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Forgiveness – Billy Graham

Let’s welcome Greg Buchanon tonight to the Crusade for State. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ, I grew up in Southern California. I’m thirty three years old, and as I look back through my life, I realized I was blessed with above average opportunities to succeed in life. My parents were sacrificially giving to both my older sister and myself. And remember, I had a chance to study the performing arts at a very early age. I started piano at three and my older sister started playing harp.

And then when I was nine, I started playing the harp and I remember having a godly grandmother who used to tell me about the love of Jesus. And I remember when I was a kid, my grandmother in my family took me to a Billy Graham revival meeting in Los Angeles. I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. But I wasn’t to be born again of the spirit of God until much later in my life. I remember being frustrated that I was overweight and felt bad about myself.

I felt sort of out of it at school when you were young, overweight, hyperactive boy, and you play the harp sometimes you’ll have social problems at school. But something happened when I was 13 that was going to drastically change the course of my life. I was introduced to alcohol for the very first time and to make a long story short and to spare me the gory details the next 15 years of my life, even though I pursued a successful career of music, even with that, my life was plagued with alcoholism and drug addiction.

The story is very grim, and I ended up in mental hospitals and jails and got involved in the occult and my life just kept getting worse and worse and worse. Christians from time to time would witness to me and tell me that Jesus loved me anyway. But by the time I was twenty seven, I was so far gone that I was studying the occult and even into witchcraft and very suicidal, very discouraged about life. But then the grace of God, the providence of God brought me to a meeting down in Hollywood and October 17th, 1981, on a Saturday night at 10:00 in the evening after going to a beautiful praise service where they were using music to glorify Jesus Christ.

And I heard the gospel again. And that night, by the grace of God, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord. I asked Jesus Christ to be my savior. And he saved my soul. I immediately had a desire to join a Bible believing church, to read the Bible, started to learn to pray. I wish I could say I didn’t have any problems. I was having some really tough times.

As matter of fact, after I was baptized, I fell back into drinking for a while, but I asked for help and asked for prayer. And on May 28th, about seven months after I became a Christian, the Lord God Almighty and direct answer to prayer by the power of his Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ, delivered me from drug addiction, alcoholism. And I stand here today sober and in my right mind because Jesus still delivers alcoholics and drug addicts.

Soon after that, I was called to the HARP Ministry. Then the Lord brought me a beautiful wife and now I have a son 16 months old. I don’t understand it all, but I know one thing. The grace of God is very, very powerful and God is sovereign. And He is good and he is merciful. And I praise the Lord that I’m here tonight. I’d like to share my favorite Bible verse with you, which is in the book of Ephesians, the second chapter verses eight nine, where the Bible says, for it is by grace that you have been saved through faith.

And this not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can both praise the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, the first chapter of Romans, beginning with verse twenty six for this cause, God gave them up antiviral affections for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise, also the men leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemingly and receiving in themselves that recompense of their era, which was meat.

And even as they did not retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient, being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness full of envy. Murdoch debate deceit malignity, whispers back Vytas haters of God, this spiteful, proud boasters, inventors of evil things disobedient to parents without understanding covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable unmerciful who, knowing the judgment of God that they commit such things, are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them to do them.

That last part frightens me because when you watch the television on film and you see all of these things going on and you have pleasure in it and you get a vicarious thrill out of it, then you are equally guilty or I’m equally guilty.

And that bothers me when I watch some things on television. You know, I had the privilege of seeing Mr. Kenyata in his last year as president of Kenya, and I’ll never forget that day when we met him and then his daughter gave a marvelous luncheon for us.

She was the mayor of Nairobi. And I remember that they accused him of being head of the Mamou. And, of course, he disliked the British when the British ruled Kenya. And there was all kinds of guerrilla activities going on and many deaths and many people were murdered. And when the British finally decided to pull the flag down and turn it over to the people, Mr. Kenyatta was elected president of Kenya and he got up on the radio. They didn’t have television in Kenya at that time.

