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Repent or Perish!
Repent or Perish!
Our daily news contains terrible tragedies that happen day after day.
People who live in Florida and the Gulf Coast had to face hurricanes, such as Dennis, Rita,
Katrina, Wilma, Floyd, Mitch, Bret and many others.
The Louisiana Superdome was used as a designated "refuge of last resort" for those
who remained in the city as Hurricane Katrina was destroying their city.
The city flooded due primarily to the failure of the federally built levee system.
Many who remained in their homes had to swim for their lives, wade through deep water,
or remain trapped in their attics or on their rooftops.
Though the most severe portion of Katrina missed the city, hitting nearby St. Bernard
and Plaquemines parishes, the storm surge caused more than 50 breaches
in drainage canal levees and also in navigational canal levees and precipitated
the worst engineering disaster in the history of the United States.
By August 31, 2005, eighty percent of New Orleans was flooded, with some parts
under 15 feet of water.
The most extensive tornado outbreak on record, in almost every category, was
the Super Outbreak, which affected a large area of the central United States
and extreme southern Ontario in Canada on April 3 and April 4, 1974.
Not only did this outbreak feature an incredible 148 tornadoes in only 18 hours,
but an unprecedented number of them were violent.
This outbreak had a staggering sixteen tornadoes on the ground at the same time
at the peak of the outbreak.
More than 300 people, possibly as many as 330, were killed by tornadoes during this outbreak
The San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge was located along Cypress Street between
7th Street and Interstate 80 in the West Oakland neighborhood.
It officially opened to traffic on June 11, 1957 and was in use until the Loma Prieta Earthquake
occurred on October 17, 1989 when much of the upper tier collapsed onto the lower tier
resulting in 42 fatalities.
Comair Flight 191, a Delta Connection Flight 5191, was a scheduled
United States domestic passenger flight from Lexington, Kentucky, to Atlanta, Georgia.
On the morning of August 27, 2006, the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet 100ER that was
being used for the flight crashed while attempting to take off from Blue Grass Airport
in Fayette County, Kentucky, crashed just past the end of the runway,
killing all 47 passengers and two of the three crew.
The flight's first officer was the only survivor.
And when we hear of the testimonies of the victims we are wonder why did this happen to them.
We look for some meaning for all the pain that people are enduring.
Even when it is not tragedy that involves us, we want to know why.
Disasters come alamost daily in our world.
Some are caused by people, and others are by natural causes.
Some come as the result of negligence, others come as the result of the cruelty of people.
These and other tragedies remind us that our lives can end in a split second.
People deal with disasters in various ways.
Some people stay inside their houses and never come out.
Others move to places where they think that they might be more safe from all these things.
Most of us do what we can to prepare for such possibilities.
Many times people just deny that a tragedy will ever touch them.
Many believe that these things happen to other people, but they will never happen to me.
Let us read Luke15:1-5: "Now there were some present at that very season who told him
of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners
above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things?
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.
Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them,
think ye that they were offenders above all the men that dwell in Jerusalem?
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
In this passage we see how Jesus responded to the news of the terrible slaughter
that happened to a group of Galilean pilgrims who had gone to worship
at the temple in Jerusalem.
We don't know why Pontius Pilate was angry with them, but Pilate was ruthless.
We don't know why Pilate slaughtered them.
Luke tells us: "There were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood
Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices" (13:1).
The people of Galilee was horrified by this terrible crime.
These worshipers were in the temple offering animal sacrifices as commanded
by Old Testament law.
While they were worshipping, soldiers marched into the temple, and killed the Galileans.
Pilate had ordered that the blood of the Galileans would be mixed in with the blood
of the animal they had sacrificed.
This was such a shock to the Galilean's relatives as they heard of how they were killed.
Many people probably assumed that these Galileans died because they had offended
God's righteousness, and this was probably the reason for this tragic slaughter.
Then, Jesus asked the question, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered
in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?" (13:2).
Then Jesus said: "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.
Then Jesus He told them of another tragedy.
In verse 4 He told them of a tragedy when 18 people were killed when the tower of Siloam
fell upon them. (Luke13:4)
Jesus said: "You heard about the tragic news of eighteen people being killed
when a tower fell over near Siloam, just south of Jerusalem."
That was a horrible tragedy. That was a terrible disaster.
Eighteen people were killed.
Jesus was leading them to see a truth that He wanted them to learn.
He ask them if they thought those eighteen who died a tragic death
were any sinful than the rest of the people who live in Jerusalem?
Jesus was asking them if were they worse sinners than the rest of the people of Jerusalem?
Jesus was saying, "No, of course not!"
Here are some truths that should get our attention.
It is true that bad things happen to good people in our wicked world.
It is also true that we don't have the knowledge needed to judge the good and the bad.
It is also true we must be prepared so when our number is called
and we will leave this life to spend eternity in heaven or hell.
Jesus warns:"You will all likewise perish."
"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
This is the most urgent message that we will ever hear, "Repent or perish!"
We must be ready at any time to meet God face to face.
Are you ready to meet the Lord God for all eternity?
Are you ready?
There is still time for you to change your life and be ready to meet God when that moment comes.
And it will come!
Every day people die from accidents, natural disasters, stray bullets, and other kinds
of sudden death.
We must never imagine that terrible tragedies happen only bad people.
