Billy Graham - What's Wrong With the World?
Now tonight I want you turn with me to Job the fourteenth chapter and the fourteenth verse, Job the fourteenth chapter, and the fourteenth verse. Now Job is in the Old Testament and it’s the oldest book in the world. There is no known book in the world as old as the book of Job. And yet, Job asks a question that I’m sure disturbs many of you tonight. He asks a question that every great philosopher has wrestled with. He asks a question that every great thinker and intellectual at some time, wrestles with. He asks the same question that one of the greatest scientists in this country asked me about three weeks ago. He said science knows nothing about it but he said, “I’m disturbed about it and worried about it.” Here is the question. If a man die, shall he live again? If a man die, shall he live again?
The problem of death and life. Or life and death. Haven’t you ever thought about that? You’ve been to a funeral, for a few moments you’re solemn, you’re thoughtful. That night you go back, you go to bed, you think about it. One of these days they’re going to be taking me out to the cemetery. They’ll be saying some words over me. Is that the end? Is it all over? You know what the Bible says? The Bible says there’s a time to be born and a time to die. Birth is a happy event. Death is a tragic event and we have tears. You take the fifth chapter of Genesis and you’ll see the list of all those men that lived to be old men.
Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years, but he died. Methuselah lived to be nine hundred and sixty-nine years, but he died. I read about a man the other day in Brazil that they claim lived a hundred and thirty-four years, but he died. At the end of every life is death. Life is very brief. The Bible says it’s a tale that is told. It’s a weaver’s shuttle. It’s a flower that fades. It’s like the grass that withers.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow expressed it once when he said, “Art is long, and time is fleeting and our hearts though stout and brave, still like muffled drums are beating funeral marches to the grave.” And that’s exactly where we’re all headed. It’s appointed unto man once to die. Thou shalt die and not live. Now the question is, “Are you ready to meet God?” Because the Bible says, “It’s appointed unto man once to die, but after that the judgement.” There is something after death according to this book.
Now again, I say I can’t it to a scientific laboratory and prove it to you, but this book teaches from Genesis to Revelation that this life is only a preparation room for eternity. There is another life. The Old Testament teaches it. The New Testament teaches it. Jesus taught it. The apostles taught it. If a man dies, shall he live again? That’s the question Job asks. That’s the question millions are asking tonight and the answer from the Bible is a resounding yes. Yes, there is a life after death. If a man dies, shall he live again?
Cicero, the great Roman said, upon this subject, "I entertain no more than conjecture. I spent a great deal of my life searching for the answers". Mrs. Roosevelt, Eleonor Roosevelt, in one of her columns a few years ago said, “It’s instinctive for man to believe in life after death.” And it is. You never find a tribe anywhere in the world, you never find a culture, you never find a civilization anywhere in history that didn’t believe in some form of life after death. And when the early forefathers and Pilgrims came to this country, they thought they had found some tribes in New England that didn’t believe, tribes of Indians that didn’t believe in life after death, but they soon found when they communicated with them that they believed in the happy hunting ground. Yes, man instinctively, something down inside says there must be a future life. There must be something beyond this life. But, after all, there is only one authoritative person that can speak on this subject because He came from the grave. He rose, and his name was Jesus Christ.
About two or three years ago I had the privilege of having an interview with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in his last year in office as Chancellor of Germany. He had invited me. I was preaching in Germany. He’d invited me to come and see him and I didn’t know what about. I was quite surprised and, of course, flattered to get the invitation. And I went. He greeted me. Big, tall giant of a man. The man that had almost singlehandedly brought democracy back to Germany after the war. And I wondered what does this great man want of me?
The first question he asked me was this. He said, “Do you believe in life after death?” I said, “Yes, sir, I do.” I said, “I believe the Bible teaches it.” He said, “I do, too.” He said, “I am studying the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” And he said, “When I leave office as chancellor, I intend to spend the rest of my life studying the resurrection of Christ, because", he said, “if Christ is alive, there is hope in the world.” He said, “If Christ is not alive, there is no hope that I can see that civilization can be saved.”
