Lesson 27: Faith Warns

You're reading ACTS: LESSONS IN FAITH, by Eric Elder, featuring thirty inspiring devotionals based on the lives of the very first followers of Christ. Also available in paperback and eBook formats in our bookstore for a donation of any size!

You’re reading ACTS: LESSONS IN FAITH, by Eric Elder, featuring thirty inspiring devotionals based on the lives of the very first followers of Christ. Also available in paperback and eBook formats in our bookstore for a donation of any size!

Scripture Reading: Acts 27

Is there anyone in your life who could use a good warning right about now?  Someone who is straying from God’s path and needs help finding their way back?  Or someone who is headed for danger―and even trying to take you along?

If so, I want to encourage you today to give them a godly warning about what lies ahead.  As hard as it may be, know that even if they don’t listen to you right now, your warning may help them to listen closer in the future.

I’m sure it took a lot of faith for the Apostle Paul to warn those around him of the danger facing them in Acts chapter 27.  After all, Paul was hardly in a position of authority over any of them, being himself a prisoner on board a ship bound for Rome.  Yet after his first warning proved to be true, even those who had authority over Paul began to regard his advice as if their lives depended on it―because it did!

Take a look at the first warning Paul offered when he foresaw the winter storms which loomed ahead:

“ ‘Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.’  But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there” (Acts 27:9-12a).

So much for Paul’s warning!  But it wasn’t wasted. When the wind whipped up with hurricane force and the crew had to let the storm drive them along in a direction they hadn’t planned to go, the crew eventually began to listen to Paul.  He stood up before them and said:

“ ‘Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island’ ” (Acts 27:21-26). 

From that point on, the crew listened to everything Paul said.  When some men tried to escape in a lifeboat, Paul warned the centurion that they must stay with the ship or be lost.  The centurion brought them back.  When all aboard had not eaten for fourteen days, Paul encouraged them to finally eat some food as they were about to be saved, but would need the remaining food to survive.

In the end, their ship ran aground on a remote island and was blasted apart by the pounding waves.  But just as Paul had foretold, all 276 of the men on board survived.

I would love to be able to speak to others with the confidence which came from the faith that Paul had when he said, “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”  I pray for that kind of faith for myself, and I want to encourage you to pray for it for yourself as well.

Faith warns.  Even when your warnings may not be heeded the first time, they might still be necessary to help others believe in what you say the next time…and the next…and the next. If there’s someone in your life who needs a good warning today, ask God if you’re the one to give it to them.

If there’s someone in your life who is headed in the wrong direction, or even to hell, ask God to give you the faith to point them in the right direction today.

Prayer: Father, help me to have the faith to give godly warnings to those who need it today.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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