Get to the Lifeboats
Remember the Titanic? Big ship, iceberg, not enough lifeboats, Cate Winslet floating on a door. Caught up? Good.
Now… I want you to think of Earth as the Titanic- and the human race as the people on board scrambling for safety after they hit the iceberg (the iceberg is gonna represent sin in this analogy).
But remember: There aren’t enough lifeboats for everyone. The crew of the ship start dictating who may enter the lifeboats; in this analogy, it isn’t women and children- it’s the righteous, the holy, those without sin, those who have done enough good, those who have followed the laws.
Most people- if not all of them- will die. There’s no hope. There’s no way.
Now, this ext bit didn’t happen with the Titanic. The ship sank, hundreds died. Horrible tragedy.
But imagine, as the ship is sinking and there’s not enough space in the lifeboats for the majority of the passengers and crew to escape certain doom, imagine that there’s this dude who shows up in the midst of all that despair and tells the people, “I have brought enough lifeboats for everyone. No one has to die. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you’ve done, or how much or how little you have. There’s no catch, no hidden fees, no surcharges, no qualifications, no restrictions. There’s no waiting line, and there’s space for everyone who accepts it. Don’t worry about the cost; I’ve paid for these lifeboats myself. Just come with me, and be safe.”
If the Titanic is the earth and the people on board are the human race- then this dude with all the lifeboats is Jesus.
Because that’s exactly what Jesus did for us. He came with enough lifeboats for all of us, to protect us from the destruction of the iceberg (read: sin). He didn’t come for some of us. He came for all of us.
So, reader, the question I pose to you is this: What do you do next? Do you stay on the doomed ship and take your chances, try to find your own way to survive? That didn’t work out so well for Jack, if you’ll remember. Or do you get in the lifeboat?
Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” And get this; we all sinners. Even the people who act “holier-than-thou,” even the preachers and the pastors, even the people who go to church everyday.
Paul- who considered himself chief amongst sinners, said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of which I am the worst.” I’ll get a little deeper into that in my next article, but suffice it to say, there are no sinners worse than the likes of Paul. And Jesus still saved him. If there’s room for Paul on the lifeboat, then there’s a seat for you, too.
Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” It doesn’t matter if you feel like you’re riding in first class, or if you feel like you don’t belong on the ship at all; Jesus came for everyone. We are all lost. We all fall short of the glory of God. We all hit that iceberg head on, and we are all sinking. Going about it on our own, there’s not a single lifeboat left for us. But that’s alright; because Jesus came to our sinking ship, and he has room for all of us in his lifeboats.
So I’ll ask again: why are you still standing on the sinking ship? Get to the lifeboats!
There’s many reasons why people (myself included) are still on the sinking ship. And that’s where I have a big problem. I was listening to a sermon on Moses, and the preacher made a very good point: people don’t get in the lifeboats that Jesus brought to us (yes, I’ll keep using that analogy) because they don’t like the Jesus that we advertise.
I’ll quote the preacher directly (and the link to the entire sermon is above), because what he said is very important, and I’d rather you read (or listen) to exactly what he said, rather than me paraphrase what I heard and lose something in the translation: “I think people don’t come to church because they don’t like Jesus. ‘What do you mean they don’t like Jesus, Craig?’ They don’t like the Jesus we’ve shown them. They don’t believe in a Jesus who has part-time followers. I don’t believe in that Jesus, either. But some of you (the congregation, and, by association, other Christians) do. They don’t believe in a Jesus with part-time givers. I don’t believe in that Jesus, either. They don’t believe in a Jesus that is the head of the Universe, but that is seventh-place in our lives. I don’t believe in that Jesus, either. They don’t believe in a judgmental, condemning Jesus who hates gay people and people who’ve been divorced and people who’ve had abortions. I don’t believe in that Jesus, either. You see, we’ve been showing them a Jesus that’s not the Jesus of the Scriptures. And that has got to stop. Not just you, not just me; all over this country. It’s got to stop. There is a Jesus who came, lived, and died for hellions like us, just so he could bring us home to him. And we are no greater or worse than anyone out those doors. And our Heavenly Father wants them- the Democrats and the Republicans, the Trumps and the Obamas, he wants the haters and the righteous to come home to him too. And all he asks of us is to life him- listen to me, the real him- up. ‘Well, Craig, how do I know the real him?’ Keep studying, keep reading, keep listening, keep growing. How do you get to know anybody? Spend more time with them.”
We, as Christians, need to spend more time with Jesus. Myself included; even as I listened to this sermon- one of a dozen that I’ve listened to in the last couple weeks, in between reading a good book about Jesus- I realized that I’m still not spending enough time with Jesus. I’m listening to sermons, I’m reading books on Jesus, but I’m still not reading the book. If I want to truly know Jesus, I need to stop reading reviews and recaps and dive into the Bible itself. And if you don’t know Jesus, then I urge you, don’t judge Jesus on the actions of his followers. Go pick up a Bible, and get to know Jesus himself.
Because the Jesus I believe in sat with prostitutes and criminals. The Jesus I believe in forgave a mass murderer who slaughtered his own followers, forgave an adulterer who otherwise would have been stoned for her sins. The Jesus I know didn’t judge people’s sins; he forgave them. I believe in a Jesus who begged for the forgiveness of those who were putting him to death.
We, as Christians, need to stop preaching religion and start preaching Jesus. We need to stop preaching doctrine and start preaching relationship. Stop preaching damnation and start preaching grace.
Cause if people got grace, they ain’t got damnation. Jesus didn’t come here to condemn sinners, but to save them. And anyone you hear preaching doom and hellfire for your sins is missing the message: Jesus came here to have a relationship with each and every one of us- to provide us with a way to Heaven despite our sinful nature (a lifeboat, if you will)- not to enforce the laws. Not to police his people. Not to condemn us, to put us down. He came to save us, and to save us all. Not some, but everyone. There isn’t a sin too deep that he cannot forgive. There isn’t a wrong so horrible that he won’t brush away.
Let me drop something on you, right here, right now: if you hear someone preach that Jesus hates anyone: they aren’t preaching Jesus. Because Jesus never hated. He never discriminated. He only loved, reader. He only loves. So before you write off Jesus because you don’t think he could love you, or does love you, come meet him for yourself. If you don’t have a Bible or a way to get one, let me know, and I’ll make sure you get a copy in your hands. I’m that serious. If you can’t find a Bible, can’t afford a Bible, can’t get to a Bible, message me, and I will find a way to get the Word in your hands so that you can meet my Jesus, and start a relationship with him. It’s not about what you’ve done; It’s about his unending, unwavering, compassionate grace.
Sometimes I have customers who ask me to do something for them because they’ve been a “good customer” or they’ve done business with my company for so many years. I think people treat God this way, too. “Please help me, because I’ve been good.”
If you’re my customer, I do what I do for you, regardless of whether or not you’re a good or bad customer, regardless of whether you’ve been with us for a week or a decade. It’s my job. I’ll be a happier employee if you’re nice to me, but whether you are nice or not won’t affect the level of service you receive from me.
Same goes for God. Sure, he’d prefer you to be good- wouldn’t we all?- but you being the a better person or the worst of the worst, being a lifelong follower of Christ or having found him today, reading this very article, does not affect his grace towards you.
He’s waiting for you to get into the lifeboat. He’s not worried about what you’ve done, or how unworthy you are to be in the lifeboat; he’s already paid for your seat. It’s now up to you to sit down.