Notable Speeches: Billy Graham in 1949

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, October 15th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: another in our occasional series: “Notable Speeches: Past and Present.” 

70 years ago this fall, the Billy Graham Crusade took place in Los Angeles.

Organizers put up a canvas tent in a downtown parking lot that could seat about 6-thousand people. As attendance grew, they added a few thousand more chairs. By the end of the crusade, it was standing room only.

EICHER: This wasn’t Graham’s first crusade. But it was the beginning of his national acclaim. The crusade lasted eight weeks. Graham spoke to more than 350,000 people. Organizers reported 3,000 professions of faith.

There are only fifty nine recordings available from the 1949 LA Crusade. Recording technology wasn’t then what it is now, and many of the recordings are difficult to understand.

But you can still hear Graham’s early, engaging style.

REICHARD: Today we present an excerpt from Graham’s October 14th message titled: “Weighed in God’s Balances and Found Wanting.” In the sermon, he compares Los Angeles with Babylon. And how just as God judged King Belshazzar, we too, will one day face the same—but there’s hope…

BILLY GRAHAM: Each night during this campaign except on about three or four nights, I have been discussing a different doctrine from the Scriptures and applying to 1949 as it relates to the lives of everyone of us. 

Tonight, I want to slightly depart from that procedure. And I want you to turn with me, and I believe led by the Spirit of God, to Galatians the sixth chapter and the seventh verse. And we read these words: “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 

Tonight I’m going to bring a very brief Gospel address because the time is very late. I’m not going to keep you too long tonight. I believe that in this city, there is a moving of the Spirit of God, unprecedented in the history of this city in many years. I don’t mean in this campaign, I mean in the churches, among the ministries. Here and there across the city, there’s a moving of the Spirit of God. And God only knows if there was ever a city that needs a revival, Los Angeles needs it tonight. This city, I believe with all my soul, after being here for one month, this city is the wickedest city upon the face of the globe. I don’t believe that Algiers, I don’t believe that Shanghai has the sin, and the Sodom and Gomorrah that the city of Los Angeles has. This is a desperate and crucial hour. This is not an hour for ordinary methods. This is not an hour for the ordinary. This is an hour for revolution. This is an hour for desperate measures. This is an hour for emergency. An hour when we need to fall on our faces before Almighty God. 

And tonight I want to talk upon the subject: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.” Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. And the Bible says tonight and warns us time after time, that the soul that sinneth shall die. The wages of sin is death. And nobody in the history of the world has ever, has ever, gotten by with sinning and getting away with it. Nobody ever has, nobody ever will, because the scripture says: “the wages of sin is death…and God is not mocked.”

Oh you might get by with it for awhile. You might go on with your drinking, and your carousing. And in your unfaithfulness, and in your sinning. You might go on, and on, and on. And might go for 40 years, but be sure of this: that one of these days you’re going to reap what you sow. One of these days you’re going to reap sin. One of these days you’re going to reap the judgment of Almighty God for the wicked, wild life that you live. No man has ever sinned and gotten away with it. God says: “The wages of sin is death.” 

In the sight of God tonight, we are all the same. I told them the other night that I talked to a doctor. And that this army doctor told me that when the majors, and the captains, and the booked privates came in the war, and stripped off their clothes, he said they all looked alike to him. And when you stand stripped before Almighty God, at the great White Throne Judgment, God is no respecter of persons. 

He doesn’t look at what people think. God is weighing in his own scales and I want to ask you tonight: “How much do you weigh?” What’s your weight tonight in the sight of the Almighty God? I want to see how you stack up before God tonight. I want you to see, and before you leave this tent in the next few minutes, every boy and every girl, every man and every woman can know how much you weigh in the sight of Almighty God. 

Fourteen years ago, I wandered into an old fashioned, citywide revival campaign like this. And I sat way in the rear, when the man of God got up and opened the Bible… and he said: “But God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for all.” And I said: “Oh Lord, that’s it. That’s the life. That’s what I need. That’s what will save me. That’s what will bring peace to my heart. That’s what will solve my problem. That’s what lift my burden. That’s what will change me from sin. Oh Lord, I’m going to try it!” 

And so that night. I made my way forward. And I kneeled at an old fashioned altar. And by faith I put my hand into the hands of Jesus Christ. I put his righteousness in the scales. I put his atoning work that the Lord God had accepted on the cross of Calvary, by the proof of the resurrection, I put it in the scales and lo and behold, the scales balanced for the first time! 

And ladies and gentlemen, tonight, that’s the only way the scales will ever balance. I ask you tonight: “How much do you weigh? Are you sure the scales are balanced?” I want to tell you that God says: “If we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved.”

You don’t have to move, right where you sit right now, believe it or not, you can know that the scales are balanced, you can know that you’re going to heaven. You can be absolutely sure if an atomic bomb or heart attack, whatever it is, you’re ready to meet God. 

MUSIC: ‘Just As I Am’ Johnny Markin (Instrumental Acoustic Hymns Project)

(Photo/Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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