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Moving Forward for the Lord

The Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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How can we move forward for the Lord? 1. Be faithful to fulfill our responsibility (vs. 1-2). 2. Take advantage of every opportunity (vs. 1-3). 3. Fully trust in God's sovereignty (vs. 3-8).

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Moving Forward for the Lord

The Book of Acts - Part 88

Acts 27:1-8

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - June 28, 2015


*When I started looking at tonight's Scripture, I thought back to the theme verse for our "Fun Run" VBS. It was 2 Timothy 4:7, where Paul said: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

*Ever since Paul had gotten saved back in Acts 9, he had been running the race for the Lord Jesus Christ, but in the last few chapters, Paul was sort of running in place.

*Yes, he was still running for the Lord, but for two years Paul had been a prisoner of Rome. Paul was a prisoner, even though he had done absolutely nothing wrong. And Paul was forced to appeal to Caesar, because it was the only way to avoid being sent back to almost certain death in Jerusalem.


*Now in Acts 27 the appeals process got underway. Paul was on the move again. And this Scripture shows us how to move forward for the Lord.


*God wants us to be faithful to fulfill whatever responsibilities He assigns to us. Paul's companions on this journey are a great example for us today. Remember that Paul was not alone when the ship pulled out for Rome.

*Verses 1-2 tell us that Paul was accompanied by some very good friends, and we can identify two of them by name: Doctor Luke who wrote these words in the Book of Acts, and Aristarchus who had come with Paul to deliver the love offering to the Jerusalem church.

*Listen to Luke's words again in vs. 1-2:

1. And when it was decided that WE should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.

2. So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.

*Using the words "we" and "us" in these verses, this is the first time Luke has referred to himself since Paul and the mission team got to Jerusalem back in Acts 21. Now, over two years have gone by. What has Luke been doing all of that time?

*John Phillips explained that "we can be sure that during Paul's two-year detention at Caesarea his 'beloved physician' Luke was not far away. But Luke modestly kept himself from view." I am sure that Luke was following the leadership of the Holy Spirit when he left himself out of the story for so long. And I am sure of that, because all of these words were inspired by God. (1)

*But both Luke and Aristarchus give us good examples of how we should meet our responsibilities as Christians and friends: We should stand by each other, both in the good times and in the bad.

*We may not always be visible, but we should always be available to help however we can. And we must be willing to walk down the hard road with the people God has put in our care. We must be willing to sacrifice our own comfort and self-interest for other people. May God help us to do it!

*John Phillips wrote that some scholars think Paul's two friends might have gone onboard the ship as Paul's slaves. That would have greatly enhanced Paul's image in the eyes of the centurion. (1)

*There is no way to know for sure if that theory is true, but we do know of other Christians who made that kind of sacrifice. In the 1700s, two young Moravian missionaries made a sacrifice like that. Leonard Dober was a potter, and David Nitschman was a carpenter. They were both in their early twenties, when they heard about an island in the West Indies where an atheist slave owner had over 2,000 slaves.

*The slave owner had declared that no preacher would be allowed to stay on the island or come and talk about God. So Leonard and David developed a plan to take the gospel to that island: They would sell themselves as slaves to that atheist!

*On October 8, 1732, the other Moravians came to the pier in Hamburg to say goodbye to those two men. It was a permanent goodbye, because Leonard and David had sold themselves into a lifetime slavery to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

*Families were on shore weeping, because they knew they would never see them again in this world. And as the ship sailed away, the people on shore heard the young men shout: "May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering." (2)

*That was an amazing, mind-boggling commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank God, we don't have to sell ourselves into slavery for the cause of Christ. But God wants us to be humble, faithful servants doing whatever we can for Him. And we can move forward for the Lord, if we are faithful to our responsibility.


*We have to take advantage of every new opportunity that comes from the Lord. And in vs. 1-3, we see new some opportunities open up for Paul:

1. And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment.

2. So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us.

3. And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.

*Paul was still a prisoner, but God was opening new doors for him. Paul could make new friends with the Roman soldiers. Julius was an especially good prospect for ministry and witness, not to mention the other prisoners.

*On top of that, vs. 3 tells us that "Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care." Paul received their care, but we can be sure he also ministered to the believers in Sidon. Paul's chains couldn't keep him from telling people about Jesus. Paul's chains could not keep him from leading people to the Lord! And Paul's chains couldn't keep him from serving the Lord!

*As we move through life, don't think for a moment that you can't serve God. We can pray. We can call people. We can send cards. We can tell people what Jesus means to us. We can invite people to church. We can make a difference! God wants us to always be on the lookout for new opportunities to serve Him.

*Robert Dumas was an inspirational example to me. I got to know Robert, because his son was one of our long-time church members at McClendon Baptist Church in West Monroe. Robert passed away after a long battle with cancer. But he was a man with strong faith, and he never quit trying to tell people about Jesus.

*Rick Warren's book "Purpose Driven Life" was a big thing at the time, and they bought two cases of the books at Sam's, because Robert loved to give them away when he was in the hospital.

*One time, Robert's daughter Pam told me about the last night her dad was in the hospital. It was 2 o'clock in the morning, just four days before he died. But her dad spoke to his nurse about the Lord, and Robert gave him one of those books. Pam said that the nurse was profoundly grateful. He told Pam's dad that no one had ever done anything like that before.

