Paul approached the Centurion because Paul was convinced by God. But the Centurion was not a man who reasoned by the Spirit. He was not a man of faith and thus could not go with Paul’s advice.
Human reasoning tends to go against faith. In the case of the story we just read from Acts that is what we find.
(JB Phillips) 1Corinthians 2:14 But the unspiritual man simply cannot accept the matters which the Spirit deals with—they just don’t make sense to him, for, after all, you must be spiritual to see spiritual things.
Ironically though when someone is willing to walk in faith towards God those around us who aren’t spiritually minded will eventually get a chance to see how the Lord truly was leading us.
Remember how we left Paul and his sailing companions getting ready to leave the harbor when the soft south wind picked up?
Acts 27:14 But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. 15 So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. 16 And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. 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. 18 And because we were exceedingly tempest–tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. 19 On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. 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. 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. 22 "And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 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.’ 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."
I love verse 21 "Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss."
This is what I call a godly I told you so. Paul is not gloating here, he is reminding them about who got it right because now he wishes to encourage them and it is important that they see he hears from the Lord.
Notice now he adds to why he feels the journey will be completed. His God has a certain destiny for him that all these other men are now caught up in.
Paul must go to see Caesar and these men are in the boat with him. These men will be spared for Paul’s sake.
It is possible when we are walking with God in faith for others to get caught up in our wave of destiny.
God really is that big and that at work in us. The question is will we walk in our own understanding, or will we walk in faith with God?
Our influence grows as we begin to put our trust in the Lord and speak about where our confidence comes from.
That is what happened for Paul.
After they left harbor they ran into trouble as we read, and then later they have even more trouble and the sailors are about to abandon ship. When Paul tells the soldiers to not let anyone off the ship or else the promise does not stand the soldiers cut the ropes to the small boat and trap everyone on board.
The number of people on the ship is 276 and now all of a sudden everyone is taking their lead from Paul.
The road to influence is not knowledge itself. It is a walk with God.
Effective witnessing begins at our walk and then our talk confirms who and what we are about and as others see us yielding to God as opposed to human reasoning, they are able to eventually be impacted according to the work of the Spirit.
This is why we can do our daily lives and still carry the impact of God’s kingdom with us wherever we go.
But this will require that we seek God out of relationship and not out of duty.
Paul knew what he did because he sought the Lord out of relationship.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
The word made alive t us is what persuades us.
If we are not feasting on His word from a desire to know Him we will be persuaded by culture, entertainment, peers, etc.
Knowing Him is what positions us to be persuaded of Spiritual things that carry the weight of eternity with them.
I want to be persuaded like Paul was.
2Timothy 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
If we are persuaded of Him will we not be ashamed of Him.
I promise you all who the Spirit reveals Him to will not find us strange. They will find common ground.
2Timothy 1:5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
What are you persuaded of? Whatever it is when others are asked about you that is thing that will mark you the most.
Paul and Timothy were marked by their faith. They were persuaded men who lived out what they believed. My prayer is that we will be persuaded of Him and draw closer as a result.
About The Author
- Tim Atchley
- Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
- I currently serve as Senior Pastor of Harvest Church in Knoxville, Tn. I was sent out from Trinity Chapel of Knoxville in 1993 accompanied by my wife Sheila our four children Sarah, Hannah, Josiah & Isaac and a handful of bold, brave and committed believers determined to plant our first church. Pioneering is hard work but well worth the journey. That is why we desire to make disciples of Christ who will, like us, also embrace the call to plant churches.