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Sermon

Who is Jesus Christ? – Billy Graham (Meadowlands NJ 1991)

I’ve heard and I’ve read that this is the first time we ever held meetings in northern New Jersey. That is not true. But you’re not old enough to remember when I was last here, I think it was nineteen forty four or forty five. I was here for a week at one of the Bible churches. I think it was in Hawthorne that we were here. I don’t think that. Then she might have been with me, but I don’t think so.

He came from New York City and people can’t believe it when I tell when he tells them that he’s 83 years of age and that’s George Revolution. And he sings better now than he did when we were here 34 years ago. We’ve been reading a great deal about the Soviet Union and what’s happening there, and people ask me, do I think that it’s more dangerous now than it was a few years ago? Yes, I think it’s more dangerous because they’re splitting up into different nations, are different republics.

And all of Europe seems to be in turmoil in Yugoslavia. They’re fighting and killing. And that’s where the First World War began right there when a Serbian shot and killed the archduke and the First World War was on. And many of the walls of history have come from that area. And if ever we needed to pray for peace, it is now I think peace is very fragile. And I noticed this. Mr. Yeltsin announced tonight that he was trying to collect all the atomic bombs that had been built by the Soviet Union during the past years and put them on Russian soil and controlled them.

But he did not give absolute proof that they are controlled. We never know when some loose cannon will grab those and start a war that could destroy civilization. We’ve just finished the war in the Middle East and now we’re talking about all the wars that could take place at any time, if ever we needed to pray and work for peace. It’s now Mr. Gorbachev confronting a nation that for 74 years has been officially atheist. And when one of the deputies ask a difficult question a couple of days ago, he replied, I don’t have the answer to that question.

Only Jesus Christ has the answer. Five weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Gorbachev for about 40 minutes about Jesus Christ, and then the next day I talked an hour and a quarter with Mr. Yeltsin about and we talked about Jesus Christ in addition to other things we discussed. Another deputy asked Mr. Gorbachev how he planned to feed so many hungry people. He said, how can you think the masses. He said, only Jesus Christ could do that.

Last week, Time magazine had his front cover about the Soviet Union on the opening, but the opening article had an interview with the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Tiller. I went to England to attend his enthronement. He invited me and he emphasized in that entire article in Time magazine the sovereignty and supremacy of Jesus Christ. He was asked, what does it mean to you to be a Christian? And he replied, It’s a personal allegiance to the historical figure of Jesus Christ.

He said that many religions point to God, but only one leaves to God, and that is Christ. And he said, People who say all religions need to God are generally the ones who want to avoid any way of getting to God and ask what his greatest objective was for the whole worldwide Episcopal Anglican Church. He said evangelism. He said, we must win people to Christ. Tonight, I want us to turn to Matthew the 16th chapter chapter on the 15th verse.

I’ll just take time to read one verse. It’s a question that Jesus was asking his disciples in fast food, the people say that I am hurt or people say that I am. Who is Jesus Christ? Who is. Why, after 2000 years, there are millions of people worship him. Why, after 2000 years to more universities and colleges than institutions have been named after him. There are many motion pictures in the past few years made about Jesus Christ millions around the world asking who is Jesus, Jesus himself?

I ask that question. Whom to? People say that I am. And this is an important question for every one of you to get a proper answer, because you are one hundred years from tonight, we’ll be relying on that question who is Jesus Christ? What does the Bible claim about the Bible tells us the story of Jesus. The Bible claims, first of all, that he’s the creator of Christ. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made.

You mean to tell me that Jesus Christ made this whole universe? Yes. We are told that there are billions of galaxies and they’re just discovered a large new galaxy that may be the largest in the whole universe. And then you can look at the world through a microscope and see all the insects and all the bugs and all the other little things that creep and crawl. He made them all, all the living creatures in the sea, including the white shark.

He made them the mountains, the continents, the things, the heavens and every moving and living thing. He made it all in many parts of the world. It’s one of the hard sciences that are coming to Christ. The greatest scientist in the world has never known was Pascal, a French. He was the greatest scientist in the 17th century, and it’s to him that we owe the calculator to him, that he had the beginnings of the computer.

