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Billy Graham - The High Cost of Following Christ


Billy Graham - The High Cost of Following Christ

You that are watching by television already know, I suppose, that we're in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Tonight, I want to talk to young people primarily on "Counting the cost". What it costs to follow Jesus Christ. There's a price to be paid. And beginning at verse 27 in the 14th of Luke, we find the text. The 14th chapter of Luke, beginning at 27: "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he has sufficient money to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and counsulteth whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassador, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple".

Now all over America and throughout the world there are thousands of young people that are turning to Christ. Probably more young people turning to Christ at this moment in the United States than any other time in American history. What does it mean to come to Christ? Christ said, "Count the cost". When you come to Christ you must count the cost of your body, your mind, and your heart. Because he demands that he be Lord of all three. Lord of your body, Lord of your mind and Lord of your heart. First the body. The apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 9: "I keep my body under discipline". I keep my body under. Do you keep your body under discipline? The Bible is full of stories of people who were not able to control the passions and the appetites of the body.

Remember Eve, our first mother? She was told not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree. And she looked at the tree and she saw the forbidden fruit, which was good for food. That's the lust of the flesh. It was pleasant to the eyes, the lust of the eye. It was a tree to be desired, that's the pride of life. And because of her sin and Adam's sin in yielding to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life they were driven from the garden. And you and i, and the whole world tonight are suffering because of it. Because all the suffering and troubles in the world tonight come from the fact, that our first parents broke God's law and sinned against God and passed that disease from generation to generation down to our generation. Even death is a result of that sin.

It's not just ancient history, it's modern as you. You can read it on the front page of every newspaper everyday the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Here's what the apostle John says about it, he said, "These lusts shall pass away, but he that doeth the will of God shall abide forever". And he named all three of those lusts. They'll pass away. But if you're doing the will of God, you will abide forever. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Esau remember, sold his birthright for a mess of pottage or a mess of beans. He was hungry. And all he could think about was satisfying his hunger. Jacob wanted his birthright and he sold it. And it says, "He did eat and drink and rose up and went on his way". And many times you've done the same thing. Esau thought nothing of the moment.

Now the years came and went and he sobbed and wept bitter tears because of that one moment that he wanted food more than he wanted his birthright. And how many of us have made a shipwreck of our life in one moment? Just a moment of time, just a compromise here or there with our body. And we've lived to regret it a thousand times over. Or Samson, the strongest man in history, defeated an entire army with the jawbone of an ass. He defeated a lion in battle. But another lion, the lion of his own body he could not control. Beautiful Delilah lured him into her arms and destroyed him. He was destroyed by lust and the wrong use of sex. Then in our generation we have something sort of new, new in a way. And that is drugs, the drug culture. When I was a boy, we never thought of such things. We never heard of them. But today, we have the pushers and we have the people flying planes in loaded with them. And they're destroying the youth of our country.

Then there's the problem of sex. And what a problem that is to young people today. A sex saturated culture. But we have a lot of peer pressure today, the friends and classmates and teammates. In essence, they say conform or get lost. No one enjoys losing their friends. What does the Bible say? "Not the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness". Jude 10 says, "These be they who separate themselves sensual and not having the Spirit of God". The Bible says, "Flee fornication". That's premarital sex. Flee! The Bible says we're to run. Get away from the temptation. He that committeth fornication, or premarital sex, sinneth against not only God but your own body. The Bible warns, don't do it! Abstain!

You say, well how can you abstain in our culture? Well, I want to tell you, you can't without Christ. There're not very people that have the willpower to say no. But if you have Christ in your heart you'll have the power to say no. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape". There's always a way to escape. God provides it every time to the believer. So there's no excuse for any believer committing that sin.

Then there's another sin we don't think much about, but it's a sin, that's gluttony. One out of every three adults in this country is believed to be overweight. Now some can't help it. It's a glandular problem, perhaps. Or they inherit it from their parents, it's in the genes somehow. But I do know that the Bible speaks about it a number of times. Daniel, in Babylon, purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king's meat. Philippians 3 , the apostle Paul says, "Whose end is destruction, whose God is their appetite and whose glory is their shame". And he warned against it.

Now we have the body. Are you ready to present your body a living sacrifice to God tonight? That's what he demands if you're to follow him. If you're to come to the cross and have your sins forgiven and follow Christ, you must present your body a living sacrifice to God. And say, "Lord, here's my appetites, here's my lust, here's my body: my eyes, my hands, my feet, my private members: all yours". Then the second thing is your mind. "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," ii Corinthians 10.

