The Unsinkable Ship

Date: 11/11/2000 
The theme of this sermon is the unsinkable ship and begins with a focus on the Titanic and amazing facts about it. The Titanic ignored warnings and didn't take heed to icebergs. We too will perish if we ignore the urgency that Christ is coming soon. The unsinkable boat in the New Testament is the one Jesus was in.
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Note: This is an unedited, verbatim transcript of the live broadcast.

Morning. I want to welcome you, especially those of you who may be visiting from our meetings. We've been having a wonderful time as we've been studying God's word together. Don't forget, tonight is the last in the Storacles lessons. Lesson 24, Living Above the Crowd. How to have a victorious Christian life. I'd like to say just a word of encouragement to the members of the Central church who haven't yet been to any of the meetings. Tonight's your last chance. And so I hope you'll come out and support the series. Also, don't forget those of you who have been attending, we are not done studying prophecy together. But from now on, every Tuesday night and Friday night were going to continue. This Tuesday we'll be studying the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Friday night, Pastor Mike will be doing a prophecy presentation, also. And we have lessons. So we want to continue studying, twice a week, through the end of the year. And then we'll go into our small groups in enthusiasm for the New Year. But we want to keep studying God's word together. Also, Pastor Lomacaign will be here again tonight to sing. Don't forget, the young people will be singing again briefly before the program. So we're going to have an exciting evening. Now I'm going to be sharing with you a sermon that I've done a couple times before. It's one of my favorite messages. Because you take an incident of history and you look for the spiritual lessons and some of the allegories. I've titled this, of course, The Unsinkable Ship. It's a story about the Titanic. I have always been fascinated with the sea. Growing up in Florida, my dad lived right on the water. As far back as I can remember we had boats in our backyard. I've lived on two different boats. One in the Mediterranean, in the Caribbean. And I love the water. I love the stories. Karen and I, as you know, we just got our scuba certificate. And I've been scuba diving for years, but it's been illegal. And so I finally got my certificate. I love exploring wrecks. And I'm very interested in this. For about 15 years now, ever since 1985 when they discovered the Titanic, I was fascinated with this theme. There are a number of lessons we can learn from this story. You know, it sank back in 1912, on April 14. And no one knew where it was. Robert Ballard, who assembled a crew, and they took a French ship, and they began to crisscross along the north Atlantic in the area where they believed the Titanic went down. Nobody was able to find it previously because just before the Titanic sank the officers had radioed their position in their distress call. They gave the wrong coordinates. They were a new crew, first crossing together. They had not made proper accounting for their speed. They were going faster than anyone had gone back then, on a liner. They had not made proper accounting for the currents in that area, and so they were several miles off in the coordinates they gave. Well, Robert Ballard figured, if you just pick a big enough grid and go back and forth. They had a line of cable going to a camera 13,000 feet down. And they were you taking the ocean floor. And this relentless, never ending, staring at the monitors, hoping they would see something. They ran into a lot of broken phone cables and all kinds of interesting apparatus. Saw evidence of underground earthquakes, but no ship. And finally, into the camera of their monitors came this image. And they all shouted, because they had studied every nook and cranny of the blueprints of the Titanic and they recognized this was one of the boilers on that ill-fated ship. And soon, into their view came the bow of the ship and the rest of it. Subsequently, the very secretly marked the spot with a GPS because they were afraid that people would come by and begin to loot it. It was in international waters. And then they brought back a submarine, very special submarine, that goes down to depths that would take a golf ball, the pressure is so tense at this depth, 13,000 feet, and it turns a golf ball into something between a marble and a garden pea from the pressure. And so they have these very carefully made submarines. They made several trips down the brought a little, an appendage on a little ship called the Alvin. And while they were in, they were operating this little remote unit that would actually be able to go down into the staircase and videotape where they could not afford to take the submarine. And they took a number of trips down there and explored. I understand that before the movie The Titanic was made James Cameron also used this same vessel, went down with cameras and actually did some recording there. But he himself went down in that two-man submarine in preparing for what ended up being a blockbuster film. I want you to know that I was doing this study before they ever made the movie. And so I'll be sharing things with you today that are accurate. This is not based on Hollywood. The Titanic was built in 1911 in Belfast. It was the space shuttle of the day. It had all the most modern technology. As long as two football fields, 11 stories tall. Not only was it massive and colossal in its size, but had all of most state of the art equipment. Here you've got a photograph of a team of 20 mules actually pulling a 15-ton anchor. It was made with three props and prepared because of its massive engines to cross the Atlantic in record time. White Star Lines was the manufacturer. On its maiden voyage, it was touted as The Millionaire Special because some of the richest people, and aristocrats of England and Europe and of America, especially, were on the Titanic's maiden voyage. It was much advertised. One reason they called it The Millionaire Special, I understand that back in 1911, I mean, now we've got millions of millionaires, literally, in North America. They only had 40 millionaires. And some of them were people like John Jacob Astor on the left. Molly Brown. You've heard of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. And there is good reason that it was called The Millionaire Special. And you can see from this video clip, that we want to thank Cyber Flicks for, it's an animated computer recreation using photographs of the day, and color recreations of what the ship looked like. Of course they did not have enough lifeboats. They thought they were just cluttering the deck. They had a barbershop, and salons. This is the grand staircase with elegant pieces of wood taken from all over the world. And they had that clock right in the middle of the staircase that supposedly stopped just about 2 p.m. when the boat went down. We can follow down now into the promenade. They had a gymnasium. That's very common on cruise liners now. They had