Will you miss out on eternity because you made excuses? In this 1986 message from Tallahassee, Florida, Billy Graham talks about the danger of waiting to make a decision for Christ. Watch more #MondayNightClassics every Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

from our archives the billy graham


today i want you to turn with me to the

14th chapter of luke’s gospel the 14th

chapter of luke’s gospel

and turn to the

15th verse

jesus is telling a story

and when one of them sat at meat with

him heard these things he said unto him

blessed is he that shall eat bread in

the kingdom of god then said he unto him

a certain man made a great supper

and he asked many people to come

and send his servant at suppertime to

tell them that they were bitten come for

all things are now ready and they all

with one consent began to make excuses

the first said unto him i bought a piece

of ground and i must go and see it i

pray thee have me excused

and another said i bought five yoke of

oxen and i go to prove them i pray they

have me excused and another said i’ve

married a wife and therefore i cannot


so that servant came and showed his lord

these things

then the master of the house being angry

said to his servants

go out quickly into the streets and

lanes of the city and bring in hither

the poor and the maim and the halt and

the blind

and the servants said lord it is done as

thou is commanded and yet there’s room

and the lord said unto the servant go

out into the highways and hedges and

compel them to come in that my house may

be filled for i say unto you

that none of those men which were bitten

shall taste of my supper

here he tells the story

of christ eating at the home

of the chief pharisee

and while eating he used two stories to


spiritual truths jesus always did that

he always told stories common everyday

stories to illustrate spiritual truths

jesus always knew how to adapt himself

to every surrounding

and his use of common everyday

happenings as illustrations made him the

great preacher of all time

but this is the story of a supper


he said come for all things already and

there are three things that stand out



and it’s personal

no greater invitation has ever been

given than this invitation that jesus

illustrates in this little story it

includes everyone the rich the poor the

beggars the lame the halt the blind

everybody all colors all races are

invited because he’s telling us the

story that we’re invited to the cross

for salvation

everybody’s bidden to come

because it was there that he spared not

his own son but delivered him up for us

all and he said how shall we not with

him also freely give us all things

the apostle paul wrote for when we were

yet without strength in due time christ

died for the ungodly but they all began

to make excuse here they were invited by

the king of kings and the lord of lords

to a gospel feast to have their sins

forgiven to have eternal life to have

their name written on the book of life

and they begin to make excuses

and one of them said well

i’ve bought a piece of ground and had to

go see it

now this man was either a liar or a fool

this man was more interested in the

things of the world he was interested in

wealth and materialism and in his


and this jesus said how hard it is for

them that trust in riches to enter into

the kingdom of god

notice he said trust in riches it’s not

wrong to be a rich man

it’s not wrong to have money

the wrong is when you put your trust in

it and make it first

because you can be the richest man in

the world and die and go to hell and you

won’t have one penny to take with you

you leave it behind for people to fight


i read the other day about a robber who

shot a man dead for two dollars

and sometimes wealthy people feel that

they don’t have any need now you people

in leon county and all around here are

wealthy did you know that you have one

of the highest per capita incomes in the

united states

and by the world standards you’re


so jesus is talking to you he’s talking

to me

the people of bangladesh and the people

in some parts of india and africa live

in absolute poverty

compared to even our poor people

in this country

and we today give preference to the body

over the soul and to the things of time

above those of eternity jesus said what

shall it profit a man if he gained the

whole world and lose his own soul then

there was a second guy

who had been invited and he said i’ve

bought five yoke of oxen and i go to

prove them please excuse me

he had been invited to eat bread in the

kingdom of god

to eat with the lord jesus christ

he too was either a liar or fool who

goes to prove oxen at night he didn’t

have any flashlights

he was just making an excuse

like buying a used car without trying it


and then the third man said i’ve married

a wife and therefore i cannot come now

he might have had a little bit of an


but most married men if they’re marrying


the right kind of a girl want to show

her off

she would have been invited i’m sure

jesus but jesus had earlier said that if

any man come to me and hate not his

father and his mother and his wife and

his children his brothers and sisters

and his own life also he cannot be my

follower he didn’t mean to use the word

hate in the sense you and i do he said

the priority is christ the priority is

god everything else is second even your


and the scripture says they were without

excuse romans 1 20 so that they are

without excuse

several things christ is teaching

these men were naive or they were an

insult to intelligence or they simply

were cover-up for unwillingness to come

now what are some of the excuses that

people make today

one of them that i hear is i cannot

understand the bible

jesus never said only understand

he said only believe

augustine was a great scholar before he

became a christian and looking back he

said i always had to understand socrates

and plato and aristotle before i could

believe them with jesus christ i

believed in him first then i began to


who understands gravity

who understands electricity

who understands how you can eat a meal

and that food becomes blood and hair and

bone and muscle and fingers and nerves

and brains and teeth and skin

who understands a black cow

that you can milk and get white milk and

yellow butter

who understands all that

no one can explain all of it so when you

eat we’re strengthened

you have to start with the abcs when you

come to christ

