When Seconds Count

If you knew that you potentially had seconds to live as a result of facing an unknown challenge that could take your life, what would matter most? Would you be secure in knowing that whatever happens that you would be safe in the arms of Jesus in Heaven, or do you stand condemned awaiting an eternity in the lake of fire?

Those questions are real questions, with real consequences. There are times in life that decisions must be made in a moment of time. Some people when faced with those decisions have some time to think about it and plan for the future, while there are other people that only have seconds until they find themselves on the edge of eternity.

Recently, fifty people onboard a casino shuttle boat in Port Richey, Florida faced one such circumstance that left them with only seconds to live as they were subject to an inferno on Sunday, January 14, 2018. They were onboard a boat that caught on fire. Most all of the passengers were able to jump off of the boat and into the water in order to save themselves, but a mother of two children later died in the hospital.

Where would you spend eternity if you knew that your life was in the balance?

When Seconds Count

Bay News 9 is one of the news organizations that covered the story.

What a horrific event this was to view on the news. There were people that were hesitant in jumping off of the boat. After all, the water was shallow after the captain drove the boat closer to shore. But there is also the unknown factor of not knowing what will happen once a person jumps. Is this the right decision or not? Some people only jumped apparently as the flames got so intense that they had no other choice. The flames were literally on the verge of engulfing them. The intensity of the fire was enormous!

So what is the answer? If you were to draw your last breathe today, where would you spend eternity? There is only one way to know for sure. According to the Word of God, the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ proclaims that ye must be born again. That message is found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3.

John 3:1-21

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

As noted in this passage of Scripture, we are naturally born from our mothers. And that birth is the result of the union between a husband and wife (Preferably). Notice in that that there are not two mothers or two fathers that unite in procreation as many would suppose in this perverse generation.

And going further, there must be a spiritual birth that is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider the fact that a person has nothing to do with their physical birth. Even so, a person has nothing to do with their spiritual birth. Salvation is of the Lord, from start to finish! So in that a person must be born again according to the Word and will of God!

A person is born again when they repent of their sins and place their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Process of Being Born Again: Ephesians 1:13, 14
*Hear the word of truth (Gospel)
*Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ
*Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ
*And be sealed by the Holy Spirit of God
Ephesians 1:13, 14
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

So in that, a person hears the word of truth, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel is that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary to save sinners. He offered Himself as an atonement for sin. He was buried, and rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15). Do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? When a person hears the proclamation of the Gospel, one must not only hear with the natural ear, but must be given by God Himself eyes and ears to see and hear the word of truth in the inner man (Hebrews 4:12, 13).

Romans 10:17

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

When hearing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, one trusts (hopes) in the Lord Jesus Christ. Look to Jesus and live! Take Him at His Word, knowing that His Word is true. This is the response of all who hear and understand the word of truth. In life there are many things that we seemingly trust. When you hear the word of truth, do you comprehend and understand? Do you hope in the Lord? Salvation is of the Lord. This is important, as it is only by the Spirit of God that a person is able to understand those things that belong unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 2).

John 17:17

 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

And along with hearing and trusting is believing. Do you believe the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Many people do believe, but there are even more that don’t. For many, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is foolishness and not relevant to the world today. Oh, it might be considered as a good story, but beyond that it is nonsense to them (1 Corinthians 1). That is yet another reason to praise God if you do believe.

A miracle occurs every time a person is born again.

So hearing goes along with trusting. And believing is “to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.” This is a matter of saving faith! The Apostle Paul proclaims in Romans 10:9 & 10:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

And it should be noted that this is not a matter of believing in vain. This is a matter of believing unto righteous. One is saved through sanctification of the Spirit (Born again, Regenerated), and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (Justified by faith).

1 Peter 1:2

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Of particular note is the fact that salvation is not something that a person merits.

Ephesians 2:8 & 9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

But what is salvation anyway? Why is it important to be saved? Why must a person be born again? And what is a person being saved from? This goes to the necessity of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. What is it that occurred that made it necessary to be born again?

First of all, we know naturally what it means to be saved from something or someone. If we could speak with the passengers on board the Titanic that sank and who subsequently were rescued from the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, they would testify of what it means to be saved. Even in this article regarding the inferno on board the boat in Port Richey, the captain of the boat brought the passengers closer to shore so that they might have an opportunity to get off of the boat to safety. If they were in deeper water, there may have been more casualties.

