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Acts 27:12-44

How Faith is Strengthened

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • January 05, 2020

While many things change, there are many things that remain the same. Relationships still matter. It’s still good to have integrity and godly character. There will still be many storms in life and we still need faith. In fact, we will need more faith.

You will still a foundation on which to build your life. God is still on the throne and therefore now is the time for revival. The best way to prepare for whatever may come is to strengthen faith.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Transcription
  • Scripture

How Faith is Strengthened

Acts 27:12-44                                           

It’s a new year; it’s time to make New Years’ resolutions. How many have made at least one New Year’s resolution? How many have already broken your New Year’s resolution?

The most common New Year’s resolution is to diet or eat healthier. The problem, however, is that most people think they need to eat all the junk food in the house so it’s not there to tempt them anymore. By the time they finish eating all the junk food in the house, their sugar habit is locked and loaded for the next year.

It’s not just a new year, however, it’s a new decade. So much has changed over not just the last year, but the last 10 years. Ten years ago, the world was still reeling from the 2008 economic crash. The average price of a home in this area was still falling. The US was actively involved in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ten years ago, there was no iPad, no Instagram, and people were still using MySpace and watching movies on VCRs.

Life itself changes in ten years. What a decade for us. We had three grandchildren born in this last decade and we lost our oldest daughter. I’m sure your life has changed dramatically in ten years as well. While it’s good to look back a bit, it’s more important to look forward. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.

While many things change, there are many things that remain the same. Relationships still matter. It’s still good to have integrity and godly character. There will still be many storms in life and we still need faith. In fact, we will need more faith.

You will still a foundation on which to build your life. God is still on the throne and therefore now is the time for revival. The best way to prepare for whatever may come is to strengthen faith.

In Acts 27, Paul is on a ship headed for Rome. He was held as a prisoner in Caesarea for two years without charges brought against him. When Paul realized there would be no justice he appealed to Caesar. He had that right as a Roman citizen. The Roman governor replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go.”

Paul was put in the charge of a Roman centurion who was responsible to get him to Rome. They set sail from Caesarea, but along the way they encountered a storm so severe they become shipwrecked as they tried to run their ship onto a beach.

There will be shipwrecks in life; things will happen that won’t make sense, or when life brings an unimaginable and unexpected tragedy. Shipwrecks in life may come in many forms; it can be a tragedy in your health, a financial disaster, marriage on the rocks, or someone close to you dies and you have to cope with the loss.

But you can go through storms and even shipwrecks of life, without having your faith be shipwrecked. Someone once said, “Faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted.” These verses are about having faith that grows stronger through the storms.

I.  Life Brings Many Storms 

  • The older a person gets, the more they understand this is true because they have experienced many storms themselves.
  • This is troublesome to many, but God never promised to keep us from storms. Jesus said, “In this world you will have many troubles, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”

A.  Storms come even in God’s will

  • The Lord made it known to Paul that he would be a witness for the gospel in Rome. Therefore, Paul was perfectly in the center of God’s will, yet here he was going through a storm and even suffered a shipwrecked.
  • Is tempting to think that if you’re fulfilling God’s purpose in your life that God should make the way smooth before you.
  • There are certainly times when the wind blows gently, and the sun is shining on your shoulders which no doubt would make you happy.

Illus – You might even break into song; “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy; sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.” Hey, if there’s sunshine on your shoulders, enjoy it and give God glory for it.

  • Some people suggest, however, that if you’re going through troubles then there must be something wrong with your faith.
  • I don’t see any scriptures to support that, and I think Paul would have something to say to that as well.

2 Corinthians 11:23-27, I have been in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was ship-wrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, dangers from my fellow countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.

B.  Contrary winds can strengthen faith

  • Contrary winds strengthen faith because it makes you cling to the Lord more dearly.

James 1:2-3, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

  • In fact, some of the greatest men of faith in the Bible are those who suffered the most difficult storms. It appears that those with the greatest calling endured the greatest storms.

Illus – Joseph endured one tragedy after the other, but God was preparing him. David was anointed to become the future king of Israel and endured many difficulties. Then there is Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Daniel…

  • The disciples of Jesus went through many storms to strengthen their faith and prepare them for God’s purpose in their lives.

