History records for all to see that nations have been destroyed not by enemies from without, but by the deterioration that is evidenced by immorality, dishonesty, greed and pride from within.
Apparently, some of us living today have come to the point where we do not know where Christianity stops and where modern society begins. The good life has become inseparable from the maximum possible consumption of things.
We even have a muddled conception of Christianity. We accept a religion in general, presided over by a God in general, with extremely hazy ideas about what it all means. But since this seems to be the popular view, we are quite undisturbed about it and flit about in our little orbits, blissfully unaware of the frightening tragedy occurring.
The Bible many times warns that toward the end of history as we know it, there will be a return to pre-flood conditions of gross sin and wickedness. The Scripture says concerning the people of Noah's day, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5).
Christ referred to this condition in Matthew 24 when He said, "As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24:37-39).
As the great Day of Judgment draws ever nearer, we see these very things happening about us. It would seem that we were reading from an article in a modern magazine as we read Paul's word to Timothy, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
This certainly leaves no room for doubt as to what the world is going to be like just before the climactic event that will ring the curtain down on history.
Many people are asking—are we living in the closing days? I do not know. The closing days of history may be 100 years or 1,000 years from now. But there are many indications that we are now living in the closing period of history, and we are warned from the Scriptures that we are to repent and return to Christ as that day draws nearer.
All ancient civilizations have gone down to destruction through sin. Rome went on a gigantic spree toward the end of her history—just as the world has been doing now for the past several years. Nero committed suicide in A.D. 68; Rome's overthrow came more than 400 years later. One moment, almost omnipotent power was within Rome's grasp; and the next, destruction.
The world today is heading the same way. Immorality and uncleanness occupied the minds of Roman rulers and of antediluvians. So today, we see a world saturated with sexual sins in places high and low.
A few years ago the sensibilities of intelligent, clean-minded citizens were shocked and startled. Now familiarity has bred a measure of contempt. Protests are of no avail, and they are ignored by those who have deliberately chosen the way of sin and death.
The days of Noah are returning to the Earth, and a catastrophe as great and terrible awaits those who refuse to enter into the ark of salvation, which is Jesus Christ.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Here was one of the great men of all the ages, God's chosen man, the one person who had remained true to God amid a scoffing, sin-stricken world. One by one, Noah's friends and relatives who believed in God died before the flood came.
The carpenters who helped him build the ark were themselves eventually lost. This is a warning to millions who belong to the church today. You are helping to build the church but have never really known Christ as Lord and Savior. We are reminded of the words of our Lord when He warned that there would be those in the latter day crying out, "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matt. 7:22-23).
There are thousands of people today who think they are saved, who have a false notion that they can be a Christian and live any way they like. In their manner of living, they are indistinguishable from the world. It is true that they attend church with some regularity and do many good works, but they are not resting in the blood of Jesus Christ for their salvation, and they are not doing the works of faith that are required as an evidence of one's relationship with God.
The Bible says there will come a day when we shall call upon God, but He will not answer. There will come a day when we will seek God, but we will not find Him. The Bible teaches that we will have had our chance. The Bible warns against hardening our hearts against God. The Bible warned the people of Noah's day, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever" (Gen. 6:3). You cannot come to Jesus Christ unless the Spirit of God brings you, and unless you yield to the prompting and urging of the Holy Spirit. I beg of you to come to Christ while there is yet time.
Outside the ark, men and women were struggling for their lives, clutching at pieces of driftwood until the pitiless hand of death reached up and drew them down beneath those cruel and relentless waves. All were lost. There was not one soul outside the ark who did not perish. They had had their chance but tossed it away. There were hundreds that day who were close to the ark and yet lost.
This fearful scene from the Bible is a prototype, a shadow of that day of judgment that lies before our world. The Bible says, "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27).
The ark is a symbol of Jesus Christ. In this day, when the clouds of judgment are beginning to gather, Christ is the refuge. You must cross the threshold and pass into the ark. Accept Christ now as your Savior before it is too late.
Are you in? You may be close, but are you inside? The universal and terrible storm is coming. The days of Noah may be soon upon us. Are you ready for the Day of Judgment?
Even if the world does not end in your lifetime in a cataclysmic judgment, the moment you die will be the end of the world for you. The world that you live in will die with you. Are you ready for death? Are you ready for the judgment that is to come the moment you step out into eternity?
History repeats itself. What happened thousands of years ago will happen again. There is a possibility it could happen in this century or even in this decade. However, while there is life, there is hope. The Spirit of God is knocking faithfully at the door. If we repent, mend our ways and throw off our sins, we can yet be used of God to bring healing and help to a dying civilization.
Let me ask you—do you know Christ? He is the only One who can redeem us. But before He can come in, we must be broken, repentant and contrite. The Lord will not despise a broken and a contrite heart. The Bible says that during Israel's crisis, God sought for a man who would stand in the gap, but He found none (Ezek. 22:30). Will you be one who will stand in the gap to stop the floodtide of evil that is deluging the world?
Let Christ into your heart today. You can then be saved and be inside the ark. The storm of judgment can break; but it will never touch you, because you are in Christ Jesus. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).
This article originally appeared on billygraham.org. ©1960 BGEA
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