Saved in The Storm
Saved in The Storm
William Stout / General
Acting Out Acts – Part 28 / Acts 28
After the Shipwreck
- Paul and their companions were shipwrecked in a storm
- They had been on their way to Rome.
- The Captain had been warned by Paul not to keep going, but to wait until the proper time
- So many things in life could be better if we were willing to “wait” until the proper time
- many times even legitimate desires bring ruin because we are not willing to wait until the proper time – patience
- Maturity: The ability to postpone a legitimate desire until its appropriate time
- The Captain was in a hurry to reach Rome, and so the Centurion agreed with him
Reasons for the Error
- We almost always have reasons for our decisions, but they are not always good reasons
- The Centurion had several reasons to ignore Paul’s warnings and proceed:
- The Captain had a experience at sailing
- The majority agreed with the Captain
- The place they were was not suitable “uncomfortable”
- The south winds were blowing softly
- There seemed to be only one good reason not to proceed:
- The prophet of the Lord said it would result in destruction, and perhaps even death
- And so the went on, and then came the storm
- After many days being tossed at sea, they had lost all hope of being saved
- They began throwing off parts of the ship
- After a long fast, Paul received a visit from an angel
- Who told Paul “fear not Paul” , God is going to bring you to Rome as He promised, and He has given you all these that sail with you.
- 276 people were on board, who were also saved because of Paul’s fasting and praying
- Even though Paul had already been promised that he was going to Rome, the rest of the people could have perished at sea without changing they, but God heard Paul’s prayers
- They were told that they would be saved alive, but would lose the ship and have to cast on a certain island
- So many people find themselves in similar predicaments:
- caught in a storm, being shipwrecked in life, all hope of a better life being lost, and then God…
- God promises salvation to you! You can be saved. You can recover, and live forever in Glory
- But you may have to let go of the “ship” – they way you have been holding onto
- You may have to go through some wilderness for a while on your way
- But be of Good Cheer: His promise is Good
Acts 27:27–33 KJV 1900
But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;
And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.
Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,
Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.
And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
- So even after the promise, it took some more time – 14 days
- Often the promises of God are “yet for an appointed time” but you must believe
- The ship crew was about to flee – using trickery, and abandon the soldiers and prisoners
- Paul warned the Centurion, and this time he listened – experience
Acts 27:39–44 KJV 1900
And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.
And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoisted up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.
And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.
But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:
And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
- So finally, although they were being saved, it was still quite an ordeal, indeed the ship ran aground and stuck and was literally broken in half
- The title of the message is “Saved in the Storm”, not “Saved from the Storm”
- Most often God brings salvation to us “in” the storms, rather than keeping us from the storms
- How would we know the wonderful power and love of God if it had never been tested and demonstrated?
- It is in those storms that we find that He is more than enough – The Anchor Holds
- Not that God causes these storms – we are broken people living in a broken world – we usually cause our own storms
- As we can see they did in this case, ignoring the warnings and enticed by the soft winds
James 1:13–16 NKJV
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
Acts 28:1–5 NKJV
Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta.
And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.
But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.
So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.”
But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
- Paul “shook it off”
- Just when they had come out of the storm and were finally on land
- Finally, being so cold and wet, they could have a fire and rest –
- and then a viper comes and “fastens on his hand”
- Folks this is exactly the way Christian life is so often:
- We all want it to be peaches and cream – we want to rest and be warm – and especially after we have just gone through something
- In fact, when we have just come through a battle and seem to have victory, thy devil will often try another bite –
- We must understand this – or we will grow weary and faint in our minds
- We want peace, warmth from the storm – and here comes that snake – believe me, I know
- I have been there – have to deal with those snakes – and their vicious bites
Shake it off!
- Paul just “shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm”
- If only we could keep this in mind – when those snakes are biting
- Asaph might have been thinking about them when he wrote Psalm 73
- He said it was so bad he almost gave up when he considered the wicked
- Until he went into the house of the Lord – then he considers their end!
- Then he could shake it off – into the fire
- Although it may seem bad for a moment, that snake can’t really cause you any harm – you have eternal life abiding in you – and only flames await those snakes –
- Keep your heart set on Jesus – you will suffer no harm – the vipers will go into the pit forever –
Acts 28:6 KJV 1900
Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.
- So after they watched him, and he didn’t get sick, they decided he must be a god instead of a man
- This is a problem with people everywhere – star syndrome that is so harmful to many churches today
- When we see great things accomplished by men and women of God, through faith in His name, we are so quick to focus on the man
- There was nothing in Paul that caused this miracle except the measure of faith that was given all of us – but he activated it
- God is the source of the miracle and should be the object of the glory and praise
- So often people flock after a particular person rather than Jesus
- We make people such stars that we are nearly worshipping them at times – when our faith must be focused on Jesus
Finally at Rome
- After 3 months they departed and continued on to Rome
- Paul was allowed to dwell by himself with a soldier who kept him (vs. 16)
- After 3 days called the chief Jews together to explain his being there
- They appointed a day to hear him
Acts 28:23–29 KJV 1900
And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had great reasoning among themselves.
- After hearing Paul – even after all these events – they still did not agree among themselves
- some of them believed, but some believed not
- Notice that Paul was neither more successful because they believed nor less successful because they believed not
- He was fully successful because he preached the Word faithfully!
- If only the Christians of today would remember this faithfully
- The fact that many people today will not endure sound doctrine is not a testimony of the failure of the preachers:
- Rather it is a testimony of the faithfulness and accuracy of the scriptures which prophesy it
- When this happened to Paul, instead of trying to find some new way to change his message, or water it down to their liking, he looked to the scriptures and recognized the fulfillment of the prophecy that was happening before Him
- If only the church in America today would be so faithful.
- I am so discouraged by preachers and churches who apologize for the gospel and apologize for the church to anyone who was offended by the message
Romans 9:33 KJV 1900
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
- Whoever believes in Him shall not be ashamed!
- You will never be ashamed who trust in the Lord
- You fellow Christians – I encourage you today – share your faith with joy! You are not responsible for the hearer’s response
- You who are waiting – searching for the truth – put your trust in Him today – Believe the Gospel and be saved