Parable of the Cork
The wonder of creation is that even though it is material in nature, it is full of spiritual lessons. Take a cork for example. A cork has many uses because of its lightness, buoyancy and water-resistance. If you take a cork and place it on the water it will float on the surface. If you press it down ten or twenty feet it will bounce back to the surface. At even 100 feet below the surface of the water, if you care to go that far, a cork will float back up to the surface.
But you know what, even a cork has limits – if you bring it 200 feet below the surface of the water, it won't be able to rise again – do you know why? It's not because the cork has changed. It still has the same buoyancy.
It cannot rise to the surface because the pressure of the water on top of it has become so great that it counteracts its buoyancy and causes it to sink.
This simple example explains the relationship between the Christian and the world. The Christian is like a cork floating on the surface of the world.
Sometimes because of weakness, ignorance or rebellion (that's knowing what's right but just ignoring it and doing what you want to do anyways) the Christian sinks down into the world, and its sinfulness.
Because of his spiritual nature and the support of the church, Christians are able to rise again to the top – over and over every time.
However, there comes a time when after repeatedly going down further and further (thinking they can always rise again) Christians get to a point where they sink so low into the world that the pressure above them is greater than their ability to rise, and they sink to the bottom and stay there.
The Hebrew writer describes this phenomenon in Heb. 6:4-6:
4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
Now this example isn't perfect:
- We can measure how deep a cork can sink before the pressure is too great.
- Only God knows when a person has gone so far that they can't come back. But the main point does provide a warning.
- Be careful of thinking that you can sink into the world and rise over and over again because like the cork – there is a point where the pressure becomes too great and you cannot rise again.
Now's a good time to check your buoyancy; to see how heavy the pressure of the world is upon you. If you're not a Christian but you know what you must do to be saved (believe/repent/confess/baptized), do that now. The resistance you feel, the hesitation you are experiencing at this moment is the pressure of doubt, the weight of sin on your heart – and if you wait, it only gets heavier and heavier until you can't lift it anymore.
If you are a Christian but like the cork, you've sunk into the world, you're deeply involved in sin (bad habits, bad friends, bad attitude, bad behaviour), see if you can rise again to the surface of good Christian living by repenting now and following Jesus. Can you do it? The resistance you feel, the pull to ignore what I am saying is equal to the depth you have sunken into the world.
How deep are you? So deep that you're having trouble rising again? If you feel the weight of sin keeping you back ask Jesus to help you now, ask Him to give you the strength to come forward if you need to or the strength to rise again from wherever you are – this prayer the Lord will answer if you will only make it.
If you need to become a Christian, come now; if you need prayer to rise to the top again and stay there – don't wait till you've sunk so low that you won't be able to come back – make that prayer or make that decision now as we stand and sing.