How To Make A Shipwreck Of Your Life

Acts 27:9 – Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,

Acts 27:10 – And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.

Acts 27:11 – Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

Acts 27:12 – And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.

Hello readers, hope you’re having a good weekend. Thanks for reading today, and hope this blog is a blessing to you! It was going to be a short one, but looks like it is now a bit of a read, but my hope is that it’s worth your time. How to make a shipwreck of your life. That’s not a very promising title is it! Maybe you’re more interested in NOT making a shipwreck of your life. If so, good. But Acts 27 is a shipwreck chapter in the Bible. They didn’t need to be shipwrecked, and it’s written so you don’t need to be shipwrecked. You’ll see what makes for a shipwreck in this chapter.

The apostle Paul was on board when they were shipwrecked in this chapter, and if anyone knew something about shipwrecks… Paul did. He was in a shipwreck three times, so he knew what he was writing about when he wrote this to Timothy, his son in the faith.1 Timothy 1:19 – “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:” The Bible always has pictures and illustrations to help us grasp what God is teaching us, after all, we all like picture books don’t we.

I’ve been meaning to do a blog on this passage of scripture for a while, and I was meaning to focus on what Paul said before they set sail from Crete. However, as it turns out, my focus will be more on what the centurion did with what Paul said. Paul warned them about the voyage they were about to embark on, but the centurion didn’t believe him. And that, in a nutshell, will be how you make a shipwreck of your life. If you choose to reject God’s word, the truth, your decisions ultimately will be ill fated… when they need not be! Oh, the wind was blowing the right way when they set sail, but they got into their voyage and they ran into a storm they couldn’t handle. If Jesus Christ isn’t handling your life, you are in trouble in life’s journey.

The context is this. In Acts 27, we see Paul on a voyage, and he’s going as a prisoner to Rome. No he’s not a tourist, no he’s not going for a great adventure… he’s in cuffs, he’s in chains. That’s what you get for following Jesus Christ in this life. In the previous chapters he’s been standing trial, not because he did anything wrong, but because there were a bunch of jealous religious Jews who hated him and made up lies against him. Oh but they knew how to wrap those lies and jealous up didn’t they. They got an orator named Tertullus to articulate their case against him, as if his flowering enticing words could mask the truth of the matter to the Roman governor.

Let’s just remember that Paul had been one of that Jewish, Christ rejecting, religious crowd. But one day he got saved, the light came on. We all need that light from heaven to shine in our minds and hearts and soul. There is no salvation without the illumination of the Holy Spirit. And it changed his life forever.

So he follows Jesus Christ, he believes and obeys him, that’s his life. And it’s anything but smooth. Shipwrecked three times was only a small part of it! I do wonder when Paul was in a jail cell whether he did ask himself… is it worth it? Was Christ worth it? He had everything, he had life by the tail, lots of friends, status, and a good job… and he forsook it all to follow Jesus Christ and obey his word. Paul did address this question in his epistles, and we find out that it was worth it to him. Jesus Christ became his purpose, his fulfillment, his reward, his prize, his life.

So Paul is a prisoner, and he’s delivered to a centurion and his men to take along with other prisoners to Italy to be tried in a higher court of law, before Caesar. Paul is on board. That’s a pretty significant person to have on board don’t you think. Paul knew the gospel, he knew God’s word, he knew the truth. That was his life. That’s why he’s on board.

Just like Paul was delivered to this centurion and his men, maybe you weren’t even looking for God, but God came seeking you. You’ve been landed with the gospel, and you gotta do something with it. You can’t wash your hands of it! It is significant that Paul was on board. Because it’s a picture of the truth that you and I know the gospel, we don’t have the excuse anymore of we don’t know and can’t know. They’ve got someone who can tell them how to be saved, but they’re not at the point they need salvation yet, right? They’re in authority over Paul, they don’t need his input yet. For most people, they only need salvation when they’re facing shipwreck, but not before.

What difference has Paul being on board made to your life? For many of us, not a thing. You hear the truth, you know the truth, you have God’s word… but he’s essentially useless to you. What need have you for Christ? Nothing. Because you don’t see a need for salvation. The weather’s set fair, and it’s plain sailing for you. How to have a shipwreck is when you don’t see it coming. You can’t see, because you’re not God. And things may look fine for you now, but there’s a shipwreck ahead in your life.

