Picture of a storm and a lighthouse

Take Heart

Our passage today is from Acts 27:1–44. The church’s sermon is titled “Take Heart.” This is a summary of pastor Earl Marshall’s sermon from Hope Bible Church in Oakville, Ontario. This week’s whole church service is available in the video below.

When All Seems Hopeless

Acts 27:1-20. Paul is now on his way to Rome. Aristarchus, Luke, and some other companions of Paul were on this voyage. Back then, prisoners had to take care of their own needs. That’s why these brothers were with Paul and helping him out. Here is a helpful map of the voyage:

Paul's Voyage to Rome Map
Paul’s Voyage to Rome

Paul was a different kind of prisoner. The other prisoners were criminals. He was already declared not guilty of his charges. The centurion didn’t pay attention to Paul’s advice of not sailing and they ended up in a difficult situation.

‘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. ‘

Acts 27:20

Their situation became hopeless and everyone on board was convinced that they’re about to die. They gave up on hope.

Take Heart

Acts 27:21-25. They had food on board but didn’t eat. They had no appetite to eat at all as they were holding on to dear life. Paul urged them to “take heart.” This means to be cheerful! Everything is going poorly for them and the apostle Paul is telling them to cheer up! Paul is not giving them a pep talk, he’s giving them a word from the Lord. How is he able to do that? What is Paul’s perspective? What is the difference between his perspective and everyone else’s? The difference is faith in God.

‘For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 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.’ ‘

Acts 27:23-24

Paul said this is the God whom I belong to. He’s basically saying that He is caring for me. The word “worship” means “whom I serve.” He’s saying that God has called me. Paul had put his faith in God’s word and His promise that the angel had given him. We can count on Him to take care of us. He is our shepherd. Psalm 23:1-3.

What’s the difference between hope and hopelessness? Faith in God; in who He is, what He’s done, and faith in his word. Isaiah 40:8. The word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 26:3-4. The Lord is an everlasting rock, we can trust in Him.

God Keeps His Word

Acts 27:25-44. Paul took leadership of the situation and everyone now started listening to them. God is in control, He had a plan, and He fulfills that plan. As chaotic as was this situation, God was in control then, and He’s in control today. God is in control of this COVID-19 crisis today. The challenge for us is to know what God’s promise is in the midst of difficulty. It would be nice for an angel to appear to us today. However, we have the living word of God with us. We also have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

God works in very different ways. He could have just stopped the storm like how He did with the disciples when He ordered the storm to be still. God uses trials and chaos to produce character in our lives. God’s grace is sufficient in our hard times. When we are weak then we are strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10.

When all seems hopeless, take heart because God keeps his word.

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