Now no American has an IQ above 180. Only a dozen have about 180. Only 3,000 have 170. 5,000 - 160. 15,000 - 150. A million - 140 and so on down. But God is going to hold you accountable for the mind he has given you, whatever your IQ. Somebody said, "A penny for your thoughts". But your thoughts are worth far more than a penny in God's sight. The true wealth of your life is in your thoughts. How rich are you? The literature, the television, the radio are competing for your thoughts constantly. There was a classified ad in a newspaper which read, "For sale: encyclopedia britannica, never used. My wife knows it all". Now the Bible says, "To study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed". We ought to be studying and reading the Bible all the time in all of our spare moments. And I'm convicted sometimes when I turn the TV on and watching some program that I can't even remember and there's the Bible lying closed beside my bed or beside my chair. Because I know it's wrong and I have to confess it. I'm to study constantly all my life the Word of God.

You see, an idle mind is the devil's workshop. Give your mind to Christ. The scriptures says, "He that ruleth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a city". Your mind is a heaven or a hell all the time. Which is it? When you come to Christ you must bring your mind to him. There's a lot in the scripture to say about the mind. He's to be Lord of the mind. And Paul wrote to the Philippians and said, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise think on these things". That's what you're to be thinking аbout: pure, lovely, righteous, God. "Thou would keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee".

Keep our minds on Christ. Many minds here tonight are filled with pride and anger and envies, jealousy, lust. The remedy is to let Christ take control of the mind and bring every thought into his captivity. Paul taught, we have the mind of Christ and exhorted, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy mind". Evil thoughts are the suicide of the soul. The Bible speaks of those who have hostile minds. Minds that are blinded. Reprobate minds, doubtful minds, carnally minded. Or shaken in mind, or troubled in mind, or double minded man. Some have blown their minds on drugs. The Bible promises that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. You can have your mind tonight transformed. You can have it renewed. And surrender to Christ and the peace of God will keep your mind. Habakkuk promises, "Then shall his mind change". The Lord has actually asked you to change your mind.

See he doesn't ask you to change your heart. He asks you to change your mind. That's repentance. Change your mind, he'll change your heart. Change your mind and he will come in and regenerate you and you will be a born again person. It's the work of the Holy Spirit. We read in acts 26 , that when they were come to him, they changed their minds. It will change when you have the humility of mind and the readiness of mind, the willingness of mind to give your whole life to Christ. Paul told the Corinthians that there must be of a willing mind. Are you willing that your mind be surrendered to Christ tonight? Let him control your thinking processes. Control the things your read, the things your watch, the things you do.

Then the third: the body, the mind, the heart. The Bible says in Proverbs 6, that you have a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations. Jeremiah 17 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it"? I have a deceitful heart, I can't trust my heart. My heart was sick, 'til I came to Christ. Jesus said, "For within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, and adulteries, and fornications, and murders, and thefts and covetousness, and wickedness, and deceit, and lasciviousness, and blasphemy, and pride, and foolishness, all these evil things," he said, "Defile a man". You don't have to appoint a new committee to find out what's wrong with the world. It's the human heart, and the human mind, and the human body. It's man, man is what is wrong. The human heart is a volcano and the Bible teaches that it's far from God. "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me".

I want you to think about that a moment. You draw close to Christ with your lips, with your profession, with your mouth. But, your heart is far from him. Singing on Sunday morning, "All hail the power of Jesus' name". And you're thinking about a deal that you've got on Monday. You see, you're singing the songs of Zion, but your heart is still somewhere else. Is that true of you? How many of us are really hypocrites? If you wanna just call it what it really is and what Jesus called it. Because Jesus' great fight was with the religious leaders of his day. He didn't fight with the sinners. He loved them. It was with religious people. And I wonder if he came to central Florida tonight what he would say. Who he would talk to. Would he talk to church people and say, oh yes, you go to church and you have a lot of religiosity but you don't have the real thing. Your body, your mind, your heart doesn't really belong to me a hundred percent. He demands a hundred percent.

The Bible teaches that you have a rebellious heart. In Jeremiah 5 it says, "But this people have a revolting and a rebellious heart. They're revolted and gone". When we read the Ten Commandments and read the sermon on the mount, we say, "I don't want to keep that. I can't keep that". Of course, you can't. Nobody in this audience can keep the Ten Commandments. In fact, you can't even keep one commandment. Nobody in this audience has kept even one commandment. You say, "Well, Billy, I've never committed adultery". Haven't you? Jesus said, if you look on a woman, or a person of the opposite sex, and have lust in your heart, you've already committed it. I've never killed anybody. But if you ever hated or been jealous of someone, you've broken that commandment. But then the scripture says, suppose you have done pretty well with all of them. If you break just one commandment, tell one little lie, you've broken all the commandments. And to break the commandments is the definition of sin.

