The Gospel never grows old. Hear Billy Graham explain how the Good News applies to every generation in this 1981 message from San Jose, California.

from our archives the billy graham


to you that are watching by television

this great stadium here at

san jose university

in the southern area of san francisco

bay in san jose

is filled to overflowing there are few

empty seats here and there but if you

took the people on the ground that are

sitting all over the ground it more than



great stadium where the spartans play

tonight i want you to turn with me to

the old testament to joshua the 24th


to joshua the 24th chapter now you that

are watching on television are going to

see a telephone number across the screen

you call

anytime during this program or after the

program and their counselor is standing

by to talk with you about your spiritual

problems and your spiritual needs

and so pick up the phone and call if you

call and it’s busy call again

now the 24th chapter of joshua

joshua as you know was a great military


and he took the place of moses when


went to be with the

and the 15th verse

now he had called all the leaders of

israel together at a place called


and he’s getting ready to die and this

is his farewell address

and during this address he warns the

people about their idolatry he warns

them that the judgments of god will fall

upon them unless they live

for the lord and here’s what he says

and if it seems evil unto you to serve

the lord

choose you this day whom you will serve

if you want to serve the devil serve him

but make a choice

whether the gods which your father

served that were on the other side of

the flood are the gods of the amorites

in whose land you dwell

but then he says

as for me and my house

we will serve the lord

joshua said if every one of you serves

other idols and other gods

makes no difference

as for me and my house we’ve already

made a decision

we are going to serve the lord

and that’s a decision that every single

person here tonight

has to make

you either have to decide that you’re

going to serve the gods

of materialism all around us


the true and the living god

and joshua was warning the people

to choose god to follow him

instead of these other gods

and so

we have to make a choice

moses had warned israel much earlier

generation earlier when he was dying he

said i call heaven and earth to record

this day against you that i’ve set

before you life and death blessing and

cursing therefore choose life that both

thou and thy seed may live

moses had said the same thing that

joshua is saying

separated by many years

and every generation has to hear it

over and over and over again and that’s

why the gospel never grows old

it applies to every generation alike

we have to make a choice

alexander the great was asked how he

conquered the world he said by not


and james says in the first chapter he

that wavereth is like a wave of the sea

driven with the wind and tossed

he said a double-minded man is unstable

in all his ways

are you unstable about your relationship

to christ do you waver in your

relationship to christ

or are you totally committed to christ

as savior and law

why do you waver about it

many of you wave over the way you live

and jesus warned the hypocrites people

who pretend one thing and live another

this was his great battle with the

hypocrites in the church

we have old proverbs that are familiar

to us all

he who hesitates is lost

procrastination is the thief of time a

stitch in time saves nine

a bird in the hand is worth two in the


don’t waver make a decision do it now

that’s what joshua was saying

and joshua the great military hero that

had led them from victory to victory

reminded them of all the victories that

god had given

and he said serve god and live

serve these other gods and you’ll die

and come under the judgment of god and

the message has not changed

now the wars were over

but joshua found that the people were

going toward idolatry and many times the

problems of peace are greater than the

problems of war

and he had called all these leaders to

shechem now shechem was a

place the most historical place in all

of israel at that time and still is

today it was where abraham had first

settled when he left ur of the chaldees

it is where jacob had purchased his

parcel of land it was where the bones of

joseph had been buried when they were

brought up from egypt

