1 John 2:16-17 | John 3:16 | Romans 12:2
This whole subject gives me a sinking feeling…
Do you want to hear something crazy? As of this writing, there are not one, but two full size replicas of the Titanic under construction. One is in China, and will be permanently docked. The other, in Australia, has plans to retrace the ill-fated maiden voyage of the original White Star LIne flagship that so famously sank in 1912.
You read that right: a company is planning to take passengers on the same trip that, 100 years ago, ended with an iceberg and a shortage of lifeboats in the most notorious maritime disaster in history. Crazy, right?
What if you went back in time and sailed as a crew member on the original 1912 voyage? Would it be hard to keep the brass railings shiny, knowing that the ship was destined for the icy depths of the North Atlantic?
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.1 John 2:16-17 NLT
The Apostle Paul tells us that the world only offers cravings and pride. We can only want stuff and then feel proud if we get it. But all of that stuff is only temporary… You see, the ship is sinking! This world is fading away, so you have a choice: the shiniest brass on the ocean floor, or living forever.
You should know that, like the new Australian Titanic, our sinking world has a lifeboat for everyone (and–incidentally–air conditioning). God doesn’t want anyone going down with the ship.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16 NLT
Through belief in Jesus, you can live with God forever. You have a lifeboat. But how can you make the most of your voyage?
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2 NLT
God wants to make you a new person by changing the way you think. He wants you to know his will. It’s good for you (and everyone) and you will like it.
On the other hand, the behavior and customs of this Titanic world are crazy. Don’t love that crazy stuff! It’s going to end up cold and wet.
Focusing on the things of this world will leave you the same way. And besides, that would be like polishing brass on the Titanic.
Questions for Group Discussion
- What is some crazy stuff that people love? What is the crazy stuff you love?
- How is falling in love with the behavior and customs of this world (from Romans 12:2) “polishing brass on the Titanic”?
- What is the problem with cravings and pride of ownership or achievement? Is it satisfying? Is it enduring? Is there satisfaction in pleasing God?
Challenge: Model Citizen
Sometimes to get your head around something, you have to get your hands around it.
You’re going to build a ship. More specifically, you’re going to build an allegorical model of a ship. Your model ship will represent the sinking ship of this world. Continue the Titanic metaphor from above in three dimensional format.
- Use whatever material is easiest for you. Sheet metal? Great! Heavy weight copy paper? Wonderful. Cement? Well, okay…
- Include elements that represent the behavior, customs, cravings, and pride of this world. This is your crazy stuff–please don’t love it.
- Be sure to include a lifeboat or two. Get as literal or abstract as you prefer with this one.
- Fight the urge to label each element. On the other hand, sometimes you have to spell things out to truly connect with your audience. Make the wise choice…but don’t lose sleep over it.