The University of Life: Billy Graham (Transcript)

Full text of the evangelist Billy Graham’s sermon titled ‘The University of Life’ which was delivered in Reno, Nevada in 1980. In this message, Billy Graham explains how you can live your life with purpose and freedom.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Billy Graham – Evangelist

Tonight I want you to turn with me to the 11th chapter of Matthew. The 11th chapter of Matthew.

Matthew 11:28-30: ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest under your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’

I want to speak tonight on the ‘University of Life’. I want to speak to young people as well as older people on the subject of the ‘university of life’.

Now, we usually think of this text that a pastor will take and use at Labor Day. But that’s wrong in one sense, and yet in another sense, it is correct.

But this is an invitation to men and women who are exhausted with the search for truth. Jesus said, ‘You’ve been searching for truth. You’re tired. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. You’ve found it. The search ends with Me.’

Now, at this university we’re talking about tonight, you can fail, but you can never drop out. All over the world, people are beginning to ask questions about where civilization is headed.

One of the foreign experts left Washington in despair this past summer and went back to the university to teach. And he was asked why. And he said, sometimes I get the feeling I’m sitting on a hilltop watching two trains racing toward each other on the same track.

Vice Premier Dung of China stated recently this past summer that World War III is inevitable and independent of man’s will in this decade.

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A British editorial said recently the world is on a collision course with disaster.

Now, when we come back to America and see the affluence of America, I also read and hear about the new surge of problems that our affluency has created. Psychologists, economists, clergy, politicians are dealing with social and moral problems on a scale that they’ve never had to deal with before.

For example, the marriage breakups. Even among so called, professing Christians, some of them well-known Christians in our newspapers even today.

Married women having adulterous affairs has tripled in the last five years. But the price they pay is escalating drug addiction, alcoholism and suicide, racial tensions. We thought the race problem in America was settled. It’s not settled. Look at Miami or Philadelphia this past summer.

The Psalmist said, and I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and rest. (Psalm 55:6) Have you ever felt that way?

You’d like to fly away from life and rest. You’d like to get out of that kitchen and rest. You’d like to get out of that job and rest. You’d like to fly away somewhere.

Thousands of people out east come to Nevada and to California thinking that they’re going to find it here. And they may find something here, but they find wonderful air here in Reno, I’ll tell you that; they find beautiful mountains here and they find a lot of activity here.

But the real thing they’re searching for is God, because, you see, they were made in the image of God and without God, their hearts are restless till they come to know God.

You can never find true rest until you know God, and you that are watching by television, if you want to find peace with God and rest in your own souls, call that number on your screen right now and let somebody talk to you, as many people here will do later on in the evening.

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You see the Psalmist longing to escape has become the cry of the world today.

The Psalmist also said, ‘I’m full of heaviness and looked for some to take pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none’. (Psalm 69:20)

The Bible also says, ‘But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them. Their hope will become a dying gasp.’ (Job 11:20) No way out.

Jesus said, I am the way out. He said, there’s only one way to escape, one way out, and I’m it. You have to come by the way of the cross and the empty tomb and find reconciliation with God and peace in your heart and joy in your heart that you have lost.

And how many of you are trying to escape? You’ve come out here from somewhere else to escape all the rigors of life somewhere else, but you haven’t really found it yet.

You haven’t found that joy and that peace that you thought you’d find, or that sense of fulfillment. You don’t have the answer to the questions. Where did you come from? What is life all about? Where are you going when you die? You don’t have those answers yet. You can find it tonight by coming to Jesus Christ.

You see, Jesus said, ‘learn of Me.’ It’s a picture of Jesus Christ as the great Professor at the university. He’s the greatest teacher that ever was. The Bible says He taught them as one having authority. He spoke with authority. You never find Jesus saying, I hope this is the way. I think this is the way.

The Bible says, ‘There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.’ (Proverbs 14:12)

There are many ways in life that seem right, but the end is death, destruction, judgment and hell. And Jesus warned about that.

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Jesus said, ‘I am the Way.’

Now, most of the world would agree that He’s the greatest teacher that ever lived. And so tonight I want you to sit for a few moments at the feet of the world’s greatest teacher.

In most American universities and colleges, they have what is called required courses and elective courses. Now, in life, there are certain required courses. What are they?

There are three: 3 required courses and 3 elective courses that I want you to think about tonight.

The first required course is Life itself. Philosophy means the study of life and ideas concerning life. And one of the most discussed new books published last summer was The Philosophers, in which 20 of the most influential philosophers of the Western world in modern times are psychoanalyzed as to the amount of fulfillment that they themselves enjoyed.

And it demonstrated that all 20 of them that they studied were characterized by loneliness and anxiety.

You see, we did not choose to be born. We were not consulted about living, and there’s nothing you can do to stop living. We did not choose where to be born. We did not choose what color of skin we have. There’s no escaping life, all.

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