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Secure in the Midst of a Storm

Scripture: Acts 27:13-44
Date: 02/07/2009 
God promises that we can be secure, even in the midst of the storms in our lives. Paul experience of a storm and shipwreck teaches us about the watchfulness of the Lord on our lives as well as our church in the end times.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

It’s been a good thing for the pastors to begin collecting these special prayer requests where you write out your prayers. The last few weeks, as we gather for our staff meeting Wednesday mornings, we've been going through them. And it's given us a little more insight into some of the special needs in the church family. Sometimes we can sort of live in our own little universe and become disconnected. Through these prayer requests, if anything has become clear, it's become clear that a lot of people are struggling with a broad spectrum of challenges.

Just in the last week I've had friends that have had serious health problems, financial problems, families that seem to be strained and on the verge of disintegrating, people losing their jobs, people losing their identity. I’ve tried to summarize what's caused so much distress. In the world you're going to have tribulation, but Jesus said we could be of good cheer because He’s overcome the world. In spite of all these things that may come into our lives that are challenges, whether they're problems in relationships or problems with finances we can still be secure.

Matter of fact, one lesson the Bible teaches us [is] that with the Lord you can be secure in the midst of a storm. I remember hearing the story about this large stone lion that they built; actually it's a bronze lion that overlooks the area where the battle of Waterloo was fought. And this big lion’s got his snarling mouth open and his jaw is exposed and a bird made nests in the lion's mouth. And when the winds and storms were swirling around that meadow the bird was perfectly secure there in the lion's mouth of all things, with her little young. This is something how a Christian can envision our relationship with the Lord. You could have perfect security no matter what kind of stresses or insecurities are happening in your life. No matter how things might be shaking around you, you can still be secure in the storm.

And it doesn’t mean we won’t have trials, we do. There are storms in life. Jesus said, wise man builds on the rock. The fool builds on the sand, and both houses get hit with a storm. Isn’t that right? So He almost guaranteed there’s going to be storms. I’d like to have you turn in your Bible to the last chapter of Acts. Acts 27, Acts 28 is the last chapter. There’s a story, and we’re going to read most of it, that begins with verse 13. I’d like to give you the background for what’s happening. Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem. And after a couple of years of languishing in jails there, finally he appealed to Caesar. He’s on his way to see the king of the world back then. He’s going to take his court case before the Roman Emperor. And in route, they sailed back then was the quickest way of travel, but their boat was delayed and a number of problems. And finally, you know there are seasons when you don’t sail the Mediterranean. Just like other oceans you’ve got the storm season and you’ve got the safe season. Well, they had wasted so much time during the good sailing that now it got to the time where they really ought to park the boat and just wait out the storm season. But they said, “We could probably just make it to a better harbor if we go a few more days.”

So against the advice of Paul, Paul said, “I perceive there’s going to be a lot of damage to the lives and the goods of the ship. You’d better stay where you are.” They went on sailing in spite of his advice. You read in verse 13, “When the south wind,” Acts 27:13, “blew softly, supposing they had obtained their purpose.” They said, “Hey, this is a good sign. We’ve got a south wind.” “They put out to sea. They sailed close by Crete. But not long after a tempestuous headwind arose called Euroclydon.” And that’s sort of a combination of the word meaning from all corners and that’s where you get the word Europe and typhoon. It was this wind that swirled around that didn’t have any definite direction and it often came up in the winter. It means the winter storm wind was upon them. “So when the ship was caught and could not head into the wind we let her drive.”

They just had to let the ship blow whichever way the wind went. “And running under the shelter of an island,” finally they came where they were blocked by an island, “called Claudia they secured the skiff.” The skiff is the little lifeboat all sailboats had. They'd anchor off and then they had a little rowboat that would go to shore and row people back and bring provisions in. They used to tow it behind the ship in good weather, but when the weather got rough you didn't want to lose your little lifeboat; they'd strap it on the stern. So they secured the skiff. That comes in later in the story. You don't want to miss that. “With difficulty. And when they had taken it on board, the used cables to under gird the ship, fearing, lest they should run aground on the strait sands. They struck sail,” they pulled down their sails because the wind was blowing them in to the sands, “and so we were driven. And because there was an exceeding tempest-- they were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.”

