Paul found himself on a ship in the midst of a 14-day hurricane. God was faithful to him and sent an angel to say, “Be of God cheer.” The Lord meets us in all of those situations. (Acts 27:21-25)
Speaker(s): Pastor John Love, Pastor Steven Scibelli
Sermon # 11395
7:30 PM on 1/3/2018
Paul writing to the Thessalonians tells them to do…ever follow that which is good, rejoice evermore, in everything give thanks, to abstain from all appearance of evil. How can that happen? It doesn’t happen without this verse.
1 Thes. 5:24 faithful is he who has called you, who will also do it. He has called us to a place to get to know God…the big problem I have is to perform it myself or try to do it. Maybe God speaks to you about his will or purpose, read the Bible, love in a relationship in marriage, praying, etc. I say I can’t do it. God says I know you can’t do it. …faithful is he who calls you who also will do it. Direct connection between the one who calls and the one who does. Imagine God calls you to do something and says see you later. No, the one who calls is the one who does.
I was in Kampala at the clock tower. It was an incredible place. We were evangelizing and I gave a tract to a guy. He said Jesus Christ? And he said “watch this, idiot” along with a few other expletives. He took it and threw it. I looked at him with my wonderful temperament based on God. I went and picked up the tract and I decided to chase this man further. I said wait. He said, are you crazy? His mouth was like a sewer. I said take it and read it. I’m going to follow you all the way home. He took it and he said I read the tract another couple hundred yards away from you. He’s a Greater Grace pastor now and has 200 in the church. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t think it would happen. But God is faithful.
Faithful is he who has called you and who also will do it. We think of our health situation, relationships, etc. and we realize what God is saying here…and we say I can’t do that. That’s why I called you to myself and I’m going to do it.
I remember teaching the Bible in West Africa and people were shaking. They were exposed to a certain educational system in West Africa and they feared learning. If you don’t pass a test, you stay in the third grade forever. They feared school and tests. I got up and said everybody gets an A. I’m not joking. Everyone has an A if you’re sitting here. A+. Right now we have 1750 students in 56 Bible schools in Africa.
We look at this life and I was thinking God is eternally faithful. God’s going to do the work even if it takes until you go home with him. You look at somebody and pray for them and weep for them. One day they are going to be perfected.
This life is a vapor, James 4:14. When the vapor is gone, they will be perfect. Two men called me today. They are both from Massachusetts. One said I know if you tell people in GG to pray for my situation, God will heal me. I haven’t pastored these people since 30 years ago. The other one said tell people to pray for us, Eddie Narsis and Joe Rama. We believe God will hear your prayers. I thought about the faithfulness of God in those two lives.
Abraham from Ge 12 to 15 to 17 to 22. Different manifestations and God will reveal himself to him. I didn’t realize when in Ghana I needed a visa. You again? Yes, me again. You again? Yes, me again. Guy with a beer bottle in one hand and the stamp in another. That went on for a long time. I never got deported. God is faithful in your life, your marriage, in your relationship as a single person. Whatever is going on or sight shows you, don’t buy it.
2 Cor 5:7 we don’t walk by sight but by faith in the faithful one. I just need to relax. He throws the tract down and look what happens to the individual. Think of the faithfulness of God in Pastor Stevens. We have seen men who have followed and received from the faithful God. Thank you God for your faithfulness. We’ll see it in 2018, 2019, 2030. Caleb said give me this mountain.
Faithful is HE. It doesn’t say faithful is me or you. He will also do it. The call and the do are absolutely one. Faithful is he that calls and will also do it.
Some years ago there was a movie made about these fishermen that left the coast of Massachusetts. My sister knew these people. It was a good time of year to fish. A lot of money to be made. They went out deep in the Atlantic waters. They were in the midst of a perfect storm. Winds from the east and something from the north, a particular nor’easter. Hopefully we are not going to get it so bad but they are bracing for it this weekend. My daughter said that’s why I thank Jesus I’m in Hawaii right now. I said you picked a good time to go. That perfect storm in the North Atlantic was a result of combining factors. Hurricane force winds, downpour of rain and it resulted in disaster. All those men lost their lives. It was incredible.
Sometimes in life potentially the same thing can happen to us, not with meteorological factors. But when we think we can deal with one disaster that comes in our life. Lord I can’t deal with this, but you’re with me and I know I’ll get through it but then it’s combined with something else. Maybe the marriage is in trouble and then a job layoff and you lose your employment. Or someone in your family gets sick. It’s like a perfect storm. I remember speaking to a friend and that’s what happened to him. Trouble in his marriage, cancer diagnosis and his children went wayward. I remember thinking he’s in the perfect storm. How is he going to get through it? When all those things are all combined, it’s like a perfect storm. We ask, will I make it? Will I survive? Will my faith hold up or fold up?
