Billy Graham Sermon: Just Say No (Transcript)

Full text of Billy Graham’s sermon titled ‘Just Say No’ which was preached in Fargo, North Dakota in 1987.

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Billy Graham – Evangelist

Now I want you to turn with me to 1 Corinthians, the 9th chapter, beginning at verse 24.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but only one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an eternal incorruptible crown. I therefore so run, not as uncertainty; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep my body under subjection, lest that by any means, when I’ve preached to others, I myself should be disapproved.”

And then, the 12th verse of the next chapter:

1 Corinthians 10:12-13: “Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. There hath no trial or temptation or trouble taken you but such as is common to all men: But God is faithful who will not allow you to suffer, to be tempted above that you’re able; but will with the temptation or the trial, also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Young people today are faced with so many problems, especially peer pressure. And the hardest word that young people have to say today is the little word: ‘no’.

Whether it’s drugs, whether it’s picking up a cigarette, whether it’s illicit sex, whatever it is, it’s the hardest word. Do you say no when the peer pressure comes, when the hormones begin to rise, when the excitement is there?

Yes, we’re all tempted, but there’s no temptation taken you but what everybody else has had. You say, well, did Jesus have temptations like that? Of course He did. It says “He was tempted in every point, like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

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Because the moment you’re tempted, God provides a way to escape. There is a way out. He provides it. But you have to make the decision to go that way. And when you make that decision, the Holy Spirit is there to help you and give you strength and courage.


And then another man, another person in the Bible, the young person was named Daniel.

In Daniel 1:8, it says, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor the wine which he drank.

Daniel was a young man with a purpose. His motivation to serve God had come early, because Nebuchadnezzar the great king of Babylon, had come over to Jerusalem and captured Jerusalem, captured the king and captured a few young Jewish men that he wanted to take back to Babylon and train them in the language of Babylon and all the ways of Babylon so that they could be of help to him in running his empire.

And one of them was Daniel. And he wanted young men with whom there was no blemish, well favored and skilful in all wisdom and cunning in knowledge and understanding science. He wanted him to be proficient in physics and all the scientific studies of that day.

And during the period of training they brought the finest foods for Daniel to eat. But Daniel wanted the simple lifestyle. He wanted to eat ordinary food, he didn’t want to eat the rich food off the king’s table. And he asked the head of their training program, his professor, if he could do it. And the professor hesitated. He said, ‘if the king finds out about it, I’ll lose my head.’

So Daniel said, well, why don’t you give us ten days and let’s try it out?

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And so in ten days they fed them just beans and water and the things that Daniel was used to eating, simple food. And when the ten days were finished, Daniel and his friends were stronger and better looking than all the others that they had been feeding all those fine foods to from the king’s table.

How different from those who can’t wait until they get away from home to live it up. Because Daniel had been taken 1500 miles. Who would know, who would care if he drank the wine and got drunk and ate the finest and lived a soft lifestyle?

Daniel was far away from home, but he lived the life that he had learned to live as a young man of God. He could have gained popularity by indulging. And this early ‘no’ in his youth prepared him for the big ‘No’ when he had to face the den of lions, when he had to face Belshazzar the king, he said no because he had learned in the very beginning.

We defile ourselves by overeating; 11 times we’re told about overindulgence of food in the Bible, overdrinking alcohol, drug taking, too much television.

Jesus said in Luke 21:34, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, so that the day of death comes upon you unawares. (Or the day of His coming comes upon you unawares).”

Paul said, ‘make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.’ (Romans 13:14)

Peter said, ‘for the time passed we walked in lasciviousness, lust, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries’. (1 Peter 4:3)

What about you? Do you live a disciplined life? Do you live an organized life? Have you got your life organized and disciplined to the point that you can say no to those things that you know that are hurting your body?

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You see, the Bible teaches that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t live in a church building. God lives in you. And a group of us, called the church, an assembly, make up the church and we use the building and its facilities to meet in. And so it’s a sacred building. It’s a holy building, as the temple was in Jesus’ day of the synagogues were considered.

But the real temple of God is your body. And yet you harm your body by the way you treat it.


And then another man in the Bible, a young man that said no, that changed history was Joseph. He was the boy that his father loved the best, apparently. And the other children became jealous and envious of him. And so they said, let’s kill him.

And Reuben said, his oldest brother said no, let’s put him in a pit and we’ll just leave him to die there and father will not know the difference.

But then some Ishmaelites came along and they said let’s sell him and make some money and then his blood won’t be on our hands. We’ll let the Ishmaelites take him.

So they sold him into slavery to these Ishmaelites and they took him on to Egypt and they sold him to a man by the name of Potiphar that was in the cabinet of Pharaoh. And he became a slave, strong, handsome.

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