and so he has their two mountains there

i’ve stood there

and on one mountain he put six of the

tribes and on the other mountain he put

the other six and joshua spoke with a

mighty voice even though he was an old


and he reviews the history of israel and

how god had blessed them and how they

had won their victories not by their own

power and their own strategies and their

own ingenuity and their own strength but

by the power of god

and the people should have been grateful

to god but instead they were now going

to other gods

and we in america

should be grateful to god for the

blessings he’s given us

but what do we find

we find that we’re worshiping other gods

the gods of pleasure

the gods of lust and greed and hate

the gods of materialism

even the gods of war

and joshua tells them that such a

condition cannot continue

they must decide whether they want to

serve the idols or to serve the living


and he will not allow any neutrality

neither does jesus christ and joshua

said you have to decide immediately now

choose you this day not tomorrow this


whom you’re going to serve and many of

you are going to have to decide tonight

what is the number one priority in your


is the priority


or is the prior to something else

christ demands first place

there’s no room

on the throne of your heart

for two gods

it’s either christ

or it’s

the other god

because i believe the emphasis must we

must lay it out straight that you cannot


god and mammon you must make a choice

and i found that the harder the

challenge is the greater the response

young people today want a challenge

they want something tough and hard all

right give your life to christ

he’ll challenge you because he says you

must deny self and take up a cross

he says i’m going to a place of

execution come and go with me

deny your own selfish ambitions and lust

and turn to me

and go to the cross with me

now paul taught that a christian is

someone who has turned to god from idols

to serve the living and the true god

there’s a film showing throughout the

world this year called the idol maker

but a christian is an idol breaker

and regardless of their decision joshua

said it’s for me and my house we’re

going to serve the lord

you know adam and eve had to make a

choice in the garden of eden

god said if you

want to build a wonderful world

we’ll build it together

but i’m going to test you because i’ve

given to you

the ability to choose

i haven’t made you a robot in which i

could punch a button and you would obey


i’ve made you in my image

you have the right to choose

so when adam and eve

face that choice

they chose


they broke the law of god and god said

in the day that you do you will suffer

and die

and man has been suffering ever since

and it’s all because of that first sin

in the garden of eden

and man has been inheriting that

tendency to sin

ever since the seed of sin is in us when

we’re born

david said in sin did my mother conceive


think of it now at conception


was already planted

and then comes the age of accountability

moral accountability maybe eight or nine

or ten years of age when you

are held accountable by god for your

actions and you choose to sin and then

the rest of your life you practice sin

you’re born towards sin

you choose to sin at a certain point

and then you practice it and the bible

says we have all sin

and we’re all idolaters

now adam had to make a choice and he

made the wrong choice

you have to make a choice many of you

that are watching by television i hope

that you’ll use that telephone number

right now and call in and make the

choice for christ and say to that

counselor as for me in my house i choose

the lord

and then

many choices like the rich young ruler

remember he came to jesus

and he was filled with questions and

he wanted eternal life and he said

sir what must i do to find eternal life

and jesus said looked at him and loved

him and

said go sell all that you have

give it to the poor

take up the cross

follow me

the young man was grieved

he wept

he wanted christ

but he wanted his money more

now if he had said all right i’ll do it

lord i’m sure the lord would have said

no it’s not your money i want i want

your heart

it’s our attitude toward these idols and

toward the these things the television

itself can become an idol when we walk

into the room all conversation stops and

we sort of sit there and reverence

