Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TWELVE SHIPS by Lester Roloff

Jesus and His disciples were by the sea side where a great multitude of people had gathered to hear Him preach and teach by parables. "And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship, And there were also with him other little ships." Mark 4:35-36. Verse 37 tells us, "And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full." And he was in the hinder part of the ship chewing on His fingernails. No. He was in the hinder part of the ship praying that the Lord wouldn't let them... No. The Bible says that He was asleep on a pillow. You talk about peace in the storm, He had it, didn't He! There's one thing -- storms just don't bother Jesus because He's storm proof. Asleep on a pillow!

"...and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked he wind, and said unto the sea, Peace be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is is that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"

Two reasons why most people never get to the other side are: 1) They don't pay attention to Jesus. 2) They are afraid of the storm. There is usually a storm between us and the other side.

I've been thinking about the ship Jesus was in, and all the "other little ships" that were with Him and I want to mention twelve ships. Some people will never be on most of these ships because they don't want on them. They are afraid.

The one ship just about everybody has to get on sometime is HARDSHIP. But usually, that's the blessing ship. Do you boys know why you are at the Lighthouse? HARDSHIP. Do you know what brought you to the Lighthouse? You got yourself in so much trouble. You were miserable and you hated yourself. The law was after you, the police and the judges were after you and the probation officers were ready to revoke your probation. The way of the transgressor is hard. You girls, so young and tender and sweet and fine, yet so mean without Christ. Do you know why you are here? You took the way of the HARDSHIP. You got on the wrong ship and you were just about ready to sink. The reason most of us are on the HARDSHIP is because of our own choosing, but sometimes the Lord allows us to travel a distance on this ship in order to realize we need to let Him do the choosing.

What usually comes after HARDSHIP? My old HARDSHIP is taking on water and the old thing begins to list and turn sideways and is about to go under. Brother! You talk about some danger. I look up and I'm scared half to death, and here comes a ship.

Here comes the LORDSHIP! I say, "Oh, me, I wish any other ship would come along beside His. But I'm desperate and I've got to get on something. I'm going under. So, we usually get on the LORDSHIP just because of a case like that. You will never find an old sinner who says, "Well, I think maybe I might change. I believe that instead of going to hell, I'd like to go to Heaven. I'm not all that bad. I'm not as bad, really, as some of the church members, but I think maybe..." No. You never come like that. You have to come to the place where you're convicted of your sin and you know you're not fit to go to Heaven and you're headed for hell. Yet, if you will cry to God for mercy, He will save you from your sin and put you on the LORDSHIP. That's the main ship.That's it! He said, "And there with Him other little ships." All the rest of the ships are little ships. The big ship, the ocean goer, the one that is seaworthy is the LORDSHIP. Nobody has ever sunk on the LORDSHIP. The LORDSHIP is going to enter the right dock and harbor one of these days. I'm not talking about the Baptist ship and the Catholic ship and the Methodist ship. I'm talking about the LORDSHIP! If you're on the LORDSHIP, you're safe, because Jesus is the captain of it. You don't have to pay to get on it. It's free.

Jonah found himself a ship. When you want to run from the Lord, you can nearly always find a ship going toward Tarsus. The devil will have a ship there for you, but it will always be a HARDSHIP. That was the hardest ship Jonah ever got on and he had to pay to get on it.

The next ship, after the LORDSHIP, is RELATIONSHIP. The only way you can get on the LORDSHIP is to accept a RELATIONSHIP with Him through the new birth. You don't get on any other way. Money won't help, even if you have billions. You will die just like anybody else. Lazarus died and the rich man also died. Are you related to the Lord? Did you know that God is my Father? Did you know that Jesus is my big brother? Did you know that the Holy Spirit lives in me and in you, if you've trusted Jesus Christ? Think of that! Royal blood is flowing through these spiritual veins of mine. I belong to God. I've taken on His nature. Think of it! A personal RELATIONSHIP with the Lord! Jesus said, "Nicodemus, do you want to get on this miraculous ship?" "Yes," he said. Jesus said, "You will have to be born onto it." When I was getting ready to go to Mexico recently, I found myself looking up my birth certificate. All I'm going to need to get to Heaven is my "new birth" certificate. I'm glad I don't have to keep up with it. Jesus has it recorded. He knows exactly when I was born again, and my name is recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life.

