Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Acts 27:31


In the British Royal Navy each ship named begins with the letters “HMS.” These letters stand for His/Her Majesty’s Ship. In the Royal Navy there is an HMS Saladin, an HMS Salamander, and an HMS Salmon. But there is one ship and name that is missing. It is a ship we all must board if we desire to spend eternity in safe haven. Yes, the closest the Royal Navy comes to the ship I am talking about are the HMS Salvia, and the HMS Slavonia.  But the ship I want to talk about in this study is the HMS (His Majesty’s Ship of) Salvation.  Our King is Jesus and He has a ship named Salvation. What do I mean? Read on.

The Bible is a supernatural book, it is inspired by God. God’s fingerprint is on it. While human beings were used as instruments to relay its content, God is the true Author. Like wind in the sails of a ship God has directed people to compose its contents. That is the sense of the words of the Apostle Peter who was moved by God to write, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved [Greek phero] by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The same idea is used on Acts 27:15 when it says, “So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.” The word “drive” is a form of the Greek term phero which is used by Peter to convey the idea of the Holy Spirit moving the human authors of scripture.

There are many evidences for the supernatural quality of scripture. The continuity of scripture is a strong evidence in this regard. Though it was written by 40 human authors on three different continents over a 1500-year span, there is continuity not contradiction in its contents. The way over those millennia that the contents of the Bible has been preserved. The Dead Sea Scrolls provided manuscripts of the Old Testament that were a thousand years older than what we had before their discovery. When the old and older manuscripts were compared they were virtually identical dispelling the liberal notion that over time there were countless “mistakes” in its contents. Fulfilled prophecy is another evidence of the fingerprint of God on the Bible. For instance the prophet Daniel was given a prophecy that predicted 173,880 days ahead of time the Triumphal Entry of Messiah Jesus into Jerusalem. Truly “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” were inspired words of the incredible fulfillment of the day of Jesus (cf. Psalm 118:24).

There is one particular evidence of the supernatural quality of God’s word that I’d like to focus in on in this study. The Bible speaks of “shadows.” “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which hare a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17). This means when we look at the dietary laws, the Feast Day instructions, and the sacrificial system of the old Testament for instance, there is a deeper meaning in that these things speak to us about Christ. The major events in Jesus’ ministry occurred on Feast days like Passover and Pentecost. The sacrificial system is filled with shadows of Jesus, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The Book of Hebrews tells us Old Testament Law are a “copy and shadow of heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5). The Law is a “shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1).

There are other such shadows in the Old Testament which, with some prayerful study and observation, depict underlying truths of God. Enoch who was taken up to God is a shadow or type of the Rapture of the Church (Genesis 5:24). This is a picture of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church since chronologically it occurs before the outpoured wrath of God through a global Flood on a dreadfully sinful world (Genesis 6). Joseph becomes a type of Christ who suffered at the hands of his brothers, without complaint, to be a savior for them (cf. Genesis 50:20). There are many types and shadows in scripture.

We should caution those who go types and shadows hunting in every nook and cranny of scripture to make such observations only as they align with the clear truths of scripture. Types and Shadows are a support, and illustrative help to understanding the clearly stated truths of God’s word. They help us to be sanctified by God’s truth as Jesus prayed (John 17:17).

It was with this understanding of Types and Shadows that I came to see a broader application of the Acts 27 account of Paul’s journey through stormy seas. As I was preparing to teach through this portion of scripture, the Spirit was directing my eyes to observe a few interesting things.

In 1875 the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) was published.[1] Henley lived a rough life. He suffered from tubercular arthritis from which he had one of his legs amputated. His father died when he was young. He was an avowed atheist who looked to self for answers. His poem is very well known and expresses the cry of the one suffering alone:



Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

This is a poem of intestinal fortitude, of the will to carry on, of resistance to giving up. It is a poem that expresses the plight of the person buffeted by the storms of life. It is a lonely poem. In the end Henley concludes, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” That conclusion is very misleading. The poem supposes a human can reach deep within to find strength to in themselves to weather the storms of life. I don’t agree with that.

