STEADY IN THE STORMS

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Introduction:

  1. There are certain chapters in the book of Acts which stand out. For example, Acts 7, we have the powerful story of Stephen and the introduction to Paul. In Acts 17, we’re introduced to the brethren in Thessalonica and Paul’s trip to Athens. But what about Acts 27?
  2. After Paul laid out his defense before King Agrippa, we find Paul would leave with some other prisoners and set sail from Caesarea to Rome. We know Luke the physician is with Paul at this time based on the word “WE” used throughout the chapter. It was Luke who penned, Acts 16:9-16, Acts 20:5, Acts 21:17. We aren’t given details about exactly when Luke joined up again with Paul.
  3. Consider the details given to us in this chapter. It’s been said, “Luke’s account of Paul’s voyage has been minutely investigated by an experienced Scottish seaman (commodore James Smith, of Jordanhill), and established the remarkable fact that Luke, though not a professional seaman, was a close and accurate observer of the winds and storms, and the management and movements of a ship. He furnishes more information of ancient navigation (Chapters 27 and 28) than any single document of antiquity.” There are books written about what Luke has recorded in this chapter! What Luke recorded for us here and in the rest of the book is accurate and true!
  4. As we read about Paul’s voyage, we will also see storms that would come. Yet, what we find is Paul was steady in the storms. The physical storms Paul endured I believe provide us with some reminders concerning the spiritual storms we will face. All of us are on a voyage. We have a destination we’re headed to: heaven. But storms will come. We will have to be steady in the midst of storms. Paul’s physical voyage will help us as we navigate in our spiritual voyage.

The Lesson:

Storms will come

As we find Paul traveling, we see in Acts 27:9-10, that it was the dangerous season. They had already face tough winds, Acts 27:4, 7. Paul could see traveling at that time would be a bad idea. But they did anyway. In life, we need to be recognize and know storms will come our way. We will face difficult days. We will face challenges, Matthew 5:10-12. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself in a storm. Expect them! I’m not saying we live with a sense of dread, but we will find ourselves in storms.

Storms may last a long-time

Luke shares with us exact details of what they faced, Acts 27:10-20. In my Bible, I have words like “next day” “third day” and “many days” marked in red Then in verse 21 “a long time…” That’s what Paul and the 276 men experienced. They were in a storm. It wasn’t going away for a long-time! The storm began to wear on them. That’s what storms do. They cause people to lose hope, Acts 27:20.

Isn’t it often the same in our lives? We find ourselves in a storm. We have wishful thinking. This will pass. But the next day becomes three days and then many days, and then a long-time! I think about Job. He was in a storm in Job 1-2. He was in the long-time category because of Satan. I think about Israel. They were in a storm. It was due to their SIN! It was a long-time storm (70 years of captivity). I think about Paul. He had been in numerous storms after becoming a Christian, Acts 9:18. His life is being sought after. It’s one storm after the next for Paul. Why? Because he was proclaiming the truth. Storms are going to come. Hopefully, our storms aren’t because we’ve been evil doers, 1 Peter 4:13-16. We don’t always know how long storms will last.

Storms will require us to have courage

In the midst of the storm, Paul, a prisoner took the lead, Acts 27:21-26. I love what Paul said: “You should have listened to me!” He encouraged the men. Take courage. Note as you read the word courage or encouraged found in verses 22,25,33,34. Paul encouraged because he had been encouraged by God through an angel, Acts 27:21-24. This is the third time in the book where Paul has been reminded not to be afraid, Acts 18:8-10, 23:11.

In the midst of storms, we will have to be courageous. Paul believed God, Acts 27:25. He believed it would work out exactly as the angel said! We know it did! That’s the faith we need in storms. Storms come in a variety of ways and sizes. In the midst of storms, we all need to hear from God. Not through an angel, but through His word. Before storms, we need to be hearing from God. We need to believe what He says. Believe what Jesus said, Matthew 6:33-34. Believe the promises of God. Storms have a way of causing Christians to doubt. However, we must remember God is always bigger than our storms. Paul would stand before Caesar. No storm could stop that from happening. No plots from wicked men could stop God’s will. Paul would witness in Rome, Acts 23:11. Which is why in the midst of storms, we must remain with Jesus.

In Storms, we must remain with Jesus.

Paul told the crew they were to remain in the ship, Acts 27:31. They would be saved if they did. He continued to encourage them to eat, Acts 27:31-34. If they remained in the ship, all would be well. While fear would creep in, they would all make it safely to shore, Acts 27:44.

