Captains of Salvation In the Midst of Raging Storms

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament account of the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ—the Church—as it was written and recorded in the book of Acts by the physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-six verses of this New Testament book. “And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto oner named Julius, a centurion of Augustus band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchcus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. And when we have launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein” (Acts 27:1-6).

 

“And when he had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; and, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens: nigh whereunto was the cry of Lasea. Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast wast now already past, Paul admonished them, and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the landing and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west. And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete” (Acts 27:7-13).

 

But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempst, the next day they lightened the shipl and the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abistence , Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island” (Acts 27:14-26).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the long awaited journey of the apostle Paul toward the city of Rome finally beginning. After at least a minimum of two years after he returned unto the city of Jerusalem and was bound and placed in two chains by the chief captain of the band the apostle would now be headed unto the capital city of the Roman Empire. What makes this truly interesting is when you consider the fact that as the apostle made the journey unto the city of Jerusalem he knew that bonds and afflictions awaited and abided him in every city he journeyed unto. The apostle Paul knew according to the prophetic word of Agagus the Judaea prophet who came unto the house of Philip the evangelist that he would be bound by the Jews in Jerusalem and would be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles. The apostle Paul would not make any attempt to avoid the city of Jerusalem and even told those who were present in the house of Philip the evangelist that he was not only willing to be bound only but also to lay down his life for the sake of the name of the Lord Jesus. Paul would indeed venture unto the city of Jerusalem and when the seven days of purification were almost over the Jews which had come from Asia would notice him in the Temple of the Lord. As a direct result of the Jews noticing the apostle Paul in the Temple they would immediately seize and lay hold of him crying out with a loud voice to all those in the Temple concerning this man who had preached and taught the gospel of the Lord Jesus. Those Jews which came from Asia—perhaps the very same Jews which set Thessalonica on edge against the apostle Paul, Barnabas and Timothy as well as Berea and Corinth—would call for the help of all those present in the midst of the city concerning this man who they claimed not only preached against the Law of Moses, but also against the Temple of the Lord and even against the Jewish people themselves.

 

            I read the final chapters of this New Testament book and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul and how although he would be bound with two chains after the chief captain of the band delivered the apostle out of the hands of the Jews those chains would provide the apostle with an incredible platform. You cannot read the words found in these chapters and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the apostle and how the Lord Jesus would take and transform his bonds into a powerful platform in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Although the apostle Paul would indeed be bound with two chains it would be those chains that would ultimately allow and afford the apostle Paul to provide a witness and testimony concerning the Lord Jesus there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. It would be bound with the chains the chief captain of the band had bound the apostle in he would stand before all those who were gathered round about him in Jerusalem and speak unto them concerning the mighty and powerful witness of the Lord Jesus. There in the city of Jerusalem the apostle Paul would provide witness and testimony of the Lord Jesus and how the Lord Jesus had appeared unto him at about the noon and midday hour as he was traveling unto the city of Damascus. Moreover the apostle Paul would declare and speak unto those in the midst of the city of Jerusalem of his former manner of life—how he was one who vehemently persecuted the Church and the followers of the way. The apostle Paul would commit men and women to prison and even gave his voice and consent unto their being put to death. This would even include Stephen the church’s first martyr whom the apostle Paul would voice his consent and voice of approval toward. It would be this misguided passion and zeal within the soul of the apostle Paul that would not only cause him to persecute the church but also persecute them unto the death and believe he was doing God a service.

 

            Before I move any further in this particular passage of Scripture I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the zeal which was found within the apostle Paul. If you read the words which are found in the twenty-second and twenty-sixth chapters of this New Testament book you will find two different accounts of the apostle Paul giving testimony and bearing witness concerning his former manner of life. In both Jerusalem and in Caesarea the apostle Paul would speak of a zeal which was present within his heart—a zeal which consumed him so much to the point where he actually set out to persecute the church of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul would enter into houses and homes dragging men and women out as he committed them unto prison while they awaited possibly being put to death. Moreover the apostle Paul would even obtain letters from the high priest and religious leaders authorizing him to journey unto strange cities to bring back bound any whom he found as being followers of the way. Those whom the apostle Paul would find to be followers of the way he would bring back bound unto the city of Jerusalem where they would be imprisoned while they awaited their immediate and swift death. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s the tremendous truth surrounding the misguided zeal found within the heart and soul of the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul was indeed filled with a tremendous zeal—a zeal which he would even write and speak of when writing unto the Philippian saints—and yet that zeal was incredibly misguided. The apostle Paul was indeed zealous and believed that zeal was in fact a good thing within his life and yet the truth of the matter is that his zeal was accomplishing nothing more than wreaking havoc against the church of the Lord Jesus and would even be persecuting the Lord Jesus.