And he got on the radio and he addressed the nation. And the British were frightened as to what he would say because they thought they might be a great slaughter of British people. And Mr. Kenyatta made this, made his address. And then he said toward the end of his address, I forgive you. You have accused me of many things and you put me in prison and I’ve suffered much.

But he said, I want you to know I forgive you. Will you forgive me?

And all over Kenya, there was a relaxation and prayers of Thanksgiving because two sides were forgiving each other. And Kenya has become one of the great countries of all of Africa and certainly one of the great democracies in Africa. Mr Moyet is now the president of Kenya and he was vice chairman of our last crusade in Nairobi because a man had to stand up and ask the people to forgive him. There have been many terrible people that have lived in history, that have lived every bit of what I’ve just read 21 things that the apostle Paul is indicting people out here.

One was Hitler. We all know what Hitler did. I’ve been through those camps in Poland and in Germany and all over where those concentration camps for Jews and other people were. And I’ve seen something of it. I remember the first time we went to Auschwitz and I was supposed to make a speech and I remember that we took they took a wreath for me to lay. And my wife and I walked up in front of a lot of cameras and I turned around to make my speech after we’d seen all the horrors that went on in Austria.

And I was so moved emotionally, I really couldn’t give my speech. I had to read it. I could not see it. Could not give it as I had planned to give it, and then there was Stalin who came along in the Soviet Union and Mao Zedong in China and many others in our time that have killed thousands and millions of people and tortured them. And there are many thousands of people in prison still today that are political prisoners, religious prisoners and so forth.

We had a man here the other night that spent 20, 16 years in solitary confinement in one country. And that night here in this place, he made his commitment to Jesus Christ and he had thought his way through in that prison in 16 years, and he decided to make a commitment to Christ. I want to speak tonight from Second Chronicles, the third chapter about a man that I think was probably more wicked, more terrible than Stalin or Hitler.

And his name was Monastir. He was the son of Hezekiah. And Hezekiah was one of the best kings that Judah Israel ever had. He labored mightily for his country, brought reforms and turned the people back to God. But then it came time for Hezekiah to die. And he prayed, Oh, God, don’t let me die, please. Oh, Lord, spare my life. So the Lord spared him for 15 years. And a few years later, in that 15 year period was born my Nasser, who became the wickedest of all the kings.

Some people lived too long.

I know people now that I think would have died much. It’s been much better had they died earlier. That’s right. But has the car also opened the doors and showed all the treasures that Juda had to the Babylonians and they came in later on the Nebuchadnezzar and stole all that, they said we want the riches of Jerusalem and Judah, and they took it. But having lived a full life, the Lord had said to has the set your house in order for thou shalt not live, but his car would not accept the will of God.

And so he turned to God and begged him to live. He refused to accept death and he did not set his house in order. Yes, I think some people do live too long. Vanessa became king at the age of 12, and he set himself to undo all the good things that his father had accomplished. He was a very wicked man. The Bible says that he was guilty of some of the worst idolatry in the history of all of Israel or Judah.

He set up gods everywhere, even in the temple of God, of the gods where people worshipped. And idolatry is anything that comes between you and God. It’s where our self is preferred over God, so that all of us here can say in one sense, we’ve been guilty in one time or another of idolatry. And God hates idolatry more than any other sin. And under the law of Moses, the man could be stoned to death for being for engaging in idolatry covetousness.

The Bible says this idolatry. If you covid if you have greed. And it becomes a sin in your life. It can become idolatry, and when the apostle Paul was walking around in Athens in his day, he looked at a city, the Bible says, giving holy to idolatry. And Paul warned the Corinthian Greeks flee from idolatry in First Corinthians 10. And Paul defined a Christian to the Thessalonians as someone who had turned to God from idolatry to serve the living and the true God.

Are you guilty of idolatry? Is covetousness a part of your life? Is greed a part of your life? The Bible says, keep yourself from idols in first John fight, keep yourself from those idols is that little box that we call television. Is that your idol? You spend time quietly worshipping in front of it. You spend more time with it than you do with the Lord in prayer or study of the Bible.

