The Man Billy Graham - His Legacy
Friday, February 23 2018
Taken from the R4L Trunk - initially written on June 14 2014:
It was just another post on my Facebook wall about three weeks ago: the link to the 2013 Billy Graham movie THE CROSS. Or so I thought when I first glanced at it. But, one thing has led to another, and I have spent the past several weeks remembering and researching this incredible man and his extraordinary ministry. I still recall being at several crusades and events back in Canada many years ago, hearing Billy Graham preach and being deeply moved by his clear and bold Christian message.
But many people today, mainly the younger generations, have either no or a very vague knowledge of Billy Graham and his 70-year ministry. When students at a Christian seminary in the US were recently asked if they knew who Billy Graham was, only one student raised his hand and said that he thought he was a professional wrestler!
So, at the ripe old age of 95½, what is Billy Graham’s legacy according to his son, Franklin Graham? His life example – his being completely transparent whether he was preaching in a huge stadium, speaking on television or just being a husband and father at home – his 100% commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and his passion in wanting everyone to be ready to stand before the judgment seat of God and be saved. “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ? Did you accept Him into your heart and life? Did you trust in Him as your Savior? Did you follow Him in obedience as your Lord?” Hopefully everyone’s answer will be a resounding “YES!”
What is his legacy according to an American newspaper editor who covered Billy Graham’s crusades for over a decade? His model of integrity, of vision and of longevity – his powerful pulpit ministry and his big heart – above all, his courageously preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ as a never-changing message in an ever-changing world.
What is his legacy according to the latest and most likely the last book that he wrote, with failing health but a clear mind, published in October of 2013? The book is entitled THE REASON FOR MY HOPE: SALVATION - and on the back cover we read:
“At the age of ninety-five Billy Graham proclaims God's Gospel with resolve and deep compassion. It is a message he has been preaching for more than seventy years. And in this book you will sense its urgency, filled with hope for the future. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31)
What is the most hopeful word in history? For Billy Graham, that word is SALVATION.
Salvation is what we all long for, when we are lost or in danger or have made a mess of our lives. And salvation belongs to us, when we reach out for the only One who can rescue us—Jesus.
The saving message of the Gospel is the heartbeat of this preacher and evangelist … THE REASON FOR MY HOPE: SALVATION presents the essence of that transformative message. It is biblical and timeless, and though simple and direct, it is far from easy. There are hard words, prophetic words, directed toward a culture that denies the reality of sin and distracts us from the veracity of Hell. But through its ominous warnings shines a light that cannot be extinguished—a beacon of hope that Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).”
When Billy Graham himself was asked about the legacy he hopes to leave behind one day, he told Charisma Magazine:
"I want to be remembered as a person who was faithful to God, faithful to my family, faithful to the Scriptures and faithful to my calling. I want the world to remember Billy Graham as a man that dedicated his life to the Lord and never looked back."
And when I think about Billy Graham, now in these twilight years of his life, I think of these words written by the Apostle Paul to his disciple Timothy almost 2000 years ago:
"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering,
and the time for my departure is near.
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day—
and not only to me,
but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
(2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Postscript: Billy Graham died two days ago, on February 21 2018.
He DID fight the good fight. He DID finish the race. He DID keep the faith.
And now, TODAY, he is wearing the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, has awarded him in heaven.
In his own words spoken a few years ago:
"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 (1918 - eternity)
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