One Bible verse lays out the entire Gospel message. Watch how Billy Graham related John 3:16 to modern-day issues in this 1991 message from New York City. Watch more #MondayNightClassics weekly at 8 p.m. Eastern.

From our archives…

The Billy Graham Classics.

Now, I want to talk a little bit
to people that are watching

by television and say a word
about New York City.

And it’s a joy and a privilege
for me and my colleagues

to be back here in New York.

And for some time,

I’ve seen signs that say,
“I love New York.”

And that’s true of me.

I developed a love of New York
years ago.

I told Mayor Dinkins
week before last

when I visited him

that he and the leaders of
this city would always be

in my prayers,

that God would be with them and
help them to solve the problems

of this city.

But they can’t solve it
without your help,

and they can’t solve it
without God’s help.

We’re going to have to
turn to God.

We’ve turned everywhere else,
and we’ve failed.

Now let’s turn to God.

Some churches and synagogues,

as they ponder the agonizing
needs of the people,

have abandoned the proclamation
of our relationship with God

or with Christ.

And we’ve adopted instead
a political and social agenda

which, if out of balance,

can leave both souls
and pews empty.

Everybody I talk to, it seems,
agrees that New York is

the loneliest place
in the world.

And people get increasingly
irritable and pushy

in their effort to guard
their own turf.

There’s little space for others,
let alone God.

To be without God in New York is
to be terribly lonely,

and this leads to a feeling that
life is futile.

A few weeks ago,

The New York Times stated
that the bestseller

of its class was
Derek Humphry’s “Final Exit,”

a manual on
how to commit suicide.

Is that the way
to terminate your life, suicide?

Many people want to
turn their backs on New York.

They see New York City’s
problems as incurable.

I think we ought to stay in
New York,

and let’s do something about it
to change New York.

And I believe we can do it.

And if New York would change

it would touch
London and Paris

and all the other great cities
of the world.

I don’t see that way with
about New York.

God loves New York,

and He has not given up
on this city,

because He does not give up
on people.

As big and grand as New York
buildings are,

they are not New York.

As wide and famous as
New York City avenues are,

they are not New York.

As great as the plays and
musicals and art

and concerts are,
they are not New York.

New Yorkers are what make up
New York.

New York is a place where
people live,

and it’s the people that God is
interested in.

And I’m going to speak on
what I believe is the answer

to the problems,

your problems and the problems
of New York.

There is a better way.

I’m going to make my message
today short,

and I know that’ll please you.

I never did like to hear
long sermons,

and I still like to hear
short ones.

I heard about a man one time

that was introduced to speak
for 20 minutes,

and he spoke for
an hour and 10 minutes

and he was still speaking.

And the man that introduced him
threw a gavel,

and it missed him and hit
a woman on the front row.

And she said, “Hit me again.
I can still hear him.”


And I don’t want that
to happen to me today.

Now, I want you
to turn with me to

the 16th verse of
the 3rd chapter of John.

John, the 3rd chapter.

“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.”

How many of us can say it

Let’s try, all together.

“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.”

Now that is the Gospel
in a nutshell.

That’s a miniature Bible.

Everything you need to know

about redemption
and salvation is in

that one verse of Scripture.

Twenty-five wonderful words
that my mother taught me

when she was giving me
a bath on a Saturday night

on a farm in North Carolina.

She said, “I want you to learn
this passage from the Bible.”

And she taught me that passage.

“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.”

Many people ask me:

“Well, if God loves the world,

“why does He allow so much
suffering in the world?

“War, disease, poverty, hate,

“boredom, emptiness,
psychological problems,

“unemployment, violence,
tension, all of these things.

“Why doesn’t God just come
and stop it all?”

That’s the question
many people are asking.

Some people here in New York
are saying,

“I can’t take it anymore,”

and they’re committing suicide.

The pressures of life are
too great.

They can’t take it.


If there is a God,
why doesn’t He end it?

Some people say,

“Why has God abandoned us?”

But God has not abandoned us.

We’ve abandoned Him.

Many of you young people here
have heard the song on

last year’s “Edge of
the Century” album by Styx.

However, did you ever listen to
the words, the lyrics?

