1 Timothy 1:18-19 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. (NASB)
After Hurricane Katrina, I went with a group to help to clean up along the southern part of Mississippi. One afternoon, we took time to travel around the area. In Biloxi, we saw a ship that had been carried ashore. It looked fine, but it was grounded. It could not accomplish the purpose for which it was created.
In today’s verse, Paul writes to Timothy, his disciple. He warns of the danger of being shipwrecked in our faith. There have been too many Christians who have been battered by the winds of circumstances and the waves of doubt. They take their eyes off of Christ and end up shipwrecked. We must be careful to keep the faith!
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (NASB)
I am probably not the best person to take to an art museum – particularly if it is modern art. The value and meaning of most modern art eludes me. It often seems a make shift collection of materials. There is no discernible pattern or design. Some people claim they can understand and see the value. Perhaps the only real way to know the true meaning of a piece of art is to ask the artist.
According to Paul, every believer is a piece of art. In fact, we are all masterpieces. I am sure that some people look at life and fail to see it. They may only see a collection of personality, choices, relationships, and experiences. They deduce that I am an average person who is living an average. However, they cannot see what the Grand Artist sees. I can be called a lot of things. I can be described in many ways. God calls me His child and His workmanship! If you are believer in Christ, He calls you the same things!
Ephesians 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. (NASB)
In thirty years of marriage, my wife has taught me many things. Under her influence, I have come to appreciate such things as quilting and going to the theater. One of the things I have learned is how to can your own jelly and pickles. In the canning process, a key component is making sure the jar seals. The seal ensures what is in the jar will be good when you open it. I have learned to listen for the “pop” of seal.
Paul says the Holy Spirit is our seal. He is the one that guarantees that all the future promises of God – heaven, eternal life, etc. – will be ours. When we invited Jesus into our lives, the Holy Spirit takes us residence. He presence marks us as belonging to the family of God. We do not have to hope that we will make it to heaven, we can know.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (NASB)
If I challenge you to think of someone who gave their life for other people, your mind would probably run to a fireman, a police officer, or someone who served in the military. We may not have personally known that person, but their story is familiar to us. My challenge may have conjured up images in your mind. That person becomes part of our standard by which we measure commitment and sacrifice.
Jesus was always aware of his audience. He used stories and analogies to which they could relate. It is possible that many in his audience knew of shepherd who had placed himself in harm’s way. That shepherd would be held up as the model of commitment and sacrifice. He was willing to die for those under his care. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He was willing to die for all of us. We should be awed by His commitment and sacrifice.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” (NASB)
There is an old gospel song that says, “Death ain’t no big deal.” Most people do not act in ways that attest to that statement. We fight death and aging with all we got. We try to push it further and further away. Part of our motivation is the desire to live. We want to enjoy life and the relationships that make it so great. However, part of our motivation is fear – we are uncertain about the future.
Jesus makes a bold statement in today’s verse. He is the resurrection and the life. He is the one who makes death no big deal. A follower of Christ believes that death is not stepping out into the unknown. It is not the end. Death is stepping out into life eternal. It is entering the presence of God forever and ever.
John 10:9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (NASB)
“Make up your mind. Either come in or stay out” Perhaps you heard those words as a child or you were the one saying them. From an adult perspective, it seemed like an easy decision and there was the motivation of saving the door from unnecessary wear and tear. From a child’s perspective, the choice was not that easy. You wanted to be outside, but there were things you needed that were inside.
Jesus is the door. He knows we must live our lives both inside and outside. We need those time inside – times of prayer, fellowship, and worship. Eventually, we must go out into the real world. We do both through Him. We come into God’s presence through Jesus. We go out into the world through Jesus and walk in His power.
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (NASB)
Some people live to eat. They are connoisseurs of great food. They appreciate great flavor and savor every bite of whatever they are eating. They eat for the enjoyment. Some people eat to live. They are not really concerned about great flavors. They eat out of necessity. Regardless of their motivations, all people get hungry. We may eat a giant meal and proclaim there is no way we will get hungry, but eventually we do. No more how awesome a meal may be or how feeling, it will not sustain us. At some point, our bodies will need more.
God created us to be spiritual beings. Our spirits must be nourished. Throughout the ages, people have tried all kinds of spiritual diets. They never completely satisfied. We are missing an important reality. God created us to have a relationship with Him. He is the only one who can satisfy us. Jesus came to restore our broken relationship with God. He came to feed us spiritually. He provides all that we will ever need.