As human beings we have limits. Even if we were able to muster the strength to carry on in our particular life storms, what do we gain in the end, what is at the finish line? Is finishing enough to provide meaning in life? Isn’t there more to life than just finishing? What of these life storms, do they have a purpose? I believe the storms of life reveal important truths that transcend this life. I believe man’s extremities are God’s opportunities. Opportunities for what? Please read on to find out.

God is just as responsible for the storms of life as He is for the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. God is sovereign over this world and its contents, including us. You may, like Henley, reject the idea that there is a Creator, a Sovereign God over all. You may not like the idea that God allows storms in their various forms, but they are necessary. The storms of life are necessary to teach us profound truths about why things are the way they are and how we can be saved in the storms.

The Apostle Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, lived these truths out. He found meaning and hope and encouragement in the storm. When the Holy Spirit leads us, sometimes the journey gets stormy. That’s because the Holy Spirit uses storms to reveal Jesus to us. When you sail with Jesus, it doesn’t mean you will be on a comfortable cruise ship. Storms and troubles can be a part of God’s route for you. But weathering the storms of life are worth it, if in them we discover the true Captain of our souls.

I’d like to share what the Lord showed me from Acts 27 about the storms of life. My venture began as I was pondering this passage. As I prayed and studied I thought, It’s incredible how the Holy Spirit enabled Luke to record the details of this journey on a storm-tossed ship. I [put myself on that ship with Paul and Luke and imagined what it would be like. The constant tossing up and down, side to side, howling winds, creaking boards, twisting masts, fearful cries, perilous rains. It must have been frightening. And yet, we have this incredibly detailed account by Luke. There must be a reason for such a detailed account. Luke could have said, “It was a terribly rough journey to Rome, and we barely escaped with our lives.” He could have said that, but he was moved by the Spirit to say so much more. Why?

As I prayed and observed and followed the Spirit’s leading, I began to see a deeper Type and Shadow being depicted in this scary ship adventure. The closer I looked, the more I saw that this ship was a type of HMS Salvation; there were truths and applications about our salvation to be gleaned. Please join me as I consider them.

Acts 27:13-38 – “When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete.

Sea of life. There is a Tree of Life in Heaven (Revelation 22). In this world there is a sea of life.  Our lives are like a journey on open waters. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolken used such imagery in their writings. [2] Thes Sea of Life can be calm with pleasant soft breezes. But the Sea of Life can also have serious storms. It’s important to be ready for either contingency.

Beware of soft winds. There is Biblical precedent that this storm is generated by the devil to try and shipwreck Paul from going to Rome (cf. Job 1:18-22). If this storm is devilishly sourced, we see how he might send a soft south wind to give the impression of good weather ahead when in reality he and his demons are setting a trap. Beware of soft winds. They may indeed be relaxing refreshing breezes from God, but they might also be the alluring misleading coaxing of the predator of our souls (compare 1 Peter 5:8-8-11). Follow the leading of the Spirit in all your directions and always be circumspect and alert.

14 But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.

Storms of life. “Euroclydon” means literally, a violent agitation. It refers to southeast winds that stir up huge waves like a Northeaster. This was a weather condition well known and feared by the shipping community in this part of the world. Gusty winds that kick up giant waves on a storm-tossed sea can make the knees knock of the most hardened sailor. This fearsome condition was what Paul’s ship was sailing into. If Satan manufactured this storm, why did God allow him to do so? I believe there are purposes found in the storms of life allowed by God. Indeed, faith is proved genuine by trials and testing (1 Peter 1:6-9).

15 So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive.

As we mentioned earlier, the word “drive” is a derivative of the word used to describe how the Holy Spirit directed human authors to write the truth of God’s word. Though He is not specifically mentioned here, I believe the Holy Spirit is driving those in this account toward greater truth in their lives. I believe the Spirit directed Luke to provide the details of this account to convey truth about how God saves lost sinners like us.