Here are the lyrics.


“Every night I say a prayer

“in the hopes that
there’s a heaven.

“But every day
I’m more confused,

“as the saints turn
into sinners.

“All the heroes and legends
I knew as a child

“have fallen as idols of clay.

“And I feel this empty place

“so afraid that
I’ve lost my faith.

“Show me the way.
Show me the way.

“Bring me tonight
to the mountain

“and take my confusion away
and show me the way.

“And if I see a light,
should I believe?

“Tell me how I will know.

“Show me the way.
Show me the way.

“Take me tonight to the river
and wash my illusions away.

“Show me the way.
Show me the way.

“Give me the strength and
the courage to believe that

“I’ll get there someday.

“And, please, show me the way.

“And every night I say a prayer

“In the hopes that
there’s a heaven.”

And this passage says,
“For God.”

“For God.”

Do you believe in God?


I can’t prove God.

I can’t take you to
a scientific laboratory

and prove to you that
there is a God.

But the Bible teaches us
about Him.

He is the creator.

“In the beginning, God created
the heavens and the earth.”

All those stars at night
that you see,

if you can see them
in New York,

God created them
and started them.

He is also a Spirit.

The Bible says,
“God is a Spirit

“and they that worship him
must worship him

“in spirit and in truth.”

He doesn’t have a body
like you and I.

He could only be
one place at one time

if He had a body like yours.

But God is a Spirit.

He can be everywhere
at the same time.

He can be in Russia.

He can be in China.

He can be in America.

He can be in Africa.

He can be in Latin America.

He can be everywhere
at the same time.

God is also unchanging.

“I am the Lord God,
I change not,” says the Bible.

“In him is no variableness,
neither shadow of turning,”

says James.

The Bible says that

“God has appointed a day in
which he will judge the world.”

Think of it.

He’s appointed a day,
a moment, in which

He’s going to judge
the world.

And you’ll be there.

God, but God also is
a God of love.

My mother loved me,

but she didn’t love me near as
much as God loves me.

And that seems impossible
to believe.

My wife loves me.

I love her.

I have five children.

I love them.

I have 19 grandchildren.

I love them,
and I hope they love me.

I have
three great grandchildren.

I think they love me,
and I love them.

And I know that they all love
the Lord.

But nothing is to be compared to
the love of God.

They had to invent
a whole new word

in the Greek language

to tell us something
about the love of God.

God is a God of love.

He loves you.

And if there’s one thing
I want you to take from

this great park when
you leave here today,

it’s this:
God loves you.

God loves you.

God loves you.

And God is interested in you.

And He has the hairs of
your head numbered.

He sees the sparrow fall.

He knows all about you
and He loves you.

No matter how many sins
you’ve committed

or whatever you’ve done.

You may have gone as low as
Nicky Cruz described

a moment ago his life was,

but God loves you.

And if God could change
Nicky Cruz

and change Johnny Cash,

God can change you,
if you will let Him.

And He can do it today,
beginning right now.

Yes, God is a God of judgment.

He’ll bring every work
into judgment.

He’s appointed a day in which
He will judge the world.

But God is also
the God of love.

Nothing compared to
the love of God.

The Bible says,
“God is love.”

“Yea, I have loved thee with
a love that’s everlasting,”

says Jeremiah.

And for this reason,
God created man.

Have you ever wondered
why you’re here,

why God created
the human race

and what’s the purpose of
the human race?

God created you because
He’s a God of love.

And He wanted some other
creatures in the universe

that could choose
to love Him in return.

And so, He created man,
Adam and Eve.

He put them in
a perfect paradise.

And we believe
that was located

in the country
that’s now called Iraq,

at the head of
the Persian Gulf.

Much of the Bible was written
in Iraq, Nineveh, Babylon,

Ur of the Chaldeans,
where Abraham came from.

And Abraham is
the father of the Jews,

and the Christians,
and the Islamic people.

Abraham is the one
we all look to

as the beginning.

He came from Iraq.

And that’s the reason there was
so much interest in Iraq

during the Gulf War.

That’s why so many books were
written from the Bible

about the Gulf.