They're now doing what they did during Jonah’s storm and they are starting to throw things overboard. When your life is on the line you're willing to unload if it means saving your life. “And on the third day we threw the ship's tackle overboard with our own hands.” Now Paul was on this boat with over 200 other prisoners. And when they realized that they had to lighten the boat even more not only were they throwing the cargo overboard to save themselves, now they're throwing over the tackling of the ship that they use for controlling the sails and the ship. It's like they're reaching desperate straights now. Verse 20, “Now when neither sun nor stars appeared to for many days, and no small tempest beat on us.” There are four times in the Bible Luke uses that term, “no small.” Sometimes he says no small stir, no small division, no small tempest. You ought to do a sermon someday on no small, when Luke says that. That means very big. “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.”

Now I want you to have the picture here, friends. Here you've got a boatload of prisoners on their way to judgment. They've thrown over their valuables. They've thrown over the tackling to control the ship. How does a boat back then find out where they are? GPS? No, they would use either a compass, but then they'd use the compass also. That is kind of tells you which way they were drifting. They'd have to use a sextant or some primitive instruments to either at night measure by the stars or the moon or in the day by the sun. And they have neither sun, moon or stars. One of the signs of the church is a woman clothed with the sun standing on the moon, stars above her head. The church is to be a guiding light in the world. Here, the ship of sailors bound for judgment, they're all prisoners. It's a prison boat. Paul is one of many. They've got the Roman soldiers and the sailors and they're on their way to judgment. And they don't know where they're going. And they're in a storm. And now they’ve become hopeless. All hope that they might be saved is gone.

“But after long abstinence,” days of fasting, “from food, Paul stood up in the midst of them and said.” Now here is this half-blind, aging, bald Jew. Now the Bible doesn't say that, but some say he was. And I think I’ve told you that my mother’s maiden name was the same as Paul’s. It was Ruth Tarshis, which is the same as Tarsis. My grandfather says we're related to him or Jonah, we're not sure which one.

So here you’ve got this short, bald [they do say he was short because Paul says, “I’m not very imposing when I come in person]. And he was partially blind. He couldn’t see. And he is telling now the Roman soldiers and the sailors what they should do. It’s very out of his area of expertise you would think, except he had the Spirit of God. He says, “Men, you should have listened to me and not sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God who I belong to and whom I serve saying, Do not be afraid Paul, you must be brought before Caesar, and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.”

In other words, during the storm Paul is praying for all the other soldiers and all the other prisoners and all the sailors. He is interceding for those who are in the storm, who are very insecure about their lives, very insecure about their possessions and the trip. And he says an angel appeared to me and told me, “Paul, not only am I going to spare you because you need to go to Caesar; the Gospel needs to go to Rome. And you're going to be preaching from Rome to the people there.” And all was going to be preaching from the prison in Rome to the servants in Caesar's house. And the Gospel was going to spread from Rome. So the Lord was basically saying, “Look Paul, even if you've got to walk on water, you're going to Rome. So you’re going to make it.” But Paul is saying, “Lord, I’ve gotten to know these other sailors and prisoners and please save them.” “All right, Paul, you know your prayers are so strong and your intercession so complete, I'll give you everybody on the ship. But the ship isn't going to make it, and none of the cargo is going to make it because they didn't listen. They should have listened to you.”

“And he said, You must be brought before Caesar. Therefore take heart,” Paul is saying to the sailors, “take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as he told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Now here you've got a case, these prisoners are going through the dark. The only light in all of this is that angel that appeared to Paul. They must now believe the word of God that He is giving them. He is telling them in advance what's going to happen. Why? So when it does happen they’ll believe the other things that Paul says. Isn't that how God works with His prophets? “Now when the fourteenth night had come, and we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea,” they're being driven around the Mediterranean, “about midnight the sailors sensed they were drawing near some land.” Maybe they heard the crashing of breakers on some distant rocks. “And they took soundings,” that means they lowered a rope that had weights on it, that had knots tied in it so they could see how deep the water was getting. The closer you get to shore, the more shallow. So they're throwing this rope out and they are calling out the soundings. “And when they found it to be 20 fathoms, they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and it was 15 fathoms.” It's getting shallow. They're nearing land. That means they're going to crash on shore. “Then, fearing that we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and they prayed for day to come.”