Wasn’t that something? Yes, Jesus Christ is alive. He rose from the dead and that day, that Easter Sunday morning, That first Easter when Mary, and Mary Magdalene and Salome went to the grave expecting to anoint a dead body, they saw the angel sitting there and they said, “Where is Jesus?” The angel said, “He is not here. He is risen.” I submit to you tonight that that’s the greatest news the world has ever heard. He is not here. He has conquered the grave. He’s alive.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that there is more proof that Jesus Christ rose from the dead than almost any other fact in Roman history. I don’t believe there is a fact in ancient history today so well proven as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But even if there is no proof, no historical proof, no scientific proof, and there is, I would still believe it because I believe this book is God’s inspired word and the whole early church went up and down the country preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That was the thing that shook the Roman empire. That a man had risen from the dead. That he was alive. That death could not hold him. Christ is alive. He’s a living Savior.
And yet many of his followers and Christians live and act as though he’s dead. He’s not dead. He is alive. And the Bible says that at a given moment, a given signal, He’s coming back to this earth to set up His kingdom. And what a Kingdom it’s going to be. It will be a world in which there will be no tears, no sorrow and no death. There’ll be no suffering, there'll be lno war, There will be no police forces. There will be no armies. It is going to be a glorious world ruled by one person, The Lord Jesus Christ. He’s alive. I’ve given my life not to a dead Christ, but to a living Christ and I’m following a living Savior And he’s given me a song to sing. He’s given me a flag to follow. He’s given me something to believe. I have reason for existence. I know where I’ve come from. I know why I’m here. I know where I’m going. Do you?
God said, “Hezekiah, get your house in order. You’re going to die.” Now you and I are going to die, because, you see, The Bible teaches that you and I have a body, but living inside our body is the real you, your real person, and that’s the part of you that lives forever. Your body is going to go to the grave, but you, the real you, your intelligence, your memory, your personality is going to live forever and ever. According to the Bible, you will never die. and you’re going to spend a million years, a billion years, in one of two places, according to Jesus. Not according to Billy Graham, but according to Jesus. Jesus talked a great deal about heaven, but he talked three times more about hell than he did heaven.
The other writers of the Bible don’t have too much to say about hell, but Jesus talked about it all the time. In the Sermon on the Mount, I’ve had fellows say I don’t believe in hell, I live by the Sermon on the Mount. Well, you’ve never read the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus talked about it. Now what did he mean by it? He said, "The Son of Man shall send forth His angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity and shall cast them into the furnace of fire and there shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth". What did he mean?
Matthew 25:41, “Then shall he say unto them on his left hand depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” What did he mean? He is saying that hell was never made for man. He is saying that God will never send anybody to hell. If man goes to hell, he goes by his own free choice. Hell was created for the devil and his angels. Not for man. God never meant that a man should go there. And God has done everything within his power to keep you out. He even gave His Son to die on that cross to keep you out. Because, you see, when God made you, he made you a free moral agent. You can live any kind of life you want to. You can live a good life; you can live a bad life. You can break God’s laws; you can obey them. You can shake your fist in God’s face and there’s nothing God can do because when he created you, he gave you a gift of free choice. You’re not a robot that you push a button and you jump and obey. You’ve got a right to resist God, to reject God.
But the Bible says in spite of our rebellion and rejection, God loves you. He loves you so much that he gave His Son to die for your sins and when Christ died on that cross, we don’t understand all that happened on that cross, but we know one thing, that he took the hell and the judgement that you deserve, and I deserve because of our sins, He took it on that cross. And that’s why that terrible expression from his lips, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” Because you see the very meaning of hell is separation from God. And in that terrible moment a shadow passed between God, the Father and God, the Son for the first time since eternity began.
Christ dying for you and he suffered the pangs of hell. He became guilty of lying. He became guilty of slander. He became guilty of jealousy. He became guilty of the most filthy, dirty sins and when those sins came into his soul, your sins and my sins came into his soul., God could not look because God cannot look upon iniquity, God is so holy. Christ took the hell that you and I deserve on that cross. Now God says receive him, believe in him, put your trust and your confidence in him and I will forgive your sins and I will guarantee you eternity in a place called heaven. It’s all yours and it’s all free. All you have to do is receive it. What an offer. He offers you tonight eternal life. Now eternal life doesn’t begin the moment you die. Now when you die, as a Christian, eternal life doesn’t begin there. Eternal life begins the moment you receive Christ.