the Turkish room. They had card rooms and smoking rooms and different rooms had different themes. As, I believe, is one of the first-class suites. And you can just get a little glimpse of the elegance. Now this ship did not have oil or gas lamps. But it had electricity, a 12-volt system. And one of the first ships of its day that was lit with fully electric lights. Here you've got the main dining room with the central canopy. And the card room, smoking room, which was full at the time that the ship struck the iceberg. They barely felt it. I'm sorry, here's the card room. I was showing the other before. Here's the Parisian Promenade that was on the outskirts of the ship. That sort of gives you an overview of the elegance of this vessel and why it was called The Millionaire Special. A beautiful vessel. Nobody had dreamed, because they worked so hard and had incorporated all of the latest state-of-the-art technology in making this a beautiful ship and a comfortable vessel, what the future held. When the Titanic was preparing to launch from port, a number of media people had gathered and they were interviewing and talking to the captain. Because one of the state-of-the-art features was they had these electric and manually operated locks that would separate the 16 sections of the ship. So in theory you could puncture a hole or several holes in different parts of the boat. They could seal off those areas and she could continue to float. And supposedly, it's never been reported that it came from the captain in writing, but one newspaper reported that the captain had declared when asked, “Is it true that this ship is unsinkable?” He's supposed to have said, “God Himself could not sink the ship.” And that's where the title came from, The Unsinkable Ship. And Captain Edward John Smith was honored. He was a captain from the White Star Lines. It was going to be his last voyage. He was retiring. Because he had never had a record. And there he is with his first officer. The only picture of the two of them actually on the Titanic. He had never had any record of any mishap in all of his times at sea. They figured, he obviously is the one to safely guide to ship across the Atlantic. But you know he wanted to go out in sort of a blaze of glory. And he knew that this ship had the technology and the potential of breaking a record crossing the Atlantic. And so, because the ship had these locks, as I mentioned a little bit ago, the watertight locks that separated the apartment, they figured, “We have nothing to fear. Worse comes to worst, will have a collision. We'll limp back into harbor and make repairs.” But he wanted to break the record crossing the Atlantic. And I don't know if you know, but the Americans and British went back and forth for years outdoing each other crossing the Atlantic. And so they took off. Full board, beautiful weather, making this crossing. They made one brief stop in some of the English Isles. Dropped off some passengers and picked up some others. A little amazing fact. I'll share a few with you along the way here that some people don't know. How many engines did the Titanic have? There’s three. You see four smokestacks. The last one was a faux smokestack. It was phony. It was all a façade. Smoke never came out of it. It was just a big old shell. They thought it would make it look more powerful if they put an extra smokestack on it. So if you've ever seen paintings or movies with smoke coming out of all four stacks that's not true. It's inaccurate. You'll notice in this one, the last one, there's nothing coming out. It was the three forward ones that actually had the smokestacks. Because they were trying to break this record across the Atlantic. Oh, one more little amazing fact some people don't know. A little trivia. The Titanic holds the record for being the only ship that was on fire technically the whole time it was in active service. Because it was a new 12-volt system, a fire broke out in one of the electric rooms in their closet. Whenever they would open it up to try and treat the fire it would begin to flare up. They'd shut the doors where it would smolder. And for the whole time was in service, from the time they took off until it sank, that room was on fire. They were able to isolate it and rechannel the electric power somehow. One thing that they thought was very interesting. A number of witnesses declared that even when the boat was sinking, and half the ship was in the water, the lights didn’t go out. And the system was so carefully sealed. It was brand new. They had new rubber seals on all the light bulbs and everything. That it wasn't until the boat almost was all the way under the water that they lost power. Because they were trying to break a record in crossing the Atlantic, they were not paying very careful heed to some of the messages that were coming in to the radio room. Now, the radio operator had received several messages that they should be careful because there were icebergs ahead. And he was transmitting messages and greeting these letters and information for all the millionaires to their friends in Europe using what they call a Marconi wireless. It's the equivalent of our Morse code. Except there was a version of it that was copyrighted or that was registered by a man named Marconi. And they had been trained in using this special radio to transmit our equivalent of Morse code messages. And they were tapping out greetings and checking on stocks reports. And they had this big old stack of letters and messages and greetings from all the millionaires. And you know, these people in first-class, you did not say no to them. Back then, that's when service was really top-notch. Well, he was receiving messages from other radio operators as they crossed the Atlantic. And the man's name was Jack Phillips, the wireless operator. And he received five messages that said, “What are your coordinates?” And he’d tap them out real quick; irritated they were interrupting his transmission for the millionaires. And they’d look at their coordinates and they'd say, “You're making pretty good time. You'd better slow down because you know there's a field of icebergs up ahead.” Well, the icebergs were far ahead as far as he knew. And he had to take care of this business. When the fifth ship contacted the Titanic, and everyone wanted to say hi. All the other operators wanted to talk to the Titanic. It just raised their self-esteem. When the ship called the Titanic the radio operator was so irritated, that the sixth message came from California and said, “You're moving pretty fast. You know, there's icebergs ahead.” He got irritated and the wireless operator on the Titanic wired back and said, “Would you please shut up.” I don't know how you do that on a radio. Tap, tap a little harder. The wireless operator on the California was offended. He wasn't supposed to go off duty until midnight. This was 11:40 p.m. and he said, “Well it's a quiet night. It's clear. Nobody else is out there. The only ship anywhere near us is the Titanic. I don't know why I'm sitting at my set.” He turned off his Marconi set and hung up his headphones because he had been offended. And at 11:40 they struck an