Billy Graham - What You Cannot Do Without
Now I want you to turn with me if you will to the ninth chapter of the Book of Hebrews. The ninth chapter of the Book of Hebrews. And I'll come to the text a little bit later. I want to speak tonight on the subject, three things, three things you cannot do without. Three things you cannot do without. My father was not a poor man. He was not a wealthy man, he would be called middle income. He made whatever you can make on a two or three hundred acre red dirt farm in North Carolina. I never did look at his bank account, never knew how much he made. He seemed to have enough on the table. And we always had one suit of clothes a year. And we had five cents of ice cream every Saturday night. And we did pretty well.
Look at the Waltons, you'll see a little bit about how we lived in those days in the mountains of North Carolina. You know, Immanuel Kant once said, "A man is rich not by what he owns, but by what he can do without". You're not rich by what you own, but what you can do without. I've always remembered that statement. And as we're entering a recession I guess we're in one, or a depression whatever you call this that we're in, you'd be amazed at what you can do without.
We may have to go back and live like we lived when I was a boy, but I'll tell you, you could walk down the streets of all the towns around there and you wouldn't be afraid of being hit over the head or mugged. You never heard of a rape, I guess they had 'em. I never heard of 'em. I don't ever recall hearing about a murder in our community. And somehow or another, we children thought we were the happiest people in the world. And we had to work from three in the morning till sunset. My mother always served breakfast at 5:30 every morning. And we didn't know how bad off we were.
Now the Bible says there are at least three things you can't do without if you are to have joy and peace and assurance and your sins forgiven and to know that you're going to heaven. What are they? The first one is found in Hebrews 9:22. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. In other words if Jesus Christ had not gone to the cross and shed his blood for your sins, you could never have forgiveness. You would be a lost soul. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness," because from Genesis to revelation blood is shed. And why, Leviticus 17:11, Moses said, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood. And I've given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul".
Now if you're an average person you have five quarts of blood circulating in your body every twenty-three seconds. Blood carries the garbage out without contamination. It's the most mysterious substance in the whole anatomy. Nobody exactly knows all about the blood. And we're all related by blood. You may be a black man, a brown man, a yellow man, whatever your background you are related to me by blood. Our blood can, if it's the same type can be interchanged within the races. The scripture says, the apostle Paul said, "God hath made of one blood all the nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth".
When I have a blood transfusion, as I've had on several occasions when I've had operations, I didn't ask him what's the color of the man's skin that blood came out of? I just wanna get it in there as fast as I can. Our blood, we're related, we're related to Adam. Adam and Eve were the first parents. And Adam and Eve sinned against God and they broke God's law, they rebelled against God and then an interesting thing happened. They tried to cover their sins with fig leaves. And they couldn't do it. And you know what God did? God went out and slew some animals and blood was shed and God was teaching man from the Garden of Eden to this very hour that if you're to have forgiveness of sin, blood has to be shed.
And you go all the way down through the Old Testament it's the same thing. Or go in the New Testament it's the same thing. When Cain and Abel, they were the first sons of Adam and Eve, Cain came along and brought his sacrifice but there was no blood in it. Abel brought his and there was blood in it. God accepted Abel's and rejected Cain's. And Cain got mad and became jealous of his brother and killed him and you had the first murder in the history of the human race according to the Bible.
And then you remember that night in Egypt, God said I'm going to kill as a judgment in Egypt, the first born of every house in all of Egypt. And every Jew remembers that even to this hour and they celebrate it every year. I want you to take some blood and animals, slay an animal, take the blood and put it on the doorpost. And when I see the blood, I'll pass over. Not when I see your good works, not when I see how rich you are, not when I see what church you belong to, but when I see the blood I'll pass over. Why? You go to the communion on Sunday and you take of the wine or the grape juice, whatever your church serves. That wine or that grape juice stands for blood. The blood that was shed on the cross.
John the Baptist cried out, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world". Why did he call him a lamb? Because as a lamb he was going to the cross, his blood was to be shed for your sins, he takes away the sins of the world. And that blood tonight can cleanse every sin you've ever committed. There's power in the blood. "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness".
Do you want forgiveness tonight? Do you want forgiveness of every single sin? Because you see you cannot get into heaven if you're guilty of a single sin when you get to the entrance of heaven. Every sin has to be forgiven. And there's no way for sin to be forgiven except by Jesus Christ's work on the cross. Now blood of course is symbolic in the Bible, it means the life of Christ was given for us at the cross. And when he died on that cross and shed that blood God accepted that sacrifice instead of you having to make a sacrifice. In other words you won't have to spend a day at the judgment. You won't have to spend one day in hell. You will be forgiven as though you had never sinned by the blood.
"Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". The scripture says "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without stain". One of the most popular songs a couple years ago was "Oh happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away". And in Revelation 12, we read "They overcame:" how? "By the blood of the lamb". "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". Jesus paid the ransom.
I read the other day about this Italian playboy that was kidnapped and they're holding him right now for ransom for sixteen million dollars. And there's a popular song right now also that says don't pay the ransom. But if Jesus had not been willing to go to that cross and pay the ransom with his own blood, you couldn't be saved. You couldn't have forgiveness. And on the cross God is saying something to all of us, he's saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you so much that I'm willing to see my only Son die". The angels couldn't believe it. They pulled their swords, seventy-two thousand of them, ready to come and sweep this whole planet into oblivion and rescue the Son of God. But he never called them. He said, "I came to do the will of my father". He died and he shed his blood on that cross for you and without the shedding of blood you could not be forgiven.
The second thing that you can't do without. Hebrews 11:6, Hebrews 11:6: just turn a couple pages over. Hebrews 11:6: "Without faith it is impossible to please him". Now Christ has already done the work on the cross. But now comes your part. Without faith you cannot please him. Hebrews 11 has been called God's hall of fame and after this passage some of the men and women of faith are listed like Noah and Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Jacob and Joseph and Moses and even a prostitute, Rahab. Because she too believed in God. And proved her faith by her works. But you say what is faith? I've committed all kinds of sins and I know that I have to have the blood and now I find out I have to have faith. What is faith? How do I get this faith?
Do you know what faith is? I'm not sure I can explain it all to you, but faith is believing and receiving what God has revealed. What God has revealed in this book. What God has revealed in nature. What God has revealed in conscience. And it can be defined as that trust in the God of the scriptures and in Jesus Christ whom he sent for salvation. Faith is personal trust apart from any works in Jesus Christ. I cannot work my way to heaven. After I received Christ as Savior I prove that I'm a Christian by my works. But you cannot do one single thing to earn one minute in heaven. "For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly his faith is counted for righteousness".
My salvation does not depend on even one percent of what I do or am. It depends entirely on the work of Jesus Christ at the cross and the fact that I have received him as my Lord and my Savior. But after I'm saved I am sinning every minute and every day if I'm not working for my Savior. And abiding in him. "And faith without works is dead," said James. Now the Bible teaches that faith is the only approach to God. "For he that cometh to God must believe that he is". And the Bible tells us that faith is commanded. Jesus said have faith in God and that's an imperative there in Matthew or Mark 11. And then on another occasion John said, and this is his commandment, this was the commandment of Jesus, "That we should believe on the name of his son Jesus Christ".
It's a command, God commands you, he commands you. He gives you an order, believe, believe, believe, believe. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved". There's no other way that you can approach God, no other way you can know God, no other way you can come in contact with God except through faith. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," Romans 5:1. What is faith? The reception of the Gospel, confidence in God and his word. Being confident of this very thing. A total dependence on Christ for our forgiveness and for the fulfillment in our lives.
Did you ever hear the story of John Paton? The great missionary in the New Hebrides. He was translating the scriptures trying to learn their language. And he couldn't translate the word faith and he worked on it for months and months and months and he couldn't find a word for faith. And one day he saw a man lying on a low reclining chair that supports the weight of the whole body. And John Paton said, "What are you doing"? And the man said, "Reclining". Paton jumped up and he said, "I've got my word for faith! It's reclining on Jesus". And here's how he translated it: for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever reclineth his whole weight upon him shall not perish but have everlasting life. He that reclineth his whole weight upon him is not condemned but he that reclineth not his whole weight upon him is condemned already because he hath not reclined his whole weight upon the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Have you reclined your whole weight upon Christ and Christ alone? Or are you counting on a little bit of your own goodness and counting on a little bit of churchanity. I can't go down here to a church and get on a pew and recline on the pew and say I'm saved. This pew is saving me. No it's not. You recline on Christ. Your faith is in Christ, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's faith. Faith means that I receive and that I do something about it. I'm asking you tonight to put your whole weight on Jesus Christ, Jesus plus nothing. Just Jesus.
And then the third thing that you cannot do without. First, "Without the shedding of blood there's no forgiveness of sin". Second, "Without faith you cannot please him". Thirdly, "For without me you can do nothing," John 15:5, "Without me you can do nothing". Now of course Jesus, in this chapter, is talking about the vine and the branches and he's talking about fruit bearing. In other words without me you cannot bear any fruit. After you've come to Jesus Christ as your Savior you know what happens? The Holy Spirit comes to live in your heart.
