Paul Sails for Rome
 And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius.  And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.  The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for.  And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us.  And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia.  There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board.  We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone.  Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.
 Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them,  saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”  But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said.  And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
The Storm at Sea
 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore.  But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land.  And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.  Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat.  After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along.  Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo.  And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands.  When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.  Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.  For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship,  and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’  So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.  But we must run aground on some island.”
 When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land.  So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms.  And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.  And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow,  Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”  Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.
 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.  Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.”  And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.  Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves.  (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.)  And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.
 Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore.  So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.  But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf.  The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape.  But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land,  and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land. (ESV)
- Acts is history
It is not uncommon for people to imagine the Bible as a collection of stories with a moral to be identified and applied; while the veracity of the story may be in question, the moral is not. Acts 27 destroys this faulty way of thinking. From beginning to end, Luke records, and intends for us to read his work as actual history. In fact, Luke is not simply retelling a story he heard from someone else. He’s telling the story that he personally witnessed (Acts 27:1) These events actually took place, and it is because they actually took place that they matter so much.
- Storms and sovereignty
Storms seem to be a somewhat regular occurrence in the Bible. Whether it be Jonah who was running from God (Jonah 1:4), Jesus who was busy taking a nap below deck as the waves raged on (Luke 8:23), or Paul and the other 275 passengers, sometimes God’s people find themselves in storms. In every instance, it is clear that God is the God of the storm and has power over it. He can call up storms, and he can calm them. He can also sustain us in their midst.
- The promises of God
In a life-threatening storm, Paul possessed a rare confidence. This confidence was not just prideful arrogance or foolish ignorance. Rather, it was confidence in the promises of God. Once again, Jesus appeared to Paul in a dream and promised him that he would stand before Caesar and that neither he nor any of the other men on the ship would lose their lives. God had promised it, and Paul could be confident that God keeps his promises.
- What if Acts was not history but just a collection of stories meant to inspire you? How would that impact the way you read Acts? How does understanding that Acts is history change the way you read it?
- God’s sovereignty did not mean that Paul would avoid suffering and storms. Rather, God’s sovereignty meant that Paul had hope in the midst of his troubles. How does the sovereignty of God change the way you relate to your own struggles? What if God was not sovereign? How would that impact the way you understand difficult times?
- To the eye, it looks as if certain death is coming to the ship and all aboard. But Paul did not assess his situation based on what he could see but on what God had promised him. He chose to walk by faith and not by sight (Hebrews 11:1). Do you tend to walk according to what you see or what you believe? How can you grow in walking according to the promises of God?
Call to Worship
How Majestic Is Your Name
To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth! (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, Father of mercies, continue to work in us what is pleasing to you. Grant to us the grace to see our sins as you see them, so to grieve over them: then turn our sin into repentance, and let our repentance lead to forgiveness; and teach us diligently to guard all our actions that we may never willingly transgress your laws or disobey your Word, but make it our life's work to obey you, the joy of our souls to please you, and the purest of all our desires to live with you in your kingdom of grace and glory. Amen.
Heavenly Father, you have chosen for us to live in these times and appointed our leaders to lead our cities, county, state and nation. We pray that you surround these leaders with your people, that they might testify to the hope that is found in your Son. We pray that you might act and bring salvation to our Mayors and county commissioners. We pray that you might use them to be a conduit of peace and grace to our neighbors. Father we also ask that you bring repentance, faith and salvation to Governor Inslee, Vice President Harris and President Biden. Transform their heart, transform their life, and use them to transform this nation to honor and glorify you. You are mighty to save and we come before you on their behalf. We pray in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.