Sometimes all you can do is stay where you are and pray and wait, right? “And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff,” the little rowboat, “into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow,” they're pretending they're dropping an anchor off the bow, “Paul said to the centurion,” the Roman soldier in charge of the whole group, “unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” Now that seems like a strange thing to say. Paul recognized he had this gift of discernment. He said, “They’re not dropping an anchor off the bow. Those sailors are wanting to get away because if the ship does break up there might be no way to get to land except that boat, and you're not going to get everybody in that boat, in that little rowboat. And the sailors wanting to save themselves acted like they were dropping an anchor off the front, and really they were getting ready to make their own personal getaway to land. Paul saw what they were doing and he says to the centurion, “God's told me that unless we all stay together we’re not going to make it. Unless we all stay together, centurion, you're not going to make it.” And you know, it's interesting how to start with the centurion was giving orders when they began the journey, now this old prisoner is telling everybody what they ought to do. It's amazing how God’s Spirit sort of takes over when there's a crisis.

I've discovered something. I've had a lot of friends that I've told them about my beliefs and I've told them about what I believe about God and my relationship with God. And a lot of them are unbelievers and the tease me, but when they go through a storm I'll frequently get a phone call, or someone will tap on the door and they'll say, “Doug, can we talk?” Someone in their family is dying or died. Or somebody is sick or there's been some great financial reverse. And if you know the Lord and you're walking with God people will sense that. And when there's a storm they're going to come to you and they're going to ask you for help. That's why it's important for you to be [a] consistent witness. In the middle of the storm they started taking orders from Paul. So here Paul is saying, “Unless we all stay together we can't be saved.”

By the way, there is a storm, friends, that's coming in our world. I don't know if you know that. And the devil wants to divide us. And even in God's church you get little groups that will break off and say, “Let’s not stay with the ship. Let’s break off by ourselves.” And God is saying to His people, we need to stick together. “Because all men will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.”

“Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.” Talk about commitment. They’re listening to Paul so much they cut away the lifeboat. “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 now without food, and eaten nothing. 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.” Wouldn’t you like to hear the Lord say that to us right now? In the midst of the storm He said, “You might go through some trials, you might even get seasick, but not a hair is going to fall from your head.” Of course, He’d have to give me more promise than that because I’d want something else. “And when he said these things, he took bread in front of them and he gave thanks to God.” These are all these pagan sailors. These are Roman soldiers. Paul now is taking charge in the name of the Lord. He prays, he blesses the bread in the name of Jehovah, and he distributes. Isn’t he doing what Jesus did? Remember when Jesus took the bread, He blessed it, He gave it to others. “And when he had broken it he began to eat.” He said, “Let me show you what to do. You’ve got to eat something. You need strength. You’re going to have to make your way to shore.” “They were all encouraged, they also took food themselves. An din all they were 276 people on the ship.” Now I don’t know if you’ve seen any of those ships that they had back then, but they were not very big. These were not like these big Spanish galleons. The ships back then were these Phoenician ships, or the Roman ships, and they were packed pretty tight on that boat full of prisoners.

“So when they had eaten, they lightened the ship and they threw out the wheat into the sea.” Just before they go into this great final time of trouble they eat. They fill up with as much as they can handle because a time is going to come when you’re going to have to live on what you’ve got inside you. You got that, friends? You may not always have your bible stored away somewhere. They knew now the ship was going to be busted to smithereens. They were going to have to survive on what they had put in them. You might be put in prison for your faith. And they’ll take your bible away. Do you have enough stored inside to sustain you? It’s like a bear before the winter, stores it away that they might hibernate through the coldest time. You and I need to have that experience, friends.

They throw all the other wheat overboard to lighten the ship because they’re going to make it for land now. Verse 39, “And when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they observed a bay [with] a beach, on which they planned to run the ship if possible.” There’s a desperate attempt. “And they let go of the anchors,” they cut the anchors away, “and they left them in the sea, meanwhile loosing the rudder ropes: they hoisted the mainsail to the wind and made for shore.” Did their best to make a run for shore. “But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground.” The currents were rushing about a rock and pushed this ship off into a shallow area and the bow ran aground. “The prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves. Now the soldiers plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should escape.” Back in bible times if you lost a prisoner you lost your life. You remember when Peter escaped from prison in Acts 12? Herod had all those soldiers killed, 16 of them, because they lost one prisoner. A Roman soldier was not to lose a prisoner. “But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose.” Did you get that? Paul is the one who intercedes for everybody in the boat to save them, and now all of them are going to be executed, but because of Paul the centurion, he’s got the judgment in his hands, he lets them all live for Paul’s sake. Isn’t that how salvation works? For Christ’s sake judgment passes by for you and me. Don’t forget, they had also eaten bread. We need to be eating bread, too.

