This week in the greater Birmingham area, we were on alert for bad storms with possible flooding overnight. Sure enough, we were awakened several times with loud claps of thunder. Twice during the night, our weather alarm sounded, requiring us to get up and pay attention to the warning. The warning called for our area to be on alert because of flash flooding. We were tired and annoyed because there was no problem where we live. We did not need to hear the alarm. We did not want to be awakened from our sleep by an alarm.
As I watched the early news this morning, there were many who had to abandon their homes in the middle of the night. Many had to be rescued by boat. They needed the alarm. Their lives depended on the alarm. I was more concerned about my own comfortable place than for those who needed the alarm.
Sometimes when we hear preaching/teaching that sounds the alarm for the lost, it’s easy to say, “I don’t need that. I am safe.” It’s easy to wish the alarm would go away, because we are safe. However, the alarm is for those who do need it.
- Noah’s message from the steps going up to the ark was not, “Something good is going to happen to you!”
- Amos did not confront the high priest of Israel proclaiming, “Confession is possession!”
- Jeremiah was not put into the pit for preaching, “I’m okay, you’re okay.”
- Daniel was not thrown into the lion’s den for telling people, “Positive thinking will move mountains!”
- John the Baptist did not preach in the wilderness and have his head chopped off because he preached, “Smile! God loves you!”
Instead what was the message of all these men of God? Their message can be simply put in one word, REPENT!
I love to hear a message on “I know the plans I have for you, and it’s good.” I love a message on “Speak to the mountain and it will move.” There is a time and place for these messages, but it is still essential to sound the alarm, to preach the truth of the Gospel.
Jesus sounded the alarm. As a matter of fact Jesus was clear in several passages of scripture including Luke 13:1-5, “About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
I am thankful for the alarm that caught my attention and then let me see that God made a way for me. “God so loved the world He gave His only son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
Praise God for His grace and mercy. I am so thankful that someone sounded the alarm and I heard it. What joy that I can now sing:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.