Now many of you here in South Carolina and in North Carolina and all over the country have been reared in Christian homes. Or you go to a church. You live a fairly decent life and you’re sort of living on the reflected afterglow of your parents' religion, but you’ve never really received Christ for yourself. You’ve never really trusted him for yourself. You don’t know Him really. You’re not really sure that you’re ready to meet God and the Bible says, "Prepare to meet thy God". Are you prepared? Are you sure you’re prepared? You know the Bible says, “These things I write unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
I can stand here without being egotistical, without being conceited. I can stand here tonight and say to you on the authority of this book, I know my sins are forgiven. I know I’m going to heaven. I know that I’m going to live as long as God lives because the moment I received Christ, I became a partaker of God’s own life. Now I’m going to live a billion years and I’ll only have begun. I know that. Not because of any goodness of my own. I’m not going to heaven because I’ve lived a good life. I’m not going to heaven because I’ve preached to great crowds of people. I’m going to heaven because of what Christ did on that cross.
“For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourself, nor of works, lest any man should boast". We’re not going to heaven because we’re good. We’re not going to heaven because we work. We’re not going to heaven because we pay. We’re going to heaven because of what he did on the cross and all I have to do is receive it. And it’s so simple to receive Christ that millions stumble over its very simplicity. You see God made it so simple that children can believe. He made it so simple and easy that a blind man, a deaf man, a dumb man can believe. A man of any race can believe. A man of any nationality, of any language can believe and that’s all God says you have to do to get to heaven. Just believe.
Now that word believe is a little more than maybe you think it is. It means commitment. It means surrender. It means that I give everything I have to Jesus Christ and trust him alone for my forgiveness and my salvation. It means that the moment you receive him your name is written in the book of life. Is your name in the book of life? Are you sure you’re going to heaven? Are you prepared to meet God? If there is the slightest doubt in your heart tonight that you’re prepared to meet God don’t you dare leave here without settling it. Why? Because you may never have another hour or another moment like this. You can’t come to Christ any time you want to. The Bible says, “He that hardeneth his heart, being often reproved, shall suddenly be cut off and that without remedy.”
Thousands of people have prayed for this crusade. The Spirit of God has brought you here. Hundreds of people have come to Christ already in this crusade. The way is prepared, your heart is prepared. The Spirit of God is speaking tonight. This is the hour; this is the moment and you may never have this moment quite like this again. I’m going to ask you to commit your life to Christ, to make sure that your name is written in the book of life, to make sure that you’re going to heaven and to receive tonight eternal life.
And here’s the way we’re going to do it. I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat right now, hundreds of you, get up out of your seat and come and stand in front of this platform right now, quietly and reverently. I’m going to ask that nobody leave the service, please. Get up out of your seat, men, women, young people. You may be members of the church, you may be an usher, you may be a choir member. Get up out of your seat and come and stand here. And after you’ve stood here, I’m going to say a word to you, have a prayer, give you some literature and you can go back and join your friends. That’s all there is to it. But it’s very important that you come and make this public declaration.
Jesus said if you’re not willing to acknowledge me before men, I will not acknowledge you before my Father which is in heaven. You get up and come right now. There is something about coming forward that settles it and seals it in your heart. You get up and come, quickly. Now I’m going to ask that everyone be in prayer. Bow your heads and pray. Pray for the person to the right of you and left of you, in back of you and in front of you. Perhaps no one ever prayed that they would come to Christ before. Many people are already on the way. You get up and join them and come. What an hour, what a moment for you to come to Christ. We’re going to wait as you come.
To you that have been watching by television, you’ll be leaving the service now in just a moment. You can make the same commitment and the same decision that these are making. And the same Christ that will come into their hearts and give them assurance will do the same for you. You may be sitting in a bar somewhere. Maybe you’re in your living room at home or maybe you’re in a friends’ home. Maybe you’re in some unusual place that I couldn’t even think of at the moment. And you need Christ, and you need God in your life. You can receive him right now and He can bring about a tremendous change. And then go to church on Sunday. Have a talk with the minister. Tell him the decision that you’ve made and get to work for Christ. and live in this brand-new dimension of living; the spiritual dimension. Good night and God bless you.