People don’t see the shipwreck ahead of time, they don’t see the trouble they’re in with God. They don’t see judgment and wrath that is to come. What set Noah apart was that, through the eyes of faith, he saw that flood coming, because he believed God’s word. The centurion we see, however, he didn’t believe God’s word. It took a shipwreck for him to start taking Paul seriously, to set Paul’s word apart from everyone elses. See God’s word isn’t just another opinion and philosophy, it is the word of God. That’s why the Bible says to sanctify God in our hearts. Set him and his word apart in your life from all the rest. All the other voices and opinions clouded the centurion’s mind, and he made a decision that’d leave him and his men on the rocks.

So the story starts pretty well it seems, everything’s in order, Paul’s aboard and he’s just one of the prisoners heading for Italy. And the centurion actually is treating Paul pretty well. If you haven’t already gathered, we want to think of the centurion as you and I today. And we want to think of Paul as representative of Jesus Christ and his word.

The centurion wasn’t really against Paul. Many people aren’t totally against Christ, or teachings of the Bible or whatever… but they’re not really for him either. God’s word isn’t the authority in their life. Jesus is just another good prophet. But if you’re not for him, you’re really against him. You can’t sit in the middle reader, though many try. Many Christians try middling things, but at the end of the day, they’re not under the authority of God’s word, they’re in authority over God’s word. Big difference. That’s how many of us like it. After all we know what we want to do, and that’s just how it is, God’s going to have to fit with my schedule, he’s going to be on my time, and he’s going to conform to my way.

And so you’ve set sail in life, you’re on a journey, a voyage, that’s what life is after all isn’t it? You have a destination in mind, you have things you’re pursuing in life, dreams, ambitions, ideas of who and what you want to be, and you think you know where you’re going and how to get there. And maybe, just like these guys in the story, you’re making pretty good ground in life. Your own way seems to be working out. They go from there to there to there and they’re making progress. Yeah there was a bit of contrary wind, and you may have hit a little bit of adversity along the way, but by and large it’s all heading in the right direction for them. There’s always just one problem with all that… what does the Bible say? Pretty soon they’d end up sailing against Paul’s advice, and pretty soon we’ve got a well established life in “we know better than God’s word”.

As mentioned before, Paul’s aboard… but he’s in chains where he belongs. We keep him safe on a leash. Often even Christians have Christ like this in their lives. It’s a very small leash for what he can do in and through their lives. They’ve handcuffed Christ. He’s not allowed to have input or free course in our lives. After all, we’re in control, and we know how much of Christ we want and how much of our lives he’s allowed to get. Many Christians only have an extent to what they will listen to God. There’s a limit, they won’t go all the way. They won’t offer up their Isaac, no no no, that’s far too much to ask. They don’t mind some aspects of Christianity, the good bits, the parts that fit in with their planned journey… but they certainly don’t let Christ work any further in their life. They’ve got him on a short leash.

So they’re sailing at their own speed, not realizing that they need to get move on. Time’s going by, time they don’t have in which to make it to Italy. Maybe you’re like this in life, you’re lazy and slow and you’re short on time… and don’t know it. That’s how you have a shipwreck. You didn’t know that NOW is the accepted time and TODAY is the day of salvation. Get going while you have time, have light, have life. And maybe you’ve come to the place in life that they came to… The fair havens. That’s a place of procrastination, stalling what you know you should do but won’t do… you’ve arrived at “the comfort zone”. The comfort zone is a hard place to leave in life, it’s such a nice place with little trouble, little turmoil and little faith required.  Much time was spent there the Bible says. They’re just chilling out in the fair havens.

But there’s a problem with the fair havens. It’s no good in winter. Do you have a faith that is no good in winter? Do you have a life with no substance? There’s plenty of Christians who are checked in to the fair havens. This world has got it’s fair havens, all it can offer is short term comfort, ease and fulfillment. But nothing that lasts. Fair havens don’t last. Your shallow profession of Christianity isn’t worth nearly as much as you think. And now they’ve got a dilemma, because they’re at a place not good for winter, but the time for sailing is also past. It’s not a time to be here or there. How many Christians end up neither here or there on just about anything. If you haven’t built a life on the Rock, on Jesus Christ, you won’t have any enduring substance.

And they’re deciding… what do we do? It’s in the decision making process that the shipwreck is completed. They get themselves into trouble, and now they’re gonna try and solve it their own way. Well, Paul spoke up and warned them not to make this voyage. But the centurion listened to the master and owner of the ship instead. So many Christians have their ears attuned to the voice of a different master, not that great shepherd of the sheep.

