For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Malachi 4:2

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Galatians 6:14
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Let the motto upon your whole ministry be - "Christ is All!" - Mather

Monday, October 14, 2019

Remembering God While Visiting A Battleship

1. Remember the greatness of God

The USS New Jersey is huge! It’s the length of three football fields. It weighs 60,000 tons fully loaded. Its armor is steel that ranges from 6 inches to 20 inches thick. Its 16 inch guns shoot a shell that weighs 2,700 pounds (the weight of a car) 23 miles. It is a big and powerful ship.

When you see big and powerful creations of mankind, you ought to be reminded of the bigness and greatness of God. As the children’s song states: “My God is so big and so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God cannot do!” I remember when I reported to my first ship in the Navy, I was overwhelmed by the size of the ship and by the size of the task of serving as an officer on board. God brought me comfort by reminding me of His superior greatest and power in Isaiah 40.

a. The great nations who created battleships are like drops in a bucket compared to God: they are even like dust:

Isaiah 40:15: Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.

b. God holds the vast oceans on which battleships sail in the palm of His hand:

Isaiah 40:12: Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

c. The men and women who designed this ship and sailed her and served on her are all dead or will die. This ship needs constant repair and refurbishing and will eventually totally deteriorate, but God and His Word last forever and need no help or anything else from anyone:

Isaiah 40:8: The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Acts 17:24-25: The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

d. When you are out in the middle of the ocean on a ship like this, you can see the stars more clearly because there is no background light. It’s an amazing view that reminds us of the greatness of God:

Isaiah 40:26: Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

e. Rulers of the earth (kings and presidents) sent these ships to obey their orders to protect and defend, but God is the Ruler above all rulers: the President of presidents! He is King of kings and Lord of lords!

Isaiah 40:21-23: Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

f. Many men and women served on this ship in the vigor and strength of their youth. Even they grew weary in various battles, but our God never grows tired or weary:

Isaiah 40:28-31: Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

2. Remember our greatest battle has been won by Jesus through His death and resurrection

Battleships were created to protect nations from their enemies and to fight against and destroy the greatest threats any nation faced to ensure they could live in peace. Our greatest threats are not physical enemies or warring nations, but the world, the flesh (our own sin), and the devil. We needed to be delivered from the threat of God’s wrath because of our sin. God so loved sinners that He sent Jesus to deliver us from all of these threats and enemies by dying on the cross for our sins, bearing the wrath and curse of God, and rising from the dead. Like Noah’s ark (another kind of ship) saved God’s people from God’s wrath in Noah’s day, so Jesus is like our great battleship Who absorbed God’s wrath so we might be saved!

Romans 5:8: God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Colossians 2:13-15: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers & authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

1 John 3:8: Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

Hebrews 2:14-15: Since . . . the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

Romans 5:1: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 17:30-31: now he commands all people everywhere to repent,  because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

1 Cor. 15:25-26, 55-58: For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death . . . "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

3. Remember we are fighting in a battle to be more like Jesus

Battleships were made for war. They were made to fight enemies. As Christians, we have enemies. Because Jesus has won the major battle against sin and the devil, and because we have been united to Christ by faith and have His Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are in a daily battle to fight against the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Battleships are covered with thick, steel armor for protection from their enemies. We too must put on our armor – the full armor of God.

Ephesians 6:10-18: Finally, be strong in the Lord & in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh & blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, & having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, & having put on the breastplate of righteousness, &, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; & take the helmet of salvation, & the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5: For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ

4. Remember you must exercise self-control and discipline as you fight to grow in Christ

The military personnel who served on this battleship had to be disciplined. Military training and military life demands discipline and self-control. Those who stand watch must keep awake, alert, and watchful. In the same way, those who follow Christ must, by the power of the Holy Spirit and by reliance on God, exercise self-control and discipline themselves for godliness. They must be watchful to avoid temptation, pursue God in His Word and in prayer, and seek the help, fellowship, and oversight of the local church.

