We saw the Holy Spirit of God work in the hearts of those who heard the preaching of the Gospel. God has chosen the proclamation of His Word as the primary means the Holy Spirit uses to convict and save the lost: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, NASB).
We also know from Scripture that not everyone who makes a decision for Christ will continue to follow Him.
Jesus made that very clear in the parable of the sower: “‘The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.’ As [Jesus] said these things, He would call out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear'” (Luke 8:5–8).
Jesus understood that not all who heard the Good News of the Kingdom would follow Him. Many rejected Him. Many saw His miracles and saving power but refused to surrender their hearts to Him.
That is still true today for those who hear the Gospel. The devil quickly works to steal the meaning and power of the Gospel message from some hearts; others make a quick emotional decision only to wither later, while still others allow the cares and riches of this world to obscure the Gospel. Many do go on to live a significant life of fruitfulness and obedience to the Savior.
A few years ago, I was in Wichita, Kansas, for flight training. When I was checking into a local hotel, a young man stopped me and said, “Mr. Graham, I was at your Crusade here in Wichita 10 years ago. I gave my heart to Christ then, and I’m now in Bible school, training to be a pastor.” Praise God!
As I have traveled around the world, I have often met missionaries and evangelists who gave their lives to Christ at one of my father’s meetings and who are now reaping a spiritual harvest themselves in their own ministries.
Follow Up is Crucial
This is why it is so important that we follow up with everyone who has made a decision at our Crusade. As they come forward, people are immediately paired with a counselor who clearly explains the biblical steps for salvation. Often, even before they return home, we are able to contact them electronically, encouraging them to get involved in a local church. They also receive materials we have developed over the years that will help them grow spiritually.
I was at a conference a few days ago where I heard someone say that we should not mention sin in our preaching, because it is offensive. I was shocked. You can’t preach the Gospel of salvation without saying that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
It’s our job to faithfully proclaim the Gospel. It’s our responsibility to tell all who hear that there is “none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10), and that we are all “dead in [our] trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1).
It is only when people understand they are lost and helpless in their sinful state that they are ready to receive God’s salvation, which comes through repentance and faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And believe me, this is Good News.
The Apostle Paul said he was “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
Remember Youth for Christ?
Our Rock the River Tour this past summer was aimed at youth, and my father asked me to remind our supporters that this was the way he started his evangelistic ministry at Youth for Christ more than six decades ago, reaching out to young men and women with the saving love of Christ.
I have just returned from preaching in Colombia. Until very recently, drug cartels and violence made it one of the most dangerous countries on earth. We saw the power of the Gospel save thousands as the
Holy Spirit convicted them of sin and righteousness. It had been nearly 30 years since a citywide, united evangelistic Crusade had come to Bogotá, and the fields were truly “white for harvest” (John 4:35). You can go online to billygraham.org and read some of the amazing testimonies of God’s saving power.
As I write, we are preparing for a major Crusade in Chennai, India, in January. Our team is already on the ground, working with local churches, preparing the soil for the sowing of God’s Word. Pray with us for a great harvest.
We are actively preparing for another Rock the River evangelistic concert tour next summer aimed at youth. We will be announcing the cities and dates soon. We will also be in Osaka, Japan, for a major Crusade, as well as in South America and Eastern Europe.
We need your financial support in the coming days and weeks. God graciously uses your gifts and petitions as part of His sovereign plan to help “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).
Many people have asked about my father. He will turn 91 this November, and his mind is still sharp. Next month also marks 75 years since he came forward at a Mordecai Ham revival and surrendered his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. He still loves to hear the stories of God’s saving grace at work.
May God bless you and your family,
Franklin Graham, President