Farewell to Fair Havens
A boat on the sea is like a man on the sea of life, as it is often compared.
The sea is unpredictable and deceitful. It shifts and changes, and moves around continuously. The sea of life, like the sea, is ever changing and shifting us about!
The sea of life, like the sea, is affected by the elements of providence. There are torrential winds and the angry waves that beat upon the ship. There are the merciless cold winters that seem to never end. There are thick black clouds and fog, and the blackness of night that take our lives off their desired course.†
Sometimes our lives seem to be at rest in the Fair Havens of peace, and happiness, and blessings. At other times it seems we are out in the midst of the violent and treacherous sea.
Sometimes the sun is shining and lifeís sea is calm and peaceful; other times it is like a raging sea, tossing us about with its angry waves, and leaving us broken and battered.
The sea sometimes can be very cold and lonely. Sometimes the sea of life, like the sea, is haunted with loneliness. Life sometimes is so bleak and dreary, and so dismal. Sometimes the thick clouds hang over us, and the darkness of night surrounds us, and the coldness of winter freezes our senses, and we doubt that the sun will ever shine again.
Like the sea, the sea of life sometimes seems so vast and empty. We are made to wonder what the purpose of life is. We feel so small, and insignificant, and unnoticed , we or caused to wonder if there really is a God Who is mindful of us. Then we remember that the Lord is in the uttermost parts of the sea.
And then there are those warnings to the mariners out on lifeís sea. There are the lighthouses of the Word of God, and the Lordís Churches, and the Lordís people, who shine the way into the harbor. There are the warnings of lifeís dangers, of sicknesses and disease, and natural catastrophes, and terrorism and wars, which all point to the great final storm that shall overtake this world. Too often, sad to say, the mariners fail to heed the warnings, and after they are caught in the tempest it is too late to change their course and mend their ways. Their lives are found wrecked upon the rocks of misery, or washed up upon the shores of sin and disgrace.
This morning we want to observe the journey on lifeís sea in the five following points: 1) Some of lifeís Fair Havens; 2) Warnings to the mariners; 3) The dangers of the sea; 4) All human attempts of salvation fail; and 5) The good news of salvation.
1. First we want to notice: Some of lifeís Fair Havens.
Acts 27:8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city [of] Lasea.
1. First, there is the Fair Haven of home:
Growing up at home as a child is somewhat like a fair haven. For most children at least, the home is a shelter from the storms and trials of life. For most Americans, life starts out in a fair haven. At home those physical needs are provided by the parents. There is plenty of food, and decent clothes, and a warm home. The home is a place of safety and protection from the dangers of the sea of life. Good parents will keep dangers away from their children as much as possible. The home is also a place of love and mutual concern for one another, or so it should be. The home is also a place of teaching the Word of God. Thus at home children are provided with all good things necessary for their proper growth and upbringing. But eventually the fair haven of home is no longer commodious, and the children deem it necessary to set sail into the sea of life.
2. Secondly, there is the Fair Haven of a sound Baptist Church:
The local church is like a fair haven. It is a shelter from the storms of life and the raging sea. It may be small, but it has all that we need for our souls. At Fair Haven Baptist Church, brothers and sisters in Christ find good, warm fellowship with one another. They find good food for their souls from the Word of God. And most importantly, they commune with the great Captain and Bishop of their souls, and receive grace upon grace from His hand. It may not always be a perfect haven. It has its faults. Yet, it is far better than the raging sea. And it is better than the big church havens where men starve to death for lack of the Word of God and good fellowship.
3. Thirdly, there is the Fair Haven of spiritual delusion:
There is the great Fair Haven of spiritual blindness and ignorance where men suppose that they are safe and secure from all harm, but are ignorant of their imminent danger. This fair haven is notorious for its intoxicating liquor of unbelief. Here men drink unbelief like water. They believe not in God nor the devil. They believe not in Heaven or hell. They donít believe in the eternal soul, but they believe that life ends at the grave. Therefore they think all is well with their soul. They are blind and ignorant of their soulís danger of being swallowed up, as it were, by the quick sands of hell.