iceberg. And nobody was listening. Now you need to keep that little bit of information in your head. Frederick Fleet was the man who was on deck at the time. The captain should have been at the bridge. And a lot of people have debated whether he was irresponsible or not. Some have tried to make him a villain. Some have tried to make him a hero. The fact remains that since it was an unproven ship, it was on its maiden voyage, there at the most perilous part of the crossing, he was not at the bridge. And some have felt this was unprofessional. He should have been there at that time. At least until midnight. Frederick Fleet was at the bridge and someone who was up in the crow's nest finally saw an iceberg ahead. Now keep in mind, the icebergs at the sea on a clear night are harder to see when the water is calm. Because when the water is a little but rough the water breaks around the base. Those of you who have been at sea at night, you know how you can see the luminescence and the foam glow in the dark on the bow of a ship. And you can see a glowing line where the water’s breaking at the base of an iceberg. But it was a very calm night, in that respect, and they did not see it until it was illuminated by the stars. And by the time they saw it, they had very little time to respond. Now, when an ocean liner tries to stop, it's like trying to stop a freight train. And by the time the message came from the lookout to the bridge, “iceberg dead ahead,” he had to make several decisions very quickly. Do you put it in reverse? Do you try to turn? Do you put one engine in reverse and one in forward? He was trying to figure out what maneuver because it was dead ahead. If it was a little to the right or a little to the left it would have been an easy decision. But, “iceberg dead ahead.” And there were about 30 seconds that went by from the time he received the message until there was any response. So many things that could have happened differently. The ship began to plow on ahead and eventually they could not turn. I think we've even got a little video clip of what that looked like. A little animation that Cyber Flicks also did on the iceberg in the water. You know, 90% of the iceberg, of course, is below the surface. Much like the devil. Temptation looks good at first. And then as the ship came plowing along through the water he reversed his engines. If he had not reversed the engines things would have been okay. A boat turns slower when you reverse the engines. If they had hit it dead on it maybe would have knocked people out of their beds, but they would have survived. But because of the way they grazed it, and they've done some research since the Titanic was discovered on the metal. And they found out that the metal on the ship was inferior to modern steel. It was a very brittle metal. So the iceberg below the water line began to pop out the rivets and cut open the hull like a big can opener. Icebergs are very hard. The metal was brittle. A 300-foot gash opened it up and water began to pour in. Well, pretty soon someone went and got the captain and said, “We've struck an iceberg.” And at the same time, some of the ice from the iceberg popped up on the deck. And some of the teenagers that were still awake at the time, they’re up on the deck and they're kicking it around, they're playing soccer. “Hey, look at this. A little adventure. We struck an iceberg. Isn't that interesting?” People who were awake in the ballroom were dancing. The band was playing rock 'n roll of the day, Alexander's Ragtime, and doing the Charleston. Didn't know I could do that. And then they. Dancing in the church. People in the smoking room, they felt things shudder. A number of people never even woke up. And finally the captain was at the bridge and he's getting messages that are coming. “The water is pouring in hold number one, number two, number three, number four, number five and spilling over into number six.” The one who had designed the Titanic, Thomas Andrews, happened to be on the maiden voyage. He wanted to kind of put it through its motions and check it out. The captain quickly summoned Andrews to the bridge. And he said, “We’re getting messages, water is coming in to all these different compartments.” He said, “What's the status?” And Andrews took on a very solemn look and he began to do some mathematical calculations. He looked at the captain and he said, “This boat is going to sink. You need to tell people to abandon ship.” The captain, he could not accept that. He said, “The boat is unsinkable.” He said, “I'm sorry.” He said, “But it would be unsinkable if maybe you had flooded three or four of the compartments, but water is pouring into the first six chambers.” And what would happen is, the weight from the bow would begin to pull the ship forward and it would spill over these walls into the next one. And gradually like dominoes, one by one, it would begin to fill the chambers until either the boat split in two because of the disparity of weight, the buoyancy and back in the weight pulling down the front. And that's what ended up happening. As it began to sink, the boat actually ripped in two. When they found it on the bottom of the ocean floor. It was in two sections. Long ship, brittle metal, incredible weight pulling on the front, air and buoyancy pulling on the back, the thing split in two. The captain said to Thomas Andrews, he says, “What are we going to do?” He said, “Well, you'd better abandon ship.” But because they thought the ship was unsinkable, they thought, “Lifeboats, they’re a waste. It's a formality.” They only had 16 lifeboats. They had nearly 3000 people on board. And there was no way they could fit even half of the people into the lifeboats. And so they looked at each other knowing that they had a crisis. And they said, “Women and children first.” Now a little bit of trivia is that there was a teenager on the ship, a young man that was traveling with his mother and his sister. They were in second class. And they heard the captain say, “We’d better have the first class women and children first.” And because of that, he overheard that message, he was willing to go back to the cabin of his mother and sister, put on some of their clothes, he was able to get into, he was a young man. I guess he put on a bonnet or something like that and he dressed up like a woman. And that was the only way that he was able to survive. Well, at this point, the captain gave the message that they ought to call for help. They saw the lights of another ship off in the distance. But they had waited so long, well by the time the radio operator on the Titanic was tapping out British version of SOS, their distress message, nobody was listening. Nobody within distance. The radio operator on the ship that they could see the lights from off in the distance, he had turned off his headset. You know, God, over the course of our life, sends us messages of warning. He'll do it sometimes through the pastor, through the prophecies. He's trying to get our attention and tell us that life is short. That the priorities of life are to seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness. That we have an eternal reward before us, for