The Apostle Paul and his friends are on a ship headed for Italy where he is going to stand trial before Caesar. They’ve encountered a violent storm that is threatening to destroy them. The crew is desperately trying to save the ship.
Acts 27:29 – “Fearing they would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.”
Out of intense fear they dropped 4 anchors and prayed for daylight. In football, that’s known as a “Hail Mary pass.” It’s amazing how many so-called “enlightened” and otherwise intelligent people are doing the same thing today. We all do something like that when we’re afraid. We drop 4 anchors and pray for daylight.
It’s an act of desperation, the last resort. It’s what we do when we don’t know what else to do but we believe we have to do something. It never does any good, but the ridiculous seems so reasonable when we’re desperate.
Praying for daylight isn’t going to help much. We can drown just as easily in the daylight as we can in the dark. Who are people praying to? What’s the name of that higher power people are so passionately trying to get hold of? Turning to religion can’t save us, regardless of which religion it is. Religion can’t save us. Going to church can’t save us, but the ridiculous sounds so reasonable when we’re desperate.
Acts 27:30a – “In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea.”
Sadly, hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing their homeland desperately trying to escape the violence and persecution they are forced to endure.
In this country there’s a different kind of escaping going on. People are heading for their lifeboats. Some bury themselves in their work. Some immerse themselves in social and political causes. Some look for escape through food, drugs or alcohol. Some indulge themselves in sexual gratification or perversion. Others dabble in the occult. Many are hoping the New Age philosophies will bring them some relief. They’re searching for inner peace, but they can’t seem to make that peace last. They never seem to have any peace when the really need it.
Acts 27:30b – “…pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow.”
The sailors were pretending to lower some anchors. People without hope are great pretenders. They pretend to be happy. They pretend to be confident and secure about themselves and the future; confident about eternity and their own mortality. You’d never guess from the outside that they’re running away on the inside. People without hope are great pretenders.
Acts 27:31 – “Then Paul said to the Centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”
There’s only ONE way out of this. There is only one hope for salvation. Salvation is on God’s terms, not ours. There are many ways that seem right to us, but they all come to a dead end. They all end in death. We do not all come to the same God by walking different paths. Trusting in Jesus alone is the only way to reach Him. There is only one God and He is not called by many names.
The name of Jesus is the only name that can save us. There is only one God and we are not all His children. To become a child of God we must be born again. The right to become a child of God and to be adopted into His family is given to everyone who invites Jesus into their hearts. There is no God within us until we invite Him in and accept His free gift of everlasting life.
They saw the signs, 120 feet, 90 feet, (Vs. 28). The water level continued to drop. They knew they were going to crash against the rocks and there was nothing they could do to stop it. They heard the word of God. They all knew what they had to do to be saved. The only questions that hadn’t been answered yet were, “How long are you going to wait before you do something about it? How much more time do you think you still have? What will it take to make you turn your life over to Christ and accept what He’s offering you? Who or what are you trusting in to save you?”
Acts 27:32 – “”So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.”
They may not have been totally convinced. They may still have had some serious questions and doubts, but they did it anyway. They cut the ropes that held the lifeboats and let them fall into the sea. They had to make a decision. By faith they let go of, they turned away from everything they had trusted in before to save them. Now, their only hope was – that the word of God was true. If the Bible is not the truth, truth does not exist. If the Bible’s not the truth, it’s all over. There’s no hope for anyone anymore.
Repentant believers are on the ship, repentant believers are in this world to speak the word of God even when no one seems to be interested in hearing it. We’re in this world to speak the word for God, the word that warns the world about the things that will cause its destruction.
Repentant believers speak God’s word of mercy and grace to an arrogant, self-indulgent, self-absorbed, hostile world that has chosen to ignore God’s warning. Repentant believers are in this world to present God’s plan of salvation to a world that is fearful and insecure, a world that is desperately clinging to leaky lifeboats that will never be able to save them.
Do you recognize the signs of the times that the Bible is talking about? What’s your explanation for the way things are happening in the world right now? The level is 90 feet and dropping rapidly. There’s no time for compromise; no time to indulge ourselves in other religious points of view; no time to be doing something ridiculous just because we’re desperate.
If we’re clinging to anything else except complete trust in Jesus, it’s time to cut it loose and let it fall away. This world can’t sink much lower before it crashes into the rocks. Let Jesus bring you safely on to higher ground today. Lord willing, we’ll be back for more next Tuesday. Thanks for following and being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.