at Southside Baptist Church by Tony Seiber
If you would, please, take your Bibles now at this time and turn
to Psalm 107. Let’s look
at verse twenty-three. Our text this morning will be Psalm 107, verses
twenty-three through thirty. I’d like to ask you to do something maybe
you don’t normally do, but I want you to do this with me this morning.
I want you to read these scriptures with me aloud as I read them. Psalm
107, starting in verse twenty-three.
that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep, For he
commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves
thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths:
their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and
stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry
unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their
distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are
still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them
unto their desired haven.
bow for prayer. Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for your
love for us and for your Word. And, Lord, regardless of the storms that
we go through in this life, we know that with you as our Lord and Savior
we have nothing to fear because you will bring us to our desired
haven. And yet, Lord, there may be some here today that are tossed upon
life’s sea, and they’re without hope, without help, and
they’re in danger of losing their eternal souls. And I pray, Father,
that you’d speak to anyone like that today, that they might be saved. I
know that there are also among our number many Christians that are in
the storms of life and they’re having a difficult
time, and Lord, your Word can give the comfort that we need, the
assurance that we need, an anchor for our souls. And I pray, Lord, that
you would speak through your Word to our hearts today. Lord, I need your
help. I cannot do anything, but you can do everything, and so I ask you,
Oh Holy Spirit of God, move in this place today in my heart and in the
hearts of all these people. And we’ll give you the praise and the
glory for all that you do, for it’s in Jesus’ precious name we ask
that go down to the sea in ships--you know I think probably that few
things are more frightening in the experience of man than to find
yourself at the mercy of the sea—particularly in a storm at sea. This
passage describes a storm at sea as the boat is reeling to and fro and the
waves are high and boisterous. I’ve read a lot about what it’s like
to be on the ocean—about going around the horn where the waves get so
high that the old ships, the old sailing ships used to ride up to
the crest of the waves to the point that the mainmast was actually
pointing down toward the bottom of the ocean before finally the ship
would come over the top and settle back down into the next trough. What
a horrible thing to even imagine!
And yet, my fascination with the sea has led me to consider the
greatness of God.
know, you look at the sea and it reminds you of
the vastness of God himself who created it, and not only so, but
it reminds you of the frailty of man. Here is man. At sea. In a storm.
He has nothing for his defense. If he’s outside the boat, he’s dead,
and he knows it. And if he’s out there looking in every direction and
he sees no land anywhere, nothing but the sea, he realizes how dependent
he is upon that boat.
know, many, many years ago, there was a time when ships were the most
important assets that a nation had, and it was their pride to be able to
boast of the biggest and the greatest. And in these days prior to the
airplanes, ships were the fastest way to get from one point to
another. And yet many times those ships did not make it all the way in
their circuit across the sea. The most famous ship disaster, I suppose
in all time, was the destruction of the White Star Liner Titanic
in April of 1912.
Titanic was supposed to be the greatest ship that had ever been
constructed by man. It was 883 feet long. That’s more than twelve
times the length of Columbus’s flag ship. It displaced 66,000 tons of
water, had sixteen water-tight compartments, and it was considered to be
such a great marvel of engineering that it was unsinkable. The London
Times came out and declared it to be so.
it prepared for its maiden voyage from England, in April of 1912, there
was every reason to believe that this great, huge luxury liner, the
greatest ship that had ever been built, would make its voyage from
England to New York City. After all, it was the crowning achievement of
man’s engineering. And not only was it a tremendous ship, but it was
also captained by a man with forty years of experience with the sea.
Surely and undoubtedly, this great ship would be able to carry its
passengers safely across the Atlantic Ocean. But what was unknown to the
people, over 2,000 people that boarded that ship in April of 1912, was
that this great ship was on a collision course. Already at sea, before
this ship set sail from England, ice had been released from great
glaciers up in Greenland and was making its way ominously, following the
currents of the Labrador stream down into the waters of the North
Atlantic. Already, there was a collision in the making.
know, it’s an interesting thing to note some things about this ship,
because many things about the Titanic remind us of the world we
live in today. As the people boarded that ship, there were a lot of
things in that ship that we see in this “space ship” earth we live
on today. You see, the Titanic was a place of pride just as our
world today is a place of pride. You know, as the newspapers had
declared, “ This is an unsinkable ship!”
sure that the people that had built that ship, the captain of that ship,
the owners of that ship thought to themselves, “Oh, we have here a
great, great thing. It’s unsinkable!” They were very proud. They
were very boastful, and no doubt many of the people that went on board
that ship felt very proud of the fact that they were going to be among
the first that would sail in this ship—the first voyage that it would
ever take across the ocean.
yet the Bible tells us in Proverbs chapter sixteen, verse eighteen that
“Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
As a matter of fact, there was one passenger on board that ship,
a lady, who would not sleep the entire time she was on the voyage. She
told her daughter that the reason she wouldn’t, she could not, go to
sleep on board that ship was because she feared God because of the
statements that had been made about the ship being unsinkable were
flying in the teeth of God, and she was afraid to go to sleep. How
ironic it was. This woman, by the way, was a survivor, as was her
daughter; but her husband was one of the casualties on this trip. So the
Titanic was a place of pride.
