PREACHING DURING THE REVIVAL
What did Billy Graham preach during the revival in Los Angeles and Boston? is a question many people have asked. Space forbids reproducing all these sermons, so the publishers have selected six that were greatly used of God to reach men's hearts. They are straight-forward gospel messages, only the gist of which can be reproduced here. It is our prayer that they may continue to be a blessing each time they are read.
We Need Revival!
"The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with inquiry, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
"Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
"Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the
calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
"Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it" (Isa 1:1-20).
I WANT to speak on the subject, "The Choice that is Before Los Angeles During these Next Three Weeks." Remember the verse we just read, "Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah."
I have been in Europe six times since the war and have seen devastated cities of Germany and the wreckage of war. I believe the only reason that America escaped the ravages and destruction of war was because God's people prayed. Many of these people believe that God can still use America to evangelize the world. I think that we are living at a time in world history when God is giving us a desperate choice, a choice of either revival or judgment. There is no other alternative! And I particularly believe this applies to the city of Los Angeles this city of wickedness and sin, this city that is known around the world because of its sin, crime and immorality. God Almighty is going to bring judgment upon this city unless people repent and believe unless God sends an old-fashioned, heaven-sent, Holy Ghost revival.
How desperately we need revival! Think, for a moment, of some of the dreadful things happening throughout the western world. On Friday morning the entire world was shocked. (Sept. 23, 1949.) Across Europe at this very hour there is stark, naked fear among the people, for we all realize that war is much closer than we ever dreamed. Our President, at the same time as did Prime Minister Clement Attlee in London, announced to the startled world that Russia has now exploded an atomic bomb. An arms race, unprecedented in the history of the world, is driving us madly toward destruction! And I sincerely believe that it is the providence of God that He has chosen this hour for a campaign giving this city one more chance to repent of sin and turn to a believing knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Recalling again our subject, Los Angeles' choice, see the need for a decision in the philosophical realm. The era of Materialism, Paganism and Humanism has been emphasized in the educational circles of this country. Man has steered our course. We have been humanizing God. Throughout our land we have denied the supernatural, outlawed the supernatural, and said that miracles are not now possible. We are taken up with things rather than with the Spirit of God.
Then look at our moral standard. There was a time a few years ago, which most of you with gray hair can remember, when this country claimed the Ten Commandments as the basis for our moral code. That is no longer true. Last year we had one divorce to every three-and-a-half marriages. Thirty years ago we had one divorce every twenty-five marriages. The home, the basic unit of our society is breaking and crumbling, and the American way of life is being destroyed at the very heart and core of society.
At the same time we see an unchecked crime wave in this country. Your mayor recently told the editors of Quick magazine that crime in Los Angeles is out of hand. For the first
time in many years a great metropolitan city has asked the Federal government to take over because there is so much crime. We need revival! Eight hundred per cent increase in crime in the last ten years in Los Angeles.
Look at the problem of sex. Everywhere, but especially emphasized and underscored here, we see sex placed before American young people. If we want to sell even a motor car tire, we have to use sex to do it. As a result, our high school and college young people are going to the dogs morally encouraged by the press and radio across this Nation. We need a revival!
At the same time, gambling is going on from one end of this city to the other. Behind locked doors, there is wide-open, flagrant disobedience to the laws of this city. Our young people are gambling and being instructed in it every hour of the day. We need revival!
The mayor has said that one of the problems in this town is too many cocktail bars there are more cocktail bars than there are policemen in the city of Los Angeles. He said, "We don't have enough policemen to check on the liquor situation and, as a result, our city is drinking its way to destruction." Think of that! Three million chronic alcoholics in America today thousands of them in the city of Los Angeles. We need a revival!
Let's turn to the teen-age delinquency problem. Do you know the age group having the greatest number of arrests last year? The greatest number of arrests last year in the city of Los Angeles was of seventeen-year-old boys and girls.
Let us look for a moment at the political realm. Let's see what is happening not only in the city of Los Angeles, but in the western world. The world is divided into two sides. On the one side we see Communism; on the other side we see so-called Western culture. Western culture and its fruit had its foundation in the Bible, the Word of God, and in the revivals of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Communism, on the other hand, has decided against God, against Christ, against
the Bible, and against all religion. Communism is not only an economic interpretation of life Communism is a religion that is inspired, directed and motivated by the Devil himself who has declared war against Almighty God. Do you know that the Fifth Columnists, called Communists, are more rampant in Los Angeles than any other city in America? We need a revival.
Now for the first time in the history of the world we have the weapon with which to destroy ourselves the atomic bomb. I am persuaded that time is desperately short! Three months ago, in the House of Parliament, a British government feels we have only five or ten years and our civilization will be ended. That was before he heard that Russia has the atomic bomb.
Recently I saw an educational film entitled "No Place to Hide." It is a picture story of what would happen if the germ bombs and poison bombs and atomic bombs were loosed on civilization. There would not be much left after such a bombing! We need a Holy Ghost, heaven-sent revival!
