Sermon Notes: 11/13/22
This Isn't My Stop
Pastor Albert Almore
If you’ve been anywhere remotely close to a church, chances are you might’ve heard of Acts 27, Paul’s shipwreck story in the midst of the storm. This story is our story because we all know what it’s like to be in a storm—a life storm if you will. But this story gives us hope, this story gives us faith, and courage when we find ourselves walking through the darkest of times.
At this time, Paul and many other prisoners were being transported, and Paul was on his way to make his appeal before Caesar. Y’all know Paul. Paul was always getting into trouble here, getting into trouble there. When his last run in didn’t end how he wanted it to end Paul said, "It’s fine, it’s fine! I don’t have time for this mess. Take me to Caesar to hear my case!”
On his way to Caesar a horrific storm came up . Paul was like I’m not the smartest man in the world, but I don’t think we need to be sailing in this. But they were like nah man it’s cool, it’s cool we got this. My captain cousin does this ALL the time. It’s nothing bro. Paul goes on to tell them, this is a BAD idea. Paul was right, it got so bad Acts 27:14-15 says,
“Before very long, A WIND OF HURRICANE FORCE, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.”
As the ship was getting relentlessly battered by the storm, Paul couldn’t hold it in any longer. He had to have his, "I told you so moment!” Acts 27:21 says.
“After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss.”
“But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.”
I can see the owner of the ship like, "Oh—great!” 🥴
Paul goes on to say in verse 23,
“Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’”
“So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”
Things would happen just as Paul said they would happen. The ship would be lost but not one life was lost in this raging storm. In it’s final moments as the ship was being dismantled, Acts 27:42-43 says,
“The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land.”
“and the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”
This entire chapter is the type of chapter that’s a preachers dream. It’s loaded with so many angles to launch from to draw strength, hope, and encouragement. But this morning, one simple verse caught my attention that I want us to consider for a moment. Acts 27:20 says,
“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, WE FINALLY GAVE UP ALL HOPE OF BEING SAVED.”
Another translation says it like this….
“The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, UNTIL AT LAST ALL HOPE WAS GONE.”
The Bible says…
AND THE STORM CONTINUED RAGING…
What do you do when the storm stays longer than expected?
What do you do when grief begins to stay longer than expected?
What do you do when sickness begins to forward it’s mail to your body signaling to you, I’m going to be here for a while?
What do you do when the addiction that you thought was just passing through, begins to unpack it’s belongings in your life?
AND THE STORM CONTINUED RAGING…
It’s in moments like these that those four words begin to lead off our sentences. Those four words being…
I THOUGHT BY NOW….
I thought by now I would be over this.
I thought by now that their passing wouldn’t still grip me like this.
I thought by now that I would’ve been healed and back to my normal self.
I thought by now that this struggle would’ve been behind me, but no THE STORM CONTINUED RAGING.
I wish I could say a prayer over you and tell you that you’ll never have another storm in your life, but that wouldn’t be true.
So it is in the natural, so it is in the spirit. Storms are a part of life. This is why Jesus said in John 16:33,
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I’m learning more and more, day by day…
📝 You can’t control THE STORM, but you can control YOUR FAITH.
We know that storms are a matter of faith because Mark 4:39 says,
“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
“But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? HOW IS IT THAT YOU HAVE NO FAITH?””
You can’t control the storm, but you can control your faith. Therefore,
📝 Whatever comes into your life and seems to unpack and stay longer than expected, whatever you do, DON’T UNPACK YOUR FAITH.
So what do you do when the storm stays longer than expected? In the midst of the storm you must…
📝 KNOW THAT YOU BELONG TO GOD.
Don’t you allow the storm to tell you anything different. You are not abandoned, you are not forsaken, YOU BELONG TO GOD! Paul said in Acts 27:23,
“Last night an angel of the God TO WHOM I BELONG…”
📝 You don’t belong TO THIS STORM, you belong TO GOD.
Job belonged to God, and that’s why Satan couldn’t just ambush Job’s life without some type of permission. Satan told God in Job 1:10,
““Have you not put A HEDGE AROUND HIM and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.”
Another translation says,
“You have always put A WALL OF PROTECTION AROUND HIM and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is!”
You don’t belong to this STORM, you belong to GOD. I know the storms of life that continue raging often make you feel forgotten by God. Those feelings aren’t true, and those feelings aren’t new. Isaiah 49:14 says,
“The people of Zion said, “The Lord has turned away and FORGOTTEN US.””
To this the Lord replied in verse 15,
““Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the son of her womb? Even if she could forget, I WILL NOT FORGET YOU!”
“Behold, I HAVE INSCRIBED YOU ON THE PALMS OF MY HANDS; your walls are ever before Me.”
I may not fully understand what’s going on. I may not know why the storm is continuously raging, but one thing I’m sure of is I BELONG TO GOD! He has inscribed me on the palms of His hands.
