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Billy Graham - The Credibility Gap

Billy Graham - The Credibility Gap
TOPICS: Credibility

Now, I want you to turn with me, if you will, to the 18th chapter of John's gospel, verse 37 and 38. Just a phrase or two. I want to speak today on the subject "The Credibility Gap". The Credibility Gap. We hear a great deal today about the credibility gap. And here is a very interesting passage in an encounter that Jesus Christ had with Pilate. Jesus said, "Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice". And then Pilate said, and I'm sure he said it thoughtfully and wistfully. He asked this question, "What is truth"? And that's what many of the American debates are all about right now. What is truth? That is what a university is all about.

Searching truth in the realm of science, philosophy, psychology, and many of the other disciplines. What is truth? How do we get truth, and how do we know it when we have it? And the debate that is raging in this country about the war. Or the debate that we've recently had over My Lai. Or the debate that's raging in the country about surveillance. How far do you go? All of that is talking about truth and it brings up somewhat of a credibility gap. And Pilate must have faced the same thing 2,000 years ago. He had a credibility gap. He asked Jesus. He said, "What is truth"?

Now why is a Bible called a Holy Bible when there is so much lust and hate and greed and war and sex in the Bible? Why do we call it a Holy Bible? You can't pick up any book that has more hate in it, any more killing, any more war, any more meanness, any more wickedness, any more deceit than the Bible, but it's called a Holy Bible. Do you know why it's called Holy? Because the Bible tells the truth. The Bible tells the truth about God. The Bible tells the truth about man. The Bible tells the truth about the devil. The Bible tells the truth about its characters. If this book had been written by men, not under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a lot of these fellows that are heroes in the Bible you'd have never heard about their sins and their weaknesses and their failings. But the Bible tells the truth about all of these things.

Now the Bible tells us that the devil himself created the first credibility gap. Now, if you go back to the third chapter of Genesis, the second and third chapter of Genesis, after man was created, you find that God said, "I put a tree in the garden. In the day that you eat thereof, you're going to die". Now man was in a perfect paradise, No sin had ever been committed. No murder, no lust, no hate, no war, no poverty, no pollution. Everything was perfect. And God said, "It's all yours". You'll never die. You'll enjoy it forever. "But don't take of that one tree". Why? God was testing man, because God gave to man the freedom of choice. He could choose to obey God and serve God or he could choose to rebel against God and go his own way. God made man in His own image, gave him freedom of choice.

The Bible says the devil came to Adam and Eve, tempted them, and here's what the devil said. The devil said, "You know God says if you eat of that tree, you're going to die. Well, I want to tell you something. You're not going to die. God's jealous of you. God knows when you eat of that tree, you're going to be a god. You'll be like God. Go ahead, eat of that tree. You don't have to obey God. Listen to me". And they listened to the devil, they believed a lie, instead of the truth of God. Man rebelled against God. And all the troubles, and all the sufferings, and all the wars of all of history have come about as a result of the fact that man is in rebellion against God. The devil created the first credibility gap.

Now the Bible teaches there's coming a time when Antichrist is going to arise. He will be the devil incarnate as a man. And that is some future day. I do not know when it will be, but the Bible teaches that Antichrist is going to rule the whole earth. And even some professing believers are going to be deluded and deceived by Antichrist. And there will be peace. He will be a man of peace and he's going to bring peace to the world; but it will be a deceptive peace, and a short peace, and it won't be long. It will be the devil's peace. Permanent peace is only going to come when God comes in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and sets up His kingdom and destroys the devil. And the Bible teaches that the devil is going to be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone. And you won't be plagued with the devil anymore. I'd say, "Lord, hurry up!" because the devil is causing a lot of trouble.

Now the Bible teaches that man believes a lie rather than the truth. And the Bible says that we exchange the truth of God for the devils' lie. About sex, for example. Young people think that they can go ahead and live in a permissive society, and get away with it. It creates its own horror, and it creates its own troubles, and its own problems, both in your conscience with guilt, in your mind, but also in your body. Venereal disease now in one city in this country infects one out of every four young people. Right now. And it causes insanity, and blindness, and all the other things, but you can't tell them anything. You think that you can get by. But I do know that young people are hearing on every side that the only way to have happiness is to have sex outside of marriage.

I want to tell you the Bible says, "The wages of sin is death". And you can never commit one sex sin and get away with it. God will see to it. And you'll be caught, and you'll pay for it. Or the drugs. Did you know that I read the other day in Florida that drugs have increased... The use of drugs and the hard drugs in Florida had increased in fifteen years by six thousand percent. Until now, millions of young and old alike are involved in drugs and we could soon become a nation that would be drugged. And suppose an enemy would come to a drugged nation and say, "Surrender, or else". We wouldn't have the strength to lift a finger because we would be drugged. Or alcohol.