come in simple childlike faith i’ve met

some of the greatest scientists in the


who are believers and they came just

like you have to come by simple

childlike faith the bible does not say

you have to think your way the bible

says by wisdom man knows not god

now that’s hard on a professor here at

the university

that’s hard on a student sometimes

because we want to understand everything

but when you come to christ and you come

to spiritual things there’s some things

you don’t understand you accept by faith

i don’t understand how

god never had a beginning

god never has an end

that he’s the same yesterday today and

forever i don’t understand that

i quit trying to understand that a long

time ago i accept it by faith that god


and that god is the creator

of the universe and he’s my creator

and he’s my savior as well

the wonderful things about the bible are

the simple things

the things that are peripheral though

important are the most difficult things

to understand everybody can understand

john 3 16 for god so loved the world

that he gave his only begotten son that

whosoever believeth in him should not

perish but have everlasting life

25 words a minute to a bible

you can understand that that god loves


that christ died for you

that you’re a sinner

that you’ve broken god’s laws and in

order to know god in order to be sure

you’re going to heaven

you must believe and trust in his son

all you need to know to be a believer

is that you’re a sinner and that god is

looking for sinners

mark twain once said it’s not the things

in the bible i don’t understand that

bothers me it’s the things i do

understand that give me trouble

you see our problem many times are the

things we do understand

the disciples were not educated at the

great universities but they went out and

turned the world upside down

and thousands of universities and

colleges and all kinds of things are

named for them today

two thousand years later

these ignorant and unlearned men but

they knew one thing they knew jesus

and that’s all you have to know to get

to heaven and to have eternal life

and that’s more

than a grave many of our great men knew

or know

and second excuse that i hear sometimes

is i want to make a commitment to christ

but i’m too sinful

i’ll wait till i do better

i read in the press the other day of an

actress who said i’ve ruined my life

no she hadn’t ruined it

if she’d come to christ at the cross

this power and the blood of christ to

cleanse her from all the mistakes and

all the sins that she’d made

paul said this is a faithful saying and

worthy of all acceptation that christ

jesus came into the world to save

sinners of which i’m chief notice paul

said he’s the chiefest of sinners

don’t you feel like saying that


i do

i feel like saying i am the chief of

sinners not paul it’s billy graham

and i come to the cross

and i recommit my life to christ and i

find cleansing and forgiveness there

jesus christ came to save sinners and

you cannot justify yourself all our own

righteousness is filthy rags the bible


all the good works that we do will not

save us we’re to do good works we’re to

give to the poor and the hungry and

we’re to help build hospitals and we’re

to help in the work for peace and to

help better race relations and all these

other things

but that is not going to save our souls

our souls are saved by the grace and the

mercy of god as we come in simple faith

to the cross

have you done that

i told last night about the preacher

that came here for our school of

evangelism this week and he was a highly

educated clergyman

and he came forward one night and the

counselor was talking to him and said i

suppose you’ve come to rededicate your

life he said no i’ve come to accept


i’ve been to school i’ve been to

seminary i’ve been to all of that but i

don’t really know christ is my savior

and there are many of you like that you

may be an eld in the church or a deacon

or a sunday school teacher and we’ve had

many of them this past week that have

come and said i need to recommit my life

to christ

and you’re one of those

and then there’s some people that say

well i’m self-sufficient i don’t really

need christ there are people right here

in tallahassee

i took a tour out here these beautiful

homes that are being built

and i looked at those homes and

beautiful golf courses and all of that

and i just wanted to grab one of them

and say i’d like to just stay here for

about a year and not have to go anywhere

and see anything and just play golf

every day and just relax

but i thought to myself i imagine a lot

of people like there are in my hometown

self-sufficient we don’t really need


we have everything what do we need

christ for

well one day they’re going to wake up

and they’re going to realize that

they’ve waited too late

they need him

they need him now

to prepare for the future because

whether they like it or not they’re

going to die and they’re going to face

the judgment it’s appointed and demand

wants to die and after that the judgment

and everybody that you see on the

streets of tallahassee they’re walking

dead people they’re on their way to the

grave they’re on their way to their own

funeral there was a man here the other


you read it in the paper

he accepted christ

he was an alcoholic but he really came

to know christ and when the police found


the next morning dead

on the street here in tallahassee all

they could find was


the identification of the counselor that

had spoken to him the night before and

the little card that he had filled out

that’s how they were able to trace him


he didn’t know that in the next few

hours he would be an eternity but he

went into eternity with christ and he’s

going to be in heaven

not because he lived a good life or

deserved it he’s going because of what

christ did for him on the cross

there are four words i want you to

remember fact




the first thing is fact

what is the fact in so far as your

salvation is concerned first corinthians


that christ died for our sins according

to the scriptures and that he was buried

and that he rose again the third day

according to the scriptures that’s the


christ died he rose again for you


faith in that fact the second word is

faith faith in that fact he that

believeth on the son hath everlasting

life and he that believeth not the son

shall not see life but the wrath of god

abides on him now

the wrath of god is on you right now if

you haven’t come to christ john 3 38.

