Billy Graham - Living on the Fault Line
Now I want you to turn with me to the 12th chapter of Hebrews, the 12th chapter of Hebrews. It's very windy up here where I'm standing, and I have to hold my Bible down or it will blow away. "And this word, yet once more signified the removing of those things that are shaken, as of those things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear".
You know, I read an article some time ago and I think it was Harper's Magazine entitled "Goodbye San Francisco", and the title of this article indicated that the San Andreas fault that runs up and down California may explode at any time into the greatest earthquake perhaps the world has ever known. And some British scientists came over here and the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation accompanied them and they soon felt that this thing is going to happen at any time. They said not if, but when two plates of hot, slowly moving inner mass are beginning to rub together, the edges are rough. They're beginning to bend, and they say that it could strike right under San Francisco Bay and kill thousands of people and wound other thousands.
And as I read that article, it seemed to say to me that it could be a picture of our world today. New economic, social, scientific, and religious ideas are rubbing and bending against the traditional values that we've always held in the United States and Canada. And there's mounting internal pressure against all restraint as more and more persons want only personal gratification. And the world is moving toward a great international, cultural, and political earthquake unless something happens and that something will have to be a supernatural moving of the Spirit of God throughout the world. They're international tensions.
Look at the Horn of Africa or the Mideast or the Soviet Union and China with all of their statements against each other. Mr. Zhou Enlai said before he died, "We are not preparing for peace in China. We are preparing for war". The technological fault line. Science could almost now build paradise on earth. But even when man was in paradise, he rebelled against God and that's where the first sin was committed. Total social justice in those days, no wars, no police forces, no armies, no Vietnam's, no death, no suffering, no hospitals. In the middle of that man rebelled against God.
Science could bring us almost to the point of paradise again, were it not for the fact that man is a sinner. He has lust and greed and hate and because of that man is under the sentence of death. The technological fault line makes it impossible for history to repeat itself. We say that history repeats itself, but there's one element in modern times that's different than anything in the history of the world and that is technology. Why up until about 1835 man could only go as fast as a horse could run. Look how fast we can go today. 18,000 miles an hour through space. In just a little over 150, less than 150 years that's all happened.
And then we have the question today of genetic engineering and environmental manipulation and they're causing scientists to frantically look for ethical guidelines. What is going to guide us? If we reject the 10 Commandments and we reject the Sermon on the Mount and we reject Biblical ethics, what's going to guide us from crashing? Then there are the personal fault lines that you have in your own life and your family and your business and your relationships with your neighbor. The tensions are there. Jesus said there would come a time when men's hearts would fail because of fear. Fail because of fear, boredom, anxieties, guilt, fear of death, loss of health.
How many people are watching me right now that you've already been told that you have a terminal illness? Many of you that are sitting here will be told this year by the doctor that you only have a few months to live and you may be a young person. The Bible says, "It's appointed unto man once to die and after that, the judgment". Yes, we're living at a crisis period and Jesus said there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars and upon the earth, distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear. Looking after those things which are coming on the earth for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Yes, Jesus said the powers of heaven. The whole earth and heaven itself will be shaken by what is going to come and that's what we just read in Hebrews. The Bible says God is going to shake the earth once more and the heavens, the stars, the planets will be shaken, but there will be some things that will remain that will always be the same, that you can always count on. First, the nature of God never changes. God said, "I'm the Lord God, I change not". The scripture says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning". That means that God doesn't change so much as an eyelash in all the centuries. God is unchanging in His holiness. God is a holy and a righteous God.
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God Almighty, which was, which is and which is to come. God is a holy God and a righteous God, and God will not put up with sin. He still hates it because He's a holy God. And God is a God of judgment. The Bible says, "The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth. Every secret thing will be brought to light". There is a day of judgment coming that has not changed. The day has been set. It's been appointed. God is unchanging in his love. "But God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". God still loves and He loves with such an everlasting love that He gave His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. to die for you. And if it were not for that, there is no hope in the world. He died on the cross and He rose again and He's alive and He's coming back.
And that's the hope that we have. And that's the good news of the gospel. The word gospel means good news. I have good news for you. The good news is God loves you. He has a plan for your life. There's a purpose for living. There's a reason for existence. Don't give up. Don't let the headlines frighten you. God is still sovereign. He's still on the throne and those of us that follow him and serve him have a future that's brighter than tomorrow. "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow", wrote the Gaithers. Yes, God is love and God's so loved. Another thing hasn't changed is the word of God, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever". "Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven".
The first question the devil ever asked man and Eve in the garden of Eden was, "Yea, hath God said"? He tried to make them doubt the word of God, but this word doesn't change. It's unchanging. That's why it's important to read it every day and to study it. Let it be your guide. And then human nature doesn't change. Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked". Has that changed?
