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September 30, 2020 8:00 am
It's the stuff of adventure movies, a sea voyage with a boatload of prisoners unfavorable women's worsening weather a brewing storm throwing cargo overboard to lighten the load hurricane force wind shipwreck on an island and finally the guards on the brink of killing all the prisoners among them. The apostle Paul. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically on his way to Rome.
Paul faced the literal storm that ended in a literal shipwreck watching how Paul handled that old mass gives us some clues about handling the many kinds of storms and shipwrecks. We face.
Let's listen now to Dr. Boyce, begun in our study of acts two chapter 27, which contains the account of a great storm on the Mediterranean that overtook the ship that was bearing Paul wrong was a literal storm.
Of course, but I want to begin what we have to say, by pointing out that it is also very valid illustration or symbol of the many storms that come naturally into the lives of Christian people.
The idea being overtaken by storms in life is one that has appealed the poets among them are hymn writers, and if you think over the hymns that you know I'm sure it won't take very long before you come up with some develop the theme. I think for example of this one of the angry surges roll on my Tempest driven soul. I am peaceful, for I know wildly, though, the winds may blow. I'm an anchor safe ensure that an evermore endure or this one towards our walk in him, we hide a shoulder in the time of storm secure whatever bills be tied to shoulder in the time of storm often in life and things are going well. We think that where exempt from storms or we perhaps persuade ourselves that the storms of life. Though they touch others will never touch us, but they do the time does come when those storms that have broken on the head of other people break on us as well.
On the question that comes sin such times as the SRU anchored the rock after you trust the one who is able to pilot you through those tempestuous days that I was the case with Paul literally in his case. Also, figuratively, as well, and as we look at the story I want you to see how he prevailed him in the midst of the storms and how you can do so also.
I don't want to say by way of introduction that this is that most unique chapter as you read it. I'm sure that is perfectly evident that is one of those rare glimpses into a special aspect of ancient life that you just do not find in equal measure anywhere else. Historians have pointed to this text is one of the great passages of antiquity to describe what it was like to sale literally by sea in ancient world. There was a man I've mentioned it before, Sir Michael Ramsey, who at the instigation of a group of unbelieving people in his day. In the last century set out to examine the various places the apostle Paul went during his missionary journeys and to compare the book of acts which recounts those journeys with what he could discover from his investigation of the site about the people who encouraged him to do that thought being of little faith that they would soon show how unreliable the book of acts was, as Ramsey turned out to be a very great scholar investigated the sites that Luke reports he discovered, much to the consternation of the unbelievers that look was an eminently reliable story all the places they described in his book are quite accurate and that no point is it more the case than his description here of this voyage of the apostle Paul. The relict is absolutely accurate in terms of the navigating skills and the details of the ship's construction and the way in which it was sailed in storm that we know now from other sources. Also, there's a very good reason why Luke as this so accurately. Of course that is because so far as we can tell from the story. He was along on the voyage and having a scientific mind we speak of Luke the physician. He no doubt made it his business to inquire of the Mariners how things were done. You read the story and apparently he took Parker's well as some of the others did in some of the operations designed it possible to save the ship. I say we know Luke was along because this is the third and last of the three sections in the book where he introduces his own presence in the narrative by use of the plural pronoun. We first time that occurred was in chapter 16 that is where Paul received the Macedonian vision went over into Europe from Asia and it's at that point that Luke indicates his presence by saying we were there before this, it is Paul and his companions, and they now it's way Luke apparently was from Macedonia. So when the party went on after their missionary work there. Luke stayed behind in the narrative changes once again and now it's told in the third person the second time we picked up Luke is when the party left Macedonia for the last time to make the final trip to Jerusalem and they are in the 20th chapter which begins the account of that we find we again so Luke apparently was laboring in Macedonia and then with a large party that went to bear the offering of the saints in Jerusalem. He went along and now here he is again we he says was undermanned with them. Aristarchus significantly enough from Macedonia so probably also a friend of Luke's least two friends went along with Paul and Luke as I said the man who quite obviously had a scientific mind to observe very carefully what was done and recorded in this magnificent story. I would say one other thing, by way of introduction. Whenever we come to the story with the storm is very hard not to think of those other times in Scripture when we are told of people being cost at sea in the midst of a storm or forum. As far as I know, including this one.