 

            Perhaps one of the questions I find myself asking upon reading these words concerns and pertains to the zeal which is present within our hearts—and not only the zeal which is present within our hearts but also our thinking and believing that we are indeed and are in fact pleasing the living God and doing Him a service. Remember the words which the Lord Jesus spoke unto his disciples which are recorded for us in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John. In the opening verses of the sixteenth chapter of this gospel the apostle John recorded Jesus speaking unto His disciples and declaring how the days were coming when those who would persecute and even kill them would think and believe they were doing a service unto the living God. That which we find in the life of the apostle Paul must needs be strongly considered for it not only speaks to zeal but also to that which we believe is pleasing in the sight of the living God. What is so incredibly unique about the life of the apostle Paul is how he was not only zealous within his heart and soul—a zeal which caused him to vehemently and rigorously persecute the church of the Lord Jesus—but also how he believed that he was actually doing a service before and unto the living God. The apostle Paul cared absolutely nothing for this Jesus of Nazareth whom the original apostles preached and whom men and women during those days walked with and followed—only that they be imprisoned and put to death. For the apostle Paul he firmly believed that his persecuting the followers of the way was indeed doing a service unto the living God and that he was actually pleasing Him with his actions.

 

            Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within the New Testament book of Acts for it points to the tremendous truth that we can indeed be zealous in this life and yet that zeal can in fact be misguided. The apostle Paul was indeed zealous within his heart and soul and yet that zeal would be entirely and altogether misguided as he truly thought and believed he was doing a good work. When writing unto the saints which were at Philippi the apostle Paul would speak unto them concerning zeal and how his zeal caused him to persecute the church of the Lord Jesus. What we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in this New Testament book is that it is possible for us to be zealous and to possess a tremendous amount of zeal within our hearts and souls and yet that zeal can be entirely and altogether misguided. There are those among us in the church and even those outside the church in the world who are indeed and are in fact zealous and that zeal is driving them to engage themselves in certain activities which they believe are truly necessary. There is not a doubt in my mind the apostle Paul viewed that which he was doing as necessary and therefore continued to carry out the work which he was doing in the earth. The apostle Paul was incredibly zealous within his heart and soul and it was that zeal which prompted him to rise up against and persecute the church of the Lord Jesus. That zeal which was present within the heart and soul of the apostle Paul while he was still Saul of Tarsus would drive him to do what he felt was a necessary work within the earth. Oh that we would recognize and understand this for I am convinced that there are countless men and women among us today who need to examine the zeal within their hearts and souls—and not only examine the zeal within their hearts and souls but also what that zeal is driving and has driven them to do.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning the apostle Paul is that not only was he zealous but he also believed he was doing a service unto the living God. I am absolutely convinced that misguided zeal partnered together with a belief that one is pleasing the living God can be a dangerous combination. For the apostle Paul he possessed a tremendous zeal and fervor within his heart and soul and even believed that he was doing a work and service unto the living God. On the road to Damascus, however, the apostle Paul would encounter the Lord Jesus who met him along the way and would reveal Himself as the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom he was persecuting. Stop and consider how on the road to Damascus the apostle Paul would encounter the Lord Jesus who would reveal to him how his zeal and his belief that he was doing God a work and service was actually nothing more than persecuting the Lord Jesus. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous truth surrounding this particular reality for the apostle Paul would possess a tremendous zeal within his heart and soul and would even believe he was doing God a work and service and yet what he was actually doing was persecuting the Lord Jesus. Remember the words which the Lord Jesus spoke and how He declared many would come to Him in that day calling Him Lord, Lord and yet were those who did not do the will of the Father. Jesus would speak and declare how there would be those who would speak of their prophesying in His name, and those who cast out demons in His name and even those who did many great works in His name—perhaps those who believed that what they were doing was pleasing the living God—and yet not only would He declare unto them He never knew them but He would even refer to them as workers of iniquity.

 

            What we must needs recognize and realize when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that the apostle Paul believed his zeal was justified and that he was doing a work unto the living God only to find and discover that what he was doing was actually persecuting the Lord Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how incredibly necessary it is to understand within our own hearts and lives. There is something which must be recognized within our own hearts and lives concerning the zeal we possess within our hearts and souls. Moreover—not only must we take a good look at and examine the zeal within our hearts and souls but we must also take a look at whether or not we believe what we are doing is pleasing the living God and is even doing a work before and unto Him. It is possible to be zealous and to even engage ourselves in works and actions which we think is pleasing in the sight of the living God and that we are doing Him a service and yet what we are doing is nothing more than smoke and mirrors and an affront to Him. Oh there is something to be said about the apostle Paul who traveled on the road to Damascus and discovered that his persecution of the church—that which he believed was pleasing the living God and a service before Him—was nothing more than persecution of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul would encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality that his actions of persecuting the church of the Lord Jesus was actually persecuting Jesus Himself. Oh while the apostle Paul was wreaking havoc against and upon the church he did not even think or believe that he was persecuting the Lord Jesus Himself and it wouldn’t be until the Lord Jesus appeared unto Him on the way to Damascus he would discover that his actions were actually persecuting Jesus of Nazareth.

