9-1-1, What Is Your Emergency?

Bible Book: Luke  13 : 1-5
Subject: Repentance

9-1-1, What is your emergency? If you place a call with those three numbers and the system is operating correctly, that is what you will hear on the other end. Long before the telephone, cell phone, smartphone, or iPhone, Dr. Luke writes, “There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish’” (Luke 13:1-5).

Allow me to share three things from our passage.

I. First, there is a danger to remember.

Jesus reminds us in our passage about the danger we face living in a fallen world. Jesus cites these two instances to teach His followers in parabolic fashion.

Dr. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) states, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”

Jesus states in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Paul the apostle warns in Ephesians 5:15-21, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

In his hymn titled “Amazing Grace”, John Newton (1725-1807) declares in the third stanza, “Through many dangers, toils and snares, / I have already come; / ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, / And grace will lead me home.”

A fellow heard that most accidents happen within two miles of home. So he moved. You can run but you cannot hide. The world is a dangerous place!

The book of Job reminds us that suffering comes to the godly not just the ungodly. We read in Job 2:9-10, “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes a statement recorded in Matthew 5:45, “[God] makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad, assumed Job suffered as a result of some specific sin.

We read in John 9:1-12, “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, ‘Is not this he who sat and begged?’ Some said, ‘This is he.’ Others said, ‘He is like him.’ He said, ‘I am he.’ Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?’ He answered and said, ‘A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.’ Then they said to him, ‘Where is He?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’”

No doubt there were good and godly people killed in the twin towers in New York City, in the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. For example, Todd Beamer was a believer held hostage on hijacked Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. His widow Lisa Beamer shared her account of this evil act and the aftermath with the help of Ken Abraham in the book titled Let’s Roll! Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage.

II. Second, there is a death to reckon.

Someone informed Jesus that some Galileans died at the command of a tyrant, named Pilate. He also heard about another eighteen who died after the collapse of a tower, known as the tower of Siloam. The former was an act of aggression while the latter was an accident.

Jesus teaches about the inevitability of death. Everyone in the cemetery has one thing in common. They are all dead. Death is the least common denominator of mankind. From Hebrews 9:27, we read, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”

There is a fate worse than death. Jesus calls it hell. We read in Luke 12:4-5, “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” Dr. Luke writes to the Greek mindset. We read a parallel written to the Jewish mindset in Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

In fact, Jesus had more to say about hell than He did about heaven.

III. Third, there is a dictum to repent.

According to the dictionary, a “dictum” is “a noteworthy statement as a formal pronouncement of a principle, proposition, or opinion, or an observation intended or regarded as authoritative.” Dr. Luke shares the following about Jesus in Luke 4:31-32, “Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.”

We read in Luke 13:2b-5, Jesus said, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” These two tragic incidents cited by Jesus serve as incentives to repent.

Dr. Luke reports in Luke 11:29-32, “And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, ‘This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.’”

Jesus references Jonah 3:1-10, where we read, “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.’ So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Now, that is repentance!

Remember, Jonah was angry that the Assyrian Ninevites repented. We must remember that the Lord wants to save those involved in Islam as well as other religions. I think of Dr. Ergun Caner and his brother Dr. Emir Caner, who converted from Islam to Christianity. These are two examples of God’s grace. These brothers are involved in Christian higher education.

Dr. J. C. Macaulay (1889-1977) states, “Repentance may be old-fashioned, but it is not out-dated as long as there is sin.”[1]

“The following is a bishop's description of preaching that is sometimes addressed to fashionable congregations: ‘Brethren, unless you repent, in a measure, and be converted, as it were, you will, I regret to say, be damned to some extent.’”[2] In our day of “political correctness” it is even worse than that!

We read in Acts 17:30-31, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” This speaks of God’s righteousness.

We read in Romans 2:4, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” This speaks of God’s goodness.

Dr. Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004) shares, “When George Whitefield [1714-1770] preached his message of repentance in this country, as well as the British Isles, he had many enemies who sought to oppose him. Among these was a certain Mr. Thorpe. On one occasion this man and a number of his friends decided to ridicule the great preacher. They called a meeting of supporters together and began to wager as to who could best mimic the saintly George Whitefield. With unbridled buffoonery they caused the congregation to rock with laughter. Last of all, Thorpe stood to his feet exclaiming, ‘I will beat you all.’ He opened his Bible and read the first text that caught his eye. The words were, ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’

Before he opened his mouth to speak, it seemed as if the Spirit of God pierced his heart with conviction so that instead of fooling and clowning, he began to say words of truth and soberness and to preach with faithfulness and fervor. The entire congregation was solemnized and stilled before God. The meeting broke up and Thorpe quickly withdrew himself in great distress of soul. Several days later he found peace with God and became one of the great preachers of his day. In seeking to mock God he had been crushed himself. In true repentance had found his way to the foot of the cross where Jesus met him in saving grace and mercy.”[3]

Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) states, “You are not living to God as you ought unless you repent daily.”[4]

Rev. Philip Henry (1631-1696) states, “Some people do not like to hear much about repentance. But I think it is so necessary, that if I should die in the pulpit, I would wish to die preaching about repentance; and if I should die out of the pulpit, I would wish to die practising it.”


Maybe you remember a book titled, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. September 11, 2001 was a seriously “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” for our nation. We must allow tough times and difficult days to bring us into a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, He knows, He loves, and He cares. What is your emergency?

[1]John Blanchard, The Complete Gathered Gold: A treasury of quotations for Christians (EP[Evangelical Press] Books, Faverdale North, Darlington, UK, 2006), p. 534

[2]Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations “Conditional Preaching” (Dallas, TX: Bible Communications, Inc, 1998), # 9863

[3]Stephen F. Olford, Proclaiming the Good News: Evangelistic Expository Messages (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 1998), # 3

[4]John Blanchard, The Complete Gathered Gold: A treasury of quotations for Christians (EP[Evangelical Press] Books, Faverdale North, Darlington, UK, 2006), p. 534

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527
Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com
http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210
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