Summary: Storms of life are inevitable but there is hope for the believer in the midst of the storms.
1. Take courage in the sovereignty of God v.21
The sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God's rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission.
2. Take comfort in the presence of God v.22 -23
3. Take hope in the purpose of God v.23
“God will use every wisp of every storm to accomplish His purpose in us and through us.”
4. Take strength in the promises of God v.25
The storms of life. The usually come unexpectedly, and when they come, they throw our lives into chaos, confusion, and pain.
3 storm stories: and then a storm…cancer…; storm…loss of job, death of….
Acts 27 This morning we begin a new series called “Wrecked.” We sensed the need for a series like this because when we read your prayer requests, when we counsel you in our offices, when we get emails from you throughout the week, it is obvious that many, if not most of you feel as if your lives are about to be or are wrecked. Marriages empty and crumbling. Schedules overwhelming. Stress debilitating. Custody battles. Dysfunctional family life. Chronic health issues. This series is going to give some real hope and help for those whose lives feel wrecked.
And this morning, we begin with a snippet out of the life of the Apostle Paul. He had been arrested by the Jewish authorities and defended himself before the King of Palestine, a man by the name of Agrippa, a descendent of King Herod. BTW, Paul defended himself in the amphitheatre in Caesarea by the Sea where we will be next May….
Agrippa was going to release Paul, but Paul appealed his case to Caesar and so he was bound over to Roman authorities to stand trial before Caesar in Rome.
*The trip started out well enough. (show map). Their intention was to hug the coast lines, head from island to island, and get to Italy.
*But then the winds changed. They became harsher, they blew harder, the waves swelled…and they found themselves in a storm.
Isn’t that amazing about life? You’re going along, and things seem well enough. You’re marriage starts out well enough. You have a child and the parenting thing starts out well enough. You begin a career and it starts out well enough. But then storm clouds appear on the horizon. The winds begin to blow and throw you around. The swells are insurmountable. And you find yourself in a storm.
It’s interesting that Paul had warned them; he had given them direction, but they ignored it. Look at 27:9-12 (on screen) So many times we get into storms because we ignore the warnings and directions of the Lord. A dating couple gets involved sexually; they ignore the warnings of Scripture and their pastor, and find themselves in a storm. Or parents don’t heed the direction of Scripture to raise their children to fall in love with Jesus and His bride the church, and they find themselves in a storm. Or a married couple doesn’t heed the admonishon of Scripture in Ephesians: “Men love your wives and wives respect your husbands.” So it begins to get choppy, then more difficult and finally impossible, and they find themselves in a storm. A person feels like the money they earn is theirs instead of God’s so they don’t tithe, they shun generosity for greed, so they spend more but find more emptiness, become overextended and find themselves in a storm. The Bible is God’s love letter to us, complete with directions on how to live life well and warnings about what can steal, kill, and destroy our lives. And we ignore it at our peril.
So the centurion ignored Paul’s warning and direction and sailed on. 27:13-26 (on screen). And that’s exactly what happened. The storm blew them to Malta where they were clothed, fed, & housed until they could catch the next ship to Italy.
When storms come into your life, what do you do? How do you survive? Maybe you’re in a storm right now. You feel lost and adrift, tossed about by external circumstances and internal fears and doubts. When storms come into your life, what do you do?
I think this account of Paul’s storm gives us some incredible insight about surviving the storms of life.
1. Take courage in the sovereignty of God v.21
“Paul stood up among them and said, “You men should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete and sustain this damage and loss.”
They shoulda listened, but they didn’t. They shoulda known better, but they didn’t. So many of our storms are from our own hard headedness and rebellion. Sometimes our storms are the fault of someone else. Those sailors didn’t make the decision…they were just along for the ride. The poor decision of someone else put them in the storm. Or the storm we’re in is really just the result of living in a fallen world. Getting cancer or suffering from Alzheimers is just the result of living in a fallen world.