Now, alcoholism is a disease, we know that. But it doesn't start out as a disease. It starts out by a deliberate act. Some can take it, and some can make it, but you never know who. There's no test available. So, you're taking a chance. So, young people try drugs, they try alcohol, they try permissive sex; they try all the rest of it to find peace and joy and happiness and purpose and meaning in their lives and they don't. Why don't they? You see it's the devil's lie. The devil is telling you a lie. He says, "You'll be like gods". This is the way to pleasure. This is the way to happiness. This is the way to have a good time. The Bible says there is a lot of fun in it for a short time. "There's pleasure in sin," the Bible says, "for a season".

Sure, you can go out and take a shot of heroin, and get high, and have a good time for a little while. Sure, you can go out and have a sex experience and have a moment of extasy. Sure, you can go out and get drunk. and feel good. Feel like you can take on the world. For a little while. But then comes the kick back. "The wages of sin is death". It's the devil's lie to try to get us off base. Or religious hypocrisy. There are people that have been told over and over again that... Well, they haven't really been told, but we've given the implication in the church that if you go to church, you're all right. You may hate the church. You may sit there thinking about the golf game you're going to play afterward, instead of what the preacher is saying, but if you'll just go to church and put that one hour in a week that that will cover up for all the rest of the activities of the week.

That is one of the devil's biggest lies, because it's a daily business. Did you read about that dog over here in West Virginia? A collie. No one knows how or why, but he knows when Sunday comes. And he walks a mile to the Methodist church every Sunday. That's right. It was in the paper the other day. He walks a mile to church and then when the minister stands at the door, and shakes hands with the people, he holds up a paw to shake hands, too. Then when the thing is all over and the last person has left, he walks home a mile. I don't know whether anybody taught him or not but that's what is taking place. But that doesn't make the dog a Christian, And going to church is not the total answer. The answer is Jesus Christ, who said He is the Truth. Do you know Christ as your Savior and your Lord?

Now Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free". Now what is truth? Jesus said, "I am the truth". He said He's the truth. Remember, we said Holy Bible a moment ago? Jesus is the truth. Now, if you don't accept Jesus Christ as Savior, you're going to get another messiah, because, you see, you have to have a god. I don't care who you are. You've got to have a god. And one of the interesting things about that table tennis team that went over to China some time ago, was that one of the men made this interesting statement. He said the single thing that struck me most in China is that Mao Zedong is Jesus and that the people who are living there are under his aegis. He said everywhere we went there was Mao Zedong's picture.

You see, you have to have a god, and if you don't take Jesus as your God, you're going to have to have another one. That's the reason many young people are turning toward Satan and turning toward all kinds of witches and all the rest of it. Or turning towards Zen Buddhism, all the rest of it. We have to have something to worship, to believe in, to give ourselves to. Why not make it Jesus? Jesus Christ. Here's what the Bible says about Jesus, listen to this. Have you ever heard anything, any description, anything greater than this in all of literature?

"Who is 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, be they thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created by Him and for Him and He is before all things and He holds all things together, that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell". Jesus Christ said, "I am the Truth".

When science finds out the ultimate secret of the universe, they're going to find Jesus. Time Magazine carried its cover story a few weeks ago on the genes, the genetic problem and what is happening in science and how close we are to creating human life. You know, we may be able to create human life, but it won't be a man. He won't have a conscience and he won't have a soul. He won't have that part of him made in the image of God. He could be a monstrosity; he could be a monster. He might even be the Antichrist. We don't know what science is going to do. Jesus said," I am the sum total of all truth". Scientific truth, psychological truth, philosophical truth, religious truth, everything you're searching for to bring peace and joy and happiness and purpose to your life, Jesus said, "I am it".

Now that's the intellectual struggle that you students will have to struggle with. That was my intellectual hang up. I couldn't prove it, but the Bible goes on to indicate that if I accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and made Him Lord of my life, that he would forgive all of my sins, and become the secret of the purpose and the meaning of my life, and give me a reason for my existence, and bring a joy and a peace in my heart. Now, He didn't say He'd take your problems away. Here's where a lot of young people are going to get all fouled up. He doesn't promise to remove problems. He doesn't promise to remove all hang-ups. Jesus promises peace and grace and joy in the midst of it. He promises to give you a purpose for your life.

I saw a motion picture last week, out in Hollywood in a private studio. It's going to be released soon. Called The Lost Generation. And it showed all of these young people, by the thousands, demonstrating all over the world for various causes. Searching for some answer to the dilemmas and problems that they're worried about. War and pollution and all the rest of it. And then it showed black men, black women, all young, all students, white men, white girls, one after another, just clipped from one to the other saying what Jesus Christ had done in their lives. How Christ had changed their lives. Christ can change your life, if you put your faith and your trust in Him. He is the ultimate truth, And, you know, Jesus told the truth. He told the truth about love. He said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son".