What do you do when the storm stays longer than expected? In the midst of the storm you must…
📝 KNOW THAT HE’S WITH YOU.
Paul said in Acts 27:23,
“Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve STOOD BESIDE ME”
This sounds similar to another event that happened to Paul in Acts 23. Acts 23:10 says,
“The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid PAUL WOULD BE TORN TO PIECES by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.”
The following night THE LORD STOOD NEAR PAUL and said, “Take courage!"…
Another time Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:16,
At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 2 Timothy 4:16
BUT THE LORD STOOD BY ME and strengthened me…
2 Timothy 4:17
I don’t know about you, but the only reason that I’m still here today is because THE LORD STOOD BY ME! As the storms began to rage, as the attacks begin to come, I didn’t survive on my own. I didn’t make it this far on my own. I’m only here today because THE LORD STOOD BY ME!
You’ve been through a lot, but not through one thing alone. You’ve been through a lot, but not through one thing without Him! The Lord stood beside you! In the midst of the storm KNOW THAT HE’S WITH YOU!
In the midst of the storm….
📝 KNOW WHAT HE SAID.
Paul says in Acts 27:23-24,
“Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. YOU MUST STAND TRIAL BEFORE CAESAR; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’”
Prior to this, Acts 23:10 says,
"The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them...”
“The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so YOU MUST ALSO TESTIFY IN ROME.””
When the Angel came, the Angel strengthened Paul, and reminded Paul, that God had a PROMISE on his life, and not a SUGGESTION.
Paul begin to look around and didn’t see Caesar. Paul begin to look around and said this isn’t Rome. This isn’t the promise. This isn’t what He said. This isn’t what he showed me, TAKE COURAGE MEN….
THIS ISN’T MY STOP!!!
I can’t die in this storm. I can’t die in this season. I can’t die in this moment. I can’t die in this place. I can’t die in this test. I don’t see Caesar. This isn’t Rome. What I SEE doesn’t match what God SAID! Oh no devil, oh no storm, oh no unforeseen circumstance, I don’t care how long this storm may last, GOD ISN’T THROUGH WITH ME YET. THIS ISN’T MY STOP!!
If It doesn’t look like the promise, if it doesn’t sound like the promise, if it doesn’t feel like the promise, THEN MY FAITH ISN’T GETTING OFF HERE. MY DREAM ISN’T GETTING OFF HERE. MY VISION ISN’T GETTING OFF HERE. MY PEACE ISN’T GETTING OFF HERE. MY JOY ISN’T GETTING OFF HERE. MY HOPE ISN’T GETTING OFF HERE. THIS ISN’T MY STOP!!!
In the midst of the storm….
📝 KNOW THAT THERE WILL BE GLORY AFTER THIS.
Job 23:10 says,
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I SHALL COME OUT as gold. Job 23:10
This isn’t the end. I SHALL COME OUT! I’m coming out of this pain. I’m coming out of this setback. I’m coming out of this depression. I’m coming out of this disappointment. I’m coming out of this storm. I’m coming out of this dark place. This isn’t the end. There will be an after, after this. There will be glory after this!!! John 11:3 says,
“So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.””
“When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness WILL NOT END IN DEATH. No, IT IS FOR GOD’S GLORY so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.””
Romans 8:18 says,
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with THE GLORY that will be revealed in us.”
The story goes on to say in Acts 27:33,
“Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything.”
“Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.””
“After he said this, he took some bread and GAVE THANKS TO GOD in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.”
I DARE YOU TO….
Find something to THANK GOD FOR in the midst of the storm.
Acts 27:36-37 says,
“They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. Altogether there were 276of us on board.”
276 men to testify all that they seen God do.
1 storm, 276 stories of God’s glory.
It happened just as Paul said. Not one life was lost. Acts 27:42 says,
“The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping.”
“But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: and the rest, some on boards, and some on BROKEN PIECES of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped ALL SAFE TO LAND.”
I know you’ve been through a lot. Some things you rather not share. Some things you would rather forget. But I say to you today…
📝 DON’T OVERLOOK THE BROKEN PIECES.
📝 BROKEN pieces tell the WHOLE story.
BROKEN pieces tell the WHOLE story that YOU BELONG TO GOD. BROKEN pieces tell the WHOLE story of how you were never alone, how He stood beside you through it all. BROKEN pieces tell the WHOLE story of what He said to be true, that He is God, besides Him there is no other! BROKENpieces tell the WHOLE story of God’s goodness, and God’s glory through it all. BROKEN pieces tell the WHOLE story that the storm wasn’t your stop.
Because of all that God has done, and because of all that God has brought me through…
FEAR IS NOT MY FUTURE.
I’m not sure what storm you may be facing, but as we begin to worship I want you to begin to whisper to that storm…
This isn’t my stop.
My God isn’t finished.
Neither am I.