 

            WHEN THE VEIL IS PULLED BACK! WHEN OUR WORKS ARE REVEALED! I have to admit how I absolutely love what we find in the ninth, twenty-second and twenty-sixth chapters of this New Testament book—not only because the Lord revealed Himself unto the apostle Paul but also because the Lord would pull the veil back which surrounded the actions of the apostle Paul. It would be there on the road to Damascus at about midday when a great light would shine before and all around the apostle Paul and those who were with him and would declare unto him how He was Jesus whom he was persecuting. It is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand just how incredible this truly is for it brings us face to face with the true nature and reality of that which the apostle Paul was doing. The apostle Paul thought and believed he was doing God a service and pleasing Him and yet what he would find himself doing was not only persecuting the Lord Jesus but also fighting against God Himself. Pause for a moment and consider how the very one whom the apostle Paul thought He was pleasing  was actually the very one He was fighting against. Stop and consider the fact the apostle Paul believed he was doing God a service and pleasing Him in this life and yet what he was actually doing was fighting against and resisting the living God while at the same time persecuting the Lord Jesus. FIGHTING AGAINST GOD AND PERSECUTING CHRIST! Oh while it is true that we might not be persecuting the Lord Jesus with our actions we must needs truly examine and evaluate our zeal and understand and recognize whether or not we are actually pleasing the living God. We must needs ask ourselves whether or not in our zeal we are actually fighting against and resisting the Holy One of Israel as the apostle Paul himself was doing.

 

            I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the actions and endeavors we attempt to carry out in this life and whether or not we believe we are actually doing God a service and are pleasing Him. The words and language which are found in chapters nine, twenty-two and twenty-six are incredibly necessary for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul and how the apostle truly believed he was doing God a service. The apostle Paul was consumed in his zeal and I would even dare say he was consumed in his hatred for the followers of the way who were teaching and preaching the gospel of this Jesus of Nazareth. If you take and consider this in light of the words which are found in the seventh chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Paul you will find that not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven but only those who do the will of the Father. There is a tremendous need for us to recognize and pay close attention to this for it calls and draws our attention to the reality that we must needs examine our hearts and lives and consider whether or not our zeal is nothing more than misguided emotion and passion that is actually doing nothing more than fighting against and resisting the Lord Jesus. I am absolutely and completely convinced there are a number of men and women among us in this generation who possess a great amount of zeal and a great amount of passion and are doing many things with it and yet what they are doing is nothing more than fighting against and resisting the living God. Such individuals might even be building churches, preaching behind pulpits, and so many other things we would consider as being noble and righteous and yet what they are doing is nothing short of fighting against and resisting the living God.

 

            Would it shock and surprise you if I told you that it is possible for us to believe we are doing God a service and yet what we are actually doing is nothing more than fighting against and resisting Him? Would you be surprised if I told you that your zeal and passion—even if it is causing you to do those things which you believe are pleasing in the sight of the living God—is misguided and actually causing you to do those things which aren’t pleasing in the sight of the living God? The apostle Paul possessed both zeal and a belief that what he was doing was pleasing in the sight of the living God and yet he would come face to face with the fact that he was fighting against and resisting God as well as persecuting the Lord Jesus. Oh there is a great need for us to recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth of the zeal, the passion and the fervor which is found within our hearts and souls. We might think and believe we are doing God a service and are even pleasing Him with our words and our actions and yet it’s highly possible that what we are doing is actually nothing more than fighting against and resisting Him. I am sure those who cast out demons in the name of the Lord Jesus, those who prophesied many things in the name of the Lord Jesus and those who did many mighty and wonderful works in the name of the Lord Jesus actually believed they were pleasing the living God and maybe even doing the will of the Father who was in heaven. What Jesus does, however, is pull the veil back from before their “works” which were done in the earth and reveal that they were those who did not know nor do the will of the Father. What’s more is that the Lord Jesus revealed that those who did not know or do the will of the Father which is in heaven are those who were workers of iniquity and those whom He did not know.

 

            There is something to be said about those who possess a zeal, a passion and a fervor within their hearts and souls and how such individuals might think and believe they are doing God a service and are walking in a manner that is pleasing unto Him. With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the truth that there are in fact people who are zealous and passionate and who are in fact doing that which pleases the Father. There are individuals who are zealous and passionate and who are actually walking in a manner which pleases the living God and who are known in heaven by the Lord Jesus. We must not think that zeal and passion within the heart and soul of an individual automatically means they are fighting against and resisting God and even persecuting the Lord Jesus. There are in fact men and women among us who are walking in and according to the will of the Father and who are truly known in heaven by the Lord Jesus. There are others, however, who possess a zeal and passion within their hearts and souls who are doing nothing more than fighting against and resisting the living God. The apostle Paul thought and believed that he was doing God a service and pleasing Him and yet he would encounter and come face to face with the Lord Jesus as he traveled on the road to Damascus. It would be while traveling on the road to Damascus the apostle Paul would encounter the true nature of what he was doing—namely persecuting the Lord Jesus and resisting and fighting against the Lord Jesus. There surrounded and encompassed by this brilliant light and there in the presence of the Lord Jesus the apostle Paul would be brought face to face with the awesome truth that what he was doing was nothing more than fighting against and resisting the living God while at the same time persecuting the Lord Jesus.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in these three chapters of the New Testament book of Acts and I am brought face to face with the reality that there is a great need for us to examine the zeal and passion which is present within our hearts and lives. It is possible for the zeal and passion within our hearts and souls to bring us to the place of action in the earth and yet we must needs recognize that it is possible to have action without and apart from the will of the Father. It is possible to have action without and apart from actually pleasing the living God whom we profess to worship and serve. Jesus made it perfectly and abundantly clear that even those who thought and believed they were doing many wonderful things in His name were actually workers of iniquity whom He didn’t know. What’s more is I would dare say that it was possible for those individuals to do these many great and wonderful works in the name of the Lord Jesus and yet they never truly did the will of the Father. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and come face to face with the reality of the passion and zeal within our own hearts and souls and come face to face with whether or not we are pleasing the living God. I am absolutely convinced that two of the greatest realities within our hearts and lives is not only doing the will of the Father but actually being known in heaven of the Lord Jesus. Within the seventh chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we are brought face to face with the fact that there is a great need within our hearts and lives to not only know and do the will of the Father but also be known in heaven of the Lord Jesus. I would dare say there are a number of men and women among us in the earth who think and believe they are doing many wonderful works in the name of the Lord Jesus and might even be doing many wonderful works and yet those works are not according to the will of the Father which is in heaven.