Look at the world today. Read the headlines about the murders and the robberies and the muggings and the rapes throughout the world, not just in Canada or the United States. It's worldwide. A worldwide convulsion of violence and terrorism. That's what Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked". Your heart, my heart. You don't know what you would do under certain circumstances. We're all sinners. Sinners by birth, sinners by choice, sinners by practice. We need sin forgiven. You cannot be reconciled to God. You cannot go to heaven unless those sins are forgiven and God says, I can forgive you if you repent of your sin and receive my Son, Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Another thing that hasn't changed, the moral law hasn't changed. It's easier for heaven and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fail, said Jesus. "Thou shall have no other gods before me". Idolatry is still a sin. "Honor thy father and thy mother". Rebellion against the authority of your parents is still a sin. "Thou shall not commit immorality". If you have committed immorality, you're a sinner. "Thou shall not steal". Cheating in school, pilfering in a store. "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor". Lying.
Have you ever told a lie? You say, "Well Billy, unfortunately, almost all of those I've, I've committed". Well, suppose you had only broken one of those laws, just one, one time? That made you a sinner. Because the Bible says that if we keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, we're guilty of the whole law. So in that sense, we've all broken all the commandments. We have sinned against God, whatever the color of our skin, whatever our religious affiliation, we are sinners and we need reconciliation. We need justification. We need to be redeemed. And that's why Christ came. And that's why he went to the cross.
And then fifthly, and lastly, the promise of His coming again has not changed. He is coming again. General MacArthur said, when he left the Philippines, "I shall return". Christ said before He left, "I shall return". I believe He's going to return. When the Son of Man shall come in all His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory and before Him shall be gathered all nations. That'll be the greatest disarmament peace conference the world has ever known, and it's the one conference that's going to work. All nations will be gathered. Maybe they'll come to New York and sit in the United Nations building, I don't know, but all the nations of the world, I think, are go into gather at Jerusalem and the peace will be dictated. We will come under a theocracy, God ruling.
And I would rather trust the Lord Jesus Christ to rule this earth than any living man that has ever lived except Him. He would rule it with justice and love and mercy and tenderness and perfection, which we don't have today from any man because any man that we elect or that climbs to the top is still a man. His heart has not been changed. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there ye may be also".
As he was ascending into heaven, two men in white apparel stood beside the disciples with tears in their eyes. These disciples were watching the Ascension of their Lord and these two men said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven". Do you know what Winston Churchill's favorite song was? Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory of The Coming of the Lord. The Nicene Creed, which all of our denominations, most all about denominations, accept says "He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead".
Charles Wesley, the great English hymn writer, wrote 7,000 hymns. We have on the platform Dr. Oswald J. Smith, who has been one of the greatest hymn writers of our century and now the Gaither's whose songs are being sung all over the world. But Charles Wesley wrote 7,000 hymns, can you believe it? And 5,000 of them dealt with the second coming of Jesus Christ. When Queen Elizabeth II, your queen, was crowned, you remember the Archbishop of Canterbury laid the crown on her head and here is what he said as he laid it there. "I give thee, O gracious lady, this crown to wear until He who deserves the right to wear it shall return".
That's a part of the history of Britain. When a sovereign is crowned, it's recognized that it's only temporary and that crown will someday be worn by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The great question facing the world today is who's going to restore the order? Who can counter the dangers? Who can govern the world? I proposed to you, the Lord Jesus Christ can and he's going to do it, the Bible tells us that. The last two verses of the Bible say, "He which testified these things saith, 'Surely I come quickly'. Amen, even so come Lord Jesus". The last thought in the Bible is the coming again of Jesus Christ.
Now before His coming, He made certain predictions. He said there'll be some signs that you can watch for. He said there'll be convulsions, there'll be earthquakes, social and political earthquakes as well as physical. Wars, worldwide violence, moral permissiveness, tribulations, both Jews and Christians alike suffering. Antichrist. People betraying one another leading up toward Armageddon. Is that where we are now? I do not know because He warned us against trying to set a date, but all the signs would seem to point that something has to happen pretty soon or there may not be a human race left.
And you know it's interesting to me that we're not hearing very much about that from the pulpit today, but we're hearing it from the scientists and the government leaders from many nations of the world. And it seems that the prophets of our time have become the scientists and the sociologists and the philosophers and the political leaders who are warning us as President Carter did the other day when he said, "We're on a dangerous course".
Now, what will happen when Christ comes? I have some good news for you. Sin, suffering, and death are the three greatest problems that man has ever faced. They'd been with us since the beginning. Science has not solved any of them. It has not solved the problem of sin in the human heart. It's not solved the problem of suffering. You can put a person in the finest hospital in the world and he'll still suffer. Put him in the finest under the finest psychiatric care and he'll still suffer because man is a suffering being. Science cannot solve this terrible problem of human suffering. We've not been able to solve the problem of death. Men still die by the thousands every day from all kinds of causes, but Jesus is going to eliminate all that.
