Our life is a journey through time unto eternity. Many poets and writers have often used that theme. We all have a beginning and an end which are separated by the experiences of life along the way. Although all of us have similar beginnings, our final destination is determined by what choices we make along the way. The choices we make also play a major role in how we react to the storms that come our way.
This morning we will look at a passage of Scripture which focuses upon two men who are very different: the apostle Paul, and one Julius, a Roman centurion. Paul had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel. Because he was a citizen of Rome, it was his privilege to receive a hearing before Caesar. So they set sail!
I. The Beginning. v1-8
A. Primary characters:
1. Julius - officer in charge.
2. Aristarchus - Paul's travelling companion.
3. Luke - Paul's secretary.
4. Paul - an apostle
B. Secondary characters:
1. Certain other prisoners.
2. One hundred soldiers of Agustus' band.
3. The captain and crew of the ship.
C. Arrival at Fair Haven.
1. The name describes it quite well.
2. It was a shelter from the heavy winds.
3. It was a good place to be when the sea was rough, but it was not their destination.
4. NOTE: There are times of "fair havens" in life's journey.
a. times of success, prosper- ity, peace, and enjoyment.
b. But...life goes on.
5. We enjoy the mountain tops, but they wouldn't be possible without the valleys.
II. The Warning.
A. Revelation. v9-10
1. God uses men to deliver His messages.
2. Note: 1 Co. 1:21, "...it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
3. Paul warned them of the dangers to come upon this journey.
4. God's Word is filled with warnings concerning the troubles of a life without Christ
B. Rejection. v11-12
1. They listened, but they would not hear and receive the message.
2. They chose to believe and trust in the voice of experience.
3. They rejected Paul's warning for some of the same reasons that men reject the message of Christ today.
4. They listen to so-called authorities, and choose man's wisdom rather than the wisdom of God.
5. They didn't want to stay in Fair Haven because other ports had more to offer.
C. Deception. v13
1. The south wind blew softly and they supposed that they had obtained their purpose.
2. They thought that this was just what they had been waiting for...that this south wind would take them where they wanted to go.
3. The world is full of "south winds" promising much, but delivering little.
4. The world promises excitement, satisfaction, and success; but it delivers tragedy, emptiness, and poverty.
III. The Storm.
A. The severity of the storm. v14-16
1. "...not long after..."
a. the south wind blew softly just long enough to get them to leave Fair Havens.
b. the world's attractions shine just long enough to make them seem real. illus: rings & jewelry from the county fair
2. They literally ran into a hurricane and they were "caught"!
3. They were unprepared to weather such a storm.
4. Note: 1 Thess. 5:2-3, "...the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
B. The vain effort. v17-19
1. They tried to save themselves.
a. they strengthened the ship.
b. they struck the sail.
c. they threw off the cargo.
d. finally they threw off the tackling (ropes and pulleys).
e. but it was to no avail!
2. Man tries to save himself through...
a. good works: "...by grace are ye saved through faith...not of works..." cf. Ep. 2:8-9
b. reformation: "...except ye repent ye shall likewise perish." cf. Lk. 13:3
c. religion: "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." cf Jn. 3:7
C. The hoplessness. v20
1. All was dark and the storm continued.
2. All hope was gone.
3. Note: Eph. 2:12, "That at that time ye were without Christ...having no hope, and without God in the world."
4. Note: Ro. 5:6, "For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
IV. The Promise. v21-26
A. The source of the promise: God.
1. "Whose I am" = Christ is our Redeemer.
2. "Whom I serve" = Christ is our Lord.
3. "Fear not" = Christ is our Comforter.
4. "It was told unto me" = Christ is our Counsellor.
B. The content of the promise:
1. It was a message of hope, cheer, comfort, and salvation.
2. Much like the message of the gospel:
a. "For God so loved the world" = message of cheer.
b. "That He gave His only begotten Son" = comfort
c. "That whoseover believeth in Him" = hope
d. "Should not perish but have everlasting life" = salvation
C. The Certainty of the message.
1. Paul said, "I believe God".
2. Not "I believe in God or about God or I think this or that".
3. He said, "It shall be even as it was told me."
V. The Shipwreck.
A. Another warning. v27-32
1. In order to be saved they had to abide in the ship.
2. Although their own efforts had failed them...
3. They still stubbornly wanted to trust in themselves rather than in God.
B. More encouragement. v33-38
1. We need to be reminded of God's promises.
2. There is no greater encouragement than the Word of God!
C. Salvation as promised! v39-44
1. It was exactly as God had said it would be.
2. They ran aground upon an island and the ship broke apart
3. However, all 276 men on board were saved!
Conclusion: In this world of uncertainties, one thing we can count on is God's promises found in His Word. This morning, what are you trusting in? Are you trusting in your own strength to get you through life? or are you leaning upon the Lord?
Are you struggling through a storm today? I encourage you to put your trust in the Lord, He will not fail! If you have never accepted Christ's payment on Calvary for your sins, why not trust Him today? Whatever your need, come now.