Titanic was a place of position. You see, when you got on board
this ship, you immediately were pigeonholed. Some were in first class.
Others were in second class. And then the poorer folk who could probably
barely afford the ticket to get on board were put way down in the bottom
of the ship in third class, a place called steerage. So position was
very important on this ship. The people who were in first class got all
the great treatment. Their rooms looked like beautiful hotel rooms
dressed in the Victorian decor of the age. It was a veritable floating
palace for them; and yet, it was a little bit less as you went down into
the second-rate rooms, and even more austere as you went down into the
steerage. So it was a place where position was very important.
like this world it is! Aren’t we pigeonholed today? By what we have? I
mean, after all, if you drive this car, everyone’s going to look at
you and realize that you’re a success—that you’re a great person.
You wear these clothes, and you’re not like this fellow over here that
wear’s those clothes. We’re in a place where position seems to mean
so much. And so it was on the Titanic.
was a place of great possessions as well. Of GREAT possessions! Some of
the world’s wealthiest people were on board the Titanic. John
Jacob Aster, Isador Strauss, George Wyler, Benjamin Guggenheim and many
others, who were men whose names were household words worldwide back
then because of their great wealth, were on board this ship. Why?
Because it should have been the safest. It should have been the
greatest. It should have been the one that would get them across the
Atlantic. And so men of great wealth were on board this ship. Men who
had great possessions. And yet, the Bible says about possessions in Luke
twelve, verse fifteen, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a
man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he
possesseth.” They had great possessions. And you know it’s just like
that in the world we live in today. There are so many around us—they
have great possessions. But is that their life?
and the Titanic was a place of great pleasures—unholy,
unwholesome pleasures. There was a nightclub atmosphere with the
drinking and dancing and gambling and all kinds of worldly pleasures
that these folks were going to indulge in on their trip across the
Atlantic. The Bible clearly tells us that this is exactly the way it
would be on this earth in which we live. II Timothy 3:4 says that men
shall be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
So there were the pleasure-seekers on board.
then there were also the pious. It was a place of piety as well. There
were people that had religion on board, people that were church men—and
all of these folks were together traveling on the same ship, just like
we today are on board this earth—all traveling together on the same
you see, the ship was on a collision course, and it became a place of
decision. Now the first one who knew that there was a decision to be
made was the captain, because as they
were going across the ocean on their way to New York, many times the
captain was warned, and he had to make a decision whether or not to heed
the warnings and slow or stop his ship. You see, the Titanic was
capable of about twenty-three knots, which is very fast for a big liner
like that; and one thing that they wanted to establish on the White Star
Line in that year of 1912, in the maiden voyage of that great ship was
that “We’ll be on time. We will be on time!” because bragging
rights depend upon it. What a horrible thing it would be on the maiden
voyage of this great, mighty ship if we should have up over there in New
York a big sign up that says, “Titanic, Late on maiden voyage!”
And so the captain had a decision to make on that day of April 14th,
a Sunday, in 1912. At nine a.m., at eleven forty-five a.m.,
at one forty-two p.m., at
six thirty p.m., at nine
forty p.m., at eleven five
p.m.—time and time again, the Titanic was warned—“There is
ice in your path. There are ice flows in your path.”—by several
different ships that had encountered them. The decision was the captain’s.
Would the ship slow down? It turned out that one of the owners of the Titanic
was on board, a man by the name of Bismay, and he was given the warnings
by the captain, and he simply looked at them and stuffed them in his
pocket. After all, the Titanic was an unsinkable ship. And so,
the decision was not made to slow down or to stop, but to plunge on at
full speed into the ice fields.
know, once it happened at eleven forty that evening, on Sunday evening,
the ship saw the iceberg, the man at the masthead gave the warning, the
person who was steering the ship gave the order, “All engines, back!
Hard to starboard!” The worst order he could have given, by the way.