Two of them are from the Gospels send they had to do with the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Sea of Galilee and a storm. Now the stories are told in different places in the four Gospels, but both of them occur in the Gospel of Matthew, which is the most comprehensive of the Gospels.
There you have one of the accounts in chapter 8 verses 25, 27, and you have the second account in chapter 11 verses 22 to 33. The first one was the time in which the Lord Jesus Christ. Having labored energetically was so exhausted as he came to the end of the day that he fell asleep in the boat as they were making their way on across the sea of Galilee, a storm overtook them the waves crashing into the small boat that was carrying Jesus and the disciples and the disciples were so afraid for their lives. They thought they were going to perish by woke up Jesus. I said to a master, don't you care that we perish, and he replied by saying Loki of little faith. Many stood in the boats in the midst of the storm and rebuke the wind and the way saying peace be still and instantly the waves quieted down in the conclusion of that story is the question on the disciples part when they said what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the waves obey him. Then a little later on in the story. In the 11th chapter you have a similar account where on this occasion, the Lord sent them on across the sea ahead of him. He himself saying that he would join them later. On the other side while they were crossing the sea in the storm in the middle of the night.
Suddenly they saw Jesus coming to them walking upon the water. That's the incident in which Peter now, having grown a bit in his faith saw Jesus walking and said, well, Jesus can do that Jesus wants me to do it I can do it so I said master bid become Tokyo and Jesus said, and he got out of the boat started to walk toward him but he got his eyes off Jesus again to look at the waves.
His faith began to falter and as his faith faltered, he began to sink, he would've sunk the ground.
Jesus had been very reached out his hand to Peter by the arm, lifted him up and then brought them back into the ship. I mentioned most of stories because they show the growth of faith of one was a disciple of Jesus Christ from the power of the Lord Jesus Christ there in the first case in the boat and later walking upon the water to keep a servant of his difficulty. The disciples didn't have much faith in the beginning they hardly had any faith at all. They were still asking the question, what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the waves obey what Jesus did, no doubt because their faith to grow and perhaps in some cases even to blossom coming to be what you see where you have the case of person believer starting out in the Christian life, and growing as the Lord demonstrates his power over nature of the storm that overtook Jonah is the one we probably know best.
It's the one that overtook Jonah and the Mariners when they were sailing on the Mediterranean from Joppa to Tarsus on the far side of the Mediterranean because Jonah was tried to run away from God.
God had told Jonah to go and preach to Nineveh, which was in exactly the opposite direction, and Jonah didn't like the Ninevites, so he started out for Tarshish, she said. I'm just not going to do what God says God sent this great storm overtake the ship that was bearing them away while blessedness in that story, and it's worth this, commenting on the briefly first of all, the same God who was able to calm the storm of the first two story's peace be still as the God who will stir storm up when were disobeying him. God can bring tranquility to your life and often does, but if you run away from him. He is able to make your life in turmoil because he has determined that you will go in his way and if you decide that you don't want to do it will stir things up so it becomes most uncomfortable and sometimes it gets worse and worse as our obedience process and then secondly there is the obvious point of the story that although Jonah paid for his fare and got on board the ship to go to Tarshish, he never got to where he was going and when I preached on that on prior occasions.
I pointed out that he didn't get his money back either. Always that way in the Christian life and you try to run away from God. You never get where you're going and always pay your fair by the reverse. When you go God's way. He generally pays your fair for you and the onus it's easy to get where you're going but Jonah and his disobedience did learn that lesson and then there is 1/3 lesson as well and it's that Jonah's disobedience brought those who were with him in the great peril wasn't only Jonah who was about to drown on the ship Mariners were about to drown as well. The only reason they were spared is because Jonah at least this degree came to his senses and said to them from the overlord because it is for my sake that the storm is come upon you want to do it is in the way you treat your passengers generally but in the end they came around they saw that they were all going to drown if they didn't do it a double. Maybe it would work. Maybe he knows what he's talking about. They threw him overboard and then waves were still and there's a lesson in that which I mentioned because it's quite a contrast to what happens when the apostle Paul in the story is the fourth of these great storms at sea and the lessons in this account are equally great.
Perhaps in some ways even greater than the others. The details of the sailing are interesting, but it is far more helpful to study this with a map before you begin with. They took two ships they set out on one that was working its way up the eastern coast of the Mediterranean.
Gradually making its way around the West, but having great difficulty because at this time of year it was the fall.
