February 7, 2013, the Carnival cruise ship “Triumph” set sail from Galveston, TX for a four day cruise to Mexico. The third day, the ship suffered a fire in the aft engine room. The fire was immediately extinguished, but the ship lost power and propulsion and remained adrift 150 miles off the Mexican coast. For the next five days the 4,200 people on board had to endure unsanitary conditions, food shortages and camping out on deck until the ship was towed into Mobile, Alabama.
Not much of a Triumph, was it? It was big ship, massive, loaded with all the amenities for a good time; but, it was crippled, a failure--a barge of unhappiness. The good ship Lolly-pop, dropped--with fuzz stuck all over it. The perfect picture of what the world has to offer. So many shiny things distract our attention that we forget what really matters--we become shallow, drifting from one entertainment to the next, to things that will burn and be destroyed at the end of this earth.
Many passengers on that ship were able to overcome the difficult conditions of the good ship “Triumph” thanks in part to an impromptu Bible study that brought them closer to each other and closer to God. It started out with about 25 people, and they met on the upper deck running tracks. One passenger said this: "The Bible studies were great. We did it for four days. . . It put our minds and our hearts at ease. We felt peace the whole time. We knew that there was a Mighty Power out there that would get us home and keep us safe so we could get home and see our children." Participants shared testimonies, prayed and sang songs like "Amazing Grace," "How Great is Our God" and songs in Spanish. They read Psalm 29:3 "the voice of the Lord is over the waters"--and Psalm 91 about taking refuge in God. They were able to experience peace in the most trying of circumstances.
What causes the faithful to come joyful and triumphant?
He causes us to triumph! The nature of the word is that a conquest has occurred. What has been defeated? (Col 2:13-15) “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
I just have to ask: What makes you shout? The cross of Christ has achieved life over death for us. We were trespassers, stepped over the fence, crossed the line onto property not our own; but, the cross of Christ has given us access to life because our sin was wiped out, taken out of the way, nailed to the cross!
We were indistinguishable as ungodly sinners but now unmistakable as adopted children. The principalities and powers against us are disarmed! Publicly disgraced because of the finished work of Christ on the cross!The work of the cross was complete success!
The root of the word is “to shout, to cry out.” I want to give you a three word reason to raise your voice, in triumphal praise: “It is finished!”