good or for evil. And we become so occupied by our earthly business that sometimes we tell God, “Leave us alone. Go away. Shut up.” And the Bible says that if we perpetually turn away our ear from hearing the law and the Lord, I'm paraphrasing, that our prayer is an abomination. Meaning that if we continue to tell God to leave us alone, the day may come where we're in trouble and the radio is off. This is what happened to King Saul. He continued to reject the Lord and do his own thing and go his own way. And then finally in the final crisis he called to God, and the Bible says that God did not answer him. By priests, by urim, by thumin, by prophet, the Lord wouldn't speak to him because he was only asking for selfish purposes. And it's a dangerous thing to reject the pleadings of the Holy Spirit. And if nothing else, this is one thing we can learn from the experience of the Titanic. Another mistake the captain made is he waited a full hour before they fired the first flare. At this point, the ship that everybody saw it in the distance that they thought would come to their rescue, they took it for granted. They waited too long. The ship had now turned and was going away in the other direction. Another mistake they made, is because it was a new ship, they had never expected to have any problems. They had not trained their people, what flare to fire. They had some flares that were for celebration and some flares that were for distress. They shot off the celebration flare. You know how during the millennium, none of these cruise ships had fireworks. Suppose that one of them was sinking right after the fireworks show. A lot of people would think, “Oh, they're celebrating.” And supposedly they woke up the captain of, I forget if it was the Carpathia or the California, the ship that was off in the distance. And they said, “There's a flare from the Titanic.” And he said, “They’re celebrating,” and he went back to sleep. Because it was a white flare, the wrong color. Well, eventually they started telling people that they needed to don their life jackets. They were very reluctant to do that especially as they went among the first class people. Part of the reason for that was the captain had told the band to keep playing. And they didn't want people to panic. They were so afraid to make the people panic that they erred to the other extreme. The crew went around and they were instructed, “Don't cause a panic. Don't cause strife. We've had some problems. We would like to ask you to put on your life jackets.” And because they were so blasé, and so casual in their announcement; they'd tap on the doors and say, “Pardon us, Mr. Aster, Mrs. Astor, we really hate to disturb you and inconvenience you, but if you would please. If you could wake up. There's been a problem. We’d like you to come to the upper deck and put on your lifejackets.” Some of them were up in their evening finery. These were the richest people in the world, wearing the best clothes of the day. Ladies were wearing; I think Isadore and Mrs. Strauss, the Saks Fifth Avenue, were on the ship. They perished. Just the wealthiest people, and they asked them to put on these life jackets that were canvas over balsa wood blocks. They did not have the flotation devices they have today. They were not a fashion statement. Were cumbersome, bulky, ugly, and they said, "Here, would you put this on?” And they said, “I don't think so.” And they wouldn't force you back then because you were first class. All they could do was make a suggestion. They would knock on the door and say, “Could you please come out?” “Be right there!” And the people rolled over and went back to sleep. A lot of people perished, they believe, because there was no sense of urgency in the message that was given by the crew. They tried so hard to avoid a panic among the first class passengers. The music was playing. It seemed like an adventure. They were all laughing. The bar was still open. When they said, “Can you please come up to the deck? We'd like to get the women and children, if they wouldn't mind getting in the lifeboats.” They said, “Not on your life. No way.” Only a few thinking people looked around and had an inner voice tell them, “You better listen. There's not enough lifeboats.” The first lifeboat that went down, I'll show you a picture in a few moments. There's only 12 people in a boat that can hold 65. They could not get the people off the ship. They had all these conveniences and all the exterior messages made it look like a party. As I said, the band was told to play something cheerful to keep the people from panicking. And you know, I think that one of the problems that we're having in the church in the last days is that because of the way the messengers are giving the message, the sense of urgency is being lost. When pastors are saying, “Yeah, Jesus is going to come one of these days. Don't take yourself too seriously. We may be here a long time.” And the sense of urgency is lost. It's like if, heaven forbid, this building was on fire. I don't ever like to pretend in a full room. If I were to say to you, “I don't want to disturb anybody. I don't want to, you know, cause a panic, but the building is on fire and about to go up in flames.” Because of the manner of my presenting that, I’d would say to you there’s not a crisis, but if I should shout at the top of my lungs, “Fire!” which I'm not going to do, you would understand that there's an urgency. There's a crisis. There is some desperation. Well, you know, I think that a lot of people are going to be lost because of the way the crew is giving the message. There's a blasé indifference as though they don't believe it. And I think that there needs to be more urgency in the message. Eventually as the boat began to list. I told you it was an hour before they set off the first flare. And there you've got an artist's conception of that. People began to realize, “Hey, there's a problem.” You know, some of the unsung heroes on the Titanic were the mail crew. I understand that when the water first began to pour in they realized it was creeping towards the mailroom. They didn't know that the ship was fatally wounded, and they thought, “Let's save the mail.” And they kept raising it one floor at a time. These guys were working themselves to death to try and save the mail. And sometimes people have used the expression before, “That’s like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” talking about wasting energy. And this heroic mail crew, they kept taking it one floor after another, wearing themselves out. All the mail went down. But they were doing their best because they didn't know that the ship was doomed. When the last few lifeboats were lowered in the water it was getting easier to persuade people to get into the boats. Matter of fact, people were now having to use force to prevent others from swarming the boats. I understand one person threatened with firearms. One of the crewmembers reported in the testimony later that people were getting ready to rush the boats. The last boat, because they waited so long to lower the boat, it capsized as it dropped off into the water. A few people were saved. They were later