Thursday, April 24, 2003
It started when the fire of a band's pyrotechnics suddenly started spreading throughout a night club in Rhode Island. In scenes captured on video and not soon forgotten, the fire quickly consumed the building, leaving over 90 people dead. When I heard about it, my mind immediately flashed back to another awful club fire, this one costing 165 lives. It was Memorial Day Weekend at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Kentucky, and the Cabaret Room was jammed with hundreds of people waiting to hear headliner John Davidson. Unbeknownst to them, an electrical fire had started in a wall and it was beginning to spread through the building. A teenage busboy suddenly appeared on stage in the Cabaret Room, and he interrupted the warm-up comedy act that was performing. He announced there was a "small fire" in the building, and he asked everyone to leave. Some did. Many refused to move. They thought it was part of the act. They weren't about to give up those hard-to-get seats they had for this holiday performance. Whatever the reason, that choice to stay cost many of them their life.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Ignoring the Warnings."
The fire was a tragedy. There was a greater tragedy - most of the people who died didn't have to die. If only they had listened to the warning. There is an even greater tragedy - the greatest human tragedy of all - when someone goes into an eternity they're not ready for because they refused to respond to the warnings.
God addresses this in just eleven sobering words in Hebrews 2:3, our word for today from the Word of God. He asks, "How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?" "Salvation," of course, is a rescue word - as in being rescued from a fire or any deadly situation in which your only hope is a rescuer. That's us. Because we've hijacked the control of our life from our Creator, we are under sin's eternal death penalty - with nothing we can do, religiously or otherwise - to save ourselves. Our only hope is a rescuer. And Jesus is that rescuer - the One who gave His life so you don't have to die for your sin. The Son of God loved you enough to give His life for you. That's why it is, in the Bible's words - "such a great salvation."
But even though He went through the hell we deserve, some of us are still going to miss heaven. Not because we didn't know about our need for Jesus, but just like those folks at that night club, because we ignored the warnings we've been given about eternity.
It could be that you know about Jesus, about His death for your sins, about our need to grab Him in total trust like you'd grab a rescuer. And you've heard about the heaven we can only experience if we've had our sins forgiven by the One who died for them, and about the hell that awaits those who die without God's Rescuer. You've heard the warnings - maybe at church, maybe from a Christian friend or family member, maybe on TV or radio. But you've never moved. You've postponed getting right with God, you've brushed it off, you've let your pride keep you from coming to Jesus, as if this is between you and that Christian who's been telling you about Jesus. It's not. It's totally between you and Jesus.
Eternity will be filled with people paying the awful death penalty for their sins - people who didn't have to die like that. If only they had responded to the warnings. And, for you, maybe this program today is another of those warnings. Some warning will be the last warning. If you've brushed off Jesus, put off Jesus - and you know now you want to belong to Jesus, would you tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm Yours"? If you're wanting to finally begin this most important relationship of all, I'd like to send you my booklet, "Yours For Life." It's all about being sure you belong to Jesus. Just let me know you want it.
Please - don't risk one more day without Him.