Ships of Paul’s day were powered by the wind. Skilled sailors could triangulate the winds to sail to their destination. But when the ship is “caught” (Greek synarpadzo snatched, seized by force, snatched, all you can do is “let her drive.” There are some forces in life that all you can do is let them take their course. When God directs us, its difficult to resist. We can resist the driving winds of the LORD, the Holy Spirit, but like Jonah we will find just how persuasive God is in His redemptive purposes (cf. Jonah.

16 And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty.

The “skiff” was the boat used to transfer from the ship anchored offshore to the shore of where you were going. The skiff was often towed behind the ship. Here they are tying things down so as not to lose them in the storm. The skiff serves as a lifeboat to use when the larger ship is incapacitated or shipwrecked. Even though it was difficult, those on the ship took the lifeboat on board. They wanted it close in case of emergency.

It’s only natural for those in stormy waters to begin paying attention to what they believe is their lifeline to safety. When the storm sof life hit, we look for lifeboats for security. But manmade safety options are not always able to save us.

17 When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven.

When storms were so severe that they threatened to break up the ship, the sailors would tie “cables to undergird the ship” by using thick ropes to hold the outsides of the ship together. This was a severe storm that was threatening to rip the ship apart!

The sanctuary of my church, and the sanctuaries of many churches, look like the inside of a ship turned upside down. The Church is like a ship provided by God to help us in life’s journeys, but also gets us to our final destination. The Church requires strengthening. It is “the pillar and ground of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) and needs to be wrapped and strengthened by the cables of God’s word. God’s word holds God’s Church together (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

They knew the route and feared running up on the “Syrtis Sands” that might wedge the bow or front of the boat in the sand and then tear it apart as the winds and waves pushed against the stern or rear of the boat. This was a very treacherous condition. There are dangers in this sea of life. They often lay just beneath the surface where they are not readily observable. The seas of life therefore should be sailed with caution, awareness, alertness.

18 And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.

Storms have a way of helping us to prioritize. This was a massively severe storm that so threatened their survival that they actually began throwing loose equipment and supplies over the side to make the ship more maneuverable. When your life is in danger, you become willing to throw overboard those things you once thought were valuable. Nothing is as valuable as your life, your soul. Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Our soul is more valuable than “the whole world.” Think about that. Storms help us to prioritize and focus on what really matters.

19 On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands.

Storms cause us to commit. On the third day everyone pitched in to throw even the essential “tackle” overboard. When your life is at stake you pitch in to help each other survive. Some people jump ship when the church is faced with a storm. Fake or artificial knock off “Christians” are usually exposed when persecution or difficulty comes.

Storms unite us. Storms faced by the church can either unite us or divide us. The passengers, though from different backgrounds and making the trip for different reasons, unite in the storm in order to help with their mutual survival. Storms can unite us. This is a truth of history and another reason why God allows them. The Church is strongest and purest when tested in the storm.

20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.

Persistent storms exhaust the hope of unbelievers. Persistent storms of darkness can sap the hope right out of the unbeliever. This storm was so dark and just wouldn’t give up. It got to the point where “all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.” Remember, man’s extremities are God’s opportunities. Storms are used by God to exhaust the false hopes of the unsaved so that His genuine gospel hope can fill the vacuum.

21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.

A ship of shelter in the storm. No one likes to ignore a warning and then suffer the consequences. No one likes to ignore a warning, suffer the consequences, and then hear, “I told you so.” Thankfully God is merciful, but we risk great loss when we ignore the Lord.

When God warns us, we should listen. The HMS Salvation church is a place where the truth of the gospel is shared. The Church should be a beacon of hope, a lighthouse. The Church should be a place which offers shelter from the storm. The Church is where the unadulterated undiluted truth of God and His word need to be boldly, courageously, compassionately, and lovingly shared with those God draws by providence to attend.

Storms provide opportunities to get closer to God. The ship was so rocked and the storm so tempestuous that no one could eat. Perhaps Paul was fasting for strength. The important point here is that Paul turned to God in the storm and modelled this to the rest of the passengers. There wasn’t an inch of give-up in Paul. Storms drove Paul to God not away from God. Paul here becomes an extension and type of the Church. Paul sets the example of what the Church should be doing during the storms of life. Like those on the boat, we need to consider, “Did God orchestrate my presence on this ship in the storm simply to be a passenger, or for something more significant?

