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Billy Graham - Time to Come Home


Billy Graham - Time to Come Home


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Now tonight I want you to turn with me to the fifteenth chapter of Luke's Gospel. The fifteenth chapter of Luke's Gospel and here is where Jesus is telling a story. He tells three stories. He always used stories to illustrate spiritual truth. They are called parables. And everybody likes a good story. And Jesus was accused by the Pharisees and Sadducees and some of the religious leaders of fellowshipping and talking to sinners, and they didn't think you should, and so he told this story. He told about a son that wanted to get his inheritance and leave home and it's well known around the world as the prodigal son.

It's a picture of a young man, maybe out on a farm. He has a brother, an older brother, and he goes to his father and it was the law of the land and it was the law of the day that he could ask for his inheritance and being the youngest son, he inherited one third of the estate. And his father was a wealthy man. And the father tried to talk him out of it. He said, "Dad, I'm tired of being here on the farm. I'm tired of being under your authority. I'm going to go to the big city and I'm going to live it up".

So he decided he would go to New York or he would go to some great city, and he took his money, and when he got there he found some people that were very happy to be his friends, because he had money to throw around and money to spend on them. And he took them to the best plays and he took them to the best restaurants and the best nightclubs and he had a marvelous time, for a short time. The Bible says there's pleasure in sin for a season: then it comes to an end. You can have a good time in sex, in getting drunk, I'm told. And I see it on television. They seem to be having a good time. But there comes an end to it. There's an emptiness to it. It leaves a void and you never get enough.

And he was very much like young people in our modern generation. They don't want to be told what to do and that's what young people are saying, some young people are saying, to their parents and teachers and the local police. Some of them are saying, "Have sex now, don't wait for marriage". "Buy now on credit, pay later", if you can. "Assert your independence, assert your dependence". "Do your own thing, regardless of the consequences". The Atlanta based center for disease control says that the number of American girls who are sexually active by the time they are out of high school has jumped from 28 percent in 1970 to 51 percent last year.

It's currently estimated that one in five hundred adults in the world are now infected with aids. And it's going to be an epidemic that some people feel could destroy the human race unless we find an answer to it and find it soon. This young man in Jesus' story sets out. He's going to live that kind of life. He wants all that he can get out of life, the good times. Out of sight of anyone who might know and criticize him, free to do as he pleases. There are over a million run-a-ways in the United States every year. I realize many left home because of abuse and so forth.

A recent article told of a boy who turned to life on the street when he was twelve and he said, "I was a kid in trouble. I was in trouble with the law, with drugs, with alcohol, with my mom, with school. I was both drug addict and drug dealer. I was a criminal and a victim. I was an abuser and abused". And how many of our young people have gone to the streets and left home? Street life is a dangerous business, let me tell you. One out of every three run-a-ways is lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. With the threat of aids, prostitution is a slow form of suicide. Almost all street drug users share needles. In their hunger for a fix, most ignore the precautions against aids.

Street kids die quickly and quietly, we're told in our magazines. In America, more than 5,000 teenagers a year are buried in unmarked graves, did you know that? 5,000 teenagers a year are buried in unmarked graves. Teenagers are not only, are not the only run-a-ways in our society. Hundreds of thousands of men and women run away from each other and from their marriages through divorce. One person speaking of an affluent community in southern California said, "Everyone here is running from something and this is the last stop. There isn't anywhere to go from here".

I saw a book with a title the other day in the bookshop, "Help, Lord, my whole life hurts". And how many hurting people there are here tonight. This prodigal son is a picture of all of us, because all of us in a way are running from something. Some of us have to depend on some sort of sedative just to get through the day, or some sort of jolt. Some aid to get through the day or through the night. We've aimed for our personal happiness and missed the mark of God's plan for our lives. Jesus said, "You serve me with your lips but your heart is far from me".

Many of you go to church. Most of you, I'd say, have been baptized or you have gone through confirmation, but deep inside there's a void, there's an emptiness and you are not certain that if you died at this moment you'd go to heaven. You are not sure that you are ready to meet God. You are not sure that you know Christ. You're running. All around us here tonight, those of you that are listening outside, running away from something. This boy squandered his wealth in wild living. He spent it all and had nothing to show for it. In Isaiah the 55th chapter it says, "Why spend money for what is not bread? And your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen to me and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me. Hear me that your soul may live".

