise from the dead, we're of all men most miserable, and there is no hope upon the horizon of this world. There's no hope for you, and there's no hope for the world. We are heading toward an Armageddon that'll destroy the human race and wipe it all out. But Christ did die, He did rise from the dead, He is coming again. There is hope.
And I find that young people are reaching out for something to believe in, something to give themselves to, a cause to believe in, a flag to follow, a song to sing, something to change them, something to believe in. Give yourself to Jesus Christ who was willing to go to the cross for you, and who is going to rise from the dead, and who's coming back someday to be the world ruler. Peter said that the blood redeems. "For as much as you know that you're not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, from your vein conversations received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish".
That's how you redeemed. Not with silver and gold. You can bring all the silver and gold you can get your hands on and bring it to the church. That won't save your soul. You can do good works all the rest of your life, but that won't save your soul, because you are saved not by your works, not by your goodness. You are saved by grace through faith and that not of yourselves, not of works lest any man should boast. When I get to the entrance to the kingdom of heaven, and if they should ask me what right I have to be there. I'm not going to say, "Well, Lord, I've read the Bible through a number of times, and Lord I've preached a lot of people while I was down there". "I'm going to say, ‘Simply to that cross I cling.’"
I come by the mercy and the grace of God that was in Christ on that cross. I come because of the shed blood upon the cross. You see the blood carries with it the idea of life, and Jesus gave his life for us on the cross. Salvation is free to you and me, but it cost God His Son. He had to redeem us because, you see, God is a just God and God could not just come along and say, "Jim and Bill and Susie, Mary, Charlie, I forgive you". He would no longer be God. He couldn't be just, He couldn't be righteous. He would've been a liar. Someone had to pay the price for your sins. Christ paid the price for you. He took the judgment and the hell that you and I deserved on that cross. The Bible says that without Christ, we are slaves of sin. Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin. And many of you tonight are slaves of sin.
Somerset Maugham, in his book "Of Human Bondage," rejected God and became a slave to sin. The other night we saw on television in the United States, the story of slavery, the terrible and horrible story of slavery, but it featured John Newton. John Newton was a slave trader on the west coast of Africa. And John Newton became a slave of a slave. But one day in a thunderstorm, he was converted to Christ and he went back to England, and became an Anglican clergyman, and he influenced Wilberforce and he helped stamp out slavery in Britain, the first country in the world to stamp it out and led the way to the freeing of slaves all over the world. And he wrote that song. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that could save a wretch like me". And he was a wretch. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed".
There was a girl came up here last night and she yelled out, "I want my freedom". I wanted to shout back at her, "You can be free in Christ". "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free". She might have been talking about she wanted freedom from her husband. I don't know, but Christ can free you and give you a free spirit and give you a joy and a peace that you've never known. The Bible says we are justified by the blood. We're not only redeemed, we're justified. much more than being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved Just as if I'd never sinned. Justification is more than forgiveness. You and I say, "Well, I forgive you". God says, "I justify you". I place you in my sight as though you've never committed a single sin, totally innocent because of the blood. When He looks at you, He looks through the blood and he can't see your sins. That's the thrilling and marvelous thing.
And one other thing, he can't even remember your sins. You can remember your sins. The devil sees to that and he worries you with it, but God can't remember them. He can erase the tape of the sins in your life. And then the Bible says that the blood of Christ brings peace and having made peace through the blood of the cross, peace between you and God. I wrote a book once called "Peace with God". And when you have peace with God, you have the possibility of having peace in your family. You have the possibility of having peace in your heart. You have the possibility of easing those tensions and those problems in your community because you have peace with God, but it was brought by the blood of Jesus Christ. Man craves peace all over the world.
The blood brings peace. And then next, the Bible says the blood cleanses. "Unto HIm that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood," in Revelation, the first chapter. Have your sins been cleansed? "This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, for the forgiveness of sins". Are you sure that you've been to the cross and had your sins cleansed? The Bible says the blood reconciles. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you. But now the scripture says "They've overcome by the blood of the Lamb".
I read about a man that was trying to climb to heaven by a ladder that he had built. And he thought the way you did it was to put your good works here. And then your good works in the next rung and your good works and you climbed up, up, up, and you'd finally get to heaven. But he heard a voice that says, "He that climbeth up any other way, the same is a thief and a robber, and the ladder fell. And he woke up out of his dream in his sleep. And he said, 'If I go to heaven, I'm going to have to go a different way.'" Yes, you'll have to go by the way of the cross. And Jesus said, "If you're not willing to deny self and take up the cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple".
You know, we have blood banks and I've had blood transfusions myself. And there's a blood bank that we can apply to by faith that will take our guilt and our sin away. We've read a lot about heart transplants, especially in South Africa a few years ago. And there were two factors that were needed for heart transplants. First, there had to be a donor. Jesus Christ is the donor tonight to you. Secondly, the patient had to accept or reject the heart that he received. Tonight, you have to accept or reject. Which will it be? There's no neutral ground. The gospel offers no neutrality. You take your stand with Christ at the cross and trust totally and completely in Him or you trust in your own goodness or something else, which is a false way and a false road.
I'm asking you tonight to surrender your life to Christ, To come to the blood that cleanses and let him wash all that past away and give you peace and justification and eternal life. What do you have to do? First, you must repent of your sins. You cannot repent except with the help of God. Salvation is of the Lord. The Holy Spirit has to help you do the repenting. He'll do it. All you have to do is be willing. And that repenting means that you say, "Lord, I'm sorry, I've sinned. And I'm willing to change my way of living. I'm willing to change my lifestyle". Are you willing to do that? Think about it. Jesus said, "Count the cost".
Are you willing that every part of your life come under the Lordship of Christ, and all your priorities be centered in Him? And then the second thing by faith, by simple faith like a child, you receive him as your Lord and Savior and your only Lord and Savior, trusting only in Him, in what He did for you. And then thirdly, you are willing to follow and serve Him as a disciple, going out to do good works in His name because of what he's done for you.
If you are willing to say that tonight, I want you to get up out of your seat right now, hundreds of you from all over this great stadium and stand in front of the platform and say, by coming, "I want to join those 6,000 that have already come this week. And I want to find Christ as my Lord and Savior. I want my sins forgiven. I want to know I'm going to heaven". And after you've all come, I'm going to say a word to you, have a prayer with you. You may be a member of the church. You may be an officer of the church, or you may not be a member of any church. You may be Catholic or Protestant or Jewish, whatever you are, or you may not have any religion, get up and come and join them right now as they come quickly. And everyone else in an attitude of prayer as the choir sings.
You that are watching by television can see that down the aisles in this great stadium, every aisle is filled with people who are coming, hundreds of people, to make their peace with God and to have forgiveness of their sins because of the blood that was shed on the cross. That can happen to you where you are in your home, in a hotel room, in a bar, wherever you are, you can say yes to Jesus Christ. He'll come into your heart. God help you to make that commitment. I'm praying that you will and go to church next Sunday.