And God created man and put him
in that Garden of Eden,

that perfect environment,
that perfect paradise.

And God gave man a choice.

And God said,
“I want you to have

“all the fruit of the garden,
except one tree.

“You can’t eat
of that one tree.”

God was testing man.

And God said If you eat
of that tree,

you are going to
break my law,

you’re going to suffer,

and you’re going to die.

And man broke God’s law.

God gave him a free will
to choose,

and man chose
to rebel against God.

I heard a TV talk show
the other day.

You can listen to
nearly all of them,

and they’re discussing what’s
wrong with human nature.

Why do people do
the things they do?

Why do people commit the crimes
they do?

Why do people tell the lies
they tell?

Why is there so much jealousy?

Why are there so many problems
in the world?

It’s because man has a disease,
and the disease is called sin.

What’s the basic cause of
war and crime

and deceit and fraud?

Why do we have to have hospitals
and jails with bars and windows,

and police forces
and military forces?

Our social problems are
basically moral

and spiritual problems.

And the moral problems require
a religious solution.

All these problems indicate

that something is wrong
with human nature.

People have been looking to

or a political force to save us.

But God says your problem is
in your hearts.

The first sin ever committed was
committed in a paradise.

It’s a heart problem.

Jesus said, “For out of the
heart proceed evil thoughts,

“and adulteries,
and fornications,

“and murders, and thefts,
and blasphemy.”

The Bible says in Romans 6,
“For the wages of sin is death.”

The Bible says sin is
a breaking of the law.

What law?

The law of conscience.

Have you ever gone against
your conscience?

Then you’ve committed a sin.

Have you ever broken one of
the Ten Commandments?

Then you’re a sinner.

Have you ever failed to keep
the requirements of

the Sermon on the Mount?

Then you’re a sinner.

We’ve come short of
what God requires,

and we’re sinners
before God.

And sin comes between
you and God,

and comes between
you and peace,

between you and happiness,

between you and joy,

and between you
and the assurance that

if you died,
you’re going to heaven.

Solomon, the great king of
Israel, once said,

“There is no man that
sinneth not.”

We are alienated from God.

Let’s remember that.

We’re separated from God.

But in spite of that
He still loves us.

Yes, there is a hell.

There’s a hell in this life,

but there’s also a hell in
the life to come

if we’re separated from God.

The Bible teaches that death has
three dimensions.

There’s natural death.

When you die,
you’re going to be buried

or you’re going to be cremated,

however they’re going to
handle you.

We disappear from this earth.

But there’s also
spiritual death.

Living inside of you is
your soul or your spirit.

That’s the part of you
that lives forever.

That’s the part of you that can
have fellowship with God.

And you have broken God’s law.

And as a result of it,
you are spiritually dead.

You’re dead toward God,

and that death will continue
throughout eternity

after you are dead.

And you’re not going to be
out there

with thousands of people
having a good time,

as many people describe hell.

You’re going to be all alone.

You’re going to be,

there’ll be a terrible
loneliness to it all.

And that’s what hell is.

And we can have
hell in this life,

and hell in the life to come.

And that’s called eternal death.

Words in the New Testament
used by Christ to describe

the penalty of sin as lost,
perish, condemned,

punishment, hell.

God saw all this confusion and
saw us stumbling in darkness.

We didn’t know what to do
with ourselves.

We were either
bored on the one hand,

or we were physically dying
on the other.

So, God decided to do something
about it because of His love.

God couldn’t just forgive us,

or He would break His own word.

He wouldn’t be God.

He had said that if you sin,
you’re going to die.

If you sin,
you’re going to suffer.

We had to suffer,

we had to die
so God’s word could be kept.

One day I was walking with
one of my sons

along a road
in North Carolina.

We stepped on an anthill,

and we looked down and we saw
those ants dying and suffering

and saw their little house

And my son said to me,

“Dad, wouldn’t it be great
if we could help those ants

rebuild their house,
take them to their hospitals?”

I said, “Yes, but we’re too big
and they’re too little.”

And then I thought
what a wonderful illustration.

God looked down from heaven
and saw us

with all of our darkness,
with all of our stumbling,

and all of our problems,
and fighting’s,

and bickering’s,
and difficulties, and wars.

