Welcome to the P.J. (Pastor J) Sound Theology Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can we be saved by the faith of others?

Hello everyone, today we are asked a difficult question. Can we be saved by the faith of others?

Our Scripture of focus for today is taken from Acts 27:21-44. Please if you have time read the entire 27th chapter.

ACTS 27: 21
Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul then stood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss. 22I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23For last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24and he said, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.” 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26But we will have to run aground on some island.’ When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. 28So they took soundings and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they took soundings again and found fifteen fathoms. 29Fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come. 30But when the sailors tried to escape from the ship and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of putting out anchors from the bow, 31Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.’ 32Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat and set it adrift.

33 Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, ‘Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. 34Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads.’ 35After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. 36Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves. 37(We were in all two hundred and seventy-six persons in the ship.) 38After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea.

39 In the morning they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned to run the ship ashore, if they could. 40So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea. At the same time they loosened the ropes that tied the steering-oars; then hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 41But striking a reef, they ran the ship aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, but the stern was being broken up by the force of the waves. 42The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape; 43but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, 44and the rest to follow, some on planks and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

In the text the Apostle Paul is now on a ship bound for Rome and is greeted by an Angel of the Lord. Paul then quickly tells everyone on board who would listen that they will face hard times and even the ship will be lost but not a person shall die. This would just be considered ramblings except for the fact that fourteen days and nights later everything happened just like Pauls said it would. The fact that Paul was actually right changed everything.

If we look again at verses 25 we come to the heart of our question for today, (
25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.) The question is were theses men saved because of pauls faith in God. Because they were Romans, Greeks and Gentiles they most likely did not have faith in God, but Paul states because of my faith I am sure we will be alright.

Reflect on this text today and ask yourself these questions: 1) Do you think that if Paul was not there the people still would have been saved because of his faith? (This would make the situation bigger than just Paul and more about God's power)

2) How has your life been effected by the faith and prayers of others?

3) How have you effected the lives or situations of others by demonstrating your faith and offering up your prayers?

Don't worry we will look deeper into this text tomorrow, I would not leave you hanging like that.
So until then, Be Well.
Love Pastor J

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