It says, “[He] commanded those that could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, the rest, some on boards and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it was they all escaped safely to land.” All of them were saved. Some of them swam; some of them took broken pieces of the ship. You know, this is how it’s going to be in the last days, as we near the end. Is our church going to be able to function with the government above ground in the last days? Organizationally we’re probably going to have to just break up into little groups. But we’re not to leave until that time comes. We are to stay together. But when we hit the shore, and when that final storm comes where the bow is stuck and the stern is being broken up by the violence of the waves we may have to just jump in the water and either swim or hang on to whatever pieces that we can have. And I can just picture it now. Some are swimming for themselves, some are hanging on, two or three of them clinging to a piece of the ship. And maybe they were scratched, and maybe they were cut, but they all made it alive and safe to land.

What gave them security through that storm? Having the word of God in their midst. Paul was the word of God for them. Symbolized by when he broke bread in their midst, when he had messages, when God’s angel spoke to him. God’s word came to that group through Paul. And that was the only thing that gave them hope. I remember reading just last week. I was looking for something else and I reread the story of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and his soldiers. His plane, they got off course, they ran out of gas, their plane went down during World War II. And they were floating around in a series of lifeboats for days, starving, dehydrated. One of them had a New Testament and he would read. And when they were rescued, in spite of all the different miracles they experienced, they kept giving credit to the bible was the only thing that kept them together.

They were terribly blistered by the sun. They had sores from laying in the life raft, but they’d pray, simple prayers. And God would send rain. And at one point they saw a storm going by, but it was too far away and they all prayed that the storm would stop. And even though the waves, they could see on top, were blowing the storm away it stopped moving. And there’s probably some meteorological person out there that would find how that happens, but they then paddled over to the storm and drank the rain. Another time they prayed and a seagull landed on Captain Ritenbacker’s head and he grabbed it and they split that among them. Or a turtle came by. And then they used part of the bird to catch fish. Whenever they needed it they prayed. But when they were rescued they said, “To what do you attribute your survival?” They said, “If,” I think it was a young man named Gonzalez that had his New Testament. They said, “If he hadn’t had his New Testament we wouldn’t have survived.” It was the word of God that gave them security and hope and helped them keep it together.

What is going to help us keep it together? If you are alive and hearing my voice you’ve got challenges in your life. Everybody is going to have challenges. And no matter how you try and find security, you might find security in one area, but then you’re going to lose it in another. Maybe I should begin by a definition. By the way, that was my introduction. What is security? Definition from the dictionary: “Security is freedom from risk or danger; safety; freedom from doubt, anxiety or fear; confidence.” I want to be secure. Everybody wants security.

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. I don’t want to be too hard on you, but if you’re living a life of sin I hope you’re insecure. Worst thing that could happen would be for you to be secure on your way to destruction. Deuteronomy 28:15-20. This is the chapter where you find the blessings and the cursings. All these blessings will happen if we obey the Lord. “But it will come to pass that if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. Cursed you'll be in the city, and cursed you'll be in the country. Cursed will be your basket and cursed will be your kneading bowl. Cursed will be the fruit of your body, the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle, the offspring of your flocks. Cursed you'll be when you come in, and cursed you will be when you go out. The Lord will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 28:65, cursings go on quite a ways. By the way, all these things happened. “And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot of a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, and failing eyes, and anguish of soul. Your life will hang in doubt before you.” This is ultimate insecurity. “You will fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. In the morning you will say, Oh, that it were evening! And at evening you will say, Oh, that it were morning! Because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.” Now here's the good news. That is exhibit A of insecurity. You're cursed when you go out, you're cursed when you come in, you’re cursed financially, you're cursed in your home, you're cursed in your relationships, you're cursed in your heart, you have no peace. That's the result of running from God. The good news is it's the opposite for those who surrender to the Lord. No matter what happens, you're blessed when you go out, you're blessed when you come in.

