Acts 27:23
Just last night an angel of God, whose I am and whom I serve, stood beside me
Sermons
A Short Confession of FaithAlexander MaclarenActs 27:23
Fifth Vision of PaulC. Morris.Acts 27:23
God's True ServantsHomilistActs 27:23
Inspiring Knowledge and Exalted ServiceW. Birch, jun.Acts 27:23
Life Worth LivingF. W. Brown.Acts 27:23
Paul's Intercourse with HeavenT. Boston, D. D.Acts 27:23
The Angel of GodF. Tucker, B. A.Acts 27:23
The Believer's ConfidenceJ. Jackson Wray.Acts 27:23
The Christian Man, GodU. R. Thomas.Acts 27:23
The Saint God's PropertyActs 27:23
The Saints God's ServantsActs 27:23
The Vision and its ConsequencesJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 27:23
Wiring the StarsJohn Robertson.Acts 27:23
The Voyage of LifeW. Clarkson Acts 27:1-44
The Voyage to Italy: an Allegory of the Christian's CourseE. Johnson Acts 27:1-44
In the StormChristian WorldActs 27:14-26
Paul and JonahK. Gerok.Acts 27:14-26
Paul in the StormChristian AgeActs 27:14-26
Paul in the StormK. Gerok.Acts 27:14-26
Paul Tested in the StormK. Gerok.Acts 27:14-26
Rising Above the StormScientific Illustrations., S. S. TimesActs 27:14-26
The Calmness of FaithActs 27:14-26
The Storm and the DeliveranceD. O. Mears.Acts 27:14-26
Waiting and TrustingH. C. Trumbull, D. D.Acts 27:14-26
The Bad Man's Extremity, God Add the Good Man's OpportunityP.C. Barker Acts 27:20-25
Ancient NavigationS. S. TimesActs 27:20-26
God's Dealing with Man in His ExtremityD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 27:20-26
Paul in the Storm and His Celestial VisitantJ. M. Ludlow, D. D.Acts 27:20-26
Paul's Voyage to Rome Considered in Connection with His FaithR. Burls.Acts 27:20-26
Religion in a StormW. H. Burton.Acts 27:20-26
Spiritual DarknessF. B. Meyer, B. A.Acts 27:20-26
Wrecked, But not RecklessC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 27:20-26
Good Cheer from a Good ManR. Tuck Acts 27:21-26
The Example of Paul in the StormE. Johnson Acts 27:21-30
Divine Ownership and Human ServiceW. Clarkson Acts 27:23-25

I. THE EXTENT OF Tile DIVINE CLAIM. "Whose I am." God's claim upon our service is simply complete; it is impossible to conceive of a tie stronger or more perfect. It rests on:

1. His absolute sovereignty over the universe.

2. His creation of our spirit; the fact that he called us out of nothingness into being, that he conferred on us our spiritual nature and our bodily life.

3. His preservation of us in being.

4. His provision for all oar wants, constant and generous.

5. His fatherly love prompting him to the bestowment of all His gifts, and greatly enhancing their value.

6. His redemption of us by Jesus Christ his Son; in this the last manifestation of Divine goodness, ratifying, multiplying his claim on us beyond all measure. "We are not our own: we are bought with a price;" "Redeemed with the precious blood of Christ." (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 1 Peter 1:18, 19). Resting on such solid ground, God's claim on us is very great. He asks of us that we "yield ourselves unto him;" that we offer ourselves, all that we are and have, to himself and his service, that he may enlarge and employ and bless us. This giving of ourselves unto God, this act of self-surrender by which" living or dying we are the Lord's" (Romans 14:8), involves

(1) the subjection of our will to the will of God;

(2) the opening of our heart to the love of Christ;

(3) the purpose of our soul to spend our lives and powers in His service.

II. THE DIVINE COMMUNICATION. God has been pleased to make some special communications to certain favored individuals of our race. The Apostle Paul was one of these, and this shipwreck through which he passed was one of the occasions on which he sent his angel with a message from his own mind (text). But though the great majority of our race pass through life without such direct and special manifestation, we are all addressed by the Father and Savior of our spirits. God speaks to us:

1. In his Word.

2. By his Son, who is ever saying to each human heart that hears his gospel, "Believe in me;" "Abide in me;" "Follow me;" "Work in my vineyard."

3. By his Holy Spirit, who comes with enlightening, quickening, renewing energy to the individual soul.

III. THE RESPONSE WE SHOULD RENDER.

1. Faith. "I believe God." God

(1) gives us strong and sufficient evidence that it is he who is speaking; and then

(2) asks as to believe unquestioningly what he tells us. He tells us many things of himself and of ourselves, and particularly of our direct relation to himself, which we could not nave divined by our own imagination, which we cannot prove by our own reason, which we are not able to comprehend by our own perceptive powers; but it is reasonable and right that, having the strongest evidence that God is speaking to us, we should accept with creature humility and filial trust what we cannot fathom now, assured that, by believing his Word and acting on our belief, we shall rise to a height where we shall see what is now invisible and understand what is now beyond us. This is only what we have already done in the days of our childhood, on a smaller and earthly plane.

2. Service. "Whom I serve." This service

(1) begins with the grateful and cordial acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of the soul: "This is [to do] the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:29; see 1 John 3:23);

(2) continues through life in the endeavor to please Christ in everything, to adorn his doctrine, to exalt his Name and extend his kingdom;

(3) is consummated in the heavenly service of the future life. Then, there, in very deed and truth, with undimmed and untiring devotion, "his servants shall serve him" (Revelation 22:3). - C.







