A raging storm began and all the permutations of the Captain and the Centurion have come to naught. The problems have started; they’ve trusted in the world knowledge, which is yielding no dividends. They were left with no ideas of safety or what to do and would have been convicted with the mantra of “we should have listened; we shouldn’t have sailed in the first place”. By this, they would be forced to now listen to the words of the ordinary prisoner who somewhat had another word of advice. No one doubts what he or she witnesses or sees. Now they know at the back of their minds that failure to follow this man (Apostle Paul) would land them in danger.
It is important to know that following the Father of the Church does not immunize you from the winds that MUST blow. I will rather step into the storm with God than step into it alone. When I step into it alone, the destruction would be very drastic but when I step into it with God, there is assurance of safety, like the Captain and Centurion will discover. As Christians, we need the storm for sifting and this could be in whatever form it appears. To listen, study and follow the words of this man, is to prepare for the storm. The person that goes through a storm is completely different from the person that comes out of it.
Our feelings and experiences will disappoint us just as they did for the Centurion, the owner and Captain of the ship. They were completely emptied of all they knew and had learnt. The Grace of God does not start or kick in until mankind has come to the end of himself. The many messages concocted by men today in the church are fast becoming an exercise in futility because they are not working for the people. Turning back to God and the plan He had laid down for the church is key and nothing else. One would therefore become fascinated about the warning Paul gave to Timothy: He told Timothy not to allow any other doctrine aside what he taught him and he was very serious about it.
This is not the case today; we have wandered off because we feel pragmatic about the things we are teaching even though they are contrary to what the Good Book says. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was right when he said, “Biblical truth is like the pinnacle of a steep slippery mountain, one step away and you find yourself on the downgrade. Once a church or an individual Christian gets on the downgrade, momentum takes over. And the slide begins. Recovery is unusual and it occurs, only when Christians get on the up line through spiritual revival.”
Friends, we are in an age of itching ears…modernism, experiences, spiritual sensitivities and feelings are fast taking over balanced Biblical teachings and presentations in the Church. We have resulted to increase our followership by bringing into the church, good worldly music and rhythm alongside popular comedians to make us laugh. We might be heading for that storm without taking Jesus with us.
When we continue to teach the wrong things in the church, like they lost control of the ship, we would also loose control and head for the inevitable wreck.
Now they are in the storm and the Father and Apostle of the Church is still there. Many would have drifted in their teaching and preaching; many false errors would have been concocted and presentations aside what was commanded in the Good Book would have been made; many would have landed in different storms and wondered on what they can do to come out safe from the storm. God is forever gracious and would always be there for us; He promised never to leave or forsake His own. You can turn back to following Paul; you can change your direction to what it’s meant to be; you can begin to teach from what the Apostle had laid down as DOCTRINES by which we can land safely even in the midst of a tumultuous storm.
Stormy times are good opportunities for us to drink from God; these are times our trust in Him is cemented like never before. This storm was an opportunity for the Centurion to put his trust in this ordinary prisoner. Luke documented that they lost their appetite for food, the Apostle Paul took his place in our midst and said, “Friends, you really should have listened to me back in Crete. We could have avoided all this trouble and trial. But there’s no need to dwell on that now. From now on, things are looking up! I can assure you that there’ll not be a single drowning among us, although I can’t say as much for the ship—the ship itself is doomed.”
The Apostle continued as he highlighted the visit from God even while they were on the ship, he said “Last night God’s angel stood at my side, an angel of this God I serve, saying to me, ‘Don’t give up, Paul. You’re going to stand before Caesar yet—and everyone sailing with you is also going to make it.’ So, dear friends, take heart. I believe God will do exactly what he told me. But we’re going to shipwreck on some island or the other.” The Word of the Lord comes as an encouragement that consoles us whilst we are yet in the unrestrained winds of life.
For the sake of the Apostle, all would be saved. The Centurion, the owner of the ship and the Captain had no choice but to listen to the advice of the Apostle. It was this common prisoner that said there would be a shipwreck and indeed there was one. He has come again to say all 276 passengers would be safe and no life would be lost, the Centurion had no choice but to listen to the man so as not to suffer a second heartache.
The officials in the ship did all they could do to save the ship but all was to no avail. They threw all the four anchors into the water and when the soldiers felt there was no hope, they decided to kill all the prisoners aboard the ship. The Centurion wanted to save Paul, so he decided against their evil suggestion. Some will always be against Paul in the church today; they will come back to him and stay grounded (just like the Centurion in this case) in doctrine. We have no choice but to stay focused with the teaching of the doctrines laid down by this great Apostle.
Whilst in the storm, we are left with no choice but to continue to read and study from our Apostle so that we can be encouraged and consoled till the storm calms down rather than allow the same storm distract us from following Paul or the Word of God; for many will trust in their feelings for guidance instead of the Word. In other words, for us to trust in worldview or market place knowledge instead of the Word of God is to be in error.
Timothy, You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant – Apostle Paul.
Again, a refusal to follow or an abject refusal to teach or preach the doctrines laid down by the greatest theological and Father of the Church, ends in turmoil, mayhem and confusion, like we have today. All who sail with Paul will eventually be saved.