There's another story to talk about the cursing that Amos uses. It's almost comical. There is absolutely no security without Christ. Amos puts it this way, 5:19, “There is no peace sayeth my Lord for the wicked.” that's not what Amos says. That's what Isaiah says. Amos 5:19, “It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house,” running from something, “leaned his hand on the wall,” thinking, “at last I'm safe,” “and a serpent bites him!” Is like the old spiritual, “Oh sinner man, where you gunna run to, Oh sinner man.” Remember that one? There's nowhere to run and hide. So, to begin with, if you’re looking for security let’s establish one thing. You will never find security without God. Without surrendering to His word. The way the sailors made it, those sailors bound for judgment. That’s like us. We’re all bound for judgment. The way they made it through the storm is by trusting the word that was in their midst. We must trust and obey the word. By the way, they listened to Paul, too, didn’t they? And when they listened to him they were saved.

Probably the backdrop of some of the storm that we’re all hearing about right now, probably almost tired of hearing about, is this financial crisis, meltdown, whatever you want to call it, storm that’s been happening in America that is being felt in steroid quantity around the world. Would you all like financial security? It’s interesting; I’ve noticed an increasing number of people that are advertising on the TV and the radio about investing in gold. How many of you have heard those? Everyone’s telling you, “Invest in gold.” One thing you can know is everybody telling you to invest in something is probably not the right time at that point to invest. I could be wrong because that’s not my calling. Actually the bible does say we should invest in gold. Did you know that? Jesus says that. Revelation 3:18, “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you might be rich; and white garments, that you might be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness does not appear.” Yeah, we should be storing away gold. It’s the gold of a Christ-like character, motivated by love. And Jesus is offering that to us and we ought to have a virtual Fort Knox of that in our hearts. Get all you can right now. Put everything you’ve got into hoarding as much of Jesus’ gold as you can get and that will give you security. Because if your trust is in financial security, my bible tells me that when it comes to earthly riches you can get it all in a day and you can lose it all in a day.

You know the story of Job? Talk about a stock market crash. All of his stock, fire came down from heaven and burned them up or they were stolen. He had a stock market crash, lost it all. And God gave it back to him again. When God withdrew His protection from His belongings he lost it all. When God blessed him he got them all back. And on the other side, some of you that have nothing and wonder how you’re going to make it, how could God turn it around, “I don’t see how things could ever get better. Lost my job. Losing the house. Going bankrupt. What am I going to do?” I like the story of Joseph as a good principle. In one day he went from rags in the prison to getting a pedicure in the palace. In one day the pharaoh handed him the checkbook for the nation of Egypt. Isn’t’ that what happened? He gave him his ring and said, “You’ve got authority. Everyone’s going to do what you say. You’ve got the whole treasury of Egypt at your disposal.” And he was eating crumbs that morning. So can God turn around your circumstances? Just put Him first and you’ve got to remember what Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourself,” Matthew 6:19, “treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourself treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, that’s where your heart’s going to be.” Where is your security? It’s going to be where your treasure it. If you’ve got your Fort Knox in heaven it’s secure. If it’s down here you may be at risk.

Job security. That’s a sensitive subject these days. I think it was just last week that they said that record, was it 78,000 people in one day. We’ve seen the unemployment rate go up a whole percentage point in a month. That’s pretty frightening and the end has not happened yet. And I don’t know where you are. A few people, their jobs are always secure: undertaker, if you work in a maternity ward. People who are taking care of those going in and coming out of life, they usually have a job, right? The economy doesn’t usually affect that. Pastors are usually pretty secure because people especially need spiritual help during these times. But actually, in our conference even some pastors have been laid off because tithe has gone down. So everyone really is struggling. Your job might fail, but if you’re a Christian that’s not your real job. Your real job is working for the Lord.

Where is the safest place for a submarine in a storm? If a submarine knows that a storm is coming and it’s parked or docked at some peaceful haven on the shore it’s going to get totally wrecked there. The best place for a submarine to go when there’s a storm is back out to sea and get right in the middle of it, right? When Hurricane Katrina came there were some submarines there in the Gulf. They went out to sea and got under it all. If you’re a Christian the safest place for you to be is at your job. You know where most accidents take place? Not at the job. Most accidents take place around the home. So get out of the house. Home security.

