Summary: There is an old illustration of seeing the church as a cruise ship or a battle ship. This is a brief contrast of the two.
1. [A few years ago Linda’s parents invited us to go on a cruise with them to the Caribbean. Over all, we had a very enjoyable time on our first cruise.
• The food was great!; The entertainment was first class
• Some of the ports of call were enjoyable (some were tourist traps)
• The crew’s service was above and beyond
2. There are many biblical metaphors of the church – a body; bride of Jesus; house of God; flock
3. A few years ago, a unique illustration came out in regard to the church – Cruise Ship or Battleship?
4. Let’s contrast these and decide which we are. . .
I. The Cruise Ship
A. Who Is on the Cruise Ship?
1. Tourists looking for adventure and new sites to see
2. Tired looking for rest and an escape from work; responsibility; cell phones; etc.
3. Travelers boarding the ship to go from Point A to Point B (Titanic)
4. Common Thread – these are all Consumers
B. What is Expected BY Consumers?
1. To be served by the crew and cruise line
2. To be entitled to criticize, complain, demand, decide
3. How it works:
• The Cruise Line establishes a trip itinerary
• The Cruise Line hires a captain and crew to run their ship over that itinerary
• Passengers decide of they want to pay money to go on a particular trip
• When they do, they show up on the correct day, board the ship and go on the trip
• During the trip the passengers are treated with great service
4. Imagine a group of passengers demanding to vote on the next port of call and mutinying if the Captain does not comply/OR the Captain calling for a vote before setting sail – it doesn’t happen
[“This is OUR trip. We’re paying good money for this trip, and we are entitled to decide where we go, when we go, how long we stay, and what we do.”
C. Have We Made the Church into a Luxury Cruise Ship?
1. How it works:
• Jesus sets the mission/itinerary
• The church leadership directs/leads the church
• The church members __________________
o Act as Consumers
o Acts as Crew
2. Questions to Determine Our Perspective – Consumer or Crew?
• #1 – Do we care more about the décor in our foyer or other rooms in our building or the 6,316 people that died this past hour – most of whom don’t know Jesus? (55.3 Million/year; 151,600/day)
• #2 – Do we care more about an order of worship or the God we worship?
• #3 – Do we care more about a style of worship or the people who are worshiping?
• #4 – Do we choose to please people or God if we have to make a choice?
3. A Concession: We might be a transport ship, as a crew taking people on the journey from here to eternity, but we are not a Cruise ship in which we feel entitled to be served by everyone around us.
II. The Battleship
A. It is a Reminder of the War in Which We are Engaged
1. The Reality – Ephesians 6
2. The Right Fight – Together against the common foe – Philippians 1.27
3. The Wrong Fight – One another
a. When we stop fighting the enemy we fight each other
b. Whining in the wilderness
c. Criticisms of Moses by Aaron and Miriam; false prophets
B. It Reminds us of the Work in Which We are Employed – 1 Corinthians 4.1 (NLT)
So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries.
1. “Mere Servants” – lowest slave on a Roman War Ship
Many of the ships were Galley Slave ships with up to three levels of oars. The slaves chained together at the lowest levels were “under rowers.” They were in the worst location on the ship. Imagine the stagnant air, sweat and human waste dripping on you from the decks above. Imagine the boredom; the heavy oars, and NO WHERE to go – ever.
2. A horrid term to the Corinthians, who lived in a wealthy, prominent city.
3. The term came to mean a SUBORDINATE
4. “Christians want to be ‘servants’ until someone treats them like one.”
1. Battleships have:
• Recreational Areas – build morale and comradery
• Nourishment Facilities – Food to live
• Medical Clinic – We don’t shoot our wounded
2. The Task is the Battle – it is what we signed on for, not to ease our way into heaven on a luxury liner
3. Which ship are you sailing?