recovered half frozen, clinging to the keel of this capsized lifeboat. Now here's the point, friends. Why didn't they want to get into the lifeboats? Why didn't they want to get into the lifeboats? Probably the most important thing I could leave you with today, why are people afraid to join God's Church? Why are people afraid to come to Jesus? You know, it's because they look at the world and they say, “Look, life's going on.” Why did people not get into Noah's boat, into the ark? Because the rain hadn't started yet. The ship had not sunk yet. It was not popular. I mean, here you've got the crowd, they're up on the deck, the music is playing, they're still serving cocktails. Folks look like they're not worried, intelligent people. How could all these people be wrong? Why would you want to leave this lit, warm ship, with the music and get into this small, cold dingy and get pushed out alone? Can you understand why they would be hesitant? I mean, the boat hadn’t sunk yet. The food, the warmth, the friends, it was all on the ship. And you're saying, “Leave this, get in this little cold dingy, get pushed out into this trackless sea.” That wasn't very popular. And by the way, the first few people didn't want to get into the boat. You know why some people don't want to join God’s church and come to Christ? They're waiting for everybody to do it. They're waiting for a mass conversion. It's never going to happen that way. It is never going to be the popular thing to do, to come to Jesus. It's never going to be convenient. Some people say, “I'd like to come to Christ, but you know, I’ve got some things I've got to straighten out. I'm going through a hard time right now.” I've got news for you, if you wait until it’s convenient to come to Jesus, the devil will see to it it is never convenient. You need to come when He calls you. The best time to listen to God's voice is when you're hearing God's voice. The best time to do God's will is when He reveals, is when you know God's will. Amen? So many people will be lost because they procrastinate. Not only is it tragic that Titanic did not have lifeboats. It's doubly tragic that the first few lifeboats went away half empty. Because people didn't recognize the crisis. Well eventually, as the boat was sinking, and people were, it was very easy to persuade them. It's like that sign in front of the Baptist Church, “Repent now and avoid the rush.” Everybody's going to repent some day, but it will be too late for the majority because people have a tendency to wait until it’s too late. And as the boats went down, the lifeboats began to distance themselves from the ship for a couple of reasons. One is, they didn't want to be too close because a big vessel like that creates a little bit of a wave and a vacuum as it goes down. And they wanted to make sure that the initial wave did not capsize them. Also, they knew that there would be a number of people that would be bobbing up to the surface and there were not enough lifeboats, and there was not enough room. And so they began to row away from the ship. A few people saw what was happening and before the last lifeboats got away, they actually jumped in the water. Now, you know how much courage that takes? To jump into an Arctic sea in April when there's icebergs floating in the water. And try and swim to a lifeboat. Some people said, “Look, if I'm going to make it I’ve got to do something I don't feel like doing. And I've got to get in the water. I've got to make a decision.” And a few people were rescued because they did jump and those of the lifeboats said, “We can't refuse the few who came, but we'd better get away before we get swarmed, before the boat goes down.” And that's what they did. Well, those who were witnesses said that as the ship began to sink, the lights flashed when it was about halfway, turned perpendicular, it went up for a moment, and then it began to go back down again and it just eased down under the water. And they heard explosions as the ship was going down. Some say the explosions were caused from the ship cracking. Others say that the boilers that were under the water level, the pressure from the boilers under the water level with all that coal and heat caused an explosion. Here is a picture of the Carpathia. This is one of the first vessels that was nearby that performed rescues. One of the tragic things was that the first vessels they found. This is an actual photograph of one of those boats that can hold 65 people. That's all that was in it. And you think about all people who perished, 1500 people perished because there wasn't room for them. And still they sent away lifeboats just about empty. You know, there's a number of amazing facts connected with the Titanic. Many people don't know, a little more trivia, the Titanic was really one of three ships. People think the Titanic was alone. The three ships were almost identical in dimensions. White Star Lines had also built a ship called the Olympic, and another one called the Britannia. Interesting thing is, the Olympic had an accident at sea and was lost. The Britannia was also lost at sea. All three ships ended up being ill fated. Here's the really interesting part of the story. On the Titanic, on its maiden voyage, was a nurse. Part of the White Star Line fleet staff, and she was the ship nurse. Her name was Violet Jessup. She was a Christian. Not only did she perform heroically in helping people survive the Titanic, she was in one of the lifeboats as part of the crew. Every lifeboat had some crew that were in there to help man the boats. But she also was, after she was rescued from the Titanic she was assigned to the Olympic. She was on the Olympic when it had an accident at sea and she survived that. Furthermore, she on the Britannia. The Britannia was turned into a hospital ship during World War I and it struck a mine and it went down. And Violet Jessup survived that. And you know, whenever I read the story I think, “If you’re a Christian it doesn’t matter what the devil does to try and sink you, you’re going to make it.” What are the chances of that one lady being on all three of the White Star ships when they sank and she survived all three? And there's a picture, an artist's rendering of some of the nurses that were on board. You can see the beautiful life jackets that they had there. On the ship of the Titanic there was a missionary who was a minister from Scotland. His name was John Harper. He had been to Chicago to the Moody Bible Church. You realize, of course, Dwight Moody started this big church in Chicago. He had done some successful revivals there. He was returning and he was on the Titanic riding in, I forget, second or third class. He was with his daughter and his sister. And on his way across the ocean he was there. A number of people reported as the boat was sinking, he was a famous minister in the Chicago area, that John Harper gave away his life jacket, as they said, so did the priests and the rabbi, give away their life jackets to others. And he was reported to have been going from person to person. When finally the last lifeboat went away, and pleading with people to accept Jesus. And in North America for years after the Titanic sank, people often said John Harper was leading souls to Christ. He would go from one person to another as they were clinging to the rails and he would say, “Brother, are you saved? Sister, are you saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” He'd try and quickly lead them to Christ and go onto the next person. Instead of thinking of himself and surviving, he was preoccupied with other souls. And he went from person to person asking if they knew the Lord, if they were prepared to die, because it was obvious they were going down in Arctic water where you can only survive a matter of minutes. There was no ship in sight. They were getting lower and lower. The lifeboats were gone. And his primary concern was not his own salvation and welfare, but the salvation of others. You know one thing I neglected to share with you is, after the last lifeboat went away the band, obeying the captain's orders, still playing this stupid chipper music of the day. [end side one]

