«How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?» (Romans 10:14, 15).
ROMANS 10: 13, which comes just before our text for today, is no doubt a powerful and emphatic statement by Paul: «Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.» It is followed by four questions that many people have tried to answer. To look for the answers, we will consider the life of a great preacher.
William Franklin Graham, Jr. made a great contribution to the fulfillment of the mission. Better known as Billy, he gave his heart to Jesus at the age of sixteen in an evangelistic campaign. That commitment stayed with him his whole life. He grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s, which is why he learned the value of hard work; he also devoted himself intensely to reading.
In 1943, he married Ruth Bell, born in China to missionaries in that country. Her father, L. Nelson Bell, was a general surgeon at a Presbyterian hospital 310 miles from Shanghai. Ruth suffered in deciding between Billy and the missionary field and, at the end of April 1941, after much prayer, she understood that her mission would be beside Billy and his passion for evangelism.
They got married shortly after graduation. She dedicated her life to supporting her husband’s ministry and educating their children. She always helped Billy research and prepare his sermons and books. They had five children, nineteen grandchildren, and twenty-eight great-grandchildren. Franklin and Anne are also evangelists, following in the footsteps of the father.
Billy was the preacher who reached the greatest number of people in modern times. In his evangelizing crusades, which began in 1948, he reached a direct audience of 210 million people in 185 countries in stadiums, parks, and other places. According to reports from his team, from 1993 on, more than 2.5 million people had responded to his calls.
The Los Angeles crusade in 1949 made him become known internationally. The meetings lasted eight weeks, with crowds of attendees. In 1992, he announced that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which forced him to give up his work. In 2005, he began his last crusade in New York He died in 2018 at almost one hundred years of age.
His greatest legacy after sixty years of ministry is biblical preaching. He spoke the language of people and used no resource other than the Word. His great advice was this:
«Study the Bible to be wise, believe in the Bible to be saved, follow its precepts to be holy.»How will they be saved unless there is someone to preach to them?Billy already did his part. What about you? What about me?