Maintaining Faith…Don’t Get Shipwrecked! Kelly Durant 10-25-15
1 Tim 1:18-20
18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
2. We are entering the fall season! The European immigrants who arrived to this country were worried about getting food stored up for the winter or they were going to die, and sadly many in that first colony did die in that first winter! They did not die at sea but in the new land, which for them was a type of Promised Land escaping persecution.
In the end all of us as strangers on this earth are preparing to immigrate to heaven but some will not make it through the winter of the cold harsh persecutions on earth if not maintaining the faith in God which strengthens the soul, fighting to be uncontaminated by the world conserving their lives those of our loved ones and family! We have a daily fight!
This is a story about a poor young man, somewhat lazy, and an old rich man; the lesson in this story is applicable in real life today. The world is full of people, some like this young man, who do not think things through, to assess the whole picture. Observing the patterns of rule in dictatorships in Latin America and the Caribbean, we note that some people who are uneducated and unfaithful in little things believe they deserve position and power just for the fact that they are poor. The young man employed by the rich man in this conversation was envious that the rich man had a yacht, and it took a crew to maintain it in top running shape. The young man thought, “Life is not fair, why doesn’t someone give me a yacht? He thought, I deserve to have one as much as the rich man! He wanted one but he was not willing to work day and night like the rich man had to do to get it.
The young man even thought, I am going to ask him to just give me his yacht! He has so much money he could give it to me and just get another one!
So he spoke up the next day, “I think you have so much that you could just give me your yacht! Share the wealth, give me your yacht! The rich man paused a minute and then he answered quite wisely, “I could give you this yacht, and I have been generous in the past to some people, but there is one big problem; if I give you my yacht, you would not be able to afford to maintain it!” For anything in life, a person must have the means and preparation to do the upkeep or it would be a waste and like sinking the ship! Each person must seek wisdom to measure and judge what they are capable of maintaining and with God you must do one step at a time to build up to greater things. Capacity and faith go hand in hand and it is a learning, growing, and applying timely process.
3. Certain material things you and I are not trained in or called to maintain in this life such as a yacht but faith is not one of them! God requires faith from everyone! Faith requires work as we practice God’s Word and faith is something free strengthening anyone, rich or poor. The question today is: are you maintaining your faith? You as a Christian are as a rich man with a promised eternal life in heaven, even having blessings on earth, but are you maintaining your yacht, an anecdote comparable to your soul, keeping it clean and pure and running for God as He expects?
There are many people in life, sometimes like you and myself, that have at one time or another wanted things, and then more things, and then power and more power.
It is quite sad when you and I see people killing their selves sacrificing their time with God and other with Christians in fellowship (on Sundays or any day) trying to catch hold of their material dreams, like reaching for the yacht of their dreams, only to wake up one day to see that they are shipwrecking their faith.
Jesus stated “You cannot serve God and mammon” (the God of riches) and people saved by Jesus will always be fighting in the long process to subdue their flesh, seeking to overcome their weakness in faith. The usual case is people have their own set of dreams and priorities but they’re not God’s, and they pursue the illusive rusting rotting material goods of this world that sink easily in a storm. How tragic that a majority of people are feeding their bodies yet starving their souls… shipwrecking their faith!
4. How disturbing you and I see people with shipwrecked faith everyday and they do not even see it! By not caring about God, their own soul, and the salvation of others these people have taken on so much water that they are sinking fast and they don’t perceive it! How many people do we see in and out of our Corps church doors? It is very sad they do not stay to learn to grow in faith! People are ignorant to the fact that their soul and relationship with God must be constantly maintained or it gets lost at sea! Maintaining faith is maintaining a good conscience as expressed in verse 19 of today!
That is what holiness is all about! William Booth stated that as long as men go in and out, in and out of prison as they do, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end! We can apply that to church where God’s Word is studied too! We who have faith must fight to help those who do not have any! Our doctrine commands us to maintain salvation, which is in essence our faith. Doctrine 9 ‘We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ’. But it is more than one’s own faith at risk, it is our influence of helping others in their faith.
Many people have a shipwrecked faith and they do not even care or are aware of it! They are going nowhere in life! They come a while to church in certain times of the year when things are pretty, but they are not maintaining cleanliness in their lives and conscience as God wants them to. They remain their same old carnal bad selves, and Jesus calls us to be changed, to be radically and totally like Him, humble, loving, and helpful being a new creation! If a person continues in sin after learning of God’s word, then they ruin and sink their selves out of belligerence, not out of ignorance.
5. Imagine that big yacht not maintained; it gets rusty in the hull, has the wood deck rotted from the sun and saltwater, and it could sink at any moment! This is what the scripture is referring to as it describes many people’s lives today.
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
There are people in this church and in all the churches who think they are saved and Christian but they actually have little faith and few fruits to prove they are worthy enough to be called a good Christian. There is no Holy Spirit fire of conviction moving them!
They are carnal and not spiritual. There are people who never read their Bibles during the week, and never pray for that matter! Their faith is not a lifestyle but rather far down the list of their priorities.