Storms provide opportunities to minister. When everyone else had lost hope Paul stood and seized the day saying, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Create and incurred this disaster and loss.” This was no mere “I told you so,” but a segway to ministry. Paul wanted them to recognize that what he said before was true and came to pass so they would be more apt to listen to what he would now say. Their lives depended on it! (So did their souls!) Are you succumbing to a fear of the storms, or are you using the storms of life as an opportunity to minister to those in danger?

22 “And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.

Storms are opportunities to speak of God’s hope. In the midst of hopelessness, Paul is moved by the Spirit to deliver a message of hope. On the HMS Salvation, those God uses are messengers of hope. The church as a ship in stormy waters should always be encouraging, edifying, exhorting to draw closer to God.

23 “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,24 “saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’

Storms are opportunities for God to speak to us. God’s purposes for Paul would not be thwarted even by a Euroclydon storm of the devil! God who answers our prayers exceedingly abundantly beyond what we ask, was going to preserve all on board Paul’s ship as well (cf. Ephesians 3:21-22). Are you and or your church going through a storm right now? What is God saying to you? Are you listening?

Storms reveal God’s sovereignty. Paul had predicted their loss if they sailed, but his warning was ignored (Acts 27:10-11). Now he was predicting their safety if they followed his heaven-sent instructions. God created the sea and provided the boat. All on that ship were there by Divine appointment, by Divine providence. This is one of many reasons why salvation is a gift of God’s grace. The Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of their sins (John 16:8-11). We are lost in a sea of sin with no hope of survival. Then the LORD sends a rescue ship to save us. He throws us a life preserver to draw us on board. All we need to do is grasp it in faith. The grasp of faith is not a work of our own. Faith is not a work. Paul specifically contrasts faith against works when he is inspired to write, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We’d have nothing to grab onto if it weren’t for the LORD. The only reason we can grasp in faith is that we are created in the image of God with the capacity to do so (Genesis 1:26). When the HMS Salvation comes sailing by and throws us a gospel life preserver while we flounder at sea, we can’t take any credit for such a rescuing salvation. Salvation is all about God’s grace.

Storms are opportunities for God to send His angels to minister to us. Another evidence of God’s saving grace is His use of angels. One of the purposes of angels is to help God’s servants. God sent angels to shut the mouths of lions in the lion’s den with Daniel (Daniel 6). Angels are sent to help God’s servants understand things (e.g. Daniel 8:16). We have seen how God opened prison doors to free the Apostles in Acts (Acts 12). Angels are “ministering” or serving spirits sent by God to help his human servants on occasion (e.g. Hebrews 1:14). God apparently sent an angel to Paul to help him in this perilous situation. Paul uses the assurance of the angel to minister to those who had lost all hope.

Why didn’t God just send the angel to deliver the message to all those on the ship? Perhaps it was a way to facilitate the authority of Paul with these people so he could minister to them. Perhaps God didn’t want attention to go to the angel by people who were known to be superstitious and idolators.

Storms reveal God’s sovereign heart of election. Paul was told and shared with those on the ship, “and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’” There are some who would say God elects some to heaven and some to hell. This is sometimes referred to as “double Predestination” as well as Supralapsarianism, that God decreed both the election and reprobation prior to creation and then allowed the fall of man as a means of carrying out his divine purposes. [3] In contrast to such a theological view, it’s interesting that God chose to save all those on board Paul’s ship. This tells us God desires, at least in this situation, all to be saved. That particular truth aligns with the clear statements of such scriptures as, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of od our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). Also, “The LORD is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). This stormy situation in Acts 27 and these two verses, among others, reveal the desire of the heart of God’s sovereignty which is to save all.