When storms come it can be easy to want to jump SHIP! But don’t!

    1. What the devil would love for us to do is to leave the place where salvation is found: Jesus Christ. In the midst of storms, remain with Him.
    2. You may not always know what’s happening, why things are happening (like Job), but remain with Him. Don’t bail on Him.
    3. Maybe you’ve brought your storms upon yourself. Paul warned these back in verse 10 that danger lied ahead. Maybe brethren, your spouse, your friend, your Shepherds have warned you of danger that lies ahead. But you decided to go on that voyage. Don’t be foolish and leave Jesus. Remain with Him. Repent and sin no more.
    4. Maybe you feel like your life consists of nothing but bailing water and you’re just trying not to drown. Remain with Jesus. Let Him be your anchor.

Conclusion:

  1. In the midst of storms, consider Acts 27. Be like Paul. Listen to God and not to others. People in the world will lead you astray. Let Paul, give thanks to God. I know we see Paul gave thanks when it came to eating food, Acts 27:35. Give thanks to God for everything in the midst of storms. It will be a reminder of how He provides.
  2. Even though you may not recognize how things will work out, Acts 27:39, remain with Him. God is in control. We are not! He is with us. Remain with Him. He will provide in ways we may have never thought, Acts 27:42-44. He provided safety for Paul through the centurion in the midst of his storm. God is with us as well. Remain with Him. Be steady in your faith, in your hope, in your hearing from God and know all will be well.

Surviving Storms

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

Do you trust God? Our currency has written on it, “In God We Trust.” But do we trust Him? It’s easy to say we do, but it’s another to live it and believe it. It’s easy to raise our hand in Bible class and say, “We should always trust God.”

But it’s different when you experience a death in the family. It’s tough when there’s something wrong with your child. It’s challenging when problems arise in the church. It’s hard when you have to make a choice between your friends and your God. It’s difficult when you’re the only one in class who believes in the creation story. You wouldn’t think that God’s people would need to be reminded to trust in God, but we do. God’s people have always needed reminders.

This was true even for the apostles.

The apostles saw the miracles of Jesus. There was no reason for them not to have faith. Yet they needed to be reminded to trust God!

 In the gospels, we read  about the apostles going through a couple of storms. They would have to trust in God. We can learn some lessons from these stories as we think about different storms we will face in life.

 Storm #1: Mark 4:35-40

After a long day of teaching on the sea, Jesus told the apostles to cross to the other side. Earlier that day Jesus had taught parables to the crowds, Mark 4:1. Soon after they began to cross over to the other side, they ran into some problems. There arose a fierce (great) wind. Water began to pour into their boat. You would have thought that they would have been accustomed to this being that many were fishermen. This was no regular storm. Fear quickly set in the  hearts of the apostles. They cried out to Jesus for help, and He responded, Mark 4:38. Yet is was Jesus who then questioned them about their faith. This entire series of events is amazing to consider.

 Storm #2: Matthew 14:22-33.

After feeding 5,000 people with a boys sack lunch, Jesus told His apostles to get into the boat. While the apostles were in the boat crossing the sea, Jesus spent time in prayer, Matthew 8:23. By the time He would begin to cross the sea, His apostles were far ahead of Him. Instead of Jesus taking a boat to catch up to His apostles, He decided to go on a walk. It’s here that we find Peter asking Jesus to walk on the water,Matthew 14:28-29. That took some FAITH. But as he saw the winds, Peter became fearful, Matthew 14:30. What can we learn from these stories?

 1. Live with faith. Storms will come. Life can change from calm to stormy quickly. Trials don’t make us unique. How we respond to them is what will make us unique. Jesus demands that walk by faith.

2. Storms will reveal our faith. It’s been said, “Trials don’t make or break you. Instead, they reveal you.” Trials will reveal what kind of faith we have (shallow or strong). The disciples faith was shaken but then strengthened as a result of the storms, Mark 4:41Matthew 14:33. Storms can actually be good for us as they will help us to draw closer to God.

3. Know that Jesus cares. He cared for His apostles and He cares for us.

4. Trust the facts and not your feelings. No matter what we face, we must remember that God is in control. The disciples FELT like they were going to drown. But they fact is they had Jesus on board. During storms, focus on Jesus and what you know, compared to what you are feeling. That’s how we will be able to survive storms. 

Benjamin Lee.