Paul is on a ship headed for Italy where he will be standing trial before Caesar. For two weeks, they’ve been caught in a violent storm and the crew has been desperately trying everything they could think of to save the ship but everyone had given up hope.
Acts 27:38 “When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.”
They’ve already thrown the ship’s tackle and the cargo overboard. Now they’re throwing the grain into the sea. Why not? It’s no good to us anymore. If this storm doesn’t end and we don’t find land pretty soon, we’re all going to die in this sea.
Either God saves us or we die, either way, we’re not eating another meal on this ship. I want to live. I’m expecting to live. But I’m ready to die if that’s what it comes to. So, throw the grain into the sea because it can’t or it won’t stay like this much longer.
Finally, they got what they prayed for. Out of sheer desperation, they dropped four anchors and prayed for daylight. (Acts 27:29) Well, their prayers were answered because “daylight came.”
Acts 27:39 “When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could”
The storm was over, the sky cleared and the sea grew calm. It seemed like it would never end. It seemed like the storm would BE the end but “daylight came.” It always does because God promises it will if we continue to trust in Him. Jesus doesn’t cause the storms. He calms them.
Acts 27:40a “Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea.”
We all have anchors in our lives we have to deal with, things that hold us back and slow us down and prevent us from doing what the Lord is calling us to do.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with patience the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Anchors are the limitations in our lives. Anchors are the reasons we can’t do something.
Anchors determine how far the ship can go. Anchors allow us to move and function in a very comfortable, but limited, area. The more anchors we take on, the more restricted our lives become. Whenever we try to move out beyond that narrow area, the anchors stop us cold.
It may be necessary for some of those anchors to stay in place for a while, at least for right now anyway. Anchors do serve a purpose. They provide stability and prevent us from drifting aimlessly through life so we have to sure of what the Lord is asking of us before we start cutting those anchors loose.
Acts 27:40b “and at the same time, untied the ropes that held the rudders
The rudder determines the direction of the ship. The rudder determines which way the ship will go. If a rudder is tied, the ship can only go in one direction.
The rudder represents our will; the way we’ve chosen to be. A stubborn will is like a rudder tied with ropes. It represents a mind that’s made up, ears that won’t hear, a heart that’s unreachable and a spirit that’s unteachable.
In order to be saved, they had to cut loose the anchors and untie the rudders “at the same time.” When we’re asking the Lord to help us cut loose our anchors, we also have to ask Him to help us untie our rudders at the same time. I want to serve you Lord, but I have a bad attitude. I’m unreachable and unteachable and I always think I’m right. “Create a clean heart in me and put a new and a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) Untie my rudders Lord and make me more like you.
Acts 27:40c “Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach.”
The anchor determines the distance. The rudder determines the direction, but the foresail or the mainsail determines the speed. It determines how fast the ship will go. The sail gets its power from the wind. If you try to hoist up the mainsail without cutting loose the anchors and untying the rudders, the ship will tear itself apart and never go anywhere.
Sometimes believers have a tendency to be anchored to the past. They keep holding on to things they just can’t let go of. They may be praying for the wind of the Holy Spirit to move them forward. But every time the wind begins to blow and they start to move forward, the anchors kick in and say, “That’s far enough. You can’t go any farther.”
A church with its rudder tied is resistant to change. It tries to ride out the storm saying. ”This us what we want. This is who we are and who we always will be.” The Lord is asking us to trust Him for the future. The wind is starting to pick up. Cutting loose the anchors and untying the rudders allows the Holy Spirit take us where the Lord wants us to go.
Acts 27:41-44 “But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding surf. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the Centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.”
The old, the young, the weak and the strong; “everyone reached land in safety” exactly as God said they would. As soon as they stopped trying to save the ship, they ended up where the Lord wanted them to be. We have no future if we’re spending all of our time, all of our energy and all of our money trying to keep the ship afloat, trying to maintain and save the ship.
The Lord’s not interested in saving the ship. He’s only interested in saving all the people on the ship. He wants the congregation alive, preaching the Gospel and making disciples. They ended up where they were trying to go but the Lord brought them there a different way.
They’re trying to get to Rome. They’re not in Rome yet but when finally they get there, it will be on a brand new ship, a ship that doesn’t look anything like the old ship. There are plenty more storms ahead for Paul before his race is completed, but the Lord will always be with him as he crosses the finish line.
Lord willing, next week we’ll be looking at Jonah. I’m scheduled to have hip surgery next Tuesday, so the blog will probably be posted on Monday. Plan to stay in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.