Summary: Using the physical and literal storm Paul faced on his way to Rome, this message gives insight into how we can handle the "storms of life" that come our way
* Paul, the main figure in the past 14 chapters of Acts, has faced much adversity, but has realized all that God has done for him during that time
* One of Satan’s goals from the beginning of the church has been to oppose it in such a way as to try to stop it (Acts 1 = the challenge to the church is given; Acts 2 = the Holy Spirit is given; Acts 3 = a great miracle happens; Acts 4 = opposition begins)
- Satan understood the potential impact the church could have
- The church faced both internal opposition (i.e., Ananias and Sapphira) and external persecution
* Satan is still opposing the church today; his goal remains the same
- He still knows that the church of Jesus Christ can disrupt his plans of spiritual darkness
- He still uses both external and internal opposition
* One of Satan’s strategies: get individual believers so distracted that they can’t focus on God’s purpose of redeeming the world; one of the methods he uses is personal adversity and storms
* Satan attempts to use the unavoidable to keep us from accomplishing the task God has given
* Our text is an example of this: Satan uses a storm on the sea to try to keep Paul from arriving at Rome
* Everyone is in one of three situations: (1) We’re currently in a storm; (2) We just came out of a storm; (3) We’re about to head into a storm
* Charlie Brown to Lucy: “I’ve got so many troubles that if anything happens to me today it will be two weeks before I can worry about it.”
* Paul was familiar with storms (see 2 Cor. 11:23-28)
* Since we know that storms are inevitable and that Satan will use them against us, it’s best for us to go ahead and get prepared for them
* Drawing from Paul’s experience during a literal storm, we can learn three principles that will help us when the storms arrive in our lives
1. If possible, determine the reason for the storm
* More difficult to deal with the storm if we can’t determine the reason for it. If we can’t deal with the storm, it will deal with us.
* God’s desire: to use the storm of life to develop us / Satan’s desire: to use the storms of life to destroy us
* Three types of storms we encounter:
1) Storms that we cause: usually the hardest to bear because we know that our ignorance or stubbornness caused it
2) Storms that others cause: usually the hardest to handle because others initiate it (we have no control over it)
3) Storms that God allows: usually the hardest to understand because we don’t understand God’s purpose in it for us at that time
* Only type of storm we can do something about is the storm that we cause ourselves. Acts 27 reveals a few ways as to why/how people get themselves into storms...
A. We cause storms when we listen to others instead of God (v. 11)
B. We cause storms when we follow the crowd (v. 12)
C. We cause storms when we rely on circumstances (v. 13)
2. Determine how you’re going to respond to the storm
* Improper response to the storm = defeat
* The storms we face are usually temporary, but an improper response to them could have a permanent effect
* How NOT to respond...
A. Don’t drift (v. 15)
- storms tend to un-anchor us and, if not careful, we’ll lose sight of everything but the problem
- drifting occurs when our eyes are on the problem instead of the problem-solver
B. Don’t throw away (v. 18)
- storms tempt us to cast off the very things that were important to us when things were better
C. Don’t despair (v. 20)
- trouble becomes disaster when we surrender to it in despair
- illustration: Peter on the water (Matt. 14) = Whatever is over our head is under his feet
* God has promised that the storm would not destroy the people involved. They simply had to ride it out. There was no need to respond the way they did.
* The proper way to respond: Claim the promises of God (v. 22-25)
3. Throw out some spiritual anchors
* Note verse 29: Paul was confident in the midst of the storm because he had spiritual anchors in his life that held him steady.
* The anchors available to us...
A. The presence of God (v. 23) = Heb. 13:5
B. The purpose of God (v. 24, “must stand trial before Caesar”)
C. The promise of God (v. 23) = John 16:33
D. Prayer to God (v. 35) = James 5:16