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ACTS 27:29-31 - STAY ON BOARD - STAY ANCHORED IN THE LORD

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Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

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Introduction
Have you ever been through a storm in your life? I’m sure the first thing most of you thought about was a hurricane or a tornado. When you hear the word storm some think about Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it caused in the New Orleans area. You think about seeing all of the people trapped on the Highrise, trapped on their rooftops. You think about seeing the people helpless and you felt helpless because there was nothing you could do to help them. Not only did you feel helpless, you wondered if your family members, your love ones who live in that area were safe.
So, when I ask the question, “have you ever been through a storm I’m talking about the storms of life, and there are not many who can truthfully say they have never faced a stormy life experience. Sometimes we create the storms ourselves, and at other times, storms just happen. Storms can't be predicted although we know that they are coming, and often time without notice. Some storms of life are like a hurricane and they give us time to take shelter. Some storms of life are like a tornado and they give no warning or time to take shelter and prepare.
There are financial storms, seasons when your money is funny or non-existent. You know what I’m talking about, when your monthly bills are more that your monthly income. There are health storms, when you are facing a major medical challenge. Your diabetes is out of control and it is affecting your eyesight, and your kidneys start to fail. Your health storm might be heart problems, cancer, high blood pressure, back pain or a liver condition. Your health storm might be as simple as “Arthur” visiting you on a daily basis.
There are family and marital storms, in which the safety and security of your family is in question. Your child is strung out on drugs, your husband is unfaithful. Your wife has a girlfriend giving her advice on marriage and she has never been married before. And these storms seem to last forever.
There are career storms, during which our jobs and careers are in jeopardy. There is a reduction in force and you have devoted your entire career to the company and they let you go and keep someone who has only been there for a year and don’t even know how to put paper in the copier.
There are also spiritual storms; times when our faith is tested as problems swirl all around us. My brothers and sisters we have all experienced one type of storm or another.
Each day we wakeup we have no way of knowing whether a storm will break out before the day ends. But is there anybody in the house this morning who approaches each day confident that no matter what happens in the course of a day, God will work it out because he has promised that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Is there anybody in the house this morning who had a momma or grandmother that would get Halleluiah Happy when the old church would sing: “Beams of heaven as I go, through the wilderness below, guide my feat in peaceful ways, turn my midnights into days…” There would be benches turned over, running and shouting when the choir would take it up a notch and sing: “I do not know, how long it will be, nor what the future holds for me, but this I know, if Jesus leads me, I shall get home someday.” My brothers and sisters no matter how much the storms of life rages, stay on board! And stay Anchored in the Lord!
(Pause)
Since we know that storms constantly rise in our lives, we need to be prepared for them both physically and spiritually. It is important for us to be ready, anchored and ride out any storm that occurs in our marriage, family or life.
One way to do that is preparation in advance. We should take actions before the storms to prepare for them. It is always interesting to watch us who lives here in Louisiana, who are frequented by storms run to the stores to stock up on supplies when they hear the first storm warning. Storms come frequently here, so why not keep the cabinets stocked, have the plyboard for the windows, gasoline for the generations and supplies of bottled water? That's preparation.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, I had an aunt that lived in Gretna. My aunt was disable and needed assistance in order to evacuate, but my aunt never contacted anybody with the city to help her. She didn’t contact family for assistance and those that wanted to help her she told them “no.” But when the storm approached, when the wind started to blow and the rain started to fall; when the darkness of the night took over, she was afraid. My aunt called Donaldsonville to my mother and said she needed help, she needed someone to come get her, because she was afraid.
With all of the family in New Orleans, she called my mother in Donaldsonville. My mother’s fear of losing her sister made her call me and asked if there was anything I could do as the mayor to get help for my aunt. I told my mother I wasn’t the mayor of Gretna but my mother insisted on me doing something. I made phone calls after phone calls and finally the Gretna authorities sent emergency personal to get her. But when they got to my aunt’s house, she refused to leave because they weren’t going to bring her to Donaldsonville.
My brothers and sisters, don’t wait until you are in the mist of the storm to call for help. Don’t wait until you are in the mist of the storm to call on God. You better know Him and have a relationship with Him before your storm. And one thing I know if He is with you before your storm, He will be with you in the mist of your storm.
