Shipwreck

Posted on Sun 10/02/2022 by

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How do we as men stand against the cultural tide? Let me offer two thoughts.

It was a long-ago boat excursion somewhere along the Florida coast. We were navigating through a coastal waterway when I observed a sailboat lying on its side, the now faded hull facing the sky. I overheard a passenger ask one of the deck hands if he knew the story about it. He stated that it had been improperly anchored in a local cove and a strong storm had pulled it loose. The wind and current ultimately deposited it off the shoreline. He had no explanation for why the owner never sought to recover it.

Storms and currents have caused many shipwrecks around the globe. As Christians, we need to be concerned about the possibility of spiritual shipwreck. The Apostle Paul tells us about a couple of shipwrecked guys in his first letter to Timothy, his son in the faith: “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (I Timothy 1:18-20, ESV). Paul doesn’t tell us exactly what these men did other than committing blasphemy. There is one other place in Scripture where Paul uses the same idea of delivering someone to Satan. The context is where an individual in Corinth was living with his father’s wife. Paul told the church this: “You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (I Corinthians 5:5). It appears that church discipline in the first century was quite a bit sterner than we see today.

There are storm clouds on the horizon, my brothers. The cultural currents of the day are sweeping many Christians from the moorings of their faith. Recent polls show the number of people identifying as Christian is in decline, and projections are that Christians will be in the minority in the not-too-distant future. How do we as men, specifically we Men of Valor, stand against the tide? Let me offer two thoughts.

First, we follow the Apostle Paul’s exhortation on avoiding becoming a castaway (Tom Hanks’ 2000 movie “Cast Away” comes to mind). “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified [KJV: castaway]” (I Corinthians 9:27). The Greek word here for “disqualified” is adokimos, defined as “not approved” (Young’s Analytical Concordance). Okay, I had to use the King James Version to make “castaway” work, but Paul emphasizes the need for spiritual discipline and self-control (which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, according to Galatians 5:23). In his classic work Celebration of Discipline, author Richard J. Foster discusses 13 areas of spiritual discipline. While all are important, and I highly recommend the book, let me cite a few I strongly encourage: prayer, study, confession, worship, and service. These require no explanation.

Second, we have this promise of the Shepherd (Jesus) regarding His sheep: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29). In giving our lives to King Jesus, we have this hope, this confidence, that He will always be faithful. It doesn’t depend on us; it’s all His work. All He asks of us is to believe His promise. The author of Hebrews confirms this fact for us: “So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place [Holy of Holies] behind the curtain” (Hebrews 6:18-19, ESV). The context of this passage is about Abraham’s faith in God. Our faith is like a spiritual rope, fastened to a spiritual anchor, and that anchor is held fast within the Holy of Holies in God’s Heavenly Temple.

God is looking for mighty men, Men of Valor, who can stand against the cultural storm sweeping this nation. “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). Our faith and trust are anchored in the Holy of Holies, and no satanic storm on earth below can pull that anchor loose. What say ye, Man of Valor?