*People like that nurse are everywhere, and nobody has talked to them yet. But we can, because we know Jesus Christ. God will give us all kinds of opportunities to share and to serve. And we can move forward for the Lord, if we take advantage of that opportunity.


*We have to fully trust in God's sovereignty. Our God reigns! Our God is good all the time. And we can trust Him all the time! We can trust God when the blessings are pouring down. But we can also trust Him when the flood is rising.

*In vs. 3-8, we see both good and bad things entering Paul's life. The good is in vs. 3 when they landed at Sidon. "Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care."

*But then in vs. 4-8, the wind began to turn against the ship. Luke said:

4. When we had put to sea from there, we sailed under the shelter of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.

5. And when we had sailed over the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.

6. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing to Italy, and he put us on board.

7. And when we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed, we sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone.

8. Passing it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.

*The distance between Myra and Cnidus was about 130 miles, and with a favorable wind, it could have been covered in one day. But here the ship struggled to for "many days," because the wind was working against them. (1)

*We quickly remember how small we are when the weather starts working against us. After Mary and I ate supper in Dallas Friday night, we were heading back to the hotel, and we got caught in the middle of a huge thunderstorm.

*That storm had 60-mile an hour straight-line winds. Vision was crystal clear -- until the end of the hood. And the 15-mile drive on that 6-lane highway was pretty stressful.

*The wind was working against the ship in this Scripture. And we know that things were going to get a whole lot worse before they got better. But who's in charge of the wind? -- God, of course.

*After the flood, Genesis 8:1-2 tells us that:

1. Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.

2. The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.

*In Exodus 10:12-14, when the Lord was sending plagues to in Egypt.

12. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land all that the hail has left.''

13. So Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.

14. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them.

*In Exodus 14:21-22, when the Children of Israel were fleeing slavery in Egypt:

21. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.

22. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

*And Psalm 147 tells us:

15. He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.

16. He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes;

17. He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold?

18. He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

*Our God is sovereign! Sometimes He makes the wind blow our way. Everything seems easy and just fine. But sometimes the wind blows in our face and we can hardly take a step. Either way: Our God is good all the time. And we can trust Him all the time!

*Jill Carattini once wrote: "Whether we are experiencing trials of every kind or walking rhythmically through our routine, the One who calls us is faithful. And the ground is holy because God is with us." (3)

*F. W. Boreham told of visiting a pastor's widow in a humble old cottage in England. Pulling up the blinds by her bedside, he noticed that the glass on her window was carefully etched with 4 words: "This is the day."

*When he asked about the window, the woman said that she had seen many troubled days in her life. And she often found herself in fear of what was going to happen tomorrow. But one day she read the words of Psalm 118:24, "This is the day which the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." And as the widow read those words, she was startled by a sudden awareness of God's presence.

*It occurred to her that the Lord was speaking very specifically to her, and so she scratched the words into the glass of her window, so that every time she drew her blinds in the morning, she was reminded that this is the day which the LORD has made. And she knew she could trust the One who made it. (3)

*We can trust Him when the wind blows with us, and when it blows against us, as sometimes it will. We will not always understand what the Lord is trying to do in our lives. Paul put it this way in Romans 11:33-36:

33. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

34. "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?''

35. Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?''

36. For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

*We may not understand what the Lord is doing in our lives, but He always does the right thing! God is good all the time!

*Corrie ten Boom went through the unspeakable horrors of a Nazi death camp during World War II. Corrie's sister Betsie died in that camp. But Corrie was miraculously freed just a few days before she was scheduled to die.

*After the war, Corrie said, "Often I have heard people say, 'How good God is! We prayed that it would not rain for our church picnic, and look at the lovely weather!' Yes, God is good when He sends good weather. But God was also good when He allowed my sister, Betsie, to starve to death before my eyes in a German concentration camp.

*I remember one occasion when I was very discouraged there. Everything around us was dark, and there was darkness in my heart. I remember telling Betsie that I thought God had forgotten us.

*'No, Corrie,' said Betsie, 'He has not forgotten us. Remember His Word: "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him."'"

*Corrie concluded, "There is an ocean of God's love available; there is plenty for everyone. May God grant you never to doubt that victorious love, -- whatever the circumstances." (4)

*God is good all the time, and we can trust Him all the time. We know this best of all because of what He did on the cross for us. Jesus Christ died for our sins! And He rose from the dead to give everlasting life to all who trust in Him.


*We are living in uncertain times, but God's love is sure. His word is sure. And His salvation is sure to everyone who trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ. So we can keep moving forward for the Lord, if we will be faithful to our responsibility, if we take advantage of our opportunity, and if we trust in God's sovereignty.

*Let's ask the Lord to help us as we go back to God in prayer.

(1) EXPLORING ACTS by John Phillips, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids - "Practicing the Presence of God - Acts 27:1-44

(2) Source: "The Power of the Cross" - 372004 - Colossians 1:15-23 -

(3) Adapted from KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 28982 - SOURCE: A Slice of Infinity: Ravi Zacharias International - Ministries; TITLE: This Is The Day [2 versions] - AUTHOR: Jill Carattini - DATE: 7302004

(4) - Topic: GOD, goodness of - Corrie Ten Boom

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