Summary: This message focuses on shipwrecked faith.
We Walk By Faith Part 8
Shipwrecked Faith Part 1
This message will close out my current series on faith. As you recall, in this series I have explained that faith is an unquestioning belief and that there are steps we must take in order to “build” or establish our own individual faith. Just as there are things we must do to strengthen our faith, there are also things we can do to destroy that same faith that we have worked so hard to establish. This message will focus on shipwrecked faith and this morning I will cover what it means to have shipwrecked faith. Next week I will close the series with what to do if your faith or the faith of someone you know has been shipwrecked.
Let’s start with something we discussed last week during Bible Study. Turn to 1 Timothy 1:18-20. It reads: This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwrecked in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.” (1 Timothy 1:18-20)
Focus on the first part of verse nineteen. Paul makes the following statement to Timothy “keeping faith and a good conscience….” What Paul was telling Timothy was to guard or protect his faith while maintaining a clear conscience. It is important that we understand that our faith can shift if we’re not proactively taking steps to protect it. To protect something means to shield from danger, to guard or to defend. Each of these words carry a different connotation as it relates to protection. There is so much that comes against our faith that there are times when we must shield it; guard it (as in carefully watching over it); or actually defend it. In each situation the sole purpose is to protect that which is within you. I want us to think about this as we get into the heart of the message as it relates to being shipwrecked.
Before I go any further, I want to remind you of what Bro. Anthony told us last week. He said that there is “a” way and there is “the” way. “A” way offers options but “The” way is the only way. We need to think in these terms if we are to protect our faith. We must let the word of God be our source for our faith – “The Way!”
So before I go any further, I want to review what it means to be shipwrecked. I have never been on a cruise but I have a very good idea of what it means to be shipwrecked and that idea is not a very pleasant thought.
Let me share with you my earliest knowledge of what it meant to be shipwrecked. When I was growing up, one of my absolute favorite TV series was “Gilligan’s Island”. I would hurry home from school to watch it. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, the show was about seven individuals who were shipwrecked on a deserted island. They were shipwrecked because their small charter boat came upon a storm that was too great for it. The waves from the storm tossed the ship to and fro until it was wrecked on the deserted island. In the very first episode when the storm clouds came on the horizon, the captain realized what was happening and tried to do the right thing. But because the storm was too great for them the ship was wrecked. I think of this show because so many times in our lives we see a “spiritual” storm coming but we are not able to get out of its way. The storm that they went through was more than their small ship could handle. Sometimes as we are trying to strengthen our faith, we will go through storms that shake us to our core. Some of the worse storms that I have gone through spiritually had to do with Christian leaders whose actions did not match their confession and I was left with a choice. As you are aware, when Christian leaders fall it causes the faith of those who have their faith in them to shift. This is why our faith must be grounded in the word of God versus any individual. Let’s continue on with another example of a ship wreck. If you have never seen the show “Gilligan’s Island” then I am sure you’re either seen or heard about the mighty ship Titanic.
The Titanic launched on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912. It was sailing from England to New York. It was the best, most luxurious ship that was ever made at the time. Some believed that it was unsinkable but we know that to be false. Four days into the journey it hit an iceberg. The ship sank killing 1,517 individuals. With all of it modern advances, how did this ship hit an iceberg? Once it hit the iceberg, why were there so many lives lost? Well here is some information that you might not be aware of: the ship only carried enough life boats for half the passengers on board. Maybe this was because that was the standard of the time or maybe it was because of the belief that it could not be sunk. The second part to this answer as to why so many lives were lost has to do with two men ignoring the warning of the iceberg. Another ship had sent a wireless message letting the Titanic crew know that an iceberg was in its path but the two individuals who received the message did not give it much attention since that was not their “job”. Many people died because of these two fatal errors. But if we were to consider the two fatal errors of the Titanic and translate that to our shipwrecked faith, there would be some similarities. For example, there are many Christians who think they have so much “spirituality” that they are untouchable (do not need life boats since the ship is unsinkable). They do not see the problem that is lying beneath the surface because they have their heads so far up in the clouds and are ignoring the danger signs around them. Then there are many Christians who see what is happening around them, but they ignore the warning signs. They know something is not right about a situation, but they take the mentality “someone else will handle it”. When everything hits the fan, their faith is shattered just like “someone else’s” faith.