Billy Graham Sermon: Who Is My Neighbor? (Transcript)

Full text of Billy Graham’s sermon titled “Who Is My Neighbor?”

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Billy Graham – Evangelist

This is a service in which we praise God, glorify Him and thank Him. But primarily it’s a place where the Gospel is proclaimed and where commitments are made — lifetime commitments are made to Christ.

And there are hundreds of people here tonight that stand at the crossroads of your life. You’re not here by accident. You might have come out of curiosity. Some of you came out of curiosity because of what you’ve read in the press or you’ve seen on television, or because of this new dome stadium.

Whatever your reason, maybe someone brought you, invited you to come. But you are here. And this may be the greatest and most important moment of your life. And for some of you, it will become the most important moment, as you listen to God’s voice.

You’ll hear my voice through your physical ears, but you’ll hear the Spirit of God through spiritual ears that God has given you.

Our Father and our God, we thank Thee for these that Thou hast sent here tonight. And we pray that all of those whose hearts You have already prepared may respond, and say yes to the claims of Jesus Christ, for we ask it in His name. Amen.

I want you to turn with me to Luke’s Gospel, the 10th chapter. The 10th chapter of Luke’s Gospel. If you have a Bible with you, beginning with the 25th verse, I want to ask how many here tonight you’re under 30 years of age? Stand up. You’re under 30.

There’s nobody left to applaud for you. You may sit down.

It’s interesting as we go back through the years and see the vast change that has taken place in these crusades, because it used to be that the vast majority of people were middle-aged. That was when we first came to this area for crusade. We were here six weeks in the stadium, and the average audience at that time would have been middle aged.

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Today, night after night, it’s young people and it’s the youth all over the country that are searching, searching for something to believe in.

I was talking to the president of Harvard University a few months ago and I asked him what the greatest need at Harvard was and among students today that he found. And Dr. Bach said, the greatest need is commitment, and the greatest need in your life is commitment. And tonight I’m going to ask you to make that commitment and make it to Christ.

So let’s turn to the simple little story that most of you have heard since you were children, perhaps this story, beginning with the 25th verse of the 10th chapter of Luke’s Gospel.

Luke 10:25-37: “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted Him, saying, ‘Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’

He said unto him, “What is written in the law? How readest thou?”

And he answered, said, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.’

And He said unto him, ‘Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.’

But he, (the lawyer), willingly to justify himself, said unto Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'” Who is your neighbor?

And Jesus answering, said, ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And he went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host and said unto him, “Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I’ll repay thee.”

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?

And the lawyer said, “He that showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise.”

Now, Jesus gave this little story an answer to two questions posed to him by this lawyer: ‘Master, what shall I do that I might inherit eternal life?’

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Now, the first mistake the lawyer made was there’s nothing you can do to inherit it. You cannot inherit eternal life from your parents or your grandparents.

You could say I was born in a Christian home, but that doesn’t make you a Christian or born in a Christian community, but that doesn’t make you a Christian.

You could say you were born in a garage, but that doesn’t make you a motor car.

Now, the second question he asked was this: “Who is my neighbor?” Who is my neighbor?

Now, there are three things wrapped up in that question: who is my neighbor?

First, it was a social question. Who is my neighbor? We could go to New York. And when I tell people this all over the world, wherever I go, usually at some clergy meeting, they’re quite shocked and surprised when I tell them that New York is one of the largest Italian cities in the world. It is the largest Jewish city in the world. It’s the largest Irish city in the world. It’s the largest Spanish… one of the largest Spanish speaking cities in the world, and it is the largest black city in the world.

And throw in a lot of Norwegians and Scandinavians and people of Russian descent and people from all over the world in New York City, and you have a United Nations living under one mayor and one government. And I wonder that they get along as good as they do.

It’s amazing to me when I go there that they don’t have more fights and more murders. They only have five murders a day in New York. And when you read who all lives there?

Who is my neighbor?

My neighbor is the person who is close to me, of course, my boyfriend, my girlfriend, roommate, husband, wife, mother, father, person next door, your professor, your friends.

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But today we must take a wider look… because of modern communication and modern technology, the whole world has become our neighborhood and everyone is our neighbor that lives on this little planet.

Because we are a small planet and we have technology in our hands now that have made this a very, very small planet. And we are demographically moving closer and closer to each other. And we become a neighborhood without becoming a brotherhood. And this is one of the great problems that we face in the world today.

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