APRIL 14, 1912
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.      This morning, we are going to reflect back to the night of April 14, 1912; the night that the Titanic plunged deep into the ocean.  From this tragic story, I am going to provide some spiritual lessons.

 

2.      The thoughts that I am about to share come from Dr. John Hobbs book entitled, "Seeking Spiritual Strength," published by Heritage Publishing Company.

 

A.                 TO HELP US BETTER UNDERSTAND THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC, WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THE CULTURE IN 1912.

 

1.      The world situation in 1912 was a period of great optimism.  Every day it seemed that something bigger or better was being invented.  Scientific discoveries and the Industrial Revolution were changing the world.  This was a time when technology ruled as a "god."

 

2.      Man, through his mastery of technology, thought he was in the process of creating heaven on earth.  People looked at technology as the salvation of man, feeling they had solved all the major problems of the world and that nothing very bad could happen.

 

3.      Never before had people been so prosperous.  Never before had people taken such delight in showing off.  Wealth was virtually worshipped.  People were living longer.  Nothing could hold man back.  For 100 years there had been no world wars.  Because of this tremendous period of success and optimism, Mark Twain coined it "The Gilded Age."

 

4.      One industrial achievement that seemed to show man's greatness was the production of the Titanic.  The Titanic was considered a monument to man's final victory over nature and the elements.  It was designed to be the epitome of style, luxury, and safety. 

 

a.      One carpenter said, "The Titanic was the last word in luxury, the last word in craftsmanship."  She was considered to be a "floating palace."

 

5.      No expense was spared for luxury and comfort.  On board were Turkish baths, a swimming pool, tennis courts, gymnasiums, ballrooms, and elevators. 

 

6.      The Titanic was 882.5 feet long and 175 feet high.  The anchors alone weighed 15.5 tons each.  She was constructed with sixteen watertight compartments.  She could float with her first four compartments flooded, but not with five.  Since no one could have imagined this happening, the Titanic was considered "unsinkable." 

 

a.      Shipbuilder Magazine called her "practically unsinkable."

 

7.      However, as we already know, at 11:40 p.m., April 14, 1912, on a cold Sunday night in the Atlantic, 450 miles south of Cape Race, the Titanic struck a huge iceberg.  The berg put holes along 300 feet of the starboard side in the Titanic flooding her first six compartments.  Therefore, it was a mathematical certainty she would sink.

 

8.      At 2:20 a.m., April 15, 1912, the Titanic went down.  Out of 2207 people on board, only 705 were picked up from sixteen lifeboats and three collapseables.  On that historic night, 1502 souls went to meet their Maker.

 

9.      The night of April 14, 1912, is a night to remember.  Today's lesson focuses on examining some very important spiritual lessons that can be learned from the Titanic tragedy. 

 

I.                           FIRST, FROM THE TITANIC DISASTER, WE CAN LEARN TO PUT OUR TRUST IN GOD.

 

1.      When some people boarded the Titanic, their faith and trust were in the Titanic, Captain Smith, and their riches.  The Titanic was considered "unsinkable."  Captain Smith, the most highly paid captain in the White Star Line, was almost worshipped by the crew and passengers.  He had never seen or been in a shipwreck.  He himself said his forty years of service had been "uneventful."  With all his wisdom and experience, the people trusted in Captain Smith to take care of the problem, even after they hit the iceberg.

 

2.      Many people trusted in their riches.  It was an era in which wealth was virtually worshipped.  There was nothing their money could not buy--until that night.

 

3.      Instead of trusting in the Titanic, Captain Smith, or money they should have trusted in God.

 

 

4.      When people have riches and trust in riches, they begin thinking and eventually believe that they do not need God.  They begin to believe that they, themselves, are the master of their own destiny and captain of their own fate. 

 

5.      It is important to realize that people can have riches but not trust in riches.  The "love of money" is a sin; having money is not.  It is our attitude toward money that is important and not the money itself.  Consider this Scripture in (1 Timothy 6:17).

 

 

6.      One man went to the Titanic's railing, opened up his wallet, and emptied his money into the ocean.  He realized his money was powerless to help him.

 

7.      The sooner we learn that "we should not trust in ourselves, or our money, but in God," the better off we will be.  If our life and trust are not anchored in God, we will sink just like the Titanic.

 

II.                         SECOND, FROM THE TITANIC DISASTER, WE CAN LEARN TO SERVE THE NEEDS OF OTHERS.

 

1.      Imagine for a minute that you are one of the crewmembers.  It is your job to serve the needs of the passengers, to put them into the lifeboats.  With the order "Women and children in the lifeboats first," you are not expected to get in.

 

2.      As you load the last lifeboat and lower it into the water, you realize death is what awaits.  What would you think if this happened to you?  How would you feel?  What would you think about the concepts of "service" and "duty"?  Would you still hold "service" and "duty" honorable?  There were many acts of heroism that night.  Many worked hard that others might live.

 

3.      Christianity is a religion of ministry, a religion of service.  We have been saved to serve.

 

 

4.      Our Lord set the example in serving the needs of others, and we are to follow His example.

 

 

5.      From the Titanic, we learn the true value of serving others.

 

III.                       THIRD, FROM THE TITANIC DISASTER, WE CAN LEARN TO HEED THE WARNINGS AND BE PREPARED TO MEET OUR GOD.

