Forest Park Church
December 5, 2021


December 5, 2021

In chapter 27 Luke tells us, with great detail, about an incredible storm and the ensuing shipwreck that took place on Paul’s journey to Rome. As we read through this story we’re going to learn from the men on the ship how NOT to respond to the storms of life and we’re going to learn from Paul how we should respond. We will find these lessons scattered throughout as we read through the chapter together.


1. Who are you ?

Bad decision number 1 was listening to expert worldly advice rather than godly advice.

Julius wasn’t a sailor; he was a centurion, a soldier.

  • When the trip was delayed by the weather and they didn’t make it to a desirable location to settle for the winter,

  • Julius wanted expert advice. He wanted to hear what the pilot of the ship and the owner of the ship had to say.

  • He didn’t want to listen to Paul, even if he was a religious leader and an intelligent man.

  • Julius wasn’t concerned with prayer or seeking God’s guidance, he wanted experience, know-how, facts and figures.

Bad decision number 2 takes place in connection with this first bad decision.

2. What Are you ?

We see bad decision number 2 in verse 12. It says, “Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on…” Bad decision number 2 is taking a vote.

Don’t follow your heart, follow truth.

Acts 27:13
When a good wind began to blow from the south, the men on the ship thought, “This is the wind we wanted, and now we have it.” So they pulled up the anchor, and we sailed very close to the island of Crete.

3. Who are you ?

Acts 27:14-20

14 But then a very strong wind named the “northeaster” came from the island. 15 The ship was caught in it and could not sail against it. So we stopped trying and let the wind carry us. 16 When we went below a small island named Cauda, we were barely able to bring in the lifeboat. 17 After the men took the lifeboat in, they tied ropes around the ship to hold it together. The men were afraid that the ship would hit the sandbanks of Syrtis,[a] so they lowered the sail and let the wind carry the ship. 18 The next day the storm was blowing us so hard that the men threw out some of the cargo. 19 A day later with their own hands they threw out the ship’s equipment. 20 When we could not see the sun or the stars for many days, and the storm was very bad, we lost all hope of being saved.

This brings us to bad decision number 3 – they tried to take matters into their own hands. As they were being driven along by the sea, the men did all they could to try and save themselves.

We all certainly can identify with these men.

  • Maybe you thought things were going well but out of nowhere you were let go from your job.

  • Or perhaps you were just cruising along in life thinking things were going great when you found out you had a serious health issue.

  • When the storms of life hit us unsuspectingly we typically just scramble and try to fix things ourselves don’t we?

Did you notice that we’re halfway through the chapter and Paul has only said one sentence? Everybody else was scheming and planning and talking and voting and Paul was in the background seemingly waiting on the Lord and waiting for guidance.

Verses 21-26 tell us how Paul responded to the storms.
Acts 27:21-26
After the men had gone without food for a long time, Paul stood up before them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me. You should not have sailed from Crete. Then you would not have all this trouble and loss. 22 But now I tell you to cheer up because none of you will die. Only the ship will be lost. 23 Last night an angel came to me from the God I belong to and worship. 24 The angel said, ‘Paul, do not be afraid. You must stand before Caesar. And God has promised you that he will save the lives of everyone sailing with you.’ 25 So men, have courage. I trust in God that everything will happen as his angel told me. 26 But we will crash on an island.”

    4. What are you ?

    Fear Rather then Faith

    Here we find the fourth and final bad decision. Bad decision number 4 was that some of the sailors, continuing to focus on the circumstances rather than faith, tried to just run from the situation.

    In spite of Paul’s encouragement that God was with them and that no one would be harmed, they still wanted to take matters into their own hands.

    But Paul saw what was going on and he knew that their plan was not in line with God’s plan to show His glory by saving everyone, so he told the centurion and the plan was foiled.

    II. .


    Good Decisions #1 & #2

    So here we finally see a good example for us to follow. Good example numbers

    1) and seek guidance from Him and

    2) have.

    Paul stayed out of making decisions or speaking up until he heard from God. And when God revealed His plan to Paul (even though it involved yet another shipwreck for Paul) he took God at his word and trusted His plan.

    Acts 27:27-32
    On the fourteenth night we were still being carried around in the Adriatic Sea. About midnight the sailors thought we were close to land, 28 so they lowered a rope with a weight on the end of it into the water. They found that the water was one hundred twenty feet deep. They went a little farther and lowered the rope again. It was ninety feet deep. 29 The sailors were afraid that we would hit the rocks, so they threw four anchors into the water and prayed for daylight to come. 30 Some of the sailors wanted to leave the ship, and they lowered the lifeboat, pretending they were throwing more anchors from the front of the ship. 31 But Paul told the officer and the other soldiers, “If these men do not stay in the ship, your lives cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes and let the lifeboat fall into the water.

    After Paul’s encouragement they sailed three more days and at midnight, Paul’s words came true.


    B: .

    Good Decision #3

    This is good example number 3 from Paul – obey God.

    Not only did Paul seek God and have faith in God’s plan,

    but he acted in obedience to what God had said.

    Sometimes we do the first two steps but fail on putting God’s Word into action.

    • We go to church or a Bible study and we learn God’s will.

    • We know intellectually and we believe in our hearts that His way is right,

    But then our actions don’t always follow our beliefs do they?

    Paul was just a man of faith, he was a man who acted on his convictions and obeyed God regardless of the consequences.

    Acts 27:33-44

    When daylight came, the sailors saw land. They did not know what land it was, but they saw a bay with a beach and wanted to sail the ship to the beach if they could. 40 So they cut the ropes to the anchors and left the anchors in the sea. At the same time, they untied the ropes that were holding the rudders. Then they raised the front sail into the wind and sailed toward the beach. 41 But the ship hit a sandbank. The front of the ship stuck there and could not move, but the back of the ship began to break up from the big waves.

    42 The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners so none of them could swim away and escape. 43 But Julius, the officer, wanted to let Paul live and did not allow the soldiers to kill the prisoners. Instead he ordered everyone who could swim to jump into the water first and swim to land. 44 The rest were to follow using wooden boards or pieces of the ship. And this is how all the people made it safely to land.

    As the story concludes we see that everything happened just as Paul told them. He encouraged them to have faith and eat, which they did. Then when daylight came they saw land and thought everything was better. But the ship hit a sandbar, just as Paul told them it would, and the ship was destroyed, but every single man made it safely to land.


    One thing we didn’t focus on in this passage that I want to touch on quickly is God’s presence and control of the situation.

    • They couldn’t see God, it probably didn’t feel like He was with them in those

    • 11 days of darkness and storm, but He was there and He was watching over them.

    We see him right from the beginning of the story.

    God was and is in control whether it feels like it or not. Life can throw some nasty and painful stuff our way, but if we will just seek God, trust Him, and do things His way, He will guide us safely to shore.

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