Sunday, November 25, 2007

Shipwrecked Faith: Acts 27:27-44

We are coming to the close of our Study of the Book of Acts. We sure have come a long way since Acts 1:1. One more week to go! THAT will be the start of our Christmas series. If you are in town, please stop by. This is the season for many new people to come into our Fellowship. You might be one of them.

We will be looking at five men who's lives may have started out just fine, but somehow, there was a crash. A shipwreck not to unlike Paul's in Acts 27. Look with me at these men's lives.

Esau Genesis 27: 36 Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!" Then he asked, "Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?" 37 Isaac answered Esau, "I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?" 38 Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!" Then Esau wept aloud.

Korah Numbers 16:1 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD's assembly?"

Saul 1 Samuel 9:17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD said to him, "This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people."
1 Samuel 18:5 Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did it so successfully that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the people, and Saul's officers as well.
1 Samuel 18: 8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?"
1 Samuel 18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul.

Rich young man from Mark 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"
20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"

Demus Colossians 4:14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.
Philemon 1: 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
2 Timothy 4:9-10 9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.

a. One had the birthright and lost it ‘cause of greed and personal lack of integrity.

b. One was born in a good family (Levi).

c. One was chosen by God to be King.

d. One was wealthy and followed all the rules.

e. One was selected by Paul as a fellow-worker.

No matter what background they have, they are all in need. What are they lacking? They thought it was enough! They were really in want of something else.

As far as the ship with Paul in it, they were going to do what God had told them to do, yet failed to make the port. Seriously bad weather and poor judgment caused the shipwreck.

Have you ever been on a ship in a storm? It can be very exciting yet mostly dangerous and life threatening. One such event happen on one of the Great Lakes back in 1975, November 10. The ship went down with all hands. Twenty nine men lost their lives that evening. There is a song that tells about the ship, the storm and the men who died...

Wonder what it was like on Paul's ship there on the Adriatic Sea. The men were afraid of death. The waves had been hitting them for over 14 days and they were worn out. Fear captured their hearts and there was a spirit of selfishness among the sailors. Many might have been thinking it would had been better to have stayed at the last port. When problems of life come to you, you may also have lots of things to say:

“If they had only … .”
“If I could have … .”
“I was misunderstood when I … .”
“Why did this happen to me???”
“I am qualified!!! but … .”

All may be good reasons but in the final analysis, they come up short. Just like in this story of Paul’s ship. No matter what experience they had, they were not going to make it IF they did not listen to the Man of God.

There was another who ‘had it all together’ as well and he confronted Jesus at night—while no one was looking—and ask of Jesus a question that many have asked but, to be honest, he might not have understood the answer right then and there.

The man’s name was Nic and he was a teacher of religion. Find his story in John 3:1-15.
He asked: “Really, Who are You, ‘cause what You do is so like that of a Person from God?”
Jesus answers with a statement that DOES NOT answer the question: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. You can not make it in life without being born in the Spirit.”
The Teacher was surprised and asked: “How can a man be born when he is old? He can’t really re-enter his mother’s womb again!”
Jesus replies: “Don’t be silly! You're a teacher of the Law and you don’t know this? Has the Truth be hidden from even you? It is not a New Teaching here! God has been speaking of this for years and years!”

[Even a man like Nic needed the Truth shown to him. How about us? Who among us does NOT need help?]

During the consecration and the dedication of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, King Solomon was standing before the Lord God and giving Him praise.

2 Chronicles 7: 1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying,
"He is good;
His love endures forever."
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. 5 And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.

11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, 12 the LORD appeared to him at night and said:
"I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among My people, 14 if My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now My Eyes will be open and My Ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that My Name may be there forever. My Eyes and My Heart will always be there.
17 "As for you, if you walk before me as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, 'You shall never fail to have a man to rule over Israel.'
19 "But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from My land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for My Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?' 22 People will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why He brought all this disaster on them.' "

The storms of Life have come and your ship is about to be dashed on the rocks somewhere, sometime, what do you do? Is there a way out of this mess? Humble yourself before your Maker, Pray to Him. He will answer and deliver you! Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

So, will we see you next week at ICCS? Being the first Sunday of the month, we will be celebrating the Lord's Table or Communion. Join us for the worship and stay for the growth.