Matthew 14:24-25, But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.”

  • He only came to them after they were battered by the waves and facing a contrary wind into the fourth watch of the night.

II.  Grace will Lead us Home

  • The song Amazing Grace has that famous line, “Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come, ‘twas grace that brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home.”
  • God didn’t promise smooth sailing, but He did promise safe passage. Jesus said, “Nothing can snatch you out of My Father’s hand.”
  • Paul was told that he would stand before Caesar in Rome and he had all confidence of faith that God would be true to His word.

2 Timothy 4:17-18, The Lord stood with me and strengthened me… and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom;

  • These are the lessons God uses in our lives to strengthen our faith so we can endure every storm.

A.  Set your anchors

  • There are several types of anchors that are used aboard ships at sea. A sea anchor is used to slow the ship in a storm; it keeps the ship stable. A sea anchor doesn’t touch the seafloor, it’s like an underwater sail.
  • Some storms you must ride out; you can’t avoid them, and you can’t get away from them, but you need to stay steady.
  • This is where we need the truth of God’s Word written on our hearts so they are there to guard your heart and mind.

Philippians 4:6-7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  • Then there are anchors cast from the stern of the ship; usually four of them. These anchor to the rocks on the seafloor and hold the ship secure.
  • God is our Rock; take hold of the hope that He sets before us.

Hebrews 6:18-19, We who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope you have as an anchor of the soul,” both sure and steadfast…

B.  Storms change your perspective

  • Storms change your priorities and storms change your perspective. The things that used to be important are no longer important and you begin to see things differently.
  • Vs 18-19 — as they were being violently storm tossed, they began to jettison the cargo. That wasn’t enough so on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands.
  • The situation must have become desperate to throw the ship’s tackle overboard. Without the tackle, the crew would have no way to easily raise and lower the sails. The waterlogged ropes and lines, blocks and pulleys all went overboard in a last-ditch effort to lighten the ship.

Illus – As the Titanic was listing and passengers were being loaded into lifeboats, one of the wealthy passengers went back to her room. Leaving behind the valuables in the safe, she took two oranges…

  • When you’ve been through enough storms in life, your perspective begins to become permanent.
  • You begin to realize that the most important part of life is your relationship with the Lord, your faith, your family, and your friends.
  • Relationships are something you can take with you; stuff begins to matter less and less.

Matthew 6:20, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  • The greatest treasure we have is our relationships; our relationship to God and our relationship to those around us that God has given for us to love.

C.  Let God be the captain of your soul

  • Paul was under the charge of the centurion, Julius, but God was the captain of his soul and Paul trusted that God would bring him safely home.
  • Vs 20 — all hope of being saved was gradually abandoned. It’s certainly understandable to become discouraged when a storm seems to have no end.
  • This storm went on for two weeks. Imagine how worn down they would be from being seasick, not eating for almost 2 weeks, and fighting this storm every hour.
  • Just thinking about being seasick for that long is enough to get you queasy.

Illus – Before my dad passed away, my siblings and I decided to give him one final deep-sea fishing adventure. Unfortunately, it was my first experience on the ocean, and I was sick the entire time.

            Also unfortunately, I was scheduled to speak that evening at a retreat and back in the valley the temperature was in the 100s.

  • But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26, 28, Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever… But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.

  • In the midst of the storm, you need to be encouraged and you need to be strengthened.
  • They had lost all hope, but Paul stood in their midst and urged them to keep up their courage because God had spoken to him and assured him that they would survive.
  • He was asking them to trust his faith.
  • This is a great lesson; your faith can encourage those around you. That’s why we need each other, we can encourage each other, we can strengthen each other’s faith; we can carry each other’s burdens.
  • Paul took bread himself, after giving thanks, and then encouraged the others to also take food and get strengthened.
  • This is a great spiritual lesson. Before David was king, he and some of his men returned to their camp only to find that an enemy had captured the women and children. The men became so angry they began to speak of stoning David.

1 Samuel 30:6, Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and daughters. But David strengthen himself in the Lord his God.

  • But after strengthening himself, he then strengthened the men and a great victory was won.
  • Paul’s final words were to his young son in the faith, Timothy. Paul’s life ended in victory; he fought the good fight; God was the captain of his soul.

