Summary: Exposition of Acts 27:1-22, regarding leadership and the Apostle Paul
Text: Acts 27:1-22, Title: Leaders Needed I, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/6/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: Leadership is the ability to put the plans into practice, and to accomplish the specified objectives through the skillful management of people, time, and tangible resources. A good leader is one who is able to motivate people; one who is capable of making good decisions, even under pressure or in conditions of uncertainty; one who can guide people through actions as well as words. George Barna
B. Background to passage: After about two and a half years of waiting on justice, Paul is finally sent to Rome by Festus. Luke records for us the travel narrative, as he does on several occasions, and this time in the first person, indicating that Luke is traveling with his beloved leader. We see in the text yet another reminder of the sovereignty of God using and bringing all situations to His desired end. And in the middle of crisis we see the amazing leadership abilities of Paul aboard ships full of unbelieving Romans. Acknowledge gratefulness and reliance on MacArthur’s book on leadership, The Book on Leadership. Disclaimer: not directed toward anyone in particular.
C. Main thought: So rather than focusing on the absolute sovereignty of God in all things for His glory (which you know that I believe in, and have preached on a number of times), we will assume that you understand this, even if you disagree with it’s extent; and we will focus today and next week on Paul’s example to us as leaders. We will issue a call for leaders to step up and out in a time of need like today.
A. Leaders are trustworthy (v. 3)
1. Only thing that we know about Julius is that he was a centurion. And Roman’s had a difficult time finding politicians with character, but not centurions. And after knowing Paul for a day, Julius allowed him to have liberty enough to leave the ship and freely go around Sidon. Same reason Felix and Festus trusted Paul, same reason Claudius Lysias trusted Paul…Paul was one whom people found trustworthy. Paul was man that people felt like would act with integrity. They knew that Paul would not try to escape
2. Pro 20:7, 25:19, Ps 25:21, 78:72
3. Illustration: If your car starts once every three tries, is it reliable? If the postman skipped delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he trustworthy? If you don’t go to work once or twice a month, are you a reliable employee? If your fridge stops working for a day or two every now and then, do you say, “Oh well, it work most of the time.”? If your water heater provides an icy cold shower every now and then, is it dependable? If you skipped a couple of electricity bill payments do you think Western Power would mind? If you fail to worship God one or two Sundays a month, would you expect to be called a faithful Christian? “When people are convinced that you will do everything in your power for their good and nothing for their harm, they’ll trust you.”- JM
4. There is plenty of distrust to go around. Repubs/Democrats, b/t generations, b/t those new and those who’ve been around a while, b/t general population and politicians and government, labor/management, lawyers, mechanics, preachers, contractors, spouses, teachers. We need men and women to whom you could entrust your life, or your kid’s lives to. We need those in whom you can confide, and it not turn into gossip. Those in whom money and authority does not corrupt. Those who can do what they say they will do, when they say they would do it. And we need them to step up and help lead the flock, lead their class, lead their ministry with trustworthy integrity.
B. Leaders take the initiative (v. 9)
1. Here the titled official leaders were discussing the plans whether to sail or not to sail. And Paul pipes up and tells them what he thinks. Who is he among centurions, ship captains, merchants, soldiers, and seasoned sailors? With no right to speak, and no financial stake in the matter, he spoke.
2. Illustration: Beth Moore warned ladies about overstepping their god-given role as influencers and becoming manipulators, “A leader never says, we might have a problem, and somebody needs to do something about it. He says, Here’s the problem, and here’s how to solve it.” –JM,
3. Leadership is not necessarily about position or title, but about influence. Like Neh 2:7-8, Paul has thought about it (having been in three shipwrecks thus far), and feels like they shouldn’t move from Fair Havens. Sometimes God leads his people through unlikely sources. You may say that you are too young, too unlearned, to unqualified, but God says you speak up. This doesn’t always mean that you will get a hearing, as we will see. But do not despise yourself. King Josiah led one of Israel’s greatest national turn around revivals at 8 years old. When you see needs, like Paul, speak up, and be wiling to take responsibility. Talk is easy, action is rare. And if you come to me, I will say, great, what do you need? Many of you see needs. God has allowed you to see them, because He wants you to minister to them.