Sermon Outline

Sermon Outline

Guidance Through Godly Meditation

KEY PASSAGE: Acts 27

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: Proverbs 3:5-6

SUMMARY

Meditation is a vital aspect of the Christian life.

It’s a sacred opportunity to be alone with the Lord. Even though we’re busy, our time of meditation must be guarded and protected because it’s the means by which we absorb the truths of Scripture into our hearts and minds, receive spiritual nourishment and guidance, and grow in our Christian lives.

SERMON POINTS

Meditation simply means focusing our hearts, lives, souls, and spirits on God by listening and responding to Him so we can grow spiritually. Although we can meditate on just a couple of verses, it’s also possible to think deeply about an entire chapter. Every part of the Bible is filled with truths, even those which at first glimpse may seem irrelevant to our lives. Acts 27 is just such an example. Although it’s a story about a storm at sea that ends in a shipwreck, there is much God can teach us from this passage.

Meditation on Acts 27

This chapter is the account of Paul’s travels by sea as a prisoner on his way to Rome to present his case before Caesar. Although the contrary winds made sailing difficult, the ship eventually arrived at the island of Crete. At this point, they had to decide whether to proceed with their journey or stay at their current harbor because sailing had become very dangerous (vv. 1-9).

Meditation protects us from listening to wrong voices.

Paul warned them, saying, “Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives” (v. 10). However, the centurion who was in charge of the prisoners was more persuaded by the pilot and captain of the ship than by Paul. Since Fair Harbor wasn’t suitable for wintering, the majority decided to put out to sea in an attempt to reach a safer harbor where they could spend the winter. Therefore, when a moderate south wind came up, they assumed this was their opportunity. However, after setting sail, a violent wind called Euraquilo caught the ship and drove it out to sea (vv. 11-15).

Meditation keeps us focused on what God says. If we neglect this practice, we could easily be led astray by other people’s advice, the majority opinion, or our own perspective based on human logic or the appearance of circumstances. None of these are reliable sources for making decisions because God’s will is only revealed in His Word. When we read Scripture, we are listening to the right voice—that of the Lord, who is our wise, personal counselor.

None of us are so competent that we don’t need God’s help. We never know what a day will bring. Like the centurion and sailors who left the port, we could find ourselves in an unforeseen storm. They expected a short trip to the next harbor but instead were driven out to sea and eventually shipwrecked. The unwise advice they accepted proved to be very costly.

Meditation helps us in life’s storms.

During the next few weeks the ship was so violently stormtossed that they began to lose hope. After many days, Paul admonished them for not following his advice but also encouraged them saying, “Now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on a certain island” (vv. 22-26).

When some of the sailors tried to escape the ship, Paul warned the centurion and soldiers, “Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved” (v. 31). This time the soldiers listened to his advice and thwarted the escape plan. As a result, everything happened exactly as Paul predicted. The ship ran aground, but all 276 people survived because they trusted Paul’s advice.

Their rescue was the result of God’s faithfulness to Paul. He had decreed that Paul would go to Rome, and nothing including a storm and shipwreck could hinder His purpose. And the same is true of our lives as well. In our storms, whether physical, spiritual, emotional, or any other trying circumstance, meditation on God’s Word is our connection to Him and a stabilizing anchor. When we’re engulfed by uncertainty and losing hope, He gives us the guidance we need. But if we ignore Him, and rely on ourselves, we could suffer shipwreck and great loss.

Applications from Acts 27

This chapter teaches us what we are to do and how we are to respond in the various situations we face each day.

  • The most important activity in the life of a follower of Jesus is time spent alone with Him in meditation on His Word. It was a priority in Paul’s life and should be in ours as well. As we listen to His voice speaking through His Word, we are rescued from making foolish decisions and suffering the resulting consequences. Since God loved us enough to give His Son as a sacrifice for our sins and has kept us to this point, He will surely give us the guidance and protection we need for the future.
  • Make decisions based on the will of God. As those who have been saved by Christ, we are obligated to obey Him, not only in big decisions but in small ones which seem inconsequential. Through meditation on Scripture, the Lord warns us to be careful how we live, admonishes us not to sin, and tells us what to do. We learn what He desires to accomplish in our lives and how He wants us to respond to people and situations. God is continually working in our behalf, nurturing us through His Word, and empowering us by the Holy Spirit to understand and obey whatever He says.

RESPONSE

  • Is meditation on the Lord a priority in your life? What situations keep you from being consistent?
  • Have you set aside time each day to spend with God in His Word and prayer? To develop a consistent habit of meditation, pick a time that works for you. When do you have the fewest distractions? How can you work around responsibilities and family dynamics to come up with the best time?
  • When reading Scripture, are you quick to give up on passages that are difficult to understand or don’t seem relevant? If so, reread it asking the Lord to give you understanding and teach you how to apply His truths to your life.
Bible

Bible

1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan cohort named Julius.

2 And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia, we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica.

3 The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care.

4 From there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary.

5 When we had sailed through the sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.

6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it.

7 When we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone;

8 and with difficulty sailing past it we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

9 When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them,

10 and said to them, ``Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."

11 But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul.

12 Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

13 When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, close inshore.

14 But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called Euraquilo;

15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along.

16 Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, we were scarcely able to get the ship's boat under control.

17 After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along.

18 The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison the cargo;

19 and on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.

20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.

21 When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, ``Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss.

22 Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

23 For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me,

24 saying, `Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.'

25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.

26 But we must run aground on a certain island."

27 But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land.

28 They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms.

29 Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak.

30 But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship's boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow,

31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, ``Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved."

32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it fall away.

33 Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, ``Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing.

34 Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish."

35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.

36 All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.

37 All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six persons.

38 When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.

39 When day came, they could not recognize the land; but they did observe a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could.

40 And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders; and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach.

41 But striking a reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves.

42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape;

43 but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land,

44 and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.