For there stood by me this night the angel of God.
I. PAUL'S CONSOLATIONS.

1. The visit of the angel. Once it would have alarmed him. Rut then he was in the service of the prince of darkness! Now he has changed masters; and he can say of the Father of lights, "Whose I am, and whom I serve." How it must have chased away Paul's weariness to feel that the God of angels cares for me — an angel comes down to keep me company!

2. The assurances of his personal preservation.(1) "Fear not, Paul." It is not for a servant of God to fear! The night may be dark — but "darkness hideth not from Him"; the storm may be fierce — but "He holds the winds in His fists."(2) But what does he add next? Does he say, I am come to fetch you home from all your toils and labours? Nay, "Thou must be brought before Caesar." What a light this casts upon the spirit of the apostle! His immediate desire is, not to escape from toil, but to enter a new sphere for the service of his Lord! His Lord Himself had marked out that new sphere, and nothing can prevent. Your hark may be tossed up and down and go to pieces. For all that — "To Caesar shalt thou go! "Happy apostle! He knew Christ had put a message in his mouth for Caesar — and he is assured he shall live to speak it!

3. The benefit he would confer on others. "And, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee." Hear this, captain! It is not your seamanship that will preserve your life. Hear this, centurion! It is not your uniform that will carry you to Italy in safety — you will owe it to one of the prisoners. There is a servant of God on board this vessel, and he has work to do in Rome. Courage, then, sailor! Be of good cheer in spite of all appearances. You are carrying with you more than Caesar and his fortunes!

II. LESSONS FOR CHRIST'S SERVANTS NOW.

1. Are you passing through trial? No strange thing has happened to you. You are only proving yourself of apostolical succession. But do you know nothing of Paul's strong consolations? Jacob had no easy couch at Bethel; but he dreamed of angels of God, and when he woke, he knew that the dream denoted a reality and said, "This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." Peter was imprisoned, and yet at midnight an angel of the Lord came upon him. It is not when most at ease in outward circumstances, or in our own souls — nay, sometimes, when most ready to say, "All these things are against me" — that we gain such a view of our Helper, as enables us to say with the prophet, "Greater is He that is for us, than all that are against us."

2. Are you eager for service? God summons all His people to become fellow workers with Him. There is some ignorance we can enlighten, some sorrow we may soothe; and all the talents entrusted to us are intended for this end. Now how do we regard our work? Is it dignity? is it privilege? Or — are we trying to find out how little we can do? The Lord preserve us from the doom of wicked and slothful servants!

3. Why should not you be a blessing to all about you? Well, you say, How little I can do! Do that little and God can make it an instrument of more. In the stormy voyage of the present world, when the wisdom of the wisest and the power of the mightiest are at fault, a poor Christian may have given to him all them that sail with him.

(F. Tucker, B. A.)

