Acts 27:9-12, 18-25 New King James Version (NKJV)
Paul’s Warning Ignored
9 Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,
10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”
11 Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.
12 And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.
18 And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.
19 On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands.
20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.
22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.
23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,
24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’
25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.
Life has its storms. We faced a severe one off France.
--On a ship from Sweden, to Spain. Many afraid. Ill.
--Ours was for two days. Paul's, was over two weeks!
--My friend, in the storms of life, we all need God!
Over the world, the USA, maybe you, folks face storms.
--Not just the weather, but storms of all kinds.
--Financial, physical, marital, mental, or spiritual.
--Maybe several storms at once. Paul was in two.
--He was facing a trial for his life. And a "tempest".
--"No small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was .. given up" (v 20).
Sir William Ramsey calls this a masterpiece, written by Dr. Luke who wrote the Gospel, was aboard the ship.
--Acts 27 describes vividly the "tempest" they faced in that little ship with 276 persons aboard its sails.
--The fact that all were spared was indeed a miracle!
--So. when storms come, it is well to have God with us!
This chapter prepares us to face our storms of life.
--It may be you are going through some just now.
--God says, "Call to Me, I will answer .." (Jer. 33:3).
--We see that life's voyage is difficult, for us all.
--Our Lord faced a hostile world, to a cross, for us.
--It shows, in Jesus, He can help us into safe harbor.
Paul was a prisoner, from Caesarea, for trial in Rome.
--His crime? Preaching Jesus, the promised Messiah.
--Paul already made three missionary journeys, winning others, establishing churches, for the Lord.
--Some wanted Paul's life. This a fourth mission trip.
--For at every opportunity, Paul witnessed for Jesus.
Paul followed the final commission of Jesus, Acts 1:8, as Jesus said, "You shall be witnesses to Me, to the end of the earth." It is our mandate as well.
--As we do, perhaps there'll be storms to face.
Some storms are man-made, like a book or movie denying God, His creation, the deity of Christ, and His Word.
--My friend, believe me, we can believe God, His Book!
Rather than cause a storm, contrast this with one who calmed a storm. Jesus works in one so dedicated!
--In the Thirty Years' War in Europe, dead orthodoxy in the church, immorality, hard times, Katherina Von Schlegel began a revival of commitment to Christ!
--She stressed salvation; be "born again," in Jesus!
--Living godly amid troubles, deadly diseases!
--She made a difference for many; also known for a hymn.
"Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God, to order, and provide,
In every change, He faithful will remain."
--We need that kind of person for this present hour!
What kind of storm - or storms - may you be facing?
--Many have them, more or less. Let the Lord bless.
--"Life is a struggle for existence," my Seminary professor, who fled Communist Russia, often said.
--True! Why you and I need Jesus! To see us through.
Acts 27 shows life is not easy.
--Look at verse 9, ".. sailing was now dangerous."
--Winter storms. Troubles. Ills. We need the Lord.
--Paul said, ".. this voyage will be with hurt and much damage .. also of our very lives."
--"Neither sun nor stars appeared many days" (v 10).
--No way to navigate! That's when a Savior is needed!
--As on Galilee's Sea, Jesus can still still storms!
We learn from storms what is important, what is not.
--"A tempestuous head wind arose" they cast out cargo!
--They threw overboard the "ship's tackle," and those non-essential, temporary things, to keep the eternal!
--Discerned, in bad times, all times, we need Jesus!
God told Paul he would see Rome, so God was with them!
--"Paul purposed in the Spirit .. I must also see Rome" we read in Acts 19:21.
Another thing, in life's storms, we need encouragement.
--Paul gave it, "I exhort you to be of good cheer, (to take heart), there shall be no loss of life .. but of the ship" (v 22). They were preserved by prayer!
--All 276 aboard, mostly pagans. Yet all were saved!
Something else Christians need to do, is rest on God's everlasting promises.
--Don't you think Paul and others recalled such verses?
--Of course they did! And prayed them back to God!
I don't know, but they may have recalled some of these.
--"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10).
--Or perhaps, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want .. yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me," as we read in the incomparable Psalm 23.
--Perhaps Psalm 46, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
--Or one of so very many others to strengthen us.
You see Paul and Luke were Easter persons .. in a Good Friday world. They trusted the Lord for victory!
God needs Easter people .. of faith .. to help others.
--It is interesting, the influence of Paul.
--Paul is a prisoner, along with others. In chains.
--Humanly speaking, hardly with earthly power!
--Yet under God, Paul in control of the ship, more than its captain, Roman Centurion, or crew!
--He was in tune with the Eternal God of the Universe!
--Even in the midst of a disastrous storm!
Today, many are in "no small tempest." All sorts.
--Like back then, troubled times. "Winds contrary."
--With a "tempestuous head wind" of evils abounding.
--Adverse, contrary spiritual powers seem to attack us.
--Satan is surely at work over the world.
--America .. and all of us all over .. need Jesus!
God says, "If My people who are called by My name shall humble themselves, and pray .. and turn from their wicked ways .. then I will hear from heaven .. will forgive their sin .. and heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14).
--My friend, let's think about God's solution! "An angel stood by" says, "be not afraid," all spared!
Who knows what influence for good you may have.
--Listen to Paul, "Take heart, there shall be no loss of life" (v 22). Ship lost. All 276 lives spared!
--Standing by, was "an angel of God to whom I belong, and whom I serve, saying, 'Do not be afraid Paul, you must be brought before Caesar' Paul in God's will."
Paul adds, "Take heart, for I believe God" (v 25).
--Note verse 35, He said, "Take food," for they had not eaten in many days. "He took bread, gave thanks."
--He was an Easter person. What a witness Paul gave!
You say, "Pastor, I thought if we were in God's will we would have no storms. How I wish that were so.
--Believers, in God's will, will face their storms.
--The patriarchs, prophets, apostles did, even Jesus!
--It is all in the Old and New Testaments.
We can be in a storm, yet in God's will. Look at Job!
--We see Jesus and His disciples on Galilee in a storm.
--They awoke Him, "Lord, save us, we perish."
--Jesus calmed the angry waves and winds.
--Or, when Jesus sent His disciples on Galilee, into a coming storm - yet came walking on the water, and He stilled it! All these, friend, in God's will.
Then take God Himself, as Jesus faced adversities.
--"Fasting and praying" and fighting Satan 40 days.
--Or Gethsemane's Garden, "sweat great drops of blood."
--Or, Good Friday, on a cross .. how Jesus suffered!
--All in the will of God! All for us! To spare us!
Let's be "born again," living for the Lord, in His will.
From the cross, Jesus rode out three days in a tomb.
--As Easter dawned, Jesus arose! Graveclothes intact.
--With a new body. Come forth - alive, forevermore!
--Defeated the worst storms of all - death and devil.
--All, my friends, in the will of our Heavenly Father.
God doesn't promise we'll miss them all .. but He does promise "never to leave us nor forsake."
--Make sure you have His best, with Jesus as Savior.
--Then, come what may, Jesus can tame our tempests.
--Come now, as He leads.
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 881