Summary: In this sermon, we explore Paul's shipwreck and learn lessons for our life about the anchors God provides in the storms of life.
A. When I was growing up, one of my favorite TV shows was the silly comedy “Gilligan’s Island.”
1. Every episode opened with the catchy theme song that introduced the plight of the group.
2. “Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailin' man, the Skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that day, for a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
The weather started getting rough, but the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost. The Minnow would be lost.
The ship set aground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle with Gilligan, the Skipper too. A millionaire and his wife, a movie star, the professor and Mary Ann, here on Gilligan's Isle.”
3. So seven people set sail on what was scheduled to be a three-hour sightseeing tour on the charter boat The Minnow, but they got caught in a storm and end up stranded on an uncharted tropical island.
4. The comedy develops from the failed attempts at escaping the island and the interaction of the very diverse group.
B. Their shipwreck was turned into a comedy, but most shipwrecks are anything but a comedy.
1. I’ve seen bumper stickers that say, “I’d rather be sailing,” but I’ve never seen one that says, “I’d rather be shipwrecked.”
2. The adventure of sailing across the open seas carries a certain exhilarating thrill that can become almost addicting, but there’s nothing fun about sinking into the cold waters of the deep in the midst of a violet storm.
C. I can thankfully say that being shipwrecked is not something I can list on my resume of life experiences, and you can probably, thankfully say the same.
1. But such is not the case for the Apostle Paul.
2. By this time in his life, you would hope that he had paid his dues and been through his toughest times; surely his final ministry years would be smooth sailing the rest of the way, right? Wrong.
3. In Acts 27, Luke vividly records their shipwreck experience and Paul’s reaction to it.
4. What begins very innocuously as a Mediterranean cruise, turns into one of the most frightening ordeals of Paul’s life.
5. Luke, having endured the same death-defying adventure, gives us his eye-witness account.
6. As we study Luke’s account of Paul’s perilous voyage to Rome, we want to learn lessons for our own lives.
7. All of us will inevitably face our own perfect storms of life, and we need to learn how to face those storms head-on and stare down our feelings of panic.
I. Paul’s Shipwreck
A. Paul’s shipwreck story begins with these words: 1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.
3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. 4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, 10 "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also." 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest. (Acts 27:1-12)
1. And so, the journey began with all the pleasant expectancy of a memorable ocean voyage.