They determined to sail into Italy. And the Judge marked it down in His notebook; and the skipper of the vessel marked it down in his; and the sailors and the soldiers marked it down in theirs: they had an "engagement to sail into Italy." So you — you have got a little book in your vest pocket, and opposite a certain date you have a certain engagement. Did you every think, man, that you may never fulfil that engagement? What are you that you put down any engagement without, in big letters, a "God willing," or "weather permitting," or "if spared," I shall do this? God heard the determination, and He raised the winds, and He raised the waves, and they were caught in a storm; and now comes a scene. The sailors hurry to their bunks, and they get out the little heathen god that they forgot about in calm weather. Paul and Luke and Aristarchus are also putting requests to their God; but there is no visible presence, there is no image seen, and the sailors think they are very irreligious, they think them Jonahs, and have brought the storm. But now Paul stands up: "I have got it. I have got the answer; I have got the pledge of safety from my God." What is it? It is a promise: "There stood by me this night a messenger with a promise, and that is the comfort." "Ah, but I can't see your promise," says an old salt; "I would like to see those waves get less noisy in their dash; I would like to hear the fall into softness of those howling winds; the promise, where is it?" What is a promise? It depends on the promiser. A promise is either great or little, everything or nothing, according to the promiser. Oh, but this is a promise not of a man! or we would not accept it at all; this is a promise of God, and God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should Change. Hath He said, and shall He not do it? Hath He spoken it, and shall He not make it good? Ye're right, Paul; to hide in the strongbox of your heart this promise of safety — for it is God's. Now in this text, you notice, Paul declares — what every minister should be able to declare as the kernel of his work, as the spirit in which he does it — Paul declares his connection with God, that he has a grip of infinity, that he is a man that lives not in the seen but in the unseen: "There stood by me this night" — not a man, but — "the angel of God," a messenger from heaven. So the road is open from heaven to Paul's soul. In the House of Commons in London a heated debate was taking place. It was about our Eastern policy. Gordon was out, and there was little fear as to his success, when a telegram was handed in, a despatch of the last news; and what is it? Just two words, says the cable, just two words, and they make that heat of that debate get calm and cool; it makes the noise die away. What is it? "Nile open." What does that mean? How has that changed the agitated feelings of Parliament? "Nile open." It was closed before; the Mahdi's hordes were round about the river, Khartoum was far away, but our soldiers and marines were out there for the very purpose of forcing a passage up the Nile to Khartoum; and this is the result. It is done! Our arms are once more victorious, Britannia yet rules the waves and the waters of the Nile; the Nile is open. So in this messenger of God coming to Paul we read a history. The way is open. Is it open to you? Have you got an open route to God? Preacher, hearer, minister, elder, deacon, is the road open? Can there come to us in all verity an angel of God with the soft light of this morning? Are we converted? Have we connection with God? Is the road open? Look for a moment at the special nature of this vision. The angel "stood by me," says Paul. He claims a special relationship with heaven. We believe, and rightly, in — and woe to us if the day come when we let slip belief in — special Providence, special relationship to heaven, special claim, special result, special prayer, special answer — everything is special with the child of God. Sometimes you notice from the main wires of our telegraph system a single wire following this hedge road. It strikes off from the city communication, and it goes up the avenues right to this mansion. Who is this presumes to insert into his house a special wire of the nation's electricity? He is my lord duke; he has got influence enough, he has got standing enough, he is a Minister of the Government, and he has got a special wire and a special dial and a special clerk and a special power for controlling that single wire for his messages. You have got this morning, child of God, a special wire of communication with heaven have you heard in the heart of you the click of the needle, have you this morning sent a message up to the stars of God's abode by that special wire? Is it ever used? Is it magnetised by use with the full energy of action? The crowd knowing nothing about it. You can see the wires in our Glasgow streets, but there are tubes immaterial, spiritual, that are one gigantic network in this commercial capital of Scotland, and they are reaching up to God; and if we had spiritual eyes we would see the contact with you, and with you, but alas! none with you, Christless, prayerless soul, none with you. The communication is with the Christian alone. We are all, if children of God, specially connected, and we can call up God, we can summon attention in the courts on high. We can wire the stars. Then there is a peculiarity in this to be noticed — the angel "stood by me." Ah, the angel felt choked in this atmosphere. It was a hard commission he had to perform, and he came down, down, where the Master felt it hard to live, and he stood by Paul. "Won't you stay, holy angel?" "No." "Won't you sit down." "No." The angel "stood," and the very wings of him never stopped rustling, so eager were they for their flight again to the purity above. That was a lesson for Paul, and it is a lesson for you. If Paul had had this vision every day of his life, he would be an unhealthy Christian type for you and for me; he would have had the privileges that would have shut us out from the throbbing humanity in his Epistles. The fact is, it doesn't matter what you and I have seen, whether God has taken us up to the top of the mountain and shown us His glory, so that we have come down with the light streaming from us; it doesn't matter whether He has hidden us in the cleft of the rock and passed by, proclaiming His name, the Lord, the Lord God: it doesn't matter what your feelings are, what you have seen, what is your past; it matters this: is the will regenerated? Is the will remade and reset? That is the question, and that is communion with God. It is the operation of Heaven's will on the will of man. It is the unseen suction, it is the power of the current that keeps it pointed to God. "Whose I am," says Paul. He says to himself, "Now is the time to give a word for the Master. Jupiter, what is he? what is Venus? what is Juno? what is Neptune?" God hears the testimony. "Whose I am" — right in the teeth of the heathen sailors, right in the teeth of the stoical, sceptical centurion, right in the teeth of all men — "I belong to God!" Paul takes pride in that. You notice that the very first word in his every epistle after his own name is doulos — "Paul, doulos," slave; he glories in it. The Romans fastened a little slip of brass on the ankle of the slave, and on his wrist, and on the slip of brass on the wrist was the name of the owner and the word "slave" with it; and in the forum, in the market place, the slave with the glitter of that slip of brass had to step aside to the slaves' quarters, and the proud, haughty Roman drew in his toga as the slave went by: "My slave, keep to thine own side of the pavement, please!" Ah, but Paul took a pride in the glitter of that piece of brass; it was his cherished honour. He once had aimed at a high priesthood; he once had aimed at and won the senior wranglership of Jerusalem; but Paul prided himself, boasted himself, in being the slave of the Master. Do you? "Whose I am" rings out in this loud, stunning tide of human care and crime to the Christian worker. "Whom I serve." I have to do with Christ, not with you; I have to do with the Master, not with you; not with man, but with God. Oh, get a hold of that! We need it today. We need in the holy independence of spirit, in the keen, manly tramp along the pavement of time, to repudiate all shackling. I belong to Christ, I get my orders from on high, and the strength to carry them out. "Whom I serve." And what is the hardest work we get? Salvation work. If we were more taken up with the work that is to be done here, we would have less time to pay attention to others' work. There is a great deal to be done, and the sun is getting low in our own souls. You have to draw the sword, man; you have to let it flash in the sun as you thrust, in your own God-given strength, the Canaanites and Perizzites from the land. That is your work, and if you do that work well you will do every work well. It is sore work, salvation work; first get it, and then "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." "Whom I serve." But oh, this sorrowful service! Are you going to end that way, preacher? Are you going to end with sorrow and dole and doom and woe? Service! I can find no comfort there. Ah! but do you find it here, then? That's a little bit of mistranslation, sir! It is "Whom I worship." That is the service; not outward service, not the sweat following on active toil, but the worship, the adoration of the heart — that is the service that God wants. As M'Cheyne says, "God gets more glory from an adoring look of a believer on a sick bed than from the outward labour of a whole day." It is "Whom I worship." It is this, and this is the blessed service.

(John Robertson.)

I. TO WHOM THE BELIEVER RIGHTEOUSLY BELONGS. Our time, talents — all we have and are belong to Him. The words, "Whom I serve," teach us —

II. FOR WHOM THE BELIEVER REJOICINGLY LABOURS. The apostle had a high and noble idea of service.

(a)He did not consult his own pleasure or will.

(b)He gave up all other masters.

(c)He acted constantly as in his Master's presence.

(d)He subordinated everything to the smile of his Master.

(F. W. Brown.)

I. HE IS THE PROPERTY OF GOD. Man is God's —

(1)By creation. This involves more than parental possession of the child.

(2)By sustenance.

(3)By redemption.

II. HE IS THE SERVANT OF GOD. "Whom I serve." This supreme service, of which God's possession of us is the motive, thus has a motive —

(1)Deep enough to control all our being.

(2)Abiding enough to continue through all our history.

(3)Comprehensive enough to include all our life.

(U. R. Thomas.)

Homilist.
Observe here three things concerning God's true servants.

I. THEIR ESSENTIAL CHARACTER.

1. A practical consciousness of God's absolute claim to our being. "Whose I am." I am not the proprietor, but the trustee of myself.

2. A constant working out of God's will in our being. "Whom I serve."

II. THEIR HIGH PRIVILEGE. What is that? Communication from the heavenly Father. "There stood by me this night the angel of God."

III. THEIR SOCIAL VALUE. "God hath given thee all them that sail with thee." Paul was the temporal saviour of all on board. The world is preserved for the sake of the good.

(Homilist.)

1. "There stood by me this night the angel of God" (ver. 2). An angel at night seems to be a double blessing because of the surrounding darkness. There are innumerable instances in which the angels have come in the night season. Some of our earliest recollections are of angels wrestling with us, when we could see no light in the nightly sky. Yet it takes a courageous man to say, in a materialistic age, that an angel has spoken to him. He will be called mad. But when we come to think of it, that will not make him mad. Madness is a relative term. There is a madness of insensibility, of unpardonable stupidity amongst the appealing and exciting sublimities of things.

2. Paul says of God, "whose I am, and whom I serve." So the revelation was not made to a fanatic, but to a servant. Thus we come down into cold reason.(1) "Whose I am" But all men are God's; the centurion and the sailors were God's — where is the specialty of the claim? We are twice God's; we are "born again" — born to some higher life and wider ownership. "Whom I serve." Now we come lower down still into the region of what is termed reason and fact. Did Paul serve God? Let his life answer.

3. The all-including thought arising out of this consideration is, that God's revelations are made, not to genius, but to character; not to the greatest intellects, but to the tenderest and purest hearts. "To this man will I look" — God never changes the point of vision — a broken-hearted, humble, contrite soul. In other words, "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." We should know more if we loved more; we should be greater theologians if we were better Christians. When our eyes are shut in prayer, the vision of our soul is opened that we may behold the sublimest realities of truth. If you would grow in knowledge, you must first grow in grace.

4. Then mark a wonderful characteristic of Paul, in that he pledges God. This is not a salvation that is to be worked out in the dim and unknown future. With a valour — singularly characteristic of himself, he pledges, in all its immeasurable infiniteness, the power of God to do this thing. How he will be covered with confusion presently if it be not so! A great mystery is this, that the child may pledge the Father to work out certain issues. As to detail, we know nothing; but as to broad, substantial issue, we know everything. "Say unto the wicked man, Thou shalt surely die." "Say unto the righteous, It shall be well with thee."

5. What a wondrous picture of life then follows! We seem to have been in those very circumstances. Have we not seen how great providences are affected by human action? "Except these abide in the ship, you cannot be saved." This is a continual wonder to us, that life should go upon such little hinges; that the small wheels should, in their place, be just as important as the large one. We sometimes come into such close quarters with God that great issues depend upon shutting the door, looking out of the window, keeping the eyes open, speaking one word. Thus are little things lifted up into importance, and details made part of the worship of life. There is nothing unimportant to Omniscience: the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

6. What a wonderful confirmation is given to the truth that the world is saved because of its good men. "God hath given thee all them that sail with thee." At a certain point the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept the soldiers from their purpose. So the prisoners were twice saved on Paul's account. The centurion did the very thing that God did, without knowing it. We are ruled by strange emotions; thoughts, impulses suddenly seize us, and we do things for the sake of others which we would not have done but for the presence of these personalities; and thus we show — ruined, shattered, lost, as we are — that at first we were made in the image and likeness of the Creator.

7. Why this value set upon life? Why do not men give up life? No home, no friend, no fire in the grate, and yet they hug the life that is reduced to agony. "They lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea." When it comes to a contest between life and wheat, the wheat must go; and in the end we read "some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship" — nothing saved; everything lost but life. What is the meaning of this? Why not lighten the ship by throwing out the men? Do not treat the question as trivial. Learn from it the dignity of life; the Divine origin of life; the possible destinies of life. And whilst these great problems are at once agitating and comforting the mind, you may see some explanation of the coming of the Son of Man into the world. He came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them. I seem to understand that when I study the value which has been put upon life by men under all circumstances. Why struggle with the deep? Why not give in? What is the meaning of it all but that we did not come up out of the dust, but that our spirit is from the Living God? It is the witness of God in the soul.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. PAUL AS THE TEACHER OF PROVIDENCE. He stood up calmly and faithfully in the presence of those Pagan sailors and criminals, to teach that the world was governed by Providence, and not by fate. The vision, and the facts connected with it, lead to three truths —

1. There is an absolute certainty that God will accomplish His designs.

2. God sometimes employs unexpected and unlikely means to accomplish His designs. Paul wished to go to Rome, but how? perhaps he had no definite plan, but God had. No sooner had the apostle and his friends left Sidon, to sail unto Italy, than perils commenced — "Because the winds were contrary," the perils increased — "All hope that we should be saved was taken away." What about Rome, Paul? we see Crete, and Clauda, and Malta, but no Rome.