And further to that, he also listened to the “more part”. What an incredible little truth here. How often we listen to the “more part” over the word of God. We make decisions in life based on consensus, majority opinion, what everyone else is doing. How many people believe evolution or poor worldly wisdom and advice and all sorts of lies because of the “more part”. Maybe you think someone or something else is “more” right than God’s word. Maybe you think you’re more right. And they’re making big decisions in life based on the more part, and unbelief.  When push comes to shove, they don’t believe the word of God. Oh, they’re in the fair havens at the moment… but the shipwreck is coming. While the fair havens are great, they may not be a true indicator of where we are at in life. And how can our country and society and the Christians reject God and his word and shipwreck not lay ahead?

So Paul warns them “Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.” God’s word is what gives us perception. People trust their own perception of what’s what, what’s truth, what’s right, what’s wrong, what to do. And they’re wrong, because God’s word sees the path ahead and what you must do far more clearly than you do. Your perception will leave you on the rocks, but God’s perception is given to you in his word so that you can be saved.

Your voyage of life will be with much hurt and damage when you go it against the word of God. Think of this world we live in. All the hurt and damage is in it because of Eve did exactly what the centurion did. She believed what the serpent said over what God had said. Think of hurt and damage of human history… all that has arisen from doubt, disobedience and sin.

And what’s more important… the lading and the ship… or your life? For most people they put money and fame and pleasure way ahead of their soul. Paul said, ultimately, your life is at stake here. Your eternal soul is at stake when it comes to the gospel. At the end of your life, all that matters is your soul… your possessions come and go, achievements, glories, pleasures and adventures are as temporary as the fair havens… the only thing that will matter is what you did with Jesus Christ. And for many, their legacy and the cost will be that they didn’t believe God’s word. They made a shipwreck because they didn’t believe the Bible.

The centurion didn’t say “I don’t believe you Paul”. Just, he believed the others “more”. Many professing Christians today believe other things more than the word of God. They may not be outright opposed to the Bible, but their decisions and actual life show that the Most High God isn’t most high in their lives.  What you do, real life, shows what you truly believe more. The centurion knew there was something to Paul. He had treated Paul real well, that’s pretty unusual for a Roman soldier right. Roman soldiers were renowned for their brutality, and he’s in the position of authority. But this centurion was happy to hear and entertain what Paul had to say, but he just believe the master of the ship more. The master of the ship had more authority than Paul to say if it was good to go or not. After all, think of this, the master of the ship had done this route before, he knew the weather and the seas… oh yes, the master of the ship had more credibility in the centurion’s mind than Paul. Your decisions in life show who you really think is more credible.

What a decision! We all have decisions to make in life. God has given us the ability to choose to believe him, or believe someone and something else. This centurion had the master of the ship and the “more part” advising him to set sail. And he had Paul saying, don’t do it. God’s given you the ability to make decisions in your own life. He’s given you the ability to choose between Paul and the others, between Jesus Christ and the religions and philosophies and beliefs of this world. Choose you this day. It wasn’t that the centurion wasn’t vehemently against what Paul had to say, and even considered it… just he decided there was better advice, better input, better wisdom, a better way out there. He couldn’t see the storm and shipwreck coming, but God’s word did. You can’t see near as far ahead as you think.

Acts 27 says they had originally launched “meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia”. Maybe what you mean to do has now run into what God’s word says to do. You may even be well meaning. You may mean to get right with God one day. Whatever you mean… what God’s word says is what’s most important. They really thought they were making the right decision. They had it all planned out, and the wind was behaving accordingly. It all looked right, seemed right, felt right, they agreed it was right… but it was wrong. Maybe you are supposing you have obtained what you purposed as the Bible says they did. You’re trying to get what you want, go where you want, be what you want… but you’re not doing it by obeying the word of God. Shipwreck ahead.

When they should’ve been sailing, they weren’t. But when they shouldn’t be sailing, they set off sailing. It kind of reminds me of the children of Israel who refused to go into Canaan when they should’ve, and then went in when God said not to.  So many people are like this. Oh, now they want to be faithful after they’ve committed adultery. Now they want to serve God after they’ve spent their whole life serving self. You don’t have to get into shipwrecks in life to then get out of it, you can just not get into a shipwreck in the first place. Your life doesn’t HAVE to be a shipwreck.

So they set out from Crete, and it appears like Paul is a dummy who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The experience of the captain, the agreement of the crew, oh yes, they knew better than Paul. It looks right, seems right, they’ve fasted a bit. Bit like those people who say “I’ve prayed about it”… while they’re living in sin. It all seems right. But a wind starts blowing, and it’s a bad one, it’s one that has its own name! That’s pretty bad! The wind of consequences, accountability and responsibility for our decisions and disobedience in life is a pretty bad wind. And they’re caught out all at sea, in the middle of deadly storm. They’re gonna die. They need salvation, we all do. Salvation from our unbelief and disobedience to God.

