Pastor Steve continued on to Acts 27 today, which reviews Paul sailing to Italy. Bringing out how the apostle remained faithful to God’s call to go, he contrasted that with what it would be like for a mother to be the mother of Jesus. And, all the obstacles Mary faced, from giving birth in a cave to the ruler of her land trying to kill her son. When we are doing what God wants us to do, everything is at peace, Steve said. When we don’t and run away from God like Jonah, nothing is at peace.
He said there are two ways this chapter can help us, starting with our need to be centered on God’s purpose for our lives. Just as a cat can’t succeed acting like a duck, as Christians we shouldn’t act a certain way because of what other people or society’s expectations. God’s purpose was determined long ago, as seen in passages like Ephesians 2:8-10: He created good works for us to accomplish. We have a reason to be here, which is why we shouldn’t be content with just coming to church. We should ask, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Mentioning Paul’s resolving (Acts 19:21) to go to Rome, Steve said this was at least six years before Acts 27, showing that he knew God was sending him there. The Lord affirmed that in Acts 23:11, telling Paul to take courage because he would testify in Rome. The fact that He didn’t spell out exactly what that would involve means we shouldn’t expect to know all the details in advance, either: “Whatever it is, go for it. It’s big. God is not going to give you credit for anything that happens (like Abraham fathering a child at the age of 100). In day-to-day life, it’s incremental things and will not take you down a path you think you’re going to go down.”
Everywhere Paul went, he faced riots, murder plots, and people prophesying he would wind up in jail, but still he went—because if God wanted him to go to Rome, He wouldn’t let people kill him. This means God will also keep us moving toward our purpose, Steve said. We can’t make judgments on whether things are tough or easy, but need to keep going until we die.
In addition to remaining centered on God’s purpose, we should realize that God will give us encouragement during our call. Steve said Jesus didn’t deliver Paul from jail because that wasn’t His purpose. All the opposition we face will be irrelevant if God has a purpose. Pausing to re-read verses 23-25 of Acts 27, he said although this passage made it look like Paul wouldn’t make it to Rome, when God calls us on a journey it won’t matter what things look like. In fact, God gets the glory when He brings us through tough circumstances. Whatever we face, we must believe God is in control and do everything He has given us to do.
This means we should act in whatever way God is leading us, whether that is to give someone $20 or send a note of encouragement to someone on Facebook. We can miss the “little things” that are significant while we are waiting for “big things” to happen. “Just start acting,” Steve concluded. “If you mess it up, God will get you where you need to be. It’s easier to redirect an object that is already in motion.”