3. That genuine faith in the certainty of Divine Providence stimulates and directs the free action of man. There is one verse in this chapter which is beautifully illustrative of this truth — "Paul said to the centurion, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved." He believed that God had ordained a certain end, but not as detached from means adapted to secure that end.

II. PAUL AS THE SERVANT OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. After looking upon the character of the apostle as given here during the voyage, we are struck with —

1. His deep sense of Divine responsibility. "For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve." This is the foundation of Christian excellence in all, an intelligent feeling that we are God's.

2. He maintained a high Christian character. In his intercourse with the crew and passengers, there are two features of character worthy of imitation —

(1)Kindness.

(2)Devotion.

3. He exerted a beneficial influence. Paul was the means of saving 276 lives, and was that a little thing?

(C. Morris.)

I. THE PARTY EMPLOYED — an angel. This was often the privilege of the saints in the Old Testament, and sometimes in the New. Angels are employed to serve for the good and benefit of those that are the Lord's (Psalm 34:7; Hebrews 1:14). And the angels being invisible, we know not how much we are indebted to them for their ministry; we will know it better afterwards. Note, then, the dignity and advantage of the children of God. King's children have honourable attendants. These angels will attend thee —

1. During thy life (Psalm 91:11, 12). As a father of a family charges the elder children with the care of the younger ones, so does God the angels with the young heirs of glory.

2. At thy death (Luke 16:22).

II. THE PECULIARITY OF THIS MANIFESTATION. "The angel stood by me." They were all in the same ship, but none knew what passed but Paul himself.

1. There were many strangers to God in the ship; but Paul was His own, and with him God keeps communion. Whence observe that there is secret conveyance of intercourse with heaven to those who are the Lord's, in the midst of a crowd who know nothing of the matter. Many a time matters go on betwixt God and the soul, as betwixt Jonathan and David, when they only knew the matter (1 Samuel 20:39). The Lord knoweth who are His, and who are not, however mixed the multitude (2 Timothy 2:19). Intercourse with heaven lies in inward, not in external things. Every one may see at Communion who received the bread and wine; but who received Christ into their hearts is a secret betwixt God and the soul itself. Learn —(1) That it is a sad thing to have been where intercourse with heaven was, and to have had no share of it.(2) To be thankful, and walk worthy of your privilege, you who have had the distinguishing mercy of communion with God. To whom much is given much also shall be required.

2. How may a person know whether he has had communion with God or not? Mark —(1) The soul's giving itself wholly to the Lord: "Whose I am." People may give their hand, tongue, many things; but none have communion with Him but those who give themselves wholly.(2) Has religion now become your business? "Whom I serve." Have ye truly renounced the service of the devil, and of lusts? taken on the yoke of Christ in all its parts?

3. There is real communion with God —

(1)In longing desires after Christ (Psalm 26:9).

(2)In real love to Him (1 John 4:19).

III. THE POSTURE OF THE ANGEL. He stood, he did not sit down, because he was not to stay. This was an extraordinary visit to Paul, he was not to look for this as his ordinary entertainment from heaven. Extraordinary manifestations are what we cannot expect to be continued while we are here. God will have a difference betwixt heaven and earth. And as two summers are not to be looked for in one year, so a lasting heaven of comfort upon earth will not be found. Let Christians then lay their account with a struggling and wrestling life, with the clouds returning after the rain.

IV. THE TIME OF THIS MANIFESTATION: "This night." It was a sad night in that ship, all hopes of being saved were lost, and then the Lord appeared to help. When things are brought to an extremity this is a special opportunity which the Lord takes to appear for those that are His (Deuteronomy 32:36). By this —

1. The hand of God appears most eminent in deliverance. The more desperate the case, the love, wisdom, and power of God appear the more conspicuous (Isaiah 33:10). He has the greater revenue of glory by curing the disease when past hope.

2. It brings greater advantage to the saints (John 11:15).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

Whose I am.
There are four things implied in this.

1. A comfortable view of God's special interest in him. Whoever others belonged to, he belonged to God.

2. A recognising God's special interest in him. He had said it at his first accepting of the covenant, "I am the Lord's"; and he did not repent the bargain, but repeated it, "I am His."

3. An open profession of his special relation to God. He was not ashamed of his proprietor, but he gloried in Him.

4. A rejoicing in it, particularly in this season of distress. The waves threaten us with death; but this is my happiness, I am the Lord's, in whose hands all these are. From this subject I deduce that it is the duty and interest of those who have truly given themselves away to the Lord, to look on themselves as His. I shall —

I. CONFIRM THE DOCTRINE. This is evident if you consider —

1. The laudable practice of the saints. They go over the bargain again, hold by it, and look upon themselves as the Lord's (Psalm 116:16; Psalm 119:94; Song of Solomon 2:16).

2. The Spirit of God instructs them so to do (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).

3. The Lord looks on such to be His by a special relation (John 17:9, 10; Jeremiah 3:4).

4. The nature of the thing requires it, for they are His indeed (2 Corinthians 8:5).

II. SHOW IN WHAT RESPECTS THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEMSELVES AWAY TO THE LORD ARE TO LOOK UPON THEMSELVES AS HIS.

