Summary: An evangelistic message that has spiritualized Acts 27 - showing that in many ways we are like sailors trying to survive the next storm looking for clearer days until we sail to heavenly shores, but outside of Jesus there is no hope for salvation
Sailing the Storm: Hope in Dark Times
Introduction: A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dug out what the score was. The boy responded, “18-0, we are behind.” then the man said “Oh boy! I bet your discouraged.” “Why would I be discouraged” the boy said “We haven't even gotten to bat yet!” - Now that is hope!
In Romans 15:13 - “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Man's hope is simply wishful thinking. It is built on the shifting sands of emotions, feelings, desires, opinions, tangibles; things that are seen. But hope from the Holy Ghost has power to carry us through the most ferocious storms of life.
G.K. Chesterton said “Hope means hoping when things are hopeless or it is no virtue at all . . . as long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery . . . it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.” This is really the theme of our message. It is the dark times when Hope is most needed and when hope is a strength. If you ever need a good dose of hope turn to the exciting book of Acts, it sometimes reads like an Indiana Jones adventure; there is prison breaks, shipwrecks, miracles, visions, resurrections, healings, and high drama. We see a supernatural God doing supernatural things. It is amazing!
We begin our adventure with apostle Luke in Acts 27 he writes about Paul and himself sailing to Rome, being taken there by a centurion named Julius who had befriended Paul, apparently, although he was their captor, he had a lot of respect for Paul and allowed him certain liberties that he wouldn't have allowed any other criminal. And as they are sailing to Rome they stop and board a larger merchant ship but because of the wind they struggle to get (130 miles) to Cnidus and decide to sail on and barely make it to a harbor named Fair Havens on the island of Crete.
Transition: In some ways we are all sailors trying to survive the next storm looking for clear days until we sail to heavenly shores. We will see three things about the sailors that traveled with the apostles: First, The sailors had a Storm warning, secondly, they became Storm weary and finally we will see How they weathered the Storm.
Sailors are given a Storm Warning (v. 9,10)
Paul warns his shipmates in verses 9,10 “... So Paul warned them, “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.”
That was very nice of Paul to say such a thing. That is, it wasn't nice to hear but godly men give good warnings. And even though they were in Fair Havens, it didn't mean it was a safe haven. Those places that seem to be the most pleasurable can be the most dangerous. The next verse says “...instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and owner of the ship.”
Although Julius respected Paul, apparently he trusted the opinion of the captain more. Many people will show due respect to ministers but they won't always heed their warnings. They will take the advice of the world before “that religious person.” After all the captain has sailed these waters for many years, surely, he has been through high waves and hurricanes and knows the weather and the wind well, his profession depends upon it! But Paul knew the one who created the wind and waves and tides and the seasons and the sea and the moon and stars and everything else. He knew the one who could say “peace be still” and it was by this God, that he foresaw disaster ahead. Disaster that could be avoided. He offered them a warning, but in verse 12 “...the majority decided that we should sail on ...”
Paul was essentially outvoted. They ignored his warning because of a gentle south wind (v.13). It seemed pleasant enough at the moment, No reason to believe it wouldn't stay that way, right? Except for the fact, there was an apostle who said otherwise. But what does he know about those things, He is just a “fanatic” “zealot” a “preacher”
A.W. Tozer once said something that many Christians and many ministers can relate to, He said “I wish I was popular for 20 minutes, . . . just to see what it feels like.” But when you’re up against pleasantries, worldliness, and good feelings, the truth, if it is unpleasant, will never be popular. It is unlikely to gain the majority vote. Paul warned them that disaster and great loss was coming. But they ignored his warning because things seemed pleasant at the moment.