Sunday School Material 11-11-12: Paul Survives a Shipwreck

(Acts 27:1, 2, 33-34; 11/11/12)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Paul was used by God to help the crew get through the storm safely. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to let God use us to help others get through storms safely.

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Read Acts 27:1-2

I. Sailing into Danger. In the Sunday School material it was decided that the company would sail to Italy. The prisoners were in the custody of Julius. A man from Macedonia was on the ship as well.

Applications –

- Doing our part and trusting God with the rest. Notice in vss. 1-2 that some decisions are beyond your control like the decision to take the dangerous journey was beyond Paul’s control. However, we should make sure that we have done our part in the decision making process.

There are too many people who don’t do their part and then complain that things are not right. Voting in the elections is a great example.

Instead of being a victim of having only one small vote, we should cast our vote and trust God’s will to be done. Let’s work on doing our part and trusting God to do the rest.

Read Acts 27:33-40

II. Preparing for Landfall. In our Sunday School material Paul urges the people on the ship to eat. They did so with Paul's praying for the food. They made the ship as light as they could and tried to land at a distant and unfamiliar bay.

Applications –

- Faith to get through the storms. Notice in vss. 33-35 that Paul shows us a great example of keeping our faith during the storms of life.

Too many people talk a good talk before the storms come, but when the storms come, they panic like those without faith.

Prayerful study and obedience with the support of others can help us develop the faith needed before, during, and after the storms of life. Let’s work on faith to get us through the storms.

- The power of positive faith and works. Notice in vss. 36-40 of our Sunday School material how Paul’s faith positively impacted the rest of the people on the sinking ship.

First, as the light of the world and salt of the Earth, we should make a positive impact on others. People should look at us and see living examples of how to handle stormy weather.

Second, we should work together, since we are in this thing together. In order to make it through the storms that face many of our communities, Christians, non-Christians, Blacks, Whites, and others will have to work together.

Working often calls for more than simply talking. Third, when the storm is raging that is a terrible time to have an “I told you so” attitude.

Stormy weather calls for all hands to be busy working on survival. Let’s work on being examples of people who have a positive faith that helps us work with others to get through the storms.

Think about the storms of poverty, discrimination, poor health practices and access to health care, and the list could go on.

- Cutting off and throwing away. Notice in vss. 38, 40 that surviving the storms of life may call for cutting some stuff off and throwing it over board. It may be a physical or figurative cutting and throwing.

For examples, some of our “friends” may have to go. Some of our spending habits may have to go. Some of our eating habits and lack of exercise habits may have to go. Some of the things we focus our attention on may have to go.

Let’s seek the wisdom and courage to cut and throw away those things that hinder our getting through our storms.

Read Acts 27:41-44

III. Delivered Through Paul. We see in our Sunday School material that the ship hit a sandbar. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to prevent their escape.

The leader vetoed that idea and gave instructions for how to make it to the land. The text ends with everyone making it to the land safely.

Applications –

- Trusting God, not people. Notice in vs. 42 of the Sunday School material that it is important to keep our trust in God, not the crew. Without God’s grace, the soldiers were probably going to kill Paul and the others.

If we are not careful, we will think that because someone worked with us to get through a crisis that somehow we are now friends.

In reality, some people will do whatever they have to do to get through a crisis, but after the crisis has past, it is back to business as usual. People tend to do what they think is in their best interest. Let’s make sure our trust is in God, not people.

- God’s use of those who have rule over us. Notice in vss. 43-44 that God can work through those who have rule over us. Our text doesn’t talk about the centurion being a Christian.

But it does show how God used him to work things out for the good of Paul. In like manner, God is still using people in positions of influence as a part of His plan to work things out for the good of His people.

Let’s pray for God to bless those who have rule over us with wisdom and courage to do the right thing. The power of God is not restricted to those in the church. The whole world belongs to God.

Conclusion: Let’s work on letting God use us to help others get through storms safely. God has much for those who obey His will.

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