1. In opposition to all His competitors (Isaiah 26:13; Psalm 45:10).(1) Ye are not your own, and you must no more look on yourselves to be your own (1 Corinthians 6:19).(2) You must no more look on yourselves as the devil's (Matthew 6:24).(3) You are to look on yourselves as no more belonging to the world lying in wickedness (John 15:19; Romans 12:2).(4) Ye are no more for your lusts and idols, but for the Lord (Romans 6:16; Galatians 5:24).(5) But remember you must be as obedient children (1 Peter 1:14).

2. Universally, without exception or reserve in anything.(1) Look then on your bodies as His, to be temples for His Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 6:13). You are to use your tongues in speaking for Him, your hands in acting for Him, your feet in going His errands. To abuse the body by intemperance, uncleanness, and the like, is to defile the temple of God. To exhaust the body in worldly labour, so as to unfit it for bearing its part in the service of God, is sacrilege.(2) Look upon your soul also as His, and all its faculties. Your heart (Proverbs 22:26), your will (Acts 9:6), your conscience, your every thought (2 Corinthians 10:5).(3) You must consider your worldly comforts and enjoyments as His (Luke 14:26). Your life, your liberty, honour, wealth, reputation, all is the Lord's, to be used for His honour and willingly parted with at His call.(4) Your gifts and opportunities for serving God are also His (Luke 19:13).(5) Your time is His (Ephesians 5:16).

3. For evermore, not merely for a time (Psalm 72:23, 26). You must then be His —(1) Without interruption (Deuteronomy 5:29).(2) Without apostasy and defection (Psalm 119:12). And therefore your heart must rest in Him as an object which is completely satisfying (Psalm 73:25). Resolve, then, that nothing shall part betwixt the Lord and you; that you will neither be boasted nor bribed away from Him.

III. GIVE SOME REASONS WHY IT IS THE DUTY OF THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEMSELVES TO THE LORD THUS TO LOOK ON THEMSELVES AS HIS.

1. Because they are His, in a manner the rest of the world are not. Our Lord has a peculiar title and interest in them (John 17:9, 10). They are His —(1) By a new creation (Isaiah 43:21; John 1:12, 13).(2) By redemption applied to them. They are bought with a price.(3) By covenant (Hebrews 8:10).(4) They have dedicated themselves unto the Lord.

2. The honour of God requires it. Those who are servants to persons of high rank are usually subject to bear the badge of their master; and those who are the Lord's are in the same manner bound (Revelation 14:1).

3. Our standing to the covenant requires it (Psalm 119:94).

IV. SHOW HOW IT IS THEIR INTEREST TO LOOK ON THEMSELVES AS THE LORD'S.

1. In respect of sanctification.(1) It will be an antidote against backsliding.(2) It will afford an answer to every temptation (Genesis 39:9).(3) It will be a spur to duty (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).(4) It will blow the coal of your zeal for God, and make you of a public spirit, to devote all you are or have to the promoting of God's honour in the world (Philippians 1:21).(5) It will be a preparative for the hardest piece of service God may put into your hand.(6) It will reconcile you to your lot in private trials (Psalm 47:4).

2. In respect of consolation. You may say —(1) "God is mine" (Song of Solomon 2:16). His power is mine to defend me, His wisdom to guide me, His mercy, grace, and love, all are mine.(2) All the promises and benefits of the covenant are mine (2 Peter 1:14; 2 Corinthians 1:20).(3) I shall get safe through the world to the other side (John 17:12).(4) I shall be cared and provided for in all cases and conditions.(5) All I meet with in the world shall turn to my good (Romans 8:28).(6) All is mine (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

Whom I serve.
I shall show —

I. WHAT IS THAT SERVICE OF GOD WHICH IS THE BUSINESS OF THOSE WHO ARE THE LORD'S.

1. As to the matter of it. This is as wide and broad as is the broad law of God; therefore serving God and keeping His commandments are joined together.(1) There is salvation work and generation work.

(a)Salvation work (Philippians 2:12).

(b)Generation work (Acts 13:36; Galatians 6:10).(2) There is an external and internal service —(a) A service with the outward man (1 Corinthians 6:20). Our ears must be employed to hear His Word, our eyes to read it, our tongues to speak to Him in prayer and praise; to speak of Him and for Him to men; our hands and all our members to act for Him in the world.(b) Internal service (John 4:24). This is the soul of religion, and the chief part in the service of God, without which the other is but a lifeless, unacceptable carcase (Philippians 3:3).(3) There is stated service and continual service.(a) Stated. The least you can do is to pay thy homage to Him by thyself in the morning, when He gives thee a new day; and at evening, when thou art to enter into the darkness of the night. And if yourselves be the Lord's you will also devote your houses to Him, and pay Him your homage in a family capacity (Joshua 24:15). And then there is the Lord's weekly service on His own day (Psalm 26:8).(b) Continual. A Christian must never be out of His Master's work, he serves God in the intervals of duties as well as in duties. Hence we are ordered to pray always, and not to faint.(4) There is doing-service and suffering-service.

(a)Doing. The Lord calls His people to act for Him (Acts 9:6; Luke 6:46).

(b)Suffering (Philippians 2:17; Luke 9:23).(5) There is ordinary and extraordinary service of all the kinds before named.

