Isn't it amazing how intrigued so many people are with the Titanic - 85 years after it hit an iceberg and sank? Two TV mini-series on it, a blockbuster movie, explorations of the wreckage, even sales of pieces of coal from the Titanic. But it's hard to get the picture out of our minds. The proudest ship ever built - the supposedly unsinkable ship - on its maiden voyage, and then the haunting images of her disappearing into the icy waters of the Atlantic. Some 1,500 people died that night! It wasn't that the Titanic didn't try to get help. They set off flares and radioed an S.O.S. - which was picked up by a ship named the California. Historians have generally thought the California was about 20 miles away that fatal night - too far to away to help. That was until we learned exactly where the Titanic went down. Looking at the location of the California that night and the location of the Titanic has revealed an awful historical secret. It turns out the California was only about five miles away! Which means they were close enough to save people - and they just didn't respond.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Close Enough to Save Them."
It's just wrong, isn't it - that people didn't have to die - there were people in a position to save them - and those people did nothing. That tragedy didn't just happen the night the Titanic went down - it's happening all the time - spiritually.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Matthew 9:36-37. "When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them..." By the way, in the Greek language the Bible was written in that means he felt something way down deep inside him, and it says that "because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." His heart broke over lost people. Then He gave this heartbreaking scenario - "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."
Of course, the harvest idea is talking about people. Like harvest crops, they are ready. And folks today are probably more ready for Jesus than they have ever been. They don't know they are - but inside their soul, inside their family, and all around them are issues that can only be fixed one way - by a Savior. And that's Jesus.
But also like harvest crops, if you don't get to them in time, they will die. Or just like those people who died the night the Titanic went down. The greatest heartbreak for Jesus isn't that those people are dying - it's that they wouldn't have to die if only some people would get to them with the life-saving message about Jesus. Jesus has lots of lost people ready to hear about Him - His problem is His own people. He can't get us to go to the rescue!
God has assigned you to a neighborhood, a workplace, a school, a social circle - to put you in a position to represent Jesus there. Yes, with your life - but also with your words. People won't figure out that Jesus took their place on the cross just by watching your life. You have to tell them that!
So you are, like that ship, the California, close enough to rescue those people. In fact, you may be closer to some lost person than any other Christian on earth is. The Bible is crystal clear that people who die with their sins unforgiven cannot go to heaven - and they will die eternally. And only the Savior, Jesus, can forgive their sins.
The Jesus you know. This is life-or-death stuff. You're in a position to rescue someone from a life on earth without a Savior - and from a hopeless eternity. To do nothing is tragically, eternally wrong.