watching that box

to see if j.r is going to be shot again

now the bible says we must choose two

ways of life

jeremiah had written thus saith the lord

behold i set before you the way of life

and the way of death there’s a way of

life there’s a way of death which way

are you on

jesus said i am the one

i am the one i’m the only one

i’m the only way to permanent peace i’m

the only way to

permanent joy i’m the only way to

eternal life i’m the only way to

forgiveness of sin i’m the only way to

the father

you have to come by me

and that eliminates a lot of people when

jesus began to talk about dying on the


a lot of his followers left him

they said lord we thought you were going

to sit up on a big throne and we were

going to drive in cadillacs

and we were going to have beautiful

swimming pools and lovely ladies and all

the rest of it we didn’t really know

that you

were going to die and wanted us to go

with you we thought this was going to be

a kingdom and we were going to overthrow

rome and we were going to rule the world

and that is going to happen someday

but not now the cross before the crown

some of us want the crown before the


the bible says there is a way

that seemeth right unto a man but the

end thereof are the ways of death

what are some of the ways well some

people say i’m going to follow my

conscience but you don’t follow your


many of us have dead consciences your

conscience is no longer a safe guide

you’ve hardened it you’ve deadened it

and then other people say well

i try to be sincere in everything i do

we’re here on a football

stadium right here

and many years ago i saw a man pick up a


and he ran 65 yards the wrong way

now he was one of the most sincere

fellas you ever saw

lost the game

and then there are many people that say

well you know i do a lot of good works


i give money to charitable causes and i

do all that i’m sure god will understand

the bible says for by grace are ye saved

through faith not not that not of

yourselves but the gift of god not of

works lest any man should boast

see if you could work your way to heaven


pay your way to heaven you’d get up and

say look what i did i got myself here by

my own good works

the only way you’re ever going to make

it is to come to that cross

where christ took our sins and our

judgment and our hell and identify

ourselves with him

and then there’s some people that say


i’ll reform i’ll do better i know people

that are always

saying i’m going to do better

but they never do better they don’t have

any power within them to do better until

they come to christ and when you come to

christ an explosion takes place

of power

that he gives you to live a new life

i can’t live the christian life

i have no power within me to live the

christian life the holy spirit has to

live in me

and christ has to live through me

i cannot live the christian life i’m a

total flop in failure

jesus said enter yen at the straight

gate for wide is the gate and broad is

the way that leadeth to destruction and


there be which go in there because

straight is the gate and narrows the way

that leadeth unto life and few there be

that find him

phew he said only a few are going to


that narrow gate in that narrow way as i

said last evening

are you among that few

you not only choose between two ways of

life but you choose between two masters

jesus said no man can serve two masters

father he will hate the one and love the

other or else he will hold to the one

and despise the other you cannot serve

god and materialism he says in matthew

the sixth chapter in the sermon on the

mount you have to make a choice

all the way through the bible choices

choices choices choices choices

not only between two ways of life and

two masters but you’re going to have to

choose between two fathers

two spiritual fathers

he said in john 8 a very shocking


the 44th verse

he said you are of your father the devil

and the lust of your father you will do

now he says for many of you the devil is

your spiritual father

now you’re not aware of it

you wouldn’t admit it

but that’s the way god looks at it

there’s either god your spiritual father

the true and the living god christ


there is the devil

and then you have to choose not only

between two ways of life and two masters

and two fathers but you have to choose

between two destinies heaven or hell

solomon wrote about the way to hell in

proverbs 7 27.

