Guest Speaker - Franklin Graham
|Luke 19 (NKJV™)|
|1||Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.|
|2||Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.|
|3||And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.|
|4||So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.|
|5||And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house."|
|6||So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.|
|7||But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, "He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner."|
|8||Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold."|
|9||And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;|
|10||"for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."|
|11||Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.|
|12||Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.|
|13||"So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.'|
|14||"But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'|
|15||"And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.|
|16||"Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.'|
|17||"And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'|
|18||"And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.'|
|19||"Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'|
|20||"Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.|
|21||'For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.'|
|22||"And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.|
|23||'Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'|
|24||"And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.'|
|25||("But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.')|
|26||'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.|
|27||'But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.'"|
|28||When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.|
|29||And it came to pass, when He came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples,|
|30||saying, "Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.|
|31||"And if anyone asks you, 'Why are you loosing it?' thus you shall say to him, 'Because the Lord has need of it.'"|
|32||So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.|
|33||But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, "Why are you loosing the colt?"|
|34||And they said, "The Lord has need of him."|
|35||Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.|
|36||And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.|
|37||Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen,|
|38||saying: "'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!' Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"|
|39||And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples."|
|40||But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."|
|41||Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,|
|42||saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.|
|43||"For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,|
|44||"and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."|
|45||Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it,|
|46||saying to them, "It is written, 'My house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"|
|47||And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him,|
|48||and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
Are you missing something in life? Are you searching for something, unsure of exactly what it is? As he brings us this message from Luke 19, Franklin Graham challenges us to consider our standing before God: Are your sins forgiven? Listen and learn that though we are all guilty of sin, we can receive forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.
Calvary Albuquerque is regularly host to special guest speakers. This series includes messages from many great Bible teachers including; Pancho Juarez, Mike Finizio, Don McClure, Bill Welch and others. These messages can be purchased as CDs from our online store, or by calling 1-800-922-1888.
Pastor Skip Heitzig: Something about our guest speaker this morning, years ago, Franklin Graham, growing up in the home of Billy and Ruth Graham, it wasn't a shoe-in for him. He rebelled against that. He was saying in his own words that it's not that he didn't believe in God, he just didn't want God running his life. That was until he was 22 years of age. In a hotel room in Jerusalem, he fell to his knees and received Christ as his Lord and Savior. I know that Franklin has said years ago that though God called his father to the stadiums of this world, Franklin always felt God called him to the ditches of this world to help people who were down and out. And that's why after his conversion to Christ, he started feeling the call to help the hurting people around the world and with his organization, Samaritan's Purse, it's exactly what he does. After earthquakes, famines, hurricanes, any natural disaster, Haiti, they've been working in Haiti for several years. In fact, pray for that. He'll be doing a crusade in Haiti in about six weeks after a year of giving medical supplies and building homes and helping that culture out. The truth is Franklin not only reaches people in the gutters but also the stadium of Evangelism as well. He's the President and CEO of both Samaritans Purse as well as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Would you give a warm welcome to Franklin Graham this morning?
We have something special to do for you Franklin. You may all know that we give shoe boxes around the world but you may not know, is some of those boxes find their way to the Navajo Reservation. There are lots of kids on the Native American Reservations that are also in the same or similar situation, these kids around the world, poor and destitute, and Samaritan's Purse reached out to them. So to honor that, one of our very own School of Ministry student is now planning a church on the Navajo Reservation. Landoll Benally and his family have a presentation they like to make. Come on up here guys.
Landoll Benally Good morning Skip and Franklin, or should I say yate ahbini(ph).
Pastor Skip Heitzig: Thank you!
Landoll Benally: I would also like to give you a gift as well Skip.
Pastor Skip Heitzig: I can say that, too.
Landoll Benally: Okay.
Pastor Skip Heitzig: Let me try it?
Landoll Benally: Sure.
Pastor Skip Heitzig: Yate ahbini(ph). Was that -- it was close enough.
Landoll Benally Okay
Pastor Skip Heitzig: Thank you. What's your name?
Ezra Benali: Ezra Benally.
