28 February 2018

Friends in Christ,

Last week saw the funeral of Dr. Billy Graham. Our families owe, humanly speaking, our lives to this Evangelist and his crusades. Each family member, except me, made decisions for Christ in 1959 at the Sydney Showground or Sydney Cricket Ground. They were great times, when the daily papers would have pages dedicated to the events of the night before. Sydney was awash with the gospel.

For my part I had just started my degree in Canberra. There was one rally there of some 25,000 at Manuka Oval and 1,100 registered decisions for Christ. I had the privilege of attending the Life and Witness classes led by Charlie Riggs. We were charged with counselling and follow-up of those who made decisions. Below is the Gospel Outline and Bible verses we were required to learn so we could revise them with enquirers who came forward at Dr. Graham’s invitation.

  1. The fact of sin: Romans 3:23
  2. The penalty of sin: Romans 6:23
  3. Christ came to pay the penalty: 1 Timothy 1:15
  4. Christ died to pay the penalty: 1 Peter 2:24
  5. Forgiveness through his name: Acts 10:43
  6. Salvation a free gift: Ephesians 2:8-9
  7. Christ at the door: Revelation 3:20
  8. We must receive him: John 1:12-13

Bible studies were then given to be completed and marked. There were 4 lessons on beginning with Christ and 8 on Living with Christ. In each lesson there was a memory verse to learn. This was my introduction to learning key verses of scripture in living for Christ. This has been such a helpful habit.

Well, times change and even the great ones die in this life. But the life-giving Saviour and his gospel are eternal and so are God’s people. May you enjoy every blessing in Christ.

Reg Piper
Senior Assistant Minister

P.S. A Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Ministry of Billy Graham will be held at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney on Friday 9 March 2018 at 12pm. The address will be given by former Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen who ‘went forward’ at the Sydney Crusade in 1959.