c.s lewis the great cambridge and oxford

professor he taught at both universities

he used to emphasize he said no one ever

had so much to say about the way to hell

as did jesus christ

on the other hand no one ever spoke of

heaven with more clarity and authority

as jesus christ

and one of the most played pop songs is

the led zeppelin stairway to heaven

jesus christ is the stairway to heaven

he is the way to heaven

come to him

and if you want to come to him pick up

that telephone if you’re watching

and call that counselor who’s waiting to

talk to you about the way to heaven and

how you can find christ

he said in my father’s house on many

mansions if it were not so i would have

told you

yes jesus

is in heaven preparing your estate right


waiting for you

there is a future life

and eternal life does not begin when you

die and go to heaven it begins here and

now when you make this choice for christ

because eternity eternal life comes to

dwell in your heart tonight jesus christ

is the gateway to heaven

now this choice also you must make


joshua said it’s for me and my house we

will serve the lord

your father can’t make it for you your

mother can’t make it for you

your children can’t make it for you

this is where you must choose yourself

he knew that he could not choose for the

tribes of israel they must choose for

themselves man is a social being

however there’s an inner sanctuary

within ourselves where we retire from

all other fellowships


and influences and there’s a lonely

arena where the greatest battles of life

must be fought alone

and this is a decision that you have to

make alone

moses said

i call heaven and earth to record this


that i have set before you life and

death blessing and cursing therefore

choose life

that thou and thy seed may live forever

notice it says thy seed

this has something to do with your

children and your grandchildren and your

children’s children my son and i were

talking tonight about how it passes on

from generation to generation

this faith that we have in christ

the writer to hebrews recounts how moses

esteeming the reproach of christ greater

riches in the treasures of egypt

choosing rather to suffer the affliction

with the people of god than to enjoy the

pleasures of sin for a season he made a

choice moses could have probably been

the pharaoh of egypt

he was the son of pharaoh’s daughter

heir to all the riches and power of


and he made a choice

to suffer persecution

and the reproach

with the people of god he didn’t know

that his name would be in history he

didn’t know that someday he would lead

all of israel he didn’t know that

someday he would be considered one of

the greatest men that ever lived

when he made that choice

he made it on the basis of simple faith

in god

some think that guy lafla

is the world’s greatest hockey player

and he said a month ago that each of us

has only one past

but there are many futures

you see you can’t change your past

but you can determine your destiny by

deciding for christ and when you do that

christ changes your past he wipes out

all the sins of the past

because you see the blood of jesus

christ his son cleanses from all sin

without the shedding of blood there is

no forgiveness when he died on that

cross he forgave all the past


tonight are reminded

of the many sins in your life the holy

spirits bring them to your mind right


and you know they stand against you at

the judgment where every secret thing

will be brought out

but jesus tonight offers forgiveness

but he offers more than forgiveness he

offers justification just as though you

had never committed a sin

what a wonderful thing to go to bed

tonight and know that the past is gone



and god no longer remembers your sins


and this choice is very urgent

to delay makes the right decision harder

indecision is itself a choice not to

decide is to decide not to

choose now

nowhere in the bible does it promise a


come while you can

time itself makes the decision for you

if you don’t you say but what do i have

to do

three things

you must be willing to repent of your

sin that means to change your way of


about your sins and realize how bad they

are in the sight of god

change your way you’re thinking about

god and say i love him and i’m going to

love him with all my heart mind and soul

i’m going to make him the priority of my


i’m going to put him first from now on

he’s going to be not only my savior but

my lord you may be a member of the

church you may not be a member of any


you may be a officer in the church but

you’re not sure about your relationship

with christ and you want to be sure

and you must be willing to repent and

secondly by faith receive christ into

your heart that means you put your whole

weight on him and trust him and him


and thirdly you follow and serve him as

his disciple and follower and obey him

that means a big change for many of you

if you make this choice

i’m going to ask you to make it now

and i’m going to ask you to do it

publicly as we’ve seen

thousands of people this week already

come to christ i’m going to ask you to

get up from your seat if you start from

that top stand up there it’ll take you

two minutes so start now

and come and stand in front of this

platform as you all stand here in front

of the platform i’m going to say a word

to you and have a prayer with you

and give you some literature and you can

go back and join your friends you’re

making that choice by coming and

standing here

and the reason i do it publicly is

because every person that jesus called

he called publicly

joshua called upon the people publicly

moses called upon the people publicly

to inscribe

their commitment

that would be seen publicly for

generations to come

i’m asking you tonight to publicly and

openly come

and say tonight

christ is going to be priority in my

life i want to know that i have eternal


and you that have been watching by

television pick up the telephone and

call that number

there are people standing by to talk to

you right now



as hundreds are responding to mr

graham’s invitation to make a public

commitment to jesus christ you can make

that same commitment right where you are

just pick up the phone and call the

number you see on your screen

special friends are waiting to talk with

you and pray with you about this most

important decision


you that are watching by television can

see that here

in this stadium at san jose university

in california

that hundreds of people are coming to

make their commitment to christ pick up


phone you see on your screen you dial

that number

and if you don’t get in right away

keep calling they’ll be there all


and make your commitment to christ over

the telephone or ask the counselor to

ask answer your questions

god help you to make that commitment and

please go to church next sunday

if you just prayed that prayer with my

father or if you have any questions

about a relationship with jesus christ

i’ll just call that number that is on

the screen

there’ll be someone there to talk with

you pray with you and answer those

questions and remember

god loves you


if you would like to commit your life to

jesus christ please call us right now

toll-free at 1-877-772-4559

that’s 1-877-772-4559

or you can write to us at billy graham

one billy graham parkway department c

charlotte north carolina 28201

or you can contact us on the web 24 7 at

we’ll get the same helps to you that we

give to everyone who responds at the


on behalf of franklin graham and the

billy graham evangelistic association

thank you for watching and thank you for

your prayers




billy graham library