4. Fourthly, there is the Fair Haven of religious experiences:
A man went to a meeting at fair haven emotionalism church and had a very powerful emotional experience. Afterwards he was in emotional ecstasy for days, but by and by the emotional feeling left him. Sad to say, but the man never heard or trusted in the true gospel of the grace of God. Finally the man abandoned his Fair Haven of religious experience, because it provided him no lasting peace or true comfort.
5. Fifthly, there is the Fair Haven of ďworks for salvationĒ:
This Fair Haven seems to be very fair and appealing to the flesh, but after a while this Fair Haven may not seem so fair. The Fair Haven of works for salvation gives all its members doubts and fears about their salvation, and uncertainties about whether they have done enough good to make it to Heaven. People who stay in this Fair Haven are of all men most miserable. They never know if the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is sufficient to get them through the winter.
2. Secondly, we want to notice: Warnings to the mariners.
Acts 27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished [them], 10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. 11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
Many are the warnings to people who would sail on lifeís seas.
1.† First, parents warn their children:
Parents warn their children of sailing the wrong directions in life, and with the wrong people, and on the perilous seas of sin and destruction. Like Paul, they see the dangers ahead. Parents know what dangers lie ahead on lifeís sea, but too often times children refuse to hear the good advice of their parents. Instead they listen to the advice of their friends and other influences in their lives. So off they go in the wrong direction, and meet with many a harm and unrecoverable loss.
2.† Secondly, pastors warn their church members:
Pastors warn their church members of the dangers of sailing out of Godís good will, into the dangers that accompany disobedience to God and His chastening hand. Pastors warn church members against sailing into the great perilous sea of unfaithfulness. Oh, beloved, is there any returning when a church member wanders out onto this sea of unfaithfulness. The pastor warns against sailing into the sea of sin, where there are dangers innumerable, and one is sure to make ship wreck of his life. But so often they will not here these warnings, and they set sail anyway, believing some other guide or some other counselor more than they believe their pastor that God gave them to guide them and shepherd them.
3.† Thirdly, the warnings of the lighthouse:
There are the warnings that shine from the lighthouse of the Lordís Church to lost sinners. The lighthouse warns men to see the destructive rocks and shoals of Godís judgment around you that will destroy your ship. Repent of your sins and wicked ways, and your rebellion against God. Look and see the judgment all around you before it is too late. Trust in the Gospel Light of the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Believe that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day for you. Repent and believe this gospel of Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.
4.† Fourthly, there are the warnings of lifeís trials and troubles:
There are times when it seems that men are brought to the very door of death, but they are very narrowly delivered. There are times when grief and heartaches, and sickness and disease bring men down to the brink of woe, and it seems there is no recovering. These are also warnings to flee from the dangers of lifeís sea, and sail to that Haven of Rest, which is salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But no sooner are they mended, they are back out on that sea of sin again!
3. Thirdly this morning: The dangers of the sea.
Acts 27:13-15 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained [their] purpose, loosing [thence], they sailed close by Crete. 14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let [her] drive.
1.† First we want to notice; the danger of a deceitful sea:
The south wind is blowing softly and it looks like smooth sailing ahead. But little do they know that a typhoon is just beyond the calm breeze.
Lifeís sea can be very deceitful. Sailing on the sea of sin, or on the sea disobedience to the will of God may appear to be smooth and calm. But look out! Your heading into certain disaster!
Christian, you canít venture out of the will of God without running into the fierce storm of Godís chastisement. Lost sinner, the sea of sin might look calm and peaceful, but there is a hurricane awaiting you! You will suffer loss to the ship, and even of your life and soul. Donít be deceived by the deceitful sea of sin!
How destructive is sin to both the body and soul! We want to notice just a few of the most common and most destructive sins that people may encounter on lifeís sea.