2 Timothy 4:6-7, The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept in the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord will award to me on that day.

  • What kind of faith do you have? Today is the day to strengthen faith. As David strengthened himself in the Lord; so the Lord stands ready to strengthen your soul and to be the anchor for your soul.

 

How Faith is Strengthened
Acts 27:12-44
January 4-5, 2020

It's a New Year and this is the time when everyone makes New Year's resolutions. Show of hands, how many people have made at least one New Year's resolution? Show of hands. Okay, that's awesome. How many people show of hands, have already broken your new year's resolution? You know the most common I looked this up, the most common New Year's resolution is to diet. All right. Or eat healthier. The problem, however, is that most people think that they need to eat all the junk food in the house so it's not there to tempt them anymore.
By the time they eat all the junk food in the house, they're locked and loaded on their calorie intake and they're already back to problems. It's not just a New Year, right? It's a new decade. This is 2020. This month, January of 2020 marks 30 years, this month that we launched this church 30 years ago this month. Isn't that amazing?
[applause]
Amen. Just 12 people in our living room, just getting together in our apartment and just praying and studying God's word and then we rented a school, a middle school in Beaverton. We were there for a while and then we rented another school out here in the Hillsborough area. Then we bought this property in 1997. It was farm land back in those days and it took us a while to get through to all the government layers. We finally built our first building in 2002. I say the first because then we remodeled it and doubled it in 2008/9. That's been 10 years since we've done that major remodel.
I can't believe it's been already 10 years. 10 years goes by so fast, doesn't it? See, so much has changed just in the last 10 years, 10 years ago, we were still reeling from that 2008 financial crisis and the price of homes was still going up and down. A lot of Shane's in 10 years. Of course, the United States was still involved in the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 10 years ago, there was no iPad.
I know, 10 years ago there was no Instagram. 10 years ago, people were still using Myspace. Some people don't even know what that is. People were still watching movies on VCRs. Some people don't know what that is either, life changes and life has changed for us in 10 years. During the last decade, we've had three grandchildren born to us and we've, as you know, lost our oldest daughter. She was killed. It's been a monumental decade. I'm sure you have your own stories of what a decade this has been. It's dramatic in many ways and while it's good to look back, I think it's more important to look forward because there's that old expression which I love, "We don't know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future."
I love that because it's really a statement of faith. We don't know what's around the corner. We don't know what this decade has in store for us, but we know who is already there and I like this perspective too, that while many things change, there's so much that changes and will change. I also say that there are many things that remain the same. Relationships are still important. It's still important to have integrity and godly character. It's still true. It's still true that there will be storms in life. It's still true that we need faith and in fact, I suggest that as we look forward, as we look at a turbulent world and everything that's changing around this, I suggest as we look forward to the next decade, that now is the time for more faith.
Now is the time. We still need a foundation on which to build our lives. God is still on the throne. Some things don't change and that's good. God is still on the throne and therefore, I say it's time for revival. When we think about a New Year, we think about a new decade. We think about building a foundation. I suggest it's time for revival, that God wants to do something in us, that God is stirring this up. I'm praying that this would be a year that many people come to faith in Christ, that many people rededicate their lives, that many marriages are saved, that many children come to faith, that many are restored, many are healed, many are transformed.
I believe that God wants to do a new work because he's still on the throne. I want us to look at Acts chapter 27 because it's really about God building faith in the midst of the storm, in the midst of the trouble. This world is filled with troubles and we need to really understand how God uses those things in our lives to strengthen faith. When you get to Acts chapter 27, he's near the end of his missionary journeys now. What had happened was that we find him on a ship and the reason he's on a ship is because he was a in Caesarea, that's a city in the coast of Israel in those days.
He was held there as a prisoner supposedly under protective custody and he was never released and never without charges brought against him. When he realized that this was not going to change, he appealed to Caesar. The Roman governor said, "You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you will go," but he's going as the prisoner. He was put in the charge of a Roman Centurion. His name is Julian. We like Julian, now the story, and he's going to take part, he's responsible to get him to Rome. They book passage on a ship sailing out of Caesarea and they stop at various ports along the way.
When we catch up to him in Acts chapter 27, they had come to a place called Fair havens and it's not suitable for winter. If you remember back in those days of sailing ships, they oftentimes would not sail in the winter. They would find a port and just stay the winter there waiting for the weather to get better because it's dangerous out in the Mediterranean in a sailing ship in the winter. They however say, "It's not safe," and so they want to launch out to find a safer Harbor. Paul warns them, don't do it. He has sensed in the spirit that this is a dangerous thing, don't do it.
