Paul and some other prisoners were taken on a voyage towards Rome. We’ll read about his experience in Acts 27:14-26; 33-44.
Paul was a prisoner, but in this voyage through the storm, he stood out as a HERO.
• Chains bound him, yet he was freed from fear or hopelessness.
• The people were struggled in fear, yet Paul was standing strong.
• Many were discouraged but Paul was confident and was able to encourage them.
• In the midst of great difficulty, Paul was able to inspire them to stay strong.
How? Where did Paul get his strength? Why wasn’t him crippled by fears? Verse 25 gives us the clue -"keep up your courage, men for I have faith in God..."
A Christian stands strong in the midst of storms of life - because he puts his trust in God.
• We can be strong because we believe in a good God.
• Not only can we be strong, we become an encouragement to those who are with us.
• We are pillars of strength to others, because we believe God.
The storm was a fierce one - v.14 "wind of hurricane force"
• We’ve seen the destruction caused by hurricanes recently in the States.
• Huge trees that have been there for centuries were uprooted overnight.
• Houses were flattened, and everything you have could be destroyed in one storm.
Yet in the midst of such a fierce storm, bro/sis we can stand strong. No matter what crisis you go through, we can stand strong like Paul...
• The sailors cast anchors into the sea but these were not good enough to hold the ship.
• Yet Paul has a few ’anchors’ himself that holds him steady and strong.
Acts 27:23 - Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me...
( 1 ) THE ANCHOR OF GOD’S PRESENCE
• Someone stood beside him. He has the strong anchor of God’s presence.
• Paul found that even in the midst of the raging storm he was not alone.
• The Lord came to him and assured him.
• Heb 13:5 “…I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Matt 28:20 “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Psa 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
This is the truth we must hold on to, no matter what storms you’re going through.
• Look to Him and not at the storm, and you’ll stay afloat - like disciple Peter when he walked on water.
• Even when we cannot see Him or feel Him, choose to believe in His presence.
MOM IS WATCHING
Dr Tony Campolo says that when he was a boy growing up in a congested and bustling city, his mother arranged a teenage girl who lived nearby to walk home with him at the end of the day. For this she was paid a dollar a day. But Tony rebelled in the second grade and told his mother, I’ll walk myself to school and I will be extra careful. You can save the money.”
After a period of pleading and begging, little Tony finally got his way. For the next two years he walked himself back and forth to school. It was an eight-block walk with many streets to cross, but he was careful and didn’t talk to strangers or get distracted along the way.
Years later at a family party, he bragged about his independence and reminded his family of how he had taken care of himself as a boy. His mother laughed and added the rest of the story. “Did you really think you were alone?” she asked. “Every morning when you left for school, I left with you. I walked behind you all the way. When you got out of school at 3:30 in the afternoon, I was there. I always kept myself hidden, but I was there and I followed you all the way home. I just wanted to be there for you in case you needed me.”
Paul says in v.25 "for I have faith in God"
• He knew God was with Him and everything was going to be all right.
...`Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
( 2 ) THE ANCHOR OF GOD’S PROMISE
This is the 2nd truth we must hold on to.
It was a long storm. V.20 "When neither sun nor starts appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved."
• Do you have similar experiences? You’re going to something painful, difficult. And it didn’t go away... for a long time. Until you wanted to give up hope... you feel like giving up on God, giving up on the church...
• V.21 "the men had gone a long time without food..." To the extent that even your most basic needs become a problem. You don’t have enough...
And in the midst of this long and terrible storm, the Lord came to Paul with a precious promise.
• When you most need Him, the Lord is going to give you His Word.
o Comfort comes from His Word. Assurance, peace, faith comes from His Word
o We need to turn to His Word in the darkest moments of our lives, not turning away...
o In peace times, we must read and study His Word. When storms come, God is going to use His Word to comfort and strengthen us.
• God reminded Paul that he would stand before Caesar, and that all those on the ship were to be spared as well.
• That was all Paul needed to hear - God’s promise will come true. God is a promise-keeping God.
Not only was he encouraged; Paul was able to encourage the rest.
• In the midst of life’s storms, our trust in God will be a strength and testimony to those around us.
• Is your faith in God today, an encouragement for those around you? Are they comforted because they have a Christian friend who is there to give them hope and strength?
...`Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar...’
( 3 ) THE ANCHOR OF GOD’S PLAN
The angel of the Lord told Paul God’s plan - he will get to Rome safely and see Caesar. And everyone with him will also be spared.
• No one can change God’s plan.
• Although some people attempted to - in Acts 27:42-44 "42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety."
• If God wants me to live, nothing can harm me. No storm can take my life. No sickness can take my life. Aren’t you glad?
The Lord revealed to Jeremiah, His plan for His chosen people:
Jer 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Paul had a purpose. Even though he was in the storm of his life he knew he was living for Christ.
• Although he was a prisoner, he lived with a purpose.
• His purpose was to share the Good News with people in Rome.
Do you live for His purpose today?
Acts 27:44b "...In this way everyone reached land in safety."
( 4 ) THE ANCHOR OF GOD’S POWER
If God has a good plan but is powerless to execute it, it’s useless. Our God is a MIGHTY God!
• Only the power of God is strong enough to be your anchor in the midst of the storm.
• Nothing else, and no one else is strong enough.
• In a storm, even the winds and the waves LISTEN to Him.
2 Tim 1:12
Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
King Hezekiah of Israel wanted to seek Egypt for help in defending themselves against Assyria.
• Isa 31:1 "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD."
• Isa 31:3 "But the Egyptians are men and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, he who helps will stumble, he who is helped will fall; both will perish together."
• God alone is able to work it all out!
o He will get you through your storm and land you safely beyond it!
o Your boat may sink, like Paul’s - but you’ll be saved.
o Many things may be destroyed, but He will preserve you.
Jeremiah said (Jer 32:17): "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."
When the storm is over, when the winds die down, you’ll see that God was in control all along!
If God has the power to cause an axe head to float
If God can cause a donkey to talk
If He has power to split the Red Sea
If God can raise the dead
If God can stop the winds and waves
He has the POWER to keep me safe through the storm…
These anchors steadied Paul during the storm. Let us hold on to them.
(1) The Anchor of GOD’S PRESENCE - draw near to Him, do not miss Sun worship
(2) The Anchor of GOD’S PROMISE - read & study the Word, don’t skip SS
(3) The Anchor of GOD’S PLAN - live for Him, only that is worthwhile
(4) The Anchor of GOD’S POWER - trust Him, not the circumstances, man or yourself
Prepare these anchors in peace times, not when the storms hit you.
• When the storm comes, you’re going to use what you have prepared in peaceful times
o You’ll need to recall what you’ve heard from the sermons all these years
o You’ll need to put your trust in the Scriptures which you’re read over the years
o You’ll need to remember what you’re learnt in the Sunday School