What is your idol we have today almost a worship of film stars, television stars, sports figures, all the rest of it. We can’t help but have people in our day that have made instant celebrities on television. And we look to them and we think, oh, wouldn’t it be great to be like one of them? I wish you could talk to some of them, how miserable many of them really are, how empty they are.

I talked to a man today that’s in a show tonight, somewhere around Denver. He happened to be going up on the elevator where we’re staying. And I talked to him and he said, Mr. Graham, I’d much rather be coming out to hear you tonight. He said, I need what you got. I said, can you come tomorrow night? He said, I’m certainly going to try. I hope he does. What is the thing that means more to you?

Is it your bank account? Is it sex? Is a drink? Is it drugs? Is it sensual pleasure? What is it? What is it that causes you to be an idolatry? And then the second thing that the master was guilty of was immorality. He built altars to Ashtar Bayle file and obscene orgies they had and priests would cut themselves and beat themselves and then commit immorality with the temple priestesses or prostitutes of the temple the same. Today we see it everywhere.

The Bible speaks of an evil, an adulterous generation. Matthew twelve thirty nine. And Peter speaks of an unregenerate society having eyes full of adult adultery, and that cannot cease from sin. You want to give it up, but you can’t. The relationships you need to break to save your marriage, but you can’t have thoughts that you have in your mind you’d like to get rid of and be dominated by the thinking of Christ. Let this mind being you, which is also in Christ Jesus.

But you can’t do that. You have no power.

If you come to Christ tonight and open your heart to him, he’ll give you a supernatural power, the Holy Spirit, that can help you break away from those relationships, break away from those things that are wrong. Break away from those things that come between you and God. Ezekiel wrote of those who were old in adultry age will not cure you. You may think it will, but it won’t because our hearts become hard. And the Bible says he’s at heart and it his heart, being often reproved, shall suddenly be cut off.

And that without remedy, you can come to a meeting like this and harden your heart. You can hear the gospel and your heart gets a little bit harder. And some time you may want to answer the call to Christ, but it may be too late. Is that possible? We’ll see in a moment. And then minus I had religion. He had religion. Even the devil believes Nicodemus came to Jesus and he was a religious leader. And he began to ask Jesus some spiritual quest, the religious questions.

And Jesus said, Nicodemus, you need to be born again. You’re a religious leader. But that’s not enough.

You go to the temple several times a week, you tithe all that you have, you’re a good man, but that’s not enough. You need the new birth. You need the Holy Spirit to come from above and change your whole direction of living and change your heart and change your spirit and change your relationship to God. Judas was religious. He was the treasurer of Jesus little band. The other disciples didn’t guess that he was a traitor, but he betrayed our law and became one of the great people of history that we look down on as a great traitor.

James won twenty six tells us of the men who say who may seem to be religious but deceive with his own heart. This man’s religion is vain, the scripture says. Jesus said they serve me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. How many of you are like that? You go to church, you serve God with your lips, you sing the songs, you say the creeds. But your heart doesn’t belong to Christ. He’s not the Lord of your heart.

And then, man, that’s also worshipped images and disobedience to the second commandment. And here we read that my NASA made Israel raise up Altice for bail and made Groves and worshipped all the host of heaven and served them all. The people were worshippers. They worship the stars. They were deeply involved in the depths of what we might today call astrology. But more than that, today, many people it to them, it’s an innocent game. But to the people of that day and to many people of our day, it’s not just an innocent game, it’s their religion.

And God condemned it. And it’s a tragedy when men worshipped and served the creature more than the creator. A man by nature, wrote, Isaiah, make it a God and worship it. That man has to worship. He has to worship something. He has to put something first. And if you reject the true in the living God, you’re going to get a God of your own.

