(Acts 27) Faith Facing the Storm

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...Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you. (Acts 27:23)

Introduction

The Lord Jesus commissioned His disciples to take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). We have been studying how the gospel spread from Jerusalem to Samaria, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Athens, Philippi, and now on to Rome itself - the capital of the empire. In Acts chapter 27 while on his way to Rome, Paul faces a tremendous storm at sea, along with 275 other persons as well.

God's will is accomplished in Paul's life even though he is a prisoner. Julius the Roman centurion of Augustus' band (also mentioned in other historical records) - he is the commander in charge.

1 God Helps Paul Face the Storm

  1. Paul's Christian Friends go with him to Rome. In verse 2, "We put to sea" means that Dr. Luke, who wrote the book of Acts, was with Paul. Also in verse 2, "Aristarchus is with us" is the same person mentioned in Acts 19:29 who was with Paul in Ephesus, and later helped him in Macedonia and returned with him to Asia (Acts 20:4). Now he and Dr. Luke accompany Paul to Rome as companions.
  2. Julius treated Paul kindly (v 3) and allowed him to go to his Christian friends at Sidon, for care. Paul received their care. Receiving ministry is just as important as giving ministry.
  3. God re-assures Paul in the storm (v 23,34) "The angel of God said to him, 'Do not be afraid Paul, you must be brought before Caesar, and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'"

2 Man's Attempt to Face the Storm

This is another case when the majority was wrong. In fact their advice would have lost them their lives, if God had not intervened to help them.

  1. They ignored the danger (v 9) and the warning of Paul, based on knowledge of the seasons and God-given perception to Paul.
  2. The centurion accepted the majority advice (v 11,12).
  3. They were fooled by the apparent condition (v 13) to put out to sea. But not long later, the dreaded storm, called Euroclydon struck them. Winter storms normally came at this time of the year. They had already had difficulty in sailing with contrary winds and almost no wind in sailing from Sidon to Fair Havens. All that blows softly is not fair weather, especially in that season. The ship was then caught in the storm (v 15). This is a vivid picture of what happens to us when we ignore God's advice to us.
  4. They then desperately tried their own tactics to survive:
    1. They let the ships be driven (v 15).
    2. They used cables to under gird the ship (v 17).
    3. They struck sail (v 17).
    4. They lightened the ship and threw the ship's tackle overboard (v 18,19).
  5. They were exceedingly tempest-tossed (v 18).
  6. They gave up all hope of being saved (v 20).
  7. They finally listened to Paul's word from God. (v 21-26) We need to come to the end of our own tactics to listen to God. Even then, some of the sailors still continued resorting to their own tactics (v 29,30).

3 God Helps All of Them Through His Advice to Paul, His Servant (v 31-33)

  1. Everyone is to stay on the ship
  2. Everyone is to eat 'till they were satisfied, because up 'till then, they had been fasting. Most likely they had been sea-sick and didn't feel like eating anything. Eating now was for their nourishment.
  3. Paul's example encouraged them all.
  4. The centurion kept the soldiers from their purpose to kill the prisoners (v 42,43). But God used the centurion to accomplish His purpose, to save them all.
  5. In fact, the Lord saved them all, as He had planned to do. "They all escaped safely to land" - though wet and worn, their safety was accomplished.

Conclusion

Remember, they had gotten into the storm because of their own foolishness. It was the Lord who brought them through alright to the end. And most of all, the Lord was working out His plan that Paul should appear before the Roman Emperor Augustus, and bear witness of Christ. In the process Paul had experienced the consequences of the other people's folly - but the good Lord brought him through. So it is still the same today in the storms of life. The only thing to do is to listen to the Lord and to obey what He tells you to do, sometimes through Christian leaders, sometimes directly to your soul.

Note:

Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.

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