If the ship had simply gone right directly into the iceberg straight
ahead, historians tell us that the watertight compartments probably
would have kept the ship afloat. But instead the turn caused the ship to
catch the jagged under edge of the iceberg and rip a 300-foot section in
the side of that ship, and the Titanic was going down.
it was the passengers that had to make a decision. They had to decide
whether or not to board the lifeboats. You see, the Titanic was
such an unsinkable ship, they thought, they’d only brought lifeboats
enough for half of the people that were on board the ship. Only half of
the people would escape, perhaps. As it turned out, only about a third,
less than a third of those on board the Titanic did escape. Why
did they not escape? In some cases, it was because of the lack of
lifeboats, but in other cases, it was simply the wrong decision. Why
would anybody decide not to get into a lifeboat in order to save
themselves? Well, perhaps some of them were simply asleep; they didn’t
know the ship was going down. Nobody had told them. Nobody had come by
and knocked on the door and said, “ Hey, this ship has hit an iceberg,
and it’s sinking!” and so they slept.
Or perhaps it was because they simply did not believe that it
was serious enough to leave the ship. Maybe they were just too
intelligent: “Oh, I did a study on this ship. It’s an engineering
marvel! This ship can take any kind of a blow. This ship is not going
down. I’m not going to bother with getting on the lifeboat; I don’t
believe it’s that serious.
some simply didn’t trust the lifeboat. They looked at the big ship
that they were standing on; they looked at that little lifeboat; and
they said, “Man, if this thing can’t stay up, I don’t think that
thing can stay up either.” And they just didn’t get in because they
didn’t trust the lifeboat.
know, I imagine that there were probably some that didn’t leave, didn’t
want to get in the lifeboat because they didn’t want to leave their
possessions and their pleasures aboard the ship. “Hey, I gotta get
down to the safe first! I gotta get my money out of the safe. I have
things on board this ship I can’t leave.”
“You know, there’s no bar up in the lifeboat. I can’t get in the
lifeboat—I’d have to give up something that I want to have to get in
may have simply felt like they wouldn’t fit in with the people in the
lifeboat. “Oh, my darling, people from steerage are in the lifeboat. I don’t
believe I want to get in.”
you know what I think, probably—and I read the account of this not too
long ago. One of the things that really stuck out in my mind was the
number of people that simply thought they would take a later boat. They
THOUGHT they’d take a later boat. “There’s no rush right now. I’ll
wait until I see if the ship really is going down, and then I’ll take
the tragic truth—that about two-thirds of the Titanic’s
lifeboats paddled away from the ship less than half full. Think about
it. Think about it. Where were those people? Waiting on a later boat.
They were going to go. They didn’t intend to go down with the ship.
But they were going to go later. You know, here’s the point. Not only
did the Titanic become a place of decision, but it became of
division. Did you realize that there were ultimately only two kinds of
people on board the Titanic? I’m not talking about the wealthy
and the poor. I’m not talking about the intelligent and the ignorant.
I’m talking about the fact that there were only two kinds of people on
board that ship—those who took the boat and were saved, and those who
didn’t and perished. That’s the only kind of people that were on
board the Titanic.
in the same way, our world is a great ship traveling through this vast
sea of space. We can’t live out there! It’s just like the sea! If we
leave our ship, we’re doomed! And right now, our ship looks pretty
good. It has everything we need because God has made it to be so. The
air we breathe. The food that is produced. Everything that we have—it’s
here for us right now, just like the Titanic had everything the
heart could wish as it set out from that port in England.
young people, and old folk, and middle-aged folk, I want you to hear me
just for a minute. That ship was on a collision course, and so is ours.
We’re on a collision course! And like the Titanic, we’re
going to be in that place of decision and that place of division. Look
at II Peter chapter three if you would please just for a moment. II
Peter chapter three, verses nine through twelve. Here’s what’s going
to happen to our ship! And listen to me because we’re all on board.
Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as
a thief in the night; (or you could say as an iceberg in the night)
in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the
elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that
are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall
be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy
conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of
the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,
and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
where it’s going! There’s the collision course! It’s coming! Just
like the Titanic, we’re on a collision course, and when it
happens, there are only going to be two kinds of people—two kinds of
people. Not the black and the white, we’re not worried about races
here. We’re not worried about money here.
We’re not worried about possessions. We’re not worried about pride.