(a)Ordinary. There are pieces of work which are every day's task, as the bearing of ordinary trials (Luke 9:23), and doing of the ordinary duties of religion.

(b)Extraordinary, which God only sometimes calls His people to in holy providence (Genesis 22).

2. As to the manner of it. And unless it be performed in the right manner, God will not account it service to Him, though ever so costly.(1) We must perform it in obedience to, and under the sense of the commandment of God (Colossians 3:17; Psalm 119:6).(2) Aim at His honour and glory in it (1 Corinthians 10:31).(3) Serve God out of love to Him (Hebrews 6:10; Colossians 3:23).(4) In faith (Romans 14:23; Hebrews 11:6). And there is a three-fold faith required here.

(a)The faith of God's command, requiring the duty (Romans 14:23).

(b)The faith of the promise of strength for the duty.

(c)The faith of acceptance through Christ.

II. WHAT IS TO MAKE GOD'S SERVICE OUR BUSINESS, or when a person may be said to be thus employed.

1. God's service is His grand design in the world; He may have many works on the wheel, but this is the chief one (Psalm 27:4). But how may a person know whether this is so? I answer —(1) What is it thou seekest to obtain with the greatest eagerness and concern? (Psalm 4:6, 7).(2) What is that the miscarrying in which lies nearest the heart?(3) When God's service and other things come in competition, which of those must yield in thy practice?

2. That he serves God with the whole man (1 Corinthians 6:20). He not only lends his hand to the work, as a person would do who passes by accidentally, but sets his heart to it as a person whose business it is.

3. He serves Him in all things — that is, whatever be his business to which he is called, he strives to act in it as serving the Lord (Psalm 116:18; Proverbs 3:6; Colossians 3:17). But how may a person serve the Lord in managing his worldly affairs? Answer:

(1)Act from a sense of the command (1 Corinthians 7:24).

(2)Depend on Him for direction (Proverbs 3:6).

(3)Depend on Him for success (Psalm 127:1).

(4)Acquiesce in His disposing of you as may best suit your spiritual interest.

(5)Deal with men as if you were under God's eye.

(6)Be moderate in your pursuits (1 Corinthians 7:29, 30).

(7)Be suitably affected with the dispensations of Providence as they fall out to you.

4. He scruples at no piece of service which God puts in his hand, but makes conscience of universal obedience (Psalm 112:6).

5. He is constant and persevering in the service of God (Psalm 119:112). They are constant in two respects.(1) In that they do not give over His work, laying it down and taking it up when they please. They do not serve Him by fits and starts, but labour to go on evenly in their way (Psalm 116:8).(2) They never change masters again (Hebrews 10:39).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. INSPIRING KNOWLEDGE. "Whose I am." The Christian is inspired with the knowledge that he is God's property.

1. By redemption. Cyrus, after a famous victory, took prisoner a noble prince with his wife and children, to whom Cyrus said, "What will you give me to set you at liberty?" The prince replied, "Half that I possess." Cyrus exclaimed, "And what if I release your children?" "All that I possess." "But what if I set your wife at liberty?" "Then I will lay down my life." Cyrus, won by the true nobility of the man, immediately set them at liberty without any recompense whatever. That evening, when the prince and his wife were rejoicing together over their freedom, he said, "Did you not think Cyrus a very handsome man?" His wife replied, "I did not notice him sufficiently well to tell." The prince exclaimed, "Why, where were your eyes?" She answered, "I had eyes only for him who said he would lay down his life for me." Likewise, we are the Lord's because He has already laid His life down for us.

2. By Divine grace. When those who are good judges of pictures see a valuable painting, they can tell us who was the artist, because every painter has somewhat of the same mind running through his productions; and in the true Christian, the Master has reproduced the image and likeness of God. In some of us the outline may be very faint, just as the first mark of the brush is upon the canvas; but, nevertheless, it is an outline of what by and by shall be perfect.

3. By spiritual union. There are many alliances, but the holiest and the sweetest is not when merely the man and the woman are legally joined in marriage, but when two pure and loving spirits living in these bodies become united in one. But a far more ecstatic joy is when God kisses the spirit of His children, and they become one in Him. Like as the newly placed graft in the wild tree becomes one with it, and causes it to bring forth good fruit, so Christ the perfect Spirit becomes one with us, and enables us to yield the fruit of self-sacrifice.

II. EXALTED SERVICE. The Christian can truthfully adopt the motto of the Prince of Wales, "I serve." He serves —

1. With intelligence. In olden times, armies were treated as mere machines. "Do this! go there!" but in modern warfare the general often gives his soldiers the reason. They, therefore, obey him intelligently, and take an interest in their service. Likewise God explains His will to the Christian. The general may not declare to his army all that is in his mind, but, knowing all that is necessary and having full confidence in their captain, the soldiers march bravely to the fight. The Christian, also having the mind of God in the Scriptures, marches on at Christ's command without stooping to cavil at that which it is impossible for him to comprehend until after the battle of life is won.

2. With trustfulness. When Alexander the Great's physician came to him with a cup of medicine, one of the courtiers whispered, "It contains poison." Alexander moved the man away, and looking with unshaken confidence at his physician, he held out his hand for the cup and drank the whole. He must have been a noble man who could thus be trusted! And the Christian knows that God loves him too much to deal unkindly towards him. The medicine may be bitter, he is a wise and loving physician who brings it.

