Sermons

Summary: We are warned to guard ourselves against wicked men and immoral world systems. It takes wisdom to heed these warnings.

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We just got back from a 7 day cruise recently. It was fantastic. We woke up the mornings without an alarm ringing in our ears. The stateroom we were in had a window that afforded us an ocean view. After getting dressed we had several choices of where to eat the morning meal. Then we would go ashore into some foreign port with beautiful scenery and fantastic bargains.

We could return to the ship for lunch or eat at some exotic restaurant serving a native meal. When we returned to the ship we would find our room cleaned with our bed covers turned down, two chocolate mints, and an animal shaped towel.

For our late meal, again we had several choices. After eating there was a generous amount of entertainment offered to us. We could watch a movie at the pool and have a midnight snack of pizza. Life was good.

I shared with everyone that this was my first cruise. However, as I stood outside one day looking at the ocean and seeing no land in sight I realized I had been here before.

My first cruise was actually in the early seventies. It wasn’t a cruise ship but rather a war ship. It wasn’t the Sunshine but rather the USS Sterett, a guided missile destroyer. There was no sleeping late and rising when the mood hit me. There was work to be done.

My stateroom was a series of bunk beds stacked three high and a room shared by 11 other guys. There were no windows to look out from, not even a port hole. You ate in the mess hall whatever they were serving that day.

After being at sea for one or two months you would hit port. There was nothing exotic to be seen. Bars, prostitutes, and houses held together with cardboard and mud were the main attractions. And if you had an ounce of sense you would never eat the food prepared in the streets or bars.

When you returned to the ship, many staggering, you would be greeted with that wonderful “battleship gray” décor that you had come to love. Entertainment consisted of poker and other card games or reading books. Maybe once in awhile a movie in the mess hall. Life was not good.

We sail through life as if we are on a cruise ship. We expect a lot from God. We want him to pamper us. We want him to give us our desires. We try to manipulate God into serving us rather than us serving him. We expect smooth sailing with no stormy weather and then get angry when it hits. We forget we are at war.

The purpose of the cruise ship was to pamper me. The purpose of the war ship was to protect me. We were 20 miles away from the coast of Vietnam. They were a very real enemy though we could not see them. On April 19, 1972 they attacked my ship. Their intent was to destroy my ship. Their intent was to kill me. Had it not been for the ship being equipped with missiles they would have succeeded.

We have an enemy that is very real though we cannot see him. 1 Peter 5:8 describes him as “a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Ephesians 6:11 informs us that he has a strategy. His strategy is for us to become complacent. His strategy is to use our desire to be pampered against us. His desire is to take away our wisdom, our skill for living, and replace it with foolish notions. His weapon of choice is people and the world’s system of pleasure.


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