Our life can be likened to an ocean voyage. To make a sea voyage safe we must have a good ship. We must be in the ship. Christ built the church. (Matt. 16:18) He built just one. We read about the beginning of this church in Acts 2. In the last verse of the chapter we are told that the Lord added to the church daily the ones who were being saved ... To be saved we must get into the church. The Lord has not promised to save men and women out of the church, but he has promised to save the faithful members of the church. (Eph. 5:23; Rev. 2:10; 22:14) How thankful we ought to be that this ship has been provided for us in which we can make the voyage of life safe and land on the shores of eternity!
A ship could be ever so seaworthy, but if the pilot knew not how to manage it, disaster would follow. The church has a master Pilot. He knows where the dangers are. He knows how to take us through safely. (Heb. 5 :8, 9) There is no danger of being lost so long as we stay in the ship that is being piloted by this master Pilot. (Eph. 5 :23-27)
A ship at sea must be directed by a good compass. It cannot be guided just by the feelings of the passengers ... The Holy Spirit is our compass. He works through the word of God. On the very birthday of the church the apostles were all filled with the Holy Ghost and spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts. 2:4) ... When we listen to the teaching of these inspired men, we are being directed by the Holy Spirit. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) We got the Bible by holy men of God speaking as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1:21) May God help us not to try to take the guiding of the church into our own hands, but to be ever willing to be guided by the Holy Spirit through the word.
When a ship is at sea, charts become very important. These charts must be absolutely accurate. God be thanked that He has given us a reliable map. (Ps. 119:104, 105) What better map do we need? ... (Acts 20:32) ... We need to chart our course by the same map. Everything is plainly marked on this map. (2 Pet. 1:3; Jam. 1:21) There are many hard storms on the sea. The cables must be strong to hold the ship in such distress. We need a strong cable to hold us amid the storms of life ... Our anchor is hope. (Rom. 8:24, 25; 15:4; Col. 1:5; Heb. 6:19) Under ordinary circumstances sailors are a happy group. Thus it is with the Christian on the voyage of life. He is indeed happy. (Rom. 12:15) Christians have much cause for rejoicing. (1 Pet. 4:14)
Ships have a time set for sailing. If we are not there at sailing time, we "miss the boat." After it has sailed, it is too late to catch it. In Luke 12:16-21 the Lord gives us a parable concerning a certain rich man. His ground brought forth plentifully. He had so much that he did not know what to do with it. He decided to pull down his barns and build greater. There he would bestow all of his fruits and his goods. Then he thought he could take it easy eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him: "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided ?" He missed the boat. He was not ready at sailing time. So many in our day are so concerned about the things of this life and are not making the preparation for eternity. Jesus said that he must work while it was day. He knew the night was coming, when no man could work. (John 9:4) We do not know what a day will bring forth. (James 4:14.) Our days are short. (Psalms 90:10) Why do you tarry? Why do you not arise and be baptized and wash away your sins? (Acts 22:16)
When taking a voyage we must pay the fare. We cannot get on the old ship of Zion without paying the fare. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16) There is not a person in the New Testament church but what did that very thing to get in. That command came from the Captain. It is his "boat." On the birthday of the church the inspired apostles told believers that they would have to repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:37, 38) To land safely on the other side of the ocean of life, the passengers (Christians) must continue to obey the rules and regulations. (2 Peter 1:3-11; Titus 2:11-13; Revelation 22:14.) Bon voyage! -Preach the Word, Vol. 3, pp. 64-68.
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