And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
The video for lesson 22 concludes our series. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 22).
Read and meditate on Acts 27.13-26.
Our musical score again takes up a light and hopeful note, as a gentle south wind encourages the helmsman and crew to begin their journey past Crete. But even as they cleared the port, we can hear the rumbling, ominous, motif resuming and gathering strength.
1. Suddenly a storm engulfed the ship, making it impossible to sail. All they could do was let the storm drive them along and make the ship as light as possible, so that it would ride the waves rather than be pounded by them. We know Who has sent this storm. Why do you suppose He did this?
2. Haven’t we seen a version of this story before (Jonah)? Evidently it’s not a good idea to resist the Word and counsel of God. The crew tossed overboard all the extraneous gear and cargo, a complete loss of investment. They struck the sails and hauled the skiff (a life boat) on board, to keep it from sinking (they figure at least some of them might need it). Then the crew ran cables under the ship to help hold it together. Even Paul’s companions were beginning to lose hope (v. 20). Put yourself in that situation. How would you have felt? Where would you have turned for hope? How would you have tried to encourage others?
3. But Paul was not afraid. As he began to speak, there was no gloating or chiding in his voice (v. 21). A simple, “I told ya so!” was enough before he moved on to give them hope and advice. Paul’s approach changed at this point. He figured his little “society” was so desperate for encouragement and hope that he could speak freely about the things of the Lord, and mention the visitation of an angel without fear of being scorned. He held out the promise of deliverance for all, albeit not without some significant loss and turmoil, the result of their unwise choice to sail in the wrong season. Should we make it a point to rub the noses of our lost contemporaries in the unhappy consequences of their reasoned but unwise choices? Why not?
4. Paul did not call on his companions to have faith in God, only in him. His faith in God would have to do for everyone, at least in this situation, at least for the time being. This was not the time for evangelism; this was the time for sound advice and resolute hope. It seems that, while the Gospel is about everything, not everything is about the Gospel, at least, not all the time. Explain.
5. Lesson 2: When we venture into these arenas, we must consider the needs of society as a whole and offer our advice in hopeful and encouraging terms. We must try to show people that our counsel – even though we claim it to have divine provenance – is intended for the good of all. It might be hard to follow, and the course we have to choose may not be altogether convenient or agreeable, but in the end everyone will be better off if they’ll listen to what we say. Do you think Christians have anything sound or useful to offer to current discussions? Why or why not?
Just because people are stubborn and stupid doesn’t mean we stop caring for them, or seeking to do good works for them. Jonah sulked and slept in the hold, content to leave the lost world to its unwise choices. Paul stood bold and confident on the deck, encouraging the fearful and counseling them according to the wisdom of God. How can local churches be more like Paul and less like Jonah when it comes to the good of their communities?
To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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