SHIPWRECK…They all escaped safely to land – Acts 27:44
If the centurion in charge had listened to Paul, the ship would have never gone down. If not for the grace of God, all 276 on board would have drowned. Shipwreck occurred because those in charge made big mistakes in a catastrophic storm.
As believers we all face storms, but we don’t have to experience shipwreck. Paul talks about Christians who suffered shipwreck by not obeying the faith in good conscience, Hymenaeus and Alexander suffered shipwreck, and were delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme (1 Timothy 1:19-20).
Paul’s shipwreck could have been avoided if proper precautions had been observed. We learn from this chapter how to avoid shipwreck.
(1) Be on the watch for contrary winds (4,7,14,17). Paul describes some Christians as children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. New teachings constantly show up and are dangerous to those not grounded in the faith. Personal Bible study and teaching by godly pastors equip saints not to fall for every new teaching that comes along. Errors in doctrine easily lead to sinful practices.
(2) Don’t listen to the wrong people. Paul warned that the voyage would end in disaster, nevertheless the centurion listened to the helmsman and the owner of the ship, and eventually they took a vote and let the majority decide. Don’t get counsel from unbelievers or carnal Christians. They don’t understand the Holy Spirit. Listen to those who pray and have the mind of Christ. Check all advice out with God.
(3) Lighten the ship (18,19,32,38). They got rid of extra weight, including the life boat and extra food. God sends storms so we’ll get rid of the stuff we don’t need. Jesus said without me you can do nothing. Storms force us to get rid of all that keeps us from trusting Jesus.
(4) Don’t give up hope (20,22,24,25). Everything in this story seems to indicate that Paul would never reach Rome. So while Paul was praying, an angel stood by and reminded Paul of his purpose. Caesar had to hear the Gospel first, as well as the palace guards, many of which became fruitful disciples. Know your purpose. The storm won’t wreck your ship. You will hope to the end when you are living according to purpose. Sail on, sailor!
Devotional by my good friend,
Pastor Harold Anderson
Higher Ground Calvary Chapel
19310 Jesse Lane
Riverside, California 92508