I’ll never forget when I went to South Africa. They were having terrible crime problems there and every single house in certain parts of Johannesburg had like prison walls and glass on top of the walls and sharpened steel barbs and security guards. The crime was so out of control that every home looked like a fortress. People were so afraid and there were so many car-jackings that nobody would drive up the streets of Johannesburg at night. The streets were desolated in the business district at night. And you wonder now, you see more and more houses, that they’ve got the alarms out front and they’ve got a little sticker in the lawn: “Protected by Alarm.” Does that give you your home security? What provides that? Everybody wants a safe place. Is your home safe from earthquake or storm? Where can you go where there’s going to be safe weather and safe home, safe from crime?

I went online just to see if I could find out, in case I want to move, what are some of the safest places in the US. This is Forbes list of the 10 safest places in the US. Now this had to do with storms and partly the economy. Honolulu—let’s all move. I thought, “Don’t they live on a volcano?” But they say they have pretty safe weather there. They don’t have many problems. Boise, Idaho; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Yakima. Two of them are in New Mexico, three in Oregon. None of them are California. And then I wondered, once you get out of the US, what are the safest countries to live in. And this was the list here. Norway, New Zealand, Japan. [When] I was in Japan they had an earthquake there, but that’s on the list. I guess they’ve got a fairly low crime rate and they don’t have hurricanes there. Ireland and Denmark, if you want to be a socialist you’ve got to go to Denmark. But I guess it’s a pretty safe place.

You heard about the family—I heard this on Paul Harvey years ago—looking for a safe place to live? They searched the Internet for months and they finally found what they thought would be the ideal place. Good weather, good economy, nice people, low crime rate. And they packed up, sold everything, they moved to the Falkland Islands. And that was a week before the Falkland War broke out. So, can you find your security? I mean, you need to consider these things.

Psalm 4:8 David said, “I will lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” I met a person last month that actually had a hit man hired to kill him. Yeah, and his family had to hide for a while. How do you sleep if you’ve got a hit man trying to kill you? David had the king, put wanted posters all over the kingdom with his picture on it. Wanted, dead or alive, big reward. Had David’s picture on it. And yet David was able to say, “I’ll lay me down in sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

We’ve got an alarm in our house. We inherited it. And it’s got a button called a panic button. You’ve got those on your car keys, too. Some of you, don’t you have those? Panic button. And sometimes I hit the wrong button. I like to wait until after church when people are standing by my car. And then I hit the panic button, watch them jump. Because we're afraid of an intruder; we want to alarm everybody. People looking for security in their homes. Psalm 91, you should remember that if you want security in the last days. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. A thousand may fall at her side, ten thousand at your right hand; but only with your eyes will you see and behold the destruction of the wicked. Neither will any plague come near your dwelling.” It's filled with promises, in Psalm 91. It would be good for us to try and memorize that.

People want security in relationships. Now I talked about job security. When I talked about job security men especially tuned in, because when a man loses his job his world falls apart. And some have committed suicide because of their layoffs. When a woman loses her relationships her world falls apart. While I'm on the subject, there's a connection between finances and relationships. They expect a spike in broken homes and divorces now because of the financial problems. Because you know what the number one reason is for first marriages failing? Financial challenges. And so it presents another whole series of storms. A man loses his job; it creates stress and there's spending problems. It creates tension in the relationship; the relationship falls apart because of the financial problems. So finances are a consideration there, too. Everybody needs to have friends, family, that they can trust. We need to feel secure in our relationships with each other.

In the last days we will not have that in the world. Luke 21:16, the words of Jesus. “You'll be hated even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends. They'll put some of you to death.” There's some good news. If your security is going to come only from your earthly relationships, Jesus said that's not where you're going to find it. Matter of fact, He said, “You need to love me more then your father, mother, sister, brother, husband, wife, child.” You need to have another kind of relationship and that's where you get your security. Jesus said, Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” You might have your family forsake you. I remember when I became a Christian, my Jewish family thought that I had flipped out. And then I married a Gentile girl and they weren't sure what to think about either. They got to where they liked her. But the Bible says in Psalm 27:10, “When your father and mother or forsake you, the Lord will take care of you.” You can always be secure in your relationship with Him.

Now I inserted one more category, as I'm talking about security through the storm. Government security. And I have nothing to tell you about that. Except to say, if that's where your security is, friends, we are in a heap of trouble. Because they don't have the magic band-aid for our bullet hole. It's their job to tell us they do because if they admit that they don't they don't have a job anymore. But the fact is that the problems that are facing the leaders of the world right now, and the governments of the world right now, I don't think there are earthly solutions for these problems. We need to pray for them, that God will give them wisdom to do the best they can, but I think we've got some very serious days ahead of us. Not only as a country, but in our world. And I don't want to diverge too much from my theme of security, but I will just say this (since everybody else has got opinions on what's happening).