The Roman centurion, who's actually in charge believes that the captain and the pilot and so he says, "No, we're going." That's where we pick him up in the story. Chapter 27, which start in verse 12, because the Harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached the decision to put out the sea from there. If somehow they could reach Phoenix, which is a Harbor of Crete facing southwest and Northwest, spend the winter there. When the moderate South wind came up and supposing they had gained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete.
This is an Island there close in shore, but before very long, they're rushed down from the land. The violet wind called the Euraquilo. We would call it a Nor'easter, a violent winter storm coming from the North East. When the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and we let ourselves be driven along, running under the shelter of a small Island called Clouder, we were scarcely able to get the ship's boat under control. This is the boat that they would be towing at this point behind them like a lifeboat. After they had hoisted it up, they started using supporting cables in under-girding the ship.
Now, this is literally running a ropes under the ship to keep it together. This is telling you what's happening. They use supporting cables to under-gird the ship fearing then that they might run the ground in the showers of sear dusts. Now, they're running straight west and they're concerned that they might end up in the Northern part of Libya today in Africa running a ground there. They let down a sea anchor and so, they let themselves be driven along. The next day as we were violently storm tossed, they began to jettison the cargo. This is getting desperate.
On the third day, they threw over the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. Now, this is getting very desperate and since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and no small storm was assailing us, from then, our hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned. Let me restate that. All hope was lost. When they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up in their midst and he said, "Men, you have to have followed my advice. You have to have followed my advice and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss, and yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.
Because, on this very night, an angel of the God of heaven to whom I belong and to whom I serve stood before me and he said, "do not be afraid" Paul, you will stand before Caesar and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you. God said this to me." He's speaking this to the sailors. "Therefore, men, keep your courage. Rise up men, keep your courage. I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told, but first, we must run the ground on a certain Island."
Now when the 14th night, 14 days of being battered by a violent winter storm in a sailing ship, in the middle of the Mediterranean. On the 14th night, as we were being driven along about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight, the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land. They took soundings and they found it to be 20 fathoms and a little farther on, they took another sounding and found it to be 15 fathoms.
This would be about 90 feet. Fearing that we might run a ground somewhere on the rocks. They cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak. By the way, when we were on our-- we took footsteps of Paul cruise two or three journeys ago and we took this very exact route. It was amazing because it was a beautiful trip in many wonderful ways but we had one day when we were beaten by heavy wind and rain and a storm.
That was the day that we were approaching the same Island of Malta. It was a fantastic experience to be there. We were all happy for this storm. This is just like Paul. Tripper on a cruise ship and we're not going to crash. As the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had led down the ship's boat into the sea on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, "Unless this men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved." The soldiers cut away the ropes to the ship's boat and let it fall.
Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them, take some food. He said, today's the 14th day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing. Therefore I encourage you to take some food. This is your preservation for not a hair from the head of any of you shall perish. Having said this, he took bread, He gave thanks to God in the presence of all and he broke it, began to eat. All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food. All of us in the ship were 276 persons. When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat.
They had kept some wheat as ballast, they threw the wheat now under the sea. When day came, they could not recognize the land, but they did observe a certain Bay with the beach, been there in this day on that beach, and they resolve to drive the ship then onto that beach if they could do it. They cast off the anchors, which is to say, they cut the anchors, they left them in the sea.
Well, at the same time, they were loosening the ropes of the rudders and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were headed for the beach. By the way, an Amazing little side story, do you know that they found those four anchors. Would you like to guess what the depth? 90 feet. Yes, exactly. Isn't that absolutely amazing. Striking a reef however, and when you're there in the daylight, you can see. In fact, stand on the rocks out on the point and you can see there is in fact a reef right there. They found the anchors just beyond the reef. Striking a reef where the two sees meet, they ran the vessel aground or they ran into the reef and the prowl stuck fast and remained immovable but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves.
The soldiers plan was to kill the prisoners because if anyone escaped, the soldier would be responsible for his life, that none of them should swim away and escape. The centurion wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land. The rest should follow, some on planks, others on various things from the ship. Thus it happened that they all were brought safely to land and we're going to actually pick up the rest of that story next week.


