THE GREAT FAITH OF paul
Acts 16:16–40, 21:10–15, 27:21–25; 2 Timothy 4:6–8
Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. Acts 27:21–25
Acts 27 tells about Paul’s near-fatal shipwreck. He had appealed to Caesar and was being transported to Rome as a prisoner. But it was too late in the year for safe passage on the Mediterranean, and the ship was caught in a raging storm. For fourteen days, the ship was tossed on the sea until the men gave up all hope of survival.
Paul was a prisoner on the ship, but he had a word from God. He stood boldly on the deck of the ship in the middle of the catastrophic storm and spoke God’s word with confidence. He gave a good report in the middle of severe circumstances.
In any storm of life, we should follow Paul’s example. Find out what God has said about our storm, and then boldly proclaim it without wavering. It will turn out for us just as he said.
The American war hero Lieutenant General Lewis “Chesty” Puller was the most decorated marine in history with over fifty-two medals. Even though he retired from active duty in 1955 and died in 1971, it is still a common occurrence for marines in boot camp to end the day with the chant, “Good night, Chesty Puller, wherever you are!”
His confidence in battle was a constant encouragement to his men. One time, when his aggressive tactics had caused the enemy to surround his unit, he uttered the words he is most well-known for, “They're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us . . . they can't get away this time!”
That is the ultimate good report.
Great faith gives a good report even when the circumstances look bad.
Faith takes an aggressive attitude towards God’s promises. How does your faith rank on the passive/aggressive scale? Are you as aggressive in laying hold of God’s promise as you should be? Why? What can you do to increase your aggressiveness?
Some people find it harder than others to give a good report. What is your tendency when faced with potentially negative circumstances? Why?
Confession of Faith
Adapted from Ephesians 1:3; Deuteronomy 28:2–13; Mark 11:24; John 14:13–14, 15:7, 16:23–24; Matthew 21:22; 1 John 5:14–15.
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. All these blessings come upon me and overtake me. I am blessed in the city and blessed in the country. I am blessed when I come in and blessed when I go out. I am blessed in my offspring. I abound in blessings. All the work of my hands are blessed. I am the head and not the tail, and I am above and not underneath.
All things for which I pray and ask, I believe I have received them, and they are granted to me. I abide in him, and his words abide in me; I ask whatever I wish, and it is done for me.
Whatever I ask in his name, he will do, that the father may be glorified in the son. If I ask him for anything in his name, he will do it. And everything I ask in prayer, believing, I shall receive.
If I ask the father for anything, he will give it to me in Jesus’ name. I ask and I receive, that my joy may be made full. This is the confidence I have before him: that if I ask anything according to his will, he hears me. And if I know that he hears me in whatever I ask, I know that I have the requests which I have asked from him.
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:10
“By faith in Christ a person may gain such sure and sound comfort, that he need not fear the devil, sin, death, or any evil. ‘Sir Devil,’ he may say, ‘I am not afraid of you. I have a Friend whose name is Jesus Christ, in whom I believe. He has abolished the Law, condemned sin, vanquished death, and destroyed hell for me. He is bigger than you, Satan. He has licked you, and holds you down. You cannot hurt me.’ This is the faith that overcomes the devil.”
—Martin Luther, German Priest and Leader of the Protestant Reformation