Look HOW YOUR ACTing  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Scripture: Acts 27:18-26
Denomination: Independent/Bible

Summary: Paul has a few anchors for his soul. He knows the presence of God, the purpose of God and the promise of God.

Last week we read about Paul in Corinth, where he worked for a moment as a tentmaker, with Aquila and Priscilla. [See Map]
• From there he went to Syria and then to Ephesus with the tent-making couple, and subsequently left for Antioch. That concluded his 2nd journey.
End of Acts 18 records the start of his 3rd journey from Antioch. [See Map]
• Look at your Bible - Acts 19 in Ephesus, Acts 20 he travelled to Macedonia and Greece.
• After 3 months in Greece he planned to set sail for Syria (near Antioch) but “because the Jews made a plot against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia.” [20:3]
In Acts 20B he said farewell to the Ephesians elders who met him at Miletus.
• And Acts 21 records his trip back to Jerusalem. That concluded his 3rd and final missionary journey.
• End of Acts 21 tells us his enemies caught up with him.
Acts 21:30-33 “30The whole city was aroused, and the people came running from all directions. Seizing Paul, they dragged him from the temple, and immediately the gates were shut. 31While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done.”
That probably saved his life. Now Paul has landed himself in the Romans’ hands.
• He was brought before the Sanhedrin. His Jewish enemies really hated him.
Acts 23:12 tells us “the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13More than forty men were involved in the plot.”
• Paul’s nephew got to know, reported it to the Roman commander – [Acts 23:20-24]
The next few chapters we see Paul standing trials…
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• First before Governor Felix in Caesarea (Acts 24). He was soon replaced and Paul stood before the new Governor Festus (Acts 25).
• King Herod Agrippa II came to visit and a hearing was arranged (Acts 25C–26).
Finally, they sent Paul to Rome because he appealed to Emperor Caesar. Acts 27 records Paul’s journey to Rome as a prisoner.
• In Rome, Paul was placed under house arrest for two years while waiting trial. He cannot visit the synagogues but kept an “open house” to anyone who is willing to come and hear him speak.
Acts 28:30-31 “30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”
• During these 2 years, Paul wrote the Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
According to history, there was no trial. So after two years, he was released (because 2 years was the maximum time they can hold someone without trial).
• It was likely that Paul went to Macedonia, Achaia, and Asia and even to Spain. [You see, you cannot stop him!]
• It was in these 3-4 years (AD 63-67) of freedom that he wrote letters to Titus (church at Crete) and Timothy (leading the church in Ephesus).
In his 2nd letter to Timothy, Paul was apparently arrested again, chained in a prison and treated as a criminal (cf. 2 Tim 1:16, 2:9).
• It was his last letter, written from Rome while awaiting execution.
2 Tim 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
• Tradition tells us he was beheaded in Rome in AD 67/68.
Why was Paul able to stay above his circumstances and remain strong?
• He has a few anchors. We can see them in his life.
• I want to show you from Acts 27 today, where Paul encountered a great storm, and see the reasons for his strength.
[Read Acts 27:18-26] He was taken as captive onboard a ship on its way to Rome.
It was a violent storm and they have reached a hopeless situation.
Paul said to all the terrified people - “22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, `Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” (Acts 27:22-25)
In this one comment, Paul revealed his strengths, the anchors for his soul.
(1) He knows the Presence of God
When everyone was in despair and the situation hopeless, Paul was calm and confident because he knew God was present.
• An angel of God came and stood beside him in a vision. Storms in life cannot hide us from God.
• We may not see Him, but He sees us. We may think God is very far away, but He is with us and is watching us.
• Actually, we never go through anything by ourselves, because God is always with us.
God re-assures Paul of His presence, despite the dark and violent storm they were in.
• It’s no use believing in a God who exists but who cannot tell or show you anything.
• What is the use of believing in a God who cannot relate to you? Then it really does not matter whether He is around or not, right?
But God shows himself real and present with Paul. He speaks. He speaks to reassure Paul, many times in his life experience in the book of Acts.
• Paul in Corinth - Acts 18:9 “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
Acts 22:17 when sharing his testimony: “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18and saw the Lord speaking. `Quick!' he said to me. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me.'” (22:17-18)
Acts 22:21 “Then the Lord said to me, `Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'”
Acts 23:11, after facing the Sanhedrin, “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."”
And now the Lord assured him again, in the violent storm. He will not die. None of them will perish.
Is that our faith today? Is this the God you trust?
• The real test of our faith is when we face a crisis. It is easier to live like a Christian when things are going great, when all our prayers are answered, when we are in good health, and money is coming in.
• The test comes when problems arise at work, when we are diagnosed with an illness, when we are tempted to despair and give up hope, like the other sailors.
Build up our faith in God today. Our strength is revealed in a crisis, not made in a crisis.
• Our faith in God is build up over the day-to-day time you spend with Him, during good times.
• It is in the daily, mundane, trivial things of life that we learn about Him and grow in our faith in Him.
• You have to believe that God is present in peaceful times, before you can be sure that He is present with you in a crisis. It will take a lot more to believe He is present when everything around you crumbles.
When in a crisis, don’t stop praying, don’t stop going to church, and don’t stop reading the Bible. You need to hear Him more, not less, in a crisis.
• Don’t cut off the communication line. Many who are depressed over setbacks decide to stay away from church, small groups, etc. They are ‘killing’ themselves. In a crisis, you need to HEAR Him.
• Each time Paul faced a life-threatening situation, he heard God. Hear Him!
The 2nd anchor for Paul is found in verse 24.
(2) He knows the Purpose of God
The Lord said to Paul, “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” (Acts 27:24)
God has a plan for Paul. His plan was not for him to end up at the bottom of the ocean.
• His destiny was in God’s hands, so are ours. Nothing can happen to you outside of God’s purpose.
• If He has a plan for your life, then storms are just temporary challenges toward fulfilling God’s purpose.
Everyone onboard would be saved, the Lord assured Paul.
• And we expected God to keep the ship afloat, that’s how you save lives. But He let it sinks!
• He did not keep the ship afloat. Yet everyone was saved. God can sink a ship yet save lives!
• 27:43-44 “…those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety."
• God can save everyone, all 276 of them (cf. 27:37), even with the ship destroyed!
How can Paul be so calm? God said so. No one will perish.
• We don’t have to worry for God. We just need to worry about our lack of faith.
That’s the 3rd anchor that gives Paul confidence.
(3) He knows the Promise of God
Paul: “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”
• He is not trying to make everyone feel good. Paul himself is onboard. He is speaking from experience. Each time God said something, it always comes true.
• God keeps His promise without fail. It will happen as He said.
• You may get wet sometimes, but God can still keep you above the waters. Even when your ship sinks, God can keep you afloat.
In closing, I like to borrow the words from 27:29 – “Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.”
• Drop your anchors – hold on to His presence, His purpose and His promise to you.
• And PRAY for daylight! Pray for LIGHT to come, for it WILL come. It’s a matter of time. You fill find yourself on solid ground, standing on your feet!
If you are going through a storm right now, remember, hear Him out, He is there. He has a purpose for your life. You are going to make it safely to land!
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