Franklin Graham: Preach the Gospel

Franklin Graham: Preach the Gospel

Just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in six different cities in three states during our God Loves You Tidewater Tour. In every town, hundreds of people—young and old—responded to the Gospel invitation to make a decision for Christ and give their hearts fully to our Savior. I have preached at more than 300 evangelistic Crusades and Festivals through the years, and I never grow weary of seeing people respond to the Gospel message.

Of course, my father preached around the world for nearly seven decades, and the sight of him, having extended the invitation, bowing his head in prayer and holding his chin in his hands as thousands came out of their seats to give their hearts to the Lord, will always be with me.

We give God the praise and the glory for His saving power!

Romans 1:16 is clear on what the Gospel is: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” The Gospel is the power of almighty God! The evangelistic message that both my father and I have preached is, in and of itself, the power of God. The power doesn’t come from the delivery or style of the message, but from the actual Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross.

It is the power of God unto salvation. When the message is proclaimed and preached, the power of God works in the hearts of those who hear and believe. That power is the regenerating and saving work of the Holy Spirit, who is convicting people of sin and righteousness. The Holy Spirit opens the hearts and eyes of those who have been blind and dead in their sins, and gives them everlasting life through repentance and faith.

Remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus, who came to him by night with questions: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:3, 8).

In other words, the Holy Spirit must be supernaturally at work for men and women to be saved. There is no power apart from His sovereign, saving, transforming work.

When the Apostle Paul went to the riverside in Philippi following his Macedonian call, he met a group of women who had gathered for prayer. “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14).

All of the women listened to the Gospel preaching of Paul. Lydia responded to the message because the Lord “opened her heart.” That was the mighty, saving work of the Holy Spirit!

And exactly what is the Gospel message?

Here is how Paul defined it in his letter to the Corinthians. “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Jesus, the Son of God who took on human flesh as the Son of Man, lived a perfect life of obedience to God, died on a Roman cross for the forgiveness of our sin, was placed in the stone-cut tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and on the third day God raised Him from the dead.

That is the Gospel—the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He put away our sins by putting them on Himself, and paid the full penalty of sin—death, even death on a cross. The wrath of God that should be poured on us as guilty sinners was instead unleashed on His own Son by the Father, so that all who believe can stand uncondemned before a holy God and by faith receive the gift of everlasting life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

There is no other Gospel than the Good News of Jesus’ triumph over death, sin and Satan through His substitutionary, sacrificial, all-sufficient, atoning death and resurrection. When the Apostle John wrote the apocalyptic Book of Revelation, he described an angel “flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). God’s Gospel is so everlasting and powerful and supernatural that mighty angels proclaim it loudly to the entire earth as the Second Coming of Christ draws this present age to a close and ushers in a new Heaven and a new Earth where righteousness reigns.

The Bible also tells us the preaching of the Gospel is a crucial component that factors into our Lord’s glorious return. As Jesus spoke about the end times, He explained to his disciples, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

As long as the Lord gives me breath and strength, I will continue to preach the Good News of Christ’s saving power. It is the means that God has ordained for the unsaved to hear and believe the truth of salvation. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?”(Romans 10:14-15).

In the coming months, I will be preaching the Gospel across Europe, in London, Essen (Germany), Rome, and Krakow (Poland); as well as in Mexico City (the largest city in North America). My son Will is preparing for events in Canada; Chişinău, Moldova (on the border of Ukraine); Curitiba, Brazil; and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the Gospel that must be preached until the very end. That’s what we’ve always done since the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was organized back in 1950. Next year will mark the 75th anniversary of my father’s 1949 Los Angeles Crusade. May the Lord give us many more years, that we may reach as many as we can for the King and His Kingdom. ©2023 BGEA

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. 

Photo: Logan Ryan/©2023 BGEA

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