A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #4

Thursday, November 15, 2018

“But after long abstinence 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” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

Imagine the black, squally seascape Paul and his mates are experiencing in the Mediterranean. Now, their final day: “[27] But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria [Adriatic Sea, southeast of Italy, near center of Mediterranean Sea], about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; [28] And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. [29] Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

“[30] And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, [31] Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. [32] Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. [33] And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. 

“[34] Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. [35] And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. [36] Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. [37] And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. [38] And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.”

Freighter ship damaged, all cargo cast off, yet not one soul with Paul perished….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘under colour’ mean in Acts 27:30?

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #3

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

“But after long abstinence 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” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

The winds of the Mediterranean Sea oppose the ship carrying Paul and his companions. False teaching rocks the Body of Christ, that it be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). A deceptive wind follows: “And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete” (Acts 27:13). Blowing “softly,” the wind leads them to believe their troubles are past. Yet, verse 14: “But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.” A stormy east wind roars!

“[18] And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; [19] And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. [20] 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. [21] But after long abstinence 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. [22] 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. [23] For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, [24] Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. [25] Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. [26] Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.”

Listening to Paul, they will survive the storm….

 

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #2

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

“But after long abstinence 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” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), left Judaea bound for Rome. Israel’s God has departed her to be amongst the Gentiles (world). Alas, this dangerous trip will result in much loss. Leaving Judaism, the Body of Christ is headed toward Romanism (apostasy). Paul’s advice concerning the hazardous trip (verse 10) is ignored: “[11] Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. [12] 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. [13] And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.

“[14] But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. [15] And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. [16] And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: [17] 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.

“[18] And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; [19] And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.” The sea represents the nations. Contrary or opposing winds disrupted their smooth sailing, as Satan’s false teachings shake the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….” If only they had listened to Paul….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain 2 Corinthians 5:16?

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #1

Monday, November 12, 2018

“But after long abstinence 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” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

The Apostle Paul, in legal trouble with the Jews and Romans, has appealed to Emperor Augustus Caesar. He, as a prisoner, and his companions travel by ship from Caesarea to Rome—roughly 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers). As with Acts chapter 20 (Paul raising deceased Eutychus), we will survey chapter 27 to isolate and extrapolate its superlative dispensational miracle.

“[1] And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band. [2] And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. [3] 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. [4] And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 

“[5] And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. [6] And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein. [7] And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; [8] And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. [9] Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, [10] And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.”

Let us see exactly what “hurt and much damage” this maritime journey entails….

The Debtor, Ready and Unashamed!

Friday, November 9, 2018

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:14-16 KJV).

Behold, dear brethren, Pauline evangelism in one succinct passage!

  • “I am debtor” (verse 14) — “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” The Apostle Paul understood that he had an obligation or duty to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God to all people—whether Greek or Barbarian (non-Greek), both the “cultured and educated” and the “unrefined and simple.” “…Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle,… a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Timothy 2:5c-7).
  • “I am ready” (verse 15) — “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Paul was prepared, aware of his marching orders, and compliant with the Holy Spirit’s working within him. “[Christ] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:28,29).
  • “I am not ashamed” (verse 16) — “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Paul knew that just as Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was sufficient payment for his sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), that Gospel of Grace was trustworthy in taking care of all the sins of all those precious souls to whom he preached so fervently. If they would simply believe that Gospel message, God’s power would yank them from their path to Hell and send them on their way to Heaven!

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #7

Thursday, November 8, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

Saints, Ephesians chapter 6 describes our spiritual war: “[10] Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. [11] Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. [12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [13] Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Verses 14-18 describe our armor.) We must (!) be grounded in Pauline doctrine, lest Satan distract and wound us.

Today’s Scripture is followed by, “[10] And Paul went down, and fell on him [Eutychus], and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. [11] When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. [12] And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.” God’s Word dispensationally delivered—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—can revive and maintain the powerless Church the Body of Christ. Once the Body is resuscitated, and endures a steady diet of Pauline doctrine, it, now edified, can speak a “long while,” until it is caught up into the heavenly places (when Paul leaves).

“That he [Father God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). Also, 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘lawyers’ in Scripture?

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #6

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

The verse following today’s Scripture articulates, “And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” Eutychus is deceased, but he is not perpetually hopeless and helpless (his name actually means “fortunate!”). God’s man—His spokesman in the Dispensation of Grace—is nearby. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Not only is God’s Word living, it is also life-giving. There is functional life in God’s Word rightly divided—namely, Pauline doctrine.

In light of those who “shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1), we are instructed: “[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [13] Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…. [16] Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

Eutychus demonstrates verse 1: he was “seduced” (drawn away with the promise of delight). Satan’s evil world system tantalized him from stable (or Pauline) doctrine into fleshly (carnal), worldly doctrine. Yet, like with him, Pauline doctrine can save or restore us from functional destruction and death. It can deliver us from deception, false teaching, and restore health to our Christian thought and behavior. Verse 11 (after today’s Scripture) continues, “When he [Eutychus] therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he [Paul] departed.”

Now, we summarize and conclude….