The feast that is mentioned here fast was in the fall of the month of October and sailing a very difficult and dangerous on the Mediterranean. At that time prevailing winds were from the West. So to go from west to east was all right to go from East West is exceedingly difficult and besides that the storm season came early in November and at that time all sailing on the Mediterranean seas for the winter. I just pulled the boats up on short and watch them again until the spring. They are trying to get to Rome. And so they're doing the best I can and on this little ship they make their way up the coast of this town of Myra having very slow going, but eventually at that point, changing to a larger ship Alexandrian ship. It would've been a great ship taking grain from Egypt where it grew readily in abundance to Rome, which was always in need of gray this large ship then tried to carry on the voyage, making its way on toward West I had gone north of Cyprus. Then they attacked back and forth trying to get further West they finally got the creek that made their way around the southern edge of the island. They stopped at that little town of Fairhaven's which interestingly enough is not very fair.
And of course that's the point of the story, sometimes little towns that don't have very much to offer all of the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce is working to get people to come and settle their investment to common visitors to pass through increased tourism industry. We have to name ourselves with a good maintenance. I take a grandiose name and that's what they had done here.
They call this place fair havens, but it was really about the sailors said look at stock here and having a long hard winter. We don't want to be here waiting for the wood whether the good wins to come in the spring and others a nicer place a little further on up along the coast. Let's see if we can make it before we have to stop sailing the winter ball. The story said God had no doubt warned him about it that they shouldn't do that winds would be contrary but captains of sailing ships don't listen. The landlubber certainly not preachers better affect people very rarely listen to preachers about anything.
That's the way they treated Paul C know they set right.
Sure we can do it. There was a gentle little brazenly started out the story tells how they ran into this great terrible storm on the Mediterranean that caused winds and waves to blow in a rage day after day so that is Luke goes on to tell the story. There was a period of 14 days in which they didn't even see the sun or the stars were driven on in the clouds and bark, not knowing where they were being driven but simply letting the ship ride before the wind. Now that setback point in the story that I stop because I want you to cease a very interesting contrast. First of all first 20 when neither son nor stars appeared for many days in the storm continued raging. We finally gave up all hope of being saved. Let's the first verse.
Now I want you to notice words of Paul to come immediately after that.
After the men had gone a long time without food. Paul stood up before them and he said then you should've taken my advice not to sale from Creech, then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss but now I urge you to keep up your courage next verse. Do not be afraid, is that an interesting contrast.
Here they are in the midst of the terrible storm Mariners know how to sail ships are so discouraged and frightened that they give up all hope of being saved and at that moment. This preacher, who presumably knew very little about sailing stands up and says take courage and not be afraid of the reason I focus on that is because in the context of Paul's address still owes on shipboard.
On this occasion we have a great statement of principles by which you and I as Christians can do the same thing in the midst of life's storms. We may not be probably never will be in the midst of a literal storm like this one that is life-threatening but you and I know storms storms come in the life and sometimes they come quite suddenly and they're quite fierce one.
They were in perfect health, and then suddenly was a pain we find ourselves within a matter of hours in the hospital and the diagnosis is quite grim. The doctor says we've examined you and you have cancer storm in life when they were sitting in our home table eating everything as well.
The telephone rings someone on the other and says I'm sorry I have bad news for you, but so-and-so, husband, wife, mother, father, child so-and-so is been killed in a tragic accident and so the storms, the question is how do you stand up in life.
Storms sometimes are things that happened other people that affect us. Sometimes the things that happened us personally in the storms are going to, I want you to see from what Paul said why Paul was able to respond to the situation differently. Notice what he says.
First 23 but now I urge you to keep up your courage because not one of you will be lost. Only the ship will be destroyed last night. An angel of the God whose I am, in whom I serve stood beside me and said don't be afraid.
Paul, you must stand trial before Caesar and God has graciously given you the lives of all Lucille with you, so keep up your courage man. For I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
Although we must run aground on some island. One of the principles here's the first one first principle is that Paul knew that God was with him and see an angel of the Lord appeared to him and medication was great, powerful evidence of God's presence and yet Paul was well aware not only at this, but also at other times that God was with him and we should be aware of that as well. Lord Jesus Christ when he was about to leave this world for the final time and was giving his great commission to his disciples said that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to him and that, in the exercise of that authority was sending them in all the world with the gospel to teach all people of all nations. What he had taught them and that as they came to faith. They were to baptize them in the name of the father the son and Holy Spirit, and he concluded by saying and low. I am with you always, even in the end of the age. So our situation in regard to the presence of God is no different from the situation of the apostle Paul here this occasion an angel appeared to him.