 

            As I prepare to transition to the words and language that is found within the twenty-seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts I find it absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth whether or not we are indeed those who not only know the will of the Father in heaven but are also those who are actively doing the will of the Father which is in heaven. What’s more is there is something truly powerful about those who are known in heaven of the Lord Jesus and who instead of being workers of iniquity are actually workers of righteousness. There is something to be said about those who recognize and understand the will of the Father in the earth and who commit themselves to doing that will in the earth. We have a great need within our hearts and lives to be those who are walking in a manner that pleases the living God and is not simply rooted and grounded in a zeal and passion we believe is authorized by the living God. For the apostle Paul he believed that what he was doing was actually pleasing in the sight of the living God only to find and discover that what he was doing was fighting against and resisting Him. What I love about this particular truth is that the Lord Jesus showed him the error of his ways on this side of eternity  before it was too late. The apostle Paul who at that time was known as Saul of Tarsus could have spent his entire life persecuting the church of the Lord Jesus and could have made it his life ambition and goal to do so and come to the end of his life not knowing that everything he believed and worked for was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The apostle Paul could have been permitted to spend the rest of his days and natural life persecuting the church of the Lord Jesus and learned on the other side of eternity that what he was doing was fighting against God and persecuting the Lord Jesus.

 

            The reason I mention this concept of the apostle Paul encountering the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus is because in His mercy, in His grace and in His sovereignty the Lord Jesus appeared unto Saul and showed him the error of his ways while there was still time to turn his life around and be redirected in an entirely different manner. The Lord Jesus appeared unto the apostle Paul while he was traveling unto the city of Damascus with letters authorizing him to bring back unto the city of Jerusalem those whom he would bind and commit unto prison while they awaited their death at the hands of those in the city. What we must needs recognize and understand, however, is the Lord Jesus appeared unto Saul of Tarsus on this side of eternity while there was still time for the trajectory of his life to be redirected. We must needs pay attention to this for it is my prayer the Lord Jesus appears and reveals Himself unto men and women in this generation on this side of eternity while there is still time to change and alter the trajectory and path of their lives. I absolutely love how the apostle Paul would encounter the Lord Jesus while there was still time for his life to be changed and transformed and if there is one thing that is so moving about his testimony in Jerusalem and Caesarea it’s that the Lord Jesus in His grace and mercy would appear unto the apostle Paul and completely and utterly change the entire direction of his life. The Lord Jesus would appear unto the apostle Paul while he was traveling along the road to Damascus—not only because there was a great work which he must do in the earth but also indicating there was still time in this natural life to change directions and pursue the will of the Father and follow the Lord Jesus. Oh how truly awesome and wonderful it is to read the words which are found in these three chapters in the New Testament book of Acts and encounter the Lord Jesus who was willing to appear unto Saul of Tarsus and not only reveal Himself unto him but also set him on the path that would not only transform him into the apostle Paul but would also bring the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus unto the Gentiles.

 

            With all of this being said I find it necessary to transition to the words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of this New Testament book. As you come to the twenty-seventh chapter of this book you will find that after two plus years of being present in Caesarea the apostle Paul would begin his journey unto the city of Rome. Having not only stood and appeared before Annas the high priest, and Festus and Felix and even Agrippa the apostle Paul would now prepare for his journey unto the city of Rome itself. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand that the journey of the apostle Paul unto the city of Rome would be according to the word and will of the Father for the Lord Jesus would appear unto him while he was still in the city of Jerusalem and declare that just as he had borne witness of Him in Jerusalem so also must he bear witness of Him in the city of Rome. That which makes the journey of the apostle Paul unto the city of Rome truly interesting is when you consider that he himself might very well have been set at liberty after Agrippa, Festus and Felix all heard his witness and testimony. In fact it is in the final verses of the twenty-sixth chapter we discover how the apostle Paul might have been put at liberty were it not for his appealing unto Caesar. What’s more is the only reason the apostle Paul appealed unto Caesar is because he was asked by Festus if he would return unto Jerusalem and there stand trial and be judged according to the law of his own people. What we also know from the twenty-sixth chapter is that had the apostle Paul returned unto the city of Jerusalem there were those who were conspiring to kill him and put him to death. Luke makes it very clear that there was in fact a second plot against the apostle Paul to kill him and whether or not he was aware of it is not entirely known.

