Summary: This message gives some marks or characteristics of a "Shipwrecked Faith."
A SHIPWRECKED FAITH
* At 7:24am on March 20, 2009, struck the Popps Ferry bridge in Biloxi, MS (just about a mile from where we lived for 8 years) causing more damaged to the bridge than did Katrina.
* We were living in Pensacola, Florida, in February, 1989, when our world was rocked by news that the Gulf Breeze bridge had been partially destroyed by a barge. Barges went through that bridge every day, but this one hit the pillars under the southbound lanes.
* These are just two of the many shipwrecks which we comes to remind us of the damage cause by shipwrecks. Other names which we think of are the Valdese, the Titanic, and others remind us of the mess, terrible loss of property, and life, which accompany such a disaster. A shipwreck is terrible, yet in our text Paul intimates that some have “Shipwrecked their faith.” What does this mean?
* Possibly the best way to begin this thought is to ask, “How’s your faith? Have you bought into the “cultural” part of Christianity and don’t talk about it much? Or conversely, are you open to sharing the gift of Jesus whenever the opportunity arises? What would Paul say about your faith? Is it healthy or hurting, strong or wrecked?
* From our text, let’s consider 3 marks of a shipwrecked faith.
1) LACK OF PERSISTENCY- Paul’s encouragement to young Timothy is to “strongly engage in battle” or as Paul would write in the 2nd letter to Timothy, “fight the good fight.” Candidly, it seems to me that we have had it so easy for so long that we have forgotten or dismissed the concept that we are in the Lord’s army and thus engaged in day to day battles between good and evil. If you and I are living for the Lord, Satan does his best to make us fail. The fact is that people seem to be less persistent and ready to “fight the good fight” when great blessing prevails as opposed to great oppression.
* The only reason Satan even messes with us is to get to God. He doesn’t care about us, but he will take us down or out if we’re not careful to be persistent in our walk. We “wrestle not against flesh & blood but again the spiritual forces of evil” and it is truly easy to be spiritually lethargic and allow Satan to strip you of your salvation. You see, Satan cannot take our salvation, so he focuses on our desires, invades our minds, impacts our lifestyles, and thus tries to alter our attitudes.
* In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor thousands of men volunteered to go and defend this nation. Because of the aggression there was a reaction of total and complete devotion. Throughout history, when the church was persecuted the worst, commitment, devotion, and sacrifice, was the best. Why is this? Well, let’s ask a very practical question, “When are you most determined to earn a living? When you have a several thousand dollars in the bank and food in the pantry or when the pantry is bare and the bank account is low?”
* Persistency is “sticking with it no matter what.” Consider several revealing questions? Are you persistent in your relationship to Christ? Do you spend time with Him every day? Do you listen for His voice in every decision? Are you faithful to daily, regular, and systematic discipleship? Do you stick with your commitments until they are completed? How about your church faithfulness?
* This list could go on and on because being persistent is not a one time, occasional, or haphazard type of action, it is ongoing. And the lack of persistency is indeed a sign of a shipwrecked faith.
2) LACK OF PASSION – Verse 19 begins “having” (NIV says, “holding on to”) faith. The thought is to possess faith. Here is my question, “Can you imagine someone possessing a true faith in Jehovah God and being apathetic about it?” He is the creator, the sustainer, the healer, the miracle worker, and even the life-giver; how can we truly believe and have little or no passion about it?
* Dr. Ed Young, Pastor of 2nd Baptist in Houston, Texas, tells of story about having an atheist for friend in college. After being roommates for a while the atheist friend finally asked, “Do you truly believe there is a personal god?” The young preacher boy spoke boldly and said, “Certainly, I do.” The response from this unbelieving young man still sticks as he said, “Then you’re bigger fool than I am. If there is a personal God and you know him, why wouldn’t you live like you knew him and let him change your life?”
* I have a personal belief that many people & churches have faith that is shipwrecked because they never possess their possession. They never take hold of their faith in God. They don’t believe God with their lives, their actions, their thoughts, or their words. I hate to say it like this, but we need restoration of our passion for HIM! Once again, we need fall in love with Him.