All Hope Gone, But Saved!
To add a little context here...Paul is on his way to Rome, after nearly two years of imprisonment at Caesarea, on an Egyptian wheat vessel with around 260 people on board.
After arriving at Crete, they left to travel to Phenice on the other side of the island. This trip from Fair Havens to Phenice, under normal conditions, would take between 4 and 6 hours. Sometimes, though, as I’m sure you all know, we face sudden and totally unexpected storms in life.
This passage shows us many things concerning what to do during the storms of life and tonight, I want you to notice just a few of them with me.
Hope Flounders in Man’s Wisdom
Hope Flounders in Man’s Wisdom
10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. 11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.
Paul had perception—he was thinking logically through this as the crew and the centurion was not thinking clearly. They did not take into consideration the ramifications of sailing at this time. Paul had been on the open sea—he had been through shipwrecks and sailed rough seas. Paul had perception about this voyage.
When the centurion and his soldiers heeded the word of those in authority and rejected the word of the man of God, they were in trouble.
So it is with the doomed sinner.
When the centurion heeded the favourable circumstances, “when the south wind blew softly” he was doomed to shipwreck, so it is with the hell bound sinner.
Man’s counsel takes sinners to hell, God’s counsel takes sinners to heaven.
Paul tells them plainly that this voyage will end with disaster. There will not be smooth sailing!
If only they would listen to the man of God!
21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
Preachers must warn men and women that life’s full of trouble and trials and the only safe Haven is in Christ the Lord!
We have a responsibility to speak the truth in love to others. When men and women persist to sail on life’s stormy sea in opposition to the Lord there will be much loss.
Here, we see Paul warns there will be loss of supplies, ship, and sailors.
While we have our eyes on men, while we are following our own wisdom or the wisdom of men, hope will flounder.
The old song says,
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' blood and righteousness I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly lean on Jesus' name
On Christ the solid rock I stand All other ground is sinking sand
When darkness veils his lovely face I rest on His unchanging grace In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil
His oath, his covenant, his blood Supports me in the 'whelming flood When all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay
Paul had hope here, but it wasn’t in man’s wisdom.
John Phillips wrote, “Much of the world’s ills today are because people will not listen to ‘Paul.’ When has Paul been appealed to in Congress or Parliament? When has the United Nations ever convened a session for the express purpose of hearkening unto Paul? Many of our own personal problems and predicaments arise because we do not hearken unto Paul. The philosopher, the psychologist, the learned professor—we will listen to them. But what about listening to Paul? Much of the disarray, division, and deception in church life arises from the same cause. ‘You should have listened to me.’ Well, they would hearken to him now. His hour had come. He and he alone had a word from God in such an hour of need.”
Let’s look on...
Hope Flames On by Prayer
Hope Flames On by Prayer
14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. 16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: 17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. 18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; 19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
The only environment for Gospel hope is prayer and fasting. When all in the ship had lost hope Paul, after long abstinence, received the promise of complete deliverance. He was able to testify:
23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
His flame of hope did not go out.
A messenger from the Lord had visited Paul and told him that the ship and cargo would be lost, but that all the passengers would be spared and cast on an island.
Once again, the Lord gave him a special word of encouragement at the right time. Today, we have the promises in His Word to encourage us.
It was for Paul’s sake that God did this, and it was Paul’s faith that God honored. What a testimony he was to the people on that storm-tossed ship!
It was given, or granted to Paul that all those who sailed with Paul would be kept alive with Paul. This word implies that Paul had prayed for the safety of the sailors—Paul had asked God to rescue them, protect them, deliver them, and God answered his prayer!
John MacArthur wrote, “The others were to benefit from the Lord’s protection of Paul. Unbelievers have no idea how much they owe, in the mercy of God, to the presence of righteous men among them.”
God had a plan for the Christian and God had a plan for the crew. God give Paul all those who sailed with him. That is why Paul, with confidence, could declare that not one of them would perish!
John G. Butler wrote, “While the lying, liberal news media and other liberal organizations, such as the ACLU, scorn Christianity, they will one day discover that but for those Christians they despised, our nation would have been destroyed long ago.”
In the middle of all this, hope flamed on for Paul, why, because he believed God!
May the Lord Jesus enable us to affirm our faith even in the most trying of times! Paul testifies that he believed God and he believes the word of God. Paul believed that it would be just as God had said. Do we believe that it will be just as God has said? Do we take Him at His Word? Do we stand faithfully on the principles and promises of His Word?
Hope Finishes in Victory
Hope Finishes in Victory
44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
Though it was a terrible shipwreck there was no loss of lives! “And so it came to pass, that they all escaped all safe to land.” All 260 or so passengers on board of that Egyptian cargo ship made it safely through a testing storm and a terrible shipwreck! They were all saved alive and reached safely to land!
Hope knows no defeat…it is unconquerable. It gains the victory in God’s way not in man’s way.
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Even the worst storms cannot hide the face of God or hinder the purposes of God.”
• God delivered the Christian and the crew—
• He brought the saint and the soldiers and the sailors to land—
• He delivered the preacher and the prisoners!
We can and should trust the Lord Jesus to see us in and through every storm of life—He will never leave us nor forsake us! Hallelujah!
Vance Havner said, “Our Lord’s life was full of storm and tempest, yet in the darkest days of all, He bequeathed to us His legacy of peace. His rest is no imaginary escape from reality … (but) that blessed consciousness that in the midst of trouble our real lives are beyond the reach of circumstance, hid with Christ in God.”
Hope finishes in victory!
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: My God; in him will I trust.
Do you have hope tonight?
Do you trust the Lord through the storms of life?
Have you cried out to Jesus for help?
Do you call on to Jesus in hope?
Has the Lord sustained you in storms?
Has the Lord brought you through storms?
Rejoice in the fact that God leads His dear children along!