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Faith Shipwrecked?
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Learn How to Resist the Siren's Song

In Greek mythology (it was actually their "theology"), there was a certain island that was surrounded by dangerous rocks. On the island were three sea nymphs -- the "Sirens" as they were known. They sat near the shore and sang beautiful songs to the seamen who sailed by. So beautiful were their songs, and so enchanted was their singing, that all who heard them were involuntarily drawn to the shoreline. Their vessels crashed on the jagged rocks leaving the sailors shipwrecked and without hope.

There was no mercy, no pity. The Sirens didn't care that they destroyed the lives of these men. They didn't care that they had wives, mothers, and children whose lives would be forever changed because of their song. Destruction was their "calling." All the sailors knew better, but resistance seemed futile.

To foil the Sirens' evil intent, one sea captain, Odysseus, strapped himself to the ship's mast and plugged the ears of his men with wax. It worked. They made it safely past the island. But Jason and the Argonauts were saved from the Sirens' Song in a much different way---a way that is very instructive...

Jason enlisted the help of a skilled musician, Orpheus, whose songs were lovelier than the beautiful-but-dangerous Siren trio. The sailors and Jason could only hear the voice and music of Orpheus, their savior. The Sirens' Song---and their evil enticement---had been deafened by a greater voice.

The Sirens' Song toward us is also very enticing. If sin were dull or disgusting to us, we would never steer toward the rocks. Let's be honest, sin is fun...for a while. When we sin, it's because we wanted to. No one (including the Devil) twisted our arms. We decided to sin, it's that simple.

1 Timothy 1:19 says we should hold fast our "faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith."

We often hear the Sirens' Song of temptation and steer toward it thinking, "Maybe it'll be worth it this time." Even though we know it's not.

Sometimes we are deceived. Sometimes we deceive ourselves. So what shall we say then, "There's nothing we can do. The Sirens' Song is too strong for us." Is there a remedy? What can we do to resist?

Let's face it, we can't be like Odysseus -- strap ourselves down and pour wax into our ears -- because our hearts would still be open and receptive to the Siren' Song. ("Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lusts." James 1:14) So what's the answer? The answer is in Jason's wisdom... Listen to a more beautiful song!

God's awesome power "has granted to us everything that pertains to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." (2 Peter 1:3)

We have (past tense) been given "everything that pertains to life and godliness." God hasn't reserved His 'secret ingredient' for only a chosen few. When we are born again, we come fully equipped.

Verse 4 gives us the source of our hope! "For by these (God's glory and excellence) He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order than by them (the promises) you might become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." (i.e. shipwreck) (2 Peter 1:4)

God has provided a way of escape. His "precious and magnificent Promises"! God has so much more to offer us than "the world." God's Song is much more beautiful. His promises are certain and sure. His love and desire for us is unmatched.

God wants the very best for us. (Compare that with the Thief who "comes to steal, kill and destroy" --Jesus came that we would have "life more abundantly." John 10:10.) 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man (there are no 'special temptations'); and God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able (we can't say, 'I couldn't help it'), but with the temptation will (every time) provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it."

The next time you hear the Sirens' Song - enticing you toward sin and destruction - listen closely with your spiritual ears! You will hear the Savior, Jesus, singing His "precious and magnificent promises" over your life.

Listen closely, steer toward His voice, and you will live to sail again another day.
--by Barry Herring

A Glimpse of Our Destiny

"We" as God's elect are not being saved and delivered from this present darkness to sit around heaven on clouds plucking harps! His purposes are much greater than that---far beyond our power to imagine!

Hebrews, chapter 2, gives us a wonderful glimpse into the purposes of God. Verses 3 and 4 refer to the greatness of our salvation and the fact that God had confirmed it through signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Notice that added to this is the phrase, "according to his own will." Always we see God's sovereignty lifted up!

Verse 5 begins to hint at the ultimate goal of our salvation: "For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak." Here we see that there's a world that's yet to come and that God intends for someone to rule over it. Ruling over the world to come is not the destiny of angels. God has someone else in mind.

We know from Heb. 1:2 & 10-11 that the earth and the heavens were created by God's Son and that this creation will perish. There's a day and an hour already set on God's calendar when He will utterly destroy this sin-corrupted creation by fire. He intends to replace it with "... new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." II Pet. 3:13. That new earth will not be empty and uninhabited: someone will be there to enjoy it!

In Heb. 2:6-8 the writer quotes from Psalm 8 where God gave David a glimpse of His purpose in creating man. Verse 7 and the first part of verse 8 get to the heart of the matter: "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownest him with glory and honour and didst set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet."

The expression, "a little lower than the angels," would be better translated, "for a little while lower than the angels." It's a question of time. God's intention for man was to subject him temporarily to a place below that of the angels but ultimately that man should rule not only over the physical creation but even over the angels! Paul makes reference to this in I Cor. 6:3 where he says, "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" Don't ask me to explain that, but it certainly is part of a pattern in the scriptures that points to the great destiny God had in mind in creating man.

Heb. 2:8 confirms this as the writer draws our attention to the word "all": "For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him." He continues with the observation, "But now we see not yet all things put under him."

Obviously, man has not fulfilled his destiny. Despite his scientific achievements which point to his creation in the image of God, he has fallen under the dominion of sin and death and lives as a pawn in Satan's hands awaiting destruction. Is that to be the end of it? Has God's plan been set aside, thwarted? Never!

It's true that as we look around, man has missed God's purpose and this creation is far from under his control. In fact, everything man touches, he corrupts. What, then, gave the writer hope? His hope came, not from what he saw in man, but from the fact that he saw Jesus! This kind of seeing is only possible by Divine revelation.

Verse 9 says, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

For the purpose of God to be fulfilled it was necessary for His Son to leave behind the glories of heaven and to come and live as a man, to take upon himself the sorrows and sufferings, and ultimately the sin, of this present world. He became, in a real sense, the embodiment of a corrupted creation. Yet within Him was the very life, the seed, of the new creation God had purposed to bring forth.

That's why, in John 12:23-24, Jesus compares his approaching death to planting a "corn of wheat." If you don't plant wheat all you have is that wheat. If you plant it, however, the outward part dies, but the life within springs up resulting in a multiplied harvest of that life. This is where the "wheat" from the Matt. 13 parable comes from---Christ!

That's the principle we see at work throughout God's kingdom in this world: life out of death. When God judged the sin of the world in the person of His Son He passed sentence upon this world---a sentence that will shortly be carried out. Christ, for His part, willingly gave up His life, in effect joining His Father's condemnation of this world. But He gave up His life in the knowledge of what it meant to have God's life within. That life could never die and its fruit would be eternal! Through His death we live! A way of escape from the fate of this world has been opened.

When He Comes!

In 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 Paul comforted the persecuted Christians of Thessalonica with these words: "God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you." Judgment for the world; deliverance for the saints.

The wonderful words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 are often quoted at the funerals of believers: "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Therefore encourage each other with these words." What an awesome hope!

The words of 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 are also often used: "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed---in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."