My brothers and sisters, the storms of your life can weaken your strength, try your patience and try your faith. But here’s what you have to do, you have to speak to your storm, in the name of Jesus, and watch the hand of God as it pushes back the clouds of doubt and fear in your mind. In the face of your storm, when all hope is gone, trust in the Promises of God. Even while the storm rages, He will show you a brighter path.
When you talk to the storm in your life, you are actually defying the devil. What do you mean Preacher? You are serving notice that you are prepared for the long haul and that while he rages, you intend to keep your eyes on the Son, the S-O-N.
As Christians, we are aware that storms come and go, but we have to be determined to “Stay On board and remain Anchored in the Lord.”
Exposition
The text before us focuses on Paul assurances to the frightened sailors that despite the storm, they would not be lost, they will survive. The Apostle Paul had been persecuted many times for preaching about Jesus and the kingdom of God. He appeared before several courts and after a hearing before Festus, he was ordered to appear before Caesar in Rome. Enroute to Rome, a great storm broke out on the sea. At first it was a gentle south wind and the ship edged along the coast headed west to Phoenix. After a while a strong northeastern wind, a hurricane called “(U-Rockly-Don) Euroclydon” appeared. The wind pushed the ship off her course and the ship was powerless and could only go where the storm pushed it.
There was a small boat, a life boat that they pulled behind the ship, and in order to protect it they pull it up on the deck of the ship.
(Pause)
Some years ago, Mt. Zion booked a 7-day cruise and I went on that cruse. Now, a few weeks ago, when I preached, I told y’all that I was afraid of flying. Well, I was a little bit worried about going on a cruise ship for 7 days and I had never been on a ship before. Once we got on the ship, we all had to go on deck to receive instructions, and there were small life boats all along the ship. We were informed that if something happened to the ship there would be an alarm and if you were staying in a certain section of the ship, grab your life vest and you had to go to a certain life boat, get in it and help to lower it down into the water. The whole time the instructor was talking I was saying to myself “if the alarm goes off, I’m getting in the first life boat I put my hands on and nobody will tell me I can’t get in.
(Pause)
After the sailors pulled the life boat onto the ship, the hull of the ship began to give way so those on board passed ropes under the hull and tightened them to strengthen the ship. When you are in the mist of your storm and the hull of the ship begin to give way, just Stay On board! Stay On board and ride out the storm! Stay On board and trust God to bring you through! JUST STAY ON BOARD!
(Pause)
In 1965, Hurricane Bessie hit Donaldsonville. We lived in a raggedy shotgun house on St. Patrick Street. In preparation for Hurricane Bessie my daddy took some 6X6 post and nailed them from one wall in each room to the other wall of the room inside the house to help strengthen the walls. When Hurricane Bessie hit, the winds were so strong that the walls were pushing in and out like an accordion and the only thing holding the house together was the 6X6 posts. I remember my daddy being so afraid that he said, “Lord we will all perish. The storm was so bad he said, “Lord if you save us this time, we will never stay in this house again during a storm.” I’m standing here today; so, I am a witness that the Lord heard and answered my daddy’s prayer, we just had to stay on board!
(Pause)
The sailors on board fought fearlessly against the storm until it became obvious to them that they were fighting a losing battle. The storm threatened to capsize the ship, then they discovered that the storm was pushing them toward rocky ground that would result in a crash. To save the ship and their lives, they cast four anchors into the sea to steady the ship, and to stop it from drifting. The anchors would prove ineffective against the storm, and the ship would ultimately be lost.
(Pause)
On the second day of being at sea and the storm still ragging, the sailors cast all of the heavy things over-board in order that the ship might ride the waves better. And I just came this morning church to tell you that you have to get rid of some heavy stuff in order to lighten your load to make it through the storm. You have to throw the heavy stuff overboard.
(Pause)
The storm was so rough and lasted so long, those on board couldn’t see the sun or the stars, so they couldn’t tell where they were or what direction they were headed. You see, there weren’t any compasses in those days. But is there anybody in the house this morning that knows when we go through our storms, we may not be able to see the S-U-N, but the S-O-N is always shinning and He is our compass that leads us straight to safety. He keeps us on course. Not only will He keep you on course, but as Pastor Smith preached last Sunday, He will walk on water to get in the boat with you and calm the storm. So, STAY ON BOARD!