you see faith is the fact

faith in the fact

fact failing now feeling what kind of


feeling of

peace forgiveness


a living hope

feeling of deliverance now that my sins

have been forgiven

and then the fruit follows

by their fruits you shall know them said

jesus if someone professes to be a

follower of christ and they are so and

they’re no different than before we have

ever a reason to question whether they

have had a genuine experience with

christ because the bible says therefore

if any man be in christ he is a new

creature old things are passed away

behold all things have become new

because when you come to christ a change

takes place a change in direction

a change in attitudes

you begin to love love begins to

dominate your life you’re a different

person in the home

you’re a different person in the

community you’re a different person at

school or at work

and then there are other people that say

well there are too many hypocrites in

the church

i think that’s the most foolish of all


they’re quacks among doctors

does that mean you’ll never go to a


because there’s a false one somewhere

the church is not a perfect organization

the family isn’t perfect you’re not


we live in an imperfect world and we’re

not going to be perfect till we get to


but when you come to christ you’re on

your way that’s called sanctification

you start being sanctified and you are

sanctified progressively and you’re

fully and totally sanctified when you

stand in the presence of christ i don’t

expect perfection

till i get to heaven

and then there are people that say well

i would come to christ but i’d have to

give up too much

you give up a great thing great deal for

other things

you give up a great deal to get an

education or to give your children an


some of you’ll give up almost anything

for power

look at what we’ve heard during the past

few days of all the politics

people going for offices that’s fine we

need them

but all the claims that were made and

the counter claims

and negative type of politicking in some


people will give up almost anything for


whether it’s money or power social

prestige you’ll do most anything

but what about coming to christ

the scripture says thou will show me the

path of life in thy preciousness

fullness of joy at thy right hand their

pleasures forevermore in christ there’s

pleasure in christ there’s joy

in christ this fulfillment this purpose

and meaning to life in christ

moses gave up a home in the palace of

pharaoh for the prospect of wearing the

crown of an empire he gave the whole

thing up

for christ

he gave up all the pleasures of egypt to

become a leader for god

you never give up anything that is

worthwhile to become a believer

everything you now have that is

wholesome and worthwhile you can keep

and everything that is unwholesome and

unhealthy and destructive god will take

away from you as you turn from sin and

put your trust in christ

god gave everything he had for you the

scripture says he spared not his own son

and when they were driving those nails

in the hands of jesus

and they were pulling his beard

when they were pulling out his hair

when he was bleeding and they put the

spear in his side and the spikes through

his feet

how do you think god felt god the father

seven to two thousand angels pulled

their swords ready to come and rescue


but jesus said i love them too much

because if i come down from this cross

there will be no salvation for any human


i have come to do the will of my father

to reconcile man to god

and only through the cross can it be

done and he stayed on that cross because

he loved you and you’re important to him

and then there are others that say i’ve

tried before to live a christian life

but made a failure of it

what do i do i’m just i’ve just given up

you get up and confess your sins and

he’s faithful and just to forgive your


and then there are people that said well

i’m afraid of being misunderstood

and the bible teaches that the world is

admitted with god yea and all that will

live godly and christ shall suffer


there’s going to be a certain amount of

persecution and misunderstanding if you

start living for the lord

you start carrying a bible and reading

your bible and praying and witnessing

for christ if you’re a student here at

the university

and then there are others that say well

i’m afraid i can’t hold out

do you say that about the university

oh about being married i’m afraid i

can’t hold out

a lot of them do that anyway

all about to take a job i don’t think i

