Sounding the Alarm - Again
Every chance that I have, I try to cook a good breakfast for Jack, Darrell, and myself before we start our work for the day. Occasionally another guest or two will join us. It is good, at our age, to have time to just sit, eat, drink some good coffee, and enjoy one another's company before we have to get up and get busy. At some point in our conversations, we usually bring up the fact that we used to talk about the 'old men' who once did what we are now doing!
There is another event that has become a common occurrence that will happen at some point early on during our gatherings. It usually happens just after the bacon and sausage are done and when I am heating up the grease to fry the eggs. Without fail, our lady friend on the wall will begin her routine: "Fire, fire! Warning! Warning! Fire, fire!" She will continue this routine, getting louder and louder each time, until Darrell gets up and fans the fire alarm with his paper plate. This happens so often, that now, we do not even acknowledge it. Darrell just gets up and fans the alarm without missing a beat in what he is saying.
We have heard the warning so many times, that it does not even bother us much anymore. At first, we at least looked to see if a paper towel or something had caught on fire, which sometimes happens, but now we just ignore the warning and do whatever is needed to silence the alarm.
I remember other alarms when I was growing up during the Cold War that were harder to ignore. I remember the symbol, the distinctive tone, and the message of the Emergency Broadcasting System that would break in on the programming on our black and white television set: "This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System. This is only a test." (The unmistakable alarm signal would sound for 20-25 seconds followed by:) "This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. The broadcasters of your area in voluntary cooperation with the FCC and other Federal, State and local authorities, have developed this system to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency, the Attention Signal you just heard would have been followed by official information, news or instructions. This concludes the test of the Emergency Broadcast System."
The Emergency Broadcast System was established to provide the President of the United States with an expeditious method of communicating with the American public in the event of war, threat of war, or grave national crisis. Through the EBS, the President would have access to thousands of broadcast stations, cable systems and participating satellite programmers to transmit an emergency message to the public.
Today, the EBS is mostly used to warn of severe weather or other natural disasters, but it is still in place in case of a national threat. The system has expanded to local siren alarms that sound off if tornadoes or other severe weather systems are detected. There is no telling how many lives have been saved in recent years because these emergency alarms sounded just in time to provide sufficient opportunity for people in the path of tornadoes to hear the alarm and take the necessary actions that saved their lives.
I also remember a time when another alarm was being sounded that warned of a coming event promised in the Bible that is much more important than severe weather, disease, or even nuclear attacks on our country: The return of Lord Jesus Christ to judge the world. Yet, for the most part, those who are supposed to be sounding the alarm that Jesus is coming back, this time as a judge, are either absent or silent; perhaps out of fear, or maybe because they have been deceived into believing that the coming judgment will not be as bad as has been promised. It could be they are either ignorant of, or indifferent to the Word of God and the consequences for the people who are not prepared for the coming disaster. At best, the warnings of the few who are still sounding the alarm are going unheeded and the faithful few are being criticized and rejected because people do not want to hear or believe the truth. Hearers do not want to accept or believe that they are sinners deserving of death and eternal punishment. They want to live life by their rules, doing what they want to do, without any fear of potential consequences.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor it caught everyone by surprise. No one thought it could really happen. While the bombers were in the air, everyone on the ground was going about life as usual, feeling secure in their ignorance of the coming attack. When the Twin Towers fell in 2001, nobody thought we could be caught by surprise like that again, but we were! If anyone had sounded an alarm warning of the coming attacks, we would have at least had the opportunity to be prepared and take protective measures. Our ignorance of the coming attacks did not save lives--it cost lives!
When Jesus comes back, and He will, most people will not be ready. The Bible tells us so. It is not our responsibility or even within our power as Christians to save people from the coming judgment. It is however our responsibility and within our power to love them enough that we would sound the alarm, warning them of the coming judgment and showing them how they can be ready to meet Him and face the judgment with their sins forgiven. It is our responsibility to prepare them for the coming judgment by leading them to the One who gave His life as a ransom for theirs so that He could intercede for them at the judgment. It is our responsibility both to know and to teach the standards and conditions contained in God's Word.
Sin is the reason for the coming judgment and we are all guilty. God, the Creator of all that is, is a holy and righteous God who cannot and will not let sin go un-punished. John 3:16 tells us that we are all sinners, BUT; because of God's great love for us, He sent His only son Jesus to die in our place for our sin, making it possible for us to be forgiven. Jesus then conquered death when He was resurrected from the dead giving the opportunity for everyone to have eternal life. However, He does not force His salvation on anyone nor is our salvation unconditional.
People reject Jesus and His teachings because they see that their lives do not line up with His teachings or His character. They see His standards as too strict and offensive because it conflicts with how they want to live. They blame Jesus and those who follow them for their guilt, but John 3:17 tells us that Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world; the world is condemned already because we are all sinners. We do not have to change anything to go to hell. Jesus, out of love, came to save us and deliver us from our sin and God's wrath toward sin.
Jesus will one day judge the world. Every one of us will stand before Him and give an account for where we stand in our relationship with Him and what we did in this life. What we do with Jesus will determine where we spend eternity: in Heaven or in Hell! He gives us the freedom to chose to turn from our sin, follow Him and inherit eternal life or to reject/neglect Him, live in our sin and be condemned .
This is not a test! Judgment is coming! Your sin will not go unpunished if it is unforgiven. It cannot be forgiven unless it is forsaken and your faith is placed in Jesus. He is the only One who can forgive and deliver you and me. This is an actual emergency warning! You are instructed to call out to Jesus to save you, to turn from your sin and follow Him.
EVERY person, in ALL the world, will be FOREVER affected by the coming judgment! No one will be exempt or immune! For those who are not prepared, the consequences could not be more severe or devastating. Who is sounding the alarm? Where is the fear? Where is the concern for the eternal safety and eternal life of others? Where is the government's concern and willingness to save their masses from the coming judgment that will have eternal, everlasting effects on each and every individual? Governments, businesses, industries and institutions of education are taking unprecedented measures to protect their customers, employees and students from threats whose real affect is unknown at this point. At the same time, the same institutions are prohibiting even a discussion about the world's need to be reconciled to a Holy God, through the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is coming back! When He does, He will judge the world! Be ready. Tell others. He could return today!