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 have friends and family whose lives were saved because the alarms sounded and they heeded the warnings and followed the instructions to protect themselves from the destruction that followed the warning.
I also remember a time when other alarms were being sounded that warned of matters much more important than severe weather or even nuclear attacks on our country--yet for the most part, those who are supposed to be sounding these alarms are either absent or silent; perhaps out of fear, or maybe because they have been deceived into believing that the coming disaster 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 alarms are going unheeded and the faithful few are being criticized and rejected because people do not want to 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 consequences or guilt.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor it caught everyone by surprise. No one thought it would 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 it could ever happen again--but it did. 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. What comfort did we get, how many lives were saved, how was the devastation lessened by our ignorance?
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 giving the opportunity for everyone to have eternal life. However, He does not force His salvation on anyone nor is it 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. 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. 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. Read His written Word, accept and obey it. It is offensive to the sinner, but it is unchanging truth. It is comfort to those who accept it and are saved by the One it points to.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Mt 7:21). How can you do God's will unless you know God's will? How can you know God's will without reading the directions?