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Unsaved Shipmates (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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March 5, 2024 6:00 am

Unsaved Shipmates (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 5, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Memorizing scripture will be a big part of your success as witnesses of Christ. When you memorize, when you have a larger library of memorized scriptures, an archive of scriptures, you have more for the Holy Spirit to draw from, and He will draw from. So I encourage you to stay up on your devotional time, continue to serve the Lord, don't give up on the struggle, and get scripture into you. to serve the Lord, don't give up on the struggle, and get scripture into you.

Unsaved shipmates. That's a topic for this consideration here in Acts chapter 27. And before I get into the chapter itself, and the story of Paul, the I want to talk a little bit about these unsaved shipmates that we have in life, following the metaphor, or using as a metaphor, sailing on a ship. My life, since I've been a pastor, is now mostly linear. I go in a straight line from my home to whoever Christians are. But most of you find yourselves in secular circles. You are around people of the world who are engulfed with a culture that is hostile to Christ, contrary to Christ, and even defiant, brazenly committing sins that they want to jam down the throats of others. And many of you have loved ones that have fallen for this or fallen into this. I can't imagine going to work on a Friday and leaving work and saying, okay, Billy, I'll see you Sunday, and then Monday shows up and he's dressed, he's in a dress. I can't imagine anything like that. But many of you have to put up with this stuff, and how do you do this?

You go through life on this ship with these shipmates. What is the Christian to do? They are proud of the very things that they should be shameful of. They've worked hard to remove the shame out of sin. And they want to go to heaven but live like hell at the same time. God's not going to have any of it.

I saw one where they were chanting, we're here, we're queer, we're not going anywhere. You are going somewhere. You are.

All of us are. Where you go, you have a say so, in that whether you go to heaven or you suffer the wrath of God. And to further the sin, many of them try to behave as though these immoral sins are somehow applauded by Christ, claiming that Christ loves them. That would be counterfeiting agape love with human sentiment. And it is another lie out of hell. Satan does two things all the time, without change. He lies and he steals.

He'll steal a soul, he'll lie to anyone, he is the epitome of a shameless being. And if you're going to listen to him, then the consequences are going to be real. To suppose that somehow when the wrath of God falls on those who have defied him, brazenly defied him, to somehow think that God still loves them at that moment is to be removed from what the scripture teaches. God is certainly going to be hurt and disappointed, but his wrath is real. Jesus said the wrath of God abides on them. You can't fool around with the love of God, and we Christians are supposed to be the whistleblowers, his instruments, to tell those, listen, you're blind to your sins and you are deaf to God's voice.

That comes with a price. And Satan, the crook, he doesn't care about you, he just wants to steal your soul. And if someone was to say, well, I'm insulted by the things you're saying, well, my intention is not to insult you, but I have to say that these are facts, and facts insult the guilty.

People will be in a courtroom guilty of a crime, and they're just so insulted and angered by the audacity of people holding them accountable for the fact of their crime. And so how we behave as Christians on these seas of life with the unsaved, even with the antichrist, or people who are antichrists as shipmates, it matters. What does the scripture teach us? Well, the first thing it teaches us about sailing through life with unbelievers is to not be ashamed of our faith. So again, if you go in a workplace and you've now got someone who's insisting you honor their newly found pronouns and just the, you know, the I hate Jesus flags and all the things that they're throwing at us, the responses found in Romans 1 chapter 16, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.

A person is offended by that, then they're offended by that, but that's where we have to stand. God is not ashamed of Christianity. In Hebrews 11 in the 16th verse, when he speaks about, Paul speaks about the things that the righteous goes through, he says, but now they desire a better, that is a heavenly country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God for he has prepared a city for them. So let's remember not to be ashamed, be firm.