 

            As you read the words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find that after having stood before Festus, Felix, Agrippa, Annas and others in Caesarea the apostle Paul would finally head toward the city of Rome. What’s more is it was the will of the Lord Jesus the apostle Paul actually bear witness of Him and testify concerning Him in the city of Rome. The apostle Paul who had preached the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus unto both Jews and Gentiles alike and the apostle who had borne witness and testimony of the Lord Jesus before political and religious rulers of that generation would now head toward Rome where he would bear witness and testimony of the Lord Jesus. In fact it is actually quite interesting to think about and consider how far reaching the word and gospel of the Lord Jesus would become during the days of the apostles and the early church for the Lord Jesus would send the apostle Paul unto the city of Rome where he would bear witness of the Lord Jesus. Although the apostle Paul appealed to Caesar in terms of his trial and judgment he would actually journey unto the city of Rome that he might bear witness and give testimony of the Lord Jesus in the midst of it. The apostle Paul had fulfilled his work in the midst of those regions and places the Lord Jesus would send him and the time had now come for the apostle Paul to make his way unto the city of Rome where he would bear witness and give testimony of the Lord Jesus. In fact it was the Lord Jesus Himself who revealed unto the apostle Paul that just as he had borne witness and given testimony concerning Him in the city of Jerusalem so also must he give testimony concerning Him in the city of Rome.

 

            When you come to the twenty-seventh chapter of this New Testament book you will find it being determined that the apostle Paul and others should sail into Italy. As a direct result of this the apostle Paul and certain other prisoners were delivered unto one named Julius who was a centurion of Augustus’ band. I have to admit the words and language we find in the twenty-seventh chapter of this New Testament book are actually quite remarkable when you consider it for within the first twenty-six verses of this chapter you will find that while the apostle Paul, the other prisoners who were with him, and those who were aboard the ships which were sailing toward the city of Rome would encounter winds which would indeed buffet them as they set out upon their journey. In fact you cannot read the words which are presented before us in this chapter and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous resistance that seemed to be against the ships which would sail toward the city of Rome. In all reality it almost seems as if there were events occurring in the natural realm that were designed to prevent the apostle Paul from making his way unto the city of Rome. We know the Lord Jesus had appeared unto the apostle Paul and declared that just as he had given witness concerning Him in the city of Jerusalem so also must he give witness in the city of Rome. What we find here in the twenty-seventh chapter,  however, is an apparent resistance against the journey of the apostle Paul unto the city of Rome. In all reality it’s almost as if there were forces which were working to try and prevent the apostle Paul from making his way unto the city of Rome. What’s more is it’s almost as if there were unseen forces working and seeking to put the apostle Paul to death that he might not arrive to the city of Rome.

 

            I read the words which are found in these verses and I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the awesome and tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul and how the apostle Paul and those who were upon the ship would find themselves contending with nature itself as they made their way unto the city of Rome. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find and read within these chapters is a strong and powerful picture of the tremendous resistance which was present against the apostle Paul as though unseen forces were working behind the scenes to prevent the apostle Paul from coming unto the city of Rome. What we must needs recognize is that if it was the will of the Lord Jesus for the apostle Paul to bear witness and give testimony concerning Him in the midst of the city of Rome then it would be the desire and ambition of the enemy and adversary to prevent the apostle Paul from arriving in the city. Undoubtedly the enemy and adversary had witnessed and beheld the tremendous work the apostle Paul had done in Macedonia and in Asia and was now seeking to prevent the apostle Paul from coming unto the city of Rome. More than likely the enemy was seeking to do anything and everything he could to keep and prevent the apostle Paul from making his way unto the city of Rome for he was absolutely terrified and petrified of what would and could take place in the midst of the city upon the arrival of the apostle Paul. Having witnessed what was accomplished through the apostle Paul in various other cities and regions of the world during those days the enemy and adversary would seek to do anything and everything he could to keep the apostle Paul from making his way unto the city of Rome. The city of Rome you will note was the capital city of the Roman Empire and the seat of the ultimate and natural authority within and upon the earth. For the apostle Paul to make his way unto the city of Rome would mean the gospel of the Lord Jesus and perhaps His greatest champion of the gospel would come unto this capital city of the Roman Empire.