1. Alcohol and drug abuse. These sins make you feel so good! What is wrong with these sins?
∑ They will destroy your brain and other body organs
∑ They will destroy your ability to think and reason rationally
∑ They will kill your spirit and destroy you emotionally
∑ They will destroy your ambition and ability to work
∑ They will endanger your life and the lives of others around you
∑ They will lead you into sin of every other kind
∑ Like quicksand, these sins will pull you down to the pit of hell, except God intervenes!
∑ Young people especially, stay clear of drugs and alcohol!
2. Adultery and fornication. These sins feel so good! What could be wrong with them?
∑ They are wicked sins against God Almighty and the Lord Jesus Christ and He hates them.
∑ They will put you at risk of contracting a deadly disease such as AIDS or Hepatitis.
∑ They will ruin your good name and your testimony for life; they will bring to great shame.
∑ Like a whirlpool, these sins will suck you down to the pit of hell, except God intervenes!
∑ Some of these immoral occupations include thievery of every kind, gambling, prostitution, drug dealing, and alcohol sales, etc.
∑ These will shipwreck your life, and dash you upon the rocks of Godís judgment!
∑ These include cultist religions such as Mormonism, J. False Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventism, Christian Science, all of the eastern religions, etc. It also includes any in the realm of Christendom that preach any other gospel than the gospel of the grace of God.
∑ False religion will deceive your very soul, and lead you down to the pit of hell.
4. Fourthly we want to notice: All human attempts of salvation fail.
Acts 27:16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: 17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. 18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next [day] they lightened the ship; 19 And the third [day] we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on [us], all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
All their attempts to save themselves were in vain. The helps that were used to undergird the ship, and then lightening the ship by casting out unnecessary cargo, and finally casting out the tackling of the ship did not save them from the raging sea.
l. Sinners use helps to undergird their lives.
Many people today are trying to use helps to mend and save their battered and tattered lives. They do everything within their power to patch up the damage that sin has done to their bodies, and to their emotions, and to their minds. But in the long run it does them little good.
2. Sinners try to lighten the load of sin from their lives.
In hopes of saving themselves they attempt to clean up their lives by casting out the cargo. They try to cast the sinful things out of their lives that are destroying them, but by this time it is too late to help.
3. Sinners try casting out the tackling from their lives that is leading them into destruction.
In desperation they try total reform. They throw out those things that led them into the destructive storm of sin. These include ungodly counsels, and humanistic philosophies, and sinful habits and lifestyles that navigated their lives into sin and ruin. But now it is too little too late.
4. Finally, all hopes that they should be saved is taken away!
Beloved this sounds dreadful and mournful. But in reality, this might be the best thing that ever happens to a lost sinner or backslidden saint. All their hopes of saving themselves is taken away. They are brought to the end of themselves. They are brought to where their only hope left is God.
Oh, beloved, how I would love to see many such persons brought to this place in their lives!
5. Fifthly and finally we want to notice: The good news of salvation!
Acts 27:21-22 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. 22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of [any manís] life among you, but of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
After Paul gave them a good ďI told you soĒ, he told them the good news of salvation, that is, the temporal deliverance of their lives. I wonder how many of those men also received that salvation of their souls!
After lost sinners come to the end of themselves, and of all their hopes of saving themselves, then and only then is God pleased to reveal Himself, and salvation through faith in the gospel of Jesus.
How is it with you this morning?
Are you a Christian who has sailed out of Godís Will? Have you said ďFarewell to the Fair HavensĒ of the Lordís Church and fellowship with the Lord?
If so, may the Lord help you now, and bring you back into the Fair Haven of his will.
Are you a lost sinner, lost on the treacherous see of sin?
If so, your only hope is to come to the end of yourself and of all hopes of saving yourself. Next, you need to repent, that is, turn from your sins and wicked ways to God, and believe the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ today. Believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day for you!