A STRONG ROPE FOR ROUGH SEAS
Eccl. 4:9-12. These verses speak of the value of fellowship. They remind us that two are better than one and the three together are better than two together. Solomon uses the analogy of a three-fold cord. He reminds us that one stranded cord is weak by itself. A double-stranded cord is stronger, but that a three-stranded rope is stronger than either. If I were sailing a stormy sea and wanted to drop my anchor for stability in the storm, I would want such a strong rope. I would want something that would allow me to get anchored and weather the storm that was assailing me.
There are times when life is like a stormy sea. Times when we need to anchor ourselves in Someone stronger than ourselves. Times when we need such a strong rope to bind us to a Rock of safety. Our text verse tells us of such a three-fold spiritual rope. When these three things, Faith, Hope, and Love are utilized and exercised together, they enable us to weather any storm that arises in our lives.
If we aren’t properly anchored, there is a tendency to drift when the storms come. If we aren’t tied connected well enough by this strong, three-fold cord, then when the going gets too tough, we just might find ourselves trying to run away. Psalm 118:27 speaks of binding sacrifices to the horns of the altar. This was done to prevent them from running away until it was their time to die. Well, we are told to present our bodies a living sacrifice to the Lord, Rom. 12:1. Since this is true, and since we have a tendency to drift away and run away when the pressure is on, then we need to bind ourselves to the things of God and determine in our hearts that we will stand for Him, regardless of what others do!
Let’s examine the three-fold cord Paul speaks of in 1 Cor. 13:13. I believe you will see that this cord is a Strong Rope For The Rough Seas Of Life!
THE CORD OF A CONVINCED FAITH
Faith Defined – Heb. 11:1 – Faith is not a blind leap into the dark, but it is a confident leap into the arms of God. Often the end is not in view when this leap is made, but the landing is never in doubt! Faith has the capacity to behold what the eyes cannot see. Faith is the knowledge that God is in absolute control of all the situations of life and that He is working in everything, all the time, Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11. Faith cashes the checks God has written in His Word!
Faith Demanded – There is only one life that pleases the Lord and it is the life lived in faith, Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23. The secret to experiencing and enjoying God’s best is to let go of your life, place it in His hands and live it His way.
Faith Demonstrated – Heb. 11:3-40 Genuine biblical faith can be seen in thousands of ways in the Bible and within your life and mine. It takes faith to stand when others are falling! It takes faith to serve God when those around you won’t. It takes faith to follow God into an unknown future, believing that He will work all things ours for your good and His glory!
It takes faith to be like the Widow of Zarephath, 1 Kings 17. It takes faith to be a Daniel, to be a Shadrach, a Meshach and an Abednego. It takes faith to be an Abraham, a David, Peter, a blind man looking for a miracle. But, it takes faith to be a parent, a partner in a marriage, a friend, deals with sickness, goes to work, etc. Life is all about faith! When we learn that God is in absolute control of it all, then it will bind us more securely to Him and His will for us!
THE CORD OF A CONFIDENT HOPE
Hope’s Features – What is hope? The dictionary defines it as “to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely.” Biblical hope is something far different. Biblical hope is, “A confident expectation which rests upon the promises of God.” In other words, Hope is believing that God’s Word is true and can be believed. Hope’s Focus – Genuine hope is not wishful thinking, but a confident expectation that God will do as He has promised. Hope takes the Word of God at face value! (Psa. 119:89; Matt. 24:35 – Friends, we can believe the Bible!)
THE CORD OF A CHRISTLIKE LOVE
Love’s Nature – Genuine biblical love is a rare commodity in this world. There are plenty of manifestations of fleshly and worldly love, but genuine, biblical love is hard to find! It is Constant – Jer. 31:3; It is Impartial – John 3:16 and it is Stable – Rom. 8:38-39. Biblical love is described in 1 Cor. 13:4-8. (Note: Biblical love loves in spite of ………. all! Notice 1 John 4:7-13; 1 John 4:19-21.)
Love’s Necessity – Matt. 22:36-40; 1 Cor. 13:1-3. (Note: If you do not possess the right kind of horizontal love, that is, love for your fellow man, you will fall out. If you do not possess the right kind of vertical love, that is, love for the Lord, you will fall away!) Without genuine, biblical love, we are wasting our time trying to live for the Lord. Why? Because we will always be out of step on one level or the other! When we love the Lord as we should, nothing will be allowed between us. When we love our brother as we should, nothing will be tolerated between us! It is genuine love that keeps all the relationships in our life in perfect balance!
Here is the invitation: Are you bound to God, His work and His people with this three-fold cord this evening? If not, bring your sacrifice, you, Rom. 12:1, to this altar and bind it to the horns of the altar! If you can see that you are bound with 1 cord, but not the other two; or with two of them, but one is missing, I want you to know that 1 or 2 of them is not going to be enough! You need all three cords binding your life to the altar for the glory of God.