I. Life Brings Many Storms
I want us to look at these verses because they're really important to apply. There's so many lessons out of this story for us to apply, especially as we look at this next year, this next decade and understand the necessity of having faith and having revival. One of the aspects that I think we need to recognize is that life will bring many storms. Life is filled with storms and the older you get, the more you understand this is true, because you've been through storms. The older you get, the more storms you've been through.
A. Storms come even in God’s will
For some people, this is troublesome to them. Why does God not keep us from storms? God never promised to keep us from the storms. He never promised to keep us out of-- He never said that there would be no trouble. What he did say, Jesus said this, he said, "In this world, you will have many troubles, much tribulation, but take courage." That is to say, "Have faith man, have faith." I have overcome the world and what we recognize as we look at this story is that storms can even come in God's will. Here's what I mean by this. The Lord had made it known to Paul that he is going to be a witness for the gospel in Rome. Made this very clear.
Therefore, we know that Paul was perfectly in the center of God's will. We know this. Yet here he is going through a storm, even suffering a shipwreck. One of the perspectives that I think that people have, particularly in their immature years as they're growing, I think one of the perspective is that they think that if you're fulfilling God's purpose in your life, that God should make everything smooth, that God should make everything easy. God should pave the way before you. If you're fulfilling God's purpose in your life. There are certainly times, I hate to tell you, there are certainly times when the wind blows gently and the sun is shining on your shoulders, which will make you happy.
[singing] Sunshine on my shoulders. Anybody know that song? You got to be old to know that song. I loved that song when I was a kid. Hey, listen, here's my perspective. Hey, if you're in a time and if you're in a season of life where there's sunshine on your shoulders, be happy, be blessed, enjoy it. Give God glory for it, but just know that storms come in life. Enjoy it when the sun is shining. Enjoy it. Give God glory for it. Some people can't because they-- Well, I know that storms are coming and it ruins the sunshine when they have it. It ruins the good when they experience it.
They can't enjoy a sunset because they know that there will be storm clouds coming from that same sunset. No, enjoy it. Enjoy it. God has given it to you as a blessing. Storms will come. Now, be ready. Some people suggest that if you're going through troubles, that there must be something wrong with your faith. It's your faith. That's the reason, and I don't see any scriptures. I do not see any scriptures to support that. I think that Paul might have something to say about that. I tell you, you want to talk about going through some troubles in life. You want to talk about difficulties in life. Paul gives a description of some that he experienced.
This is 2nd Corinthians 11 Verses 23 to 27. "I have been in far more labors and far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews 39 lashes, three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, left for dead, three times I was shipwrecked, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day. I've spent in the deep, I'd been on frequent journeys, danger from rivers, danger from robbers, dangers from my fellow countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren.
B. Contrary winds can strengthen faith
I have been in labor, in hardship through many sleepless nights in hunger and thirst, often without food in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things and there's the daily pressure on me of concern for the churches. Other than that, Paul had a pretty good time. Paul has something to say. He understands there are storms, there are troubles in life, yet you see such faith, you see such faith. In fact, the more that you experience God being with you in the storm, the more you know that God will be with you in the future. Here's what we have to recognize and that is that contrary winds can strengthen faith.
God use these contrary winds. It makes faith stronger because it makes you cling to the Lord more dearly. That is to say, if you cling to the Lord more dearly because some people don't. Some people don't. They don't cling to the Lord. They accuse the Lord. They accuse the Lord in it. "You say you’re God, but look at this now. I have this trouble in my life." They accuse God. No, the key, contrary winds constraint in faith when you cling to the Lord more dearly. James 1:2-3, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."
In fact, some of the greatest men of faith, some of the greatest biblical examples, men of faith of the Bible are those who suffered the most difficult storms in life. In fact, I made an interesting observation. Seems to me that those with the greatest calling endured the greatest storms. Joseph out of the book of Genesis endured one tragedy after another, but God was using all of those things. God actually was using those things that were against them, those storms that had come against them. God was using those very things. David, David was anointed to become the future King of Israel, and then the troubles began. Then there's Jeremiah, then there's Ezekiel, then there's Daniel. I could go on and on. The disciples of Jesus.
Jesus used the storms to teach them. We know that they encountered storms and in fact, what's interesting from Matthew 14:24-25, He actually compelled them to get into the boat and sent them into the storm and it says, "The boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves for the wind was contrary and in the fourth watch of the night, He came to them walking on the sea." This is that famous time when Jesus came to them walking on the sea, but it interestingly says that He came to them after they were battered by the waves and facing the contrary wind into the fourth watch of the night, which is to say, they'd been fighting this storm all night long.