When I grew up my father said that if you are in debt the last thing you want to do is borrow and spend. And our country is having a problem right now because we wanted instant gratification. And the solution for our problem that is coming from our desire for instant gratification; we wanted to have the car right away, we wanted to have the home right away, we want to get our pleasures right away before we get married. Everything, instant gratification. We’ve just programmed a whole generation. Now the government’s going to solve it with spending. They say we need to spend more and borrow more. Is it just me or is that the reverse of what our fathers always told us? I don't know how that's going to solve the problem, friends. I think we’d be better to spend a few years in a tough way clawing our way out the old-fashioned way by work and saving rather than. Now I'm getting down a track where I'm not an expert. Government security, Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” That should be the government that we’re interested in, God's kingdom. That's the only kingdom that's going to have security.

One more thought on this other point. I'm also seeing something else happen. I'm seeing prophecy be fulfilled right now because people are looking to the government for security and in order to do that you hand over different elements of your freedom. The government starts taking over the banks, and they start taking over the data of the banks and a lot of different information becomes available. And it's interesting that the leadership for this government involvement in the finances of the world is centered in the United States. That's what it sounds like in Revelation when it says, “He causes all, small and great, to worship the beast.” If they don’t they can’t buy or sell. They’re going to control commerce somehow. I can just see all these things playing out in front of us in the next few years. It's happening before our eyes. It's like Jesus said that day, “Today, this prophecy is fulfilled in your hearing.” The only government that's going to be safe is Christ’s kingdom, friends.

In the midst of all this there’s a danger that we might hang our hopes on a false security. Nothing’s sadder than having trust in something you can’t trust. I like that picture. Security guard guarding probably a priceless painting in someone's cutting the floor out from under him. Trusting in the government would be false security right now. Trusting in the bank would be false security right now. Trusting in every earthly support is dangerous. Now I’m not trying to make you insecure, but if your security is in the things of the world, friends, you’ve got a false sense of security. “Heaven and earth will pass away,” Jesus said, “my word will not pass away.” This is the only thing that's going to be a rock that will make it through the last days.

Jeremiah 6:14, “They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace! When there is no peace.” One of the signs of the last days is that the leaders will be saying, “We have nothing to worry about. We’ve got it under control.” They’re not saying that yet, but you just wait. Your ears ought to perk up if you hear that again. I Thessalonians 5:3, “For when they say, Peace and safety! Then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.” By the way, those labor pains, it’s also talking about the second coming of Jesus. It’s that kind of contraction. “As they come upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” I remember one time hearing a young lady say to her husband as her labor pains began, “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do this.” We’re going to get to a place in the flow of prophecy where the final events will begin to transpire and there is no turning back.

With all this happening around us can we have security? I’m not telling you these things to make you insecure. Well, I guess I am. Let me take that back. I am wanting you to be insecure if your security is placed in the wrong spot. I am wanting you to be uncomfortable. But I’m not wanting you to be insecure. I’m wanting you to find your security in the only thing where there is security. And that’s in Christ. Can you be secure in your salvation? I believe you can. Does God want us to go through life anxious? Or does He say, “Be anxious for nothing.” He’s speaking to Christians. Assuming you believe, be anxious for nothing. Assuming you believe, then you can claim Philippians 1:6, “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” You can claim that He is the author and the finisher of your faith. You can claim that whosoever comes to Him, He will never let you go. You can claim in Romans 5:1, “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God,” we have security with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” So where does our security come from? Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why is it important for us to have that? I remember reading about when they were building the Golden Gate Bridge. When they first began the project and they stretched some of the cables across to begin moving materials, I think it was 23 people fell and died. And the work was progressing very slowly. Because all the laborers could do was spend all their time watching their step and looking down. And they were terrified. Finally, they put a man named Strauss in charge of the safety. He strung a net all the way across where the Golden Gate Bridge is, underneath the construction area of the bridge, about half way down, so that if anybody fell while working they were caught by the net. Some did fall. I think 9 or 10 people fell while they were building it, and they became part of the neat club called the Half Way to Hell Club. That’s what they called them. Because they fell, but they lived because the net got them. But they noticed something. Once they put the net there work began to proceed at a record pace, because instead of them working constantly afraid of falling they were able to focus on building the bridge. It’s important as Christians that we’ve got some security about our relationship with the Lord, because otherwise we’re so preoccupied with our earthly condition we don’t think about our heavenly work. We’re so preoccupied with, “How am I doing?” all the time; we’re always looking down instead of looking up. And God wants us to have the kind of security we need so we can be about His business. I’m not talking about that false security we mentioned a minute ago.

