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The Power of the Cross: Billy Graham (Transcript)

Full text of Billy Graham’s sermon titled ‘The Power of the Cross’ which was delivered at Boston, Massachusetts in the year 1982.

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Billy Graham – Evangelist

Now, tonight I want you to turn with me to a familiar passage of Scripture, Galatians, the 6th chapter. Galatians the 6th chapter in the 14th verse.

Galatians 6:14: ‘But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’

Just after the War, Cliff Barrows and I came together. He led the singing and I did the preaching, and his wife and my wife and the four of us went to England and we lived in England during the winter of 1946 and 47.

Now, London was almost totally devastated. And one of the things I remember is that in all that devastation after the war and all the rubble, there stood St Paul’s Cathedral. And on top of St Paul’s was a cross.

I remember when Coventry Cathedral was being built, because it had been destroyed during the war and it was nearing completion. A cross was lowered by helicopter and placed on the top. A huge 25-foot wooden cross stands above the fields of the buried horror of Belsen concentration camp.

A tiny cross placed there by Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer the peak of mountains, is buried on the snow and the ice at the summit of Mount Everest.

Now, you… many of you are very religious and you have embossed upon your Bibles a cross or you wear a cross around your neck. And the thing that I want to ask you tonight is this: what does the cross mean to you?

Why do all the Catholic churches and all the Protestant churches have a cross? That’s the one thing we agree on is the cross.

The whole Christian world looks to the cross. Why did Paul say that he gloried in it more than anything else in all the world? Paul could have gloried in his education. He was one of the most educated men of his time. He could have gloried in his religion. He was very religious.

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He could have gloried in his ability to speak several languages. He was fluent in several. He could have gloried in the fact that he was a Roman citizen, but he didn’t.

Or he could have gloried in certain things about Jesus Christ, other than the cross, His spectacular miraculous birth born of a Virgin, the Virgin Mary, or the great teaching of Christ. Even today, educators say there’s never been a teacher like Jesus Christ or His great social work, His compassion for the poor and the needy, His concern for the hungry and the sick, His amazing resurrection from the dead, His future glory when He’s going to rule the world and His Kingdom is going to come.

He could have gloried in any of those things, but he said, no, I glory only in the cross. And he said, God forbid that I should glory in anything else except the cross. Why?

Well, I want you to think a moment and look at that cross. It was the most cruel of all punishments. Because the victims sometimes would hang there for several days. It took them several days to die. And on this occasion they were crucifying three people: two thieves – murderers — and Jesus in the middle.

The soldiers entered the guardhouse and brought Jesus with the two other condemned men. They were beaten 33 times or 39 times on their bare backs with leather thongs, with steel pellets on the end.

A crown of thorns had been put on Jesus’ brow. A cross was laid upon His back. The procession started. Jerusalem was filled with a carnival-like atmosphere at that time. And the procession went through the main streets so that all might see that the criminal and be warned of a similar fate if he broke the laws of Rome.

A big crowd was following. Just a few of Jesus’ friends were following. And Jesus became weakened by the loss of blood. And he fell. And so Simon of Cyrene, an African, helped Him carry the cross.

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The soldiers went quickly and methodically about their task of driving home the nails in His hands and the spike through His feet. The crowd mills around, jeering: ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save.’ They laughed and they mocked and they made fun of Him. ‘Come down, do just one more miracle,’ they said.

But He didn’t do it. He stayed there. Do you know why He stayed there? Because of you. Because He loved you. Because you see, only in Jesus Christ can we find forgiveness of sins. He was bearing our sins on the cross.

People ask me constantly as they write: Is there any hope for me? Can Christ save me? Prostitutes, alcoholics, robbers, murderers, prisoners, people filled with racial prejudice. People who hold in their hearts antisemitism. Is there any hope for me?

People who have done many evil things, both corporately and privately. Is there any hope for me?

A Bishop of a Church in another country came to me one time, some years ago now. And he told me that he did not believe that he was saved. He said, I’ve been to theological school in England. He said, I’ve been a Bishop now. And he told me how many years.

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But he said, I have so many doubts that my sins are forgiven and I’m going to heaven. And he said, I’ve come to you to ask you if you would pray for me and pray with me.

And very simply I talked to him just like he was a little child, as though he had never heard the Gospel before. Tears came streaming down his face and he got on his knees and he prayed a very simple prayer which indicates to me that you can even be a clergyman, be in the Church.

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