He was born in 2003 and on November 20, 30, 60, 54 at the age of 31. He was the greatest scientist in the world, maybe one of the greatest scientists that ever lived. He got on his knees after two hours of prayer and he said to the Lord, I submit myself absolutely to Jesus Christ, my redeemer. He hadn’t found Christ through science, but his logic and his scientific knowledge helped him to realize that there was no end to what people were searching for except Christ.

Jesus was the creator of Christ. He created the universe. Then secondly, he’s the compassionate Christ. The scripture says he went about doing good, Jesus never met a human need that he did not supply. He made the blind decision, the need to speak in the deaf to hear he touched and cleanse the lepers.

We are living in a world that hurts. You walk up and down some of the streets of New York City all over here in New Jersey, and you see hurting people everywhere. There are tens of thousands of people that hurt in America tonight. And compassion is a word that is often used and misused because we don’t know the meaning of the word. The literal meaning of the word compassion means that you suffer with the person you get involved with the personal suffering.

And that’s the reason we have the Love in action program to go and help people that are hungry and do something about it, not just talk about it and preach about it, but do something. And we do it not because we can feed everybody that’s hungry in New Jersey or in New York, but we want to set an example for all the churches to help people that are hungry. That’s what Jesus did. And compassion is looking at the television screen and seeing those thousands of Kurds.

My son has been there several times to take food to the Kurds and to the Iraqis that were suffering and others. And then we just held a week of meetings in Moscow and we was in a stadium that looked a little bit like this. And we had 5000 clergy of all denominations that had to be approved by their church to come. And we had what we call the School of Evangelism. And it was one of the greatest weeks of my entire life because I saw people drinking in the gospel and we kept them at the university in Moscow in the dormitories, and the university fed them.

And at night, some of those people would go out on the lawn in the streets to live with singing gospel songs that they sang in prison when they were suffering because of their faith in God. Yes, Jesus Christ can bring a song in the midst of suffering and in the midst of hurting those people in South Africa that are suffering. And this week, by the way, this next week, I’ll have an opportunity. I’ve already made it a whole half an hour.

I’m going to be speaking on South African television. They’re going to cut out all the other television and just have that one channel in which I’ll have an opportunity to talk on peace and love between the racist and the letter of invitation.

The invitation was supported by Mr. Mandela, Mr. de Klerk and the other leaders in South Africa, and they’ve asked us to come for crusades. We were there in 1976 and I postponed it 20 years because I said we’ll never come and speak to a segregated audience in South Africa. And we went. And the stadiums in Durban and the stadiums in Johannesburg were packed and jammed and it was about half and half, and we did not allow black people to stick together, all white people to fit together.

They had to be sprinkled together so that it was real integration. And the big headline, we still have the newspapers, the big headlines that Graham says the party is thin and it is the thing, and it’s a problem that we need to face. And regardless of the color of our skin, we need to love each other and we need to bring ourselves together and realize that we are created in the image of God. I didn’t ask to be born white.

You didn’t ask to be born black or brown or whatever color you have. You are made in the image of God. God created you and God has a purpose for you. And He loves you. Whoever you are, he loves you. And yet we read that climb rose 10 percent in America last year. And there are many people that are hungry and many people that are homeless. Many people that are suffering from injustice and often so-called compassion does not reach to action, involvement with those in need.

Compassion means that we identify and we contribute more to them.

And that’s the reason we have this love and action that physical diseases that Jesus was interested in. He had compassion on the hunger. The leopard, the blind man, the people in the hospital in John, the fifth chapter. The hospital had five wings to it and those five wings with scores of people that were suffering from all kinds of diseases. And Jesus went to the worst and picked them up and healed them and changed their psychological diseases, the disease, the guilt, loneliness, fear, emptiness, fear of death, despair.

All of these we read about in our papers and watch on our TV screens every day and their problems that Christ could fall if we open our hearts to him and surrender to it. Oh, yes, most of us here tonight go to church. I would say that most of your members have a quote from where you’ve been baptized and you’ve been confirmed, whatever it may be, but you really haven’t surrendered totally to Christ to let him have all of you and surrender your life completely to him and follow him further than the spiritual disease.

Nicodemus, in the third chapter of John was was a religious leader. He was the great theologian. He was a wealthy man. He had great religion. Everybody respected his theological knowledge and respected the fact that he was religious. But when he talked to Jesus, Jesus, Nicodemus, that’s not enough. You must be born from above. Have you been born from above? That means the Holy Spirit comes into your heart and gives you a new heart and a new direction in your life.

