Don’t Rock the Boat, Acts 27

Acts 27 is about a terrible storm through which Paul sailed on his journey to Italy.  The storm destroyed the ship but none of the men on board were killed.  “they escaped all safe to land,” [Acts 27:44].  What we’re going through right now with the coronavirus and with the reactions to the spread of the coronavirus is, for many of us, like going through a bad storm.  By studying what Paul did in his storm, we can learn a few things that we should be doing while sailing through this storm so that we don’t rock the boat.  Don’t rock the boat:

By continually making waves – Acts 27:9-12, 21 – Paul had sailed enough to know that if they sailed at this time, the voyage was going to be very dangerous.  Yet, the master of the ship decided to sail anyway.  And “the more part advised to depart thence,” and so they sailed.  Well, Paul was right and he let them know he was right in verse 21.  However, he didn’t just keep reminding them over and over how they got into this bad storm.  

As Bible believers, we know that America has sailed into some stormy waters with so many of the sins that we have legalized and promoted.  But right now is not a good time to continually make waves.  You are in this storm just like the rest of the sinners in this country.  You must do more than stand on your soap box and point your fingers at others saying, “I told you so.”

By failing to pray – Acts 27:21, 33 – Paul didn’t begin to speak to them until after “long abstinence.”  Through most of the storm, the men “continued fasting.”  He didn’t busy himself with their work, Paul did his work.  He prayed and God answered [Acts 27:23].  Our response to all this should be to pray like Paul told us to do in 1 Tim 2:1-3.  

Pray for those in authority to make the right decisions.  The king of Nineveh made the right decision when he heard the preaching of Jonah.  Pharaoh, on the other hand, made one bad decision after another despite the preaching of Moses and the plagues that followed.  He literally destroyed his country [Ex 10:7].  Those in authority must make the right choices.  They have chosen to slow the spread rather than protect the economy.  Was that the right choice?  Their choices were like David’s after he numbered Israel.  There weren’t any good choices.  But they still must decide and they still need wisdom to make the best choices.

Pray for those who are saved to be a shining testimony to those who aren’t.  They must see that God’s people know how to survive a storm.  Pray for those who are lost to get saved.

Pray for the medical personnel and researchers who are dealing with this virus everyday.  Pray that they find a way to help people survive it or not get it.  We are quick to quote the statistics of the small percentage of people who die from this virus.  However, the statistics mean absolutely nothing to those family members who are dealing with a very sick relative at this moment.  They want a cure. And so pray for those who are sick with this disease, as well.

By being a “Chicken Little” – Acts 27:22-26 – Chicken Little threw a small town into a panic by claiming that the sky was falling.  You know that Paul could have begun preaching right here about the perilous times and the end times and the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and so forth.  He didn’t.  He prayed and he comforted the men on board.   He said, “Be of good cheer.”  He said that because he knew that they were going to get through the storm.  Nevertheless, they were going to suffer the loss of the ship and lading.  

And we know that we are going to survive this storm.  This isn’t the end.  You need to be cool headed and help others to be cool headed, as well.  It always amazes me how some people keep a good sense of humor even through the bad times.

By just looking out for yourself – Acts 27:30-36 – some of the men on board the ship were going to try to escape in a lifeboat.  Paul told them they couldn’t or they’d die.  Instead, Paul made sure all the men were fed and prepared for their departure together when the ship broke up. 

We have spoken with all the members and regular visitors to assure them that we are here for them.  We can run errands, supply needs, pray for them, and so forth.  Concern yourself with the others who are going through this storm.  My sister-in-law is cooking for my 93 year old mother everyday and making sure that she has everything she needs.  Be generous folks.

You know that this is an excellent time to tell others about the Lord.  A friend of mine led a 19 year old fellow to the Lord yesterday.  He has been helping this fellow out and God opened a great opportunity for him to witness.  Be on the lookout for ways to witness to others.

By refusing to get right with God – Acts 27:23-24 – don’t you think for a moment that Paul wasn’t sweating this storm.  You have to know that he was thinking about Jonah about this time.  The raging storm that threatened the ship Jonah was on was just for Jonah.  Paul had disobeyed God by going to Jerusalem just like Jonah had disobeyed God by refusing to go to Nineveh.  God helped Paul get over that, but there must have been some confessing going on during his time of prayer.

Do you have anything going on in your life right now for which God could be chastening you?  Why don’t you get thoroughly right with God right now.  You don’t want God to throw you out of the boat just to settle this storm.

Conclusion: quit preaching against America right now, start praying.  Quit crying about this being the end.  If it were, you should be looking for your blessed hope [Titus 2:13].  Start trying to find a way to help others.  And get right with God.  If you are lost get saved.  And if you know someone who is lost ask God for a good opportunity to tell them about Jesus.