Jesus predicted God is a spirit, and they worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth, who was that truth? That truth was Jesus Christ, he said, I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the father, but by me, there’s only one truth that counts, and that’s the truth that’s centered in Jesus Christ. He is the truth. He’s the embodiment of all truth. And when you come to him, you’re coming to the heart and the kernel of all truth in this universe.

And then he was a murderer, not just an ordinary murderer, but monster was sadistic. In the early days of the church, the Romans persecuted the church. Many people who are Christians were fed to the lions. They were nailed head down on crosses. Women were tied to the horns of oxen and they went out into the arena and fought Christian women. And it says that more of them, unless they shed innocent blood very much till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other.

And God was pronouncing judgment all the time. God said, I’m going to take Judah. And when people hear of what I’m going to do to it, their ears will tingle. It’ll be like a man washing a dish, he said, when I get through with Juda. Now, NASA had Isaiah the prophet tradition tells us Isaiah, the prophet sewn in to get in too tied in between two trees and had him sword in two. That’s how wicked, how terrible, how awful Manasa was.

Hebrews six six says as long as men reject Christ as Sabien Lord, they would crucified to themselves the son of God afresh and put him to open shame. And there are many of us here today that are just like that. We have the same kind of heart I we don’t have the power nor the ability to do what he did. But our hearts are like his separated from God and capable of all kinds of sins that may not be the outward, terrible Henia sins that we’ve been talking about, but there could be jealousy and greed and lust and hate and envy.

And then he was a traitor. He betrayed his country. He betrayed God. He betrayed every trust. He defied God and led the nation in idolatry.

Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, and Jesus said it had been good for that man if he had not been born, you may betray Christ in a passionate moment for an extra thousand dollars, for more recognition, for more power in the area that you move in. Manassero went beyond the sins of other nations that God had blotted out and went to the Bible, says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I’m a sinner, Eurozone, and we’ve all sinned.

And we’re under God’s judgment for whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offended. One part is guilty of all, says the Scripture. Jeremiah 17H, says I, the Lord, search the heart. Tonight he’s searching some of your heart. Some of you have been in the choir all these nights and God has been speaking to you. And you haven’t yet made your commitment to Christ. Many people here tonight that need Christ. Everywhere of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord 100th the heart, think of God taking your heart and your life and pondering.

I have a grandson, our youngest grandson. He’s only a year old. He hasn’t learned to crawl yet. He hadn’t learned to walk yet. I guess he’s all right. But he certainly can fund the things you give him some little something and he’ll just sit and look at it for a long time, then he’ll look up into your face and ponders your face and God pundit’s our hearts. He searches the heart, studies the heart, and in some form.

And Ford says, shall not God search this out for he know the secrets of the heart. You can’t hide anything from God. Some of you have been watching the hearings in Washington. I’m not going to tell you what I think about them. I haven’t watched but a little, but I watched some. And how you can expect someone to remember something that took place three or four years ago in a private conversation in some other country in another language, I don’t know.

But you’re supposed to know. Sometimes I felt like asking that committee a few questions, but I’m sure that they’re doing what they’re elected to do. I’m not going to get into that. That’s as far into politics as I’m ever going to go. I determined that I was going to stay out of partisan politics. I’ve been asked over 300, about 300 news organizations to make comments about certain things that have been happening in the world of religion. I haven’t made a comment yet.

I’m trying to stay out of it. And just keep preaching the gospel, because there’s nothing coming out of Washington or any of those places that are going to save the world are going to transform men and women. It’s price. And God was warning Monette’s all the time. The Bible says that Noah being warned of God, of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, had an ark to the saving of his house. But God warned Vanessa, as John the Baptist did, John the Baptist said to the people of his day, You’re a generation of vipers.

And who has warned you to flee the wrath to come? And the scripture says, be sure your sin will find you out someday. Somewhere, every sin we’ve ever committed will find us out. You cannot commit a sin and get away with it, not one sin. You’re going to pay for it someday, somewhere on the Bible. It’s not true. Or somebody will have to pay for it for you. And thank God that’s been done at the cross.