Pastor Skip Heitzig: Thank you Ezra Benally. I appreciate that. That's especial for me. Thanks!
Landoll Benally I would like also to present this, a gift to Franklin. On behalf of the Navajo Reservation, we thank you for your ministry among the Navajo people. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you Franklin!
Franklin Graham: That's a very special gift. That would be a gift that we'll keep and it will bring many wonderful memories of not just to this service, but to be able to work among the Native Americans in this country. They need a lot of help more than anything else like, everywhere else. They need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to know that God loves them and that Christ died for their sins and that He roused from the grave. And that's what Operation Christmas Child is all about. It's taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ one box at a time. This church over the years --that was 300,000 boxes. This year 13,000 boxes, it's fantastic! It's huge. And people ask me, "Franklin, what's the most important thing to put in the box?" They expect me to say a doll, candy, or you know, "Its prayer." The most important thing is your prayer. We know that God answers the prayer of a righteous person, just one. Well, can you imagine eighth million -- there are so many boxes we'll collect this year. Eight million people prayed for eight million children around the world what God just might do in answering those prayers. Because when we get these boxes out, people say, "Frank, how do you give out eight million of anything?" We do it one box at a time.
And we distribute it to the churches of the world. Over a hundred countries and we have relationships with churches in every one of those countries. So when we ship -- now people ask me something, "Franklin where's my box going to go?" I don't know. You know there are lots of boxes out there and they are going -- which direction.
But if we pray, for the child who's going to get that box, I believe that God can guide and direct your box just to the person, to the child that God want. We give these boxes to a Pastor. Now, if you take a Pastor and -- let's just take a difficult part of the world in Africa, like in the Sudan. And you give to a local Pastor 200 hundred boxes, and you tell him, "Listen, invite the children in the community to come to church and put on a play for the children." And then we've got to play that, we've actually designed, that this can be used in third world countries. That's very simple, easy to do, little costumes that the local people can make, and you put on a play for the children and then tell the children that they come to church to come to the play, you are going to give them a gift.
Well listen, you don't have any problem getting kids to come to the play, right? Now some people say, "Franklin, that's not fair." Who says anything about being fair? They say, "But you are taking advantage." I'm not taking advantage of the kids so I can get something for myself. I'm taking advantage of the moment, okay? You've got to take advantage of an opportunity to be able to reach these kids.
And so every box is an opportunity to reach a child with God's love. I want the children to know that there is a God, that He loves them, that He cares for them, and that He has a Son. And that's what Christmas is all about. We're celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, God's Son, who came from heaven to this earth, for the purpose of taking our sins. Jesus Christ died on a cross. He shed His blood for our sins. He was buried for our sins and on the third day, God raised His Son to life. Jesus Christ is still in the tomb, He's not still hanging on the cross. He's alive. And you know what? He's here at Calvary today.
And I want you to know that today, if you are here in this church and you've never invited Jesus Christ into your heart, into your life, your life may be so screwed up, it may be so upside down, you don't know where to go or what to do, I want you to know that today, God will forgive your sins and He will heal your heart if you are willing to receive His Son Jesus Christ by faith into your heart, into your life, and I'm going to invite you a few moments to come and stand in front of this platform to receive Christ by faith into your heart, into your life, so you get ready. Today can be the first day for the rest of your life, so you prepare to come.
I want to look at a passage of the Scripture, Luke 7. No, excuse me, Luke 19. See I fooled you. Before we get into the passage, it's one through ten. Some of the places we are taking the boxes this year, we're going to go to Haiti. Last January, on the 12th of January, earthquake struck Haiti, killed 300,000 people within a matter of minutes. There are still tens of thousands of bodies that have not been recovered, concrete buildings that just collapsed and floor after floor pancake(ph) on top of each other. There's not enough heavy equipment in that country to remove these rubble. It will take years to clean it up. And so, there are still bodies just everywhere. It's a tragic situation.
There were three million people now that were homeless. The people that lived in the shacks and in the shanties and down in the worst slums, most of them were okay because they were living in just cardboard houses, in cheap tents or shacks. Most of them were okay. It was kind of the middle class of the country that lived in these cement houses or apartment complexes that collapsed. And now they have lost everything. They have no place to live and they are living in cardboard boxes. They're living out on the street.
