Stay in the ship

purpose to stay the course

Often when life situations run adrift or it appears that there is apparently no purpose in staying the course, it is in these occasions that we are faced with making tough decisions. I am not implying the multitude of decisions that we face daily but that one decision that has the power to take you from the “white house” to the “poor house”, from the “palace to the “prison” or from being a pauper to becoming a pope.

Paul was faced with such a decision after he had completed his missionary journeys but even though the prophets of God, Acts 21:10, had prophesied that if he did go to Jerusalem that he would be put in bonds yet his spirit was hard pressed that he should be on the path he had chosen.

Agabus was one of those local believers who prophesied and told him what awaited him in Jerusalem. But Paul knew that this was a warning by the Holy Ghost, not with the intention of Paul having a heart change, but as a preparation of what was to come.

Phillip the evangelist had 4 daughters who moved in the gift of prophecy and also prophesied to the apostle.

Paul had a made up mind and even though the Holy Spirit had warned him through the mouth of prophets, he knew that he had been destined for Rome but that his path must go through “Jerusalem”. Jerusalem was the “trigger” that would that would send him to the completion of his destination in Christ.

Jerusalem had a distinction of “killing the prophets” and Paul had to go that way before he was “offered up”.

The Lord Jesus said concerning Jerusalem,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !

(See Matt.23:37, 1Kings19:10).

Paul’s mission in Corinth, Ephesus, Athens and Lystra was over and God was about to give him a final spiritual victory over the then capital of the world, Rome. Rome with all its profligacy stood adamant but not for long for its seeming invincibility would soon come to an end.

The Holy Spirit would show the world that there was a greater king that Caesar and His name was the Lord Jesus.

At Jerusalem

When Paul came to Jerusalem he was not ignorant to the ploys of the enemy. He did not know precisely how it would be unraveled but he knew that the enemy would lift up his ugly head.

He went first and addressed James and the elders and after he had told them of the grace of the Lord among the Gentiles it was decided that Paul would take some brethren and go to the temple merely as an outward show to show the Jews in Jerusalem that he had not wandered from the law of Moses.

Paul consented under pressure from James who thought it would appear as if Paul had not gone against the law. However, some Turkish Jew saw him in the temple and stirred up a mob. They deceived the Jewish believers for they said that Paul was against,

a. The law of Moses

b. He forbid circumcision

This led to such an uproar that Roman soldiers had to come and rescue Paul from the angry mob. The soldiers mistakenly believed that Paul had been the Egyptian who had led 4000 men.

But while the Roman soldiers led Paul away he asked for permission to address the people and the commander consented in which he testified of his salvation in Christ which embittered the Pharisees.

Paul’s Ministry finished in Jerusalem

Paul had worn out his welcome among his Jewish brethren. His grace was now destined for Rome.

Often, when a sinner receives Christ into his life, he will find his close associates at odds with him. Some of us try our best to get along with our once running buddies but however hard we try we seem to be incapable of finding the right “key”.

Too often its because they are telling us to shove-off but we are so ignorant that we believe that it is our duty to save them, come hell or hot water and usually that's just the case. We have to learn that God has other ministers who he has equipped with the grace for that particular person.

In Paul’s address to the people he told them that God had chosen him.

The world has a problem with those who believes themselves to be chosen of God, especially when they have the letter of the law but not the Spirit.

And so the response from the “letter of the law” will be to “kill him” for there is no grace in the law.Grace says, even though you have sinned yet will I be merciful, but the law says, kill him! Grace supports you but the law takes away the support.

a) The law will always “hit you on the mouth”, it will always try to shut up grace.

b) The high priest was the manifested authority of the law and the manifested authority said, “slap him on the mouth’.

c) The law shows up your prejudice and your anger

d) The law reminds us our guilt

e) The law cannot justify

f) The law keeps us condemned for no man is able to completely fulfill the whole law.

But just as Jesus’ ministry as a man was finished on the earth, Paul’s ministry was completed in Jerusalem and God was calling him to Rome so that God could do battle with the remainder of the satanic empire and Christianity would prevail.

Paul’s Journey to Rome

This would be new territory for Paul to which he glorified Christ. Now the Jews at Rome had received neither letters concerning him nor had any brethren from Judea come to witness against him. And besides, the Jew in Rome seemed to be more civil than the Jews in Jerusalem.

But before arriving at Rome, the enemy tried to make Paul's voyage difficult for he knew that there would be victory and glorification for Christ and ultimate defeat for the satanic domain.

Paul was accompanied on his trip to Rome by Luke and Aristarchus of Macedonia.

We see Paul advising the centurion at about the place called The Fair havens that he perceived that this voyage will be with hurt, and much damage, not only to the lading and ship, but also of their lives.

But the ships owner trusted the ability of the sailors and disregarded Paul’s advice.

Beginning of trouble

Euroclydon came with,

a) Contrary winds verse 4

b) Little winds vs. 7

c) South soft winds vs.13

d) Tempestuous winds 14

The enemy's attempts to try to aggravate your purpose; to irritate and frustrate while you, vs. 15-20

a. Ship caught up, drive helplessly

b. Undergirding the ship vs. 17

c. Driven about by the tempest vs. 17

d. Exceedingly tossed with the tempest vs.18

e. Casting out the tackling of the ship vs. 19

f. No sun nor moon, all lighting is gone, place of darkness, vs. 20

g. All hope that we should be saved was then taken away vs. 20

Can you say, ‘tight place”. God had allowed them to get into a place where all hope was gone. They were looking death in the face and it appeared as if it was just a matter of moments before the end came when suddenly Paul gave them hope for their tomorrow.

We read from Acts 27: 21-26

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.
22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
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.
26
Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.

Traveling with a purpose

Now listen, the ships passengers lives were spared because God’s man was traveling with a purpose.

God had given him an agenda which had to be fulfilled.

Some people were waiting at Rome whose destiny needed a word from Paul so that it could be completed.

a. Egypt was saved by God’s presence on Joseph’s life, for he gave Pharaoh a saving word

b. Laban was blessed because of Jacob Gen.30:30

c. The world is saved because of the presence of the people of God

d. It was the Lord’s will that Paul go to Rome

At Midnight

At midnight on the 14th day they deemed that land was in the vicinity. At midnight on the ship, the battle in the heavenlies had come to a close and the satanic foe was driven back.

Paul and the remainder of the ship could sense the upcoming victory that would beak forth at dawn.

They had an air of expectancy because of Paul’s presence on the ship.

Their spirit knew something that their mind couldn’t grasp but they knew that whatever it was, it was good.

Paul remembered that it was at midnight that the angel of the Lord came and rescued them from prison.

He also knew that the number 14 was symbolic of the Passover.

And as symbolic of the Passover, Paul encourages them to eat saying, “not one hair of their heads would be fall”.

They all received a “new lives” because one man in the ship had a purpose that could not be denied!

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