Hopefully we're not indecent, rude. Hopefully we give our answers with meekness and respect, even though we are being constantly provoked. The cross of Christ is about sin and it is the very thing that many sinners want to have nothing to do with. The unsaved tend to undervalue the cross and at the same time, they underestimate the consequence of sin and we're again going to be used all the time by God to come against this, hopefully to save souls. Memorizing scripture will be a big part of your success as witnesses of Christ. When you memorize, when you have a larger library of memorized scriptures, an archive of scriptures, you have more for the Holy Spirit to draw from and he will draw from it. So I encourage you to stay up on your devotional time, continue to serve the Lord, don't give up on the struggle and get scripture into you. Now all of what I've been saying hopefully has played out for us in this section of Acts 27. As I mentioned, these last two chapters of Acts, they're loaded with metaphor and allegory and the points just fly off the page for us. It speaks to our life. In this section, we find the stubbornness of others, subsequent storms because of that subsequent, because of that stubbornness. We find shipwreck, serpents, hardship, calamity, things going haywire.

We find kindness and care from the unsaved to believers. We find courage, nausea, we find desperation, trust, betrayal, close calls, and unsinkable faith all in this one chapter. And the troubles and hardships that Paul faces in this chapter are not coming from the Jews and Gentiles, they're not coming so much from people, but the poor judgment of people and creation gone wild. Paul will use shipwreck later when he writes to Timothy concerning life, avoiding shipwreck in life.

But he also tells Timothy, you therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Well, that's what I want to be because these believers on this ship are going to be enduring hardship right alongside of those who are unsaved, who are unbelievers. And sharing Paul's ministry on this ship voluntarily are Luke and Aristarchus and there may be others, but these are Gentile converts. And we have almost over 250 people, 276 souls on this ship that will end up struggling to survive. One of the characters on this ship is Julius, the Roman centurion, an admirable man. The ship's captain, the ship's owner will come across them, the Roman soldiers, the ship's crew.

There's an interesting interaction between the two, whereas the ship's crew is trying to sneak off the ship, which would leave the ship without sailors, without skilled sailors. And the Roman soldiers, of course, act to keep them on the ship. So let's look at the first verse, and when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan regiment. Now, it's about 60 years after the birth of Christ, Nero is the current Caesar. Now he has not yet turned completely evil.

He will later begin the persecution of the church. He was actually a pretty good Caesar in the early years of his rule. But where it says, and it was decided that we should sail to Italy, who decided? Well, it really wasn't Festus.

Festus actually brought about this mess, contributed to it. Of course, it was God. Psalm 37, verse 23, the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in his way. Well, these steps, this shipwreck that's coming, is ordered by the Lord, and there are many benefits to examining just how all this came about. Paul long desired to go to Rome. Well, now he's on his way, and it will turn out to be the hard way.

We never hear him complain about this. He just stays focused on what he's supposed to do, and that is be unashamed of Christ and preach the gospel, because it is the power of God. And so it says here in verse 1 that we should sail to Italy. Now the pronoun we, he indicates that Luke, who is the author of the Book of Acts, Luke, the beloved physician, as Paul referred to him years later, he is with them.

That is why it says we. Paul will write to Timothy, close to Paul's death, he will say, only Luke is with me. He sticks with him to the end. And Luke, he knew God assigned him to Paul, and he lived his life that way. He was very comfortable in the shadow of Paul. That's a calling.

Paul got all the attention. Barnabas was in that role for a while too. You know, to know where God has you is not only liberating, it is empowering.

To know this is my post, this is what I'm assigned to in my life, whether it develops or changes or I just remain where I am, it is an honor to serve God in your calling. Luke and Aristarchus, who's also with them, they get to share the shipwreck experience with Paul, comes with the territory. As a physician, Luke, he will be there. When they survive the shipwreck, Paul will be bitten by a serpent.

And Luke, the physician, will be useless, powerless to do anything about it. It will be the Lord that will make the difference. These were the first Christians. The book of Acts tells us about the first Christians and how they conducted business. When Jesus said, occupied till I return, we see them doing this. And in so, they are bringing with them multitudes into the kingdom of God, and Christians have been continuing that to this day.