But when a true Christian loves God, that man or woman wants the whole world to know about it and tell everybody! But some people are like a certain person who came to church for decades and after years later she invited her sister, and her sister came and said she never knew her sister went to church and that we, TSA were a church! Imagine, one of our own members here who never even told her own family about the blessings of God and salvation! That is hiding your faith under a bushel and not putting it on a hill to shine!
6. We are shipwrecked in our faith if what, according to the scripture? If we have put away a good conscience! A conscience is your ability, with the Holy Spirit to discern between right and wrong. And what is not right and wrong is not according to what we decide, it is right and wrong according to the way God defines it in His Holy Word!
The people of the world today, and the children in the churches, are rapidly having less and less conscientiousness of the Christian faith because it is not being taught and lived in their homes. We must teach and regain a conscience awareness of right and wrong because it is not being practiced by our governing authorities, being taught at schools, and not being enforced in the community so we must maintain it at home.
The child, relative, or neighbor that sees you or me go to church, but then suffers from your verbal abuse, or sees you or me sinning in some way, suddenly then believes that God and the faith do not really exist, that hypocrisy, not faith, is what Christianity is really all about! Being a hypocrite in your personal life is having a shipwrecked faith!
7. How are carnal shipwrecked and hypocritical people? They stab you in the back after you have been good to them and taken care of them in a time when no one else would help them. They rob whatever they can from you, and even in the church some people have robbed things, thinking they deserve things just because you have them and they don’t, even though you worked for them and they did not. People who lose faith are arrogant and proud and unwilling to sacrifice their time to do anything to help anyone while expecting to get everything in return. They become as those who say they only got faith in their selves (implying not in God, which is humanism), and witnessing their miserable lives you and I conclude that their faith and philosophy is a sunken ship that’s bankrupt.
Let’s read more about the character of people who are not sincere in their faith.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.
8. So how do we escape the judgment God has against those that are faithless and do not have a clean conscience but a shipwrecked faith? As Paul put it into words, not fallen under Satan? People cannot appreciate the goodness and justice of God until they have been victim to the injustices of Satan and his people!
See Verse 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Some people get confused by that verse that how could Paul want to give someone over to Satan like cursing them? But Paul is simply exposing that if someone leaves the faith by not maintaining it with a good conscience, if someone starts to blaspheme God by vile words or by wrong actions in their lives, doing damage to the saints, then they have chosen to leave God’s kingdom. The reality is that person is to blame for their consequences. There only exists God’s kingdom or Satan’s kingdom! Paul says he delivered these two, but that just means he gave up on them and they chose their own fate! At some point you and I cannot waste any more of our time with belligerent, rude, disrespectful, God insulting people who show off they prefer Satan’s ways! If they chose him and evil, they will have to pay the price! Better it is to keep them far away!
9. You and I are in an Army of God, but if someone chooses to be a traitor to what you believe in, no one, not even God will stop them; and Satan and his possessing demons will be there to welcome them. You and I have a free will on what to choose in life. But if anyone wants to go over to Satan’s side, it is like sliding down a wide highway full of people on their way to the bottom of self-destruction. Like the Titanic rapidly sinking down! But you and I and hundreds of people suffer and mourn when we lose a rebellious soul or a former Christian to a shipwrecked faith.
There are pastors from time to time from mega-churches who get caught using illegal drugs and being with prostitutes, or preaching compromised heretical doctrines, and the damage gets done and people get offended. This is another example of those who shipwreck the faith. How horrible to have to answer to God for that! When a ship goes down it often drowns the whole crew with it! A deserter of the faith could be anyone, so always be on guard!
Satan wants people to be offended at God and at his loving Christian people, but if you and me are maintaining our conscience, keeping the Holy Spirit close, then we will not have any Achilles heel and we will not become victim to having a shipwrecked faith!
10. So how will we make good warfare and defeat shipwrecks of faith?
By maintaining a good conscience! And how do we do that?
We must live in contact with God who speaks to our conscience at all times.
And how do we do that? By daily reading God’s word and praying all day long!
And how will that protect us?
It will cause us to maintain our conscience clean and keep the faith by having the strength to resist the temptations of the world. It is like a bath of clean water, you will be cleaned everyday and you will not desire to get dirty with sin! How did Jesus overcome temptation? He quoted God’s word to Satan when Satan tried to get him to switch sides. Satan fled!
All of us have something worth a whole lot more than a yacht, and that is our Salvation and eternal life in Jesus! We not only have eternal life, but we have many blessings on earth too. We have joy and love amongst ourselves and peace of mind due to our clean conscience; we also usually have more prosperity than the average person since we are wise with our money and God rewards our giving to Him and for serving others in need.
If God spoke to you today, if you feel your yacht, or life and relationship with God and others is in need of repair, if you are embarrassed because you know God and others see the rust in your faith, then come forward to pray! Faith in God is everything!
Don’t let yourself get in such bad shape that the water gets in and sinks your ship and shipwrecks your faith all the way down to hell on earth and hell hereafter!