But you know what, the wind arises, and they start doing all they can to manage. They don’t go to Paul, they don’t ask him… what now? They try to solve their situation. You’re going to see man’s futile efforts to save himself. The Bible says that they tried undergirding their ship. How many people try holding their sinking ship of disobedience together, how many people try propping up their sinking religion, righteousness and Christianity. Then they try lightening the ship. They throw off stuff. That’s classic religion! Man tries throwing off a bit of sin to save himself, he tries doing a bit better. Maybe you’re trying to throw some baggage off, like that’s going to satisfy God. You can’t lighten your load of sin, try though you may. The only righteousness that ever satisfied God was Christ’s righteousness. Trying to do better, trying to be better… that won’t save you. You can’t save you.

This was beyond them, it was beyond their power. Maybe your life is heading for the rocks, and you need something with power to save you. You don’t have the power to save you. Your boats running away from you in the wrong direction and you can’t stop it. You’re just watching what you started go. You’re seeing your marriage blow up, your kids go off in sin, you’re seeing your life explode. So many people play with sin and think they can control how their sin will turn out, this world tries having their sin and getting to choose the consequences. But sin is a runaway ship under a howling gale ain’t it.

What has the power to save you? Who has the power to save you? Gotta be a pretty big power to deliver me from my sin right. Well the Bible says in Romans 1:16 – ” For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” That’s Paul writing to the Romans, and he was headed to Rome. He knew about salvation power, read about his life. He was going one direction once, and the light came on and his life went in plumb the other direction. Can you think of someone who had power over the wind and the sea? Jesus Christ. He’s the only one with the power to save your soul.

But he’s going to wait isn’t he. Paul waited too. They were chucking stuff off, and until you’re willing to turf a life of lust and pride, until there is some repentance in you, there won’t be salvation. It’s not about works, but many people want their ship saved… but God’s not saving that ship. The ship of sin you’re on and everything on it needs be sunk. God will sink your ship. People want Jesus to save “their ship”. They want Jesus to save them but they keep their sin, and Jesus just get me out of this problem please… but I’ll keep my life too. You’re not ready to be saved, you’re not yet at a place of abandoning your sin and disobedience and garbage.

See, sometimes the shipwreck is necessary if the ship you’re on is the wrong ship. This was an Alexandrian ship, plenty of people are on the Alexandrian ship of false Bibles. Sink that boat for sure. It was a ship of disobedience to God’s word. It’s not the worst thing to have the ship you’re on smashed on the rocks and everything with it. God can pulverize that past life of disobedience and give you a different direction and cause in life.

So the Bible says that they got to a point where “all hope that we should be saved was taken away”. Imagine that, no hope. That’s how bad it was. That’s how caught in the storm they were. They’d tried everything to deliver themselves and work it out… but they couldn’t. And they gave up. What it took for them to give up on their capacity and ability! The biggest opposition to us getting saved is ourselves. Until we lose all hope in our ability and power to save ourselves, we won’t be saved. It was after hope was lost that Paul spoke to them. And he’d tell them the gospel. He’d tell them, guys, we’re going to be fine, I know God, I serve God, and God is going to bring me and you through this. And furthermore, noone’s going to die! That’s pretty incredible. Doesn’t the Bible say “Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none”. Yes it does. When you believe in Jesus Christ it’s not maybe, he doesn’t save to a 50% success rate, or 90% or 99%… Jesus Christ is 100%.

So the answer to your life is the gospel. God has power to save. The gospel of Jesus Christ has power to deliver you from sin. He’d kept his silence a long time until they reached a place where they were ready to hear and listen to what he had to say. He started with a reminder. Guys, you should have listened to me. You should have listened to the Bible. Have you learnt that yet? And told them what God had told him. He gave them God’s word. Guys, God said you’re going to be fine. You’re going to be fine for my sake. You know, we are only saved for Christ’s sake. Did you realize that? They weren’t saved because they were good or right, they were saved for Paul’s sake. You were saved because God honors his Son’s sacrifice. They guy on board that mattered… mattered. Christ is who mattered all along. You will get yourself in a mess, and God may need to break your boat… but it’s to save your soul. There is salvation in the shipwreck when God is there. What grace God had on these men, and on us. They didn’t listen, yet God gave them another chance when they’d made their own mess. And now you can be of good cheer. Salvation will bring a peace and happiness that no man can give you or take from you, and which is there irrespective of the weather of life you’re in.

