Sailing, Shipwreck, and the Promises of God

As one reads Acts 27 all the details about this journey may seem a little overboard.

However, the purpose of Acts is to detail the spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (1:8). This chapter gives specific details how God fulfilled his promise to Paul that he would go to Rome (23:11). God’s glory is clearly seen in every detail!

What can be learned about God’s promises from this chapter? Before you consider these, I would encourage you to read Acts 27 first.

  1. God’s promises and providence include, not exclude, the means he uses to fulfill his promises and accomplish his purposes
    • Prayer, 24 (Evidently sometime during the storm Paul had prayed, expressing his fears and praying for God’s deliverance)
    • Retaining sailors, 31
    • Eating food, 33–36
    • Directing the ship toward the beach, 40
    • Throwing off excess weight, 40
    • Preserving life, 42–43
    • Swimming to shore, 43–44
  2. No matter how bad the situation may seem, God’s promises are never in jeopardy.
  3. God’s promises should cheer you (v. 22), no matter how strongly the storms of life may rage, vv. 22, 25
  4. When times are difficult we must encourage one another with God’s promises, vv. 23–25
  5. God’s promises provide the basis for praying in faith, v. 24
  6. Believe God’s promises “exactly as you have been told,” v. 25
  7. The Geneva Bible’s note at v. 25 says, “The promise is made effectual through faith.”
    • God promises eternal life to sinners, but if they do not believe they will not be saved
    • God promises to guard your heart and mind, but if you do not do Phil 4:6–7; 1 Pet 5:7 you will worry and be unsettled
    • God promises to build his church, but we must pray, preach, live godly lives, biblical worship, etc.
  8. While God’s promises are clear and understandable, they do not tell us every detail that will happen
    • we must exercise faith, vv. 25–26ff
    • we must do those things Scripturally necessary, essential, and consistent with the promise, v. 34
  9. Christians should always give thanks for God’s regular, daily provision of food, v. 35
  10. God’s almighty power to fulfill his promises doesn’t mean we can
    • Be lazy and do nothing
    • Not use the means he has given us
    • Do foolish things (cf. God’s promise to Hezekiah protecting Jerusalem didn’t mean he could just open the gates to the Assyrians, Isa 37:35)