Summary: When weathering a storm, we need to remember that God is always there even in our self-made storms. It really does not matter whether the storm is a self-made storm, a storm God caused, or a storm others caused, how do we handle these storms? How should w
Subject: Weathering the Storms of Life
Text: Acts 27:20-44
Introduction: I believe there are basically three kinds of storms: storms we cause, storms that God causes and storms caused by others. I know that we can agree there are some storms that we cause in our lives. The reasons for the storms may vary but many times include the following: (a) we take the wrong advice from a so-called expert, which leads to bad decisions, (b) we often listen to popular opinion, or the majority, and make unwise decisions or (c) we base our decisions solely on our present circumstances. Bad decisions cause us to drift away from the plan of God for our lives. Then we began to discard precious cargo such as our relationships and responsibilities. Finally, we begin to get discouraged and wonder, “What’s the use?” When weathering a storm, we need to remember that God is always there even in our self-made storms. It really does not matter whether the storm is a self-made storm, a storm God caused, or a storm others caused, how do we handle these storms? How should we respond while weathering the storms of life? I believe Acts 27 provides us with some helpful suggestions. While weathering the storms of life, as children of God, we must: (1) look for the Presence of God (2) listen for the Promise of God (3) experience the Peace of God and (4) participate in the Preservation of God.
This is the subject to address this morning. How can we weather the storms of life in such a way that our Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified and others watching will be inspired by our faith in God?
In Acts 27, the Apostle Paul and his companions boarded an Egyptian grain ship bound for Italy. Remember the Apostle Paul was a prisoner of the Roman Empire for allegedly starting a riot in the temple area in Jerusalem. He was accused by the High Priest before Felix, the Roman Governor. After two years, Felix was relieved of his position leaving Paul in prison. When Festus took over as Governor, he did not know what to do with Paul because Paul had appealed to Caesar as a Roman citizen. Festus then invited King Agrippa and his wife Bernice to listen to Paul in a public arena for the purpose of forming some acceptable political charges before shipping him to Rome. Again, Paul used the opportunity to witness of his faith in Jesus of Nazareth. Paul’s witness was so effective that Agrippa said he was almost persuaded to be a Christian. It was decided that arrangements should be made to ship Paul and his companions some 2,000 miles away to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. By this time, it was late September of the year. This six-month voyage, from September of 59 through March of 60 A.D., would be filled with danger and adventure. Our storyteller, Luke, gives a detailed account of their journey.
As you read this account, you sense the storm clouds building and the winds becoming stronger, more violent and more dangerous. Throughout Acts 27, Luke refers to the weather and the sailing conditions: “The winds were contrary" (verse 4), "the wind did not permit us to go farther" (verse 7), "with difficulty sailing" (verse 8), "moderate south wind" (verse 13), "violent wind" (verse 14), "violently storm-tossed" (verse 18), "neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us" (verse 20), "being driven about" (verse 27), "hit a reef" (verse 9), "ship broke up" (verse 10).
How can we weather the storms of life? First, look for God’s Presence in the Storm.
1. Look For the Presence of God. “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve” (Acts 27:20-23).
When most on the ship were worrying and wondering, Paul was seeking God through fasting and prayer. This was not the apostle’s first voyage, nor was it his first shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea. He had been in three wrecks already, and God had always been with him. We should look for the Presence of God in the storms because God has a purpose and a plan. God used this storm to bring men to a place where their souls melted, where they were at their wits’ end and they had nothing or no one to turn to on board for security. Their ship was breaking up. Their self-confidence was gone. They were men paralyzed by a sea of uncertainty, helpless and hopeless, looking into the very eyes of death. In spite of all this, Paul, God’s man, says, “To be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve…”