 

            The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I can’t help but see a tremendous attempt to prevent the apostle Paul from making his way unto the city of Rome. What’s more is I can’t help but think about and consider how many of those who were aboard those ships together with the apostle Paul realized and understood what was at stake surrounding this apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul knew that he must needs appear in the midst of the city of Rome that he might bear witness and give testimony concerning the Lord Jesus. It was the Lord Jesus who had appeared unto him while he was still in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and it was the Lord Jesus who declared unto him that just as he had given and borne witness of Him in the midst of the city of Jerusalem so also must he bear witness and give testimony in the city of Rome. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s how if the Lord Jesus spoke unto the apostle Paul and declared him to need to give witness and bear testimony of Him in Rome then there was absolutely nothing that would stop and prevent him from fulfilling and completing that for which he had been called and commanded. The Lord Jesus had appeared unto the apostle Paul and declared unto him that he would bear witness and give testimony concerning Him in Rome and with that being said there would be absolutely nothing that would keep and prevent him from fulfilling that for which the Lord Jesus had commanded and revealed. Despite the attempts that would be launched against him there would be absolutely nothing that would keep the apostle Paul from the city of Rome and from fulfilling that which the Lord Jesus had spoken and revealed unto him.

 

            Upon reading the words which are found in these verses you will find multiple references to the winds upon the sea which the ships journeyed being contrary to them. In the fourth verse of this chapter we find Luke writing how after they had launched from a certain place they sailed under Cyprus because the winds were contrary. In the seventh verse of this chapter we find that when they had sailed slowly many days and scarce were come over against Cnidus the wind did not suffer them to journey any further. As a result they sailed under Crete over against Salmone and came unto a place which was called The fair havens. Upon coming to the ninth verse of this chapter we find that after much time was spent in that place sailing had actually become dangerous and the apostle Paul admonished them how he perceived their voyage would not be without hurt and much damage—not only of the lading and the ship but also of their lives. The centurion who was given charge over the apostle Paul and those prisoners who were with him believed the master and the owner of the ship more than those things which were spoken by the apostle Paul. Moreover because the haven was not permissible to winter in there were those who advised them to depart from that place if by any means they might attain to Phenice and winter there in that place. What we find next in this passage is Luke writing how as the south wind blew softly they supposed that they had obtained their purpose and loosed from that place and sailed close to Crete. What they would find, however, is that no longer after that there arose against it a tempestuous wind called Euroclydon which caught the ship in its midst and caused it to not bear up in the midst of the strong and powerful winds.

 

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but be absolutely gripped with and by the words surrounding the apostle Paul. Within this chapter—not only do we find the apostle Paul warning the centurion and the owners of the ship concerning the dangers and perils that lie before them if they set sail from that place but we also find that when they were actually caught in the clutches of the storm the apostle Paul would stand up once more in the midst of them. What makes this all the more incredible is when you consider the fact that the apostle Paul would not only serve as a warning of impending danger and peril but even as they found themselves in the midst of the great tempest and wind he would stand in the midst of them—not as an actual captain of the ship but rather a captain of salvation. If you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will notice that although there was indeed a captain of the ship and one who governed it there would be another in the midst of the ship who would be a captain of salvation unto all those who were present. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that the same voice which stood as warning and caution unto those who would set sail would become the same voice that would actually be the captain of salvation unto and among them. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and brings us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul and how he would not only be a voice of warning and caution unto those who would set sail upon the sea but he would also rise up to be a captain of salvation unto and among them as they would be caught in the midst of the storm. Despite the fact there was a captain of the ship—perhaps one who knew the sea and one who knew how to govern the ship—there would be another one who would rise up from among them who would not be a captain of the ship but a captain of salvation.

 

            THE CAPTAIN OF SALVATION IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM! THE CAPTAIN IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM! I find it absolutely incredible to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider the tremendous truth that the apostle Paul would experience a tremendous transition in the midst of the storm for he would move from being captive to captain when the storm and tempest arose against them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul and his presence in the midst of the ship. When his words and voice would not be heeded nor given any attention to the apostle Paul would be raised up from the midst of the ship as a captain of salvation who would offer hope and encouragement unto all those who were present. Undoubtedly all those who were aboard the ship thought and believed they would perish in the storm, however, the apostle Paul would stand up in the midst of them having received a word from the living God through one of His holy messengers—an angel from heaven. It would be this angel of God who would speak and declare unto Paul that they ought not to fear because he was destined to be brought before Caesar. What’s more is the angel of God also declared unto the apostle Paul that God had given him all the souls which sailed with him. Upon hearing the words which the angel of God had spoken unto him the apostle Paul would declare unto them how he believed God and that it would be so even as it was told of him. The apostle Paul would encourage all those who were present upon the ship to be of good cheer for there would not come any harm or damage to any of their physical persons and no lives would be lost in the midst of the storm. It would be the apostle Paul who would speak and declare unto all those who were present upon the ship how they should have listened and gave heed to his words, however, even though they did not heed his words an angel of God appeared unto him that no harm or hurt would come to any of those who were upon the ship for they had been given unto Paul who would be the captain of their salvation.

