LIFEBOAT           the Titanic

The Titanic was said to be unsinkable. At the time of her maiden voyage in the early Spring of 1912, she was the largest ship afloat. Her builders had fitted her with a double-bottomed hull, sixteen watertight compartments, and enough luxuries to entertain a king for quite a few fortnights. In fact, the engineers of the Titanic had included so much of everything into her design that she could have been named H.M.S. World. Walking the decks of the Titanic was like walking on a floating city. She even had a pet grooming salon! But there was one thing that her overconfident builders had failed to provide... enough lifeboats.

Doubtless, the Titanic's passengers had no idea of the disaster that awaited them as the great liner steamed out of port. Much like western civilization in the 1990's, these passengers probably had only one thing on there minds: entertainment now! But their dream cruise was about to come to a tragic end. Unknown to the Titanic's 2200 passengers, a large iceberg had drifted into the ship's course.

The Titanic was considered to be unsinkable because of her advanced technology and design. Her engineer knew that if the first four watertight compartments were punctured, the Titanic would likely remain afloat. But if five or more forward compartments were to become holed, the ship would be doomed. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened. The collision tore a 300 foot gash from compartment one through compartment six. Worse, the ocean was over 12,000 feet deep where the Titanic hit the iceberg! But most disastrous of all, even though the ship's engineer insisted that the Titanic was doomed to sink, many of the passengers refused to board the lifeboats until it was too late for them to be saved. Although there was a shortage of lifeboats, many lives were needlessly lost because people preferred the comfort and apparent safety offered by the ocean liner over the faith venture of the lifeboats. Even though it was obvious that the Titanic was sinking, passengers often chose to remain on board as long as possible. Some were not allowed to leave due to various restrictions due to class, sex, or age, while many who could leave stubbornly refused to believe that the great liner could possibly sink!

But the Titanic was sinking! Water quickly filled the first six compartments, then proceeded to overflow the remaining bulkheads as the ship nosed downward. Plainly visable to all was the inky black waters of the abyss, slowly creeping nearer as the ship tilted bow-first into the depths. Yet there was still time to abandon ship... There was still lifeboats waiting to be used! The cry must have gone out: "Who will board the lifeboats?"

Meanwhile those who had boarded the first lifeboats were watching the unfolding drama from an entirely different perspective. As they huddled together in the lifeboats -- often with many open seats -- they could plainly see that the great liner was doomed and that the only salvation was in the lifeboats. How terrible it must have been to watch such a huge ship dipping steadily lower into the ice-cold waters, while the ship's enormous stern towered skyward, still fully ablaze with lights! If only the people would abandon ship! Why did they still refuse to board the lifeboats? The longer they waited, the more difficult it was becoming to escape due to the increasing tilt of the ship.

And so it came to pass on that dreadful, cold night in 1912 that many lives were lost as the Titanic went to the bottom less than three hours after striking the iceberg. But as students of history have often discovered, "those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it". For the drama that took place aboard the Titanic on that fateful night is not unlike the drama of every human life in the world today. Although the world itself has existed much longer than there has been steamships in the ocean, it too will have an end. And the lives of individuals are like the lives of the Titanic's passengers, because every human being must choose whether to live by faith or "by sight". Many passengers chose to live "by sight" because they thought that the lifeboats looked much more dangerous and foolhardy than remaining on the Titanic, even though they knew that the ship was sinking! Likewise, many individuals today scorn or otherwise ignore Jesus Christ, even though they know that they will one day face death and then who will save them? And every person deep down inside knows full well that there is a God.

There is a Book that was written long ago and yet is very common throughout the world today, that tells the story of a great ship 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It was called Noah's Ark, and through it everyone who believed God was saved from the Deluge that completely destroyed all ancient civilizations. Thousands of feet of fossil-bearing strata and numerous age-old legends testify to the awesome destructive power and historical fact of the Genesis Flood. And in this same Book, Jesus Christ spoke about the coming Day of the Lord. In Matthew 24:37-39 he warns: "As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and being given 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."

Jesus fulfilled numerous prophecies in the Old Testament to prove his identity as the Son of God. Likewise, the Spirit of God still testifies to the truth of Christ's teachings and Holy Scripture today. All across America and throughout large portions of the world, this gospel is going out to people. The message is basically the same: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord... Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved... Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Even Nature testifies to the reality of the Creator-God, the reality of the Fall, and the need for eternal redemption. But the issue is this: who will board the Lifeboat before it is too late? Today is the day of salvation, so let everyone make sure that they have a place on board through saving faith in Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) Does your name appear in God's Book of Life? If not, then why not make your reservations soon? This is one boat you don't want to miss!

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