We’re not worried about all these things. When it happens, those who
are in Jesus Christ, like those in the lifeboat, will be saved; and
those who are not will perish eternally. Either you’re in Jesus Christ
and you’re going to be saved, or you’re not, and you’re going to
know, before the event that Peter describes in these verses, at least 1007 years
before that, there’s going to be another event called the rapture of
the saved and we know not what time that will be. It could happen in a
moment. It could happen before I finish with this message this morning,
and when it happens, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as personal
Savior will immediately depart in Him. And this earth will go on toward
its collision course, and those who’ve had opportunity to receive
Jesus Christ but have denied Him—who have said, “No, I’ll take a
later boat”—the Bible says that God will give them a strong
delusion, and they will believe the lie, the devil’s lie, that they
Because they had opportunity to receive the truth and they rejected it.
The Bible says in John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life;
but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
If you want to be on the lifeboat, you can get on.
That’s the good news! No shortage of boats, not now; they’re still
here; they’re still there. The opportunity for your salvation is
available, and yet, so many have not gotten in the boat.
like to ask you this morning three questions, and then I’m through.
Three very brief questions. We’re on a ship that’s on a collision
course. The lifeboat is there in Jesus Christ. Question number one: “Are
you in the boat? Are you in the boat? Have you accepted Christ as your
personal Savior, or are you clinging to the rail of a beaten ship as the
waters rush in to engulf you? Are you holding to the rail and looking
over the side as the boats paddle away from you as those boats did on
the Titanic, realizing that the chance to be saved was
disappearing before them? And the band on board the ship that had been
playing the boogie music for folks to dance to all of a sudden was
playing a different tune as these people rowed their boats out away from
the ship and they looked back and they could see that iceberg back
behind that ship silhouetting that ship as it was going down by the bow
in the front and they could see the people hanging there at the rail and
they heard the band, and they heard the people singing, “Nearer my God
to Thee...” And there they were on a sinking ship. Are you in that
place today? Is that
you? Are you standing there clinging to the rail?
Maybe you’re thinking, “ Well, maybe the ship will stay up
long enough until somebody can come in and rescue us.”
wish I had time to go into the situation about the ship that was only
ten to fifteen miles away all night long that could have come over and
rescued every person on board that ship, but they had their radio off.
They didn’t even know. Are you in the boat?
if you’re in the boat, what are you doing in the boat? You know, I
think of Southside Baptist Church, since it is a body of Christ, and
that’s what we are. We’re a body of believers, aren’t we? Amen? I
think of this church as a lifeboat, and this church is trying its best
to reach out and to bring to rescue as many lost souls as possible in
the time that we have on this earth. And they’re out there everywhere.
They’re all around us. They’re down here at this high school. They’re
over here at the business places. They’re right here in your homes,
and they’re lost. They’re in need of rescue and we on board this
boat—we know where our destination is. We’re saved, praise God! We’re
on our way to heaven. But what are you doing in the boat so that the
boat can get done the things that it needs to do? You know, Jesus said,
“ He that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
visualize that boat, and I see a lot of folks in that boat. Some of them
are doing different things. Some of them are rowing the boat. Them are
the fellers what have in their hands the oars, and those are the fellers
that are sitting there and they’re pulling on the oars. And they’re
making that boat go forward. They’re making that boat make progress.
Those are the folks that are faithful to God’s house. They’re here.
Those are the folk who are giving to see the boat go forward. They’re
propelling the boat. Those are the folks who are doing the work of the
ministry in this place. They’re rowing the boat.
are other people in the boat. Some of those folks are bailing. You
know water gets in the boat sometimes, and these folks are helping to
empty the boat of all the worldliness and the lethargy and all of the
things of the world that would destroy the testimony of this church. You
know who those folks are? They’re your Sunday school teachers. Why do
we go to Sunday school? Why do we come? Because we want to keep the
water out of the boat. Let me tell you what’s going to happen to you
if you don’t stay in God’s Word, if you don’t study God’s Word.
You’re going to let the world get into you, and when the world gets
into the Christian, he’s in a bad way. But you know what? Some folks
in this church are trying their best to keep the world out of the church
by keeping the world out of believers. And we’re doing it by exposing
sin. Hey, don’t get mad at the preacher when he stands up here and
exposes sin. You get behind him! Amen!
Say, “Yes sir, that’s what we need. We don’t want water in
then there are some folks in the boat that are scouters. I mean they’re
looking around for the people that need to be rescued and saying, “Hey,
there’s one! Let’s go get him!
There’s one, let’s go get him!” Hey, those are important
people. They’re out there where they know what’s going on. There are
scouters in the boat.
then there are some people just sitting in the boat, being carried along
by the work of the others. They’re just sitting there, looking around.
