Summary: Without taking the necessary precautions, even believers can find themselves spiritually shipwrecked; this sermon gives some biblical suggestions aimed at avoiding be "lost at sea".
HOW TO AVOID SHIPWRECK
1 Tim 1:18-19
INTRODUCTION: MANY BELIEVERS TODAY FIND THEMSELVES LOST AT SEA
A. Individuals, corporations, and churches experience life cycles.
1. They go through growth spurts.
2. They experience flat times.
3. They can even observe slumps.
B. During these cycles we may all be susceptible to shipwreck.
1. We can be lulled into complacency, in both smooth sailing and rough weather.
2. We can grow weary in the battle of fighting the storm.
3. We can begin to wonder what it is like in another boat.
C. Many in Christianity today have been or are in the process of being shipwrecked.
1. I know too many who have lost their faith or at least their faithfulness.
2. I know of faithful people who have become tired of the battle and have quit.
3. I know even committed Christians who are far too distracted by the cares of this world and are subtly seeing their priorities become askew.
D. I believe our church corporately, and many of us individually, are in one of these life cycles.
1. When we find ourselves complacent or distracted by the battles of life we are in danger of shipwreck.
a) We may not try as hard anymore.
b) The attitude of, “if they don’t care, why should I” comes over you more frequently.
c) The struggle to keep our head above water in our vocation is becoming more prominent.
d) Life schedules are becoming more complicated… and the first things to go are church activities.
e) Little things that someone said or did to us at church (because we are all human) can remove us from fellowship in the family of God.
2. Paul uses this theme of ships sailing at sea frequently to allude to the Christian life. Continuing that theme, let us ask this question this morning: How do we avoid being shipwrecked?
I. READ THE CHARTS. “in accordance with the prophecies”
A. We must read the charts.
1. The bible is our final authority on all the things of life.
2. The bible is the first source of the “prophesies” God has spoken into our lives.
3. Without a regular (even daily) commitment to reading the bible, we have little chance to know and understand God’s will for our lives.
4. The captain of the vessel is in charge of the keeping the charts.
a) Charts that stay in the cabinet will never give direction to the ship.
b) The bible that never gets opened can never make a change in our lives.
c) Where’s your bible this morning?
d) If this is the only time (Sunday morning) it gets opened – what chances do you have of staying on course?
B. We must study the charts.
1. Reading is not enough, we must study this word and make it a part of our life so that it can be a part of our living.
a) Our faith is a faith of action.
b) Action, the best action, requires depth of understanding.
c) Personal and small group bible study helps provide that kind of understanding.
2. The captain of the ship must be diligent to know and understand the waters in which he is sailing.
a) There are places we must avoid.
b) There are places we must visit.
c) There are dangers and perils.
3. Growing in Christ is a life long process that will always require our constant attention and commitment.
II. OBSERVE THE HEAVENS. “fight the good fight of faith”
A. Every good sea captain knows how to study weather reports and observe the stars.
1. The storms of our lives are based in large part in the heavenlies and what is going on there.
2. Many of us live our lives in ignorance there is an unseen battle, a battle in the spiritual realm.
3. If life were only about what occurs in the natural, then we could figure it out on our own, but that is not true…there are others in this battle with us.
B. There are demons at war with us and around us.
1. Eph 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. NASU
2. We must discern the spirits.
a) If we think we are battling only flesh and blood we are seriously mistaken.
b) If we think our enemy is not organized, we are mistaken.
c) The devil’s greatest deception is to get us to believe that he doesn’t exist or at best that he is just some “overriding evil presence or evil force”.