 

            A CAPTAIN OF SALVATION IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM! SERVING AS CAPTAIN OF SALVATION IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM! (THE DISCIPLES WERE GIVEN INTO THE HANDS OF THE CAPTAIN OF THEIR SALVATION IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM HE SLEPT IN) (THE DISCIPLES WERE GIVEN INTO THE HANDS OF THE CAPTAIN OF THEIR SALVATION IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM WHICH JESUS CAME UNTO THEM WALKING UPON THE WATER). I have to admit the words which are found in this passage of Scripture are entirely and altogether astounding when you take the time to consider them. As you read the words which are found in this portion of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul seeking to warn and caution those who were in charge of the ship concerning the journey they were preparing to set forth upon. The apostle Paul sought to warn them concerning the journey and how the journey would not only put in jeopardy and at risk the lading and the ship but also their very lives. The apostle Paul who himself was neither a captain nor an expert as it pertained to the sea perceived and discerned within his heart and spirit that there was great danger which lie ahead for them if they departed from that place and sought to warn them. Pause for a moment and consider just how truly incredible this was for the apostle Paul sought to warn and caution the captain of the ship and the centurion and those who were in charge concerning pending danger, calamity, devastation and destruction for he saw and perceived something in the spirit. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you consider the fact these individuals did not seem to care nor even concern themselves with the words which the apostle Paul had spoken unto them and chose to set themselves upon the course as they originally planned. Despite the tremendous warning and word of caution the apostle Paul was speaking and providing unto them the captain of the ship and the centurion chose to ignore and pay no mind to the words of this prisoner who was on his way to Rome.

 

            I have to admit that as I read the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture there is a part of me that can’t help but see something in this passage that serves as a powerful witness and testimony for this generation. There is a part of me that knows we are living in the Last Days and perhaps even the last of the Last Days and that judgments, calamities, devastation and destruction lie ahead for the inhabitants of the earth. With this being said I can’t help but feel within my heart and spirit that there is a tremendous storm that lies ahead on the horizon. What’s more is I can’t help but be convinced that if men and women persist in their present course with their present objective they will not only place themselves but also others directly in the path of danger and harm. I can’t help but believe within the depths of my heart and spirit that there are men and women present among us who if they continue on in their present journey and path can and will find themselves facing and encountering a tremendous devastation and destruction. The apostle Paul knew that he must needs journey unto Rome and the apostle Paul knew that he must stand before Caesar and with that knowledge came the assurance there was nothing that could hinder or prevent him from fulfilling that. With that being said it did not matter how long it took for that path to reach its fulfillment for it had been determined the apostle Paul should journey unto the city of Rome and stand before Caesar.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul and how he would initially seek to give warning and potentially sound an alarm to the danger that lie ahead of them. It’s actually quite interesting that the apostle Paul saw the danger and the trouble that lie ahead and before them and sought to set forth a warning and yet it was ignored by both centurion and captain alike. Neither one of them believed the word and report of the apostle Paul and believing they had obtained favor to set upon their course they launched out from where they had been settled. What would happen, however, is all those who were aboard the ship found themselves in the midst of a tempestuous storm that would rage all around them. There in the middle of the sea a storm would rage all about them—a storm which the apostle Paul stood up and spoke to them about declaring that this was the very thing he warned them about. How absolutely incredible it is that although the centurion and captain of the ship chose to ignore the warning and caution given by the apostle Paul the Lord Jesus would give the lives of all those who were present upon the ship into the hands of the apostle Paul. An angel of the living God would stand beside the apostle Paul and would encourage him to fear not and declare how he must needs stand before Caesar in Rome. What a truly awesome thought it is to consider how although the centurion and captain of the ship failed to heed the words which the apostle Paul had spoken the Lord Jesus would give the souls of all those who were present upon the ship into his hands. Moreover there would not be a single life that would be lost in the midst of the storm and the only thing that would be lost would be the ship itself.

 

            FROM CAPTIVE TO CAPTAIN! I find it absolutely incredible to read the words which are presented here in this passage of Scripture and encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul being taken from being a captive aboard this ship to being the captain of salvation. We cannot say that he would become the captain of the ship for the ship itself would be entirely and altogether lost in the midst of the sea. Instead of the apostle Paul being the captain of the ship he would be the captain of something far greater—namely, the captain of salvation. The apostle Paul would provide unto all those who were present upon the ship encouragement and hope for he had a word from God in the midst of the storm that decreed that no life would be lost. What a truly wonderful and powerful truth it is to think about the apostle Paul becoming the captain of something much greater and much larger in the midst of that storm for in every storm there are quite possibly two captains—there are captains of ships and there are captains of salvation. The apostle Paul was no captain of the ship and would not help steer the ship to safety in the midst of the storm, however, he would become a captain of salvation in the midst of the storm and encourage all those who were on board according to the word which the angel of God had spoken unto him. In all reality I am absolutely convinced there is a great need present among us in this generation for captains of salvation to rise up and emerge—and not only for captains of salvation to rise up and emerge but captains of salvation who are able to stand up in the middle of the storms that rage all around men and women and encourage them according to the word of the Lord.