When John F. Kennedy was on his way to that place in Dallas to give his last speech, the day he was assassinated, he had in his speech this passage, from Mark the eighth chapter. "For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul"? In other words, you could have the whole world, it's not worth, if you had it all, which you can't get, if you had it all, it's not worth as much as the soul that lives inside your body.

You see you have a body but living inside is your soul or your spirit: that part of you that can have fellowship with Almighty God and that's the part of you that's lost. And that's the part of you that needs renewal or dedication or redemption. And then this young man got to the city and had his wild fling: then a depression came. It wasn't a recession, it was a depression and let me tell you, I lived through the depression of the '30s and there is a great difference between a depression and a recession. What we are going through now would have been considered a great affluent depression compared to what the people of the '30s lived through in this county. And a depression could come again, we don't know.

The picture of this young man's recognition of his condition, Jesus said he began to be in need. The first thing that happened was he lost his money. He couldn't get a job. He lost his friends. They were fair weather friends and he didn't know what to do. Jesus says he began to be in need. He was hungry. And so he finally got a job feeding some hogs. And you see him in that hog pen. Here he was the son of a wealthy man. Out of his own lust and his own greed, he'd wandered away from home and now he has a job feeding pigs. But he, while there in that condition, he learned what the real life is all about. He was very humble. He became sorry.

He said, "I will arise and go to my father. My father has servants that have far more than I have. I'll go back to my father and I won't be his son anymore. I'll say, father, when I get there, I'll become a servant, if you'll only take me back". He said, "I will arise and go to my father". "Father, I have sinned against heaven", notice he said against heaven, "And in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be thy son". Here you don't find any trace of arrogance. Not trying to justify what he'd done. He realized he had sinned and he cast himself on the mercy of his father. In king David's great confession of sin in Psalm the 51st chapter, 51st Psalm, he says, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, o God, thou wilt not despise".

Because in this passage Jesus is teaching us, God is the father: he loves us: he longs for us to return: he longs for us to come back home: he wants to give you guidance in your life. He wants to give you a peace and joy and assurance that if you died, you'd go to heaven. But first there must be a change. You must turn around. That's called repentance in the Bible. "Repent", the scripture says. And so it says "And he arose and came to his father". He arose. He had to leave the pig pen. And that's why we give an invitation at all of our crusades. We give people an opportunity to take that step of repentance toward God. Many of you need to take that step tonight. Well, when you get back home, what kind of reception are you going to get? He didn't know.

So he staggered in his dirty, filthy, smelly clothes back toward the home that he had left. And the scriptures says, "But when he was yet a great way off his father saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him". God's not waiting to judge you. God's not waiting to condemn you. God loves you. He sent his son to die on the cross for you, to shed his blood for you. He wants to put his arms around you and receive you back to himself. You've wandered away from him. And he will take you and forgive you and love you and be your friend.

God is a God of love and mercy. Oh, yes, there's coming a judgment. There will be some day when you will stand before God at the great Judgment Day and you'll have to give an account of your life here and you'll have to give an account of what you did with Jesus Christ on this very night because there's going to be a judgment. But God's judgment is also tempered by his love and his mercy. He is willing to forgive you tonight. He is willing to give you a chance tonight. Today is the day of grace and salvation for all who will come, not because we deserve it but because what Christ has done for us on the cross. By the cross and the resurrection, God has provided a way for you to have peace and joy and happiness in your heart. And as you are growing up you need guidance, you need direction, not to just wander about, but some destination, something to guide you. God will guide you.

In Romans the sixth chapter it says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". In I Peter it says, "Who in his own self bear our sins in his own body on the tree that we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness". "For ye were as sheep going astray but are now returned unto the shepherd and bishop of your souls". Now he didn't come like some young person would probably come back and say, "Hi, dad! How are you? Did you miss me? Can I have my old room back"? No, he didn't come with that attitude. He came in true repentance. True repentance doesn't presume on the grace and mercy of God. Can only come when the Holy Spirit convicts you and draws you to God. Beware of the attitude that says, "I know that I'm on the wrong road but I'm not tired of it yet. I'll repent and come back to God somewhere down the line".

You may not be able to repent because the further you travel on the road away from God, the harder your heart gets and the less you think you've done anything wrong and the less you think you need to repent. You must make that choice tonight and the scripture teaches to come while you're young. Some of you think that you're too bad to come to God. Have done too many things and gone too far. If you feel a tug in your heart to make your commitment tonight, you come, because that's the work of the Holy Spirit working on you right now. I don't believe anybody is here tonight by accident. I think you're here because God saw to it that through a series of circumstances you're here on this very night. The Holy Spirit is at work urging you to come. Don't harden your heart. The Bible says, "He that hardeneth his heart, being often reproved shall suddenly be cut off and that without remedy".

