Billy’s good news is our good news as well. Listen, God loves you and wants to save you!
“Harvest is past, summer is ended,
And we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20)
Growing season and gathering of crops ended.
The Lord God said to the prophet Jeremiah the above-cited verse so that he can proclaim and warn the people who would not respond to God’s loving call for salvation.
Harvest is the time of gathering ripe crops from the land of cultivation and it signs the end of the growing season of crops. Now, in addition, the above passage says summer is also ended. The whole growing and the gathering of crops is ended and the summer is also ended. Now winter is on the way. A good harvest makes winter time enjoyable because there are plenty of foods to eat when the land is in a dormant stage. For those who did not do what they supposed to do in a growing season has nothing to look forward and they do not have a comfortable winter. In other words, they are not saved from the incoming danger of the severe winter.
Oh No, harvest is past, summer is ended and we are not saved! A late recognition of the lost opportunities from God.
A negative tone of sadness in the above passage right? Why? Because people were not saved even though the harvest was past and summer was ended. Bible says this period in which you and I live is called the age of grace or the dispensation of grace. God deliver His message of salvation in this period in and through His servants and then will come the harvest time when He gathers His children who listened and responded to His voice into his barn called the heaven.
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Billy Graham dies at the age of 99.
Today on February 21, 2018, the world heard the news that Billy Graham, the well-known evangelist who led millions in many countries to God’s grace and eternal salvation by his preaching of the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ, went to be with the Lord in heaven. He dies at the age of 99 in North Carolina, USA. He faithfully proclaimed the message of grace and salvation all over the world during his life time. Millions of people around the world were already saved from the coming judgment and from eternal hell through his Gospel ministry.
While he was alive he made this very important statement. Read carefully. “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it? I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God. Heaven is my real home. My home is in heaven. I’m just passing through this world.” Billy Graham.
I remember my father took me to one of his crusades when I was a middle school student. There were thousands or ten thousands of people listening to the Gospel message about how the grace and love of God can save people from their sins and grant eternal life in heaven. He clearly preached how God can transfer your future address from a place called hell to a marvelous, holy and beautiful place called heaven. In each one of his crusades, he proclaimed the simple but profound message that Jesus Christ died and buried and rose again for their sins and by accepting Him as the savior, their sin can be completely forgiven and they can live in heaven with God eternally. He said Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation because God the Father sent Jesus Christ to this world. Jesus lived a sinless life and finally shed His divine, previous and blameless blood for the forgiveness of our sins. The way to God and the way to heaven is only by the shed blood of Christ. Whoever accepts Jesus as his or her savior will be saved from all their sins because the price of people’s sins has already paid by Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
You see, Gospel or this good news is not a religion. The message of salvation that is in the Gospel does not add people to any religion but it does add people to a personal relationship with their savior- Jesus Christ. The result is people get forgiveness of their sins and new life begins with the Lord Jesus on this earth – a changed character and a good and fruitful life finally resulting in eternal life after the death here. A person who believes in Jesus Christ goes to heaven at the time of his or her death, not because of any merits on his or her side and not because of any good deeds or works done, but because Christ shed His precious blood for the sins and now in the name of Christ they can enter in to heaven as a sinless and holy person and live in heaven eternally with God. Billy Graham was not preaching a religion. He was preaching the eternal and everlasting truth of the Word of God that God loves you, saves you and grants you forgiveness and eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ.
