Summary: STEPS TO TROUBLE
HOW TO GET IN TROUBLE
Any Christian who studies the Bible and applies what he learns from the Bible will avoid many pitfalls in this world. In Acts 27 we find Paul, a prisoner, on his voyage to Rome. This experience in Acts 27 of Paul is not written in Scripture so that we can just have a record of what happened to Paul. Shipwreck was nothing new to Paul for in II Corinthians 11:25 he mentions that he had experienced other shipwrecks. However, Acts 27 records the only one reported in detail.
Knowing that this shipwreck experience is not written just to record facts, I began to look for the truths it would teach to us. I discovered several truths that would guarantee a shipwreck in our own individual life. May we profit from the experience of the shipwreck from the adventures of Apostle Paul.
The shipwreck was the result of wrong decisions.
I. Headed for trouble when your decisions are forged in haste.
Verse 7 records that the progress has been slow. With a favorable wind, the distance between Myra and Cindus should have been covered in day. The question now was, should they put into Cnidus and wait for better weather, or should they sail on. They sailed on because the captain of the ship wanted to make all speed to Rome with his cargo, and the centurion was anxious to deliver his prisoners without costly delays.
When you get impatience, you will get impulsive. Haste leads to waste.
Haste leads to shipwreck. Haste brings trouble and regrets. Haste leads to many a false step.
Haste makes waste. The hurrier I go, the behinder I get. More haste, less speed.
Haste is the road to error.
Abraham and Sarah are the classic example of haste. Got impatience at the promise of God. The trouble the Jews have today are with the Ishmaelites (Arabs).
II. Headed for trouble when your decisions are fashioned on human reasoning rather than divine revelation (9-12).
Delay after delay now forced a critical decision on the ship’s officers and the Roman centurion. Should they continue or not? Paul admonishes them to continue sailing at this time of the year would be disastrous.
Julius the centurion looked at Paul, the missionary, a prisoner and underestimated him. He looked at the ship’s captain, and he saw a successful businessman, the owner of the large ship, a seasoned sailor, and he overestimated him. It should be no surprise that Paul’s warning was rejected by the centurion. After all, who is going to listen to a prisoner instead of the master and the owner of the ship about when to sail and when not to sail. He would naturally think him best able to judge. The centurion decided that the professional should know whether or not it is safe to proceed. The voice of the humble believer in touch with God is ignored.
The centurion sided with the man who had the most hours at the helm sailing instead of siding with the man who had the most hours communion with God on his knees. Surely the people connected with the ship are more competent in making decisions abut sailing than a lowly prisoner. He chose human reasoning instead of divine wisdom.
Shipwreck is a probability when you regard human reasoning above divine revelation.
III. Headed for trouble when your decisions focus on comfort or convenience (12a)
The Fair Havens presented some problems for a ship if it wanted to stay there over the winter. The harbor apparently was not protected as well as sailors like a harbor to be, and it did not provide as much in the line of supplies and entertainment to winter in as sailors would like. The Fair Havens was too small to accommodate their desires. To stay in the Fair Havens seemed ludicrous
The sailors longed for the taverns and the gaiety of Phenice. Their decision to sail on was based on comfort and convenience. It would have been much better to suffer some temporary inconveniences in Fair Havens than to suffer shipwreck. However, oftentimes we make foolish decisions because we are afraid of suffering a bit of inconvenience to do what is right.
If you live by faith, you will make some decisions that are not comfortable nor convenient.
IV. Headed for trouble when your decisions are formulated on the majority’s voice instead of Sovereignty’s voice (12b)
Paul was in the minority. The majority said, “Let’s sail.” The majority doesn’t make something right; neither does the minority make something wrong. The majority cannot be wrong when it includes the experts–can it?
Exodus 23:2 “Thou shalt not follow the multitude to do evil.” The majority is for sin and not for holiness.
Just because everybody is doing it doesn’t make a thing right.