I Believe God

What a Christian’s Faith Looks Like in the Storm!

Acts 27

Sept 10, 2017 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


MP3 Audio


I.       Introduction (Acts 27:25)


A.    Faith is NOT what you believe ABOUT God


1.      Most people believe He exists - Only the fool says There is no God

2.      Most believe in a place called heaven

3.      Most people here in Ireland have memorized the Apostle’s creed, and dozens of prayers

4.      But they do not trust God, nor rest in His promises in His word the Bible! Especially during disasters and deep problems!


B.     Faith is when you just TRUST God


1.      In every stormy situation, it is not the long list of beliefs that you have that get you through, but the God you trust!

2.      Paul summarises his entire belief system into three simple words… I believe God!


C.    I will show you what I mean in Acts chapter 27


II.    Background (Acts 21-27)


A.    The Apostle Paul is a great man of God – spirit filled – doing what God called him to do – preach the Gospel everywhere, getting people saved, baptized, serving God, building families

B.     Well, Paul’s Faith got him in a lot of trouble


1.      We find him in Acts 27 in shackles, chains, a prisoner, headed for Rome

2.      He has been falsely accused, trampled by an angry mob, physically beaten, struck on the mouth, lied about, threatened by 40 religious zealots who have vowed not to eat until they KILL him

3.      He has been in prison since Acts chapter 21 – moved from Jerusalem, to Caesarea, where he has been ignored and treated unjustly, so he appealed to Caesar, which is like appealing to the High Court for justice in his favour


C.     Through it all, Paul has been faithful to God, and busy testifying of who Jesus is, and that he is alive from the dead, and that He is coming again very soon to everybody, whether they were important people like Agrippa, and Felix and Festus, or just nobodies he met along the way!

D.    Now he is placed in a ship, still in chains, still a prisoner, in amongst 275 other prisoners and hardened criminals and sailors.

E.     And headed into the worst storm of his life.

F.     Don’t believe that your circumstances always mean you are a failure, or that God is a failure

G.    Paul here shows that storms/problems/disasters are our opportunities to really believe God!


III. Message


A.    There are FOUR Beliefs at work during this storm


1.      Everyone has some kind of faith – something they believe in

2.      Most believe in themselves, or in money, or in luck, or in their religious experiences

3.      But when a storm hits, there are only four kinds of faith


a.       The belief in SELF

b.      In SHIPS

c.       IN SWEAT

d.      And in the SAVIOUR


4.      Faith is only as good as WHAT/WHO you are trusting in – repeat!


B.     The First Belief is in SELF (26:1-5)


1.      It’s the belief that you got this! You don’t need religion, or God, or prayer, or anything besides yourself at the moment!

2.      This is what most every “self-help” book teaches – finding and relying on that “inner light”

3.      The Centurion, the Ship owner, the shipmen all believe they can sail all the way to Rome


a.       They have the kind of ship they need. And if they don’t they can get one!

b.      They have seasoned sailors

c.       They have the prisoners all restrained and contained

d.      They choose their course on their own

e.       They make their own decisions

f.        They have the benefit of experience – this was not something new to these men – they had sailed the Mediterranean Sea many times before

g.      They can easily adapt to changing needs

h.      No need for God

i.        They have themselves!


4.      They may be pagans, and may believe in other gods, but until the storm really hits them squarely in the face, they are really just believing in themselves

5.      So they all boarded a small ship and started their journey to Rome


C.    The Second Belief is in SHIPS (27:6-13)


1.      They all see the storm approaching now – all the tell-tell signs are around them


a.       The contrary winds (27:4,7)

b.      The slight rain

c.       The waves beginning to pick up

d.      It was easy to tell that a storm was ahead of them, way out at sea

e.       Remember, they had no satellite images of how big this storm was or how bad


2.      So they moved everybody into a BIGGER ship – a stronger ship – one that could cross the Mediterranean Sea with no problem!


a.       They had pulled into a small port in southern Turkey called Myra

b.      They know the little ship they were on was not going to withstand the storm

c.       So they got a bigger ship! Something they could REALLY believe in!