Now is the time to come. Now is the time to receive. Jesus told the story of this man, this young man, because the religious leaders had accused him of associating with bad people. Jesus told them, there's great rejoicing in heaven over one person that repents. One person making his commitment tonight will cause rejoicing in heaven. You need to come home to God tonight. When that young man came, his father grabbed him in his arms, kissed him. Ordered his servants to prepare a banquet for him. Ordered that the finest robe in the house was put on him and a gold ring put on his fingers, to signify that he'd been received as his son again. He didn't take him back as a servant. He took him as a son and that's what God will do tonight for you.

Our last crusade before this was in Glasgow, Scotland. And here is a letter from Scotland that I want you to hear. This is from a girl: I think she's about nineteen, no, eighteen.

Before you came to Glasgow, I was an eighteen year old with a very big chip on my shoulder. I thought God owed me so much. I thought no one loved me. I thought there was no meaning to life. Something was missing in my life. I thought I was having a lot of fun. I was going out with the guys and getting drunk. I hated my family and felt so unloved. To be honest, I still feel unloved, even by my family. They think I'm just a loser. One of my brothers used to sexually abuse me: the other one beat me up. I feel like I have it rough with very little love in my life before this week. I'm no angel: in fact, I'm a totally awful person.

A few months ago, I was expelled from school and I was blaming drugs. My parents are still mad at me. My dad is a doctor and my mother is a teacher. They say that it looks bad on them, having a daughter like me. I don't fit in with my family. I heard you were coming to Glasgow and I said I would not go, but where I work, I was told I was assigned to do first aid every night at the crusade and I was not happy. I went on Tuesday and I mocked you. I laughed at you. I said, what does he know anyway? I said, doesn't he know God does not care for us? But I guess I was listening anyway. On Wednesday, I said, I don't deserve God's love. I never cared if anyone saw me or what anyone thought. I felt loved for the first time. And on Thursday night, I came forward and received Christ as my Savior. I want to know this God who loved me more than anything. I feel loved as I write this letter. I have been received home.


That could happen to you tonight. We receive hundreds of letters like that every week, as young and old alike come to Christ. How many divorced people meet at a crusade like this, they come to the crusade, they receive Christ and they decide to remarry. And that happens time after time after time. You say, "Well, Billy, what in the world do I have to do"? First, repent of sin. That word repent means you change your way of living and tell God that you're sorry for what you've done and you come in humility. And then the second thing is by faith you receive him. You say, "Lord, I receive you tonight".

I talked to a man today. He said, "I go to church one in a while". He said, "I burn a few candles once in a while". And he said, "I think that maybe indicates I'm a good man". I said, "You have to go further than that". You have to receive Christ into your heart and your life and make him first in every decision you make. From now on, Christ is your leader and guide and Savior. He died on the cross and shed his blood to forgive all of your sins. He rose again. He's alive. He's coming back again, and someday he's going to set up his kingdom on this earth. And we're all looking forward to that day and you can be in that kingdom beginning tonight. You don't have to wait 'til he comes back: you can come tonight and be sure.

And there are many of you here tonight that are just not certain of that. And you'd like to make sure, and you want to surrender your heart and your life to Christ. I'm going to ask you to get up out of your seat from all over the stadium and come and stand in front of the platform and say by coming, "I receive Christ into my heart".

You say, "Well, why do you ask people to come forward like this"? Because every person that Jesus called, he called publicly. Did you know that? Every one was public. There's something about making a public declaration that settles it and seals it and you're saying to God and the whole universe, "I take my stand for Christ. I receive him as my Savior and Lord and I'm going to follow him". And if you have been in the church but have wandered away from the church and away from God, come back to him tonight. He stands with open arms, ready to receive you with love and mercy and grace. You get up and come right now, hundreds of you and say tonight, "I want to follow Christ from this moment on".

There are many of you that are watching by television and you're not sure that Christ lives in your heart. You're not sure that he's your Lord and your master and the director of your life. You can make your commitment where you are.

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 PeaceWithGod.tv - We'll get the same helps to you that we give to everyone who responds at the invitation.

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