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"The Euroclydon" 03.25.16

“But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” (2 Corinthians 11:21-27 ESV)

Have you ever experienced a beautiful storm? – The smell of the air, dark purple clouds, huge peals of thunder, flashes of lighting striking all around you, and a constant sound of rain pounding the ground outside. I love big dark thunderstorms. I feel a sense of comfort and a sense of adventure at the same time. On Sunday, Josh described in vivid detail the adventure of Paul in a storm the King James Version calls a “Euroclydon” while on a boat with greedy men and the centurion who was in charge of him. As the crew and centurion pursued their goals of money and a great reputation, Paul finds himself caught in the middle of the storm, knowing that there will be great loss and injury. Josh described the Gospel as a beautiful storm that will shipwreck our lives, and was quick to point out that our lives are already headed for a much worse storm, and not the beautiful kind.

The truth is that we are dealing with three storms. The storm of sin in our lives, storm of God’s wrath (our current trajectory without Christ), and the storm of the Gospel – and yes all three will wreck your life. The first wrecks our lives through pushing us onward toward greed and selfishness, wrecking relationships and pursuing foolishness. That storm leads to the second storm, the storm of God’s wrath – eternal punishment for sin by a holy God. The third storm is different though, the storm of the Gospel wrecks the pursuit of money and reputation as the heartbeat of our lives. It wrecks the self conceived, self focused and self driven goals of life outside of Christ, and sets a new standard to live by, or as Paul put it – it sets us free from slavery to sin, and enslaves us to righteousness (Romans 6:15-19). The Gospel certainly wrecks our lives, but in so doing it saves them from the other two storms. To be clear, the Gospel doesn’t declare money and reputation as evil, but it labels our hearts as evil. The Gospel brings all things in our lives (money, reputation, family, jobs, free time, relationships, etc…) back where they belong, serving Jesus lived under the rule and reign of our righteous King.

In some sense, the forecast for you and I has always been a storm up ahead. We are born into a storm of sin which without Christ’s saving grace will lead to a much worse storm (God’s wrath). But when we embrace the Gospel’s life wrecking Euroclydon by faith it disrupts and destroys the storm of sin and death. It gives us a new goal, a new reputation, and a new hope. Though it looks like rough seas (and it is to our self serving souls) it saves from the truly perilous storms that we are facing.

Who is suffering through a storm right now? Better yet, who is caught in sin’s storm and doesn’t even know it? We are heralds of a better way of living, freedom from sins storms, and freedom from the wrath of God. Who will you proclaim the Gospel to in all its stormy glory? All around us, there are many headed into hurricane force winds that will push them to loss, grief and wrath they cannot escape. How can you….how can we creatively share the great and powerful truth of God’s grace with those God has placed in our lives? Given the storm ahead, we have no time to lose!

Joe Popp

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15 ESV)