Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rescue Requires a Shipwreck!

The date is on or about October 14, 60.  The apostle Paul is on board a 70 ton Alexandrian grain ship with an 80 ton load of Egyptian wheat plus 275 other passengers.  Paul is an imperial prisoner on his way to stand before Emperor Nero for judgment on appeal.  He is being escorted to Rome by Centurion Julius.  It is very late in the sailing year that will end on November 11.  No one sails the Mediterranean from then until March.  They find themselves in a small harbor called Fair Havens on the mid-south coast of Crete.  Fair Havens is unsuitable for a winter stay.  It is the hope of the ship captain and Julius to try to hug the coast and go west to the only harbor on Crete that can host a wintering ship in safety.  That place is Phoenix, a harbor that none of them will see.  Paul informs them all that such a move is sheer folly and will result in the loss of the ship, its cargo and damage to the lives of all on board.  His warning is ignored.  Julius wants Paul in Rome sooner rather than later.  The captain wants his grain commission sooner rather than later as well.  He loathes the idea of paying room and board for 276 people over an entire winter stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Before they can reach Phoenix, a "nor'easter" sweeps them into the open sea.  Such a storm was the terror of the seas.  The sailors called them "Euraquilo," the "east wind."  The helpless ship is driven for two weeks for nearly 1,200 miles from Crete to a small, tiny island called Melita, known today as Malta.  For two weeks they see neither sun, moon or stars.  No one eats a thing for 14 days.  Again Paul addresses all on board reminding them of his previous warning, assuring them all of God's promise to save their lives and to encourage them all to take nourishment for strength for the trauma which is swiftly coming upon them.  Though the soldiers on board want to kill all the prisoners, Julius forbids them wanting to bring Paul safely to the emperor.

The next day, the ship runs aground, breaks up and everyone on board makes it safely to shore by riding the debris of the doomed vessel.  All property is lost but...as God has promised...no one has died!   Paul weathered his storm and lives to tell about it, witness for his Savior by many miracles, preaches the gospel to the Maltese, travels safely on to Rome, testifies to Caesar and "finishes the course and keeps the faith!"

We can learn about our "storms of life" and how to sail through them as did Paul.  However, "rescue requires a shipwreck!"  Luke records these events in Acts 27.

Paul’s Handling of a Life Crisis When “All Hope is Taken Away”

•Vs. 21 – LISTEN to others advice before taking any action

•Vs. 22 – Be of GOOD CHEER despite the crisis

•Vs. 22 – Determine to preserve what is MOST valuable

•Vs. 23 – Know of whom you BELIEVE and WORSHIP

•Vs. 24 – LISTEN to the Word of God!

•Vs. 24 – Do not be AFRAID

•Vs. 24 – Remember that your faithfulness brings SAFETY to others

•Vs. 25 – BELIEVE God!

                               Vs. 26 – RESCUE Requires SHIPWRECK!

•Vs. 27 – Allow yourself to be DRIVEN of God in crisis

•Vs. 28 – Take SOUNDINGS to determine where you are in crisis

•Vs. 29 – Cast your ANCHORS into the “Rock”

•Vs. 31 – Don’t jump OVERBOARD

•Vs. 32 – Cut all the ROPES of your own control and SURRENDER it to Christ!

•Vs. 33 – 34 - Take a communal MEAL with your family and /or friends

•Vs. 35 – Give THANKS to God in PUBLIC for your blessings

•Vs. 38 – LIGHTEN your load

•Vs. 44 – Ride the BOARDS of destruction to the SHORE of safety!

One more thing...  Only those aboard God's ship are rescued.  All others hit the shoals of destruction and are lost forever.  Take passage today by "repenting of your sins and be baptized into the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." [Acts 2.38]

Gather together this Lord's Day with your fellow passengers at the Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210.  For more info go to: http://archdale.org. 

Welcome on board!  Sail on Captain!





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