Christ took our sins on the cross. You know, I’m going to remember Denver’s the finest city I’ve ever been to. This is one of the few places where you even applaud the man that’s going to take the collection. That’s sort of new for us. I think they did in Anaheim, though, that was also the but it is I say, when you applaud, I take it that that’s the way we used to say in the olden days, a man, you know, and the churches they would have in the south had Amen corner.

And when the preacher said something good, he would expect to hear them say amen. And then it says saying, hey, man to a preacher is like saying caecum to Don. My judgment was going to fall on Vanessa. And God said, I’m bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah that whoever hears it, both his ears are going to think I’m not just one. Both of them are going to tingle. And the Bible warns that they’ll come a day sometime when the harvest will be passed and the summer ended.

And you’re not seeing God’s judgment fell. And Jerusalem was captured and all those things they had collected and all the money and all the silver and the gold were carried over to Babylon and Manaslu was not put to death. He was carried in chains to Babylon and put in a dark, damp dungeon. And there he was with a lashing conscience, tormenting memories. He had time to meditate upon his evil deeds. You know what he did? He began to repent.

He asked God to forgive him, if you would God, would you forgive him? Would you forgive a man that had done as much as he’d done, he had made blood run in Jerusalem all across the street, as high as the horse’s legs? He had a a great prophet like Isaiah and two, he had taken his own sons and given them to one of the gods and burned them up, would you forgive him even if he asked for forgiveness, if you were God?

Many of us would not be able to do it. But you don’t know God. We never do know the depths of the love of God and the mercy of God and the forgiveness of God. It’s hard for us to grasp it. But you know what God did. God forgave him when he was in trouble. He was in prison, he turned to God, whom he should have turned to years ago and led Judah in great revival. But he didn’t do it.

And multitudes of people never begin to think of their sins or their need of salvation until the hour of pain, a sickness, a bereavement of death comes. I signed a little card a moment ago for some lady that met me at the entrance and she said this man just found out he had cancer today. Would you would you autograph this book?

If it’s a book to him, we never know. But when that moment comes, we begin to talk about God and about Christ. Maybe God has allowed troubles in your life to drive you to the cross. Monastir began to pray God have mercy upon me, a sinner, and this great God of mercy, which is passed our understanding. The Scripture says the numbers. Fourteen. The Lord is long suffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression in second chronicles thirty it says the Lord, your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn his face from you if you turn to him.

If if you turn to him, thou Lord, our good and ready to forgive and plenteous of mercy unto all them to call upon me. If you call upon him, he will forgive. If you repent, he will forgive. If you turn to Christ and trust me in the cross and the blood of Christ, he will forgive. And God’s forgiveness goes a lot further than yours and mine. We say, Oh yes, I forgive you. God calls it justification, just as though you had never seen.

You are placed in the sight of God, as though you had never committed a single sin. And the Scripture says he cannot even remember your sins. He erases the tapes. They’re all erased. He can’t remember them. God forgave Monastir. But more than that, you know what he did? He restored him to his throne in Jerusalem and he became king again. Can you imagine that? When the thief on the cross who was a murderer and a robber prayed to the Lord and said, Lord, remember me when you come to your kingdom, Jesus said, today, thou shall be with me in paradise.

At that one moment, God for Christ forgave him and took him to paradise with him. He didn’t have time to be baptized. He didn’t have time to do any good works. He had time for nothing except just trust in Christ. And that’s what you need to do. Put your whole trust in him. And that’s what faith means. Faith means commitment. We commit our lives to him. When I got married, I committed my life to Ruth.

Everything I have, she committed to me. It wasn’t just feeling feelings come and go. It was a lifetime commitment because we’re committed, we’re committed to each other and in the same way. In the same way, we’re to be committed to Christ forever, and he’s committed to us all, the promises of scripture belong to us. That have to do with our personal redemption and salvation, his material prosperity was restored. God forgave his sins. His heart was renewed.

