On April 14, 1910, the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, ending the lives of over 1,500 people. As most of you know, it was an accident that could have been avoided if just a few people had been more watchful. Captain Smith was trying to beat the fastest time crossing the Atlantic, so he was travelling to avoid collisions with Icebergs. Ironically, he was going too fast to avoid collisions. This sounds like the pace some of us are one.
They disregarded the telegraph warnings of icebergs from other ships, one urgent message was never even delivered to the captain. The binoculars for the “look-out” were locked in a cabinet and not accessible to the look-out crew the night of the collision.
The lack of watchfulness created enormous disaster in the case of the Titanic. The same can be said for us. Our lack of watchfulness over our own souls can lead to enormous destruction in a life, family, work, church, and community. A lack of watchfulness can be costly.
The question I want us to wrestle with this morning is: are you a good watchman for your soul?
Know the Icebergs that Desire to Shipwreck Your Soul
1. The Flesh (Fueled by the World)
1 John 2:15-17, “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
The flesh has physical, emotional, and mental appetites.
1 Peter 2:9-11, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. *(This is how you and I were designed)* 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
The world is constantly pushing things before your flesh; advertising what you need to be satisfied. Your flesh hungers to be satisfied with those things. A destructive, warring, sinful desire is a desire which raises itself up above the “excellencies of God” and “His wonderful light.” If I look at my comfort or retirement account, if I look at my car or career, If I look at Porn or my PhD, if these things begin to block out “excellencies or the wonderful light of God,” then you know you are in a war!
I call this the Glory War.
Take not of the work of Satan in 1 Peter 5:8, “8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him…”
Peter is saying, “If you are not alert, if you have fallen into the enchanted belief that you are not at war, then you will be easily devoured.
Here is a question for you, which person are you in this proverb? “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. A sensible man watches for problems ahead and prepares to meet them. The simpleton never looks and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 27:12).
Do you know the ways in which your flesh, the world and the enemy have success against your soul? Are you watching out for those dangers and problems and taking cover, or are you a simpleton suffering the consequences? Give an example where you have seen danger and taken cover. Give another example where you have been a “simpleton.”
Avoiding the Icebergs that Desire to Shipwreck Your Soul
Recall our verses from 1 Peter: “I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (2:11); Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him…” (5:8-9).
Be Sober Minded
This is an obvious contrast to the effects of alcohol on your mind. One of the reasons you don’t drink and drive is because alcohol slows down your speed of reaction. At 40 mph, it takes 60 ft to react. If you have been drinking, it takes 120 ft to react.
So Peter warns us, “Be sober-minded.” Our adversary is like a lion, he prowls around like a cat. You need to be ready to react quickly and with clear thinking.Alcohol clouds the mind of the driver, what clouds your mind? What fogs up your brain & makes you vulnerable to Satan’s attack?
Be Watchful (Be Alert)
Who better to deliver this warning than Peter? Peter was one of the disciples who couldn’t stay awake and pray. Jesus responds in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Peter’s flesh, his body was not prepared for spiritual battle. Peter was quickly devoured by his own passions a few hours later when he denied Jesus.
Paul emphasizes the importance of the body: I Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
The discipline of your physical body helps you be a better watchman of your soul.
For those of you that played baseball as a kid, you know what it is to be “an easy out.” Are you an “easy out?” because you havem’t disciplined your body for spiritual warfare?
Resist / Abstain
There are two ways to do this. We need to “cut off” and “push out” the passions of the flesh.
Cut off: Jesus said in Matt 5:30, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” You are a good watchman of your soul, so you see many potential dangers ahead. You are using your binoculars (they are not locked up), so you cut things off; you make necessary course corrections prior to the problem.
You may have heard of the “Billy Graham Rule.” In part, it is the rule to never be alone with another woman (other than your wife). Whatever you think about the rule, he was a good watchman of his own soul. He cut things off before they had a chance to take hold of his soul.
Push out: You must push out your fleshly desires by replacing them with holy ones. Peter says it best. 1 Peter 1:13, “Be sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk…taste that the Lord is good.”
You must read your Bible (which is the #1 indicator of a growing relationship with Jesus) and be around men who stir-up your hunger!
- Do you know the ways which your Flesh, the World & the Enemy have success against your Soul? Give on example where you have seen danger and taken cover – Give one example where you have been a “simpleton.”
- Sober-minded: Alcohol clouds the mind of the driver, what clouds your mind? What fogs up your brain & makes you vulnerable to Satan’s attack?
- Watchful/Alert: Do you think the discipline of your physical body helps you be a better watchman? How? Are you an “Easy Out?”
- Resist/Abstain: Talk about your own need to “Cut off & Push out” the passions of the flesh.
Friends and Brothers,