 

1.           The Titanic was warned seven times about icebergs on Sunday, April 14, 1912, the day it struck the iceberg.  The next-to-last warning came at 9:40 p.m., just two hours before the collision.

 

2.           The message read, "Much heavy packed ice.  A great number of icebergs."  Jack Phillips, the radio operator on the Titanic, wrote the message down and put it under a paperweight.  He would give it to the captain later.  At 11:05 p.m., just 35 minutes before the collision, Evans, the radio operator on the Californian, sent this message to the Titanic, "Say, O' Man, we are stopped and surrounded by icebergs."  Phillips wired back, "Shut up.  Shut up.  I am busy."  Phillips never gave the message to the captain.

 

3.           At 11:30 p.m., just 10 minutes before the collision, Evans on the US Californian turned off the wireless and went to bed.  The Californian was only about 15-20 miles away.  After the Titanic hit the iceberg, the Californian saw eight flares going up, which of course were emergency signals from the Titanic.  They thought they were just company signals or that the ship was just having a party.  The Californian gave a half-hearted effort to contact the Titanic, but they failed.

 

4.           Today, many people laugh about religion.  They are apathetic and lukewarm.  Many have the attitude that religion is only for little children and old women.  If you try to talk to them about religion or invite them to church, they act unconcerned, make excuses, and sometimes laugh it off.

 

 

5.           The point is we will not escape.  No one will.  One day these unconcerned people will wish that they had heeded God's warnings about getting their lives right with God.

 

6.           The spiritual lesson is --heed the warnings.  While we have the opportunity to change the course and direction of our eternal souls, we must do so before it is too late.

 

7.           The Titanic had 2207 people on board but lifeboats for only 1200.  In simple terms the Titanic was not prepared.  The designer recommended forty-eight lifeboats (plenty to save everyone), but the owner/buyer wanted only sixteen.  He wanted only the minimum number required.

 

8.           Before the sinking of the Titanic, they said it was impractical to have lifeboats for everyone.  Afterwards, they immediately passed laws that there had to be lifeboats for every person on board.  It is really sad that such a terrible disaster had to happen before such a simple procedure was enacted into laws.

 

9.           As the people boarded the Titanic, death was the last thing on their mind, but the completely unexpected happened.  Imagine that you were on board.  How would it feel being awakened to learn that the Titanic had hit an iceberg? That is was going to sink? That there were not enough lifeboats?  If you were on the Titanic, would you be prepared to die?

 

10.      In (Amos 4:12), the admonition is given, "Prepare to meet thy God."  In (Luke 12), the rich man never thought that he might die suddenly.  God said to him, "You fool. This very night your life will be demanded from you."  One reason he was "foolish" was because he was not prepared for his sudden death.

 

11.      The sinking of the Titanic ought to teach us to heed God's warnings and be prepared ahead of time.  We must get our lives right with God "now," so we will be prepared to meet our Maker.  We never know when our life on this earth is going to be over.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      In closing, this morning I have brought forth three spiritual lessons that we can learn from the Titanic disaster:

 

a.      We need to trust in God.

b.     Serve the needs of others.

c.      Heed God's warnings & be prepared to meet our God.

 

2.      Here are some final thoughts.  Out of 2207 people on board, only 705 were saved.  However, there was room for 1200 in the lifeboats.  Using simple arithmetic, this means 500 more people could have been saved.  Why were 500 more people not saved?  The problem was that the people would not get into the lifeboats.  Many people did not believe the Titanic could possibly sink.  Evidently, their thinking was--why get into the lifeboats and go out into the cold (the water was 28 degrees) for a few hours?  After the trouble is fixed by our great captain, we will just have to come back anyway.  Some thought it was a publicity stunt to show that the Titanic was safety-conscious.

 

3.      The people procrastinated in getting into the lifeboats.  Then there was a series of explosions, and the ship started tilting.  The people finally started to understand that the ship was really going to sink.  With this realization there was a mad rush to the lifeboats, but many were too late.  They had procrastinated too long.  Some were begging for a seat.  Eyewitnesses report that the parting scenes were horrible.  Wives and husbands were torn apart as they said good-bye.

 

4.      The spiritual lesson is do not procrastinate.  We must get our lives right with the Lord now because we never know when we will meet our Maker. 

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

There is a fable told about Satan and his angels.  Satan asked them, "How can we destroy the souls of men?"  One said, "I will tell them there is no God."  Satan answered, "That will never do because creation testifies to a Creator and man innately knows there is a God."  A second said, "I will tell them there is no heaven."  Satan replied, "No, that won't work either.  Since Jesus was raised from the dead, men believe in heaven."  A third said, "I will tell them there is no hell."  Satan responded, "Your plan will not work because Jesus made it plain there is a hell."  A fourth said, "I will tell them that there is no hurry to make their life right with God."  Satan cried out, "That will do it--go." 

 

5.      It is not a fable that procrastination will cause many to be lost for eternity.  Let us be wise and do whatever the Lord requires of us now, so we will be ready to enter into heaven.  If you would like to board the Lord's unsinkable ship, please come now as we stand and sing.