Salvation is necessary as a result of sin entering the world by the first man Adam (Romans 5:12). The Scripture teaches that God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). And one day He will pour out His wrath on those that do not know Him.

Romans 5:12 – 21

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

As a result of sin entering the world, the Lord God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was Paradise. The serpent who beguiled, Eve, was cursed, and there was certain consequences for, Eve.

Genesis 3:16

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

And there were consequences for, Adam, as well and to all that would come after him.

Genesis 3:17 – 19

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The consequence of sin entering the world is death, both physical death and spiritual death. We find that, Adam, eventually died after living nine hundred and thirty years (Genesis 5:5). And we know that unless a person is born again and caught up to be with the Lord Jesus Christ in the rapture of the Church that we will all one day die physically.

Hebrews 9:27

it is appointed unto men once to die

Adam also experienced spiritual death, as evidenced by the fact that he was driven from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken (Genesis 3:24). The Garden of Eden represents the place where the Lord God placed man after he was formed from the dust of the ground.

Genesis 2:7, 8

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Garden of Eden is also the place where the Lord God walked with, Adam. And that walk represents fellowship. And that fellowship for, Adam, was in the presence of the Lord God.

Genesis 3:8

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

As a result of sin entering the world, man was separated from God. In fact, instead of walking in fellowship with the Lord God, man became hostile towards the Lord God. Consider the shame that Adam and Eve knew after the Fall. Every man born into the world from, Adam, are born with a sin nature (Romans 5).

So we find that the result of sin entering the world is death, both physically and spiritually. In that, apart from being reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus Christ (Being Born Again) by the working of the Holy Spirit, a person remains apart from any fellowship with God and stands as condemned before God, awaiting certain judgment.

Romans 5:16

for the judgment was by one to condemnation

Revelation 20:11-15

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Reconciliation is necessary in order to be saved from sin and the consequences (Eternal damnation in the lake of fire) of rejecting the call of salvation, as well as to be brought into fellowship with Almighty God. That’s right! Reconciliation means return to favour with; to receive one into favour; to reconcile (those who are at variance).

Romans 5:10, 11

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

In light of the fact that one day those people whose names are not found written in the Lamb’s book of life will be cast into the lake of fire should be cause enough to know and understand that salvation is necessary. And that salvation is from the condemnation, wrath, and judgment of God.

The lake of fire will burn much hotter than the boat that was on fire in Port Richey. Even worse than the fire itself is knowing that a person that is not born again will never be able to enter the kingdom of God and to walk in His presence. Wow! The kingdom of God will be in its fullness after there is a new heaven and a new earth, where only righteousness dwells.

So if you hear the word of truth, repent of your sins and place your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Know that in Christ is life eternal. And in that a person that is born again is baptized in the Holy Spirit and is considered to be a new creation in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

As a side note, don’t ever believe the lie that you’ll come to Christ when you get your act together. There is nothing that any of us can contribute to being born again other than that we are sinners in need of a Savior.  Though we can not overcome sin in the world through any work of the flesh, when a person is born again they are overcomers. In that, the child of God is no longer in bondage or slave to sin and is the servant of righteous (Romans 6).

In that reality, those that are born again walk in the light of the Word of God. When someone that is born again sins, they should not glory in that sin, but repent of that sin.

Come as you are and give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ today. He can change you from the inside out!

2 Corinthians 5:19

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself

And for those people that believe that they are good enough to get in to Heaven, consider the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. Examine yourself up against God’s standard of righteousness. Have you broken any of the Ten Commandments? Sure you have, everybody but the Lord Jesus Christ has broken the law of God.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Romans 3:10

There is none righteous, no, not one

James 2:10

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

So don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that everything will work out in the end. Know that there is only one way of salvation, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

What that simply means is that there is only one way of salvation, and it is not through the Roman Catholic Church, your parents, your brothers or sisters, your friends, relatives, or even by one’s good looks or amount of money in the bank. There is only one way of salvation, and that way of salvation is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 2:5

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

The Lord Jesus Christ can do for you what nobody else can do or even would do. He will forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Almighty God gives eternal life to those who believe.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So today, consider the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Today is the day of salvation! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house (Acts 16:31).

“When seconds count and it is all on the line, look to Jesus and live!”

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