You don’t want to be an expert in storms.
OCTOBER 3, 2023
You don’t want to be an expert in storms. I’ll tell you why, on Key Life.
This is Key Life with our host, author, and seminary professor, Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru, he’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the 27th chapter of the Book of Acts, and that’s the place where the apostle Paul goes through a major storm. And that whole chapter is devoted to that and there’s a lot we can understand. Listen, you don’t want to be an expert in storms, and Paul was. Both the storms with wind and rain and destruction, and the storms that happened in his life. Listen, case in point, II Corinthians 11:23 through 29.
Are they servants of Christ? I’m a better one– I’m talking like a madman– with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I’ve received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I’ve been beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, dangers from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I’m not weak? Who is made to fall, and I’m not indignant?
You read that, and I think, you know, I don’t want to be an expert in storms. I don’t want to have to go through that sort of thing. Then in Acts 27, If you want to find out about storms, don’t go to somebody who’s never been through one. Listen, if you want to know about hurricanes, ask me. I went through Andrew. And until that time, it was the, until the more recent storms, it was the biggest natural disaster to ever touch the United States. And I was in the middle of that. I almost became a Christian. I mean, it was, by the way, I was kidding about that with the Billy Graham station in North Carolina. And the receptionist there didn’t think I was kidding, and she started praying for my salvation. And the manager said, Steve, you ought to give her a call and explain that was a joke. She’s pretty uptight, and she’s praying that you don’t go to hell. And she’s praying it kind of like she’s glad you are, and you could do a bit of PR by giving her a call. And I did, and I explained that was a joke, but it was a scary time. So, I’ve been through one storm, but I read that passage in II Corinthians 11, and I’m blown away. I just, I don’t want to have to face all of that. So, if you’re going to get some advice from somebody about something that’s really difficult in your life, make sure that they’ve been there, and they’ve done that, and they understand how difficult it is. And that would be the apostle Paul, and that’s what we’re going to do as we use this particular storm in the 27th chapter of Acts as a template for how to deal with all kinds of storms. And the first thing, which becomes immediately apparent when you read this chapter in Acts, is the common sense with which the apostle Paul faced the storm. Look at verses 10 through 11 in the 27th chapter.
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 lives.” But the centurion paid more attention to the captain and to the owner of the ship than what Paul said.
And Paul was right. It was a dangerous thing. They should wait for the storm. They should not go out in the middle of it, that was plain common sense. He didn’t have a vision. No angel visited him. He was not studying Scripture and came up with an insight. He was not praying and God told him. It was just plain, old fashioned common sense. And then in Acts 27:31.
Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, they will not be saved.”
They listened to him that time. You know, the first time he’d been right and they didn’t listen, but the second time they listened and stayed in the ship. In other words, Paul was gifted with just plain old fashioned common sense. You know, if you want to pray for something for God, that would be a good place to start. I mean, we want visions and miracles and a manifestation of the supernatural. Just pray that God gives common sense. I’m going to be preaching at a local church here in Orlando this coming week-end. And my family is here, and my grandchildren, which means they’re going to show up at the church where I’m preaching. And my prayer has been really interesting and quite earthy. Lord, if you’re going to make a fool out of me, and you have done that often, please don’t do it in front of my grandchildren. Now, you say, you didn’t pray that. Yeah, I did. Of course I did because that’s common sense. I don’t want my grandchildren to be there when I make a fool out of myself. You say, that doesn’t sound very spiritual. Listen, it is, and I get that from the Bible. A lot of the truth of the Bible is counterintuitive. It makes us wonder and think. But it is also, in so many places, just plain old common sense. Dr. Harold Taylor said this.
Faith is common sense in active cooperation with God.
I love that.
Faith is common sense in active cooperation with God.
All right. Secondly, and I could say a lot more about that, but I’m not going to. Secondly, not only did Paul exercise a healthy amount of common sense. In the midst of the storm, Paul was committed to God, and no matter how fierce the storm, that would not change. Look at verses 22 through 24.
“I now bid you take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood by me an angel of God, to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul.'”
John Wesley is one of my heroes. And he came to Christ in a storm. Well, maybe he probably didn’t become a Christian in the storm, but it was the beginning of some thoughtful understanding of what being a Christian was. He was on his way as a missionary, and he wasn’t even a believer, to the new world and there were a number of Moravians on that ship and they got in the middle of a storm. Now, he was coming from London to the islands off the coast of Georgia, where he was going to serve as a missionary and a pastor of a small church there. And at that point in his life, he was religious, but he wasn’t saved. And in the middle of that storm, he did what I would have done. He cowered in a corner, and he prayed out for God’s mercy. And he looked up, and the Moravians were standing around the mast of the ship, holding hands, and singing hymns to God. Wesley was absolutely blown away with that, and when the storm subsided, he went to the head of the Moravians. And he asked the question that you would have asked and I would have asked. Hey, how could you do that? How could you sing hymns when we were getting ready to die? How could you have that kind of courage? And the Moravian leader gave a simple answer that blew John Wesley away. He said, Why, we believe in God. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown continuing our guided tour of Acts and we’ll continue exploring the subject of storms tomorrow, hope you will join us for that.
The main character of the Bible and your life is not you, it’s God. This is good news meant to be received. It’s an invitation out of our incessant I need to do more feeling. It clears away the fog of our murky understanding of God and helps us see that he is in the business of giving not expecting, revealing not hiding.
Well, that was just a taste of a fantastic article by Davis Johnson called Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect. You’ll find it in the new digital edition of Key Life magazine. Check it out for free at keylife.org/magazines and if you haven’t read our 2023 print magazine yet, it’s not too late to claim your copy. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for the magazine. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Again, just ask for your free copy of Key Life magazine. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you prayerfully consider supporting that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 to give safely and securely. Again, that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.