Sin will be eliminated. Suffering will be eliminated. Death will be eliminated. Peace will be established on the earth. His name shall be called the Prince of Peace, of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end, the scripture says. Our social institutions will be reconstructed. Poverty will be eliminated. Social justice will prevail throughout the world. The kingdom of God will triumph. I'm glad to be on His side. I'm glad that He chose me a number of years ago and I was born again and I received Christ into my heart. And now I know that I'm ready to enter His kingdom by His grace and by His mercy. I've already entered the kingdom and have eternal life now. I don't have to wait to die to get it. I have it now.
So, the future does not hold any fears for me, but the future holds fears for me when I think of you who may not know Christ. Now, what should our attitude be until that moment when He comes? We're to wait with patience. "For ye have need of patience for yet a little while and He that shall come will come and will not tarry", in Hebrews 10. It's been 2000 years since He made those promises. Peter said people are going to begin to ask, where's the promise of His coming? In all these 2000 years people look for Him. He hasn't come. What's wrong? Did something happen? No, everything's going right along to God's timetable. God planned it this way. That's the way He meant it to be so that we will come to Him by simple faith and accept Him into our hearts as Lord and Savior. Yes, we're to wait with patience because He's going to come. And then we're to watch.
Do you get up some morning and say, "Lord, maybe today you're going to come". Do you go to bed at night and say, "Lord, maybe while I'm sleeping, you're going to come". We're waiting with longing expectation for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, said Paul in Philippians 3. Are you waiting and watching? And then we are to work. Because he's coming doesn't mean that we're to go home and sit down and wait and do nothing and say there's nothing I can do to help the world. It ought to cause you to work harder than ever before. Harder in your church, harder in your community. Do more good works than ever before. Pray for peace, work for peace, help in all good works.
The scripture says, "Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he commeth shall find so doing", Jesus said that. When He comes back, He ought to find you working harder than ever before. I've met some people that said there's no use evangelizing. There's no use giving to missions. Then there's no use giving to the hungry of the world because Jesus is going to come back and we can't solve all the problems anyway. That is an unscriptural and an unbiblical attitude and it's a sin. We ought to be working and giving and praying and living with the expectation that He is going to come, but it ought to increase our zeal. It ought to intensify our efforts. As far as I'm personally concerned.
I read in the paper once in a while where some people hopefully say that I'm going to retire soon. Well, I want to tell you, I don't ever intend to retire until the Lord retires me. I know that I'm getting a bit older, but I want to tell you, I feel the best I've ever felt in my life and the Lord has given me extra strength and given our team extra strength. We are going to carry on. We're going to carry on by the grace of God and with your help, by your prayers and your support carrying this gospel throughout the world.
And then the last thing that we're to do, we're to prepare with urgency. Jesus said, "Therefore, be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh". "In such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh". Are you ready? What do you have to do to be ready? First, repent of your sins, but you say, how do you do that? You say, "Lord, I'm sorry. I'm willing to change my lifestyle. I'm willing to change my way of thinking and living and I'm ready to bring my whole life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I'm changing my priorities". That's repentance.
You can do that today, right now, today. Secondly, by faith you receive Christ as your Lord and your Savior. Maybe you've already done that when you joined a church, but you want to reconfirm that commitment because you're really not sure. You see, you can be a member of the church and not have a personal daily relationship with Christ and you're not sure that you have that relationship, His peace and His joy and His love is not yours and the assurance is not there. And on this wonderful glorious afternoon, you'd like to make sure.
I'm going to ask you to do something that we've seen thousands of people do during the past few days. I'm going to ask hundreds of you to get up out of your seat and come and stand in front of this platform and after you've come and stood here, I'm going to say a word to you and have a prayer with you and give you some literature to help you in your Christian life before you go. If you're with friends or relatives, they'll wait on you where you are. If you've come in a bus, they'll wait and I'm going to ask that no one leave the stadium. The temptation is to run and get ahead of everybody else, but please stay where you are. This is a holy moment. This is a moment of eternity with thousands of people here.
Why do I ask you to come? Every person Jesus called in the New Testament, He called publicly. He said, if you're not willing to openly acknowledge me before men, I'll not acknowledge you before my Father, which is in heaven. There's something about coming forward and standing here publicly that settles it and seals it in your life and many people have already started. You come from this great stand back here, get up and come quickly. It'll take you about two minutes to come, so start now. Quickly, you come.
You're that are watching by television can see that hundreds of people are coming down every aisle in this great stadium to make their commitment to Jesus Christ. You make that commitment where you are now. Let Him come in as your Lord and Master and be prepared for that great day because you see, He may not come in your lifetime, but if he doesn't, when you die, that's the end of the world for you. Are you ready for that event? You can make ready right now. Just receive Christ into your heart.