(Pause)
With the passing of each day, all the sailors became more frightened and were worried about dying at sea; everyone was worried except Paul. Paul told them that the ship and the cargo would be lost, but no one would lose their life. Paul told them to “fear not” and I stand before you this morning to tell you in the mist of your troubles, in the mist of your storms, “FEAR NOT!” When you are tossed by your storm, surrounded by angry waves, “FEAR NOT!” When you lose your sense of direction, FEAR NOT AND STAY ON BOARD! Your morale may be at its lowest, but STAY ON BOARD! Your ship may be lost but you STAY ON BOARD! When it feels like your ship is about to break into pieces, “FEAR NOT AND STAY ON BAORD!” When Satan is telling you to jump ship, FEAR NOT and STAY ON BOARD. The winds are blowing, stay on board. The waves are coming over into the boat, stay on board. If everyone has abandoned ship, you stay on board! Why? Because God has not forgotten about you!
(Pause)
Paul was so confident that he told the sailors who had begun to abandon ship that unless they stayed with the ship, they would perish. My brothers and sisters, Paul presence on the ship was responsible for the preservation of all 276 people on board the ship. Jesus presence on your ship will save everyone on board, so stay on board.
My brothers and sisters, Paul was anchored in the Lord in the midst of that storm, even though the ship wasn't! The sailors threw four anchors into the sea in an attempt to steady the ship, but it did not help because the ship continued to drifted anyway. However, it appeared that Paul had four anchors as well; and they steadied him during the storm. Even though the ship was shaken and shifted, Paul was able to stand steady and strong.
Four Anchors
When we face the storms of our own lives, it is much easier if we have Paul’s four anchors.
THE FIRST ANCHOR IS: THE PRESENCE OF GOD:
When any storm rages, we can be steadfast if we are anchored by the presence of God. Even in the midst of that raging storm, Paul found that he was not alone and we should have the same confidence. In verse 23 Paul said, “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve.” My brothers and sisters, if we have a relationship with God, we are confident in our storms that God will always be with us. When Israel was being pursued by Pharaoh, it was the presence of God in the form a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night that led them toward the Promised Land. When they fought against the enemies on the other side of Jordan, Moses stood on a mountain and raised his hands to symbolize the presence of God. Samson was strong against the Philistines as long as the presence of God was with him, but once God left, he became weak. David said, in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” Jesus told his disciples, “Lo, I’ll be with you always,” which means He will never leave us alone. As Believers we should be reminded that we never face a storm in life on our own! Every step, every valley, every mountain will be graced by the presence of God! Even when we cannot see Him, He is still there: watching, leading, protecting, and being God.
THE SECOND ANCHOR IS: THE PROMISES OF GOD:
Paul was confident in the mist of the storm because he remembered the promise of God. In Act 27:23 he said the angel stood with him and told him not to be afraid, but in verse 24 the angel promised him that he would make it to Rome and so would all of those on board the ship. He stood on the promise of God, and that was enough. My brothers and sisters, whenever God promises something, we can be assured that He will do exactly what He says. What has God promised? In Psalm 30:5, He promised us brighter days in storms of agony and pain saying, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”. In Psalm 34:19, He promised to deliver us from affliction saying, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” In Romans 28:28, He promised us that no matter what storms we encounter He will work it to our good. There He said, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
There are 7,487 promises that God has made to man recorded in the Bible. There is a promise in every book of the Bible except the book of Titus. If there is no promise, don’t expect it, but seek it, out of mercy. My brothers and sisters, we can be anchored in the storm of life if we remember His promises.
THE THIRD ANCHOR IS: GOD ALWAYS HAS A PLAN:
Paul was confident in the storm because he was confident that regardless of the storm God always has a plan for us. The idea is that any storm that threatens us is a part of the big picture that God is doing and any difficulties that we might encounter, He will fix it so that it works to our advantage. God is Sovereign! He is in absolute control of everything that happens in life! As long as we know that God is on the throne, we are comfortable knowing that whatever happens to us in life, is for the best, although sometimes we have no idea how. But He will work it out!
(Pause)
There is a story told of a traveling evangelist who could not find a place to have his revival meeting. Finally, he announced that he would have his meeting in a pasture under a large Oak tree. There was no place to sit except a stump which was quickly ceased by an elderly man. However, as the preacher prayed, he looked up, and then looked down at the old man and told him he had to move. The old man refused because he had a comfortable seat up front on a stump. But when he refused the preacher asked several of the young men to move him; and they did, despite his violent protest. He created a storm of confusion. But shortly after he was removed, a large dead branch from the tree fell on the very spot where the man sat. Had it not been for his removal he would have died. My brothers and sisters we can’t always see God’s plan, but we should be assured that He has one working for us. From every storm in our life, we learn a lesson, we become stronger, and more confident for the next storm that rages.