3.      Off they sailed, but barely got to the island of Crete, and pulled quickly in


a.       They tried to wait out the storm, but time was wasting

b.      And the little port they were anchored in was not going to withstand the storm


4.      It is at this time that Paul stands up and warns everyone about what is ahead


a.       He knows what is ahead

b.      He warns them of the approaching trouble and storm – like a hurricane

c.       He is concerned about the SOULS of the men on that ship – that people will die!

d.      He does not worry about being mocked and rejected – he MUST warn them!


5.      And as expected, no one listened! Figure this Jew was just a crack-pot

6.      So they had a big discussion – what are they going to do?


a.       The Centurion looks to the advice of the ship owner – BELIEVED the owner

b.      The ship owner looks to the advice of the sailors

c.       They figured they would make a small hop to the port of Phenice, on the far west side of the same island, and there wait out the storm

d.      Totally logical, sensible


7.      Their faith was in three things now:


a.       The big, strong, ship - Trust the ship!

b.      Themselves and their collective wisdom - the consensus of just about everyone on board – listen to the owner! He knows the risks – he would never risk his own ship!

c.       In the STORM (27:13) - the very wind that had brought fear was now calm, so they trusted the storm was NOTHING to worry about!!!


8.      And they headed out to sea!

9.      But their faith was about to be severely tested and fail!


D.    The Third Belief was in SWEAT (27:14-20)


1.      Okay. Now every belief they had was being stretched beyond imagination


a.       The ship wouldn’t obey - It was actually coming apart

b.      Their wisdom in setting out on a small journey had been proven wrong


2.      So they turn to desperation

3.      Start labouring to the extreme (just as the sailors did in Jonah’s storm)


a.       They were trusting in their own desperate efforts to get them through this storm – their own blood, sweat and tears!

b.      They are working non-stop trying to get the ship under control, and to hold everything together

c.       Their conclusion was that they had to save the ship

d.      They risk everything throwing guys overboard with ropes wrapped around them, so they could dive under the ship and come up on the other side and them climb back aboard over and over with the hope of tying the boat together so it doesn’t break up

e.       Funny how mankind often will rush to the rescue of saving what they had hoped would save them – saving their religion, their priests, their beliefs

f.        They threw out everything they could that was not nailed down

g.      Stripped down to almost nothing


4.      Do you think it will work out?


a.       Not this time!

b.      There is a great spiritual lesson for every man, woman, and child to learn from this

c.       There are sometimes, that our best and most desperate efforts do NOT save anyone!

d.      It is at THAT time, you need a Saviour!


E.     The Fourth Belief was in the SAVIOUR (27:21-26)


1.      And just ONE man had this confidence! Just one man – Paul!

2.      Here is a single person – a Bible believer – a Jesus follower named Paul…


a.       Stands up

b.      Calls everyone to trust God!


1)      He is IN a massive, deadly storm – the worst kind imaginable!

2)      He is out of the will of God – not that HE had chosen to go this route, but the ship’s owner had decided to ignore Paul’s warning, and were in a danger that they did not need to be in

3)      There was no human hope – no expectation of any change in circumstances

4)      But he STILL has his faith!


c.       EX:


1)      Like being in a hospital ward, with a dangerous wound

2)      Doctors can’t get the infection under control – shaking their heads

3)      That’s where the Christian faith works best!


3.      This is what the Christian’s faith is!


a.       It is NOT


1)      A confidence in his education, his race, his wealth, his courage, his religion

2)      Certainly not in himself, or his own will power

3)      A Christian has absolutely NO confidence in himself

4)      The Christian’s Faith is not even a list of beliefs


b.      It is however…


1)      Absolute trust in One all-powerful Saviour! One almighty God!

2)      It is a faith in Christ Jesus! And only in what HE has promised

3)      Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

4)      Heb 11:11  Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.


c.       The storm does NOT and CANNOT break a Christian’s faith


1)      It only reveals just how strong it is

2)      A Christian’s faith, faces the storm – the storm does not have to go away for God to do something awesome!

3)      It smiles, rejoices, rests, continues to believe God as if there was no storm at all!


4.      Let’s listen to this shackled prisoner named Paul…


a.       “You should have listened to me!”