But God was too big.

We were too small.

We looked like little ants
crawling on this planet.

What could God do?

God decided to do something
about it.

God became a man.

God became a man,
and that man was

the Lord Jesus Christ.

He was born of
the Virgin Mary.

And He came
for one purpose.

He came to save you
and to save me,

and to save the world.

And He came to die.

He’s the only man
that was ever born

just for the purpose of dying.

He took our sins
on the cross.

They took Him outside of
Jerusalem and nailed Him,

the Romans did;
not the Jews.

The Romans took Him outside
the walls of Jerusalem

and nailed Him on a cross,
and He shed His blood.

And in that terrible moment
when He was hanging there,

He said, “My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me?”

And in that terrible moment,

He made seven agonizing

And in those expressions,
He was telling us

that He had taken our sins.

He was made to be sin
for us.

Think of it.

He was made to be sin.

He became guilty of
your adultery.

He became guilty of
all the sex sins

that you’ve committed.

He became guilty of
all the envy and the jealousy

and the fighting and the killing
and the murders

that you read about
in the newspapers

almost every day.

“He hath made Him to be sin
for us.”

“The Lord hath laid on Him
the iniquity of us all.”

Think of it.

He took our sins.

Now, what do we have to do?

We have to repent of our sins.

All through the Old Testament,

the Old Testament prophets said,

The first sermon
Jesus ever preached was,


And all through
the New Testament they wrote,

“Repent, repent,
repent, repent.”

What does the word repentance

It means that
you confess to God,

“I have sinned against you,
Lord. I’ll admit it.”

It means that you turn from
your sins.

You’re willing to let God have
His way in your life,

and you’re ready to follow Him
and serve Him from now on.

That’s repentance.

A few days ago,

in Our Daily Bread entitled
“Take Me to the Cross,”

Cliff Barrows gave me
this wonderful little story.

A policeman,

an officer was patrolling
on night duty

in a town in
northern Great Britain

when he heard a quivering sob.

He saw a little boy
in the shadows

sitting on a doorstep,

tears rolling down his cheeks.

The child said, “I’m lost.
Please take me home.”

The policeman began naming
street after street

trying to help the boy remember
where he lived.

He named the shops
and the hotels in the area,

but all without success.

Then he remembered

in the center of the town
was a church

with a large white cross

towering high above
the surrounding city.

He pointed to it and said,

“Do you live
anywhere near that?”

The boy’s face
immediately brightened.

“Yes, sir.
Take me to the cross.”

“I can find my way home
from there.”

And if you come to the cross
today there is a way,

if you come
by the way of the cross.

If you’re lost,

the only way home is to come
to the cross.

The cross of Christ directs
lost people to

their eternal home.

But Jesus didn’t stay
on a cross.

He rose from the dead.

God raised Him from the dead.

And I’m not speaking to you
about a dead Christ.

I’m speaking to you about
a living Christ.

And this living Christ is
going to,

can come into your heart today
by the Holy Spirit,

and make you a new person,

give you a new outlook on life,

take away that loneliness,

take away all those sins
that you’ve committed

and wipe them away so that
when God sees you

He never sees your sins.

You’re justified in His sight

as though you had never sinned.

And then the Bible teaches that

Jesus Christ is coming back
again someday.

I was in Jerusalem,

and I was talking one day
to the chief rabbi.

And I asked him, I said,

“Sir, do you believe that
Messiah is coming back?”

He said, “Oh, yes.”

I said, “I do too,”

but I said, “I believe
when He comes

“you’re going to notice
that He’s Jesus Christ.”

He laughed for a moment
over his cup of coffee;

and he said, he didn’t laugh,
he just smiled.

He said, “Of course,
that’s our difference.”

We’re both looking for Messiah,
but we believe that

it’s going to be Jesus Christ.

“And they shall see

“the Son of man coming
in the clouds of glory,

with power and great glory.”

He’s coming back and He’s going
to set up His kingdom.

Yes, communism did not win.

No “ism”is going to win.

Only Christ is going to win.

And someday, someday
He’s going to rule the world.