Whenever he preached this good news or the Gospel of salvation in the name of Jesus Christ, after the meeting, when he called people to believe in Christ as their savior, thousands and thousands of people came forward and committed their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. Several years ago, there was a Gospel meeting in Dallas, TX in the old cowboy stadium. My family and I got the privilege to attend the meeting and listen to his Gospel preaching. That day also, as usual, thousands of people came forward after his preaching as a token or proof that they accepted Christ as their savior. What a blessing to see people are changed miraculously and truly changed forever when they come the to the savior of the world – Jesus Christ. People find peace, hope and the assurance of the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul says this in Bible in Romans 1:16-17, “I am not ashamed of the Good News (Gospel). It is the power of God. It is the way He saves men from the punishment of their sins if they put their trust in Him. It is for the Jew first and for all other people also. The Good News tells us we are made right with God by faith in Him. Then, by faith, we live that new life through Him. The Holy Writings say, “A man right with God lives by faith.” (NLV). The great apostle was not ashamed of this Gospel. He preached everywhere he went because the Bible says the Gospel (or the good news that Jesus, the Son of God, paid for your sins and you can be forgiven and go to heaven to live with God eternally) is the power of God to save anyone who comes and accept Christ as their savior.
Background of the passage of cry cited above.
The passage cited in the beginning of this article warns the tragic and sad cry of the people who failed to respond to God’s loving call in time. You see God calls your attention to the preaching of the good news of the Gospel and invite you to come to Him because He is willing to save you with no expense from your side. The background of the above passaged is this – People of Judah were so wicked and lived their life in sin forgetting the true and living God. They worshipped man-made idols who can never save them from their sins nor can offer forgiveness or eternal life. Even after repeated calls, people’s hearts were so hardened toward the truth of God, now they are going to pay for their decision of not responding to His call for salvation.
Prophet Jeremiah warned them, they would have to cry soon if they are not willing to respond to God’s loving call for repentance. “Harvest is past, summer is ended, And we are not saved.”
The people of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, because of their continued hardening of hearts was attacked and exiled by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. God judged them for their iniquities. Finally, you see, they had to pay very harshly and dearly for their unwillingness to heed the call of God in their lives. This was literally happened in history in BC 598.
God warned in the above passage that they would have to pay for their sins if they are unwilling to listen and come to God for their salvation. Though He sent His prophets again and again and called for their repentance and change of heart, they won’t listen to His loving call. Instead, they started persecuting Jeremiah and other faithful preachers.
You see whenever the Gospel is preached there are people who have a soft heart to listen carefully and come to the Lord Jesus for salvation and there is a second group who will harden their hearts to the good news of salvation. In Billy Graham crusades, there were thousands who listened, understood and soften their hearts to receive the Word of Salvation. They accepted the Word of God and received forgiveness of their sins by accepting Christ as their savior who died, buried and rose again for their sins. However, there was always a second group who will not be willing to listen and accept the message of salvation. It all depends on the soil of your heart – hard or soft. Some harden their hearts to the eternal truth of salvation. The result will be the judgment of God and eternal separation from Him.
Remember Jesus said about a Rich man and Lazarus. The rich man had fun and luxurious life on this earth with no time to listen to God’s call and Lazarus was a poor man with sores all over his body. Both died and angels took Lazarus to paradise and the rich man ended up in hades where there are agony and torments. The rich man was painfully conscious of the lost opportunities while he lived on this earth. But it was too late for him to make his decision after his death. This is true with you and I. Death seals our choice and no one is able to change the choice they already made once death embraces you and me. May be the rich man thought he is not going to die that soon. No body know the date of their death. Death happens when we don’t expect it. In Hades, the rich man begged to send Lazarus to his five brothers who were still living on earth. He thought when his five brothers see Lazarus coming from death, they will believe the Gospel and will get saved so that they won’t end up in hades like him. But Rich man was told, “they have Moses and Prophets there and let them hear them”. In other words, there are people who faithfully deliver the message of the good news of the Gospel. Let the five brothers listen to them. I am sure the rich man in Hades was tormented by the memory of the lost opportunities.
Historically speaking of the events happened in BC 598, they could have avoided their tragedy by believing the Word of God. Prophet Jeremiah brought the message of salvation repeatedly to them but instead of softening their hearts to the bidding and counsel of God, they hardened their hearts which resulted in bloodshed, the division of families, bondage and exile to a foreign land. They became slaves in Babylon. They sat there by the rivers of Babylon and cried about their plight. You may have heard the famous lyrics, “By the rivers of Babylon”. Bible describes their sad stage in Psalm 137:1-4 like this, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” They were so sad and depressed. Once they were good singers with harp and now when the Babylonians asked them to sing their songs, they could not sing anymore.