And you surrender completely to him and he guides who leaves you every day in your everyday problems in your heart. I remember we went in Poland the first time we were in Poland, and when we got off the plane, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church came and grabbed me and hugged me and he said, our churches are open. And I didn’t quite know what he meant, but he meant that the Protestant churches were so small that we’re going to open the great cathedrals throughout Poland to go and preach the gospel to which we did.

And that was long before we’d ever heard of Mr. Gorbachev. That was way back. And I remember that they gave a wonderful banquet for that first evening. And I was sitting beside a monsignor of the Roman Catholic Church. And I’d like to tell you a little story. He said, you know. I took my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and while I was studying, he said I was riding on a bus and behind me was fitting a black woman.

And she placed me on the shoulder and she said, I beg your pardon, sir, but have you ever been born again? He said he said, Well, I’m a priest. And he said, I have been baptized and confirmed. I suppose I have one. And then he went back to his room at the dormitory and got out of the Bible because he remember that Jesus used that term and the third chapter of John. And he turned to me and he said, I began to read it.

I got on my knees and read it over and over again. And I gave my heart to Christ in a new way. I don’t know whether that was when I was born again or not. My theology tells me not. But he said something happened to me that day that never left me. And I have a piece I never knew before. I asked him if I could tell that story publicly and he said yes. And I told it all of a poem.

And I think many people came to Christ in Poland because of that story, because they realized that they too, like something like Nicodemus. He had religion, but he needed something else. He needed that push relationship to Christ, but he didn’t have. Are you sure that you haven’t you noticed that you have been born from above today? Jesus Christ motivate all believers to help the starving and the hunger to build hospitals. My father in law went to China.

He was playing professional baseball and he felt that God had called him into medicine and he stopped his baseball. He’d just been sold to the Baltimore Orioles from the Richmond team. He got his degree, went to China and built a hospital. And my wife was born and raised in China. And you can’t engage in conversation with her for five minutes on any subject. But what? She doesn’t bring up China. She studies China. She talks about China.

She’s a burden for China. She went over to China and she’s been back to China several times. And we went to China just a year before the Tiananmen Square. And my wife was at Tenorman Square with my three daughters just a week before the shooting took place. He wants us to teach people to read and write. That’s what Mrs. George Bush does. She’s been burdened about that all her life, about people learning to read and write. To counsel the depressed, the suicidal drug users, people with their social responsibilities that no true believer can escape, we should be involved.

We ought to be in the forefront of some of these issues that face us, such as the fight against AIDS. I look on our world of need. Everywhere I look, I see you need. We walked up and down some of the streets of New York City last week and we would see people asleep on the sidewalk. We would see people hungry. We would put people in all kinds of conditions. And we traveled throughout. And I my heart bled and it was broken.

And I said, what can I do? These problems are too great for me. I feel a helplessness because I look on the world stage today. How can I cope with it? What more can I do? Jesus said without me you can do nothing. If we turn it over to Christ and trust him and live like we’re supposed to live, we could solve these problems. But, you know. When he left when he left the scene of the suffering world, he had not healed all the people.

Have you ever thought about that? He could have, but he didn’t do it. He had fed. Everybody was hungry. He said, I have finished the work which my father gave me to do.

I finished. And I feel that way is going to come a time when I’m going to finish the work that God has a plan to me as an evangelist. And I’m going to die with a peace and a joy in my heart that I have been faithful, close to being faithful to him. He’s not only the creator of Christ and the compassion of Christ produced the crucified Christ. No one living today can imagine what that feeling was two thousand years ago on every church, whether it’s Protestant, a Catholic, we see cross an Orthodox church from the Soviet Union.

We see a cross every time I’ve been on a preaching to of the Soviet Union, which has been four times I’ve been with the Orthodox Church. I’ve been there get this last plan for various reasons.

But the gist of what is called evangelicals, which means the Baptists, the Lutherans, the Methodists and all the rest, and we had a glorious time at all of them. We saw people coming to Christ by all from different one. But death by crucifixion was a lingering death. It took many hours on many days to die. That was the crowd outside of Jerusalem shouting and screaming and coughing, hurling insults. They took a crown of thorns and put it on Jesus brow.