1)      You have been listening to each other, and to the weathermen

2)      I have been listening to this old black book, the word of God!


b.      “But it’s all okay – you still have a chance”


1)      Just BELIEVE who I believe in – the God who made the storm

2)      Trust who I trust – He can walk on the raging waves of any sea

3)      It will be better than expected – remember that Paul warned of loss of life (27:10)


c.       “I am not alone – even though I look like it!”


1)      God almighty, the creator of everything there is, has stood by me all my Christian life – every mile, of every day since Acts 9

2)      I belong to Him – He bought me

3)      I serve Him – He is worthy

4)      He is the reason why I live – the very best reason!

5)      And HE is the reason why I have any hope to get through this storm!

6)      He spoke to me and encouraged me


a)      He told me to Fear not!

b)      He told me that I was going to stand and preach to Caesar

c)      And best of all, He said that NOT one person on this sinking ship will be lost

d)      But the ship will be lost!


7)      That’s what my Saviour told me


d.      “Therefore gentlemen, I believe God”


1)      Whether anyone else does or not, I DO!

2)      It is going to be just as my Saviour says it is going to be

3)      ALL of us are going to get to safety on an unknown island


e.       Let me say this…


1)      Paul got to hear the very voice of Jesus – just all the apostles did

2)      None of us get to – but that voice, and His very words, are ALL written down in this book you hold in your hand!

3)      You do not need God to speak directly to you, when He already has

4)      The question is, will you believe it when it says


a)      Ye must be born again (John 3)

b)      Flee from the wrath to come – and believe me, hurricanes will be the least of your worries

c)      Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house

d)      Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest

e)      God is faithful, who will not tempt ye above that which ye are able

f)       Jesus is coming again, very soon


F.     The Hardest Struggle (27:27-34)


1.      Whether ‘God’ can really be trusted


a.       Not just “believed in”


1)      The devils believe in God (James 2:19)

2)      Every religion believes in some ‘god’

3)      So few people have any clue just WHO is the God that Paul was talking about!


b.      All other gods, and beliefs FAIL when put under extreme pressure

c.       How could Paul’s God be any different?


2.      So, these men didn’t instantly decide to believe Paul, and trust Paul’s faith


a.       They have been asked to just believe the words of this preacher, about some God named JESUS being big enough to save THEM!

b.      But it has been 14 days – 14 LONG days, and no change has happened – storms usually pass in 3 days, but this one has just hung over them for two solid weeks!!!

c.       So, there is NO logical reason to believe and trust Paul’s God


1)      Remember, Paul’s chains have not miraculously fallen off

2)      Paul is not walking on the storm

3)      It is just HIS word about Someone who would save them all!


3.      Then in the middle of that stormy night… it got worse!


a.       It was discovered they were rapidly approaching the shores of some island – JUST AS PAUL PROMISED

b.      But in that storm, there was no way to see the shore, or tell where the rocks were

c.       It was extremely dangerous

d.      So they dropped anchor and wished for the morning light


4.      And then some of the sailors saw their chance to escape – using a lifeboat


a.       Everything was about to fall apart – there was panic

b.      That’s when Paul called out that EVERYONE must stay together – must trust God, and not themselves, or their ship, or their sweat anymore at all!


5.      And that is when the Centurion made HIS choice – to trust Paul’s faith!


a.       You see, Paul’s preaching, and joy, and rest throughout that storm so impressed the Centurion that he ordered the only lifeboat to be discarded

b.      WOW!

c.       1Co 1:21  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe

d.      That’s what it looks like when grown MEN get born again! They believe God all the way!


G.    The Results of Fully Believing God (27:35-44)


1.      A lot of things changed after that! A lot of good things happened!


a.       No. The storm didn’t go away

b.      And… the ship was still creaking and sinking, and being tossed around like a toy

c.       But other miracles were happening


2.      They stayed together – trusting GOD unifies prisoners, sailors, ship owners, soldiers, and sinners all into one group – that Jesus called a CHURCH! Forged by faith while in a storm!

