Franklin Graham told students at John Brown University on Tuesday to remain committed in their faith in Jesus Christ and preach the Gospel in spite of the persecution they may face.
Speaking during a special chapel service, the evangelical preacher asked the students of the private Christian university in Siloam Springs, Ark., to “set the sail for the course that God has in front of you,” while overcoming the pitfalls, temptations and challenges in their path.
“The last thing the devil wants you to do is serve the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
Graham, the president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, shared about his ministry’s relief response in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, telling the audience that the Gospel message has always been at the core of their work.
He said that they prayed with every patient before an operation and gave a Bible to every patient.
“We wanted everyone to know that Jesus Christ was God’s Son,” said the American evangelist.
Graham recently traveled back to Haiti where he delivered the Gospel message to tens of thousands at the National Soccer Stadium in Port-au-Prince. Hundreds came forward when he extended an invitation to receive Christ.
“I don’t care how much good work you do. If you fail to prepare a person to stand before eternity, if you fail to prepare a person to stand before God, you’re just wasting your time. So we take every opportunity to tell a person about Jesus,” he said.
But preaching the Gospel may prove difficult, according to Graham, in a society where mentioning the name of Christ is prohibited.
“Even in our government today, you can’t pray to Jesus in many public meetings. You can pray to God or a god. You can mention Buddha or the name of Muhammad but you can’t pray to Jesus Christ,” said Graham, who was once disinvited from a National Day of Prayer event at the Pentagon over his comments on Islam.
“We know that we are going to be persecuted for standing up for the name of Christ.”
Graham also expressed his dismay at the way the recent memorial service for victims of the Tucson shooting was handled, contrasting the event with other memorial services that he attended. While memorial services for the Oklahoma City bombing and a prayer service after 9/11 called upon the name of God, the Tucson memorial featured an Indian man who was calling upon “father sky and mother earth.”
“There was no call for God to put His loving arms around those who were hurting,” he observed. “Why did they leave him out? They scoff at the name of Jesus Christ.”
He said the scoffing and persecution against believers of Christ is only going to get worse.
“The spirit of anti-Christ is everywhere,” stated Graham, who noted that television networks have pushed out reporters who cover Christian-related topics. “We’re being secularized so quickly. Anything that has to do with Christian faith is slowly being taking out of society.”
Despite the opposition, Graham asked students to take advantage of the abundant opportunities for evangelism in today’s era, especially through the Internet. He mentioned some options like purchasing key words like “God,” “Jesus,” or even “Muhammad.”
“I’m going to build an army of young people,” he shared. “We’re going to find out how do you infiltrate every language of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and do it on the Internet.”