Two men are seated
on a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it
would improve his flight. Heís a little skeptical at first, since he
canít see how wearing a parachute on a plane could possibly improve his
flight. He decides to experiment and see if the claims are true. As he
puts it on, he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds
he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with
the fact he was told that the parachute would improve his flight. So he
decides to give it a little time.
As he waits he
notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him for
wearing a parachute on a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated.
As they continue to point and laugh at him, he can stand it no longer.
He slinks in his seat, unstraps the
parachute and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness
fill his heart, because as far as he was concerned he was told an
man is given a parachute, but listen to what
he is told. Heís told to put it on because at any moment heíll be
jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute
on. He doesnít notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that
he canít sit upright. His mind is consumed
with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without the
Letís now analyze
the motive and the result of each passengerís experience. The first
manís motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his
flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the
passengers, disillusioned, and somewhat embittered against those who
gave him the parachute. As far as heís concerned, it will be a long time
before anyone gets one of those things on his back again.
The second man put
the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come. And because of his
knowledge of what would happen to him if he jumped without it, he has a
deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that heís saved from sure
death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of
the other passengers. His attitude toward those who gave him the
parachute is one of heartfelt gratitude.
Now listen to what
the modern gospel says: "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Heíll give you
love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness." In other words,
Jesus will improve your flight. The sinner responds, and in an
experimental fashion puts
on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The
promised temptation, tribulation, and persecutionóthe other "passengers"
mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ; heís
offended for the Wordís sake; heís disillusioned and somewhat
embittered...and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, and
fulfillment, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness
is directed at those who gave him the so-called "good news." His latter
end becomes worse than the first, and heís another inoculated and bitter
Instead of preaching
that Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning sinners that they
have to jump out of a plane. That itís appointed for
man to die once and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). When a
sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking the Law of God,
he will flee to the Savior, solely to escape the wrath thatís to come.
If we are true and faithful witnesses, thatís what weíll be
preachingóthat there is wrath to comeóthat God "commands all men every
where to repent: because he has appointed a day in which he will judge
the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:30,31).
The issue isnít one
of happiness, but one of righteousness. It doesnít matter how happy a
sinner is, or how much he is enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season,
without the righteousness of Christ, he will perish on the day of wrath.
Proverbs 11:4 says, "Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but
righteousness delivers from death."
Peace and joy are
legitimate fruits of salvation, but itís not legitimate to use these
fruits as a drawing card for salvation. If we continue to do so, the
sinner will respond with an impure motive, lacking repentance. Can you
remember why the second passenger had joy and peace in his heart? It was
because he knew that the parachute was going to save him from sure
death. In the same way, as believers we have joy and peace in believing
because we know that the righteousness of Christ is going to deliver us
from the wrath that is to come.
With that thought in
mind, letís take a close look at an incident aboard the plane. We have a
brand-new flight attendant. Itís her first day. Sheís carrying a tray of
boiling hot coffee. She wants to leave an impression upon the passengers
and she certainly does! As sheís walking down the aisle she trips over
someoneís foot and slops the hot coffee all over the lap of our second
passenger. Whatís his reaction as that boiling liquid hits his tender
flesh? Does he go, "Man that hurt!"? Yes, he does. But then does he rip
the parachute from his shoulders, throw it to the floor, and say, "The
stupid parachute!"? No, why should he? He didnít put the parachute on
for a better flight. He put it on to save him from the jump to come. If
anything, the hot coffee incident causes him to cling tighter to the
parachute and even look forward to the jump.
If we have put on
the Lord Jesus Christ for the right motiveóto flee from the wrath thatís
to comeówhen tribulation strikes, when the flight gets bumpy, we wonít
get angry at God, and we wonít lose our joy and peace. Why should we? We
didnít come to Christ for a better lifestyle, but to flee from the
wrath. to come If anything, tribulation
drives the true believer closer to the Savior.
Sadly, we have
multitudes of professing Christians who lose their joy and peace when
the flight gets bumpy. Why? They are the product of a man- entered
gospel. They came lacking repentance, without
which they cannot be saved.