The cost of his life has changed. It said that he knew that the Lord he was God. Ezekiel the prophet quotes. God is saying, I will give you a new heart and a new spirit. He turned from his former sins. He took away the strange gods and the idols out of the house of the Lord. He repaired the altar of the Lord and sacrificed their own peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded his people to serve the Lord God of Israel.

If God would do that from NASA, he’ll do it for you and more.

T.W. Wilson told me a story some time ago that he met a man in France who had been tortured during the war by the Nazis. Terribly tortured is. I can’t even describe to you in front of this crowd what was done to him. You couldn’t believe it. After the war, this man felt called of God to become a preacher and he became a preacher to prison camps. And one day he was in Germany and he went to a prison camp in Germany and he saw this man who was called the terrible Duncker who had hurt so many people and who was responsible for so many deaths.

And he went up to him and he said, Duncker, he said, Do you remember me? He said, No, I don’t believe I do. He said, My name is Reverend So-and-so. Oh, I said, I do remember you.

He said Duncker, he said, If I didn’t know Jesus Christ as my lord and savior, I would hate you and I would try to murder you. But I know Christ. And I’m asking you if you would yield your life to Christ and let God forgive you and become a Christian. Duncan looked away and he said, You mean you would ask me that after all I did to you? He said, yes, because now God gives me the ability to love you.

I hate you naturally, but supernaturally with the spirit of God living in me. I love you. And the Duncan began to cry. And he got down on his knees and gave his life to Christ. That’s what God’s looked the way he looks at you with mercy and love and forgiveness. He will forgive you. Is it possible to reject him so long that you cannot be forgiven? Of course. If you reject him and your heart gets hard.

You may the Holy Spirit may speak to you and convict you and woo you and give you other opportunities, but you can’t hear his voice because your conscience is now dead.

But even to the moment of the grave, that offer of forgiveness and salvation is open to anyone. But only the Holy Spirit can draw you and convict you and draw you to the cross, and he draws you always to the cross and to the empty tomb for the resurrection of Christ. I’m going to ask you tonight to do something that we’ve already seen thousands of people do here in Denver in the past five days. I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat, hundreds of you, you know, you need Christ, you know you need forgiveness.

You know, you need his peace and his joy. And you would like to leave here a new person. You’d like to walk a different line. What do you have to do, you have to first repent of sin, that means to change your mind, change your attitude, and it means changing your lifestyle, changing your way of living. You have to be willing to do it. God has to help you in the repenting. And then secondly, you commit your life to Christ and Christ alone, not any other God’s, not any other things that you look to.

You look to Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation. You say, why do you ask people to come forward, because every person Jesus called in the New Testament, he called publicly. If you’re not willing to confess to me before men, he said, I’ll not confess you before my father, which is in heaven, there’s something about coming forward and standing here openly as he died on the cross, openly in front of a crowd of people for you.

Certainly you can come here and make your commitment to him. We’re going to wait. If you come from that upper stand up there, take about three or four minutes. So start now. Hundreds of you just get up out of your seat. And after you’ve come, here’s what we’ll do. I’ll say a word to you. Have a prayer with you. If you’re with friends or relatives, they’ll wait on you. You’ve come on a bus, they’ll wait.

Or you can bring your friends with you. But just get up and come and say, tonight, I want to make sure I want to make certain that Christ is in my heart. I want to know my sins are forgiven. I want to know if I died, I’d go to heaven. I want Jesus this very night. You get up and come quickly right now from everywhere. You that have been watching in other parts of the country can see that here in Denver, Colorado, at Mile High Stadium, hundreds of people have come tonight to make their commitment to Jesus Christ to find forgiveness at the foot of the cross.

You can make that same commitment where you are, wherever you are. You can say yes to Christ. Tell him that you’re willing to change your way of living. Receive him into your heart right now as your lord and your savior, he’ll forgive you. He’ll give you the power to change the direction of your life. God help you to make that commitment today and be sure and go to church next Sunday. God bless you. And as Mr. Graham has just told you.

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