Don’t Go Down With the Ship!

November 15, 2011

Pastor's Study

They called it unsinkable, which, in nautical terms, is about like telling a pitcher that he has a no-hitter going!

The Third Reich battleship Bismark was, at any rate, a vessel to inspire confidence in its crew and despair in its enemies.  It displaced 45,000 tons, and eight 15-inch guns bristled above stout armor platting.  “At the time I thought nothing could ever happen to this ship,” says Paul Rudek, who served aboard the vessel.

But something did happen to it.  On the morning of May 27, 1941, five British destroyers, two battleships, a cruiser, and a host of aircraft ganged up on the massive Hun and sank it.  Of 2,200 crew members, 100 survived.

What interests me about the story is what happened after the ship listed and went down.  British sailors began throwing lifelines to their German counterparts.  Rudek, among others, was saved by grabbing such a line extending from the H.M.S. Dorsetshire.  Survivors were hauled aboard, cared for, and though they ended up in prisoner-of-war camps, formed lasting friendships with their rescuers.  Some of the former German sailors still communicate with their one-time enemies.

All of this teaches us a very valuable lesson about salvation.  Sin is a Bismark of a battleship, all armor plating and booming cannon, designed to keep us safe while we live in defiance of the righteous God.  But the Father, sometimes through the swarming tactics of hundreds of Gospel missiles, eventually blasts away that proud hulk, driving us out into the open!

And what then?  When we are most vulnerable, He is most loving.  He hates the ship, but loves the sailors.  As we feel the cold waters of judgment swirl around us and finally reach out for salvation, He throws us a lifeline anchored at its other end to the cross of Christ.  He pulls us from death to life, not as prisoners but as children and friends.

Where are you, sailor?  Still holed up in your “unsinkable” fortress?  Or perhaps floundering in an ocean of confusion, your timbers shivered by a stern blast from on high?  Reach out for the lifeline and be saved.  Our freedom is never in fighting, but in the friendship of the Captain of our souls!!


Don’t go down with the ship!

About Pastor

My Family: My wife and I have been married for 30 years (wow! that's hard to believe.) We have four wonderful children and EIGHT perfect grandchildren!! Education: I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Pastoral Theology from Tennessee Temple University. After serving Bethel Baptist Church in Ontario, Canada as Youth Pastor and South Buncombe Baptist in Asheville, NC as Associate Pastor, we moved to Wake Forest, NC where I attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1995, I received my Master of Divinity degree (with languages.) From 1999-2001, I attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary pursuing my Doctor of Ministry degree in Expository Preaching. Ministry: I have had the privilege of pastoring three wonderful congregations (Montwood Baptist 1993-1997; Union Baptist 1997-2002; and, South Fork Baptist 2010-present.) In 2010, God brought a very special group of people into my life. South Fork has become much more than a ministry to my family - it has become our home. If you are looking for a Church to call home, you will not find a better group of people than the family that makes up South Fork.

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