Summary: Exposition of Acts 27:23-44 regarding the leadership qualities of Paul on his ride to Rome
Text: Acts 27:23-44, Title: Leaders Needed II, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/13/09, PM
A. Opening illustration: Sing the song from Gilligan’s Island,
B. Background to passage: we are picking up this morning in the middle of a storm, literally. Paul and 275 other people are on a 3 hour tour that turned into fourteen days, now assured that they were all going to die. Last week we began looking at the leadership skills of Paul. My hope is that as we conclude this episode of Paul’s life, some will be challenged to be better leaders, and some will be affirmed in their leadership, and some will be encouraged to step out, take your part at New River, and advance the kingdom through ministry leadership here. Main thought: so, this week we will look at the next four qualities of good biblical leadership
A. Leaders are passionately optimistic (v. 23)
1. After Paul urged them to have confidence and take heart, he told them the reason for his never ending optimism—God. God sent an angel to tell Paul that he would stand trial before Caesar. And the God of Paul was/is willing, able, and faithful to do what He says. So somewhere between a week and two weeks into a storm, not knowing where they were, only knowing that they would all die, Paul stands up and tell them that he knows that they will live. And as we see later, people were attracted to that.
2. Pro 17:22,
3. Illustration: “Optimistic enthusiasm inspires followers. People will naturally follow a leader who arouses their hopes, and they will just as surely back away from someone who is perpetually pessimistic.” Tell about the pastor who was at a Christmas concert a few years ago, met a man who was not a member, was not a believer, but in sales, and came to get pumped up. I believe it is a sin to bore people with the bible, Fetch!" he commanded, as he tossed a stick out into a lake. The dog bounded after the stick, walked on the water, and retrieved it. "What do you think of that?" he asked, smiling. "Not much of a dog" she frowned. "Can’t even swim, can he?" the two shoe salesmen who went to India to see about selling shoes there.
4. Some people feel called to be the “cold water” upon the fire of real leaders. But that is what is so contagious about real leaders—their enthusiasm. That old George Strait song The Fireman. Nobody is inspired to follow Eeyore. The flipside is also true, it is physically draining to be around people who are negative about everything. If you are negative all the time, you make it difficult for everyone. If you have problems with enthusiasm or enthusiastic people, know that God is the most enthusiastic being in the whole universe. Ask him to help you inspire people with Him. Lead with passion and vigor for your God! Exercise great faith in times of crisis and people will follow. Dream big dreams, and present them with enthusiasm and confidence in your God and His will for you.
B. Leaders don’t compromise absolutes (v. 31)
1. The sailors realized that they were getting close to land. And so once they verified that, they anchored up until daylight. At daylight some men were going to put down the skiff under the pretence of anchoring the bow, but were really bugging out with the only means to get to land. But Paul, seized control and warned that unless they stayed with ship nobody would survive. And now the soldiers are listening to the prisoner, and cutting away the only means of getting to land. It is one thing to compromise matters of preference or personal agenda, and a person who never compromises is unwise, but to compromise on absolutes does not make for a good leader.
2. Gal 1:8, 2:11, 1 Tim 5:20, Jude 1:3,
3. Illustration: see below or other sheet
4. We must be discerning about which hills to die upon. And a big part of leadership is in light of ultimate goals, being able to decide what is absolutely necessary. And in spiritual leadership we must discern what is a biblical non-negotiable. And when we decide that there is a hill like that, we must be willing to stand firm in the strength of our God, refusing to budge on absolutes. Issues of preference, or gray areas, should be handled with conviction, but grace and liberty, but not on absolutes. And there is much discussion about what constitutes a matter of liberty, and we probably won’t all agree, but we must decide, and stand firm. Compromise is a tool for a leader’s wise use, but not on non-negotiable issues.
C. Leaders are goal-oriented (v. 33-34)
1. That brings up the next point. Not goal-oriented at the expense of people. But goal oriented in the sense that they focus more on the goal than on setbacks and obstacles. Any kingdom worthy, calculated risk endeavor will come with setbacks and problems. Satan doesn’t normally sit idly by and watch you invade his turf. But real leaders have the ability to keep people’s eyes focused on the “one thing” rather than being distracted. Paul knew that they hadn’t eaten in several days, and that they would need some strength to overcome the remainder of the trial, if they were all to be saved. So with confidence, he told them to “get some breakfast boys, you’re gonna need it.”