“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” – Billy Graham
By now, the world has heard that Billy Graham, renowned evangelist and preacher, has passed into heaven at the age of 99. The tributes are lengthy and the stories of impact are many. And why shouldn’t they be? For nearly 80 years, Billy Graham did the one thing he knew he was called to do: preach the Gospel.
Whether that Gospel went to kings, queens, and presidents or to humble working men and women, Billy preached the Word of God the same way: with fervor and faith. There is much to be said for a man whose humble beginnings in North Carolina could not have foreseen such an extraordinary life.
There are many who will put forth the numbers of people he impacted (in the hundreds of millions if not billions). Others will touch on his evangelical ministry, the crusades that marked his early career and were a mainstay of his ministry until diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Some will comment on his presence with several sitting presidents. Just recently, The Crown from Netflix highlighted his impact on the current queen of England. He influenced people of power with his magnetic personality and humble faith.
However, through all these accolades and memories, there is a thread that is consistent. In Billy Graham’s life, the central figure of adoration, submission, and truth was Jesus Christ. And the thread that tied the two together was his love and obedience to Jesus and His Word.
There are plenty of lessons we can learn from Billy Graham. However, it is his unwavering obedience to the call of Jesus on his life that is the foundation for all of them. Below are just a few sections from sermons he preached at various points in his life, all pointing to Jesus. All calling men and women to life in Jesus and to know Him.
These words, and his faith and obedience to preach them, ring as true as when he preached them. As the shock of the news of his death recedes and the days pass, these words that he shares will still ring true. They ring true because they are the truth of Scripture, and they were the truth of Billy Graham’s life. He lived by these creeds. He knew Jesus. He obeyed Jesus.
And now, the promise of Scripture is fulfilled for him, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13)
The Mystery and Certainty of Faith
The Need of the Cross of Jesus
The Life that Changes in Jesus
With Open Eyes is indebted to Billy Graham for the example he is to our organization and to our Mobile Messengers. His life and message remind us that it is for Jesus and His gospel that we train Mobile Messengers, visit refugees, send Bibles in unknown languages to the uttermost parts of the earth. May his legacy continue to bear fruit in evangelists and preachers all over the world who rise up to follow the call of Jesus to preach the Gospel in obedient faith and love.