Many people at night sleep on the asphalt because it's not mud. So if you try to drive anywhere at night right after the earthquake, you couldn't drive because of the bodies of people sleeping on the road to try to find a dry place to sleep. It was one of the saddest, most difficult places we've ever worked. Right after the earthquake hit, we send medical teams, people like Dr. Fritz the former speaker of the house, the majority leaders, he was there. We have teams of doctors.
Most of the work we were doing on the first part, or the first few days after the earthquake, were amputations. People would come in with a leg that had been crashed with a building that fell, or the arm had been crashed. There was absolutely nothing you could do for them except to amputate the arm or the leg.
And then as the weeks past, that began to dwindle down. They would begin to see a lot of infections and people were just sick, a lot of children with pneumonia because of sleeping outside, there's no place to sleep. The ground was wet, and they have absolutely no cover. We decided -- we go, we need to start building shelter. We need to find a place to built shelter. So we asked what the UN was going to do. Well, the UN said, "We'll we're discussing this, so we're having some meetings about it." And I went to some other people and asked them what they are going to do. "We're waiting for the UN to kind of give us the specks on what we --," I said, "Listen, I want you all to go down the lows(ph) right now." I'm up in to plug in for lows all right, but it's those North Carolina organizations.
I said "Go down the lows and just get some 2x6's, and 2x4's and I want you to build me a 12x12 square, and we'll wrap it with heavy plastic, but we'll put a thin roof on it. We'll put a gutter in the back, we'll put a down spout, and we'll take a barrel so a person can collect water." And I said, "I want you to have that thing built by four o'clock." This is like ten in the morning. The guys said, "Okay." So they went down the lows and I said, "I don't want you to cut any wood. I just want you to use stock lumber, and put it up and let's see if we can make it strong enough to hold something."
At 4:30, a little late, they called me. They got it, "Okay, I'm coming over and look at it." So I went over to the warehouse where they set this thing up and I look at this thing and I said, "You know that's pretty good." And I said, "Okay, let's put some bunks in here." So we took the same 12x12. The front was ten feet tall, the back was eight feet tall, so you have plenty of room. We built bunks on the side where we could put eight kids. On the wall, had a bed for the parents to sleep, we put a mosquito net in there to keep the kids from getting bitten by the mosquitos. And it's about a thousand bunks.
I said, "How fast do you think we can build these?" "Well, I don't know." I said, "Why don't we start building. Where do you want us to do this? At least we can start in Haiti, we can start next week." They said, "We don't have the lumber." So we had to buy lumber by the shipload, okay? Took the lumber down there but within about a month we started building these temporary houses, these shelters. Since then, we have built 10,000 shelters. Each shelter has about ten people per shelter. I mean they crowd them in there. All right, we're going to build another 10,000. They said, "Franklin, that's not the permanent solution." No, I'm not looking for permanent solution. I'm juts trying to get the people off the street. I'm trying to get them out of the mud and put the kids in those bunks where they're off the mud, where you can protect their life.
Now we're going to go down with 250,000 boxes right after Christmas, we're going to do some right before Christmas. As a matter of fact, we'll take some boxes down there next week. We're going to distribute 250,000 to kids in Haiti. These are kids that have been -- most of them have been orphaned. Their parents were killed when that earthquake took place. I'm doing a crusade down there on the 8th of January. The anniversary is the twelfth, but we're going down, I think its Saturday the eighth, and we're going to hold a crusade in the main soccer stadium right there in the middle Port-au Prince and there's about 300,000 people that live within walking distance of this stadium. I don't know where we're going to put everybody. But we're going to have music and we're going to get up and preach the Gospel and we hope we'll see a great harvest of souls.