They pulled his beard and he bled. They put a fight in his hands and a and he died and spied through his teeth and hung him on that cross between heaven and earth. And he said this.

He said, Do you not think that I cannot now pray to my father? And he would send me more than 12 legions of angels. Seventy two thousand angels would have come to rescue him. Only one angel killed. One hundred and eighty five thousand. And one of the stories of the Old Testament. He didn’t leave the cross if he ever left the cross. They wanted him to do as the people wanted him to do. They said, use your supernatural powers and come down from the cross.

And he said no. He didn’t he just say that he had never seen he died in your place. He took your things and my. All the suffering and disgrace, dishonor and death that we deserved, he bore for us because the Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Bible says that we’re under the sentence of death, physical death and spiritual death. We’re going to face the judgment. There is a judgment day coming and we’re going to have to stand face to face with God and give an account of how we lived here and what we did about Christ.

But Jesus took it on the cross and shed his blood for us. The scripture says he was later coerced. He was made fun for us, for him the best thing for us, who knew those things. And we might be made the righteousness of God. And he became these things. Think of Jesus Christ as pure, this wonderful, the greatest person that ever lived, the holy person that ever lived, the son of the living. God became friends.

He had never known sin, and he became guilty. At that moment of adultery. He became guilty of lying of idolatry. He became guilty of every ugly, dirty thing you can think of because it was your sins poured out on him. And because of the cross, God offers forgiveness, justification, peace, joy, a new nature, eternal life, the Holy Spirit to help you live every day and the glory when you die, you go to heaven and you can know it before you leave here.

He’s not only the crucified Christ, he’s the conquering Christ, he rose from the dead who didn’t stay in the grave. I remember the first time I toured the Soviet Union to preach. I had I had with me the man that is now the dean of the theological school in Leningrad from the Orthodox Church. And his name is Father Suhakam. And as we were going to the airport, I said to him, I was told that Vladimir, I said, you’ve been hearing me preach all these days and weeks in your churches.

I said, do you have any suggestions? He said, yes. And I listened very carefully because he was a brilliant theologian. He said emphasised the resurrection more. He said if Christ is not raised from the dead, the cross has no meaning. And I never forgot that. On the third day, they went to the tomb and an angel was sitting back and said, he is not here, he has risen Jesus himself, but the resurrection and the life he that believeth on me, though he was dead yet telling him and his resurrection is mentioned over 100 times in the New Testament.

Christ is alive and I’m not going to do tonight a dead Christ hanging on a cross. I’m preaching to you a living Christ. And he he is the one that can come into your heart, and then fifthly, he’s the contemporary Christ that Christ is living in the world today and he’s changing lives, I think of men like Chuck Colson, Chuck Colson, you remember, and how Gordon one literally changed and transformed him and now he’s giving his testimony all over.

He works among prisoners in various parts of the world. Well, I think about a man in Little Rock, Arkansas. We were talking about him yesterday when we went to Little Rock to two years ago.

He was one of the roughest, toughest newsmen in town. I was told. They said he’s the governor. He was an activist of the first order. He would do anything. He added to the newspaper, and he used all kinds of language to describe his feelings.

And one night he asked if he could see me. I sort, of course, and he came in to see me and he asked me to pray for him. And I prayed for him. And he received Christ into his heart very much like a little child. And he’s now become a person who preach the gospel absolutely changed and transformed and people that he used to this life and now love. And he’s one of the most popular men in that part of the country to proclaim the gospel and to give his testimony.

Then there’s the coming Christ. Jesus said, I will come again in such an hour, as you think, not the son, a man come and behold. He comes with clouds and every I shall spend, the whole world seems to be reaching toward some sort of a climax. I have more people ask me, do I think we’re approaching the end of the age?

And I tell them that Jesus said that we’re not to speculate on the time of the day of the hour.

But he said you to look for some. And if those signs are converging, at one point he said, my coming draws near. And I have to say with all honesty, that those signs are now converging. And it seems to me that we are drawing close to that time when Christ is going to come and his kingdom is going to rule, the kingdom of God is going to come and we’re going to know peace and. Now, what does God require you to do?

God gave his son Jesus Christ because he loved it. God’s understanding you, he has ever have your head. No. He sees the powerful. He loves you. He wants to forgive you. First, you must do two or three things. First, you must repetiteur things. The first thing in Jesus Christ was repent in. The apostle Peter said, repent you therefore, and be converted to Christianity, blotted out. What is repentance means? Repentance means that you come to God and say, God, I’m sorry.

