Summary: We must use caution as we sail our ships in this journey of life
"Don’t shipwreck your faith"
"Nevertheless God’s solid foundation stands firm sealed with this inscription,’The Lord knows those who are his and everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."
By reading the word of God from the beginning to the end, a pattern emerges showing that God is at work around us and wants to take our life to let his Spirit flow through to reach a lost and dying world. Looking at the people God used in scriptural history, we can honestly say that the characteristics that set them apart from the people God didn’t use was (1) their willingness to follow God and (2) their availability to God by letting him intrude upon their circumstances.
- Noah interrupted his life for 120 years to build an ark that would save his family but also condemn the world
- Abraham left his father’s house to go to a land that God would show him, even though he was old and hadn’t been given all the details
- Joseph was sold into slavery and wound up a ruler in Egypt so that his family could be saved by God’s masterplan
- Nehemiah left a king’s palace and a comfortable position to build a wall and a city with a sword in one hand and a hammer in the other
- Daniel was thrown into a den of lions for his faithfulness to prayer and would not compromise his relationship with God to save his own life
- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to a golden image
The list could go on and on for the whole amount of time we’re gathered here this morning but at one moment in history the great Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the faith to encourage him in the day to day battle for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
· For all the great men and women of God who dared to trust God at the overwhelming circumstances in their life that we can read about in the Bible, there are thousands more we’ll never hear anything about. For all the heralded heroes there are still multitudes of Christians we’ll never hear about or stand in line to shake their hand but still instead fought the good fight of faith and never shipwrecked their testimony. Ordinary men and women who purged their lives in the trenches and fought in the trenches and died in the trenches… never noticed, never honored and never acclaimed but who still fought a good fight for the kingdom of God and the moment their eyes close in death they saw Jesus rise from the right hand of the Father and say…
· Well done! Well done! Well done my good and faithful servant enter into your reward.
Hebrews 11:32-40 (read) Clifford Albert Armstong is the name of a great man of faith who was reared in abject circumstances and finally left home at the age of 13 to jump trains across this nation. He hoboed and cowboyed through the country, worked in the CC camps and cut timber before there were chainsaws and loaders for most of his adult life. Became an alcoholic and was eventually led to salvation in Jesus by a little country Baptist preacher outside a barroom. He quit drinking, he quit his drinking buddies and left behind all his old friends that would not support and accept his new found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Served God for more than 50 years as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, discipleship training teacher and preacher when necessary. He got old and decrepit and worthless in the eyes of the people around him, but never shipwrecked his relationship with God. Sent into a nursing home and broke a hip causing his left leg to have to be amputated above the knee but never shipwrecked his faith! Many people might say that this man is just a nuisance and a drain on society but one day when his eyes close in death, HE’LL SEE JESUS STAND TO HIS FEET REACHING OUT TO WELCOME HIM AND HEAR THE TESTIMONY OF THE MOST HIGH GOD, WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!
1. I don’t know what has happened in the life and ministry of Timothy to warrant the great Apostle Paul to write the New Testament letter to Timothy, but we can know the content of Paul’s response.
a. Told to stand firm and fight the good fight in the ordinary, everyday battle for the kingdom of God in the place of his current service
b. I’m glad Timothy had a Paul to ask advice from that would seek the face of God before replying to his questions