The Plimsoll line is a line painted on a ship to mark the lowest point a ship can safely sit in the water . This was to prevent what were called “coffin ships” or un-sea-worthy vessels being allowed to sail. It also allowed maritime authorities to judge and prevent ships being overloaded. This measure was resisted by ship owners but forced through by the efforts of a British M.P. Samuel Plimsoll and the growing force of public opinion.
It may be a good thing if the Christian had a “plimsoll” line. Our vessel may be sitting too high in the water. We may be highly exalted by Spiritual feeling or “puffed up” by pride and achievement and being only human we are in danger of being capsized by a strong gale. It is here we need the ballast of humility and God’s truth to keep us on an even keel.
Perhaps we are sitting very low in the water. We are overloaded with grief ,cares and sorrows. Maybe our hold is jammed pack with the love of this world and its fleeting riches which sink us lower in the water than is safe. We need to seek God’s help in choosing our cargo and place our concerns in His’ hands.
Perhaps the bottom of our ship is encrusted with the spiritual equivalent of barnacles impeding our nautical speed. Let us remove all that hinders us.
Our rudder could be tangled in the sea weed of sin and selfishness and our helm becomes sluggish in answer to the Pilots commands. Let us seek the Holy Spirits help to free it up.
We need to study the plimsoll line of God’s Word and seek wisdom in prayer to determine , “Where we are in the water”.
I once attended a service at a church calling itself the “New Apostolic Church”. The denomination was apparently of German origin and an “Apostle “ from the old country gave a talk for three quarters of an hour in German , of which I could understand nothing. Following on the local leader gave a talk for a similar time. The man from Germany made far more sense than he did.
Throughout the history of the church there have been those who have laid claims to be the successors of the apostles and entitled to similar authority to institute rites and ceremonies. They also formulated doctrines very often with tenuous or no grounds in scripture.
We still have those today who say that they are “New” apostles and that we have entered a new era with fuller revelations and they attest to their authority by signs and wonders and healings. Sad to say they also abound in unscriptural doctrine and self exaltation and compromise with the world.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,” 1Timothy 4: 1-2
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” 2 Timothy 4:3
We need to be able to discern the true from the false. Good men may fall into error and bad men may preach some truth, yet it takes only a small amount of poison to kill you.
6 Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16
We need to be thorough and diligent in our study of the word and to seek the Holy Spirit’s illumination to know God’s truth and once we find it we must never let it go, however plausible the false teacher is.
But what are the marks of a false teacher? Invariably they are more show than substance. They are more gimmick than grace. They are men pleasers rather than seeking to please God. They are sparing and selective of God’s truth. They minimize sin and open wide the way which Christ called narrow. They seek followers for themselves and their doctrines rather than furthering the kingdom. They are blatant in their materialistic attitude. In short they are the exact opposite of the Apostles and not wholehearted followers of Christ.
Jesus said “What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!'” Mark 13:37
A father and his family sat down to a meager meal of fish and potatoes and giving thanks he prayed “We thank Thee Lord that thou hast ransacked land and sea for our sustenance.”