Summary: Paul's journeys were met with opposition. What makes us unique
5 May 2019
WHERE IS THIS SHIP HEADING?
Key Scripture: Acts 27:14-24 (NKJV)
14 But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. 15 So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. 16 And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. 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. 18 And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. 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.
21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’
When the Holy Spirit inspires songs and poems, He often includes images of oceans, waters, winds, and storms as well as anchors that illustrate life’s journey. When we read the New Testament, particularly of the disciples’ travelling, we find them either in boats or ships. There are many other examples of boats in the Bible, such as Noah’s Ark, Jonah running from God and Jesus sleeping on a boat in the middle of a storm. These are all pictures of people that overcome life’s difficulties. This evening we are going to look at Paul’s shipwreck. When Luke wrote his gospel, it was about Jesus’ ministry, the cross and salvation. In Acts he writes about Paul’s ministry, storms and destiny. While they were on their journey Paul and Barnabas said, “we must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22), so we as Christians will experience seasons in our lives where sometimes it is plain sailing, but also experience storms of severity. Paul needed to go to Rome and Julius was assigned to take him there by ship. The first ship took him to Sidon and the second to a place called Myra and from there Paul gets on a ship heading toward Italy. The Word that Paul was to bring to Rome was challenged by a storm that lasted for longer than two weeks but what God said happened and no life was lost. Let’s see what happens so that we can learn to take heart when we go through storms in our own lives.
1. In order for the Gospel to be spread, Paul had to take into account the safety of the ship.
• The ship Paul was travelling in was God’s vessel to bring salvation to the rest of the world.
• God still uses broken people to spread the Word. When you study church history, you learn that there has always been opposition to the Gospel and not only that but we face opposition as well. (2 Cor 11:25)
• Sometimes our lives are broken and fragile, but God is still with you because God specializes in using broken people to get the message of salvation out to every corner of the globe.
• We feel small because the world is against us. We even have people that are against the gospel that will try question the authority that it has and by doing this they bring in doubt (Acts 27:4)
• Paul writes about people that have shipwrecked the faith (1 Tim 1:19)
2. In order to navigate the storms of life we need sound advice.
In this passage of Scripture there are a number of strong voices speaking
2.1 Professional voice. This includes the pilot and the owner of the ship as well as the majority that decided that they should sail on. (Acts 27:11-12). In life’s journey, whose voice are we listening to, because we need more than just books on church life, because professionals can also get it wrong sometimes.
2.2 The practical voice
There were a number of things they tried to do in order to get through the storm:
Shore up the structure (Acts 27:17)
They took soundings (Acts 27:28). It shows how important research, surveys and censuses are but they do not reveal the whole picture. We as the Church need to find out where we are really at.