Summary: We have the hardest time finding God in the middle of the storms, but that is when He is most evidently at work in our lives.
Passage: Acts 27:1-44
Intro: When we are in the middle of trouble, it is hard to see the hand of God.
1. this is when we tend to say, “what is God doing? Where is He?”
2. a great sign of maturity in a believer is when we can experience trouble and continue to trust God.
3. as we have gone through Acts, I have wanted to rename the book.
4. instead of the Acts of the Apostles, I have wanted to call it “The Acts of God through the Apostles.”
5. we have seen God at work, and we continue to see Him working in the midst of this terrible storm.
6. we tend to equate storms with judgment, but here is one that is full of grace.
7. first we’ll breakdown the trip, and then go back and find the grace.
I. A very long trip
1. so finally God is taking Paul to Rome
2. left from Caesarea to make the trip along the coast of Asia Minor.
PP Paul’s Second Missionary journey map
3. it was early Fall, a time when sailing the Mediterranean was a little dicey.
4. real problem: square sailed ship heading west with easterly winds.
5. so they had to stay close to the shore to minimize the wind they had to fight. V4
PP Lee of Cyprus because of winds
6. another ship, probably 3 masts, 180 feet long
7. struggled up the coast, couldn’t make it, so headed south to Crete.
8. ended up in Fair Haven, but very late
9. sailing after September 14 dangerous, after November 11. considered impossible. V9
10. Paul argues to stay, others want to go further west to a better port.
PP Port of Phoenix,
11. good wind, (v13) so they took off, got caught in “nor’easter”
12. like hurricane, it is a counter- clockwise turning storm, but it is cold, larger, and lasts a long time.
PP Nor’easter, blizzard of 2006
13. ran before it for 2 weeks, hundreds of miles.
PP Satellite of Mediterranean
PP Satellite of Western US
14. finally ashore on Malta, weeks after they left for Rome.
15. let’s find the grace.
II. God Protecting Grace
1. several ways God took care of Paul
2. he had a friendly overseer, v3, v42-3
3. he was kept alive during the storm
4. here’s one we might not have thought of.
5. 2 years after original riot in Jerusalem,
Jews still eager to kill
PP Acts 25:3
6. we know that when Paul had been ministering in Greece and Asia, Jews had tried to kill him
PP Acts 20:3
7. I believe that the Jews may have had a plan to kill Paul somewhere along this long trip to Rome, with many stops.
8. but after the Alexandrian grain ship he was on was reported lost, and the crew didn’t show up, they probably celebrated his death.
9. but God was actually protecting him, to bring him where he wanted him to go.
10. God had promised him that he would go to Rome, and God keeps His promises.
11. the great news is that our promise is heaven, and live or die, that is where we will be.
12. God protects us physically as long as His plan is for us to live, and spiritually, forever.
III. God’s Revealing Grace
1. there are some other people on this ship, 276 men.
2. no doubt the experience was terrifying, and they struggled to stay alive.
3. they lightened the ship, tied the ship together, were so stressed that they did not eat.
Il) I’ve been on some diets like that. You probably have too.
4. but in the midst of their peril, these men had a great opportunity.
5. they were with men who were not afraid to die, who continued to trust in their God v22
6. in addition, God made a promise to Paul that Paul publicly revealed.
7. v22-26, no one will died, ship and cargo lost, we will run aground on an island.
8. and that was exactly what happened.
9. after 14 days, they approached Malta.
PP approaches to Malta
10. they ran aground, everyone made it to shore safely.
11. everyone on that ship saw that Paul was no ordinary man, that he trusted his God, and that trust was well-founded.
12. in a polytheistic culture, this was powerful.
Il) a lot like Jonahs experience, also with sailors who saw God’s power.
13. there is nothing like the power of watching a believer go through trials with their trust intact.
14. every time we experience a trial, it is an opportunity for others to see the power of God.
15. God graciously uses that trial, often sent by Satan, to demonstrate what faith is.
16. our purpose is to stand with God in the trial, keep our hand in His, trust when we cannot see.