Lifeboats and parachutes
Living in Liverpool, justly proud of its designation as the European Capital of Culture, it is hard to tell people how Jesus is the only person who can give a person true fulfilment and satisfaction! As Christians, we know this is true, but presenting the gospel to young people merely as a superior lifestyle can cause a lot of confusion.
Recently I have been reminded of Noah, who faithfully carried out God’s instructions and built a huge lifeboat – regardless of the mocking he must have faced as he constructed the ark miles from the sea and warned his neighbours of what was to come.
Shouldn’t we evangelise like Noah? Not inviting people into the ark to enjoy a comfortable sojourn on dry land but to avoid the floods of coming judgement and find safety in the only refuge that can save them from it. That refuge, of course, is Christ.
How often do we see people so desperate for their friends to believe that they will say almost anything to get them saved? They will say how Jesus can make them happy and complete and that they will never have true satisfaction unless they have him in their lives.We know this is true, but it isn’t the central message of the gospel.
Ray Comfort uses the illustration of a man on a plane, being told to put on a parachute because it will make his ride more comfortable. The man believes what he is told and puts it on but soon realises that it isn’t comfortable at all. Once people start laughing at him, he takes the parachute off and is angry that he ever put it on.
But suppose the same instruction is given to another man. However, instead of being told it will make his ride comfortable he is told that the plane is about to crash and he will soon be jumping out. Unless he wears the parachute he will surely die.
So instead of wearing it for comfort, he wears it gratefully for security. He takes no notice if people laugh at him because he knows he is safe.
This is the evangelism of Noah – the message that as sinners we must come under God’s judgement. But God is not willing that any should perish, and has sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for us. He has provided the gospel parachute, so to speak, so that instead of dying we might receive eternal life and live for ever with God in heaven.
As Christians let us not be earthly minded, offering only a gospel that satisfies earthly needs. Rather, let us lay up treasure in heaven by telling people about heaven – and hell and judgement to come.
Telling your mates that God has appointed a day when he will judge the world by Jesus Christ mightn’t make you well liked. But this is the message God has told us to declare, so let us tell it faithfully and in the best way we possibly can, for the glory of God and the salvation of our friends.