Summary: What do you hang onto when the storms of life rage, you’ve lost all control, and all hope is lost? The strong anchor of God’s presence, God’s promises, and God’s power.
THE SHIPWRECKED LIFE
OPENING: Share mine and Liza’s trip to Focus on the Family’s Kerith Retreat Centre last week.
INTRO TO ACTS: Acts is the story of the first 33 years of the church of Jesus Christ.
• KEY VERSE: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NKJV).
• Ch. 1-7: The Church in Jerusalem under the leadership of Peter. Signs and wonders, healings and miracles, love, acceptance and forgiveness, Holy Spirit power.
• Ch. 8-12: The Church is persecuted and then expands into Judea and Samaria.
• Ch. 13-28: The Apostle Paul takes the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
• Who was Paul? “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” (1 Tim. 1:15-16, NKJV).
• We’re going to look at one of the stories from the end of Paul’s life:
1. THE BEGINNING OF THE VOYAGE:
“When the time came, we set sail for Italy. Paul and several other prisoners were placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a captain of the Imperial Regiment. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was also with us. We left on a ship whose home port was Adramyttium on the northwest coast of the province of Asia; it was scheduled to make several stops at ports along the coast of the province.” (Acts 27:1-2, NLT).
• Paul was a prisoner because of his faith in Jesus. He was under the watch of Julius.
• He had with him two friends – Aristarchus and Luke (who wrote Acts).
2. THE BAD DECISION:
“8 We struggled along the coast with great difficulty and finally arrived at Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea. 9 We had lost a lot of time. The weather was becoming dangerous for sea travel because it was so late in the fall, and Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it. 10 “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” 11 But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. 12 And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor—a poor place to spend the winter—most of the crew wanted to go on to Phoenix, farther up the coast of Crete, and spend the winter there. Phoenix was a good harbor with only a southwest and northwest exposure.” (Acts 27:8-12, NLT).
• The officer’s first mistake: Listening to the ship’s captain instead of the man of God.
• As soon as they started sailing, a huge tempest – a massive storm – arose!
3. THE BIG TEMPEST:
“17 When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.
• The first thing we see here – they lost all control – they were being driven by the storm.
18 And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.
• The second thing we see is that this was a big storm – overwhelming.
19 On the third day we threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands.
20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.” (Acts 27:17-20, NKJV).
• The third thing we see here is that all hope was gone.
• Things were out of control, they were overwhelmed, and it was hopeless.
THE SHIPWRECKED LIFE: HOW THIS SPEAKS TO OUR LIVES TODAY:
• Like these men, maybe you feel like your life is shipwrecked:
o A family disaster. Death or disease or divorce.
o A financial storm. You’ve lost your job or gotten heavily in debt.
o An emotional tempest: depression, fear, worry, or anxiety.
o Any of these storms tempest-like winds can rip down your sails and leave you dead in the water, feeling out of control, overwhelmed, and hopeless.
WHERE IS THE HOPE?
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” (Hebrews 6:19).
• We need strong anchors to hang onto!
THE BIG IDEA: What do you hang onto when the storms of life rage, you’ve lost all control, and all hope is lost? The strong anchor of God’s presence, God’s promises, and God’s power.