The Christian Navy
We continue our thoughts this week about the ship’s that are in our navy as Christians. I am reminded of the song, It Is Well With My Soul, written after a tragic event at sea. The writer expresses his confidence that all is well because God is in control. Throughout our lives, the waves of the sea toss us about. I’m thankful we serve a God who offers us ways to escape the tempest of those violent seas.
The United States Navy has several types of ships in its fleet. Each ship has a specifically designed purpose. For example, the aircraft carrier is used as a mobile airport, the submarine is used for under water secrecy and the battleship is a mobile battlefield. There are several other ships in the fleet that we could look at and see the purpose for their existence. In our life as a Christian there are many ships at our disposal. Last week we observed four Christians ships, today I wish to share four more.
First, there is stewardship. A steward is simply one who has been entrusted to use someone else’s possessions. As Christians we have been entrusted with God’s possessions. Therefore we are to be good stewards of them. The greatest of God’s possessions is the gift of Jesus Christ’s blood. As a good steward we must not make salvation through Christ’s blood cheap or frivolous. As a steward we must share the message of Christ’s sacrifice. Acts 8:26-39 gives an example of a good steward. as it relates to spreading the gospel.1 Corinthians 4:2 speaks to the most important fact about a steward; he must be faithful.
Secondly, there is friendship. A very important ship to have in our fleet. The Bible says a great deal about our friendship. James 4:4 states that we are not to be friends with the world, If we become friends with the world, then we become the enemy of God. Jesus tells us if we follow His commandments then we are his friends. Abraham was called the friend of God in James 2:23. We must be friends with fellow Christians. It is important that we surround ourselves with those who share a common faith and are striving to reach the same goal.
Thirdly, there is hardship. Not a single person will go through life without some type of hardship. We must understand that hardship is beneficial. As we suffer in life, one of two things is going to happen, either we become a better person or a bitter person. On at least four occasions in 1st and 2nd Timothy, Paul speaks of partaking of and enduring afflictions. James 1:2-4 speaks of counting hardships as a blessing that leads to patience.
Lastly, there is leadership. Leadership is vital in all aspects of life. In the Church, leadership is critical. Perhaps the greatest need in the Church today is sound leadership. I’m not just speaking of elders and deacons. I’m including all members of the Church; think about leadership in the family. We can all be leaders if we have the desire to do so. Three things about leadership that are critical,
1) Recognize it, 2) Prepare yourself to be a leader, 3) Be an example. Without leadership, we are like the ship without a compass.
There may be other ships that you can think of that should be in the Christian fleet. The real questions is how strong is your commitment to the ships in your fleet? Let’s not take life too lightly and think that we will sail smooth seas. When life’s seas begin to be rough, you can always be assured that God and His navy will be there to make sure you have a safe passage.
Come join us a the South Jackson church of Christ as we begin a journey through Genesis.
We are located 2 miles off of Highway 45 on Highway 18 South. Our building is on the right.
The Christian Navy
Human life appears as a sea, an ocean, on which each life is a boat. You often experience this analogy in dreams. The picture presents various aspects of life: the sea can be stormy, the sky grey, and then again the sun will shine and the waters be calm until the next storm comes along. And so it alternates until the journey reaches its destination. This sentiment is expressed in several of the songs we sing. Master the Tempest is Raging and Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me are two that come quickly to mind.
The United States Navy has several types of ships in its fleet. Each ship has a specifically designed purpose. For example, the aircraft carrier is used as a mobile airport, the submarine is used for under water secrecy and the battleship is a mobile battlefield. There are sever other ships in the fleet that we could look at and see the purpose for their existence. In our life as a Christian there are many ships at our disposal.
First, there is discipleship. Remember that a disciple is simply a follower. As a true disciple of Christ we must exhibit several traits. John 15:8 tells us that a true disciple bears fruit. John 13:35 tells us that true disciple is known by the love they exhibit towards one another. Finally, John 8:31-32 speaks of one who abides in Christ’s word as a true disciple. Our challenge today is to be the true disciple in the midst of a world that easily distracts us and pulls us in many directions.
Secondly, there is citizenship. As a Christian we carry a dual citizenship, earthly and heavenly. The question some have is, ‘How do I obtain and maintain this heavenly citizenship?” It cannot be bought according to Acts 22:28. It is only attainable by the new birth, as Jesus instructed Nicodemus in John 3:5. Romans 6:3-4 tells of when the new birth takes place. The new birth occurs t the point of immersion into Christ. Heavenly citizenship is maintained by living a life of loyalty according to Revelation 2:10. Life is going to have mountaintops and valleys. Our response to the valleys will be the greatest test of maintaining.
Thirdly, there is fellowship. Fellowship is granted to those who have obtained and are maintaining heavenly citizenship. Ephesians 5:11 and Revelation 18:4 explains that fellowship works apart from sin and the ways of the world. 1 Corinthians 1:9 and Philippians 3:10 explain that true fellowship comes through Jesus Christ. Some folks miss what 1 John 1:3-7 says. We must have fellowship one with another. How can we expect to have fellowship with one another in heaven when we refuse to speak with each other as we live on earth?
Fourthly, there is workmanship. We have been created in God’s workmanship in order that we follow Christ’s example in going good to our fellowman. As we go about being the workman God’s desires for us to be we need to examine some aspects that need to be noted. Our workmanship needs to bring no shame according to 2 Timothy 2:15. The work we do needs to be profitable as revealed by 1 Timothy 4:8 and Titus 3:8. Our work needs to be done faithfully to brethren and to strangers according to Galatians 6:10 and 3 John 5.