Haiti was given to the devil. When the slaves fought for French for independence, they gave the country to Satan. And voodoo is the official religion of Haiti. And 40 years ago, the Christian or the Evangelical population of the country was about 3%, today is about 30%. So God is at work at Haiti. So pray for us as we go to Haiti to deliver boxes in the next few weeks and then to go preach and proclaim the Gospel. It's going to be a great opportunity but I want to thank you for your gifts, thank you for your prayers, and thank you for your support. And every box that we give out, we give out in the name of Jesus Christ, so thank you!
I want to look at the passage of the Scripture in Luke 19. You know the Bible says that we have a soul, we have a spirit. Every one of you in here, you've got a soul, you have a spirit that's lives inside this body of ours.
I had a friend of mine who -- he was in law enforcement, worked with me as a security for a number of year, most of his life in the secret service. When he came to work for me, he was a rough, tough foul mouth secret service agent. I began over the years just to witness to him and I saw over the years a great change in his life, and he invited Christ into his heart.
One day, I heard he had cancer, he didn't have many years to live and I just want to make sure that everything was okay. And his name was Jack. I said, "Jack, are you ready to meet God? Are your sins forgiven? Have you invited Jesus Christ into your heart? Is He your Savior? Do you know that for a fact?" He looked at me, he didn't even blink. He said, "Yes." And he said so strongly, "I have no doubt that Jack was saved."
And over the next few months, we have a lot opportunity to pray. Well, he died. About ten days ago, I went down and participated in his funeral in Florida, but Jack is in heaven. And my question to you this morning, if you were to die today, would God accept you into His presence? Are your sins forgiven? Are you ready to meet God? And if you are not sure, you can be sure this morning because I'm going to invite you in just a moment to get up out of your sin and come and stand here in front of this pulpit. And by coming here you would be saying to God, "I have sinned, and I'm sorry. Forgive me. I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for me and I want to invite Him to come into my heart to take control my life." And if you're willing to pray that prayer in just a few moments, God will forgive your sins, He'll heal your heart and you can leave this church forgiven, cleanse with a new life and a new beginning. But you prepare to come just a moment.
This text, when I look at this morning, "We all have a soul, we all have a spirit." And where is your spirit going to spend eternity? The Bible says, "What should profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what should a man give in exchange for his soul?" I want to look at this passage in Luke 19, a man who is in the process of losing his soul. Jesus entered Jericho, verse one, "And was passing through and a man was there by the name of Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and he was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was but being a short man, he cannot because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed the sycamore-fig tree to see, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached that spot, He looked up, and He said to Him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down and immediately. I must stay at your house today.' So he came down at once and he welcomed Him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner. But Zacchaeus stood up and he said to the Lord, ‘Look Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.' Jesus said to him, ‘Today, salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham, for the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost'."
Zacchaeus worked for Rome. Now Jericho is a city about 17 miles from Jerusalem. It's down on the Jordan Valley. I've been there many times over the years. During the time of Jesus, it was an important city. Today it's just a little sleepy Palestinian City down there on the Jordan River. But back at the time of Jesus, this is where the caravans came from Arabia, many came from Mesopotamia, and they'd come to Jericho on their way to Egypt to another places.
And so the Romans put a tax collecting office there. And Zacchaeus worked for Rome and he was hated by his people. He was a corrupt public official. And I don't care where you go in this world nobody likes a corrupt public official. He had grown rich from cheating his fellow his townsmen. He lied, he was a swindler. But you see, the Bible says, "We have all sinned." And we have all come short of God's glory. Jesus was passing by and Zacchaeus wanted to come to Jesus. And maybe today, you have come to Calvary because you want to come to Jesus. And I'm going to invite you in a few moments to give your life to Jesus Christ. You see, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shouldn't perish but have everlasting life."
God sent Jesus Christ on a rescue mission to this earth, to take our sins and it was our sins that put him on that cross. He shed his blood for each and every one of us here. He died on that cross. He was buried for our sins but God raised him to life. Jesus isn't dead. He's not hanging on the cross. He's alive. He's here today. Now, Zacchaeus wants to come to Jesus and he had this crowd, a big crowd and he's a little guy. And he can't see over the top of the heads of the people. He's on his tiptoes. He can't see. And maybe you feel that you're little in the eyes of the Almighty God, that you're not important, that your life is insignificant.