Paul said something fascinating to the church in Philippi. He said I want you to rejoice in the Lord always and he repeated it. Let your moderation be known to all and don’t be anxious for anything but with prayer and supplication let your requests be known to God. The peace of God which passes understanding, all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. That answers the question. Will we get through it? Will we survive the perfect storm? God says he will give you his peace. A peace that passes all understanding, a fortress around your hearts and minds. Think of our role in experiencing that peace. Just rejoice, keep rejoicing, pursue a gentle spirit, and pray about everything. We cry out to the Lord and come before him. Sometimes those prayers are not pretty.
Maybe it’s a groaning from our heart and Rom 8:26 interpreted by the H.S. Or a cry out for help. Lord, look at my situation. I can’t do a thing about it but you can. Cling to gratitude and you will experience the peace that comes from God. This is the peace of God. When we were justified, we went from being at war to experiencing peace with God. When the perfect storm is all around us, that’s when we need the peace of God, from God. Paul is saying this is the same peace God enjoys and it comes into my life and your life. You think there is any anxiety in the throne room of heaven? No. There is peace there because God resides there. We can enjoy that same peace that comes from God. This is my peace and I’m going to give it to you and get your through. When we should be worried, we’re not. When we should be troubled and upset, we are not. When we should be fearful, we are not. It’s God’s peace. It’s higher in its quality. It’s a superior kind of peace. It’s the kind of peace God enjoys in the presence of his throne room and he says I can give it to you. It’s a gift like everything God gives.
James 1:17 comes from God. This is the God that is faithful and doesn’t change as P. Scibelli shared.
Jn 14:27 Jesus talked about this kind of peace. My peace I give to you. That’s incredible. The peace Jesus enjoys. Was he troubled in the presence of Pontius Pilate? Was he troubled when Judas led the soldiers in to arrest him? He said who are you looking for? Jesus of Nazareth. He said I AM he. They fell backwards to the ground. Does that sound like someone panicking? He said I told you I AM he. Let these other guys go. Anything else you need? Peace. My peace I give you. I don’t give it to you as the world gives you. Don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. This peace is going to guard your hearts. God takes responsibility for our hearts and minds when we trust him. That’s my responsibility to usher in my peace in the midst of your perfect storm. You go through your perfect storm and God offers his perfect peace. He constructs a fortress around our hearts and minds. Sometimes we need a fortress around our minds. Every thought out there wants to land on the tarmac of our souls. I’ll protect you from those thoughts and the attack of the devil. Coming into the service and the music bids you to come in. It’s Martin Luther’s song, A Mighty Fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing. A helper he amidst the flood, of mortal ills prevailing. When you find yourself in a combination of storms when they all come together in a perfect way and it looks like you’re going to be taken out. I’m going to rejoice and celebrate Jesus all the time even when I don’t feel like it. We just follow those simple instructions. Cling to God and pray about everything and have an amazing attitude of thanksgiving and we see that peace ushered into our lives guiding and protecting us.
Acts 27 Paul spoke from experience. That ship on its way to Italy. He told the people we shouldn’t take this journey. I’m giving you a heads up. They are looking at him like are you kidding me? We know how to navigate through waters. Sit down and be a good prisoner.
Paul sits there and in Acts 27 it says they ran into Euroclydon, a perfect storm. Meteorologists say it was a strong east wind together with a great north wind. He was in the midst of a nor’easter in the Mediterranean Sea. Euroclydon is on its way in the form of challenges that overwhelm us, that test the medal of our faith. We have to be armed with every provision from God, his grace, his mercy and the amazing peace he will give us when those storms come. The components were all in place. A winter sea, a ferocious wind and an impatient crew. This storm lasted 14 days. I’ve been on a boat 14 minutes and got sick. The result was all hope was lost. Can you imagine that?
Acts 27, the mariners even gave up hope. The little Jewish preacher they didn’t want to hear from earlier, he now stands up and is giving them courage.
vs. 27. You should have listened to me. If he left it right there, you would have a desperate crew without hope. He didn’t stop there. Sometimes we get a little rebuke from God. I told you not to. I gave you warnings. I told you sex before marriage was wrong and would destroy your capacity. I told you not to make those foolish decisions. Sometimes we don’t listen. Paul said you should have listened to me.