On other occasions. The Lord himself said with appeared to him.
The message was always the same and the message is the same one becomes DOS, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age versus what Christians were filed as they have gone through the trials and storms of life.
They testify again and again you have not gone through great storms in your life. Perhaps you don't know this. You will however in time because these things come Christians of testified again and again that in the midst of the storms God was with them, with the presence that was there is no other word for it, absolutely supernatural God quieted their heart assured them that he was with them and made himself known to them in small ways, but which, in the situation were so significant that the individuals could testify afterwards that God did just those little details to reassure them that he was there so I asked because in our lives.
It's not always the big storms that affect the sometimes just a little storms and throw us off base. I asked the question, do you know that God is with you. Are you aware of his presence tells you that he is, you can take it on faith, but are you really aware of that seat when the storms come that is going to make all the difference. There is a second principle that we also see in the story and that is that Paul knew that he belong to God say not only did he say last night. An angel of God stood beside me, but when he mentioned God, he began to identify that God and he said it's the God whose I have is I am not my own. I am but with the price and I belong to him in one of his sermons, Donald Ray Barnhouse in dealing with this particular passage began to explore the wastes in which we belong to God using the great images of Scripture. And if you ever thought of these images along those lines, we belong to God as the bride belongs to the bridegroom because we church of the bride of Christ we are his. He gave himself for us. He died that we might be redeemed to become his and so we belong to him in that way it's a precious beautiful picture of things going to tear the bride from the arms of Jesus Christ. Secondly, we belong to God as a child belongs to the father because we are God's children. He has engendered us. He is brought about spiritual life in us about.
We are God's spiritual sons and daughters. What would you think of a father who see something happening to his child and is simply unconcerned and walks off the other way and says well child disconnect.
Take care of himself or herself. You think, well, it's not a very good father.
We recognize in human life that we need to care for our children. We do father sees his child being hit taken advantage of for persecuted in some way any decent father comes immediately to the rescue of the child and if we think that way. Even though we respond imperfectly we can be certain that God.so there you have another image that shows how we belong to God how he cares for us. There is 1/3 image in Scripture, and that is that we belong to God is that she belong to the shepherd recall Jesus telling about the shepherd who loses one of his sheep. Although he has 99 last was missing and he goes out to Mike to find that she pretty searches until he brings that she back now. If that's the nature of our God.
That's the nature of Jesus Christ. Then to say as Paul does.
In this context, angel of God whose I am is not a throwaway line.
This is something that is powerful and I asked the question of you the same way. I followed up on the first of these principles. Do you know that you belong to God. You do you see that makes all the difference in will help you in the storms of life and it will certainly help you in the midst of temptation where God's property is one way of looking at it I think of the story of a man who used to say when ever temptation came upon them. People were giving him trouble used to look up to heaven and pray and say God do you know that they're attacking your property and that that a great deal to help them through the difficult, you are the property, but you belong to him and you know that that is going to make a great difference.
The third principle is this Paul was aware that he was in God's service was about God's business. That's the next phrase you say last night. An angel of the God whose I am and who I serve stood behind me about what he was to do. He was to bear witness in all and got pneumonia doesn't take an Einstein to figure out the conclusion that God told him that he was going to serve God in Rome, bearing witness, there, and if he wasn't yet in Rome, then this storm that was battering the ship on which he sailed was not going to mean the end of his life because God was going to preserve it but was going to take him around and therefore God would deliver them from the storm. Are you and I I am sure don't have special revelations of that nature. God is not in most cases I am sure said anything even from Scripture to indicate that you and I have a certain length of service, though in some cases that may perhaps be true, but what we can know is this as long as Scott has worked for us to do. God is going to preserve our lives to do it does not follow God is not frustrated about our days work for us to do the God's going to keep us alive to do it again. You don't have to be a genius to figure out how that operates me say this, if we have finished the work that God has for us to do, then why do we want to linger around here any longer. We want to go on to heaven as soon as possible and until then, we want to be about our father's business.
I mentioned Donald Ray Barnhouse a few moments ago.
