Below is a message preached Nov. 4, 1949, during Billy Graham’s landmark Los Angeles Campaign.
Beginning with the 12th verse of the 18th chapter of Acts, I want to take four men and apply them to this present hour in which we are living. First, Gallio; second, Felix; third, Agrippa; and fourth, the Ethiopian eunuch. I want you to see these four men in the light of the Scriptures and show you that tonight in this audience there are men and women who stand exactly as these men stood 2,000 years ago. The decisions that they made, the hindrances that they had, the problems they faced and the spiritual difficulties they had are exactly the same as those that we face tonight.
“And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drave them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things” (Acts 18:12-17).
First of all, Gallio. I want you to see that he is the “don’t care” man. He “cared for none of those things,” the Scripture says.
Now the Scripture says that he was a deputy of Achaia, which means that he was a magistrate. And he represents a vast majority of the people of this world. He didn’t care for spiritual things. He didn’t care for the Bible. He didn’t care for God. He didn’t care for Christ. He had no interest in spiritual things. He wasn’t against it; he wouldn’t fight it; he wouldn’t talk against it. He just didn’t care.
And this morning when I looked out of my hotel window, I saw thousands of people as they passed by in their cars. I said to myself, “There is Los Angeles, passing down the highway, passing down the street, not caring for their souls, not caring for God, not caring for Christ, not caring for the church, not caring for spiritual things.” And perhaps you have come to this tent out of curiosity and have never thought about your soul’s relationship to God.
In the Old Testament, the Scripture says that every imagination of man’s heart was unrighteous and was wicked and evil. And God said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). They were so taken up with sin, they were so taken up with things and with living and with material things that they did not have time for God.
There are thousands of people in this great city today who are so taken up with money, so taken up with pleasure, so taken up with everyday living that they don’t have time to go to church. They don’t have time to listen to a sermon. They don’t have time to read the Bible. They don’t have time to pray. And they are marching down the broad road that leads to destruction.
The second man that I want you to see is in Acts 24. This is Paul before Felix.
“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him” (verses 24-26).
The Apostle Paul stood there in chains. Felix was sitting up on the judgment seat, and Paul looked at Felix. And Paul made Felix tremble by the message that he gave him that day. Listen: It wasn’t Paul on trial. No, sir. Felix was on trial. Felix didn’t know it, but that day he was being judged by almighty God.
And every time that a person has the Gospel preached to him, that person is being judged by God. Every time a person turns down Christ, he’s being judged by God. And tonight, every man, woman, boy and girl outside of Jesus Christ is being weighed in the balances of almighty God.
Paul stood before Felix, and he preached, first of all, righteousness. He said, “Felix, before you’ll ever get to Heaven, you’ll have to get the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Because your own works won’t save you.”
Let me tell you something tonight. Your baptism, your church membership, your good works are as filthy rags in the sight of God (see Isaiah 64:6) unless you are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith … it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Paul was saying, “Felix, God is going to judge you for your sin, for your wickedness, and because you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior.” And old Felix was trembling.
There are people here tonight who have heard me preach, and you are hearing me preach tonight. You heard your mother pray for you, your pastor preach. And tonight you are trembling under the sound of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You’ve trembled. But you’ve never come to Jesus Christ.
You know what Felix answered? He said, “Paul, go away. Go away and leave me alone. I will call you, Paul, at a more convenient season.” Let me say something to you tonight. There never was a more convenient season for Felix. We never read that he ever responded to the Gospel of Christ. He procrastinated too long, and Felix tonight, as far as we know, is in hell.
I spoke to a man in Moody Church one Monday night a few months ago after I got through preaching. He was trembling as he stood there under mighty conviction. And I said, “Sir, won’t you give your heart to Christ?” He said, “Not tonight. I’ll give my life to Christ on Friday night.”
“Friday night,” I said. “That’s five nights from now. You may not be living.”
“I’ll take that chance,” he said. “I promise I’ll come on Friday night.” On Friday morning, a stray bullet from a policeman’s gun went through that man’s head, and he died and never came to Christ.
Then the next man is found in Acts 26. Now Paul comes before King Agrippa. He’s in chains again. The Spirit of God began to strive with King Agrippa, and after Paul preached to him, Agrippa said, “Paul, almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). Paul, I’m almost ready to give my life to God. I’m almost ready to walk down that aisle to take Christ. I’m almost ready to turn my life over to Jesus Christ. You’ve almost persuaded me.
Did you know that in these meetings, you could say, “I’m almost ready to come down that aisle and be spoken to by the Spirit of God.” You could be convicted of your sins by the Spirit of God. You could be almost in the Kingdom—but still die and go to hell. It’s possible to taste the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, to come close to the kingdom and know that the Spirit is striving, but still reject and turn Him down.
A man or woman can reject Christ so long that their heart gets so hard and calloused and shrivelled that even when the Spirit of God speaks, they can die and go to hell. That’s a dangerous thing. And I trust by God’s grace that I’ve made it plain and Scriptural and straight to you, that none might err and reject or neglect it tonight.
The last man is found in Acts 8:35-37: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?’ And Philip said, ‘If thou believeth with all thine heart, thou mayest.’”
What hinders you from coming to Christ tonight? Nothing except the devil, that’s all.
You don’t have to work for it. You don’t have to pay for it. You don’t have to join anything. All you have to do is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. If we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in our hearts that God hath raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved (see Romans 10:9).
And tonight every man, woman, boy and girl listening to my voice can open your heart and say, “Come in, Lord Jesus.” He will come in and transform your life. And according to the authority of God’s Word, you can know that you are going to Heaven. ©1949 Billy Graham
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version.