You see, you are important to God, each and every one of us. Christ died for you. If you had been the only person that ever lived, God will send Jesus Christ to rescue you from your sins. What are the obstacles preventing you from coming to Christ today? What are the obstacles? Is it the crowd here? If you say, "I'll be fine, because I'll be embarrassed to stand up in front of such a large crowd." Is it the crowd?
Sin is an obstacle. Sin is a barrier between us and God. God is a holy God and God cannot tolerate in his presence, sin. He cannot do it. He cannot accept sin in his presence. And sin is disobeying God's will and all of us are guilty of breaking God's will. We've all sinned against him. And you say Franklin, what do you mean by sin? Well, telling a lie is a sin. Have you ever lied? Well, I've told a little lie. A little lie, big lie, you know a lie is a lie.
Well, I've heard people say, well a little white lie every now -- what in the world is a white lie? I don't know. Stealing? Have you ever taken something in? Well, I took some bubble gum one time. When they weren't watching at the store, I slipped it in my pocket. But that doesn't count. God wouldn't send me to hell for a piece of bubble gum.
It's our sins that will separate us from God for eternity into hell. It's our sins and we're all guilty. Adultery, any type of sexual relationship outside of a marriage relationship is a sin. And there are many here today guilty of sexual sins. But will God forgive? You may say, "Will God forgive me for what I have done?" Yes, He will. He'll forgive you. He'll cleanse you and He'll take that shame. He'll take the shame of sin away. And He'll give you a new life and a new beginning.
But the only way you can come to God is through Jesus Christ. Murder is a sin, abortion. You say, "But Franklin, it's legal." It may be legal but it's a sin against God. And there are women here today that have committed abortion and it has haunted you. And that shame has been there, but I want you to know that God will forgive you. I had a woman a few years ago. I was doing an interview for a magazine and the reporter, she was a very nice lady, but she shouldn't ask question after question after question and finally I said, "Well, can I ask you a few questions?"
And she had her glasses and she kind of put them down on her nose, kind of like Charlie Gibson when he was interviewing Sarah Palin. He kind of slipped them down and she kind of looked at me. I said, "Where do you stand before God?" And she said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Are your sins forgiven?" Her tears welled up in her eyes. I said, "Have you ever accepted Christ into your life? You know that he died for you. He shed his blood for your sins and God raised him to life. He'll come into your heart if you ask Him." And down the tears were coming down her cheeks.
I said, "Would you like to invite Christ into your heart this evening?" She said, "I would." I said, "Would you like to do it right now?" She said, "Please." And we were at a table eating and there are lots of other people at the table and we just bowed our heads and began to pray and they're kind of -- they're eating and they kind of look in my eye like, what's going on down there? And I just prayed a simple prayer.
I just said, "Dear God," and she said, "Dear God," "I'm a sinner," she said, "I'm a sinner," and I said, "I'm sorry for my sins," she said, "I'm sorry for my sins." We just prayed this prayer and she asked Christ into her heart and after she prayed that prayer, I mean the tears were just now streaming down her cheek and she grabbed me by my hand she said, "I have to confess something to you." I said, "You don't have to confess anything to me. You just confessed your sins to God and He has forgiven you." She said, "I have to tell you." And she got kind of loud. Now, everybody is looking down at the table. I said, "Okay."
She said, "Twenty years ago, I had an abortion. Will God forgive me for what I did?" I said, "He just did. He has forgiven you." She said, "It's haunting me everyday of my life. Everyday of my life, it has haunted me." I said, "You've been forgiven." And she just put her face in her hands and she just sobbed, just sobbed, but she's forgiven. I hadn't seen her in years. I saw her last year for the first time in a long time. I said, "How are you doing?" Big smile on her face, she said, "I'm good." And I said, "Amen."
