When I think of all the people whose souls are hanging in the balance of an eternity without God, I am reminded of the tragic story of the Titanic.
April 15, 2021—marked the 109-year anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic. In stark contrast to Noah, who by divine warning obeyed God and built an ark to save his family (see Genesis 6–9), some of those connected with the passenger liner Titanic arrogantly said that even God Himself couldn’t sink her.
I’ve heard that at least six warnings were sent to the Titanic before she hit the iceberg that sank her. Throughout the day, various ships, including the Californian and the Carpathia, sent warnings of impending danger, yet all warnings were scorned, and the rest is history.
We can see a parallel between the fate of the Titanic and the fate of a people who choose to ignore God’s warnings. The word pride could be used to describe the actions of the Titanic‘s crew, as pride can describe so many today who reject the warnings of the Lord. But there were also three other ships in the Titanic story that must not be overlooked.
The Samson was a ship that many did not hear about until years later. It was the closest ship to the sinking Titanic and could have aided in rescuing many of those who perished in the icy sea, yet it chose to leave the scene. The crew of the Samson was involved in the illegal hunting of seals, and because they were afraid of getting caught, they turned off their lights and sailed away, leaving more than 1,500 to die a horrific death.
How many professing Christians have rendered themselves ineffective in rescuing perishing souls? Due to the dark deeds of sin, some do nothing. They run away from, rather than toward, those who are shipwrecked in the sea of death.
The next closest ship, the Californian, was in an ice field less than twenty miles away from the Titanic. Earlier, the Californian had sent warnings to the luxury ocean liner about the danger of icebergs, only to be ignored. Although the Californian was not far away, it only proceeded toward the Titanic the next day, after the great ship had sunk. There may have been a bit of pride involved in their decision not to hasten. After all, they did try to warn the Titanic.
I wonder how many believers choose to do nothing to help rescue the perishing because they don’t want to risk their own comfort?
The third ship, the Carpathia, was nearly forty-eight miles away from the Titanic, but when they received the distress call, they immediately chose to go full speed ahead. They, too, had earlier warned the Titanic, and their warnings went unheeded. The fog was thick, making it dangerous for the Carpathia to maneuver past icebergs, but at the risk of their own lives and against all odds, her crew chose to rescue the perishing. They were able to save the lives of just over 700 people, while more than a thousand others froze to death in the icy sea. How many more could have been rescued had the Samson and the Californian assisted the rescue efforts?
Like the passengers on the Titanic, people today are cruising along through life, oblivious to the impending dangers around them. But when calamity comes, will there be adequate lifeboats to handle shipwrecked victims?
There is such need in the world around us today. How can we settle into complacency? How can we be so hardened of heart as to sit back on the beach of comfort, ease, and apathy while so many are still shipwrecked in the sea of despair?
Lessons from the Book of Hebrews
One of the things I love about the book of Hebrews is its recurring theme of believers standing strong in the Lord and finishing their journey of faith well. Quite a few years ago, I was reflecting on the various stories I read regarding the Titanic, and the various warnings the crew had received prior to the perilous day of their shipwreck. It occurred to me of the various warnings and lessons we are given in the book of Hebrews that can help us from our own shipwreck, personally and corporately.
Initially, I noticed and jotted down six warnings in Hebrews that compare with at least six warnings given to the Titanic: 1) The warning and danger of neglect; 2) The warning and danger of unbelief; 3) The danger of the hardening of our hearts. 4) dullness of hearing; 5) The danger of drawing back or away from God; 6) The danger of refusing God. Later, I noticed at least four more specific warnings the writer of Hebrews lists that are hindrances to personal and corporate revival.
Nearly every believer claims to desire a transformed life, but these 10 factors often get in the way. Today, as in the days the book of Hebrews was written, every Christian will face the following hindrances:
- Failure to hate sin (See Hebrews 1:9; 12:1; 13:18.)
- Negligence (See Hebrews 2:1–3.)
- Hardening of heart (See Hebrews 3:7–15.)
- Unbelief (See Hebrews 3:12, 19; 10:38–39; 11:6.)
- Prayerlessness (See Hebrews 4:16; 5:7–8.)
- Dullness of hearing (See Hebrews 5:11–14.)
- Insulting the Spirit of grace (See Hebrews 10:26–29.)
- Discouragement (See Hebrews 6:11–12, 19–20; 10:23, 35–36; 12:12–13.)
- Harboring unforgiveness and bitterness (See Hebrews 12:14– 15.)
- Refusing the Lord when He speaks (See Hebrews 12:25–27.)
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Doug Stringer is the founder of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, with chapters, centers, partners, affiliate ministries, and a global coalition and network of organizations and churches impacting communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches, training, and responding in times of crisis, as well as encouraging and equipping leaders globally. Doug is an internationally known author and communicator who speaks to thousands of leaders annually on topics such as compassion evangelism, persevering, courageous and transformational leadership, and community transformation.