Thursday, August 26, 2004
If you live on the East Coast, there's one word that's probably sure to get your attention - hurricane! Now I'll tell you, Hurricane Hugo was one of those mega storms that really got our attention. You could watch the news for several nights before Hugo arrived, and they'd show you this cyclonic circle inching across that weather map toward an uncertain destination. Half a million people were evacuated from Florida to the Carolinas, not knowing where that destructive little circle on the map was going to land. Finally, it became clear that Hugo's 130-mile-an-hour winds were going to slam ashore at Charleston, South Carolina. The challenge for public officials was to convince everyone that it was time to move. The mayor at the time gave a very solemn warning to the people there. He was quoted as saying, "Hugo is a killer. If you stay, you may very well die." Well, that was true then. It's true now.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "Dying from Doing Nothing."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament, chapter 18, beginning in verse 30. He says, "...Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit." And then God asks a very pointed question, "Why will you die...?" And then He turns it around and He says, "...Repent, and live!" In the Bible the word repent always refers to changing your mind about your sin. Whatever you've been cuddling and tolerating in your life that's wrong, you turn your back on it. You change your mind about God, and you pin all your hopes on Him instead of on you.
Remember that mayor of Charleston? He said the hurricane was a killer. Well, God is saying here that the sin you and I have is a killer. With a hurricane, those who don't leave might survive, but when it comes to sin, there are no survivors. There are eternal consequences of not dealing with our sin. But then, sin kills even now. It blows apart marriages, it damages the people you love with your temper, it ruins the purity and the beauty of sex, and it destroys your reputation. The people who die in a hurricane, they don't have to do anything to be killed by it. Many of them just die from doing nothing; just staying where they are.
And that's how it is with sin. All you have to do to have this life cheapened by sin is to do nothing. All you have to do to spend eternity in hell instead of heaven is to do nothing. Stay as you are and sin will kill you. God says, rid yourself of your sin. Get a new heart, and you can only do that at the cross where Christ died for you, where He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." He was forgiving you and me when He said that, and giving us the possibility of a new beginning and a new heart.
God's been warning you, and He's saying if you stay where you are, you will die. Don't flirt with disaster. In fact, that's why He brought us together today and He asked me to talk about this. If you want to be sure that you're ready for your appointment with God, that you have a love relationship with Him, would you please first of all tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm Yours." Then get in touch with us and let me send you my booklet about being sure you've begun this relationship. It's called Yours For Life.
Move away from living your way. The storm is closer than it has ever been to your coast. Flee right now to the only safe place there is - the cross where Jesus died for you.