Storms reveal the power of God’s sovereign decisions. The guarantee to Paul that all on board would be saved does have some stipulations that are necessary for the passengers to follow. But if followed, God through the angel to Paul to the passengers assures that He is able and willing to save them all. Similarly, God in His sovereign determination, sets the parameters of salvation as “in Him,” or “in Christ.” This criteria for salvation was set “before the foundation of the world.” The right view therefore is not that God elects some to heaven and some to hell separate from any free will decision of their own, but that God sets the conditions of salvation as being in Christ according to the gospel and gives each person the capacity to freely choose whether they will accept Jesus and the gospel in order to be saved from their sins (cf. Ephesians 1:3-6).

25 “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.26 “However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

Storms are faith building opportunities. Paul expresses his confidence and faith in God. He takes God at his word. Paul encourages the people to “take heart.” He encourages all on that ship to take God at His word too. But he also doesn’t sugarcoat the situation. Paul speaks truthfully and that truth involves running “aground on a certain island.” Paul didn’t know all the details, such as the name of the island they would run aground on, but he did share what God had revealed to him. The gospel is only Good News only when it is contrasted with the bad news of dying in one’s sins. When the gospel is presented without consideration or mention of the potential consequence of spending eternity in a place called Hell, then it is inadequately conveyed to the lost. Heaven or Hell, forgiveness, or sinfulness, surrender or self-indulgence, salvation and eternal life or torment and eternal lostness, these are the consequences of our decision regarding the gospel.

27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land.

Storms are opportunities for God to get through to the lost. Fourteen days on a storm-tossed sea! It must have been brutal. But then it says, “the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land.” Either this was the impression of sailors who were very familiar with the route they were on, or it was the Lord giving them the impression of being close to land. Storms are opportunities for God to invite the sinner to “Come now, and let us reason together. . . though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms.

Storms are weathered by signs and soundings. To take soundings was to drop a rope in the water with a weight on the endo of it and measure the depth of where it hit ground. They took these soundings and found the depth was decreasing indicating they were coming close to land. God often brings us through the storm by giving us gradual signs to lead us. God is patient. He lets the prodigal leave home and end up wallowing in the pigsties of life. But should we listen to Him and come to our senses and return to Him, He welcomes with open arms the one who was lost in the separation of sin and who repents and comes to Him (cf. Luke 15:11-24).

29 Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.

They didn’t want to wreck on the rocks, so they dropped four anchors from the rear (i.e.. stern) of the ship to slow it down. This was a drastic measure. It was one last attempt to preserve their own life. When that attempt was exhausted, they prayed. Even the sailors are praying because of this stormy ordeal. Storms in life are allowed by God in hopes that they will bring people to their extremities of relying on self. Once exhausted, hopefully, they will turn to God. God’s strategy seems to be working here.

30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow,31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”

Storms expose sin. Sin always drives us away from God and His word. The sailors were looking out for themselves. Sin always does that; it gets you to focus and care only for yourself. Self is the heart of sin. But there is another effect of sin. Stormy seas are caused by the planetary effects of sin. “For the creation was subject ot futility. . . For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:20 and 22). Similarly, speaking of humanity, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God didn’t create this world with storms, they are the consequence of human rebellion that opened a flood gate of disaster on a planetary basis both natural and spiritual. Those are the ingredients of life’s storms. Those are the storms from which we need to be saved.

Storms are opportunities to demonstrate our faith by obedience. As the ship was now anchored, some of the sailors snuck over to the skiff and were going to let it down and try to escape. They are still trying their own escape routes. But Paul, a man of God, warned the “centurion and soldiers” if the men didn’t stay in the ship they couldn’t be saved. If they wanted to be saved, they must trust or have faith in what Paul had said to them. There weren’t various alternative means to be saved in this storm. There was only one way, the way stipulated by God. Faith in God and His word always precedes salvation.

The way of salvation is clear, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). This stormy ship voyage gives us insight into how such belief is defined. Saving faith turns (i.e. repents) from our ways of salvation to God’s way of salvation. God’s way of salvation is a gift of His grace received through faith in Jesus. It’s not faith in Jesus and something else. It is faith in Jesus that is serious and surrendered to God and His will. Have you believed in Jesus as Savior? True genuine saving faith is defined as “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him form the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). Does this describe you?