It was inappropriate. He realized the music was not appropriate for the time and the occasion. And he said to the band, “Maybe you'd better play something a little more solemn. Isn’t that interesting, there is the right kind of music for the right time and the wrong kind of music for the wrong time. And how quickly they could go from playing Alexander’s Ragtime to Nearer My God to Thee. And this band, they all knew the hymn, and they also knew the music of the world. And how quickly they thought they could flip the switch from one to the other. And so now the band began to play Nearer My God to Thee. And there was a time shortly after the Titanic sank where all over North America and Canada and Europe, pastors were using Nearer My God to Thee when they made their altar calls. And then they would talk about the Titanic, “Don’t wait until the ship is going down before you come to Jesus.” And that became a very popular song. And I've got some very ancient sheet music that dates back to that day that has the picture of the Titanic on the cover of the sheet music and it’s Nearer My God to Thee. And so it was partly responsible for making the hymn very famous. There was a pastor in Canada, at the end of his church service, he's making an altar call. And he's talking about how John Harper was going from one person to another and inviting them to Christ as the Titanic was sinking. And he's got his organist playing Nearer My God to Thee. “Wouldn't you like to accept Christ?” and “The last thing John Harper was seen doing was pleading with souls on the deck of the Titanic to accept Christ.” And while the pastor is making this altar call an old Scotsman stood up. The pastor thought he was going to respond to the altar call. And the old Scotsman said, “What you’re saying isn’t correct.” And the pastor said, “Pardon me.” He said, “I was on the Titanic.” And this old Scotsman began to relate his first-hand experience. He said he was on the deck of the Titanic and when the boat was sinking he realized that if he waited until the ship went all the way down, he had spent time at sea, that he would be pulled under from the vacuum. And if it doesn't bust your eardrums because you can go down a hundred feet sometimes, then you die from the cold and depletion of oxygen before you get to the surface. So he jumped in the water. Now he had been drinking that night. He was not a Christian. I am not trying to encourage you to drink, but they do say that when you are threatened to freeze to death that alcohol does have a tendency to thin the blood a little bit. And he was off in the ocean. He related that as the ship went down. First of all, when he jumped in the water; he said at first you don't feel anything because of the shock. And then you feel like you're freezing cold and you feel like a thousand knives are stabbing you. Any of you ever jumped in ice water and tried to stay in for a while? Any of you ever get so cold you have that burning sensation? So he watched as the ship went down. He swam away. He was too far away from any of the near lifeboats. He said he found a deck chair. The Titanic had a number of these oak deck chairs that had a little bit of buoyancy. And after the Titanic sank some of these deck chairs bobbed up to the surface, and he grabbed one of those and held on shivering to this deck chair. And he said for a while he felt like he was in hell because he had this sensation that he was burning. And people began to; survivors began to bob up to the surface by hundreds. And they were all calling. The water was very calm that night so you could hear long distances. And he heard all these people calling, and the echo off the sea. And mothers were calling for their children, and children were crying. Parents, husbands calling for their wives, and their families. And he said it was; people were screaming. Some were cursing. And he said it was the most horrific thing. He felt like he was in hell. This Scotsman is telling this testimony in this church in Canada. He said, “While I was clinging to this deck chair,” he says, “there's a swell on the ocean.” Now those of you that know that even in a calm ocean, the ocean always have a swell to it. There's always this rolling, about every 15 or 20 seconds a big roll comes by. They call it the swell. Whenever you're on the sea, it's just something you've got. And he said, “Pretty soon the swell went by and a man who was a few feet away kind of washed over to him.” He said it was John Harper. He recognized him because they were both from Scotland. And John Harper was clinging to a deck chair and he said, “Man, are you saved?” And the old Scotsman said, “I don't know.” He said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved.” And he said then pretty soon another swell came by and they kind of pulled apart again for a second. And then another 20 seconds went by and the swell came by and John Harper said, “Are you saved yet man?” And he said, “Well, I don't know.” He said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved.” And he said this of course with a trembling voice because he was freezing to death. And this old Scotsman said, “After John Harper said that went into shock and he loosened his grip and he slid beneath the waves. And then he related that there with 13,000 feet of cold water beneath him, he asked Jesus to forgive his sins and to save him. Shortly after that a lifeboat came by and picked him up. The lifeboats waited too long to get most of the people, but they did pick up a couple of survivors and he was one of them. And he said, “I was John Harper's last convert.” Well, after news reached both North America (this is a photograph, I believe, from New York City) and the British Isles of the loss of the Titanic, the grief was so devastating that one witness said, “Grown men would meet on the street and embrace and cry and part without ever uttering a word.” Especially in Scotland where the ship was built because, I'm sorry, Belfast, where the ship was built because 16 men who were mechanics and engineers that helped to build the Titanic were invited to go on the maiden voyage. It was sort of an incentive that the White Star Lines had offered. They had to