But that's what Christ can do. He can take your sins. He can set you free. He can forgive you and you can have that new life and a new beginning. All of us are guilty of sin. We're all guilty, coveting, worshipping other gods, bearing a false witness, not honoring our mothers and fathers, all of us are guilty of some, all, and if you've kept all of God's will and just had one violation, it's still guilty. But the point is we were born into sin. David said, "I was born into sin." He said, "In sin, my mother can save me." And when the first man, Adam and Eve, when they sinned against God and broke God's law, sin has come into the world and has infected the entire human race.
And because of that the whole human race has been lost to God. But yet, God loved you so much, he couldn't tolerate losing us. And so he sent His son to take our sins. The human race was lost to sin but Christ paid the debt. He paid the penalty. And all we have to do is be willing to accept it by faith. That's all. Accept it by faith. You don't have to work for it. You don't have to give a lot of money. It's just receiving it by faith.
What are the obstacles that are preventing you from coming? Is it pride? Maybe you think, "Well, I'm religious. I was born a Catholic or maybe I was born a Baptist or maybe --." I asked a cab driver one time. I asked him if he was Christian, he said, "Oh yes, I'm a Christian." I said, "Well, how did you come to faith in Christ?" Now, he's looking in the mirror, right? And I'm looking at him and he's looking at me. We're looking in the mirror. And I could tell when I asked him, "When did you come to faith in Christ?" I stumbled(ph) him. I said, "Well, how did you come to know Christ?" And now he's humming, clearing his throat, he said, "Well, my aunt was a Christian."
Oh, wow! There are people who think that because they go to Church once a year that they're Christians or their aunt was a Christian that makes them a Christian, if you say so. Maybe it's pride. Maybe that's an obstacle tonight that you've thought, "Well, all these years, I'm religious and I'm a good person. I'm not a bad person and so God is going to accept me because I'm good." The Bible says none of us are good. There's none that are good, the Bible says.
You see, God opposes the pride but He gives grace to the humble. I'm going to ask you to humble yourself before the Almighty God today and receive Christ into your heart, into your life. Is it the love of this world that's holding you back? Maybe it's your businesses that you love and the money that you're making from your business or your job and that's what Zacchaeus' problem. He loved his job. He loved his money. Yet, you see, Zacchaeus had it all in the sense of the world, had good job, he worked for the Romans and he made his money by overtaxing people.
People come by, there was a $10 tax, "Well yeah, but I'm going to charge you $20." "Well, that's too much." "Well, either you pay or you go to jail." That's the kind of power Zacchaeus had as a chief tax collector and so he overtaxed people and he put that money in his pocket. But there was an emptiness in Zacchaeus. Something was missing in his life. He didn't know what he was searching for. He just knew something wasn't right. And now Jesus was coming to Jericho. And he wants to see Jesus, but there's this crowd, there's this audience that was following Christ and he couldn't get close enough. So he runs ahead and he climbs up the sycamore-fig tree and he's just going to watch Jesus as He comes by, he wants to just check it out. He's searching but he doesn't even know what he's searching for.
But he comes to Christ and he wanted to be cleansed from his sin. The Bible says, "The blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sin." Today, you can have peace with God. The Bible says, "Through faith, we have peace with God." Jesus told Nicodemus, one of the most religious men in the Bible, "You have to be born again." What he was saying, "Nicodemus, your religion and all of your studies and all of the good things you've done are just not enough. You have to be born again." And Nicodemus said, "How can that be? Do I enter the second time into my mother's womb? How do I do that?" Jesus said, "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the spirit has to give birth to spirit." Your spirit today has to be born again. Are you willing to receive Christ?
You see Jesus was passing by -- Zacchaeus is up on that tree. Jesus saw him. And you know He sees you here this morning. Jesus stopped for Zacchaeus. He's willing to stop here today for you if you're willing to call His name. Jesus called his name, "Zacchaeus!" And He pointed to him, I'm sure. And he looked at Him. And then He calls his name. And He says, "I want you to come because I want to come to your home."
Now, Zacchaeus had a choice. The call was urgent, "Come down quickly." Zacchaeus could sit on the tree now, he could just sit there and say, "I think I'm going to wait and see what the Jerusalem Post says tomorrow on the front page of the paper or I might read the editorial and see what they say about him tomorrow." And you see, Jesus was passing through Jericho. He was on His way to Jerusalem and He was on His way to the cross. He was never going to come back to Jericho again.
