Flotation Devices or Sandbags? A Parable

Photo by petr0leum

I was once on-board a ship when there was a jarring impact. The klaxon went off with an announcement that we had struck an object and the vessel was sinking. We were instructed to break out the flotation devices so I volunteered, along with someone else, to make sure the people in our section were each given one.
We handed out the flotation devices, made sure each person knew how to use theirs, then sent them into the water. Those who took the flotation devices I offered them rested for a moment after hitting the water, then gathered a short distance away from the listing ship. They had formed a circle from which they would leave then return as they helped rescue others in the water. However, I saw that upon hitting the water most of those who received a vest from the other volunteer immediately began struggling and thrashing about under their own effort to keep their heads above water. There were a few others who swam a short distance, yet the result for both was the same; their heads all disappeared under the water! That was when I noticed the flotation devices being handed out by the other volunteer appeared to be much heavier when placed around the necks of evacuees. Upon closer inspection I realized they were actually filled with  sand! They were no more than orange sandbags that had the outward appearance of life vests.
At first I didn’t know if the other volunteer’s action were intentional or simply a result of the confusion on the ship. I warned the other person that he was handing out the wrong stuff and that, once his group hit the water, what he gave them drowned them. Not even glancing at the water, the other volunteer told me that it didn’t really matter and no one should judge. He questioned how I could be so sure that I was handing out the right stuff. He insisted that what’s really important is that people believe that when the hit the water they will be okay.
So how does this parable relate to proclaiming the Gospel? The answer is that there is an authentic saving Gospel and there are counterfit “gospels” that have no saving value. We have an instruction manual, the Bible, that is clear on the fundamentals of the Gospel:
  • We are accountable to God our Creator,
  • We sinned against God and will be judged,
  • God acted in Jesus Christ to save us through His death on the Cross, and
  • We are saved when we believe in Jesus as our Saviour who paid our full ransom.
When people preach anything other than this, they are handing out sandbags to the unwary. We as believers should be able to spot false gospels and warn others as we hand them the real Gospel that saves.
 [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://blog.lifeassuranceministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/benard.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Benard Campomanes thrives in Plano, Texas with his wife Katherine and three children, Alexander, Zachary & Sophia. He was born again by the Holy Spirit on a flight returning from a business trip in Washington, DC on October 30, 2009. You can now find him and his family worshipping the Lord & Savior every Sunday at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX where he serves as an usher and second grade Sunday School teacher. A Veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm from his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ben is also a graduate of California State University, San Bernardino. Occasionally he writes about his personal experience and observations from leaving Seventh-day Adventism on his blog at (outofadventism.wordpress.com).[/author_info] [/author]

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