There are cases where people might deserve what happens to them
because of their foolish or wild behavior.
But Jesus makes it absolutely clear that we should never assume that a sudden death
has happened because the person was more sinful than others.
The most important question you will ever answer, "Are you ready to die?"
If you die today or tomorrow, will you go to heaven or hell?
Last month a lady that I have known all my life went on a bus trip with her church.
She had a wonderful day with her church members.
At the end of the day they got on the bus to go home.
This lady laid her head on her husband's shoulder and closed her eyes and died.
She was ready to die!
Her destination was heaven.
Some years ago a deacon in my church was enjoying his retirement and
loved working in his garden.
He called me and asked me to come by and pick some green beans which I was
happy to do so.
I picked all the green beans I could pick, and then I sat in the yard and talked
I went home and an hour or two later the telephone rang.
It was the deacon's wife.
She asked me to come back to the house for this deacon had come in and had his lunch
and laid down on the sofa for a nap and went to sleep.
He woke up in heaven.
He was ready to meet his God!
19 year old Jerry studied his Sunday School lesson, then got in his pickup truck to go into town
to visit his girl friend, and as he drove across the railroad tracks on a rainy, slick road
his car left the road and hit a power pole and he was was killed.
He did not know that it would be his last night on this earth.
He was ready to meet God.
Neither he nor his family knew that that night would be his last night on this earth.
Larry, who had just graduated from high school was working a summer job
and was engaged to be married in a few months and would enter the university in the fall.
Larry was on his way to his summer job, and on a rainy morning his car left the highway
and the car hit a tree and he was killed immediately.
He was ready to meet God.
Larry is in heaven.
His parents never thought that when he left his house that morning
that they would never see him again on this earth.
Fortunately, all these I mentioned were Christians.
They were ready to meet God.
I could tell you of so many funerals I have attended of those who die without Jesus
as their Saviour and went out of this life to spend eternity in hell.
But I will tell you of one.
One morning as I entered my study, the church secretary told me about a young man in his
thirties who had just died.
We knew that this young man was not a Christian and did not claim to be.
Everyone knew that he operated what people in our city called a beer joint.
Since his sister-law and his brother were members of our church, and none of the rest
of the family had any church affiliation, I was thinking that they might call me to have his funeral.
She did call, and asked me to come to her house where I met with her and her husband.
Her husband was so emotional that she did the talking.
She said that they would like for me to preach his funeral
And before I could answer, she said, " Everyone knws that he was not a Christian
so we don't want you to preach him into heaven.
Many of his family and many of his friends will be there who are not Christians,
so this might be the only time they will hear a Christian message.
so, we want you to peach a sermon on salvation."
But were so sad that they will never see him again -- ever!
I believe that he thought that he had a long life ahead of him.
He did not know that that would be his last day on this earth.
I was preaching a revival in a church in Knoxville, Tennessee.
After the first service had concluded, I asked the pastor what time he wanted me
to meet him tomorrow.
He asked me to come early so we could make a visit to a man in his eighties
who had never trusted Christ as his Saviour.
The pastor had promised his wife, who was a dedicated Christian and long-time member
of that church, that we would visit her husband.
So, I met him and we went to the house.
His wife was there and she emphasized to us that her husband was a good man
and was always ready to help his neighbors, but he had never become a Christian.
Her husband was a farmer, and we found him working in the field repairing fence posts.
The pastor had visited with this man many times, and each time the farmer
would thank him for coming and caring, but that he was a sinner and was bound for hell.
We found him working in the field, and he stopped and thanked us for coming,
but there was nothing that we could say or do to help him because he was a sinner
bound for hell and that was that.
We tried to assure him that God would save him right then.
He said that he had lived all those years without Jesus and it wouldn't be right for him
to do that after all these years.
We left with him thanking us for coming and telling us that he was hell-bound
and there was nothing anynoe could do about it.
Three or four months after the revival meeting, I received a long-distance call from that pastor.
He told me that he had a telephone call from this farmer's wife asking him
to come to the house for she thought that her husband was dying.
The pastor said that when he got there he could tell that the man was dying
and told the wife that she needed to get him to the hospital.
The pastor said that he rode in the back of the ambulance with the man.
The man died on his way to the hospital.
His last words to the pastor were that he was bound for hell.
His wife who loved him dearly and had been married for more than fifty years
would never see him again.
There are Christians in this congregation who have family members and loved ones
who are not Christians.
If they die today or tomorrow or live even longer and never receive Jesus as their Saviour,
they will die without Christ and will die forever and ever in a horrible place of punishment called hell.
How many of you have ever talked to them about Jesus?
How many of you pray daily for them to become Christians?
Wouldn't it be terrible if that family member or loved-one died and went to hell
and you never even told them that you would love for them to trust Jesus
as their Saviour and be with you in heaven?
If you are in this service and you have never trusted Jesus as your Saviour,
then this is the day of your salvation.
Jesus said: " I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish."
Jesus is saying that you must repent -- that is, you must turn from your sins and confess your them
and turn to God.
While there is time, you must repent, turn your life around, and come
to the Lord.
Otherwise, you will die eternally.
There is still time for you to change your ways.
Romans 10:13: "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Come now while there is time and opportunity for tomorrow may never come!
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
-- All of the early illustrations of disasters were found on Wikipedia.org