“Interesting how you row fellows,” you know. Or maybe they’re just
singing “Row, row, row your boat.” I don’t know, that might help
some. But they’re just sitting. In other words, if they weren’t even
in the boat, it wouldn’t make any difference to how much the boat was
going forward or not.
there are other people, not content just with sitting, but they’re
scraping in the boat. I mean they’re arguing with the steersman. “Oh,
no, that’s Dorsey’s lane.” Or they’re complaining, or they’re
criticizing the way the boat’s being rowed. They don’t like the way
the other people are doing their work. After all, you people out there
scouting, if you find too many more people in the water, the boat’s
going to get crowded. If you add to the boat, that might cost me
some folks are just doggone sitting there in the boat with a drill
digging holes in the boat. DR-R-R-R-RR-R-R!
I don’t know where those guys came from. They must have
slithered out from under the water somewhere, you know. They’re
pulling for the ones down below waiting to devour, and they’re making
holes in the boat trying to sink it.
are you doing in the boat? What difference would it make to the work of
God if you were not even a member of this church? God expects you to do
your part. So, the first question—are you in the boat?
What are you doing in the boat? and the last question and I’m
through. I want to ask you this. Who else is in the boat because of you?
Who else is in the boat because of you? Close your eyes and
look around in your own mind’s eye, saved person, member of this
church. Look around in your mind’s eye. Who is in this boat right now
because of your witness, because of your testimony, because you cared
about them, and you tried to help them? You know, Pastor can close his
eyes, and he can look over there and he sees old Tony and Patti over
there rowing, and you know what he says? He says, “Hey, they’re in
the boat because I won them.”
the boat because of you? You know, our Father is not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Christ wants
everybody to be saved, and yet there are so many people around us that
are lost and we need to witness to them. They will perish if we do not
warn them. They will! So, that’s what I ask you today. Are you in the
boat with salvation? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal
Savior? If you haven’t,
how much time do you have to make that decision? The captain of the Titanic
waited too long. He rushed head-on into the collision that was
inevitably before him. Would you do the same? Maybe you don’t want to
get into the boat right now. After all, if you get into the boat, it might
cost you something. If you get into the boat, there’s not any bar in
the boat. There are not the worldly pleasures in the boat. It’s going
to mean a different lifestyle if you get in the boat. It may change your
life, but do you really want to go on to the point that you go down with
the sinking ship?
a picture in the National Geographic Brother Averans gave me of
the Titanic wreckage—a pair of boots on the bottom of the ocean
more than two miles down, empty. And the caption says something about
the undersea animals that had already taken care of the person who at one
time wore those boots. I couldn’t help but think—there’s a man who
put on his boots, a man who was living and breathing, a man who had
every hope of continuing his life, and there are his boots at the bottom
of the ocean. He didn’t intend to go down there. And many of you today
that are lost in your sins don’t intend to go to hell, but you will
unless you accept Christ.
want to tell you this morning as we have a song of invitation, if you’re
not in the boat, you do not have to go down with the ship. You can come
to the Lord Jesus Christ today while there’s time and you can be
saved. Or you can stand there and hang onto that rail until you hear the
sounds of the water boiling up below you and you see the crash of the
waves across the ship and you begin to scream with the others that are
on their way to a grave. The choice is yours, but you don’t have
forever to make it.
there are those of you today that are in the boat but you’re just
sitting in the boat or you’re just scraping in the boat and you’re
not really trying to get behind the work of this church and get behind
this preacher and see souls saved, see lives rescued. You need to get
that right today with the Lord. He’s not pleased with you, and when
you reach that desired haven, you’re
going to face Him with what you did while you were in the boat whether
it be good or bad.
And who else is in the boat because of you? You
say, “Brother Tony, I don’t think I’ve ever led one person to a
saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I just haven’t had time,” or “I
just didn’t think they’d listen,” or “Well, I told them once.
But you know I don’t think I ought to tell them again. They’ll just
think I’m bothering them.”
know why the radio was off on that ship that was sitting so close to the
Titanic? The radio man had been talking to the operator on the Titanic
and telling him about how they had stopped their engines for the night
because they were closed in by ice, and the radio operator on the Titanic
said this: “Shut up! Shut up! Get off of here. I have other more
radio operator turned the radio off, and the ship perished. Hey, listen. That
person you’ve witnessed to, they might tell you, “Oh, shut up! Shut
up! I don’t want to hear it!” But the time will come, if you’ll
pray for them, when they’ll be ready to listen and they’ll be
wanting to talk. Let the Lord work in your heart today.
sermon delivered at Southside Baptist Church by Tony Seiber