As I speak, there are churches around the world where Christians are preaching and people are going to be saved and others will be built up in the faith. Now Luke, of course, keeping a journal of these experiences, he writes about this with vivid recollection. The adventures from Antioch all the way to Corinth, and then back from Corinth all the way back to Antioch, from Antioch to Jerusalem, and now from Jerusalem to Rome.

It's over 4,000 miles, hard miles. They delivered, it says here in verse 1, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion. Well, here are the shipmates, the prisoners, the sailors, the Roman centurion, the owner of the ship, and some other passengers that want to also go to Rome. The centurions in the New Testament are always shown to be admirable men, officers and gentlemen, and indecisive when it's time for them to move. We'll see that when Julius orders his troops to not allow the sailors to abandon ship. Julius, the centurion, by the end of this voyage, he will be less a guard of Paul as prisoner and he will be more of a protector of Paul the man.

Now you know that's preaching going on. You know he got to know the character of Paul, and at one point when he tells the Roman soldiers not to kill the prisoners lest they escape, it says he did this because of Paul. And so again, we're looking at these unsaved shipmates, and what are the first Christians doing with them?

Luke could not write at all, he couldn't get it all down, he got the essentials down for us. And so his orders when he gives them, well his orders from Rome, let's go back to that for a moment, his orders from Rome were concise and they were very clear. And that is to bring the prisoners to Rome, no more, no less, and he's going to achieve that. When we get to Paul coming, you know when he puts sandals on the ground in Italy, even that is going to be loaded with ministry for us as Christians. Well again, initially he guarded Paul as prisoner, and I want this to stand out to us.

In the end, he protects him as a friend. That's ministry, that's Christianity in action, one element of Christianity. Now verse 2 it says, so entering the ship of Adrimithium we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coast of Asia, Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica was with us. Now this is a Turkish ship, they won't stay on this, they're leaving Sidon, which is right next to Israel, and they're sailing across on the Mediterranean on this Turkish ship. Now this man Aristarchus, he was with Paul almost as long as Luke, and these character studies are preserved for us to study, to benefit from. He was roughed up at Ephesus, a riot that was started because of Paul's influence.

The whole city was in an uproar. He accompanies Paul to Jerusalem because he leaves Ephesus, he goes to Antioch with him, he comes with Paul to Jerusalem, bringing the offerings to the struggling Christians there in Jerusalem. He continues with Paul here to Rome, they're going to suffer shipwrecked together, and then he's going to attend to Paul while Paul is in Rome.

And when Paul writes the Colossian letter, he mentions Aristarchus, he does also when he writes to Philemon. And so again he, like Luke, served and suffered with Paul, at least through the Colossian letter and likely to the, as close to the end as possible. In verse 3 now, and the next day we landed at Sidon, and Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care. So again, they have not yet shoved off from Sidon, which is right next to Israel, there on the shore of the Mediterranean, and Julius, what a courageous and kind act to say, you know, I'm going to trust you. I'm going to let you go, because if Paul gets away, then Julius will have to suffer whatever punishment Paul would have suffered. And this is why the Roman guards were no-nonsense, if they thought you were going to escape, they would kill you.

Better to present a dead body than no body. And this was the days they lived in, a true Christian charm at work, from Paul to this commander of soldiers. And those centurions, especially if they were stationed in Israel, they're tough guys. They had put up a lot of stuff from assassins, from uprisings, and just keeping the Roman Empire in charge of as much civilization as Rome could get its fingers on. And so this Julius, here he is with this again, he's a courageous man and he's a kind man.

You can be a tough guy and still be kind. Verse 4, when we had put to sea, from there we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary. Well, these are romantic words if you are a sea-going lover, if you love to be out on the sea and to be underway. It's like, yeah, you know, it's an adventure. There's nothing boring about the ocean. Well, you can be stuck at sea, or stuck off the coast of some place, just sitting there — yeah, that could be a drag.