For most people, it’s gonna take a wreck for them to start taking God’s word seriously. It’s amazing to think that they have Paul on board, and yet it’s an ill fated voyage. How many Christians are on an ill fated voyage when they have the Bible, but live in complete ignorance and defiance to it. One of the things that struck me about this story is how the decisions of some impacts everyone else. This centurion’s decision impacted a whole lot of people, including Paul. Your sin involves and affects other people. Sin is always selfish at its core.

So the story keeps going, and the centurion starts listening to Paul. Paul brings them truth, comfort, hope. That’s what you get in the pages of the scripture and the promises of God. What Paul says is how we’re going to make it through this thing. We must cast upon a certain island. For most people, life’s journey doesn’t end up with them at that certain island of truth. Not many people are there. The Bible says “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”. Don’t let that be your journey. The Holy Spirit always has a certain endpoint for our lives, we all come from different backgrounds and situations, but the same Holy Spirit takes us to the same gospel, the same Lord, the same salvation, the same truth. Then the shipmen try to abandon ship, but Paul says to the centurion, that can’t happen if you want to be saved. They made out they were gonna chuck the anchors out to try and stay put, but instead they were getting the boat ready to escape. Paul knew what they were up to. True Christians don’t abandon ship. So many Christians bail before they see God’s deliverance. It gets too hard, and they abandon bail on God and his word.

God didn’t make you to wreck. Your purpose in life isn’t to die and go to hell. You get that hurt and damage because you reject God’s word. That ship was made to sail and float, but they destroyed it by disobeying God’s word. We destroy our own lives by rebelling against God’s word.

The thing I realized was that Paul told them how they would be saved. By casting on a certain island. That was the only way they were going to be saved. But they still struggled to trust him and believe him. They see land approaching, and they show they don’t believe. They’re fakes. They make out they’re chucking the anchor out, meanwhile they’re really getting the boat ready to abandon ship. You’ll realize when you get saved, there are fake Christians out there. They were making out they were doing like the rest. The unbelief runs strong. It’s hard to break my way for his way isn’t it.

Then a bit later as the ship’s breaking up… and the soldiers counsel is to kill the prisoners! Kill Paul! After all that, Paul had been the only one who’d made sense on their whole wretched voyage and they want to kill him? Crazy. So close to land and they’re still filled with fear and unbelief… and what stupid counsel. Why do we ever listen to rubbish? The centurion was the only one who had got it, he made sure Paul wasn’t gonna be killed. Why kill the one bloke who’s made sense while I’ve made bad decisions and wrecked my ship? Jesus Christ is the only good thing that happened to this world, he came to save you out of it, he gave you light and life and truth. Yet at the first chance you ditch him and his word. How about obey God the whole way, not for a little bit until you see land, then you’re back to your old tricks.

You can make land. But you make it God’s way. We must cast upon a certain island. Anybody can be saved, but Jesus Christ is the way. All are invited, but few come to God by faith in his word, faith in his Son. Look at Cain, he tried coming to God… his own way.  Many people baulk at that way, just as they did as they saw the land, the rocks, the ship breaking. As they got closer, the unbelief showed. As that day gets closer, we are seeing more and more the fakes that are out there. Jesus Christ said when he comes, would he find faith on the earth?

So it’s been a lengthy blog, but the title was “how to make a shipwreck of your life”. And you don’t want to do that do you? If you believe God, if you trust his word, if you trust him with decisions and the direction of your life over what you think and want… you’ll be safe. The hurt and damage comes when you embark on life’s journey in defiance and rebellion and ignorance to God’s word. God may have to smash the ship of your pride and self righteousness on the rocks, but he does it to save your soul. They all made it to shore, it was a miracle. Salvation is a miracle. Do you want your shipwreck to turn into salvation? God can do that. We are the problem, we sin and we get ourselves in a right royal mess. That’s us. But you can turn to the Lord God of the Bible to make salvation of the shipwreck. It’s a divine wind and shipwreck that God uses to save your soul. Don’t go against the Bible, don’t think you know better, don’t think you can do better, don’t think you can see better… you can’t. Do life God’s way. God’s word is the truth, his ways are right and true, and there is safety in his word for every born again child of God. They wished for the day aboard that ship on that ill fated voyage… today is your day, today is the day to get right with God, today is the day to serve him, today is the day of salvation.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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