I’ve think I’ve broken your laws. And sin means that you have broken the Ten Commandments. And if you break one of those Ten Commandments, you’ve broken them all. If you’ve ever told a lie, you’ve broken all the Ten Commandments. If you’ve ever had lust in your heart, you’ve broken all the Ten Commandments and we’re all guilty. Every one of us, every one that’s ever been born is guilty and still the same thing. And then the scriptures that God commands, all men everywhere turn to God commands and repent.

Have you repented? Are you sure of it? It means that you not only so God, I’m sorry. It means that you ask him to help you to turn from your sins, to change your way of living, to get rid of those old habits you shouldn’t have. And he’ll help you to get rid of them. But you have to ask him to do it. And then you must come by faith. But without faith, it’s impossible to please him.

The word faith means to be totally true. And I stepped on this platform tonight. I’ve never been on it before, but I have faith to believe of all the person that is built to hold a man.

The scripture says, but as many as received him to them gave him power to become the sons of God, even to them, they believe, on his name. The scriptures in Romans for to him that work, if not but believe it on him to justify the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. I have to have righteousness to get into heaven. And I don’t have an MG is the sinner. I don’t have any righteousness of my own.

I come in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting totally and fully in him. Then the Bible says fall by grace, that you sing through faith, not of works, lest anyone should boast of. You can work your way to heaven. You get up to heaven and boast to everybody. Look what I did. I was such a good person. I got here on my own. You get there totally because of Christ.

Now, what does that mean?

That means that tonight on this night, the Bible says now is that the time?

Today is the s day of salvation. I don’t believe that anyone is fooled by accident tonight. I think you’re given the providence of God. Somebody brought him somebody prayed for you to be here or you just came on your own.

But you’ve never really only committed yourself to Christ. You may be a member of the church. You may not be a member of the church. You might have been baptized him or you might not have been. You may be confirmed, but you need to make sure of your relationship to Christ. You can do that tonight. You’re going to accept cross or you can neglect him if you want to. You have that chance. You have freedom of choice.

Felix, the governor said, when I have a more convenient season, I’ll call on you. He said that the apostle Paul, after Paul had preached to him King Griffiths, that almost you persuaded me, but he wasn’t persuaded. There’s a song that they used to sing another time in another place. I’m not going to ask you to come forward and kneel here, but I am going to ask you to come and stand here and declare yourself and say tonight I want to make sure of my relationship with Christ.

You can do that right now. As we’ve seen thousands of people, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands do this all over Europe, all over Latin America, all over Africa, all over England, are all over the world. We’ve seen people do what I’m going to ask you to do. I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat right now and come and stand in front of the platform. After you’ve all stood there. I’m going to say a word to you and have a prayer with you and give you some literature that will help you and your Christian life when you go back.

If you’re with friends or relatives, go wait out. You can bring your friend with you, but just get up and come. If there’s a doubt in your heart how you stand before God, you come and make sure we’re going to wait right now. Men, women, young people, people are already coming. You get up and come. As these many hundreds here in the arena are responding to the invitation to follow Jesus Christ, you can make that same commitment right where you are.

Just call the number on your screen. Special friends are waiting to talk with you and pray with you about this most important decision.

So don’t we make that call now? Some of these meetings are going to be shown at a later date. And I’d like to say a word to the television audience of. We’ll be watching this one at some later date. You have seen these people in northern New Jersey. They’ve been coming, many of them still coming. Hundreds of people have come. Many people have prayed for them. People have prayed for you even though they don’t know your name.

And you need Christ in your heart. You may be at home, you may be in a hotel room. Whatever your condition is right now, God loves you, he receives you and you’ve been receiving in your heart. And you’re going to have the same piece in the same joy, in the same price to come to live within your heart, to not make that commitment. Now. This has been a wonderful meeting here in New Jersey and as we mentioned a moment ago, as hundreds are making their commitment to Christ.

Now you can to just call the number on the screen right now as special friends are waiting to talk and pray with you personally.

The lines are busy. Write the number down and call later.

We’ll be here as long as the calls keep coming in. And now for Billy Graham on the team. Thank you for joining us tonight. May God bless you. This program is a presentation of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

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