By Billy Graham | First Published: April 05, 2015
The vast majority of the people around the world are looking to politics, science and education for the solution of life’s problems and not to Jesus Christ. Why is this? What is happening?
I believe part of the dilemma is that we have preached a weak, watered-down Christ. We have preached a watered-down Gospel. We have caused young people to doubt the authority of the Scriptures. We have taken this authority away from them, and so many of them are saying, “What is the use of it all?” God has become less than the God of the Bible. We have given our young people a god of our own imagination. Christ has been robbed of His deity.
It was the fact of the resurrection of Christ that called the disciples to go out as burning young revolutionaries to change the world of their day. They preached that Christ was alive. This should be our message, not only on Easter, but every day of the year. The risen Christ wants to come into our hearts today.
But beware—He is a disturber! He did not come to bring peace; He came to divide even families (Matthew 10:34-36). Many reject that kind of Christ because it costs too much to follow Him in this materialistic, secularistic, pleasure-mad, prejudice-filled age.
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We Christians must share the guilt. We have limited Christ to the sanctuary, to the temple, to the religious area of our lives. We have not practiced applied Christianity. We have restricted it to a Sunday affair. We worship Him behind thick church walls. We tuck Him away in quiet little recesses. From Sunday to Sunday, He is rarely mentioned. We spend very little time reading His Word or praying. We Christians act and live as though Christ were dead.
This kind of Christ will never make an impact on the world in which we live. This is not the Christ of the Bible. He is too weak and small; He is irrelevant. The weak, emaciated, impotent Christ of the church of today bears little resemblance to the Christ that Isaiah the prophet talked about. He bears little resemblance to the Christ who is found in the early church, which dared to challenge the world and turn it upside down.
When Christ was upon earth He went to the Temple, but He did not stay there. He went out into the streets where the sick, the needy and the dying were. His love and compassion broke the bounds of class, race and creed: “The common people heard Him gladly” (Mark 12:37).
Jesus Christ is alive. This risen Christ, taken by faith in all of His power and glory, is great enough and big enough to cope with every problem the human race faces at this hour.
The risen Christ is big enough to cope with the tyranny of man over man. Not only can He save the individual, but His power has worldwide implications. Isaiah said, “The government will be upon His shoulder” (9:6). He has not abdicated His sovereignty in the affairs of men. He is still the Lord of history.
When He was crucified, the Bible says, “an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38). He was then, and still is, King; only we have changed. Greek was the language of culture; Latin, the language of government; and Hebrew, the language of religion. One of our failures is not seeing Christ as King of the physical and material as well as the spiritual, of the mind as well as the soul, of the government as well as the heart.
In this country we are engaged in a debate on the separation of church and state. It is important that the church and state remain separate, but there is another sense in which Christ cannot be separated from anything that pertains to life, for He “is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11). He said, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and … so I am” (John 13:13, KJV). He is the Master of every phase of our lives.
Secularism is growing because we have tried to get Him to abdicate from the realms of economics, politics and science. We have limited Christ to the little sphere of man’s religiosity; we have hidden Him in cloistered sanctuaries, in clouds of incense and in rituals.
Nazism blossomed in Germany only after the church had failed to fill the vacuum following World War I. When the church failed to present and declare a dynamic, living Christ, Germany was robbed of a Savior and gave birth to a dictator. When Christ is made to abdicate from His rightful place as Lord in any nation, tyranny takes over.
In the United States, our Declaration of Independence speaks of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but it is the pursuit of happiness that is guaranteed and not happiness itself. Chasing happiness around may be fun for a while, but the entertainment of it soon wears thin.
However, there is a better way. Paul says, “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
Christian joy is dependent on a personal relationship with God, and not on externals.
In the upper room Jesus told His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). He further told them that His joy cannot be taken away (John 16:22). No pagan philosophy, no atheistic ideology, no deep sorrow, can dislodge the joy that Christ gives.
We have made the mistake of dividing our lives into neat little compartments—politics in one section, economics in another and religion poked back in a dark little corner, brought out for display only for a few minutes on Sunday morning.
Our resurrected Christ is also big enough to cope with the gigantic social problems of these times. The race problem is not limited to any one city, nor to any one part of the United States. The race problem is a worldwide problem. Wherever two races or two nationalities or even two religious groups live together, there is friction and misunderstanding.
It is into this kind of situation that Christ can come with the healing “balm of Gilead.” We must recognize the relationship between Christianity and healthy social conditions. One of the greatest and most far-reaching social revolutions of history was directly related to and grew out of the great evangelical revivals of the eighteenth century under John Wesley and George Whitefield.
I believe that a great spiritual revival today would have social consequences throughout the world. Christ has the answer to the social problems. He can meet them in His resurrection power and glory.
But let us not forget that man does not of himself have the capacity to love his neighbor. He does not have the capacity to live according to Christian ethics until he has come to Jesus Christ. When you repent of your sins and receive Christ as Savior, He enlarges your capacity and gives you new ability to love your neighbor. He gives you new powers, new directions, new strengths, new visions, new dimensions of living, when you come to know Him.
Jesus once said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
This is Good News for the poor. This is Good News for the suffering. This is Good News for the blind. Christ can indeed cope with the social and political problems of the world.
The world today offers many “saviors,” but none of them saves to the uttermost. The world today offers many panaceas, but they cannot reach to the depths of our depravity. The world today offers many shortcuts to what it considers salvation, but to be truly saved we must be reconciled to God.
Give your life to Jesus Christ today. Receive Him as your Lord and Savior. And whatever personal problems you may have, and whatever great problems may face the world, you can find help, and you can make your contribution to this generation by making your commitment and your decision for Jesus Christ. Let His joy, His peace, His love, dominate your life. D ©1964 BGEA
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture Quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. The Scripture Quotation marked KJV is taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version.