vs. 22…whom I serve. I don’t know how encouraging these words were to these guys. No one will die but no ship after it’s all over. What did Paul know they didn’t know? What do we need to hear when we go through our perfect storm? When fear comes at you, let God speak to your heart. Let him produce the peace that passes all understanding. We are so much like the sailors. God spoke but we don’t listen. Sometimes we have to reap the consequences of our bad decisions. When we experience reaping what we’ve sown we learn some things. We learn to be wiser next time. I write unto you the Apostle John said that you don’t sin. Imagine if that’s all he said. Little children, don’t sin. It’s too late. But if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world. Don’t sin. Of course he doesn’t want us to. God is a great kill joy and doesn’t want us to have fun. No! He’s seen the catastrophe of sin, the heartache and the pain and suffering it produces. He also says if you do, don’t despair. Never despair. It’s not over. It wasn’t over for these men either. Should have listened to me. Now you’re all going to drown. No, he said no loss of life. He had God’s promises.
vs. 23. An angel came. Maybe it was the Lord himself who appeared so often in the O.T.
Angels in Heb 1:14 still minister to the heirs of salvation. Sometimes God sends angels, helpers. He did it with Paul, with Daniel. Daniel prayed for three straight weeks. Why aren’t my prayers getting through to God? Then an angel showed up and said your prayers have been heard. The moment you spoke them, God heard them. You were hindered with satanic opposition. Angels are involved in our lives. Believe me, heaven has sent us some help and it’s always there. God said to Daniel, your prayers were heard and angels have been dispatched to you. It’s like God says in your worst moments, reinforcements are on the way. We start to wonder, am I going to make it to the end? God’s promise is yes.
God says I will contend with him who contends with you in Isaiah 49:25. You belong to me. I have your name carved into my hands, tattooed in God’s hands. Our names right there. Like the three Hebrew boys rescued in the king’s fiery furnace. An angel rescued Peter right out of prison. Whatever prison you and me are in, maybe angels will be able to help you. God has reinforcements and he’s always ready to send them. Heaven has helpers. Heaven has a place for you. He said I belong to God. I’m his. When I read that, I thought of when we send campers to Camp Life and the most important signature is the parent’s signature saying I will take responsibility ultimately for my child. If something happens and a goose hits him and an arm falls off, I will come and get my child. God signed our papers saying I take full responsibility for my children. I will be there to receive them and protect them and get them through the perfect storms of life. Praise God he is the Good Shepherd. He is the bride groom and we are his bride. We are his child and he is our father. That’s how we have peace in our storm. You are in God’s service Paul said. This is God who I serve. God gave Paul an assignment. Paul, you’re going to preach in Rome. You’re going to share the gospel to Rome. He’s going to get there. Whatever God has designed for our lives, we are going to get there. We are going to be invincible until that purpose is fulfilled in our life. You’re not taken out any earlier than you fulfill his purpose. He will make sure he keeps us alive until it is accomplished.
Ps. 139:16 all the days planned for me were written in your book before I was even born. We’ll still have our share of problems. No loss of life but only the ship. It’s not easy to lose our ship. Maybe the ship is the vessel that carries you. Maybe it’s your marriage, your physical body, your business. You stay afloat and all of a sudden it’s gone. You think I’m going to sink. It’s over. You might sink for a while. It might look like it’s over. Jesus said in the world you’ll have lots of trouble.
Be brave because I have defeated the world in Jn 16:33. It reminds me we can lose it all. It’s possible when I think about it. The boat and the ship that broke up, the broken pieces of the boat is what saved them and allowed them to continue on. Sometimes it’s the brokenness of our home, our marriage, our business that becomes the thing that keeps us alive. It gets us through. You can lose it all but only to discover you haven’t lost it all. He never promised us a life without storms. He has promised us he would be there to face them with us. Maybe I haven’t had a perfect storm yet. I’m sure I will. We’ve all had our share. Maybe not perfect storms but overwhelming.
God will show up with his grace and his new mercies to meet us in Lam 3:22-23.
He’s going to show up with everlasting arms and underneath those arms will support us De 33:27.
Show up with his exceeding great and precious promises in 2 Pet 1:4 and allow us to be a participator in his nature. He’ll put iron in our hearts and minds. He’ll meet us with his power to preserve us. He’s just going to show up.
I read a story about a mom and dad with a 2-year old son. They got in the car and the automatic door locks didn’t kick in. Their 2 year old fell out of the car and they ran over him. The father jumped out and grabbed him. I don’t know how many thousands of pounds that auto weighed. There wasn’t a bone broken, only cuts and bruises. He went home that night. His mother was thanking God. He said mom, do you know Jesus saved me? I saw him. He came down with big brown hands. He picked me up and held me. I turned to him and said thank you. Jesus said you’re very welcome. Did he say anything else? No. He said good night mom. He said Jesus caught me. He held me. For a parent, that’s a perfect storm.
God gave them perfect peace in the midst of it. It’s his promise to you and me.
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