God loves you. Erich Segal wrote Love Story. Yale professor. But there's a greater story than any love story ever written, is the love God has for the human race. The greatest love story in the universe is God's love for man. When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and the greatest picture of love is on the cross where Christ died in your place. That's how much God loves you. He laid down the life of His Son. And when Jesus cried, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me"?

In that terrible moment, Jesus suffered the agonies of hell and judgement for you. And Jesus took your sins and your failures and your mistakes on that cross and died in your place. That's the world's greatest love story. That's the love story of the universe. And that's the love story the angels are watching. That's the love story the other planets are watching, how that God could take us on this little planet called Earth, and say, "I love you so much, I give my life for you". Now, Jesus told the truth about something else. He told the truth about conversion. Don't let that word throw you. Don't let it frighten you. The Bible teaches that if you're going to get to heaven and have your sins forgiven, you've got to be converted. That word converted means to be changed.

Now we've been reading about conversion in the paper constantly. In the Charles Manson case out in California, those young women that followed Charles Manson were converted to him, so the newspapers said. Or the conversion of an entire generation in China to the sayings of Mao Zedong. Or the conversion right here in Kentucky of Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. Conversion. In the same way, you are converted to Christ. You must be converted, not to a system, not to a philosophy, not just to a church, you're converted to the person of Christ, until Jesus Christ is your Savior, and your Lord, and your Master. Has that taken place in your life? Jesus Himself said, "Except ye be converted and become as a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven".

Have you been converted? Are you sure of it? Do you know that there was a time in your life when you repented of your sins He said, "And ye shall know the truth," and He said He was the truth, "and the truth will make you free". Free from what? Young people all over the world are shouting, "Freedom, freedom, freedom". Tonight, whether you're black or whether you're white, if you are in Christ, you're free. Your spirit is free. Free from what? Free from the penalty of sin. You're never going to have to go to hell. You're never going to have to face the judgment of God if you're in Christ. You're free from that. You're free from the power of sin. Jesus said we can become servants of sin.

How many of you here tonight, or today, serve sin? Some little sin in your life is your master. You can be free today. Jesus can set you free from that. And then someday, you'll be free from the very presence of sin because when you die and go to heaven, there won't be any sin there. The Bible says there will be no dirt and no filth and no sin in heaven. It will be a free world and that's the world toward which we're headed. That's the world Ethel Waters was talking about when the earthquake took place in California, and she said, "Jesus, you've got my address and I've got Yours. I'm not worried". She was free. Free to live, free to die. Free to face life with all of its problems, and its difficulties, and its mysteries, and its unanswered problems. Free!

Are you free? Have you been set free? Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free". Jesus is the truth; the devil is the lie. You've got to choose. And you have the power of choice. I'm going to ask you today to choose Jesus. Choose Christ. That is a deliberate choice of your will. And if you'll make that choice and say, "I will receive Jesus Christ as my Lord, and my Master, and my Savior. I want to follow Him and serve Him". You may be a member of the First Baptist Church, or the First Methodist, or the First Christian, or some other church. You may not be a member of any church. You may be Roman Catholic, or Jewish. I don't know who you are or what you are, but you want Jesus to be your Lord, and your Master, and you want His truth to live in your heart.

I'm going to ask you to do something that I've seen thousands do on every continent. I've seen the Orientals, I've seen the blacks, I've seen the whites, I've seen every color and every group of people all over the world do what I'm going to ask you to do. I'm going to ask you to get up out of your seat right now. Right this minute, and come and stand in front of this platform, and after you've all come, I'm going to say a word to you, have a moment of prayer with you, and give you some literature that you can take home before you go. That's all we're going to do when you come forward. Just say a word to you, but coming forward, there's something important about it.

Jesus said if you're not willing to take your stand publicly for me I'll not take my stand for you at the judgment. I'm going to ask you to get up and come. Young people, fathers and mothers, whoever you are. And out in the stadium, out there, you get up and come out there, straight down in front, and stand out there as these people come here. You get up and come quickly. I'm going to ask that our heads are bowed. You may be in the choir, you may be an usher, but whoever you are you need Christ today. You want your sins forgiven. You want to know you're going to heaven. You want Christ's truth to be yours. You get up and come right now, quickly.

To you that are watching by television, as you can see, hundreds of people are coming forward here on the campus of the University of Kentucky. And as they make their commitment to Christ here, you can make your commitment in your home or wherever you may be watching this telecast. And then be sure and go to church next Sunday. God help you to make that commitment right now.

If you would like to commit your life to Jesus Christ, Please call us right now toll free at 1-877-772-4559.

Or you can write to us at "Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201"

Or you can contact us on the web 24/7 at - We'll get the same helps to you that we give to everyone who responds at the invitation.

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