NAUTICAL IMAGES FOUND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
1. There are many songs in our songbooks that have a nautical flavor to them. No doubt you can think of many.
2. Lessons and comparisons in the Bible are taught in many different ways.
A. Illustrations are made in almost every field of endeavor and learning in the world about us today and in days gone by.
1) These terms that we will use in our study today have to do with the sea and activities upon the sea.
I. ROCKS. "These are they who are hidden rocks (or spots) in your love feasts", Jude 12.
A. The term "hidden rocks" is from the Greek word "spilas", meaning a sunken rock, a hidden reef, a dangerous shoal on which a ship may be stranded or against which it may go to pieces.
1. A spila is any covert obstruction to navigation.
B. There are rocks ahead as we exercise our duties as Christians and as we enjoy our religious privileges.
1. There are dangers ahead in our fellowship with one another, in our communion at the Lord's table, in our singing, our praying, as well as our everyday lives.
C. There is always the open channel through which we can pass if we will only use the chart and compass (the Word of God) given unto us by the Lord. 1 Cor. 10:13.
1. This channel is beset with rocks adn reefs and sand-bars which the wise and cautious navigator will be careful to avoid.
2. A ship captain was once asked: "Do you know all the rocks and shoals and reefs are?" He answered, "No I don't, but I do know where the safe channel is."
a. So, if we know where the safe channel is, it is there that we must guide our ship of life.
II. CURRENTS. "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them." Heb. 2:1. "We drift away", comes from the Greek word "pararrheo", meaning to flow beside, or past; to drift from, as in a current.
A. Heinrichson has supposed that the metaphor here is taken from the idea of a ship sailing past the place of destination, missing the harbor and being dashed upon the rocks beyond.
1. Anyway, life is a state of movement, we are ever flowing on with the years. No one is standing still.
a. We drift so slowly many times until we do not realize we are moving until it is too late.
b. It reminds me of an eagle that landed on a floating piece of ice in the Niagara River to eat the fish that he had just caught. He knew that the falls were on down the way and that the ice was floating in that direction. His plan was to fly off the ice just before it went over the falls. But, when he got right at the edge of the falls he opened his great wings to fly away but his feet were frozen and stuck to the piece of ice so he went over the falls and was killed.
2. Spiritual life is fixed in this moving channel or current, we call life, and the dangers are lest we should fail to sieze on to the things that are permanently stationed and drift away from them until they are beyond our reach, and we go over the falls or into the rocks beyond.
3. The admonition is do not drift through life aimlessly, but moor your ship to that which is within the veil, which is eternal and divine.
III. WINDS. A fine head-wind is the image found in Lk. 2:52, "And Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." "Advanced", comes from the Greek word "prokopto" meaning to beat up like a ship against the wind, cutting the wind in two. It is not the direction of the wind, but the set of the sails that makes for progress.
A. Jesus, encountered a head wind. He had to beat up against it. He won divine favor and human power with difficulty and by effort.
1. Is it strange therefore, that we should meet with head winds making the water rough and sailing disagreeable?
2. "To reach the port of heaven," said Oliver Wendell Holmes, "we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it. But we must sail, and not drift nor lie at anchor."
a. A true sailor can make even the adverse winds work for him.
B. Happily, there are also fair winds. 2 Pet. 1:21, ":But men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit."
1. "Moved", from the Greek word "phero" in the passive sense, to be borne along by waves swept by the wind.
a. Here the wind and the tide are favorable, and the fortunate ship yields possibly to both.
b. So were the inspired men tht penned the Word of God. They were favorably borne on by celestial influences. In this case the ship was in a fair wind.
C. Paul in his tender address to the Ephesian elders, has a very beautiful and picturesque fair-wind image. Acts 20:27; "For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God." "Shrank", from the Greek word "hupostello", means to lower a sail, to take in a reef. Paul claims to have carried a full sail; to have caught all the wind there was up to the limit of his canvas.
1. He had a fair wind and made the most of it.
2. What a needed lesson.
3. How many good people are voyaging with sails furled or too closely reefed! There is wind enough, and it is fair, but the sails are not shaken out.
4. May not this be the secret of non-success or of partial success in the work of a Christian?
a. O for a full sail! O for a whole-souled devotion to duty, a seizing of every opportunity, and a full improvement of all that God affords!
5. Shake out all of the reefs. All the wind of God and all the sails of man will insure the success of Paul.
IV. WEIGHING ANCHOR. Twice does Paul employ an anchor-weighing image. In Phil. 1:23, he says: "I am in a strait betwixt two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better." "To depart", comes for the Greek word "analuo" meaning to loose, as an anchor. Paul says again in 2 Tim. 4:6; "For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is come." "Departure", from the Greek word "analusis", a loosing up, as in weighing anchor in setting sail on a voyage. In both instances, Paul is anticipating his death, and in his thought of it; death is a weighing anchor, a setting sail.
A. Yonder life, in his view, is a sea, and dying is a loosing up of the anchor.
1. No, death is not an ending, but a beginning.
2. A great writer said: "In all the flurry and foam about us, let us bend our heads and listen to the great anthem of that far-off sea, for our life-barks shall soon be cradled there; we are but building here, the launch is not far off, and then the boundless ocean of the years of God."
V. ENTERING PORT. We come now to our final nautical term or image. It occurs in 2 Pet. 1:11; "For thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." "The entrance", from the Greek word, "heisodos" means a way in, as into port. McClintock and Strong, in their Cyclopedia, says of Peter's expression "Generally referred to the prosperous entrance of a vessel into port."
A. As a saintly man was being led to the stake, to be burned, he said with perfect composure: "When the mariner undertakes a voyage he is tossed about on the billows of the troubled seas; yet in the midst of all he beareth up his spirits with this consideration, that ere long he shall come into his quick harbor; and I doubt not but through the grace of God i shall endure the storm; only I would entreat you to help me with your prayers."
B. Melville said; "There are ships that never go down in life's tempests. They shall sweep the earth and sky and sea, and when the fury is over-past and the light that knows no night breaks gloriously forth they shall be found on the tranquil and crystal waters." "Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar When i put out to sea."
1. As we sail upon life's sea let us be aware that there are many obstacles before us that can sink us in an ocean of dispare.
2. If you allow the Lord to be your Captain, you have nothing to fear.
3. The chart and compass for our journey is His Word. Use it every day and follow the safe channel.
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