What can possibly be said
about Billy Graham that hasn’t already been said? He was as iconic a figure as
we are likely to see in our lifetime. By the numbers, his life was more
impactful than anyone else I can think of:
· 2.2 billion people heard
him preach the gospel
· 215 million attended one of his crusades
· 2.2 million people responded to the call to come to Christ
· A record 61 times in a row
he has been named to Gallup’s Most Admired Men list
· He met with 13 US Presidents, from Truman to Trump
But if I had to guess, I would say that the most
important number to him was the number one - 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God
and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”
Let’s look at what it means to
live a life on purpose.
For David served God's purposes in his own
time, and then he died
adjectives come to mind when you think of Billy Graham?
For me, words like good, humble, faithful, integrity, wise,
called, long-serving, graceful, undefiled seem appropriate
Of the words you think of, which ones would you most like to have
said of you and why?
What memories do you have of seeing him at one of his crusades or
· In our verse,
it says of King David, that he served God’s purposes in his life and then he
I like this because it illustrates that we are all made for a
divine purpose. When we see a man like Dr. Graham be true to his calling and
unsullied by scandal or failure, it shows us an example worth emulating.
The Apostle Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought the good
fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now
there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord,
the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also
to all who have longed for His appearing.”
encouraging to know that this promise isn’t just for the Mount Rushmore saints
like Paul or Billy Graham but also for Mount Rumpke sinners like me!
§ What are
practical things we can do to finish the race and keep the faith?
· 1 Peter
1:13-16 – “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully
sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when
Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do
not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you
is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be
holy, because I am holy.’”
focused on the eternal
mindful of the our sin nature and our enemy who seeks to bring us down
in reverence for the One who rescued us
· Dr. Graham
has now heard the words that should be the desire of every Christian heart, “Well done, good and faithful
servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of
many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
How does the hope of hearing those words motivate you to not just
stay out of trouble but to be a productive servant?
Let us commit to serving the purposes God has set out for us in
Did you know that God has an
orchard of fruit-bearing Life trees? In
Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi, he describes these trees from the
roots all the way up to the fruits. Each
of us is one of these trees. The health
of our tree is dependent upon growing deep roots of wisdom, a sturdy trunk that
is free of pests and disease, and strong branches teeming with fruit.
is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and
depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may
be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of
righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
· Before we
dive into our topic, here is a Pro Tip on prayer from a pastor friend: If you
don’t know how to find the right words when you’re praying, use the prayers of
the Scriptures as your model. I have
marked in my Bible this passage as my prayer for our group.
· Paul says
that in order for our tree to grow big and strong it must have roots that are
growing deeper in knowledge and insight. God’s word and His teachers provide us
with the nourishment we need to grow as He intended.
Absent a strong foundation, our tree is susceptible to every wind,
flood, and drought.
§ Winds of
circumstance can challenge our commitment
§ Floods of
discouragement can overwhelm us
§ A drought of
feeling God’s presence can shrivel our faith
§ Do any of
these ring true for you?
§ Are there
Scriptures you cling to in times like these?
We can sometimes be more like thin blades of grass or a delicate
flower than a towering tree
§ Isaiah 40:8 –“All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like
the flowers of the field. The grass
withers and the flowers fall, because
the breath of the Lord blows on
them. Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God
We are also vulnerable to toxins like bad teaching or faulty
14:4 – “ Then we will no longer be
infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there
by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their
§ Proverbs 19:2a –
“Desire without knowledge is not good”
Then when the winds, floods, and droughts come as they inevitably
do, we will be able to discern what is best, to remain pure, and to be blameless.
However, a great deal of knowledge that never comes out hiding is
like a root system that never becomes a tree.
It eagerly takes in the nutrients and the water but doesn’t grow up and
said it like this in 1 Corinthians 13:2:
§ If I have the gift of
prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if
I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am
§ Jesus is love and
does not hide from the harsh glare of the sun or the bitter cold of winter.
So the trunk is the link between the roots and the branches that
bear the fruit.
§ Jesus said in John
15:5, “I am the vine; you are the
branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much
fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
§ Why does Jesus count “good
works” that are done apart from Him as nothing?
· The very point of a fruit tree
is to bear fruit. The Orchard Owner designed
it that way and expects to see branches that are leafy and brimming with
deliciously sweet fruit.
· Fruits of righteousness
God by obeying His commands
others as Christ has loved you
5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
§ The fruit described here is
attainable by each of us because it’s not called the fruit of man but of the
Spirit who indwells every believer.
· Let us pray as Paul did that on
the day of Christ, we will be filled with the fruit of righteousness, to the glory
and praise of God.
Proverbs 11:30 - The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life