“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again.”
John 3:5-7, NIV
Many tears will have been shed these past few days when the news broke that Billy Graham had died, aged 99. Billy Graham was probably the most well-known evangelist ever. He certainly preached to more people than anyone else in history. But much more significantly there are countless millions alive in God today because they were born again by the Spirit of God after listening to Billy Graham preach the timeless Gospel message from today’s Scripture, “You must be born again.”
I was ten years of age when I first heard Billy Graham preach at the Harringay Arena in London. Even though I had already given my life to the Lord, I was hugely impacted by both his message and the number of people who went forward at the end of the meeting to do business with God. I know many people today who were born again under Billy’s ministry and have gone on to live outstanding Christian lives.
Philip Doddridge, the eighteenth century poet, described that moment of being born again as the happiest day of his life and he put his experience into the words of the hymn:
“O happy day that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Saviour and my God!”
And in the second verse of the hymn he explained why:
“ ’Tis done—the great transaction’s done;
I am my Lord’s, and He is mine;”.
Every one of us needs to have our lives transformed by the living presence of our Saviour and be born again by the Spirit of God. In John Chapter 3 Jesus explains to Nicodemus that no-one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again. And this was the message that God gave Billy Graham to preach and he faithfully preached it throughout his life – simply because it is the most important message in the universe, and everyone needs to hear it.