Let us look at the religious world for a moment. In this city Satan has succeeded in working his favorite strategy counterfeiting the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We find more false prophets and cults than in any other place in all the world. The god of this age is blinding people. Demon power is felt as you walk down the streets of this city. A Gallup poll shows that 95% of the people of Los Angeles say they believe in God, but do you know how many are identified with any church? Twenty-seven per cent of the people of Los Angeles County identify themselves with a church. Do you know how many go to church more than once a year? Only eight per cent. Ninety-five per cent believe in God! Only eight per cent go to church more than once a year! There is desperate need of evangelism and prayer that God will send a revival so that people may become conscious of the tremendous issues that face us today. We need revival!
I wish we had time to go on with other statistics, but I do want to say that underlying every word I have to say is the basic law of God "The wages of sin is death." If Sodom and Gomorrah could not get away with sin; if Pompeii and Rome could not escape, neither can Los Angeles! Judgment is coming as sure as I am standing here! Unless God's people turn to Him and the city repents, we are going to see the judgment of God come upon us.
A great many pastors tell me that, while they can't explain it or understand exactly why, they sincerely believe that this great united effort is God's plan for the city of Los Angeles. They feel that if we do not repent of sin and turn to Him while there is time, there will be no other great opportunity like this. Our responsibility as Christians during these days is tremendous! I have prayed more, and have spent more time with God than I ever have in any other city; and I am asking God's people to pray; to be faithful in attending these services and to bring others that many may come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This may be God's last great call! Look at the cities of the past that had their opportunities. The antediluvian civilization heard Noah as he stood and preached repentance. For 120 years people scoffed and did not repent. You know what God said? "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." And He said, "It repented me that I ever made man." Then judgment came upon the great civilization of Noah's day.
The peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah heard Abraham and Lot ask them to repent. But they refused and fire and brimstone from the hand of God rained down upon those cities.
Nazareth had the opportunity of hearing the most blessed and most wonderful Spirit-filled Preacher of all time the Lord Jesus Christ. But because of the unbelief and sin of the people, He did no great works in Nazareth. Many people of that day died and went to hell.
One day the Apostle Paul passed by the city of Pompeii. The sin and immorality of Pompeii was known throughout the
Roman Empire. Pompeii would not listen nor repent; and God caused Vesuvius to erupt. The city was destroyed and every living thing in the city.
God spared not those great cities. Neither will God spare this city! I warn you to repent of sin and turn to Jesus Christ as a city before it is too late. Do you know what God is going to do? One of these days it may not be this year, it may be a hundred years from now, I do not know the time, but I do know this unless we have a revival, one of these little tremors that you call an earthquake may shake every building in Los Angeles. Under the judging hand of God, a tidal wave may sweep across this city, unless we repent of our sin. Do you know the area that is marked out for the enemy's first atomic bomb? New York! Secondly, Chicago; and thirdly, the city of Los Angeles! We don't know how soon, but we do know this, that right now the grace of God can still save a poor lost sinner. We know that the gates of heaven are still open to those who will repent and believe that Jesus is God's Son and our Saviour.
Somebody asked me the other day whether I think we can have a revival. What a foolish question! Some people say that apostasy is too deep, the picture is too black, and it is impossible to have a revival. They say that sin is too rampant, that a revival in 1949 is impossible.
I tell you, beloved, it was a dark day and a mighty dreary picture when Jonah went to Nineveh. The sins that I have mentioned this afternoon existed in the city of Nineveh; but Nineveh repented and the judgment of God that was about to fall, was held back. Nineveh was spared the judgment of Almighty God.
In this moment I can see the judgment hand of God over Los Angeles. I can see judgment about to fall. If we repent, if we believe, if we turn to Christ in faith and hope, the judgment of God can be stopped. From the depths of my heart, I believe that this message is God's word today.
It was a dark hour when Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel all the prophets of Baal were against him, the king and queen opposed him, the army was his enemy: he was alone! There were 7,000 people that did believe, but they were hiding in caves, afraid. Only one man dared to believe God would send a revival. Seven thousand people said, "It can't be done." "Everything and everyone is against you!" they told Elijah.
People, often God's children, say the same thing today. Let me tell you that nothing is too hard for our God!
But they had a revival in Elijah's day! On top of Mount Carmel the prophets of Baal called on their god. There was no response he was off on a fishing trip and couldn't hear them, or he had gone off somewhere else and couldn't hear. Elijah called upon God to rain down fire. The fire fell, and revival came to the men of Israel. In a few days, Ahab and Jezebel were taken from the throne and God was given His rightful place in the land of Israel.
Look at the day when Hezekiah came to the throne. Old Ahaz his father was walking around like he owned the world. His shoulders were thrown back; he was proud and cocky, a fellow who believed in idols and who worshipped the god of the trees and the god of the sun; a fellow that had set up other gods and had denied the Lord God of Israel. Then Hezekiah came to the throne; called upon the people to repent and to turn to God. Revival took place in a dark and black hour in the history of Judah.
