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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The largest ship ever built


Today's subject is about power. One of the definitions of the term power, is "the means" or "the ability." Another way of saying it would be, "the wherewithal" to do something. This is sort of the way that we will consider the term POWER today.

As usual, I have an illustration I'm going to use which I feel helps us to understand the kind of power I'm talking about here. I think it will help us to see some of the various kinds of power that people put stock in today that only have a limited range. And I think it will help us to see that we can have power over a lot of things in life, but when it comes to the power or the means by which our souls are saved, there is only one available.

The illustration is as follows: In 1934, the most beautiful and largest ship ever built, was launched in England. It was named after the woman who christened it, the QUEEN MARY. The luxury of this ship is almost impossible to adequately describe in such a way that someone can really appreciate it. Here's just a few things interesting about this great ship.

It's 1,019 feet long (almost 3 1/2 football fields) and weighs 81,235 tons. It was powered by turbine engines that developed 160,000 horsepower, that turned four propellers, each of which were 19.6 feet across and weighed 35 tons a piece. For many years, it was the fastest ship on the ocean, having set the record speed in crossing the Atlantic Ocean with an average speed of 31.7 knots (about 36 MPH). It was originally designed to carry 2,139 passengers and 1,101 crew members.

To say that it was luxurious and plush is an understatement. Just one of the dining rooms would seat 815 diners. Four trips around the "sun deck" equaled a mile. Here is a statement from one of the brochures about the Queen Mary: "Every modern convenience especially designed for the comfort, convenience and pleasure of travellers in this modern age is available in this outstanding marine masterpiece of the day."

The ship quickly became a legend. It was the choice of many luminaries and was just about the "only way to go" for the pre-jet, jetsetters. But, it served mankind in a far better way than hauling movie stars and such when WW2 started. It was in New York when the war started and was called into service to carry soldiers across the seas. From the grandest, most beautiful ocean liner at the time, it was stripped of all its nice fittings, repainted totally gray and had guns mounted on the decks, all in 18 DAYS.

Recall that it was originally designed to carry 2,139 people and then look at what it did during the war. On one trip alone, it carried 16,683 American troops from New York to battlefields in Europe. During the 2nd World War, the Queen Mary carried a total of 810,730 soldiers to and from battle and sailed over 500,000 miles. Quite a record and display of power isn't it?

Then on May 8, 1967, the captain of the Queen Mary, while on the high seas, opened a sealed envelope that had been given him upon sailing and the contents told him that this great ship was sailing its last. That it would be retired from service a few months later. Many people and organizations wanted it, ranging from Billy Graham who wanted to make a "floating temple of evangelism" out of it to the mayor of New York who wanted it for a home for underprivileged children.

As we in Southern California know, it ended up being purchased by the City of Long Beach for use as a hotel, convention center and museum. Did you know, that by removing its propellers, the Queen Mary technically became a "building?" When that was done, the Queen Mary was removed from the maritime rolls and in effect, is no longer a ship.

You see, it has no power. It has all the trappings of it's once mighty power. It still looks beautiful and it's fittings are still splendid and it's grandeur is complete. It looks as if someone had only to cast off the lines and it would sail out to sea again. Once again, performing great and magnificent feats. But alas, even though she looks like she's complete and ready for the work she was designed for, and she's still beautiful and has all the conveniences and comforts that she ever had, there is the one most important ingredient missing. She has no power.

The point of our lesson today, is that a lot of people are like the Queen Mary. They have all the appearance of being "Christian" or "religious," but they have no power. Or maybe I should say, their power is flawed because it comes from the wrong source. They look to things like education, culture, government or human effort for power. But, for the power needed to save their souls, these types of power are useless.

Oh, they have a certain amount of power, within their limitations and they can even provide an "outward appearance" of doing something, but they cannot change the heart. There has to be a higher power source to do that. A source of power strong enough to change a sinful person into a child of God. That power source has a name. It is Christ Jesus.

In Matt. 28:18 Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." He then told his disciples to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel, baptizing the believers in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost." Then in John 20:31, the Apostle John tells us the purpose for the writing of the gospels is to cause belief in Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God and by that belief we might have life "through his name."

Job asked the question in Job 14:4, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing?" And then he answers it by saying "not one." There is only one source of power that can make the unclean, clean and that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ron Covey

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