Sin is a transgression of the law. And you have broken the law of God. And all of us have to say to God as we stand in front of the cross, "I'm a sinner". I have to say it, you have to say it. Everybody here has to say it. I am a sinner. We've broken God's law. And then the Bible says, your heart can be hardened. Pharaoh hardened his heart. Now God knows the heart. He knows your heart. You don't have to sit and try to tell him and rationalize the whole thing. He knows it already. "Shall not God search this out, for he knoweth the secrets of the heart"? Psalm 44. He knows the secrets of your heart. He knows what you're hiding. He knows the things you've swept under the rug. He sees all of that. He knows the hypocrisy of it all. And he pronounces, "I the Lord search the heart". He said, "I try the heart," in Jeremiah 17. I search your heart.

Think of God searching your heart tonight and my heart. What does he find there? We would be afraid to stand before God and face the judgment with him searching our hearts and knowing our record, unless we had been to the cross and been provided with a righteousness that was not our own. That Christ provides by his death on the cross and by his resurrection from the dead. Yes, God knows your heart and he searches your heart. You can't hide from him. Because the penalty for a sinful heart is death and judgment and hell. And throughout the scriptures we have the expression, the blood of Christ. Has your heart been under the blood of Christ? Has it been cleansed by the blood?

You see, the word blood Carries with it the idea of life. When you take blood out, you take the life away. And the blood means life. Christ gave his life on the cross for you. He took your sins, your penalty, your judgment, your hell on the cross in your place. So that now you come and stand at the cross in all sincerity and give him your body, and your mind, and your heart. And he forgives all the past. He justifies you just as though you'd never committed a single sin. And he gives you a new heart, a new desire, a new joy, a new peace, and a certainty that if you died you'd go to heaven. And he writes your name in the lamb's book of life. Now the Bible says that God prepares your heart.

"The preparation of the heart in man is from the Lord," in Proverbs 16. The Bible says in acts 16, "Whose heart," concerning Lydia, "Whose heart the Lord hath opened". God will give you a new heart. Ezekiel 36:26, says, "A new heart also will I give you". Jesus said, "Except a man be born from above he cannot see the kingdom of heaven". You can be born from above and receive a new heart, and a new nature. "A good man out of the good treasures of the heart bringeth forth good things," says the scripture. Haven't you seen shops that were dirty and shabby and drab. And they were sold, or maybe a restaurant, and it has a big sign outside that says, under new management?

That's what it means when you come to Christ. You get under new management. You no longer manage your own life. God manages it. Christ manages it. The Holy Spirit within helps you to manage your life. He redecorates it. He makes it attractive. "Therefore if any man be in Christ he's a new creation". When you come to Christ, you must come with your body, your mind, and your heart. Would you do that tonight? You know you need it. And the Bible says, "He that hardeneth his heart being often reproved shall suddenly be cut off and that without remedy". The Bible says, "Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation".

Don't wait, there's no promise of tomorrow in the Bible. I'm going to ask you to come publicly in just a moment and stand in front of this platform quietly and reverently, for just a few moments. And I will say a word to you, we'll have a prayer. Then you can go back and join your friends. We'll give you some literature before you leave. And you that are watching by television, pick up that telephone and call that number that's on the screen right now. And there's somebody there that will answer. And if you call several times and it's busy, keep calling. They'll be there all evening. And make your commitment by telephone right now. Yes, I'm going to ask you to do that in a few minutes. Come and stand here. And by so coming you're saying, I give my mind, my body, my heart to Christ. I want him to be first in my life from now on. I want there to be a sign over me saying, under new management. I know my sins are forgiven. I want to go to heaven. And I wanna be sure of it. I'm going to ask you to do it in a few moments.

This is God's moment for you. The Bible says you can choose Christ or chaos, Satan or the Savior, life or death. Tonight I'm going to ask you to believe with all your heart, and all your mind, and present your body. You mentally accept the fact that Jesus Christ died and rose again for you. In your heart, you ask him to come in and be your Savior and Lord. And with your body you come forward and present yourself in person. Will you do that tonight?

I'm going to ask you right now to make that commitment. I'm going to ask you to get up out of your seat all over this stadium right now. And say, that's what I want to do. I want Christ in my heart and when I leave here tonight I want to be a new person. I want Christ to walk with me and to be with me. I give him my heart, my mind, and my body, without reservation tonight. Young man, young woman, father, mother, you may be the older generation or the younger generation but you need Christ. You get up and come right now. I'm going to ask that no one leave, no one leave the stadium. People leaving the stadium can disturb many people. Just get up and come quickly. Hundreds of you.

You that are watching by television can see that here in the tangerine bowl in Orlando, Florida, scores and even hundreds of people are coming to Christ as they have each night this past week. You can make that commitment where you are right now. Quietly in your heart and mind you can present your body, and your heart, and your mind to Christ. If you will, pick up the telephone and call someone. On that screen, you'll see a telephone number, and talk to someone. God help you to make that commitment. And be sure and go to church next Sunday.

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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