 

            I am absolutely gripped and captivated with the words presented here in this passage of Scripture and how the apostle Paul would be taken from being a captive in the bowels of the ship to becoming a captain of salvation before all those who were present aboard the ship. As captain of salvation the apostle Paul would be given to something much greater and more important than being captain of the ship. It would be the captain of the ship who would place the lives of all those aboard the ship in danger and yet even in the midst of that the living God would raise up and appoint a captain of salvation who would not only encourage all those aboard but into whose hands their souls could be given. Much like Noah was a captain of salvation during the days of the flood when the living God had given into his hands the lives of his wife, their three sons, their wives and all those animals and beasts which were present upon the ship so also would the apostle Paul become a captain of salvation for all those who were aboard this ship. Much like the Lord Jesus was the captain of salvation for the disciples who found themselves in the midst of the storm while Jesus was sleeping so also would the apostle Paul be the captain of salvation in the midst of this storm. Just like the Lord Jesus was the captain of the storm the disciples found themselves in as He came unto them walking upon the water so also would the apostle Paul be the captain of salvation for those who were present in the midst of the storm. Oh the apostle Paul would not rise from his slumber in the midst of the storm and the apostle Paul would not walk upon the water, however, the apostle Paul would become the captain of salvation for all those aboard which would include the captain of the ship and the centurion.

 

            There is a great need within our culture, within our society and within our generation for captains of salvation to rise up and emerge in the midst of the storms that are raging before and all around us. With that being said we must needs recognize that there are going to be storms which are going to rage all around us in the coming days and there is a great need for men and women whom the Lord can appoint and raise up as captains of salvation who can stand as a voice of encouragement and hope in the midst of the storm. Oh it is indeed true the ship might be lost but with that being said the living God might very well choose to spare the lives of those into whose hands they had been given. With this being said I would dare say that we can expect a lot of ships to go down in the coming days in the midst of the storms which are raging all around us and which will continue to rage in the days ahead. There will be countless ships of finances, of companies, of business and the like which will collapse and be destroyed and yet the living and eternal God can and will raise up captains of salvation—men and women into whose hands the living God can place the souls of men that they might be spared. What we must needs recognize is that the sole purpose and reason for captains of salvation to be appointed and raised up is that despite ships being destroyed and going down souls might be saved. It is with this understanding we must needs recognize and understand that in the midst of storms it is not the ships themselves which are of any value but the souls which are upon and in the midst of the ships. There must be a greater emphasis within our hearts and souls placed on the souls of men over and above any ship that might go down because of the storms that rage all around us. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister please understand there will be storms that are going to rage before and all around us in the coming days. There are going to be storms that threaten and endanger countless ships in the physical and natural realm and with this being said please understand that I am not merely speaking of vessels which float and move upon the waters of the seas and oceans.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous truth surrounding these captains of salvation being raised up and appointed by the living and eternal God. I am absolutely and completely convinced that in the days in which we are living there is a tremendous need for captains of salvation to be raised up and appointed throughout this nation as well as within this culture and society. I believe there are men and women who the living and eternal God is not only preparing and making ready to step into that role of being a captain of salvation but those whom the word of the Lord is coming unto that they might offer encouragement to those who are going to need it when the storms arise. If there is one thing we must needs recognize is that storms are going to arise and ships will be lost, however, although storms are going to arise and ships are going to be lost there will be captains of salvation who will be raised up and in whose hands the living God will give the souls of men. There are men and women whom the living and eternal God is preparing to raise up as captains of salvation in the days in which we are living that they might be sources of encouragement, hope and even the word of the Lord in the midst of the storms which lie ahead. I am absolutely convinced there are men and women right now whom the Lord is preparing behind the scenes that when the time comes they might be appointed and raised up to step up as captains of salvation in the midst of raging storms and sinking ships. CAPTAINS OF SALVATION IN THE MIDST OF RAGING STORMS AND SINKING SHIPS! Oh dear brother, oh dear sister please mark my words and mark them well for the Spirit of the sovereign Lord is preparing and making ready men and women who can and will be raised up as captains of salvation in the midst of raging storms and ship which are sinking all around us. The living and eternal God has great need of men and women who like Noah, who like Paul, and even who like Jesus can be captains of salvation who can stand up as authority in the midst of the storm and into whose hands He can entrust their souls.

 

I write these words and feel compelled to call and draw your attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the reality of these captains of salvation and how men and women are going to be raised up in the coming days as captains of salvation—those who will stand and arise as voices of hope and encouragement in the midst of raging storms and sinking ships. Oh ships are going to sink and ships are going to be destroyed—ships of commerce, ships of businesses, ships of companies, ships of finances, ships of relationships, and the like. We must needs make absolutely no mistake about it for there are going to be days ahead when countless ships are going to be tossed to and fro in the midst of raging storms before those storms eventually destroy the ships caught in the midst of them. With this being said, however, the living and eternal God is appointing and raising up captains in the midst of those ships who can offer and speak encouragement in the midst of the storms and into whose hands the living God can entrust their souls. I am absolutely and completely convinced the LORD is strategically placing men and women in the midst of ships and has placed men and women in ships throughout this nation and even across the globe and is preparing such men and women knowing the storms that can and will come upon the whole world. The Lord has Paul’s and Noah’s whom He has appointed as captains of salvation into whose hands the souls of men can and will be entrusted that although ships might go down and be destroyed the souls of men might be spared and see salvation. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand this powerful truth and that we would not only recognize where the Lord has placed us but also allow ourselves to be made ready and prepared for the storms which are presently raging all around us and which lie ahead for us in the coming days.

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