Summary: This message focuses on how God will bless others because of us and my experience with a special five year old girl who is anointed by God.
Be Encouraged Part 3
As I shared with you last week, on the night that He was betrayed Jesus spent time with His disciples encouraging them in order to prepare them for what they would soon experience because of His death and resurrection (some of which they did not understand until much later.) I gave you two reasons why we should be encouraged. The first reason I shared with you is the fact that God will protect us throughout our lives. The second reason was He will strengthen and comfort us when needed. These are two foundational reasons why we should be encouraged and some of the other reasons I will share are rooted within these two. This morning I want to share two things with you. First I want you to know that God will bless others because of you, not just through what you do for Him, but because you belong to Him. After that I want to explain why I sent each of you the video of the little girl dancing and singing the song “My God Is An Awesome God.” I hope that you will be both encouraged and blessed by what you hear today. Let’s begin with Acts 27:21-25.
I. God Will Bless Others Because Of Us
“When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, ‘Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss. Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.”
Paul had been ordered to Rome to stand before Caesar. The journey would be done by ship and it would be a long journey. Paul was going to Rome as a prisoner (but the main reason was because God ordained it as He would be a witness for God in Rome.) There are a couple of things I want to bring out from this story. When you read the verses preceding the ones I read, you will find that prior to the ship setting sail, Paul tried to get them to stay where they were. He sensed that something was going to go wrong as the weather was not favorable. He was ignored and by majority vote it was decided that they would set sail in order to reach a better location where they could spend the winter. As they set sail, a strong wind came and began to rock the ship. After many days in the storm some of the men were losing hope. An angel appeared to Paul and told Paul that the ship would be destroyed but no man would lose his life. Paul relayed this message to those on board. Now notice what Paul says when he relayed the message. In verse twenty-three he tells those on ship that no life would be lost because the God whom he belonged to had sent an angel to deliver that news to him. Did you pick up on that? Normally people would say the “God that I serve…” but this is not what Paul chose to say. He wanted the men to know that he belonged to God – the one and only God. The men on this ship did not serve God so this was an opportunity for Paul to introduce them to Him. Now consider what the angel told Paul in verse twenty-four. The angel told Paul that God had granted to him all of those that were sailing with him. In other words, God was going to save every man on that ship because of Paul. This is important because if you read the rest of the story you will discover that as the ship was wrecked the guards had thoughts of killing all of the prisoners. Paul was a prisoner; and a captive and yet God had delivered all of the men on the ship because of him. Do you see this? If Paul had not been on that ship when it set sail, lives would have been lost in that storm.
In this story we see an example of God intervening on Paul’s behalf because He wanted Paul in Rome. However, God extended His grace and mercy to everyone on the ship because of Paul. What Paul shared with the men about no lives being lost because of his God was the first “testimony” of the living God that some of these men had heard. They had no relationship with God and yet God saved them because of Paul presence on that ship. God could have just as easily saved Paul and let all of the others die but He did not do this. Verse twenty-four tells us that God wanted Paul to stand before Caesar. We do not know if Paul knew this prior to the angel telling him or not, but I know it must have given him a great sense of comfort knowing that he was truly in God’s hands and that he would arrive safely in Rome because God wanted him there. Paul getting to Rome from our vantage point was not a good thing because he was going as a prisoner, but that was a part of God’s plan. What is interesting is that Paul continued to serve Christ even while shipwrecked. When you read the rest of the story you will find that Paul healed the sick while on that island shipwrecked and gave more evidence that he truly belonged to the one and only living God.