Monday, October 30, 2006
Our daughter's got this thing about lighthouses. Thanks to her family indulging her passion at Christmas and birthday time, she's got lighthouses all over her house. She's got lighthouse stationery, lighthouse rugs, and lighthouse books; sad to say, even a lighthouse on the cover of her commode. In many places, real lighthouses are mostly reminders of this maritime past when lives actually depended on seeing the light that marked the shore and the rocks. But sometimes, lives still depend on them; as in the case of a Greek ferry called the Express Samina.
There were 540 passengers aboard that September evening, sailing from Athens to an Aegean Island. An hour out, the wind came up and the temperature suddenly dropped. Five hours into the voyage, passengers felt the ferry's engines surge, and most of them assumed they were getting close to their destination. They were wrong. The crew was frantically trying to steer clear of this small, rocky island, two miles from their destination. Tragically, the ferry plowed right into those rocks. It took only 38 minutes to sink. Rescue vessels got there quickly, but eighty people died that night, and it did not have to happen. There was a functioning lighthouse, sitting atop that rock, warning vessels away. It could be seen for several miles around. For some reason, the ferry just kept heading straight for the rocks.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Light Right in Front of You."
It's possible to have the light right in front of you and miss it - with tragic results. It's been happening to nice church folks for a long time. If you're a nice church folk, it could happen to you. There are a lot of great things about growing up in a Christian environment; or of being a part of a church where you hear about Jesus a lot. But there are some dangers, too; like missing the light that's right in front of you.
Jesus had some sobering things to say to some of the most religious people of His day. They are still sobering words for those of us who are Bible folks, church folks. Here are the words of Jesus from John 5:29-30, our word for today from the Word of God: "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, and yet you refuse to come to Me to have life." You can have the light of the Bible, the light of the Gospel in front of you your whole life, and yet you could still miss Jesus. When you miss Jesus, you miss God and you miss heaven. Jesus made clear that many people who lived for years in sight of the lighthouse will miss heaven's destination and sail right into the rocks of eternal punishment for their sins.
The Bible describes eternal life as "the gift of God" ( Romans 6:23). You can know all about a gift, appreciate a gift, have the gift right in front of you and still miss the gift because you never took the gift for yourself. That could be you. Somehow, there's never been a time when you've reached out and took Jesus into your life for yourself. For all you know, you don't know Jesus. For all you've experienced, you've never experienced Him. But you want to.
God, in His great love for you, has laid this on my heart so you could have this chance to know Him for real. It may be hard to admit that you've missed Jesus all this time, but it's not nearly as hard as an eternity without Him. Don't let your pride or your self-deception make you miss heaven. Right where you are, tell Him, "Jesus, I've never actually put my trust in You to be my own Savior from my own sin. But today I am. Beginning today, I'm Yours."
A lot of people have found help in making sure they actually belong to Jesus when they've gone to our website. It actually will walk you through getting started with Jesus for real. Just go to yoursforlife.net. I urge you to go there soon, before you forget. Or if you'd like me to send you that information in booklet form, just call and ask for "Yours For Life" at 877-741-1200.
You've seen the lighthouse, but you've never changed your course. This time, turn to Jesus while there's time.