When the Judgment of God comes, who can stand against Him? No one can.
The City of Jerusalem was filled with blood and ruin and lamentations from all the parts of the city rose up in the air, when Nebuchadnezzar attacked the city. The city was placed in a fire. Many people lost their lives and many lost everything they had for living. The King of Babylon took many to serve as salves in his city. When the judgment of God came upon Jerusalem on that day, Bible says, “She has become like a woman whose husband has died. She who was once was a queen among the cities has become a servant made to work. She cries hard in the night, with tears on her face. All friends and lovers and friends have turned against her…. For the Lord has made her suffer for her many sins…” (Lamentation 1)
But remember God warned them ahead of time what is going to happen if they did not listen to the voice of the loving and gracious God.
May the lost opportunity never happen to you.
May the above remorse and cry of, ““Harvest is past, summer is ended, And we are not saved” never happens to you and me. May we listen to the good news of the Gospel proclaimed by God’s servants today. Please do not harden your heart. Soften your heart to the loving call of the Lord. Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “For He (God) says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
The simple but profound message of salvation, the same message Billy Graham preached about 5 decades in different continents, is the one I am talking to you again today. God loves you and He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Read this verse again slowly. God says He loves you and He even gave His only begotten son, Jesus Christ to come down to this earth and God placed all your sins on Him and Jesus carried your sins and sorrows and died in your place. After the death of Christ on that cruel cross, his body was buried and on the third day, He rose again conquering sin and death. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ shall never perish but have the eternal or everlasting life. The empty tomb in Jerusalem openly testifies even today Christ Jesus is risen again and gained forgiveness of sins and eternal life for you.
Will you turn to the Lord and accept his mercy today before it becomes late? Bible says today is the day of Grace and salvation. But there is a day going to come pretty soon, Bible warns, and it is called the day of Judgment. Bible talks about that day in Revelation 6:15-17, “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Who is able to stand is an open-ended question that demands an answer. The right answer to the above question is No, no one will be able to stand on that day of God’s judgment. The Book of Revelation (the last book in the Bible) describes more about the coming period of severe judgment on this planet earth. But Bible also says this for your comfort and salvation, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” You don’t need to be part of God’s judgment and you can be saved from that day of judgment in and through Jesus Christ. The only reason why you will be in judgment is that you did not believe in Christ who was sent for your salvation. No other reason because the above verse says he who believes in Jesus is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already for that day of judgment.
Come to Lord Jesus Christ today Just as you are and believe He died and rose again for your sins. Bible says your sin is what separate you from God (Isiah 59:2). What can wash away your sins? Bible declares the LORD had laid all your sins and transgressions on His Son Jesus (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus paid it all with His own shed blood. Now you can regain your fellowship and friendship with God. You can become a child of God. It doesn’t matter what your past was. The Lord will give a new life and new future today onwards. In Him, there is unfailing love and full redemption for you (Psalm 130:7). The same message of Billy Graham. Please come to Christ and accept Him as your savior today. Billy Graham’s crusades usually ended with a call to come to Jesus Christ (the lamb of God who died in your place to save you from your sins) with this song.
“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
It means this – Lord, simply just as I am I come to you without any plea. I know Lord Jesus you shed your blood for my sins. I understand you are calling me to come to you. O Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, I come, yes I come to you now.
I will help you to pray now. Please pray after me.
“God, I know you sent your Son to this world and He willingly died, buried and then risen from the dead to pay for my sins. I am sorry about my sins. I accept Jesus Christ as my savior today. Thank you for saving me from the coming judgment and eternity without you. Thank you for granting me eternal life with you. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, please visit www.teachbible.org and go to contact and prayer tab and send me a note please. I will be thrilled to hear from you.