Summary: Every once in a while the church need to stop and measure it’s own spiritual progress.
Ain’t No Danger In God’s Water
Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Acts 27:31
My brothers and sisters, there are times when the church stand in awe wondering just how close they are to achieving their goals. And I believe that every once in a while the church need to stop and measure it’s own spiritual progress. Most organizations pause occasionally to review their progress toward stated goals. Whether it is the corporate sector or private enterprise, it always helps to know that you are sailing on the right ship and that the ship is going in the right direction. Sometimes those who are going in a certain direction in life give their best, but feel that their best is not enough. Sometimes, overwhelmed by the abundance of problems and frustrations that surround them, folk will sometimes simply give up and abandon ship. Oh brothers and sisters, a true story was told about how a lady waded into the water off Catalina Island and began her 21 mile swim toward California. If she had completed her journey, she would have been the first woman ever to accomplish this feat. The water was ice cold, and the fog was so heavy, that Florence could hardly see the boats in her own party. Sharks often began to attack Florence as she swam and men armed with rifles in the boats surrounding her had to drive them off with carefully aimed shots.
But the constant numbing cold of the water was her toughest problem. Fifteen hours after she began, she asked to be taken out, her muscles sluggish and unresponsive due to the cold water. Her mother and trainer was along her side in the boat, told her they were near land. They encouraged her not to quit. But as she looked ahead, all she could see was the dense fog, so she gave up and asked to be taken out of the water. When they pulled her out, she found out that she was only a half mile from the California coast! Only a small fraction of her journey was incomplete. She almost did it. Later, when her body began to warm up, the shock of failure finally hit her. She turned to a reporter and told him that I’m not makeing any excuses. But if I could have only SEEN the land, I might have made it. There are many today who give up personal goals because it seems like that their work is in vain. Oh brothers and sisters, sometimes this journey causes us feel like a losing team who is on a losing streak, we just don’t won’t to play any more. Everywhere you turn it seems like the folk are abandoning the ship because of some rough waters.
Even as individuals we abandon worthy causes, noble projects and great undertakings because it seems that no one cares or pays any attention to us. There are many church members who began their journey on the Old Ship of Zion but have lost their zeal and inspiration. Many who were once on fire to change the world, be champion the poor, lift up Christ and live cleaner, holier lives, now have dulled enthusiasm. Instead of the fireballs of energy they once were, they have shriveled down to fleeting shadows of what they use to be. There were some who came to Christ under the false notion that it would mean riches, prosperity, health and wealth. They were not prepared for the storms that were to come and so many of them have decided to abandoned the ship. As the church celebrates its anniversary, it looks back at the distance traveled to measure its progress. And my brothers and sisters, even though anniversary celebrations look back, they also look forward to remind every traveler on the sea of life, that the goal is near, the
time is short and there is less time in front of us than there is behind us. As Christians, we celebrate anniversaries to see where we have been and where we are going!
We know that our salvation is not in abandoning the Christian life and the church, but our salvation comes only if we “abide in the ship.” Oh brothers and sisters, I think I ought to tell you that f we stay in the ship, the waters may become treacherous, but we will not fear because, “there ain’t no danger in God’s waters.” Can I get a witness? This text focuses on Paul onboard a ship whose crew had become disappointed and let down and were about to flee. Paul was on board the ship, as a prisoner. He was being sent to Rome to appeal his case to Ceasar. On the way, the ship was conftonted by two weeks of violent storm that battered the ones on board. Not only did they face the terrible dangers of the storm, but, as they drifted they heard the frightening roar of breakers in the distance. They did not know where they were nor what kind of strange land they might be coming upon nor what kind of shore it would have. When it was pitch dark, in the middle of the night, their fear increased as they heard the breakers pounding against the rocks. They were afraid that their lives might be in danger of being lost so they cast down four anchors to slow the drift of the ship until they could learn where they were.