travel third class, though. Word reached Scotland that all 16 of these men had died. The people in the town were paralyzed. Not only were they paralyzed, do you remember when the space shuttle blew up? I remember where I was. America was laid pretty low right then. I mean, that represented all of our technology and our vision. And it just blew up. A schoolteacher died along with the crew. And you could see it in people’s faces. Through the week I was doing meetings just like this one. The space shuttle blew up and I saw it in the faces of the people. Very demoralizing. Well, when the Titanic blew up it was just like space shuttle for them. They had worked for years on their ship. The whole world was watching. Sank four days into the maiden voyage. It was humiliating. Plus, tremendous loss of life. Humiliating because they had said it was unsinkable. They didn't have enough provision, they felt guilty, to save the people's lives. And especially in Belfast, it was like the whole city was in mourning. That Sunday and American preacher had been scheduled to preach in Belfast. And when he came to the platform, they hadn't orchestrated it that way, but he had come and they figured, “We’d better go ahead and let him preach.” And his sermon title was The Unsinkable Ship. Well, you know, at that time the whole congregation is filled with freshly made widows and orphans and they're sobbing everywhere. And I thought to myself when I first read this, that he picked The Unsinkable Ship as his sermon title, that was very bad taste. He's getting ready to chastise them for boasting that the ship was unsinkable. But as I continued reading this account, this American minister was a Protestant minister. You might think it's unusual that they all went to the same church. But keep in mind there were only Catholic and Protestant. He wasn't talking about this 11-story vessel that went down in approximately 13,000 feet of water, taking with it 1500 lives. All those people were lost because they waited too long, many of them, I should say, were lost because they waited too long to avail themselves, and so the ship sank. And the preacher wasn't talking about that. Instead, the preacher was talking about this little bitty fishing boat. Smelly little fishing boat covered with barnacles and seaweed out in the storm tossed sea, and this ship was unsinkable. You know why this ship was unsinkable? Because Jesus was in the boat. And you know, when I heard that I thought, “You know, that's really the only ship that’s unsinkable.” They tried everything they could do to save themselves. The Bible says they rowed hard to bring it to land. You heard in our scripture reading a little while ago. And did everything they could, but they forgot that Jesus was in the boat. And finally they had to remember that Christ was in the back. He was exhausted from the teaching and preaching and ministering to the people of the day. And they saw, maybe in the flash of lightning, that Jesus was in the back of the boat asleep. And they woke Him up and asked probably the dumbest question of the Bible. They said, “Master, do you not care that we are perishing?” Now that's really something to asked Jesus. It's like when those on the road to Emmaus said, “Are you a stranger in Jerusalem?” They said, “Do you not care that we are perishing?” The captain came to Jonah and said, “Arise, o sleeper, that we perish not.” You know Jesus was in the boat that they might not perish. He came into this world that they might not perish. And so to question the whole purpose of His coming and His mission. And the Bible tells us that, “Christ arose and He said to the wind and the waves and the sea and the storm, Peace, be still.” Now you know, sometimes they have tried to dramatize this, that Jesus shouted to the elements. But you know, actually it translates that Jesus said, “Shh, be calm.” Christ it doesn't have to yell. His word is so potent, so powerful that He can just speak and the elements have to obey. And He spoke those words, “Peace, be still,” and instantly the water calmed and became as glass. The waves flattened out, the wind stop rippling, instantly. And now the Bible tells us that the disciples were terrified, not because of the storm anymore, but they said, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the waves obey Him?” And they were staring apprehensively at this person that they had been spending time with. “What kind of, power is this that He can calm the sea?” They didn't know that their ship was unsinkable. And He said, “Why do you have so little faith? I'm in the boat.” You know friends, there are storms ahead. Jesus said there's a storm coming. “As it was in the days of Noah.” There's a storm coming. Only those that are on the ark are going to survive. Jesus said, “The wise man is the one who hears my words and does them.” He is building on a rock and when the rain comes and the wind blows and the flood descends the house stands because it's built on a rock. Is your house built on Jesus Christ? You'll notice in that closing statement on the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said there's a storm that comes to the wise man, and there's a storm that comes to the fool. Is Jesus in your boat? He will not force His way to the bridge. You must invite Him to take the ship. Otherwise your boat is going to be found in the storm with no pilot at the helm. You don't know where you're going. The Bible tells us some people are blown around with every wind of doctrine because Jesus is not in their ship. They're like a ship without an anchor. They're just going wherever the wind blows. They don't know what they believe. They don't know what the purpose of life is. And you know, what makes the difference is you have to invite Jesus into your ship. Otherwise, I can guarantee that your ship is going to wreck. The only way to be safe is to invite Him in the boat. You now, I think it's interesting; there are a couple of stories in the Bible of Jesus calming the sea. One story is where He was in the ship and they woke Him up. The other story is where they were in the ship and He was passing by. And they thought He was a spirit and they were terrified. And they cried out. He said, “Don’t be afraid. It’s me.” And the Bible says they invited Him into the ship. And when they invited Him into the ship, not only did the Lord calm the sea, but the Bible says that immediately the ship was at the destination where they were going. Have you invited Jesus into your ship? Friends, it's the only way to be safe, to invite Him to take control. And some of you have been coming to this series of meetings. Some of you have been listening to the word of God and you haven't yet made decisions. It's dangerous to think that the radio messages are just going to keep on coming. You can't put God off; you can't keep pushing Him away indefinitely. He is longsuffering to us ward, but there is a limit to His grace, and some people push that too far. I'd like for you to reach for your hymnals, please. Turn to our closing hymn. Guess what it is. 473, Nearer My God to Thee. And I'd like to ask, if you could stand with me as we sing this. And I'm going to make an appeal.


