Billy Graham: Revival or Disintegration

Billy Graham: Revival or Disintegration

No nation has ever improved morally without a spiritual revival. History proves that point. Various nations of the past have tried to improve and pick themselves up by their bootstraps morally in order to save their country from disintegration, but they could not do it unless they experienced a religious revival.

Great Britain was at the point of disintegration in the 1700s. The same conditions that led to the terrors of the French Revolution were rampant in the British Isles, and it seemed the nation could be swept away. But God raised up Wesley and Whitefield and other great Christians, and Britain had a great spiritual revival. Britain was saved from a terrible fate because her entire social structure was changed by this spiritual revival.

All across the United States, people are saying that America must have a spiritual awakening. We must have something restored if our country is going to be saved.

The media is concerned about politics and economics, but I’m convinced that the only hope for our country is a spiritual and moral awakening—a revival. We desperately need it. I have talked with military and government leaders in Washington, I’ve talked to other leaders, and many agree that this is what we need.

How are we going to have it? Look at history a moment. We have had revivals in times past, and God knows we need it today. Look at the filthy magazines that are available today. Listen to the sensual songs. Look at the lying and cheating in business. Look at the corruption and graft in politics. Look at all the other things that take place in our country today.

There has never been a country in the history of the world that lasted and improved itself except by a religious and spiritual revival.

There is today in America a certain sense of spiritual interest. And yet, unless this religious interest translates itself into holy, godly living, it’s not going to mean anything. You and I are going to have to start living the principles and teachings of Jesus Christ.

I’m deadly serious when I say that our country is falling apart at the seams. We cannot stand, we cannot last, unless something takes place in our country—and it must be a spiritual and moral awakening.

We’ve had spiritual awakenings before in our history. The United States came out of a great spiritual revival. Our Founding Fathers left Great Britain in order to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Our forefathers were Puritans. They lived for God, and they practiced Biblical principles in their business and in their social contacts. 

We had an awakening in 1800. God used people on the James River in Virginia who started praying, and as a result of their prayers, a great revival of religion swept America. The whole social structure of the early colonies was changed.

In 1857 there was another great revival. Wall Street had collapsed. The nation was in panic, and it seemed as though the country was going to ruin, economically, morally and spiritually—until a mighty revival swept the country. It started in a little prayer meeting on Fulton Street in New York. You can start a prayer meeting in your home. It’s got to start with somebody who means business.

An Oxford professor once said, “I would be a Christian if I could meet one dynamic, virile Christian who lived a Christian life every day.” That’s the kind of revival that will cause men and women to live for God and for Jesus Christ, and to live honestly and purely and have their hearts cleansed and be pure in their motives. We need that kind of revival today.

What do I mean by revival? Some people think that this means a powerful emotional experience. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a revival in which we come back to the precepts, the commandments and the laws of God. We will recognize God in the affairs of nations. We will admit and recognize in our daily lives that any nation that serves God will be blessed of God.

We also need a revival in which our affections will be changed from loving the things of the world, from loving pleasure and comfort, to loving Jesus Christ and being devoted to Him.

Several years ago, when I was in Europe, a friend of mine who was a commander in the United States Navy was on the outskirts of the crowd when General Dwight D. Eisenhower came to Paris. A great crowd of communists was demonstrating against NATO and Eisenhower. My friend was at the edge of the crowd looking on when the police came along and arrested many of the communists, and they arrested him along with them. It took him three hours in jail to explain that he was an American, that he was not a communist, that he was just a curious onlooker.

He said later that while he was in jail, the communists began to sing. They were absolutely thrilled that they had the privilege of suffering for communism. We must have the same devotion to Jesus Christ! We’re going to have to pay the price and sacrifice the ease, the comfort and the luxury to which we are accustomed. We’re going to have to sacrifice and suffer, if need be, so that people might come to Christ for salvation. Are you willing to pay that price?

The Gospel has survived the attempts of pagan governments to destroy it. It has grown in enemy territory. Jesus said, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). It seems that many Americans have been quite willing to accept the benefits of Christianity without themselves becoming Christian. Today we are confronted with some of the most stupendous decisions that humans have ever been called upon to make. But we are attempting to preserve a byproduct of Christianity while we let Christianity go. We may not want communism with its atheism, but we do not want Jesus Christ either. When Christ presses His demands, we ignore them and refuse them.

But the entire world—every one of us—is going to have to make a choice.

You who read this may call yourself a Christian. You might come from a Christian home, or you may go to church once in a while. Or you think that you live in a “Christian country” and because of this, you are a Christian. But this is not what makes you a Christian. You must be born again, Jesus said.

If you are a Christian, are you living for Jesus Christ in the factory, the shop, the office, the campus, wherever you may be? Right now, are you putting the principles and teachings of Jesus Christ into practice?

The devil has blinded millions of Christians to the real issues of our day. He has us focused on small, unimportant problems while the destiny of the world is being shaped. When Christ so desperately needs missionaries and soldiers of the cross who will live, pray and even die, we are divided, forgetting that Jesus said we are to present love and unity to the world.

When revival comes, I believe men and women will be conscious of the holiness of God, and how God hates even little sins. We’re going to be conscious of our own sins, we’re going to confess our sins, and we’re going to fall on our knees in repentance before God.

It may take a war, an economic collapse or a great catastrophe to do it. We may need something to shock us out of our lethargy, to shock us out of our sleepiness. We need something that will wake us up so we’re willing to pay the price to live for God. If we reject the Gospel message because of materialistic and evolutionary inclinations, it will spell doom both for our nation and for individual souls.

Perhaps you have never received Jesus Christ as your Savior. You have never been born again, you’ve never been converted to Christ, you’re not living for Christ. You don’t care about Christ, you don’t care about God, you don’t care about religion.

You can settle this matter between you and God right now. You can get right with God by forsaking your sins and receiving Christ as your personal Savior. Invite Him to come into your heart. And then we must win souls to Christ. This is the business of every Christian.

Have you received Christ? Have you been born again? Do you have peace in your soul and peace with God? Put your faith in Christ. Make your decision today. ©1952 BGEA


The Scripture quotation is taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version.

Photo: BGEA Archives

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