Now the Holy Spirit is the representative of the Lord Jesus. Jesus Christ is at the right hand of God the Father, he went away. He sent the Spirit of God here to this earth. The moment you receive Christ, the moment you put your whole weight on Christ, the Spirit of God comes to live within you and he lives through you and in you and he lives the Christian life through you. Now one of the most important chapters in all the Bible is this fifteenth chapter of John. And those of you that come forward tonight we're going to give you a Gospel of John and I hope you'll read this chapter right away. Because it's an important picture of our Lord Jesus Christ and our relationship to him.
You see this is the grapevine that he's talking about, and grapevines were grown all over Palestine in those days. And they needed a lot of attention, they grew fast and they were drastically pruned every December and January. And they bore two kinds of branches, those grapevines. One was fruit-bearing and the other bore no fruit at all. So the branches that bore no fruit were drastically pruned back so that they would drain away none of the strength from the root and from the vine itself.
Now the wood of the vine has the curious characteristics that it wasn't good for anything. It was too soft for any purpose so they would take these false branches, these branches that didn't bear anything and have a big bonfire with them. And Jesus says his followers are like that. Some of them are lovely, fruit-bearing branches of himself, others are useless because they bear no fruit. And Christians, professing Christians, whose Christianity consists of just professing without practice, words without deeds. I believe the Bible from cover to cover and I believe the cover because it says holy Bible somebody said.
A man told me, "He said I'm a Fundamentalist with a big F". And he looked as mean as I've ever seen, he meant it too and he was. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you're right with God. You've got to prove it by bearing fruit. You've got to prove it by bearing fruit, what kind of fruit? The Fruit of the Spirit, love and joy and peace and gentleness and longsuffering, all those fruits of the spirit. They are to characterize the true believer in Jesus Christ. "By their fruits ye shall know them," said Jesus. By their fruits ye shall know them.
There are many of you here tonight, you look like a Christian, you act like a Christian in many ways. But deep inside there's no abiding in Christ. There's no life, there's no sap. The fruit isn't there. Three ways in which we can be useless branches. One, you can refuse to listen to Christ at all. Second, you can listen and then render him lip service, unsupported by deeds. Thirdly, you can accept him as master and make him Lord of your life, because when you come to Jesus Christ you not only accept him as Savior, but you accept him as Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He must be Lord of your eyes, Lord of your ears, Lord of your tongue, Lord of your hands, Lord of your feet, Lord of your pocketbook, Lord of your bank account, Lord of your family. He's first in every area of your life. Is he in yours? Or are you among the branches that need to be cut off? And he said that he cuts them off, he prunes them back and they're thrown into the fire. Always remember that the branch that bears no fruit must be destroyed if the rest of the vine is to be preserved. Even among true believers that's true because we have in the Bible a very strange passage that I don't have time at this moment to go into. The sin unto death. I believe that there are Christians, true believers, that many times die before their time.
Are you abiding in Christ? Jesus withdrew himself into solitary places to meet God. And we must do the same thing. We must keep contact with him every day, it must be constant and deliberate. Never a day when we do not sense his presence. And without this abiding you cannot do anything that will be spiritually pleasing to God. Without me you can't bear supernatural fruit. But with him I can love that fellow over there that normally I wouldn't love. With him I can be gentle when normally I might want to hit him in the face. With him in my life, living through me, I can forgive the wrongs that have been done and the things that were said.
With him the life can be lived, because you see, nowhere in the New Testament does it tell me, Billy Graham, to live a Christian life. It tells me that the old Billy Graham must die and Christ must live through me and in me. He does the living through me, if I'm daily moment by moment abiding in him. It's his sap that gives me the strength and the life, the spiritual life that I must have. "By their fruits ye shall know them". "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". "Without faith I cannot please him". "Without me ye can do nothing".
I'm going to ask you tonight to receive Christ into your heart, let him forgive your sins. I'm going to ask you to recline all your weight, maybe you've put ninety percent of your weight, but I'm asking tonight all your weight on Christ. I'm asking you tonight to make him Lord, as well as, Savior of your life. You may be a member of the best church in town but you really need Christ in your heart. You may not be a member of any church. Whoever you are and whatever you are, I'm going to ask you to get up out of your seat right now, hundreds of you.
Get up and come and stand in front of this platform. And say by coming, I want Christ in my heart. I want forgiveness, I want to put my whole weight on him. And after you've all come and stood here I'm going to say a word to you and have a prayer with you. We're going to give you some literature, then you can go back and join your friends. If you've come with friends and relatives, or come in a bus, they'll wait. It won't take but just a moment in this stadium, you come quickly right now. Hundreds of you from everywhere. You may be in the choir, and you've been singing all these nights, but you're not sure that Christ is in your heart. You come, we're going to wait.
As you that are watching by television can see, there are hundreds of people here at the university of New Mexico that are coming to make their commitment to Jesus Christ. You can make your commitment where you are now. You can put your whole weight on him. And say yes, Lord Jesus, come into my life. And he will. God bless you.