1 Timothy 4:7-8: Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27: Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control

1 Corinthians 16:13: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

Colossians 4:2: Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

5. Remember that Jesus Christ must have control of all parts of your life as Lord and King

As you walk through the battleship, notice that it is “compartmentalized.” The ship is made up of numerous smaller compartments that can each be sealed off and made watertight so that if one or two compartments are damaged in battle, those compartments can be sealed shut so that water damage will not spread (notice the hatches – doors – that can be sealed shut and made watertight). This is great for ships to help them sustain damage and still remain afloat. But if you do this with your life in Christ, you will not last long in the Christian fight to be more like Christ. We must never “compartmentalize” our lives with Christ. Robert Munger’s little booklet, “My Heart Christ’s Home” really helped me see this clearly. When you trust in Jesus Christ, He must have access and control over all of your life, not just parts of it. He wants all of you to come under His rule and Lordship: your heart, your intellect, your will, your emotions, your body, your sex life, your life at home, your life at work, your life at school, your life with money, your life on the internet, your life in all of your relationships – all of it! Jesus will not allow you to say to Him: “Not that compartment – I can handle that on my own Jesus!” You must open up every compartment and aspect of your life to Him and submit to His Lordship in every area. You also cannot hide sin and cherish sin and expect to grow in Christ-likeness.

Acts 16:31: Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved

Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Luke 9:23-24: If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Proverbs 28:13: Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Psalm 66:18: If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

1 John 1:8-9: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Philippians 3:7-8: But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ


6. Remember we are under authority and must submit to and respect authority

Battleships represent the powerful authority of the state or civil government. God has placed us all under authority. First and foremost we are under His authority. But He has also placed us under other authorities like parents, other family members, teachers, church leaders, and civil authorities (police, government leaders, etc.). We should seek to respect and obey those authorities, as long as they do not contradict God and His Word. We must always obey God rather than men if we must choose between the two.

Romans 13:1-7: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Acts 5:29: But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”

7. Remember the gift of living in a free country and be thankful

One powerful memory I have from my high school years was listening to the national anthem before one of my wrestling matches and being overwhelmed with thankfulness that I was born in a free country. We enjoy numerous freedoms in the United States that many others do not enjoy. Most importantly, we have the freedom to worship the one true and living God according to His Word. We have the freedom to worship and serve the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We have the freedom to meet with other Christians to pursue God together in the local church. This is a rich blessing that we should never take for granted. Many other people all over the world do not have this same freedom. Men and women, like those who served on this battleship, died so that we might have that freedom. Be thankful.

1 Thess. 5:18: give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

8. Remember that God is a warrior – delight in Him and fear Him

Battleships are mighty war machines. They are strong fortresses and safe places for those who take refuge within them, but they are a horrific terror to those who fight against them. God is described in the Bible as a mighty warrior (think of how he fought against Pharaoh and the Egyptians to set His people free from slavery), and Jesus is coming back to make war on all His and our enemies. We should rejoice in our mighty warrior God – He is a refuge of safety for us. And we should fear ever turning away from Him to go our own way. On the last day, we want to be on His side by trusting wholly in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone according to the Bible alone and all for the glory of God alone!

Exodus 15:2-3: The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name.

Isaiah 42:13: The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.

Proverbs 18:10: The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Hebrews 12:28-29: let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Revelation 19:11-16: Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

9. Remember we are all made in God’s image and Jesus died and rose for all nations

While this battleship was in service, our African-American brothers and sisters were not treated with love, equality, and dignity. Racism, segregation, and white supremacy ruled and was protected by law while this ship served. Many African-Americans fought for their country, but their country did not love and respect them in return. We must reject all of this evil racism. We must always remember that God created every human being in His own image, equal in value and dignity. And Jesus died to save sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation in order to make us one in Christ.

Genesis 1:26-27: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Acts 17:26: And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place

Matthew 22:37-39: And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Ephesians 2:14-16: For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

John 17:20-22: I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one . . . .

Colossians 3:11: Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Revelation 5:9: And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation”

10. Remember to pray for peace in the world, the salvation of sinners, and the return of Christ

A Battleship is a sad reminder of the fact that this world is fallen and not the way it’s supposed to be. There is sin in the world which leads to violence, hatred, murder, war, and death. May your visit remind you to pray for an end to violence, oppression, evil, injustice, and war around the world. May your visit remind you to pray for the salvation of sinners through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – He is the only true and final answer to all of these evils. And may your visit remind you to pray for Jesus to return and to return quickly. Only when He returns will there be true and lasting peace on earth.

Luke 18:1: they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:17: pray without ceasing

Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Revelation 21:1-4; 22:1-5, 20: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” . . . Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever . . . He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

11. Remember to boast only in the cross

I served in the United States Navy for five years after I graduated from college. It was one of the hardest, most humbling times of my life. God used many experiences while I was in the Navy to show me that I truly have nothing to be proud about or to boast in, in and of myself. God used the Navy to show me that “I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all. But Jesus Christ is my all in all.” That is a lesson I’m still learning today, and a lesson I must fight to remember every moment of every day.

James 4:6: But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Isaiah 57:15: For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24: Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

1 Corinthians 1:31: Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Galatians 6:14: But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 

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