Next week in part two of this article we will look at four more ships that we, as Christians need in our fleet. All will not be smooth sailing, but if we have a complete arsenal of ships we will be ready to face the storms of life.
Often times when I am gone from the house Kay will call and say emphatically, “Where are you?” By this question she is showing her concern for why I am later getting home than maybe I should. The same question was asked by God in Genesis 3:9 shortly after Adam and Eve had disobeyed the command of God. One of our greatest needs is to realize where we are. Looking into the Bible will tell us where we have been, where we are and where we are headed. By looking at the states in which other have lived, it will help us determine where we are and what we need to do if we are heading in the wrong direction.
Adam was in hiding at the time God asked the question. He was hiding due to the fact that he was aware of his guilt. Notice the answer Adam gave to God’s question from Genesis 3:10, “I heard your voice in the garden and was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself”. We must remember that we can never hide from God. Proverbs 15:3 say the eyes of the Lord are in everyplace. Psalm 139:12 says that the light and the darkness are both alike to God.
Jonah was fleeing from God when the question was asked. God had instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach that the city would be destroyed if they did not repent. Instead of going and following God’s instructions Jonah chose to run the other direction. Jonah learned a valuable lesson about God in the following days, God also goes to sea. We learn no matter what direction we run in, God runs right behind us. When Jonah was converted he then went to Nineveh and converted the residents. The message of Jonah was singled out by Christ as some of the most powerful preaching on record.
The rich young ruler was walking away in disobedience when he was asked the question. We know that he asked a very important question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered the question for him, but it was not the answer he had hoped for. True obedience brings forth joy and contentment. Many today want to know the answer to the same question, but the really only want to know if the Lord agrees with them. Matthew 7:21 states that not everyone who says, Lord, Lord shall enter in, but those who do the will of the father.
The church at Laodicea were asked the question as the were serving the Lord half heartedly. John says they were walking around in lukewarmness. Simply stated they were religious, a little for the Lord and a little for the devil. Lukewarm Christians possibly are the majority of those in the church. Many want to walk in the way of the world most days and be religious on Sunday. The words of Jesus ought to be a sufficient warning against lukewarmness, If you are neither cold or hot, you will be spewed from His mouth.
Simon the sorcerer was walking in delinquency when he was asked the question. Here was a man who had obeyed the Gospel, yet had chosen to go back to the way of the world. Acts 8:13-24 relates his fate to us. He was instructed to repent of the wicked desire and to pray to God. He understood where he was and listened to the words of Peter and repented and asked them to pray for him.
Paul answered the question as he was magnifying Christ in his body. Paul throughout his life after becoming a Christian was faced with many trials. We know of his thorn in the flesh. Yet Paul counted all things for loss in order that he might obtain the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:21-24 reveals Paul philosophy for life. To die is gain, to live is needful for those he loved on earth. The gain is life eternal with God and need to live is so that we can use our bodies in service to God by spreading the message of the Gospel.
The bottom line for us is where we are now will determine our eternal destiny. This point is well illustrated in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. While on earth the rich man had more blessing than he could use. The role was reversed in judgment when Lazarus was blessed beyond measure. We are all in one of four states in life this very moment. We are innocent or unaccountable. We could be an alien sinner, one who has reached the state where we will be accountable for our actions and are walking the course of the world. We could be like Paul, a faithful Christian, walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Sadly there are many who have become a faithful Christian, yet they have chosen to backslide back into the ways of the world.
If Jesus were to return today and ask you the question, “Where are You?”, How would you respond?
So blessed yesterday to have an opportunity to hear Doug Crouse speak at South Jackson. The men here give other men in the congregation opportunity to speak in months which have a fifth Sunday. We are blessed to have 5 or 6 men who capably fill the pulpit on these occasions.
As I sat and listened to Doug’s sermon last night about Troublemakers in the Church I realized what he was saying is actually true. As he defined the needed troublemaker, one who is like Paul and his traveling companions, I realized he was describing what a personal worker should be today.
Doug had 3 ingredients to being a troublemaker. These 3 things seem to be missing in so many cases today.
First, one must be a person of integrity. I see that as a person who not only speaks the truth, but the truth spoken is exemplified in the manner of that individual’s life. Many times we have people say, “Do as I say, not as I do”. Many today do not live the life that shows and exemplifies they belong to Christ.
Secondly, one must be a person of intensity. I see that person as a person who stays true to the truth no matter how hot the heat gets. They are a person who has a deep rooted faith in the mission that is at hand. This is a person who is not willing to compromise his belief. God’s plan for salvation is not open to intepretation, it never changes. Many today say God’s plan changes as often as the seasons.
Thirdly, one must be a person of involvement. I see this person as a person who is willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty following the instuctions given. This person is one who not only offers a plan of action, but is willing to help fulil the plan set forth. in the church today there are many who have all the answers, but are never willing to help solve the problems.
We, as God’s children need to be as Jesus was, one who changes the course of the world. If there are enough of us willing to be a troublemaker, then we can be successful in ensuring the borders of the Church are spread.
Just my thoughts on a Monday afternoon.
I am blessed to be speaking at the Humboldt church of Christ tonight. I am speaking on the Topic “The Gentle Shepherd” based in Psalm 23.
You may view the PowerPoint here: The Gentle Shepherd – Psalm 23
Today begins a new adventure in my life. I am going to start a blog. I will attempt to update the blog a minimum of 1 time per week. Please bear with me as I begin.
I have been encouraged by several folks to do this as a means of promoting basic Biblical truths that are sorely needed in our world today.
At some point I plan to post the PowerPoint files of sermons I deliver, along with some of the audio files.
Thank for stopping by.