Summary: Every sailor knows that you can’t ride out a storm with an overburdened ship. You’ll take on excess water and sink. The same goes for us, when we carry useless burdens around and a storm comes up – we’ll be in danger of sinking.
Many of you came in here today carrying a burden, a load of care. The good news is that you can lighten your load, you can even get rid of your load altogether. Relax, you’re in the Lord’s house now, and I’ve got a feel’en everything’s gonna be alright! Amen!
Our sermon comes from the Book of Acts chapter 27.
The Apostle Paul was sold out to Jesus. He was so dedicated to sharing Christ with the world, that he had no regard for his own safety. As he traveled back to Jerusalem concluding his 3rd missionary journey, he was warned time after time through the word of prophetic ministers that if he went to Jerusalem he would be arrested and jailed. Yet he knew that he must return and that somehow God would receive the glory for it.
Sure enough, Paul was arrested and detained for two years whereupon he appealed to Ceaser’s court of law, which meant that he would have to travel to Rome and present his case. Acts chapter 27 fills us in:
27:1 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. (It was October) 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.
How many of you know that the majority is not always right?
13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure. 17 When the men had hoisted it aboard, they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Fearing that they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.
Listen, every sailor knows that you can’t ride out a storm with an overburdened ship. You’ll take on excess water and sink. The same goes for us, when we carry useless burdens around and a storm comes up – we’ll be in danger of sinking. And like these sailors we may even give up all hope.
21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.
This gives us a glimpse into the character of Paul, he wasn’t about to let them off the hook without telling them, “I told you so!” - But why did he start off reminding them that he was right? Because he wanted them to now trust in what he was about to say: