by Billy Graham

When the lead singer of a popular rock band committed suicide, one 17-year-old girl commented, "His suicide exemplifies the emptiness that many in my generation feel."

The suicide rate among young people is growing. Teenagers are depressed- but depressed about what?

People are asking, "is there any hope?" Where can we look for hope? Hope for the world, hope for me?

I believe the answer is, "Yes, there is hope." But our problems go deeper than human wisdom can go. Only God who made us can touch us and change us; only God can save us from ourselves.

You may be an older person who feels as if you have wasted your years. You wish that you hadn't lived the way that you have lived, and now you're ready to make a change in your life.

We're involved today in a gigantic spiritual war between the forces of good and the forces of evil. We need to choose which side we will be on. The battle is being waged in our hearts.

Do you know anything about God? There are a lot of things about God that I don't know. We cannot prove God. We cannot go to a science laboratory and say, "Here is a formula, and that is God."

Where did God come from? I don't know. The Bible teaches that he has always been and that he always will be. That staggers my mind, but I know that God is there. There is something in back of this universe with supernatural power and wisdom.

The Bible says, "In the beginning"..."In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." And God made us. We are made in the image of almighty God. The Bible says, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."

God speaks to us in many ways. He speaks through nature. He speaks through conscience - a little voice that corrects us when we do something wrong. But God has spoken fully to us in the Person of Jesus Christ, his Son.

What does God look like? Have you ever thought about that? The Bible says that God doesn't have flesh and blood: "God is a Spirit." He can be in every part of the universe at the same time. He is not limited by a body.

The Bible teaches that God is unchanging. In all these centuries God hasn't changed, not in the slightest. He is the same as he was a million years ago. He is the same today as he will be a million years from now. He will not change. God said, "I the Lord do not change." God has not changed.

The Bible teaches that God is holy. That means that God is pure. He has never had an evil thought. He has never done a bad thing. He is absolutely pure. And he requires that of us before we can get into heaven. How do we become pure?

The Bible teaches that God is a God of judgment. God will judge the world. He will judge you and me. The Bible says that "God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." And the Bible says, "Men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken."

The Bible says, "God is love." And God loves us. If you forget everything else, remember one thing: Almighty God loves you. No matter what we have done or how bad we have been, he loves us, and he wants to help us. He wants to come into your life and into your heart. He wants to direct you and be your friend.

God said, "I have loved your with an everlasting love." And for this reason God created us. Did your know that? Have you ever asked yourself why God made man and woman? Why did he make us the way we are? You ask, "Who am I? " A lot of the songs today are about that subject: "Who am I? Am I nothing, or am I somebody?"

God is a God of love. He created man and woman in his image. And God said, "You can have everything in the whole earth. It's all yours." God gave you a will of your own. You can make your own choices in life. God said, "There's a tree here called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If your eat of that tree, you will die. Do not eat that tree, and you will never die!"

But what happened? Man and woman were tempted, and they ate from that tree. And they began to suffer and to die.

Adam and Eve's first child, Cain, committed murder. Cain had murder in his heart toward his brother, Abel. People rebelled against God. They rejected God's way and have continued to do so all the way down to us. Rebellion goes from generation to generation.

The Bible calls it "sin". Sin is breaking the Ten Commandments. It is coming short of what God wants us to be. All of us are sinners. And the Bible says that if we have sinned, we will die.

After physical death there is another death - eternal death. It's called "hell". You ask, "You certainly don't believe in hell, do you?" Yes, I do. i believe in heaven, and I believe in hell, because the Bible teaches it.

The Bible teaches that if we break even one of the Ten Commandments just one time, we are guilty of having broken all of the Commandments. Just one sin - it can be pride or jealousy or lust or lying - whatever it is, we're guilty of having broken them all.

What about you? Do you know that you are a sinner? I am a sinner. We deserve the judgment of God. We deserve hell. Sin lives in our hearts: "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ." We are alienated from God. We are separated from God. Sin comes between us and almighty God.

That is why we need Jesus Christ in our lives. He is "the way, the truth, and the life." He died on the cross for us. He took your sins, and he took my sins.

Now, how did it happen? Jesus lived among us, and he shared our problems. He had all of the problems that we have. He faced them.

The authorities crucified Jesus. It was the most horrible death that we can think of, with nails in his hands and his feet and a spear in his side, and blood streaming down his body. But that wasn't his only suffering. His greater suffering was heard in his cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The Bible says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us." God had laid on him all of our sins. Every bad thing that we have ever done, every bad thing that we have ever thought, was put on Christ. He took it for us, in our place, because he loves us.

Almighty God loves you. You say, "Billy, he doesn't even know that I exist." Oh, yes, he does. Because he is God, he knows everything about you. He knows what you are thinking, and he knows where you are.

The Bible says, "Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring (us) to God." But when Jesus Christ died, that wasn't the end of it. The people took his body and put it into a tomb, but on the third day he rose again. He's alive! Jesus Christ is alive, and he loves you, and he wants to be your friend. He wants to go with you and to help you in your life.

You ask, "Well, how can I have him in my heart and in my life? what do I need to do?" The Bible tells us what to do.

First, repent. You say, "What does "repent" mean?" to repent means to be willing to change your way of living. Are you willing?

You say, "There is no way that I can change." No, I don't think you can. We can't do it unless God helps us. But if you are willing, then God will help you to change your way of living and thinking. Someone said that "repentance is being sorry enough to quit." Are you sorry enough to quit?

Second, believe, have faith. Come to the cross and say, "Lord, I believe." The Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," and, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Do you believe?
You say, "Of course, I believe. I believe in God, I believe in the Bible, I believe in the Church, I believe in good things." That's not the kind of believing that I mean.

You say, "I believe in Christ." Do you believe enough to put your life into his hands and say to him, "I will follow You and serve You no matter what it costs me"?

Repent, and believe in Christ.

Then, third, serve Christ and follow him. You say, "I don't understand how Christ can come to live in me and help me." I don't understand many things, but I believe that Jesus Christ can come into your life, sweep it clean and give you new power to live for him and to follow his ways.

Jesus has been raised from the dead to eternal life. We didn't do anything for ourselves to accomplish that - we can't. We are helpless and hopeless. But when Christ comes into our lives, we have help, and we have hope. We have forgiveness of sin and the assurance that when we die, we will go to heaven. We have Christ in our hearts, and he gives us the Holy Spirit to be with us all the time to help us. The Holy Spirit will live in you, and give you power and confidence and assurance. He will give you peace and happiness and joy. All that can be yours if you say "yes" to Jesus Christ.