By Will Graham
“Do you ever get nervous before preaching to large crowds?” This is a common question that I often receive in media interviews. I answer honestly by saying, “Yes, every time.” However, it’s not the size of the audience that affects me.
You see, as an evangelist, I take sharing the Word of God and the hope of Jesus Christ very seriously. The way I look at it, eternity is at stake every time I stand up at the podium. My constant prayer is that the Holy Spirit would speak through me, and that I would get out of the way. When I say I’m nervous, it’s because I always want to communicate as clearly as possible, and never say anything that would be a deterrent and cause some to turn away from Jesus.
When eternity is on the line—the difference between Heaven and Hell—I don’t pull punches. People need to know that both are real, literal places, and surrendering one’s life to Jesus is the difference. There is no middle ground with Christ. If you aren’t for Jesus, you’re against Him.
Frankly, turning your heart away from Jesus has very real implications not just for eternity, but for your life here on earth as well. If you look at Hebrews 3:7-19, you’ll see four serious consequences of turning your back on Christ.
Each consequence is actually a step in a progression leading you further and further from God:
Separation from God (v. 12). God is truth, and when we fail to believe truth, then we follow a lie. And a lie—by its nature—is separate from the truth. In a very real sense, our sin separates us from God.
We fall victim to sin (v. 13). As we allow sin to separate us from God, we begin to fall victim to the “deceitfulness of sin.” Simply stated, sin is tricky. Sin masks itself and never presents itself as it truly is. Because we are separated from Christ, our hearts become cold and we allow ourselves to be deceived by sin.
Our hearts grow hard (v. 15). As sin’s poison cuts to our soul, our hearts—which may have once been soft and tender—become spiritually calloused, like hard, dead skin. When we allow ourselves to be deceived by sin over and over again, and we wander far from God, we are no longer able to sense His prompting or guidance in our lives.
We become rebellious against God (v.15). When we allow our calloused hearts to go unchecked, embracing sin rather than being convicted of it, we are actually in a state of rebellion against God (v. 15). This rebellious heart causes us to further sin against God, and God will not tolerate it. The result is spiritual death.
You see, my friends, there are ramifications and consequences for our disobedience to Christ, both in this world and in eternity. But there’s Good News! You don’t have to live a life of callousness and rebellion. We serve a God of second chances, and even today your heart can be softened. Regardless of where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you can surrender your life over to Him and begin a relationship with Jesus. He’s ready to welcome you with open arms!
Are you ready to say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to Jesus? Visit PeaceWithGod.net to begin a relationship with Him today.
Will Graham is the Vice President and Associate Evangelist at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. For more information on the BGEA, visit https://billygraham.org. This article was reprinted with permission.