can hold out

god can keep you

now unto him that is able to keep you

from falling and to present you

faultless before the presence of his

glory with exceeding joy

we are kept by the power of god

no billy graham cannot hold out

god holds me

once i surrender to him i can only hold

out as christ holds me up

and then there are other people that say

well i intend to make my decision for

christ sometime

but not now

that’s dangerous

the scripture says in proverbs 27 boasts

not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest

not what a day may bring forth

the bible says behold now is the

accepted time and behold now is the day

of salvation

there’s a bestseller last year in

england that was called if tomorrow


there’s always a big if about tomorrow

we don’t know whether tomorrow will come

for us or not

what is your excuse

what’s keeping you from making your

commitment to christ i mean you’re a

total commitment

notice that the host here in this story

gets angry

he said none of these which are biden

shall taste of my supper

god says you’re without excuse

he said cast them out and go out and get

some others

now there’s other interpretations to

this passage that i’m not going to go


but this is a story for us to take to

our own hearts and our own lives

because you see the bible teaches that

there’s a dark line in god’s face and

that dark line is the line of judgment

god can become angry with you

when you refuse christ

you refuse god’s offer of mercy and love

and he’s done everything he can for you

and you reject him and turn him down and

say no

what else can god do there’s nothing

he’s offered you salvation he’s offered

you everything that he can offer you

now what do you have to do all you have

to do is receive i offer you this book

it’s not yours till you receive it

he’s offering you forgiveness of your

sins he’s offering you a new life

and some of you here today need to

recommit your life to christ

you belong to the church you’ve been

baptized you may have been confirmed in

your church if it’s a liturgical church

but you

have not yet really come to know christ

in your own heart

he doesn’t really live in you

and this is the next to the last day of

this crusade and you may never have

another moment like this when you’re as

close to the kingdom of god

because you cannot count on tomorrow

now is the time right now

i’m going to ask you to do something

that we’ve seen hundreds of people do

this past week in the arena i’m going to

ask you to get up out of your seat right

now quickly hundreds of you

and come and stand here on the grass

right in front of the platform

and as you come you’re saying in your

heart i really want my sins forgiven i

want to know i’m going to heaven i want

my name on the book of life and i want

to know it i want to be sure of it

and by coming you’re saying yes well you

say billy why do i have to come publicly

because every person jesus called in the

new testament he called publicly

every person he called publicly why

jesus hung on the cross publicly for you

now he asks you to come

he said if you’re not willing to confess

me before men i’ll not confess you

before my father which is in heaven

the ushers will show you the way i’m

going to i said no one leave the stadium

i know the

temptation is going to be to get up and

go out and be the first away

but you stay where you are and pray

pray for the person to the right of you

and left of you in front of you in back

of you can bring somebody today as

people come we’re going to wait you may

be in the choir and god has spoken to

you you may be an officer in the church

and god has spoken to you

you come right now quickly

and while you come the choir is going to


as these many hundreds make their

personal decision for christ here in

tallahassee florida you too can make

that decision

call the number on the screen right now




you that have been watching by


can see here in tallahassee florida the

capital of this great state that many

people have come to make their

commitment to christ today ought to

recommit their lives

you can do the same where you are

and if you will pick up the phone and

call the number that’s on the screen

may god help you to make that commitment


and be sure

and go to church

next weekend god bless you

if you just prayed that prayer with my

father or if you have any questions

about a relationship with jesus christ i

would 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


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