Honor One Another

Thursday, September 11, 2014, 8:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “In Harmony.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 27:1-26 (NIV).

Appeal to Caesar

Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem on false charges. A plot to take his life was afoot, so the commander had him transferred to Caesarea. There he was put on trial before Governor Felix. Two years passed, and then Felix was succeeded by Festus. Then Paul was on trial before Festus. When Festus asked Paul if he would be willing to stand trial before him in Jerusalem, Paul appealed to Caesar. So, Festus said, “To Caesar you will go.”

Then, King Agrippa showed up. Festus told him about Paul. Agrippa then wanted to hear Paul. So, Paul had the privilege once more of sharing his testimony of how he met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, and how Jesus had saved his life.

When Paul had finished speaking, Agrippa, Bernice, Festus and the others with them discussed Paul’s case among themselves. They decided that Paul was not doing anything that deserved death or imprisonment. Agrippa then told Festus that Paul could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar (See Ac. 26:32). Yet, I believe it was in God’s plan for Paul to go to Rome, for Jesus had told him previously to take courage, for just as he had testified about Jesus in Jerusalem, he must also testify in Rome (See Ac. 23:11).

Dangerous Sailing

Paul was still a prisoner, and had been for a very long time, although he had done nothing deserving of imprisonment. Now he was on his way to Rome. He and some other prisoners boarded a ship, with Italy as their final destination. The winds were against them. They switched ships in Lycia, yet the wind did not allow them to hold their course. They moved along the coast with great difficulty. Then they came to a place called Fair Havens.

Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, “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. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.

I considered this passage of scripture in light of the song the Lord Jesus had put in my mind, and in light of the theme of honoring one another. Here Paul was a prisoner. He was taken against his will because of false charges that had been brought against him. In fact, he had been held as a prisoner for a very long time now. A lot of people in his circumstances might have cared less about anyone else but themselves, and might have even wished harm on those who were their captors. Paul was not one of those.

I don’t believe Paul was just thinking solely about himself when he gave this advice. I believe he was genuinely concerned for the welfare of everyone aboard this ship. We have evidence of this in the story we read of when he was in jail one other time and God opened all the prison gates, and yet Paul did not escape, and thus the jailer and all his family came to faith in Christ Jesus (See Ac. 16).

Paul now warned these sailors against proceeding ahead, as sailing was not safe at this point because of the wind. Yet, the centurion disregarded Paul’s warning and he followed another’s advice. The decision was thus made to sail on.

What I see from this here is that one of the ways in which we can honor one another is to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, to bless those who curse us, and to pray for those who mistreat us (See Lu. 6:27-28). I believe Paul put this into practice here when he chose to help those who had taken him prisoner, and to warn them of danger ahead. This also brings me to another way in which we can fulfill this scripture in Luke, and in which we can honor one another above ourselves, and that is that when we see danger ahead that we warn others of that danger, even at the risk that they may reject us or that they may disregard the warnings and may face the consequences of not listening.

The Northeaster

When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.

God gives us warnings in his word for a purpose. His warnings are not just to make us feel bad, or because God just likes being negative, nor are they merely suggestions. The same goes for his servants who give out these warnings. I believe that those who are truly the Lord’s servants, and who are following Christ with their lives, and who believe his word, share these warnings out of genuine love and concern for others, and not because they are negative people who enjoy giving out doom and gloom messages. Jeremiah is a great example of one whose job it was to give out such warnings, but in no way enjoyed doing so. He often lamented at how, because of his assignment from God, he was hated and shunned.

Yet, when we fail to heed the warnings God gives us in scripture, and we decide we know best, or we decide to go our own way, instead, we have to realize that there could well be consequences we will have to face as a result. The life of Jonah is a good example of that. Interestingly, his reality hit when he was on a ship going the wrong direction, and strong winds came on the ship, but he did the right thing by realizing it was his fault, and by being willing to sacrifice his own life to save the lives of the others on the ship. He repented of his sin of rebellion against the Lord, and he ended up doing what God told him to do. As a result, an entire city called upon the Lord in repentance and their lives were spared.


The ship then took a violent beating from the storm. They began to throw cargo overboard. “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” All seemed absolutely hopeless.

After they had gone a long time without food, Paul 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 to whom I belong 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.”

I love how Paul handled this. It may seem like an “I told you so,” but I don’t believe his purpose was to make himself out to be superior. He just waited until enough time had passed and enough suffering had taken place, and then he reminded them that this had all come upon them because they did not take wise advice.

You know, I believe God deals with us the same way sometimes. He gives us his instructions and his warnings in scripture. He often reminds us of them from time to time. Yet, when we refuse to listen and we decide we know best, I believe he lets us go. He never forces himself on us. Sometimes we just have to go through things so we can learn what we need to learn. Then, when things go really bad, he comes back and reminds us ever so gently that if only we had listened, these things might not have happened to us.

Yet, I love how my Lord works in our lives! He doesn’t kick us when we are down and leave us there. Again he offers his hand to us to lift us up. He encourages us, and he gives us hope. Now, we can certainly refuse his hand, and then we are on our own until we decide to listen, to heed his counsel and warnings, and we trust him with our lives. Yet, if we reach out and take his hand, and we choose to trust him with our lives and to listen to his words and to heed his counsel and warnings, then we will experience his blessings in our lives. It does not mean we won’t suffer, or that we won’t have hardships or difficulties, but we will be at peace in knowing that God is absolutely in control, and we don’t have to be afraid, because now we are in harmony with our Lord, and we are walking in his ways.

In Harmony / An Original Work / September 2, 2012
Based off Ro. 12:9-21; 1 Pet. 3:8-15

Love each other truly.
Cling to what is good.
Hate all that is evil.
Never lack in zeal.
Serve the Lord with fervor.
Joyful in hope be;
Patient in affliction;
Praying faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.

Share with all God’s people
Who are found in need.
Do not be conceited.
Sympathetic be.
Love, and show compassion
In humility.
Keep your tongue from evil.
Peaceful you must be.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.

God sees who are righteous;
Listens to their prayers.
But He’s against evil –
Is His to avenge.
Do not fear what they fear.
Suffer patiently.
In your hearts, make Christ Lord.
Serve Him faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.