In November 2013, on what was his 95th birthday, Billy Graham gave his final message. His subject, not surprisingly, was ‘The Cross’. This had been his theme for the past 70 years when preaching all over the world to an estimated 215 million people in churches, chapels and stadia. During that final message Billy Graham made the following statement,
I know where I’ve come from; I know why I’m here; and I know where I’m going… Do you?
To say, ‘I know,’ these days is seen as offensive. To say, ‘I believe, I think or I feel,’ is acceptable, but to use the words, ‘I know,’ especially on matters such as faith, is taken for arrogance! But let’s look further at what Billy Graham knew.
I know where I’ve come from
Ultimate origins are a mystery and a puzzle to many. In the realms of science we could examine the question cosmologically. We are told in the latest theories that the universe probably began around 13.7 billion years ago, when a singularity of unimaginable energy began to rapidly expand in what is now commonly known as The Big Bang. Packed into that singularity was all we now see and know… including the essence of you and me!
What do you say, Billy?
If you listen to him preach (there are thousands of clips on YouTube) you will hear him use this phrase time and again- ‘The Bible says…’ It is very rare that Dr Graham would try to defend the Bible, he would simply declare it – ‘The Bible says!’ So what does the Bible say?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image…’
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him… (Genesis 1:1, 26-27).
In Psalm 8, when pondering the vast starry host, King David cried out, ‘What is man that you are mindful of him…? Yet you have made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honour’ (verses 4-5).
The apostle Paul, when speaking to a gathering of academics and philosophers in Athens said, ‘The God who made the world and everything in it… he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth’ (Acts 17:24-26).
So where have I come from? From God! Not a Big Bang… but a Great God!
I know why I’m here
What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? If there is no God and it really is simply Big Bang and evolution, then we have no ultimate meaning or purpose. We would be a fleeting accident in the vastness of time and space. In fact the iPad I’m typing away on now would have more meaning and purpose than you and me, because someone designed and produced it — and I’m now using it!
Atheism is not new, modern or trendy. It’s as old as mankind. Epicurus, the Greek philosopher (341-270BC), believed that when you are dead, you are dead – extinguished, you cease to be. Therefore, he concluded that we should eat, drink and be merry – for tomorrow we die! This is very much in line with most people’s thinking in Britain today. We are, by and large, Epicureans! Experience, me, feelings, happiness, money, things, pleasures are all that matter to us and yet we find that these things never ‘hit the spot’.
What does the Bible say?
From the very beginning of the Bible, it is clear that we were made for one supreme purpose: to enjoy (ENJOY!) a personal, vibrant, unhindered relationship with God himself! Our supreme reason for being is to know God. It’s not religion, it’s relationship!
What’s gone wrong? Sin.
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God (Is.59:2).
The wages of sin is death… (Rom. 6:23a).
Dr Graham would often say, ‘People don’t like to hear that they are sinners, it’s offensive to them. But they are, and that’s the problem!’
However, let’s look at the rest of Romans 6:23!
BUT (and here is what Billy Graham loved to preach about!) the gift of God is eternal LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus!
Who? The Son of God. God the Son. God from all eternity, Creator and Sustainer, who, without ceasing to be God, became man and walked this earth for 33 years. Why?
I came that they may have LIFE and have it abundantly (John 10:10).
And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God (John 17:3)
How does Jesus give us THIS LIFE?!
Through the cross! Man has sinned and man must die. So God the Eternal Son, becomes a man and dies for man.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
At the cross, the ransom price for sin was paid, on behalf of many.
The disciple Peter put it this way, ‘For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might BRING US TO GOD’ (1 Pet. 3:18).
Has Jesus bought and brought you?
I know where I’m going
At the age of 16, a young Billy Graham was invited by a friend to a youth barbecue meeting where an evangelist, Mordecai Ham, was to give a message. At the end Billy gave his heart to the Lord in repentance and faith. Billy believed the gospel promise so wonderfully summed up in John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Believing on Jesus, his Person and his work on the cross, brings the guarantee of eternal life.
Billy Graham knew where he was going – to heaven! He said,
‘One day they will say, ‘Billy Graham is dead’, don’t believe a word of it, I’ll be more alive than I’ve ever been!’
What about you? Do you know where you’ve come from? Do you know why you’re here and do you know where you are going?