God set the parameters of salvation from the storm. God provided the means to be saved from the storm. And God set the requirements of salvation. It is up to the sinner to either accept or reject what God so graciously offers. God’s sovereign requirement is that people stay aboard the HMS Salvation. There is no other lifeboat or skiff to be saved.

32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.

Storms call us to surrender. Saving faith is obedient. Saving faith is surrender to the LORD. They followed Paul’s warning instructions. They cut away the ropes so there was no option to jump ship. By cutting the ropes they were saying they were going to trust Paul’s instruction. They were all in, fully surrendered to follow the heaven-sent instructions of the Lord delivered through Paul.

To be saved we come to God on His terms according to His provisions, not our terms. To be saved a person needs to surrender to the gospel of God. To be saved you must run up the white flag and let Jesus take control.

33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing.34 “Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.”

Storms are not overcome only by spiritual means. Paul was attentive to details. Not only did he share what the angel from God had shared with him, but he paid attention to the details of their physical strengthening. Paul received instruction from spiritual channels, but he also addressed the practical health needs of those on board.  Just like Jesus fed the four thousand and the five thousand, Paul addressed the physical needs of those on the ship. Meeting the physical needs of those on board was part of the saving ministry not the end of it. When the church’s focus is reduced to merely meeting physical needs to the neglect of the eternal spiritual needs of people, the ship of the church is off course.

35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat.

Storms are opportunities to be thankful to the Lord. Even during the storm, when the ship was about to break apart, Paul gave thanks to the Lord. Could you, would you, give thanks to God during such a storm? It’s easy to thank God when all is calm and all is well, all is safe, but it takes faith to thank God before the rescue had occurred. We should always be thankful, before, during, and after the storms God allows into our lives. [4]

36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.

Storms are situations where God encourages us. Paul’s example and leading in the storm, his thankfulness in the midst of the storm, has led to those on board being encouraged. “Encouraged” (Greek euthymos) means in fine spirits, cheerful, of good cheer. Paul giving thanks to God during the storm brought a smile to their faces. He gave them a glimmer of hope that was now beginning to shine brightly. Paul, and we, should be agents of God to encourage those in peril. The HMNS Salvation is an encouraging ship!

37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.38 So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.”  39 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. 40 And they let go the anchors and left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes; and they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore. 41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves. 42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.

Storms are opportunities for God to demonstrate He can rescue all. They ate, all 276 of them. When they were full and strengthened, they threw the wheat into the sea. They were ready for the last part of the journey, swimming to the shore.

They “let go” and the ship ran aground. What?! The HMS Salvation run aground? How does that fit our typology? It fits because one day, when we are safe on Heaven’s shore, there will be no more need for the ship of the Church because we will be with the Captain of our souls, Jesus.

When the ship was breaking up, “the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of they should swim away and escape. But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose. . .” God had touched the heart of the centurion and gave Paul favor in his sight.

Some would be saved by swimming. Some would be saved by holding on to “Boards and some on parts of the ship.” Even by the HMS Salvation, we all get to safety in different ways. But the important thing to remember is, just as God promised Paul through the angel, “And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.” God can save all. God will save all who trust Him for salvation.

How about you, are you going to accept God’s invitation to the HMS Salvation ship? Are you willing to surrender to His instructions and trust Jesus as the Captain of your soul? Jesus alone is our Captain, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus alone is our “Head” of our Ship, the Church (Colossians 1:18). Jesus is the only way, the only truth, that will lead to life, eternal life (John 14:6). God has created sea, provided the ship, allowed the storms and given commands on how to be saved from drowning. The HMS Salvation is boarding, will you join us for the journey?


[2] I mentioned these two authors not because I endorse all they wrote about or believed, but simply as an illustration of the sea as life.


[4] It’s not likely Paul is leading a Communion service but is simply giving thanks to God for His provisions.


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