Summary: We must avoid shipwrecking our faith at all costs! You must maintain the right course; do not assume the ship will steer itself!

Avoiding a Shipwreck

(I Timothy 1:18-20)

1. The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized and sank after striking an underwater obstruction off … Tuscany, on 13 January 2012, with the loss of 32 lives.

Costa Concordia… is one of the largest ships ever to be abandoned… dominating international media in the days after the disaster. .. The captain, Francesco Schettino,…was arrested on preliminary charges of manslaughter in connection with causing a shipwreck, failing to assist 300 passengers, and failing to be the last to leave the wreck.. He was later charged with failing to describe to maritime authorities the scope of the disaster… and with abandoning incapacitated passengers..”

[source: wikipedia]

2. This captain had an non-ticketed girlfriend with him and showed traces of cocaine. Because of him and other incompetent crew, lives were lost.

3. Today’s text deals with the dangers of a spiritual shipwreck. Paul had been shipwrecked several four times before he wrote today’s text.

2 Corinthians 11:25, “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea…”

4. After these 3, Paul experienced a fourth shipwreck on his way to Rome (Acts 27)

5. This is what false teachers do — they not only hard their own souls, but the souls of those they influence. They bring others into a shipwreck.

Main Idea: We must avoid shipwrecking our faith at all costs!

I. How to Avoid A Shipwreck (18-19a)

Remembering professing believers who have shipwrecked their faith helps keep us from becoming presumptuous… “

A. Take seriously that solid doctrine is valuable cargo ENTRUSTED to you

1. Not a novelty; command is that of 3-4

2. Entrust is a banking term … like savings, retirement (doctrine is the cash)

3. At his ordination, Timothy received a prophecy as to how God would use him (1 Timothy 4:14); this memory to motivate him to wage the war (my ord.)

4. Too many Christians cheapen the importance of solid doctrine; all that matters is the Golden Rule; the rest is fluff

B. Don’t forget that we are at WAR

1. We ourselves are engaged in a battle, in God’s navy!

2. We fight according to a certain strategy

3. We fight for the souls of men, women, and children (paradox: sovereignty)

4. Our weapons are not physical, but spiritual

C. Keep FAITH and CONSCIENCE buoyant

1. Faith includes both the content of what we believe and the conviction that our beliefs are true; important to seek answers to our doubts…

2. A violated conscience is usually the cause for a weakened faith

3. People feel guilty, so, rather than change their behavior, they change their values and beliefs…

You must maintain the right course; do not assume the ship will steer itself!

II. Examples of SHIPWRECKED Faith Are Common (19b-20)

A. In the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander, they PUSHED OFF carelessly (19b)

1. Probably elders in the church or at least very influential; leaders can go bad

2. The word “rejecting” means to push off or push away

3. If you are in a boat, you aren’t wise to push off during a storm, for example

4. They pushed off the faith because they lost faith (trust) & a good conscience

B. They CRASHED their boat (20a)

1. Hymenaeus said the resurrection had passed (2 Tim. 2:17-18)

2. In Alexander’s case, we are not sure [opinions vary]

• Probably not Alexander the Coppersmith mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:4

• Probably not Alexander the Jew mentioned in Acts 19:33

C. Sometimes people SURVIVE shipwrecks, sometimes not

1. The Air Asia disasters, no survivors, the recent Italian shipwrecks, many

2. So it is with spiritual casualties; some return while others do not

3. We will see here that Paul had not given up on these two

4. Some people prove themselves false believers, tares, through shipwreck

5. Others come back: a believer lost everything, got into witchcraft, and hated Christians; in time, God got ahold of him and he came back to the fold.

6. Some of you may have a history of being in error (or lapse) & coming back…

7. Some HPC board members (elder, deacon, deaconess) have been among the casualties; one former deaconess is no Muslim. A former elder now embraces New Age teaching. Last I heard, a former deacon is agnostic.

8. Recent facebook comments from a boy who grew up in church (not ours), “Most christians traditional sense is best sinner on saturday and pure angel on sunday because apparently as long as you ask for forgiveness its all good

You must maintain the right course; do not assume the ship will steer itself!

III. The PLIGHT of the Shipwrecked (20b)

A. Delivered to SATAN

1. Excommunication, not allowed to fellowship with the church (I Cor. 5:5)

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