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Salvation Amidst the Storm (Acts 27:1-26)

September 30, 2015

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon recognizes the severity and humiliation brought upon us in the midst of the storms of life. Pastor Duncanson encourages us to trust in God’s faithfulness in providing hope in the midst of the storms we face, while also using these storms to bring us to Himself by showing us we are hopeless without Him. The focus of this sermon is on the God faithfully providing a faithful witness, a fearsome storm, and a freeing Word.

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A Faithful Witness: Giving Sound, Wise, Reasonable Counsel

And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared forSince much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives. But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there (Acts 27:2-3, 9-12; ESV).

Pastor Duncanson reminds us that storms come because we fail to heed warnings. Paul warns the men about the storm brewing, as all Christians are called to do, which is to warn others in a volatile world of God’s goodness and severity. Unfortunately, the men choose to ignore the sound, wise, and reasonable counsel they received from Paul, a man with a great deal of experience on the seas, and instead, listened to their own counsel, unaware of their impending danger (cf. Matthew 7:13-14).

A Fearsome Storm: The Goodness and Severity of God

Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along. Since we were violently storm- tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned (Acts 27:13-20; ESV).”

Often counsel seems to be judgment, yet true judgment comes after not heeding or listening to wise and godly counsel. The Northeaster was a severe storm, which affected both Paul and his companions along with the unbelieving Romans on the ship, and it not only wreaked havoc on the physical state of these men, but it also served as a means of showing them their need of salvation. Although those who believed in the sovereignty and mercy of God were tempted to fall into despair, Paul was comforted by the Word of God and comforted those on aboard with the Word he had received.

A Freeing Word: The Word of God Brings Comfort through Salvation

Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you. So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island (Acts 27:21-26; ESV).”

Unlike before when Paul gave his assessment and counsel concerning the storm, the Word of God brought true comfort (Isaiah 40). Hope in the midst of the storm does not mean there will not be suffering or that salvation will come quickly (cf. Genesis 18:14; Habakkuk 2:3; Romans 5:6). However, the Word of God works two-fold in revealing the truth about sin and suffering, while also reminding the hearer of God’s faithfulness to bring redemption and reconciliation despite these present afflictions (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

Does your suffering or storms draw you nearer to the Savior?

God sovereignly ordains all things for His glory and the good of His people (Romans 8:18-30, 11:36). Since the Lord is kind even to the ungrateful and the evil, He always warns us before, in the midst of and at the end of each storm concerning who He is and the purpose of our storms (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:15; Jeremiah 7:25, 11:7-8, 25:3; Luke 6:35-36). Therefore, apart from the grace and mercy of God, we are hopeless, broken, and in need of salvation; and our storms are the means by which God shows us our need of Him (cf. Job 40:1-9, 42:1-6).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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