Where the Spirit Leads | Sean Patterson
“All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” – Romans 8:14
“Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” 11 But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. 12 And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor—a poor place to spend the winter—most of the crew wanted to go on to Phoenix, farther up the coast of Crete, and spend the winter there. Phoenix was a good harbor with only a southwest and northwest exposure.
13 When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. 14 But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea. 15 The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.
16 We sailed along the sheltered side of a small island named Cauda,[d] where with great difficulty we hoisted aboard the lifeboat being towed behind us. 17 Then the sailors bound ropes around the hull of the ship to strengthen it. They were afraid of being driven across to the sandbars of Syrtis off the African coast, so they lowered the sea anchor to slow the ship and were driven before the wind.
18 The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. 19 The following day they even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard. 20 The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.” - Acts 27:10-20
In scripture, storms usually symbolize forces that are stronger than us. They are reminders of how small and powerless we are. Spiritually speaking they usually represent suffering.
Somehow, storms are accelerators for us. If you survive it you are better off.
The general purpose of a storm is for your good and the specific purpose is godliness.
“You meant it for evil, God meant it for good.” – Genesis 50:20
“All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
“No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. 22 But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. 23 For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, 24 and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ 25 So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. 26 But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” - Acts 27:21-26
A shipwreck, by definition, is when the vehicle you trusted in to get you to your destination fails. Spiritually speaking, they refer to the losses of things we thought were meant to make it with us to the place God was taking us.
Storms and shipwrecks may rattle you, but their purpose is to help you reaffirm your commitment to Jesus.
30 Then the sailors tried to abandon the ship; they lowered the lifeboat as though they were going to put out anchors from the front of the ship. 31 But Paul said to the commanding officer and the soldiers, “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away.33 Just as day was dawning, Paul urged everyone to eat. “You have been so worried that you haven’t touched food for two weeks,” he said. 34 “Please eat something now for your own good. For not a hair of your heads will perish.” - Acts 27:30-34
One of the paradoxes of shipwrecks is that God is completely in control, yet, what I do matters.
“…yet through patient endurance you will possess your souls.” – Luke 21:19
Through suffering and loss, a mature, spirit-led believer learns that
I don’t need everything, I just need God, because if I have God, I have everything.
“Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. 2 The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us.
3 As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. 4 The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” 5 But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. 6 The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.” - Acts 28:1-6
Real Christians are having their self-importance destroyed bit by bit by the Spirit of God.
“There are thousands of men and women who go to church and chapels every Sunday, they call themselves Christians, but it’s not real, genuine Christianity. It satisfies sleepy consciences, but it’s not good money. Why? You never see any fight in their religion. A spiritual strife of exertion, of conflict with sin, of self-denial, of watching and warring. They know little at all… A true Christian is as known for inner warfare as for new inner peace.” – J.C. Ryle, Holiness.
Walking with God will comfort places where you were disturbed,
but it will also disturb places where you were comfortable.
“Near the shore where we landed was an estate belonging to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us and treated us kindly for three days. 8 As it happened, Publius’s father was ill with fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for him, and laying his hands on him, he healed him. 9 Then all the other sick people on the island came and were healed. 10 As a result we were showered with honors, and when the time came to sail, people supplied us with everything we would need for the trip.” - Acts 28:7-10
Serving isn’t something Paul did, it’s who he was.
Jesus died on the cross in service to us.