It was a dark hour when John Wesley and George Whitefield preached the gospel, but England had a revival! That country was saved from the fate of the French Revolution.
God said, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (II Chron. 7:14). Do you believe that? I believe that we can have revival any
time we meet God's conditions. I believe that God is true to His Word, and that He must rain righteousness upon us if we meet His conditions.
What are His conditions? First, realization of need and a desire for revival. I am talking to Christians now. Do you want a revival today? Would you like to see this city moved from center to circumference? Would you like God to bless us and people turn to Him? Would you like Hollywood to be so shaken that it might influence the world for Christ? Would you like the Spirit of God in our midst as He has never been before? We can have it! I say we can have it, if we meet God's condition!
The second condition for revival is repentance. Scripture says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Ps. 66:18). Do you know what repentance is? Repentance is confession of sin, repentance is sorrow for sin, and repentance is renouncing sin. Many people say they believe God's Word and accept Christ's sacrifice, but they have never been truly repentant! If they were, their lives would show it.
And then the third thing is to pray. Revival never comes except in answer to prayer. A few months ago the city of Augusta, Georgia, was moved upon by the Spirit of God. Do you know why? Before we arrived, there were 13,000 prayer meetings held in that city. God was moving before we got there, in answer to prayer.
Do you know what prayer implies? Prayer implies that we must be in one accord. That means we can't have divisions among us. That means that if I am a Presbyterian or you are a Baptist, or if I am a Baptist or a Pentecostal, regardless of denomination, we have to forget our differences forget any minor points of argument and join together around the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must unite in prayer and supplication to the Lord, and God will send a revival. That means that we have to love one another, and our hearts must be bound together. When we love one another, there won't be any pride. When we love one another, there won't be any jealousy. When
we love one another, there won't be any envy. When we love one another, there won't be any gossip. When we really love one another, there won't be any of these sins, because love binds us together and presents us to God in the purity of Christ.
Fourth, in order to have a revival we must have faith. Unbelief is a sin that keeps back revival in city after city because people will not believe God's Word and take Him at His word. God says if we meet certain conditions, He will send a revival; He will send the blessing, and sinners will turn to Him. We have to take God at His word and not doubt Him. We need revival!
Now, what are the results of revival? The church will be on fire, burning with a desire to serve Him. Christians will be compelled to bring others to know Him.
There will be a new missionary emphasis in the church. We will turn our eyes on a world that is lost and dying and going to hell because these souls have not accepted God's plan. Prayer meetings will be jammed, people will love the hour of prayer and spend time in communion with God. The church will add new members. I believe that any work, any campaign, and evangelistic effort that is not contributing to the church is not building a lasting foundation in that place. God has approved the organization of the churches, and we are praying that thousands of people will be swept into the church during the days while we are here.
Wouldn't it be great to see the members of the church filled with the Holy Ghost? They will be if revival comes. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (Acts 1:8). Not only will the church members be revived, but many more will accept the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fourteen years ago, down in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, the ministers of our town forgot their differences; the laymen, together with the ministers, held a city-wide evangelistic campaign. Do you know one of the things that attracted me? I saw the people who, a few days before, had been quick to argue
with one another, now joined together around the cross of Jesus Christ. I said, "If that is taking place, there must be something to Christianity." I went to the services and was converted in an old-fashioned revival meeting just like this. When we join hands and the gospel is preached under the anointing and power of the Holy Ghost, revival comes and souls will turn to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, a revival brings tremendous social implications. Do you know what came out of past revivals? The abolishment of slavery came out of revival. The abolishment of child labor came out of revival. When the Wesleys preached in England, people were working ninety hours a week! As a result of that revival, sixty working hours became standard, and our great trade unions were organized. Did you know that the Y.M.C.A., the Salvation Army, most of our charity organizations, many of our educational institutions, slum clearance programs, the Sunday School, Christian reform and Women's Suffrage are revival results?
Now, in closing, to you Christians, you that profess the name of the Lord Jesus Christ if this is going to be just another campaign, if we are going to take it half-heartedly, we might as well stop right now. But this may be God's last call to Los Angeles! I am going to ask you to make your business secondary, to make your family secondary, to make everything else secondary for three weeks. Try God, believe God, prove God and come to these meetings. Pray and work as if your life and soul depended on it. Then watch God work during these days, that this opportunity given to Los Angeles the choice of accepting or rejecting Christ may not be in vain.
This same choice must be made by every person here this afternoon without Christ. Your choice can be one of two decisions accept Christ and believe Him, or die without Him and suffer judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment. At that time God says those whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.
What can you do? Right now you can turn to Jesus. Let Christ come into your heart and cleanse you from sin, and He can give you the assurance that if you died tonight, you would go to heaven. We call this belief in Christ salvation anyone can be saved by simply believing that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for his sin. Right now you can know that you are going to heaven. Will you accept Him?
Chapter Eight || Table of Contents