So, in conclusion, one of the most famous advertising campaigns was the “Got Milk” campaign. So I’m going to borrow that and say Got Security? Fist of all, if you’re a Christian you have financial security, because you have treasure in heaven. If you’re a Christian you’ve got job security because as long as there’s lost people in this world you’ve got a work to do. Amen? And in case you didn’t know it, there’s a whole lot of lost people out there. So you’ve got job security. If you’re a Christian, you’ve got home security because Jesus said, “I’m going to prepare a place for you.” And nobody is going to break in to that house that He has alarmed and guarded with angels. If you’re a Christian you’ve got computer security. You’ve got firewall, virus protection.

The Holy Spirit’s going to be in there to keep the temptations out. If you’re a Christian you’ve got health security. Not only does Jesus heal bodies down here, but He’s going to give you a whole new body. That’s a pretty good health plan. I never even went down to the health problems in our country, did I? Another whole area of insecurity. If you’re a Christian you’ve got government security because last time I checked God is still on the throne and His kingdom is going to last “forever and ever, amen.” And if you’re a Christian you’ve got relationship security because Jesus is your best friend. He is your elder brother. He is the eternal Father. He is the spouse of the church. He is the child that was given. He will give you everything you need in that relationship security. Amen?

Jesus has told us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good courage, I have overcome the world.” So here’s the question. Got security? Do you got security? If you’ve got Christ then you might be in the midst of a storm, you might even get a little seasick on the way, but God’s going to see you through so not a hair of your head perishes and He’ll bring you safely to shore. You believe that friends? It’s like when Jesus woke up in the storm and He said, “Why do you have so little faith?” If He’s the captain of your salvation you don’t need to be afraid. I thought it’d be a good idea for us to sing that song, #528 A Shelter in the Time of Storm. Now when you sing this, how many of you know this song? Let’s stand up. You know this song? Do you know, we’ve got people that live in apartments right over here. I’ve wondered, do they ever hear us singing? Well let’s see if we can make them hear us this time, all right?

[verse]

I’m not ready for the appeal yet. I want to talk about your singing. I heard a couple of you doing it. Do you remember the echo that the men are supposed to do down here? “Mighty rock, mighty rock, cooling shade, cooling shade.” I want to hear the men try and do it the way it’s written here, ok? And keep the volume up. I want to see if the neighbors know we’re here.

[verse]

Before we sing the last verse there may be some here who have a special need. Maybe there’s been some area in your life where you’ve been experiencing some insecurity. It could be in your home, your family, job, finances, relationships. Maybe something that wasn’t even mentioned. Maybe health. And today you want to be able to leave the church and say, “Got security,” because Jesus will give you whatever you lack that you might have that peace. If you have some special need or you’d like special prayer, as we sing the last verse together, come to the front and we’ll pray together for you.

[verse]

Father in heaven, Lord we are so thankful for the promises in your word that in spite of the storms that may be swirling about us. And I know different people here are experiencing those storms in varying degrees. Whatever it might be that Jesus can bring a peace and security that the world doesn’t understand. Lord, while we are here in this world we pray that you will bless. A lot of people are struggling with job insecurity, insecurities with their finances, their relationships, their health. We’re all a little worried about the government. I pray Lord that whatever these insecurities are that you will not allow it to rob our peace, that we can be anxious for nothing, but find our security in Christ. Be with each person, Lord. I pray that you’ll answer their specific prayers that they’re bringing before you. Bless this church, bless those who may be listening or watching, that we might leave this place and know that we have security in Christ, that the world cannot take away, that no storm can influence. Bless us as we go from this place to remember what our real job is and being your witnesses. And it’s in Jesus’ name we ask for that help and we pray. Amen.

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Dare to Stand Alone by Bradley Booth

Dare to Stand Alone by Bradley Booth
God's Promises




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