I do recall a little model that he used during the first world war he was in the service at the time he had done some flying. I understand and on the fuselage of the plane that they were flying, he painted a motto that was borrowed from one of the solvent so it was changed somewhat to gain the effect and it went like this Cyrus is not the fight and die hours to live and testify because God had indicated to him that he was to be a preacher in that particular mission in life and his case was not done long as there is testimony for you to get as long as there is service for you to render as long as there is work for you to do. You will not die and God will see you through whatever storm you were facing. Moreover he will bring you through it triumphantly. As you look to him final point of these four points comes just a little bit later in Paul's speech where he says, toward the end, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me say Paul knew God it wasn't only the God was with him or that he belong to God or the God given them work to do it. We also knew that God was the sovereign God, the God of circumstances, and therefore he was able to trust God, not just in the little things of life, but in every circumstance in the storms of life.
Yes of the storms of life and I have cancer.
Yes, when I have cancer.
When I lose my job yes yes when I lose my job. These things are not botanists of experience to God are merely circumstances that he brings into our lives, not by accident but as he says in Romans four are good then save.
It's not that way these things, storms of life break upon their heads. The waves stroll over and like the chaff there carried away, but for the Christian to say all things work together for good to those who love God want you to see one other thing about this matters because of their faith. Paul had in what he knew and God. He was able to be of some use to the others. I find that very interesting and especially when I think back to the story of Jonah and make the contrast.
Jonah was running away from God. He was trusting God. He wasn't on God services. Matter fact he was doing exactly the opposite. So when the storm came to batter the ship that was trying to carry Jonah to Tarshish, they hunted for Jonah and he wasn't even around.
It was down below the hold of the ship, he was fast asleep. Like many Christians and they were in danger is that he was no use to them.
Case Paul. Paul was obeying God always shows search by God. And so when the storm broke. Paul emerged to see it in the story is very clear to be the real leader in these desperate circumstances, so we cannot only give testimony to his faith site. I know God.
God is appeared to me this is what is going to happen.
Even gets to be so practical as saying verse 33, just before dawn now then we're going to be crashing here in a few moments ago. I have to keep up your strength so let's all have some breakfast here before we have to swim to shore. There is practical Christianity say sometimes people say Christians are so heavenly minded. There is no earthly use. It is a heavenly minded people that are of earthly use people that are earthly minded are of no use whatsoever when the storms break. And here was Paul being most effective. I don't think the world has any awareness whatsoever how much it opposed to the presence of Christians in its midst. Here were the soldiers and sailors the mariners the prisoners, all of them. Their lives were spared because of Paul again afterwards. I'm sure when it was all over. Many of the wonder why they never thought about it again, and yet God was gracious to them, because God was determined to preserve his own servant using greatly you think of Sodom and Gomorrah. Think of the pleading of Abraham with God.
On that occasion God was willing to spare. The whole city of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of 10 righteous persons or they could be found there weren't 10 and the judgment fell. I am sure the goddess bearing America all sin and all its waywardness. All this material is always blasphemy all its sheer determination to as much as possible, eliminate any vestige of God from national life.
I'm sure God is spirit in our country because of the remnant of the believers were found here. If you on that remnant. If you're a believer it's your task in the midst of the storms which will, in our nations well is upon ourselves as individuals to bear testimony to that God was able to keep his own in turmoil. No Lord Jesus. Not long before his arrest and crucifixion gave a sermon on the Mount of olives and the medication he spoke of the times of war's and rumors of wars that would be coming said these things will come it's so way of saying life is filled with trouble, and you will experience your share of it, but he said to them, you hear of wars and rumors of war see that you be not troubled, troubled by war with all of its calamity not troubled by the storms of life as difficult as those storms may be not troubled by sickness and disease and persecution loss of jobs and everything else that we can imagine. Yes, see that you be not troubled.
Why, because God is a God of circumstances, he is able, and indeed he does keep his people in the midst of them, and it's their great task and responsibility to bear witness to that. Your task to bear witness that while God permits you to remain in this world. Let us pray father we ask for your blessing upon us as the result of what we've studied many of us read this.
There are no storms in our lives.
At the moment.
And so we read and think about it somewhat academically.
We think yes yes that's true but the others are going through these things and others who have gone through them. All of us one day will we pray the assets as we think of these things you will take the man so ingrained in our lives will be able to live as the saints do live when the storms of life break and sober glory to God whose we are and whom we serve that others might find him as Savior.
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