Courage in the Unknown
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We are going to talk about courage. What is courage?
Courage is the ability to act even when frightened.
What is something that scares you?
We are going to read Acts 27. It is about Paul traveling to Rome. He is held as a prisoner because people didn’t like him sharing about Jesus. And Jesus appeared to Paul in a dream saying,
“Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Act 23:11 NIV)
Paul needed courage to follow Jesus. You are going to need courage to follow Jesus.
What are some things that you might need courage for?
Let’s read this passage and see if it helps us know how to have courage. We have some pictures on the screen you can look at while I read. If you have your Bible you can follow along.
Sails for Rome
And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. 3 The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. 4 And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5 And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 8 Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea. 9 Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there. 13 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore.
-This story is all about sailing. Do any of us sail? Who knows what a lee is? How is the Bible going to help us with Math.
Storm at Sea
14 But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. 15 And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. 17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along. 18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19 And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. 21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.” 27 When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. 28 So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms. 29 And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go. 33 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea. 39 Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore.
40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. 41 But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. 42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44 and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.
After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. 7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. 9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. 10 They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed. (Acts 27:1-10 ESV)
Courage comes from knowing God and trusting who he is.
- Know God
Paul knew God. He knew Jesus. He read his Bible. Went to church to learn about God. He prayed and prayed with other people. It’s hard to trust somebody you don’t know.
What if someone came up to you and said give me the keys to your car. Would you do it?
You know one of the things we can miss sometimes when we tell people to trust God, is that we assume they know he is trustworthy. Some people don’t know God and don’t trust him. They may not know he created all things and sustains all things.
Also need to know his love. If someone is mean and going to hurt me then I don’t want to trust them.
Paul knew God was someone he could trust. He knew God is holy and does what is right, just and fair. He knew God is powerful and sustains all things. He knew God was loving. And he knew God was all of these in the most absolute sense.
He knew this in Jesus. In Jesus God showed he had power over death. He showed he was righteous and required that we do the right thing. He knew God loves us and that is why he sent his Son into the world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
[But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! (Rom 5:8 CSB)
[For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, (Rom 5:10 NIV)
This is why we read our Bibles! Not weak minded people.
When you know God, and know he is good and powerful you then need to trust him.
- Trust God.
What are some of the scary things Paul went through. —————-
-Wind. Storms. Raging Sea. Snakes. Ship broken. Couldn’t see the sun or stars.
*Without food for 14 days.
All hope of being saved was lost.
Scariest thing is the unknown: may fail math, may not be liked, may not get married, may lose the job, may lose relationship with son, Covid, Vaccine, variant, masks, Taliban, etc. We just don’t know.
There are going to be things in life that make you feel really small. When something seems bigger than you, you get scared.
[25 So take courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.
He trusted what God said. But those waves are big. But the wind is strong. But the night is dark. Yes, those are true. But God has spoken. He has spoken in his word. We can rest in that.
[We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28 CSB)
[We think all things work together for good
We know all things work together for good.
Jesus told Paul what would happen and it happened just like that. Jesus has not told us all the details of our lives. But he has told us everything in this life will be used for our eternal good.
We often just want to get to Rome. We are goal oriented. God is process oriented. It’s not about just getting to Rome. He could have gotten Paul there in a hurry if he wanted to. But he is shaping Paul. And he is going to shape you through all the things you go through.
- Do what You Are Supposed to Do.
Don’t Do nothing.
Got to get ready for a big test at school. Sit down. Do Nothing.
Did Paul just say well, I’ll just trust God that he can get me out of this.
Don’t Hurt Others
*When you don’t trust God you don’t do what you are supposed to.
make excuses for hurting others.
When someone steals your lunch do you steal someone elses?
Some of the sailors made plans to lower a boat down so that they could escape. They were only thinking about themselves.
Don’t Ignore Good Advice
Paul told them this wasn’t a good idea to sail at this time of year.
God has given us brains, and other people. We want to use them.
Do what God Wants.
Rest in who God is.
Rest in what he says.
Rest in his plans.
Courage is not about
-telling yourself you can do this.
-I’m not scared.
-God’s got this.
Courage is about knowing God, knowing he has a purpose, and knowing he will enable us to do what he calls us to do. We rest in him.
There are times your boat gets broken and you are swimming for your life.
God is bigger than all these things. Will be times in life the winds blow, the ship breaks, people are attacking you, and viper’s biting, and sick and everything else. But God can make it stop at the snap of his finger. And there is nothing that can keep his plans for you from happening.