Hal Lindsey Report ✞ I was blessed to count Billy as a friend.
Hal Lindsey Report ✞ I was blessed to count Billy as a friend
March 9th, 2018
A few days ago, the earthly remains of the Reverend Billy Graham were laid to rest at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. His body was buried next to that of his beloved wife of 63 years, Ruth Bell Graham.
I was blessed to count Billy as a friend. Our relationship dated back to my time with Campus Crusade for Christ in the 1960s.
I have devoted this week’s program to Billy’s ministry.
Many people only remember the images from his legendary crusades that we saw on television or from the seat of a vast arena or stadium. But Billy was called “America’s Pastor” in part because of his incredible influence on every American President from Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump.
As Billy acknowledged in his writings and interviews, however, that involvement in politics and his close association with Presidents caused some damage to his ministry. Though he later distanced himself somewhat from the world of politics, Billy continued until the end to use his platform to address the rights and wrongs in American society.
It is not politics to call sin, sin. It is not politics to warn a nation that it is headed toward certain self-destruction because of its moral failures.
And I think that, more than anything else, Billy was “America’s Pastor” because he was honest with Americans. He told them the truth and, even if they didn’t respond to it or accept it, they knew in their hearts that he was speaking the unvarnished truth to them in love and concern.
And to the end, Billy never wavered from presenting the pure, basic, simple, unadorned Gospel: That all men are sinners in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ is that Savior. And Jesus is the only way to heaven and eternal life.
In 1958, Billy held a crusade in his hometown of Charlotte. I will share with you some of his warnings from one of those sermons. 60 years later, they are breathtakingly accurate.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association described the funeral service for Billy as, “one last crusade.” In a way, it was. No one could watch the televised service without receiving the clear message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that’s what Billy wanted.
But, in many ways, The Billy Graham Crusade will continue until Jesus comes. It continues — and is often multiplied — in every person who was touched by his ministry, millions upon millions of people over the last seven decades.
The Crusade continues when we honor Jesus in our lives and make Him central to our relationships. It continues when we share God’s truth with a friend, a young person enrolls in Bible school or seminary, or a missionary is deployed.
The Billy Graham Crusade will not end until his influence ends. And that means it will never end because it will be passed from parent to child, from generation to generation until Jesus returns for His Church.
Through the years, many people tried to persuade Billy Graham to run for President. He always refused. And you can see why by looking at the simple epitaph he chose for his grave stone.
It is a higher calling by far.
It reads simply: “Billy Graham, Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
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