I'd like to invite our pastors to come forward. And I want to make a very specific appeal to begin with. Some of you have already made decisions that in the near future you'd like to be baptized. Maybe you want to be rebaptized and accept Jesus and get a new beginning with Him. And you've indicated that. I would like to invite you to come as we sing the next verse. Don't worry about the people around you. We want to have special prayer for you. You realize that the Pharaoh was so threatened when the children of Israel made their way towards the Red Sea. And the devil is threatened when you make a decision or you're thinking about baptism. He'll do everything he can to discourage or stop you. We want to have special prayer for you. So those of you who are making decisions to be baptized or rebaptized, I want to invite you to come to the front as we sing verse three, and we want to have special prayer for you.


Now, it shouldn't take very long for you to make a decision that Jesus is calling you. Some of you are feeling a struggle inside. Some of you may have been members on the books for years, but you've slipped away, become inconsistent and you know that you need a new beginning. You may want to respond and returned to the Lord right now. Some of you perhaps have never made decisions to really surrender all and to give the wheel to Jesus, to let Him pilot your ship. You can make that decision now as well. This is a very important choice. The devil does not want you to do this. And the Lord will knock at the door, but you must open, you must invite Him into your boat. It's the only way the ship's going to make it through. As we sing the last verse, please don't hesitate. There may be some of you in the balcony, you've heard me say before, we'll wait for you. I bet you can get down here in one verse. Come to Jesus, if you hear Him calling. Even if it may be inconvenient. And it does make a difference. We do public appeals because we think it's important for people to seal their decision with Jesus and to publicly say, I'm not ashamed of Christ.” And He will declare your name before the angels in heaven. Come, please, as we sing the last verse.


Before we pray, I'm just going to linger a moment longer. Some have been making decisions, little by little, but they've not yet made that big decision. If you are hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to you today, come just like you are and say, “Lord, here I am. I know I'm hearing you call me. I don't even know why. I don't know how I'll follow you tomorrow, but I know you're calling me.” You cannot be a Christian without Christ. You come just like you are. You give Him the wheel and then He will direct your paths. Amen? And so, if you're hearing Him call don't hesitate, come now. And I promise that you will not be sorry. Can you say amen today for these who have responded? And to voice your encouragement. We're all in this boat together. Amen? We’re all sinners and we need Jesus to pilot us to our haven of rest. Anyone else before we pray? Come now. Some of you who have been backsliding, would you like to return to the Lord now, or are you going to wait? Come now. You know who you are. I don't know who you are. The Lord knows who you are and you do. Do you want to get a beginning? You can come to Jesus just as you are and He’ll receive you. God doesn't scowl or frown when you come. The angels sing. Amen? Come before we prayed. Anyone else? When you to Jesus you're coming to life. Don't worry about what the crowd thinks. That's how you go down with the ship. Get in the lifeboat. Anyone else? As long as I've got customers I'm going to keep marketing. Praise the Lord. Glory to God. Let's pray together. And I'd like to say also, as soon as we pray, please those of you who have responded, if you would stay behind a moment. Our pastors who are here would like to visit with you and get your names and to make sure that we follow up in prayer and giving you the attention that you need.

Loving Lord, we want to thank and praise you first and foremost for the evidence of your Spirit’s working in the lives of these people. We do believe that there are storms ahead, not only in our lives as individuals, but for the world a storm is coming. We know that Jesus is coming. And we know that He is calling. Lord, I pray that you'll forgive us for our neglect. Forgive us for being preoccupied with what the world thinks and watching the crowd. Help us to be consumed with pleasing Thee and what you think. I pray Lord, that you will right now infuse the heart of each of these people who have responded today with God the Spirit. Help them to sense the truth that you are willing to come to them as they draw near to Thee. Lord, they have taken some steps today; they are drawing near to Thee. And just as the father of the prodigal son ran to meet his boy, I pray that you will embrace each one of these souls. Help them to know that you are pleased, that this decision is not some outward act, but it is genuine and that you will honor their decision today. Please release and activate the power of your Son in their lives. I also pray Lord, that you will seal these decisions. They'll be recorded in heaven. And give us wisdom as a church family, as a pastoral staff to follow up and to give them the nurturing they need. Bless us, Lord, that we might stick together and make it through the storm because Jesus is in the ship. And it's in His name we pray, amen.



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