This series will focus on Acts 27. Please take time to read this chapter.
Last week we began to look at Acts 27 to discover three truths regarding the “storms of life.” The first truth that we learned is this: the storms will come. Remember that Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The storms are going to come because we live in a fallen world. Additionally, it is important to understand that Scripture teaches that there is always a purpose for the storm. And this brings us to the second truth. Not only are storms going to come, but understand that the storms will reveal where your faith lies. Do you live by sight or by faith? That may be the main purpose of the storm! Read Acts 27 focusing on verses 11-26. When God allows a storm in your life, it is like a test—a test to see if you are really in Christ, and if you are, if you are really going to trust him. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15). Can you honestly say this?
Let me digress for a moment because I want you to carefully consider two verses. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” And consider 2 Corinthians 4:18 which states, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Now let me ask you a question: Who is the man without the Spirit? He is the unbeliever. The unbeliever is not indwelt with the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9). And thus, he cannot understand or accept the truth of God’s Word, nor can he sense in any way the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit. He is on his own in this world. He lives according to the wisdom of the world. He lives by the standards of this world. And he must rely on his own thinking to guide him through life. Thus, he makes all of his decisions based on what he sees. He lives by sight, not by faith!
On the other hand, the believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13-14) and thus, he is not on his own. He has God’s Word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide him through life. The believer lives by faith, not by sight. What he sees does not change what he believes. Understand that the storms of life bring us to a point where it is revealed how we are living—by faith or by sight. What does the storm that you are currently going through reveal about you?
Now back to Acts 27. On this ship, there were just a few men who lived by faith: Paul, Aristarchus, Luke and maybe a few others who had been saved because Paul had been on the ship with them. Paul certainly would have been sharing his faith with everyone. Now, examine what it means to live by sight. Julius did what I would do if I were not a Christian. He recognized that Fair Havens was not a good port in which to anchor because it was exposed to winter storms. That makes sense. Phoenix had a more sheltered harbor. So, Julius must have been thinking to himself, “Let’s go there!” He also listened to the expert advice of the captain and the owner. Their advice was to get to Phoenix as fast as possible, plus it was only 40 miles away. Surely they could get there safely. And when Julius added up the votes, the majority voted “Let’s go for it.” Certainly, the majority must be right. And then, a gentle breeze began to blow. Everything looked perfect, and so they set sail.
Proverbs 14:12 states, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death.” Understand that this is the way we live when we live by sight. We do what seems right in our own eyes. Judges 17:6 states, “but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” A man who lives by sight seeks the advice and counsel of the world, and he gives God no consideration. He makes all of his decisions based on what he sees. This is the way the vast majority of the people that you and I know live—by sight. They do what they think is right in their own eyes.
The Bible gives us an entirely different way to live. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Only God knows the beginning from the end. He is the only One who can see into the future. He knows everything. And because His Spirit resides in the believer, the believer possesses wisdom that the world knows nothing about. 1 Corinthians 2:10 and 16 state, “But God has revealed it [wisdom] to us by His Spirit… ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” When a man who is filled with the Spirit of God begins to spend time studying the Word of God, he takes on the mind of Christ. He literally begins to think like God, and he can then make judgments about all things.
Paul writes in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The mature Christian, who knows Scripture, can discern God’s perfect will in any situation. Furthermore, he has the indwelling Holy Spirit guiding him. Isaiah 30:21 states, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”
Now back to Acts 27. On this ship was a man of God, Paul, who spoke, but to whom no one listened. It’s just like today. Men of God are speaking, but no one seems to be listening. In this world of confusion and turmoil, we must as believers live by faith, not by sight. That’s how Paul lived.
You must understand that the storms are going to come. The Bible declares this. These storms will reveal where your faith lies. And so, let me ask you again: Where does your faith really lie? Have you ever placed your complete trust in Jesus and His Word? If so, are you really relying on Him to guide you through this life or are you still relying on your own thinking? Are you living by sight or by faith?
Next week, we will consider the third truth concerning the storms of life that are sure to come. Stay tuned! Amen!