3.      They relaxed and had something to eat – actually ate to their full (27:38)


a.       Even while the ship was still creaking and rising and falling, and tipping under the weight of the storm!

b.      You know, a good, committed trust in God, will settle a panicking heart, AND an upset stomach!


4.      Paul publically thanked and praised God for where they were, and for the gift of that little bit of food – WOW! No one argued with him and disagreed!

5.      The Captain purposely aimed the ship at the nearest river-mouth and ran it aground – not the normal thing to do! As a matter of fact, the most dangerous thing to do!


a.       Behind them was the raging storm, pulling them back out to sea

b.      Ahead was the shore – their ONLY destination

c.       And once they were jammed in between the rocks the ship was quickly falling apart!


6.      The soldiers were stopped from killing off all the prisoners


a.       The soldiers knew the rule about shipwrecked prisoners – they all must be killed

b.      Because there were murderers and criminals amongst them

c.       And if they escaped, they would be very dangerous and do more harm

d.      But to the head centurion, Paul was worth the risk


7.      So the centurion orders everyone overboard to try and swim to the shore, and those that could not swim, to hold onto whatever was floating

8.      All made it to shore! As the ship behind them crumbled, these 276 souls were hugging each other, and laughing and rejoicing that they were ALL alive, and safely ashore!

9.      All because ONE MAN believed God!


IV. Challenge


A.    Only the fool says there is no God

B.     But there are many more foolish people who refuse to trust God

C.    Jesus asks us to trust Him (John 16:33):


1.      Abraham did (Romans 4:18-21)

2.      When Paul decided to trust Jesus, he never wavered (2Tim 1:12)

3.      When you are tempted (1Cor 10:13) – you need to believe God!

4.      When you are alone (Hebrews 13:5) – you can fully rest in His care!

5.      When the storm is going on a little longer than you expected, you can wait patiently on Him

6.      When you have little or no faith (Mark 9:23,24)  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief

7.      Christian! Possess this testimony, that “I believe God”


a.       Not the soft winds of the good times – they are so rare and fleeting!

b.      Not the big ships of today’s technology (medical promises, future cars, Artificial intelligence, bigger governments)

c.       Not the abilities of myself or anyone else you may know

d.      Just rest in the precious, almighty Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ


V.    Conclusion


A.    Which of the FOUR Beliefs do YOU have – especially when storms hit?


1.      A belief in YOURSELF? Believing you don’t need religion, or God, or prayer, or anything besides yourself at the moment!

2.      A belief in SHIPS?


a.       So many people move from


1)      The small ship of Catholicism, to the ship of science

2)      From the sinking ship of Science to technology

3)      From failed technology to Yoga and meditation

4)      From empty yoga and meditation to hypnosis

5)      From useless hypnosis to drugs and drink!


b.      When someone stands up and warns you about what is ahead; concerned about your soul

c.       Don’t ignore him or her! They care about your soul!


3.      A belief in Your SWEAT?


a.       Many work so hard at doing good, and trying to get rid of guilt

b.      They believe that they will get through troubles, and even death if they just keep working hard – keep praying hard – keep doing what the church, or society says

c.       Others trust in the good works of others

d.      Believe me, when you are facing death, you will work super hard trying to get things right

e.       But it will never be enough


4.      Or A belief completely in the SAVIOUR?


B.     Faith is only as good as the Saviour you are trusting in!

C.    The Christian’s faith is a faith in Christ Jesus! And in what HE has promised


1.      It is absolute trust in One Saviour! One almighty God!

2.      The storm does NOT break his faith – it can’t! It reveals just how strong it is

3.      It trusts enough to STAND, when everything else has failed

4.      It is confident, facing the storm – the storm does not have to go away for God to do something awesome!

5.      Smiles, rejoices, rests, continues to believe God as if there was no storm at all!


D.    I know the hardest struggle you will ever have is to decide to just believe God

E.     Ladies and gentlemen, ‘I’ just believe God


1.      That doesn’t mean I don’t face struggles, storms, disasters

2.      It just means, every promise of God means more to me than life itself!

3.      I believe it is going to be just as my Saviour says it is going to be

4.      HE will get any and all who believe Him, safely through everything! Absolutely everything!

5.      You CAN trust it to be true!

6.      But do you?