3. With willingness. The workman understands his employer's will, and he performs it well, but he would not do it were he not compelled to earn wages: it is a compulsory service. But, behold the devoted wife and the loving mother, who for the whole of her life gives herself to bless and to work for her husband and her children! Such a mother exhibits the willingness with which the Christian serves God — it is without any bribe of fee or reward, but because he loves the master who died for him.

4. With faithfulness. Charles II used to say that every man had his price, but were you to offer the Christian all the world, he would spurn it rather than depart from the law of his God.

5. At all times. Not only when religious people are looking at him. I once saw in a nobleman's grounds a place for a waterfall; the water was never put on unless his lordship was there. Is not that like many people?

6. With honesty. He acts upon principle. He says, "That is right; and because it is right I do it."

7. Without complaint.

(W. Birch, jun.)

I. PAUL'S PORTRAIT. Almost as quickly as the sun can make a photograph the apostle draws a living portrait of himself. "Whose I am, and whom I serve." That brief motto has got in it all the essentials of Christian faith and practise.

1. "Whose I am!" He used to consider himself his own. And of all the masters that Paul served, his own proud, pharisaic self was chief. Now, self is uncrowned, every other rule is broken and Paul takes God for his Master. The Word of God is the rule of his life.

2. "Whom I serve!" Hand to do — foot to go — tongue to speak — heart to beat — brain to think — all His; for him to live was Christ. When I look at a tree full of sap and beauty, I say the life is in the root. When I see youth, hale, strong, and elastic, I say the life is at the heart. When I see the telegraph or telephone perform their wonders, I say the secret is in the battery. When I see the mighty engine driving ponderous wheels, drawing tremendous loads, or ploughing the waves, I say the secret's in the piston chamber. And when I see grey-haired Paul stand on the reeling deck amid the storm — grand, majestic, strong — I say the secret's here — "Whose I am, and whom I serve."

II. PAUL'S PERIL AND CONFIDENCE. Look on board that ship which is in such grievous straits. There are rough, rude sailors there who have weathered many a storm, brawny soldiers who have borne the brunt of many a battle, traders who have dared much for greed and grain, vagrant wanderers of no fixed habitation, criminals on the way to Nero's bar. It is a motley crew. Amid the terror of those dreadful days there are opposing counsels, passions, blasphemies, prayers, to vain idols, and cries of fear and despair, I see Paul, the way-worn prisoner of Christ, standing erect and calm; within him is a peace no wrathful winds can ruffle, a sense of security that no wild waves can destroy. His voice rings out the hearty call, and thus he forces his strong self-confident spirit into those from whom all hope had fled. God was his strength. He felt himself the ward of Omnipotence and felt no fear! You and I may join company with him in this. Whatever Euroclydons may assail us, we may cry in triumph, "Because the Lord is at my right hand I shall never be moved!"

III. PAUL'S PRAYER. While commotion wakes the awful night on board that ship, Paul is holding communication with heaven. I have heard of storms that break the telegraphic wires and stop communication between distant parts; of captains shouting vainly through their speaking trumpets, the winds carrying the sound mockingly away; the hoarse signal of distress failing to reach the distant shore of help by reason of the tempest's roar. But never yet was wind let loose that could arrest a heartfelt prayer despatched by faith up to the throne of God. I have heard it said that, amid the din of a pealing organ, the crash of orchestral brass, and the rolling volume of a thousand lifted voices, one clear note of finest tension can be heard to overtop them all. Such a note shall thy prayer be, my friend and brother, that cometh not out of feigned lips.

IV. PAUL'S VISION. "An angel stood by me!" Little recked the panic-stricken crew of the sacred visitor. I have heard of kings' messengers and their despatches thwarted of their mission; I have read of floods that have swept the railway track and stopped the iron steed midway upon its journey with the mails; I have heard of simooms which have buried totting caravans in desert sand — but never storm was brewed that could check the downward sweep of a celestial ambassador! Said the angel, "Thou must be brought before Caesar! That is enough. When God says must, no power, no combination of powers, can say nay!"

IV. PAUL'S MESSAGE. The vision is over; the angelic messenger flies back; but Paul has got the message. He hastens upon deck. He holds by rail or rope; then, flinging his arm around the broken mast, he shouts, "Be of good cheer! Not a life shall perish! The ship shall sink; the crew shall live!" Did they wonder if the awful strain on mind and body had sent him mad? He tells them of the angel's visit. Did they greet it with a despairing laugh of incredulity? He plants his foot firmly on the reeling deck; and, regardless of blackened skies, thunderings winds, creaking timbers, he shouts, "I believe God! It shall be even as He hath told me!" His confidence is contagious; the crew catch something of his spirit. Hope dawns, and they set down amid the hurly-burly to eat bread! I counsel you to take that as your motto — I believe God! He says of sin, I will pardon; of sorrow, I will comfort; of peril, I will deliver; of weakness, I will support; of storms, I will protect; of thy soul, I will save! Believe God! for it shall be even as He hath told thee!

(J. Jackson Wray.)

Links
Acts 27:23 NIV
Acts 27:23 NLT
Acts 27:23 ESV
Acts 27:23 NASB
Acts 27:23 KJV

Acts 27:23 Bible Apps
Acts 27:23 Parallel
Acts 27:23 Biblia Paralela
Acts 27:23 Chinese Bible
Acts 27:23 French Bible
Acts 27:23 German Bible

Acts 27:23 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Acts 27:22
Top of Page
Top of Page