II. Grace will Lead us Home

He sent them into that. It seems that God uses those storms to strengthen faith. I'm going to play a little video. This is unusual I know, but I want to play a little video. It's a short video that we made a few years ago, but it's very fitting for the point that I want to make here.
[background noise]
Video Playback: Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. The favor of God is distinctly upon the believer who trusts in God with an active and living faith in spite of the fact that we encounter trials and difficulties. In fact, those whom God uses in great things are often those who suffer greatly. There are many biblical examples.
David had many troubles, but the favor of God clearly rested on him. Few suffered as deeply as Joseph, yet the favor of God was irrefutable. Daniel was taken captive and exiled to Babylon where he suffered greatly, yet who can doubt that the favor of God was upon him. The key is faith. The testing of your faith produces endurance. If your faith cannot be tested, then your faith cannot be trusted. Some people shipwreck their faith when they go through troubles and difficulties saying to themselves, "If God loved me, He would not allow me to go through these troubles," and the faith is dashed upon the rocks.
I find no place in scripture where Jesus said, "Follow after me and everything will come up roses." But he did say this, "I have spoken these things to you so that in me, you may have peace." In the world you have tribulation, but take courage. I have overcome the world. The ship that never leaves the harbor will never be shipwrecked, but nor will it accomplish anything. When our daughter was murdered two years ago, it shook our faith to its core, and yet I know this, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.
Even now, you may be going through some great difficulty, but take courage knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and endurance will have its perfect result that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. The favor of God rests on those who suffer greatly and yet trust in God so that we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Rise up old men of God and believe that God is with you and that his favor rests upon your life. The ship that never leaves the harbor will not be shipwrecked but nor will it accomplish anything. Storms will come but God will see you through. Rise up, oh man of God for he is with you and he will see you through.
[thunders]
Speaker 1: Amen, yes. Thank you, let's give it a little praise.
[applause]
The point that I think God would show us out of Acts 27 is that grace will lead us home. God will see us through. You know that song, Amazing grace, that we love so much, that famous line in it, "Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come towards grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home." God did not promise smooth sailing, but he did promise to get us home. Nothing, Jesus said, "Nothing can snatch you out of my father's hand," he said. Paul was told that he was going to stand before Caesar and he had all the confidence in God that He God was true to his word.
A. Set your anchors
This is what, he wrote, Paul wrote. 2 Timothy, he's writing to his young disciples, his young son in the faith, Timothy 4, "The Lord stood with me. The Lord strengthened me." He's in the midst of this. He said, "The Lord strengthened me and I was rescued out of the lion's mouth." That expression, the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom." See, these are the lessons that God would show us out of Acts 27. He's showing us these lessons from this story. I think one of the lessons we can see, to set your anchors. There are several different types of angers mentioned in the story. There is the sea anchor and it's not what many people think.
It's not an anchor that you drag along the bottom. A sea anchor is actually a sail underwater, and it brings balance. It brings a secure bearing in the sea as it's going through. It holds the ship secure in the midst of the storms because some storms, you simply must ride out. You can't avoid them. You can't get away from them. You need to stay steady. He's the anchor in the storm. See, this is where we need that truth. We need the truth of God's word. We need that word written on our hearts. There, that word in your heart will guard your heart. It will guard your mind. It will set you securely in the midst of the storm. That's why Paul wrote this in Philippians 4:6-7, he said, "Be anxious." What does that word anxious mean? It means to be a afraid to have anxiety and fear. "Be anxious for nothing." I believe that's what it says. Nothing, be anxious. That's a big statement. Don't you think?
That's a big statement right there. Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God, which is just like cling to the Lord. Let him be the anchor in the storm. Cling to him more dearly, and then it says, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension," because people will look at you in the midst of that storm and the peace that you have and they would say, "What is it with you?" This peace that you have in the midst of the storm. This is amazing to me and it will guard your hearts and it will guard your minds in Christ Jesus.
Then it says that they cast the four anchors from the stern. These are those anchored under the rocks. That's a picture, isn't it? It's a picture of that steadfastness of God being an anchor in the midst of it. He's our rock. Hebrews 6:18-19, I love this word. It says, "We who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of this hope that is set before us." This hope you have like an anchor for the soul. Set your anchors, set your anchor into this hope. It is a hope, both sure and steadfast.
B. Storms change your perspective
Here's another lesson I think we can learn from the story. That is that storms will change your perspective. They change your priorities.
They change how you see, how you see life, changes. The things that used to be important change. They're no longer important and you see things differently. See, I love in Acts 27:18-19, they're being violently stormed tossed and they begin to jettison the cargo. That's not important anymore. That wasn't enough. On the third day, they throw the ship's tackle overboard. Situation has to be desperate to throw the ship's tackle overboard because without the tackle, the crew have no way to easily raise and lower the sails. The waterlogged ropes and lines, the blocks, the pulleys all went overboard in the last ditch effort to lighten the ship, changed their perspective.
There was a story I remember reading about on the Titanic as it was beginning to list and as passengers were being loaded onto lifeboats. One of the wealthier passengers went back to her room. She wanted to get something in the room. There was much wealth in the safe, but that's not what she wanted. There were two oranges on the dresser. That's what she wanted. It changes your perspective when you've been through enough storms in life, your perspective, the way you see it from God's view begins to change. It begins to be permanent.
You begin to realize that the most important part of life is the relationships that you have. The relationship that you have with the Lord is the anchor, is the foundation. It's the most important part of you and then the relationships that God gives to you. They say you can't take it with you, well, there is one thing you can take with you and that's relationships. Relationships still matter today because they are something that is eternal. Matthew 6:20, "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven," He said, "Where neither Roth, moth nor rust destroy, thieves do not break in and steal for where your treasure is there your heart is."
C. Let God be the captain of your soul
Then lastly, we'll close with this great lesson. Let God be the captain of your soul. Paul is under the charge of Centurion Julius, but God was the captain of his soul and Paul trusted that God would bring him safely home. It's not the Centurion that's going to bring him safely home. It's God himself who was the captain. See, verse 20, I love this verse 20, it says, "All hope of being saved was abandoned." All hope was lost. Certainly, it's understandable to become discouraged when you're in a storm that doesn't seem like it's going to end. That's an eternal storm of two weeks.
Imagine how wore down they would be from fighting seasickness and not eating and not sleeping and fighting the storm every hour. Just thinking about being seasick for two weeks makes me queasy because I get seasick easily, but I remember my own little storm. Not anything in comparison but before my dad passed away and he had come to Faith in Christ. Many of you know this story. He was 75 and he came to Faith in Christ and it restored our relationships. It rebuilt our relationships. Before he passed, we decided, let's take him deep sea fishing. He loved that. It's one of the highlights.
Let's take him deep sea fishing one last time. The thing is, I had never been on the sea, on the ocean before and I took some seasick pills at this restaurant, we stopped at this restaurant and early, early, early in the morning and I took some seasick pills and ate breakfast. I've never seen that much oil on hash browns in my life. Let's just say, you know seasick pills, I discovered, they only work if you can keep them down. It wasn't long before I didn't have seasick pills anymore and I was in trouble. I was sick the whole time, I know. Here's the thing, when we got back to the dock, I said, because I was with the family.
I said, "You know what? I have a speaking engagement tonight and we got to get back." I'm like sick, I've been sick all day. We go back, the thing is in the Valley, back here in home, it was in the hundreds, I know. I go, I drop everybody off and I got to get there. I drop-- I didn't have time. I just go there and I remember I'm sitting in the front row waiting for them to introduce me and they're worshiping and all that, and I'm in the front row and I'm dying. "God, this is terrible. How is this possible it could happen this way?" I'm sitting there and then the person comes up and they introduce me and I come up behind the podium and something.
I don't know if you've ever had this happen, but something happened. It's like the Holy Spirit met me right there. God did something because many recommitted their lives that night and God used it to touch people's lives. It's interesting how God can use those things. God is the strength of your heart. God is your portion forever, cling to him in the midst of the storm. Psalm 73, "Whom have I in heaven but you. Besides you, I desire nothing on this earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the portion of my heart. God is my portion forever. As for me, the goodness, the nearness of God is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge that I may tell of all of your works." I love that verse. In the midst of the storm, you need to know that God is with you, cling. You need to be strengthened in it. They lost all hope, but God set Paul in their midst and God had given a word to Paul, and so he stood up in front of the men and he encouraged them because God had spoken to him. "I believe God," he said, and there they trusted Paul's faith. This is a great lesson. Your faith can encourage people around you. When there is strength in you, when there strength in your faith, when there's strength and there's a rock that you have stood on, it can strengthen people around you.
That's why we need each other. That's why we need to encourage each other. We need to strengthen each other, carry each other's burdens. Paul took bread. He gave thanks to God. He took bread and he encouraged the others. "Be strengthened. Take food. I believe God." It's a great lesson. It's a great lesson for all of us. Paul's final words to his young son, Timothy was this, 2 Timothy 4:6-7, "The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith and in the future, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord will award me on that day."
What a great way to finish. May that be the desire of every one of us in this room. I want to finish like that, with my faith strong. Our outer men may be decaying and growing weaker, the older you get the more you know that, but your inner man can roar like a lion, no matter what age you are. Strengthen your soul and even in your old age, God will still make you a lion. What kind of faith do you have today? Today's the day to strengthen your faith.
Father, thank you so much for giving us the picture of the strength that can come when we cling, when we hold on to you and I pray for everyone in this room tonight as we think about the new year, but even the new decade, what you might do, but God more than anything, we believe that you're the one who holds the future. You're the one that is that rock. You are the one that is that foundation in which we can build our lives. I pray for everyone in this room tonight that there would be a heart, a desire, a vision, no matter what age, to be strengthened, that the soul might roar like a lion.
Be strong in your faith. Take courage. Let the Lord build revival, but you got to want it. You got to desire it. Got to ask for it. "Ask," he says, "Seek." He said, "Knock," and he'll gladly give it to you. Church tonight, do you want more of God? You want God to strengthen you more, have strength in their soul, the roar like a lion because there is strength that God puts there. But you got to want it, you got to desire it. Do you desire? Do you ask? Do you seek, would you knock? Would you open your heart? Would you? If you would, I'm going to ask that you just raise your hand.
Just raise your hand to the Lord and say, "God, I'm raising my hand because I'm asking. I'm asking, be that strength, be that rock. Pour your spirit, pour your life. I want to finish strong. I want to roar like a lion. God, give me the strength of the spirit in my life. Father, thank you for touching our lives, for showing us your heart after us, for moving among us by your spirit, for bringing revival and I pray for everyone in this room tonight that we would find revival because we have clung to you, build our lives on this rock. We set our anchors on this rock. Father, thank you for everyone. We give you thanks and glory and honor tonight in Jesus name, and everyone said. Amen.
[00:45:21] [END OF AUDIO]

Acts 27:12-44   NASB
12 Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
13 [a]When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, close inshore.
14 But before very long there rushed down from [b]the land a violent wind, called [c]Euraquilo; 15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along. 16 Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, we were scarcely able to get the ship’s [d]boat under control. 17 After they had hoisted it up, they used [e]supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the [f]sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along. 18 The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, [g]they began to jettison the cargo; 19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.
21 [h]When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, “Men, you ought to have [i]followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and [j]incurred this damage and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ 25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that [k]it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on a certain island.”
27 But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that [l]they were approaching some land. 28 They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29 Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the [m]rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and [n]wished for daybreak. 30 But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship’s boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, “Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it fall away.
33 Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing. 34 Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” 35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. 36 All of them [o]were encouraged and they themselves also took food. 37 All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six [p]persons. 38 When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.
39 When day came, they [q]could not recognize the land; but they did observe a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could. 40 And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders; and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach. 41 But striking a [r]reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves. 42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape; 43 but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should [s]jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.

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