THE FOURTH ANCHOR IS: KNOWLEDGE OF GOD’S PAST PERFORMANCE:
The ship itself was lost, broken up on the rocks, but true to His word all 276 people on board the ship was saved and eventually made it to their destination. In our personal history, we have seen God perform miraculously in our lives. That anchors us. The ship itself was wrecked, but we are still here! We are anchored by our knowledge that God is able to work it out! He will get us through our storm and land us safely on the other side. It may look this morning like the storm is too great. It may look like the storms of life are going to prevail. However, when the waves have all settled down, when the winds have ceased their blowing, when the rains have stopped, when the storm clouds have moved out, you will see that God was in control all along! No storm in this life will be able to blow us off the course God has determined for our lives! He will secure us during the storm, and He will successfully deliver us to the safe shore of His glory!
Heavy Anchors
Finally, my brothers and sisters, we need to always remember that all ancient vessels carried multiple anchors, and this ship had more than four, so when you go through your storm sometimes you will need more than the four anchors Paul had. We need to always remember that the bigger our storm, the heavier our anchor needs to be! Ships always come with an anchor in proportion to their size. An ocean liner wouldn't have an anchor designed for a bass boat. A battleship can find little use for the anchor of a tugboat. Big ships need big and heavy anchors. When we are going through the storms of our lives, we need to be sure that we have an anchor big enough for the storm. Unfortunately, too many believers depend upon small anchors for big situations. A small anchor is one that appears handy at the time. A small anchor is easy to handle, A small anchor is not very heavy, A small anchor may hold well on a quiet day on the sea, but a small anchor is no good in a big storm. Some have an anchor, but it’s a small anchor. Church attendance is an anchor, but it is a small anchor if you still don’t know the Lord! Doing good deeds and helping others is an anchor, but it’s a small anchor if you still don’t know the Lord! Having your bible on your cell phone is an anchor, but it’s a small anchor if you don’t have the word of God in your heart! When you are going through a storm, sometimes your neighbors try to give you’re their anchor. They say, “When I go through a storm, I throw salt over my shoulder. I kiss a horseshoe and put it over my door. I find a four-leaf clover and fold it up in my Bible.” That’s when you need to tell them, “I’m sorry, but your anchor won’t fit my boat.” Your anchor won't fit my boat because my anchor must be able to: --be changeless and eternal
My anchor must be able to: --withstand the winds and the waves
My anchor must be able to: --wipe tears from my eyes
My anchor must be able to: --pick me up and turn me around and place my feet on solid ground
My anchor must be able to: --lift up a bowed down head As I go to my seat, in times like these, we need a savior, in times like these you need an anchor, but be sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the solid rock. This rock is Jesus, my rock in a weary land and my shelter in the time of a storm!
This rock is Jesus, my Lilly in the valley, my bright and morning star! This rock is Jesus, my bridge over troubled waters!
This rock is Jesus, my wheel in the middle of the wheel! This rock is Jesus, who died out on Calvary’s Hill! This rock is Jesus, who rose Early One Sunday morning This rock is Jesus, yes, He is the one, this rock is Jesus the only one, be sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the solid rock.
Church: If I was a singing preacher, I would sing this song, so as we extend the invitation to discipleship, I will read the words.
Though the storms keep on raging in my life And sometimes it's hard to tell the night from day Still that hope that lies within is reassured As I keep my eyes upon the distant shore I know He'll lead me safely to That blessed place He has prepared
But if the storms don't cease And if the winds keep on blowing in my life My soul has been anchored in the Lord
I realize that sometimes in this life We're gonna be tossed by the waves And the currents that seem so fierce But in the word of God I've got an anchor And it keeps me steadfast and unmovable Despite the tide
But if, the storms don't cease And just in case the wind keeps on Blowing in my life My soul has been anchored In the Lord!
My brothers and sisters, this storm lasted 14 nights. Your storm may last for quite some time but STAY ON BOARD – STAY ANCHORED IN THE LORD
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