Next comes FELLOWSHIP, which I think is a very sweet ship. I don't know of anybody here that I couldn't have fellowship with tonight. The sweetest fellowship we ever have is when we all get together for a service. Right now our family is together and we're having a family reunion here tonight. We're all in the same place. We're talking about our Heavenly Father, talking about our older Brother and talking about the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Then we come to something that a lot of people want to steer away from, and that's STEWARDSHIP. When you mention STEWARDSHIP, the average person grabs his billfold. He sits on it a little harder. He says, "Uh-oh, he's coming after my money now." STEWARDSHIP is not just money. Money is just a little fizzled end of it. STEWARDSHIP means your life, your heart, your love, your eyes, your feet, your body -- everything about you. That's STEWARDSHIP. The Bible says, "It's required of a steward that a man be found faithful." STEWARDSHIP is the faithfulness of a man and not just his money.

The next ship is COMPANIONSHIP. In Hebrews 10:33 we are told, "You were companions of me, even as we went through some things." Oh, how sweet it is to have spiritual companions. I appreciate all the good companions who have stood with me through all the difficult times. I never have been alone. No matter what the papers or magazines said or did, I had a bunch of companions right there with me.

Another ship that is important to every Christian is COMRADESHIP. We need to be good spiritual comrades with fellow-Christians and encourage each other along the way.

WORKMANSHIP is another ship we need to travel on across the sea of life. The Lord said, " grace are ye saved...and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his WORKMANSHIP..." That's a good ship. My daddy put me on that ship when I was real young and he taught me that the Government doesn't owe me a living. He said, "You get out there and go to work. You get that nine yard cottonsack and fill it plumb full and tell me tonight how much you picked today." It's a sin to be lazy and we need to be busy in the service of the Lord.

There's another ship which I haven't spent enough time on, but it's a good one. That's SCHOLARSHIP. I believe God's people need to get out of the Jimson weeds of ignorance. There's not anything real good about just being ignorant. The average person is more ignorant about the Bible than any other thing. Everybody ought to know the books of the Bible, then you can find something in the Bible. Then everybody ought to memorize at least 50 to 200 chapters of the Word of God in a lifetime. You just ought to have that much tucked away in your mind and heart so that if the devil slips in from behind, you can just hit him, cut him, slice him, and let him bleed. But if you don't know anything about the Bible, you might be in trouble. The Bible says, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." What do you suppose hiding the Word of God in your heart is? Don't you suppose that's memorizing the Bible? Of course it is. That's it! So, I ask all of you, let's never get lax in that area. We've built every home we have on the Bible and memorizing scripture -- I'm talking about by the chapter.

DISCIPLESHIP is an important ship. You get on that ship when you get saved and say, "I'm going to follow Jesus." DISCIPLESHIP is discipline. That ship tells you when to pray, when to fast, and how to take care of your body, your mind and your soul. Discipline is needed in the life of every Christian.

Then, I think we ought to mention the BATTLESHIP. Have you ever been on the BATTLESHIP? Are you afraid to go out on the sea on a BATTLESHIP and do battle for the Lord? I believe we're going to have a battle to the end. I know we're outnumbered and overpowered, but "...greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

Last of all, and I guess this is about the sweetest one we can be on, and that's WORSHIP. You may ask, "What are you talking about?" I'm talking about worshipping the Lord. "Are you talking about Sunday morning at 11:00?" Oh, no. I'm talking about worshipping the Lord every day. The other night when I returned from a long trip, I guess I was as tired that night as I've ever been. The Lord just reminded me how good He's been to me. The old headache that had been with me for so long was gone. The nausea that had come to plague my weakened body was gone. I fell down by the side of my bed and I began to sing and worship Him. "There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus..."

I hope you're not afraid of any of these ships. They'll carry you safely through and over. Let us go over. The disciples asked Jesus in the middle of that storm, "Lord, don't you care?" You are in a bad shape when you feel that God doesn't care. They didn't sink, and they went to the other side together. Come on, get on board now. We've got a trip to make.

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