Book of Acts Chapter Twenty-Seven (Part Two)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. Today, we hope to continue our discussion of Paul’s voyage and shipwreck.

Body:

Read Acts 27:27-44

7. Paul’s Voyage and Shipwreck (continued). Here in the book of Acts there is more description of the storm. Paul encourages the soldiers to eat and stay with the ship.

The soldiers were trying to land on a sandy beach, but things did not work out. The soldiers wanted to kill the passengers, but the Centurion prevented it. They all ended up swimming and using planks to get to shore, while the ship was destroyed.

Applications -

- We’re in this thing together. Notice in vss. 27-30 of the book of Acts that the Christians and non-Christians suffered troubled times in the same ship. They had a common storm, ship, and desire to be saved.

This is similar to believers who find themselves living in communities known for crime, violence, drugs, and other social ills.

It behooves all in the community to work together to address the common storm, since they all live in the same community and have a desire to be free of the troubles.

Let’s learn to work together from our common ground, instead of segregate ourselves based on our differences, especially in story weather.

- Staying with the ship, instead of the little boats. Notice in vss. 31-32 the instruction to stay with the ship, in order to survive through the storm. In similar manner, it is important for us to keep our faith in God, in order to survive the storms that we face.

Faith is measured, not by what we say, but by what we do. Faith is measured by faithfulness - faith inspired actions.

In many cases, a part of being faithful includes staying active in your local church, being a wise steward of the things under your control, and worshipping God, in spite of what you see.

Let’s work on staying with the ship - being faithful.  Notice further a great way to stay with the ship is to cut off the temptations to abandon the ship - the little boats. 

As we look back over our lives, many of us can see that some of the trouble that we got into would have been avoided, if we did not have the option to get in the trouble.

It is hard to get in credit card debt, if you don’t have a credit card or at least have it with you. It is hard to say the wrong thing, if we learn to stop talking before our emotions start taking over. Let’s work on cutting off the avenues of temptation, where we can.

 “Where we can” is an admission that sometimes we cannot cut off the avenues of temptation. After all, we are light in the midst of darkness and salt in the midst of decay.

- Practical ministry. Notice in vss. 33-38 the practical ministry of urging people to eat and be encouraged, in preparation for the work ahead. In like manner, as believers, we need to work on being practical with our ministry efforts.

An example of what I am talking about is, when you visit someone in the hospital and notice the caregiver is there, you may want to both pray for the hospitalized and encourage the caregiver to make sure he/she is doing practical things like eating and resting.

Caregivers can become so focused on caring for others that they fail to care for themselves, which may lead to them getting sick and making the situation even worse. Let’s work on providing practical ministry.

Here is another example, say a person has just lost their job. “Yes” they need prayer, but they also need to work on practical things like cutting all unnecessary expenses (e.g., eating out, cable T.V., hair appointments, etc.), developing an updated resume, seeing if they can get unemployment, etc.

- When plans fall apart. Notice in vss. 39-41 that plans don’t always work out. Here in the book of Acts, the plan to land the boat on the sand did not work out. The ship was destroyed. In like manner, the plans that we have may not work out.

Therefore, it behooves us to make sure we have our ultimate faith in God, not in our plans. On one hand, planning is good. But on the other hand, it is not always predictable. Let’s learn to trust God more than our plans.

- Without the grace of God. Notice in vss. 42-43 that if it had not been for the grace of God, the soldiers would have killed Paul and the other prisoners. Even though Paul had played a key role in saving the soldiers’ lives, the soldiers were about to kill him.

In like manner, if it were not for the grace of God, those we think should love us so much can turn around and cause so much pain in our lives. Notice further that God used the Centurion to stop the soldiers. In like manner, God still uses people to carry out His will.

That is why we need to be careful how we treat people. We never know who God is going to use to bless us. The person we are ignoring or being mean to may be the one God wants to use. Let’s make sure we put our trust in God more than in people who should be kind to us.

- Living by God’s promises. Notice in vs. 44 that God kept His promise of getting Paul through the storm. The storm was terrible and caused some bumps and bruises, but God saw him through. In like manner, God can be trusted to keep His promises.

Two promises that should be on our minds are (1) God promises to bless those who obey Him. And (2) God promises punishment for those who do not obey Him. Let’s work on living by the promises of God. Such living means obeying God’s word to love Him and others, as we love ourselves.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.

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