November 01, 2018 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza
If you were aboard a sinking ship that you thought was unsinkable, would you get into a lifeboat even though the captain and crew warned you to do so immediately? Before you answer, consider the remarkable, true story of the Titanic.
This ocean liner was the largest and the pride of the White Star line. It was nearly 900 feet long and 45,000 tons with 10 decks. It had mahogany-paneled walls, etched mirrors and a grand staircase. It took 3,000 men three years just to build it. All classes of people were on board, from the rich and famous to the poor and common folk. The top class paid $80,000 for a ticket for the five day voyage. Steerage was much less, of course, as there were only two bathtubs for 700 steerage passengers!
Everyone, mostly everyone, believed this vessel was unsinkable. Man had come a long way with technology. “Is this ship really unsinkable?” a passenger asked. “Yes lady, God Himself couldn’t sink this ship,” replied a deckhand. Insurance on your luggage? “Ridiculous, this ship is unsinkable!” Captain Smith boasted “I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” It was so unsinkable that lifeboats were not necessary. The Titanic had lifeboats for only 1,178 people, not enough for its capacity of 3,000. No one expected that the unsinkable would soon sink.
"Icebergs and large quantities of field ice” but they were asleep at the switch and warnings were not seriously entertained until “iceberg right ahead!” It was a blue one, rising 60 feet above the water. The mate turned as hard as possible but it was too little, too late. In 10 seconds time, on its maiden voyage on April 14, 1912, a 300 foot gash opened the first six of the Titanic’s watertight compartments to the Atlantic Ocean. The design flaw became obvious to the ship’s designer who was on board and now stunned. He now realized that the unsinkable had no more than 1.5 hours, tops. It was like an imminent death sentence to the 1,502 souls who would soon drown in the icy 28 degree sea water. Only 705 who would survive.
Yet the band played on, some played cards and some played with the ice left on deck from the crash, while the first SOS signal in history was made over the wireless and ignored by a wireless operator asleep on duty on the ship Californian some 20 miles away. No one expected that the unsinkable would soon sink.
People would not get into the lifeboats. The ship’s lights burned bright. The band played on, and people played on. Who would want to get into a stark wooden lifeboat and be lowered into dark 28 degree water while on a huge 900 feet ocean liner that was comfortable and unsinkable? People were so confident that they were blind to the danger they were in. No one expected that the unsinkable would soon sink to the bottom of the ocean. They were secure in something that would soon be destroyed. In the end, the unsinkable sunk and saved no one who remained with her.
Pulpits everywhere after the Titanic disaster rang out with lessons. This world is not all there is. This world will suddenly and unexpectedly end one day. God provides humanity a lifeboat in Jesus Christ, but most don't care until it is too late. They will be swept away forever.
And the regret about the eternal mistake they made will gnaw at their souls like an continuous cancer.
The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that Jesus is coming back to this earth. He will come to judge the living and the dead. When Jesus ascended into heaven, "He was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of his apostles sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'” (Acts 1:9-11) The last chapter of the last book of the Bible records the words of Jesus: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:12-13)
Yet, there are scoffers, and they are dangerously foolish. They say, "Where is this second coming? Everything just goes on." The Bible says, "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:8-9)
Date setters have been and always will be wrong. Jesus said, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24:36-39) It will be business as usual when the Lord Jesus returns to earth. People will be living just for today. Most are like little kids playing carelessly at the edge of a cliff. It is just a matter of time before they fall off. We all live on the brink of eternity. Every day is one day closer, "For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11)
The story of the more than 200 people who jumped to their deaths is one of the most sensitive aspects of the September 11 tragedy. Photographs of people falling to their deaths shocked the nation. Most newspapers and magazines ran only one or two photos, then stopped publishing them. The images resonate painfully. Many who survived or witnessed the attack say the sight of victims jumping is their most haunting memory of that day. People jumped from all four sides of the north tower. They jumped alone, in pairs and in groups. Most came from the north tower's 101st to 105th floors. Intense smoke and heat, rather than flames, forced people into this horrific choice. No one who went to work that Tuesday morning in September expected to be jumping to their deaths in a few hours. No one expected that horror. It was business as usual. The second coming of Jesus will be a global event. It will be the beginning of endless joy for the true Christian and endless horror for everyone else. No one on earth will evade it. Only those who make advance preparation in Christ will escape.
God commissioned Noah to build an ark to preserve his family and the animals from the flood. It took him years to build it. There was apathy, indifference and business as usual. That is why only eight people were saved. Noah was ridiculed and ignored. Jonathan Edwards remarked, "Noah warned them in words and he warned them by his actions. His building of the ark, which took him so long a time, and in which he employed so many hands, was a standing warning to
them. All the blows of the hammer and axe, during the progress of that building, were so many calls and warnings to the old world, to take care for their preservation from the approaching destruction. Every knock of the workmen was a knock of Jesus Christ at the door of their hearts: but they did not listen. All these warnings, though repeated every day, and continued for such a long time, availed nothing."
It is the same way today. Most people will ignore Jesus Christ to their eternal ruin. People from the same situations will be permanently separated based upon whether they are true Christians or not. Some will be prepared to meet Jesus, others will not. It will be too late to get ready. There will be no second chances, no purgatory. Those who have chosen to live without God will find their choice respected when that great day comes. It will be the portion of the godless to be without God, in painful punishment that will never end. It has been aptly said, "In life, they bit the hand that feeds, the hand that made them and the hand that could save them." Their choice is forever fixed and the consequences forever sealed.
I pray that you have ears to hear. Surrender your heart unconditionally to Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior, if you have not done so already, that the coming of the Lord Jesus may be the greatest joy of life rather than the greatest terror.
We are all terminal. Our time is dwindling down. The clock is running out. Each one of us has an appointment to die. How much time we each have, no one really knows. It could be tomorrow, it could be tonight. It may come without warning, so you must be prepared to meet your Maker. Today is a gift of God’s grace. Tomorrow may be too late. You are one day older than yesterday and one day closer to meeting your Maker. Are you ready, or not?