The Apostle Paul and some of his companions are on a ship headed for Italy where Paul will be standing trial before Caesar. The ship encountered a violent storm and, despite the best efforts of the captain and the crew, they were unable to keep the ship together. Everyone, including Paul’s friends, had given up hope of eve r being saved.
When we stopped last time, Paul stood up and spoke words of encouragement. He spoke the Word of God. “God has said that this ship will be destroyed”, but we’ll all make it through this alive if we’ll just keep trusting Him and do what He says.
Acts 27:23 “Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me.”
“The God whose I am and whom I serve;” my life is completely in God’s hands. When that gentle south wind is blowing and you try to tell someone an angel of God stood beside you, they just laugh at you and treat you like you’re crazy. But when you’re talking to someone who’s just lost everything and given up hope; when you tell them an angel of God stood beside you and spoke to you, they envy you. They hang on your every word.
Christians stand in the middle of a storm among those who have lost all hope and testify to a God who is real; a God who is here; a God who is able to deliver them from all evil.
Acts 27:24 “and said, ’Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’”
Don’t worry! Don’t be afraid! Don’t give up. God is with us and He will not fail. “God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” When we’ve ignored His word of warning, God sends us a message of mercy and grace. We “shouldah” listened to Him, but we didn’t. We all deserve to die in this storm, but if we’ll listen to Him now, we’ll live.
He is a God of mercy and grace. God loves us and doesn’t want any of us to perish in this storm. He wants us to admit that we’ve sinned and turn away from that sin. He wants us to live with Him in heaven forever.
Acts 27:25 “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me.”
Do you know what people are looking for today? People who are facing death, or whose loved ones are facing death; people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol; or whose children/grandchildren are addicted to drugs or alcohol; people whose marriages are falling apart; people with no sense of purpose or direction for their lives; people who don’t even know if they want to keep on living; people who have started to wish they had never been born; people who have given up hope; do you know what they’re looking for? They’re looking for; they’re seeking out; they want to get close to anyone who can stand up and say, “I have faith.” “I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me.”
That’s what makes a Christian different from the rest of the world. That’s the difference a Christian makes in this world. That’s the difference the world is looking for. We’re all facing the same storms, but we have a message; a message of hope; real hope; guaranteed hope. We have a positive vision of the future. In the middle of the worst of life’s storms, we have confidence and joy. We are trusting in a God who never fails; a God who keeps His promises.
Acts 27:26 “Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
“Nevertheless;” life is not going to be easy and it won’t always seem fair. There may still be rough sailing ahead but we’ve got to be willing to endure to the end and not give up. Our troubles aren’t all over just because we’ve asked Jesus into our hearts. But all of our troubles have a brand new ending. When it’s finally over, we’ll be saved. We’re going to make it. The Lord is with us and He’ll bring us victoriously through it.
We’ll be back next Tuesday to continue Paul’s journey. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj. If you haven’t done so already, why not sign up to be a regular follower of this blog?