But tonight, He wants to rule
your heart.

He wants to come into your home
and to your family,

into your neighborhood.

He wants to come into
our country,

and He wants to be King of kings
and Lord of lords.

Now, what does God require
of you?

I’ve already told you about
one thing, repentance.

During this past week,
we’ve been celebrating

the holiest days of
the Jewish year.

Yom Kippur, which is celebrated
on Wednesday,

is intensely personal.

The Jewish holidays ask
three questions:

What have we done our,

What have we done with our life
during the past year?

Where are we now in our life?

What do we plan to do with
our life in the coming year?

And one reason that Yom Kippur
exercises such an enormous grip

upon the Jewish people is

because the holiday theme is
so personal and contemporary.

There’s not a person among
the people that can say,

“My life is complete
and spiritually filled.”

We all fall short.

And we have to say
with everyone else,

“I, too, am a sinner.

“I’m separated from God.

“I’m lost.

“I need to find my way home.”

It’s not an option.

It’s a command.

In Acts 17, the apostle in
his sermon says,

“God commands all men
everywhere to repent.”

Think of it.
God commands it.

It’s a command
for you to repent.

Have you repented?

Are you sure of it?

If you haven’t repented of
your sins,

you’ll never see the inside of
the kingdom of heaven.

Then you come by faith.

“For by grace are ye saved
through faith;

“and not of works,
lest any man should boast.”

You’ll never be able to
work your way to heaven.

You have to come by
faith in Christ,

and you come by
the grace of God.

Grace means it’s something
you don’t deserve.

You can’t work for.

You come by faith in Him.

That’s how I came,
by simple childlike faith.

You say, “Billy, those are
such simple things.”

Jesus spoke with such simplicity
about spiritual things

that the children heard Him

And we’re to make it simple.

It’s a profound truth,

but it’s to be proclaimed
in simplicity.

And all of you today
that are willing to say,

“I will repent of my sins.

“I receive Christ as Savior.

“I want to follow Him
and serve Him.”

Or, “I want to rededicate

You might want to renew
your vows

that you took at confirmation
or at baptism,

or whenever it was.

And you want to say, “Lord,
I want to come back to you.

“I’ve wandered away from you,

“and I’ve gotten confused
and lost.

“And I want Christ to be
first in my life.

“I want Him to forgive my sins.

“I want to come to the cross,

“and I want to follow Him
from now on.”

Hold up your hand.

Yes, there are many people
with hands up.

And there are
so many people standing,

I can’t ask you to stand,
because you wouldn’t stand out.

And there are four things from
now on that are very important.

First, read the Bible every day.

The Bible is food for your soul.

Secondly, pray.

Perhaps you cannot pray
like a clergyman.

But you can say, “Lord, help me.
I’m in need of help.”

He’ll come and help you.

He’ll answer your prayer.

Pray it in Christ’s name.

Say, “Lord Jesus,
I need you.”

And then the third thing,
witness for Christ.

You ought to tell some people
when you go home tonight,

or tell people tomorrow,

“You know at that Great Lawn

“I made a commitment
to Christ

and I mean to keep it
with God’s help.”

That’ll help you to win
other people to Christ.

And then the fourth thing is
get into the church,

into a church where
Christ is proclaimed

and follow Him and
serve Him as best you can.

Because, you see,
when you leave here,

you won’t leave alone.

The Spirit of God goes
with you.

And I want you to pray
this prayer out loud after me.

Pray it out loud:

O God, I am a sinner.

I’m sorry for my sin.

I’m willing to turn from my sin.

I receive Christ as Savior.

I confess Him as Lord.

From this moment on,
I want to follow Him,

and serve Him in
the fellowship of His church.

In Christ’s name. Amen.

(Voice Over)
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 deciscion.

If you just prayed that prayer
with my father,

or if you have any questions

about a relationship
with Jesus Christ,

why don’t you 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


That’s 1-877-772-4559.

Or you can write to us at:

Billy Graham

1 Billy Graham Parkway

Department C

Charlotte, NC 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 invitation.

On behalf of
Franklin Graham and

The Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association

Thank you for watching and

thank you for your prayers.