Zacchaeus would never have that opportunity again. He would never have it. And Jesus calls him by name. And Zacchaeus came and he jumped out of that tree. And he received Jesus Christ by faith into his heart. And when his feet hit the ground, he called him, "Lord." He said, "Look Lord, if I have cheated anybody, if I want to give half of everything I've got to the poor and if I've cheated anybody, I'm going to pay him back fourfold." And that day, Jesus went to his home. And Jesus Christ can come into your heart's home.
And my question to you this morning, do you know Christ? Are your sins forgiven? Have you met Him? Is He living inside your heart? He will take your sins. He will forgive you. He will cleanse you. He will set you free but you have to choose. It's your choice. It's by grace how you're saved through faith. You've got to be willing to accept Christ by faith. The Bible says salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. The Bible says, "Whoever believes in the Son, have eternal life but whoever rejects the Son will not see life for the God's wrath remains on him." The Bible says, "Without faith, it's impossible to please God. Because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."
Will you receive Christ tonight? Will you do it this morning? Will you trust Him? If you're here this morning and you have never invited Jesus Christ into your heart, if your sins aren't forgiven, as we come to this Christmas season, what a way to start, to finish this year and to start a new year, is to have Jesus Christ living in your life with your sins forgiven. You can leave this sanctuary, this great Church this morning forgiven, cleansed, but it's your choice. God has paid the price. He sent his son to die on the cross, but you have to be willing to accept it.
You can reject it, it's your choice. Zacchaeus had a choice, but when Jesus called him, he came. Will you come this morning? You're not coming to Franklin Graham, I can't save you. I can't forgive you. You're coming to Christ who took your sins to the cross, who died on the cross, who shed His blood, who was buried for your sins, whom God raised to life. Jesus Christ is alive. He's here this morning and he'll forgive you, but you've got to be wiling to accept it by faith and if you want to be cleansed, if you would like to have your life changed, if you like to have that assurance, knowing that your soul is secured in the hands of the Almighty God, you just get up and come and stand right here and when you have come, we'll wait a few moments and we'll have a word of prayer, but this is your choice. You can accept Him or you can reject Him, but God loves you. You come. Let us stand.
We're going to wait for just another moment. Is there anyone else? We got just another minute. You're not coming to Franklin Graham. You're coming to Jesus Christ, the Savior of your soul. He died for you. You've got to be willing to accept. So, Jesus told Zacchaeus, "Come quickly." You've got just another minute. You come quickly right now. Come to Christ, come.
I want to say a word to those of you that have come. By coming this morning, you're saying to God, "I'm a sinner." You say, "But Franklin, He knows that?" Yeah He does, but He wants to hear you say it. And by coming today, you're saying to God, "I'm sorry and I want to turn from my sins." If you come to Christ, you've got to be willing to leave the sinful life you've been living. And by coming today, you're saying to God, "I believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son, who died for me, who You raised from the dead and I want to invite Him into my heart, into my life." And I want to lead you in a prayer right now and I want you to repeat it out loud after me. Remember, we're talking to God. Well, let's pray. Dear God --
Participants: Dear God --
Franklin Graham: I'm a sinner.
Participants: I'm a sinner.
Franklin Graham: I'm sorry for my sins.
Participants: I'm sorry for my sins.
Franklin Graham: Forgive me.
Participants: Forgive me.
Franklin Graham: I want to turn from my sins.
Participants: I want to turn from my sins.
Franklin Graham: I believe that Jesus Christ is Your son.
Participants: I believe that Jesus Christ is Your son.
Franklin Graham: I want to trust Him as my savior.
Participants: I want to trust Him as my savior.
Franklin Graham: I want to follow Him as my Lord.
Participants: I want to follow Him as my Lord.
Franklin Graham: I pray this in the name of Jesus.
Participants: I pray this in the name of Jesus.
Franklin Graham: Amen.
Pastor Skip Heitzig: Thank you, Franklin.