But the sea is exciting. And they're on the move for God. At least Paul and his friends are. The other shipmates, of course we don't know the details, they're en route — Paul is en route to give sermons. He's en route to save souls.

He is en route to write at least four more epistles that we have, the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. But it says here in verse 4, because the winds were contrary — ominous words, shipwreck awaits them, awaits them all. They don't know it yet. They're just on this Turkish ship, and they're just thinking, okay, the winds are contrary. But it's setting the pace for what's coming. Even in the will of God, things will not go smoothly. It is surprising, but it's understandable sometimes when you find a Christian going through hardship and you're surprised, how could God let do this, and how could this happen? That's understandable. If you're in a hot seat, you know, those are feelings that surge to the top.

But it doesn't mean we need to be enslaved by them or give in to them. These contrary winds will surge into violent winds. Paul knew the sea. And Luke, as again vividly recalling these events, he indicates that Paul had bad feelings about all this, as the story goes.

He's going to point out Paul had a sinking feeling about some of this. Verse 5, and when we had sailed over the sea, which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, the city of Lycia. Now Lycia and Myra, they were ports of the imperial Egyptian grain fleet. Egypt was the breadbasket for Rome.

They weren't the only ones, but they were the major ones. And coming from the Nile Delta, ships would come out with their grains to go to Rome. And those ships were under the authority of Rome, even if they were privately owned. Once you got on that contract, it was a Roman vessel.

And again, even in the will of God, things will not go smoothly. These contrary winds will insist on becoming the dominant force in their lives when they're on that vessel. So verse 6 now, there the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board. So they changed ships. And this is going to be the ship that's going to suffer the shipwreck, not the other one. Alexandria, an Alexandrian ship, that was that Egyptian port in the city of Alexandria in Egypt.

And again, here we have 276 souls on this ship. Verse 7, when we had sailed slowly many days and arrived with difficulty off of Nindus, the winds not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salome, foreboding indicators continued. Paul, he knows the sea. He knows the Mediterranean Sea.

He has got to be getting sick feelings at this point. He has seen this play before, the wind not permitting us to proceed. How metaphoric is that for life, resistance in life, interrupting, getting in the way of us trying to reach our destination? Maybe it's a simple, basic Christian destination that you're going to be patient on the road today.

And the winds will be contrary to you, because the other drivers will be on the road also. So common is resistance in life that when there is no resistance, we're suspicious. What's going on here? Things have been going too well, too long. Such is life. And God does not excuse us from this. He calls us to operate in the midst of these things. So they wanted to go northwest, but the winds were against them.

And again, Luke writes as though it was yesterday, because he kept that journal. Verse 8, passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens near the city of La Silla. The menacing winds are worsening. The Fair Havens, they will come to wish they stayed there.

La Silla is a small and boring village town, and the crew would not want to be there, and that will come up again. Verse 9, now when much time had been spent and sailing was now dangerous because of the fast which was already over, Paul advised them, we'll pause mid-sentence. This is a time stamp, the fast. This is Yom Kippur around the end of September, it's probably the first, about the first of October at this point. This was not the best time to be in the open sea at that time in history. Mid-September to mid-November was highly risky to be out on the open waters.

By November, only fools would venture out into the deep. Paul, it says here, advised them in this remarkable that he was respected enough to have his input offered. I mean, the cook's not going to come upstairs and say, hey, this is what I think we should do. Yet Paul gets to ring in. He's a prisoner of Rome. What does that say about him? What does that teach us about being a Christian around those who are unsaved? Some of them, various degrees, many times, of course, the many decent, unsaved people.

Many of them can be far more likely than some Christians. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit That's We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the Book of Acts, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-05 08:51:48 / 2024-03-05 09:01:51 / 10

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