Joy in the Gospel
Billy Graham was so focused on bringing his message into every endeavor—even in something so simple as a sound check—that he would somehow always find a way to do it.
“One of the distinctives of Mr. Graham’s ministry has been his ability to make positive points for the gospel in any situation,” says Larry Ross, whose firm has handled media and public relations for Graham’s organization for more than twenty-three years. “You can ask Billy Graham how he gets his suits dry-cleaned on the road, and he’ll turn it into a gospel witness.
“I cut my teeth in the corporate world before I worked with Mr. Graham, and I set up numerous media interviews,” Ross says. “Almost always before a TV interview, they do a microphone check, and they ask the interviewee to say something—anything—so they can adjust the audio settings. Often a corporate executive will count to ten, say their ABCs, or recite what he had for breakfast. Mr. Graham would always quote John 3:16—‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’
“When I asked Mr. Graham why he does that, he replied, ‘Because that way, if I am not able to communicate the gospel clearly during the interview, at least the cameraman will have heard it.’ ”
—Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley, The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham
I. Fellowship in the Gospel, vs. 3-11
1) A Thankful Fellowship, vs. 3
2) A Prayerful Fellowship, vs. 4
3) A Confident Fellowship, vs. 6-11
A. God’s Faithful Work, vs. 6
B. Paul’s Loving Heart, vs. 7; 8
C. A Shared Grace, vs. 7b
D. A Spiritual Growth, vs. 9-11
II. Furtherance of the Gospel, vs. 12-26
He was just a shoemaker, after all, and an average one at that. But in the evenings, after work, he studied Greek, Hebrew, and a variety of modern languages. He devoured Captain Cook’s Voyages to expand his horizons, which, because of his poverty, kept him bound to a small, forgotten English village. Some people said his time would have been better spent getting a second job to support his growing family.
But the young man’s passion wasn’t a curious, self-satisfying hobby. Early in life he had become concerned about the millions of unbelievers outside of Europe, and he was trying to figure out what could be done to bring them the gospel.
With God’s help, he slowly figured it out. He ended up going to India to serve as the first Protestant missionary in the modern era. His passion inspired a generation of men and women, such as Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, and David Livingstone, to take up the cause of missions.
Because one impoverished shoemaker named William Carey followed his God-given passion, large parts of the world that had little or no access to the gospel have large populations of people today who confess Christ as Lord.
—Ruth Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya (Zondervan, 1983)
Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.
God has a sovereign right to dispose of us as he pleases; we ought to acquiesce in all that God does with us and to us.
1) Providential Happenings, vs. 12
2) Inspirational Testimony, vs. 13-14
3) Spiritual Rejoicing, vs. 15-18a
4) Eternal Hope, vs. 18b-26
A. Assurance of salvation, vs. 19-20
B. Purpose of Life, vs. 21
C. Struggle of Life, vs. 22-24
III. Faith of the Gospel, vs. 27-30
1) A Heavenly Citizenship, vs. 27a; 3:20
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.
Harry Truman, talking politics with a group of Yale students, was asked by one earnest youth, “How do I start in politics, sir?”
Replied the former president, “You’ve already started. You’re spending somebody else’s money, aren’t you?”
2) A Unified Stance, vs. 27b
3) A Unified Mind, vs. 27c
4) A Synergistic Team, vs. 27d
Root Greek (Lemma): syn athleo
5) A Similar Suffering, vs. 28-30
When William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school in 1904, he was heir to the Borden Dairy estate, which made him a millionaire. For his graduation present, his parents gave him a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world’s hurting people. Finally, Borden wrote home to say, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.” At the same time, he wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.”
During his college years at Yale University, Borden became a pillar in the Christian community. One entry in his personal journal that defined the source of his spiritual strength simply said, “Say no to self and yes to Jesus every time.”
During his first semester at Yale, Borden started a small prayer group that mushroomed into a movement that spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshmen were meeting for weekly Bible study and prayer. By the time Bill Borden was a senior, one thousand of Yale’s thirteen hundred students were meeting in such groups.
Borden met with fellow Christians to make sure every student on campus heard the gospel. Often he ministered to the poor in the streets of New Haven. But his real passion was missions. Once he narrowed his missionary call to the Kansu people in China, Borden never wavered.
Upon graduation from Yale, Borden wrote two more words in the back of his Bible: “No retreats.” He turned down several high-paying job offers and enrolled in seminary. After graduating, he went to Egypt to learn Arabic so he could work with Muslims in China. While in Egypt, Borden came down with spinal meningitis. Within a month he was dead at age twenty-five.
Prior to his death, Borden wrote two more words in his Bible. Underneath the words “No reserves” and “No retreats,” he wrote, “No regrets.”