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The Transformational Church Wrestles with Sticky Theological Questions

This week we’re going to see what God is saying to us in Acts 27.  It’s the story of Paul’s voyage to Rome and of the shipwreck that occurred on the way.  This story presents some sticky theological questions for us.  We’re going to focus on a few of them.

Sticky Theological Question #1—Why does God not always intervene and change our circumstances?

The Lord Jesus had appeared to Paul in Jerusalem and had told him that he wanted him to go to Rome.  The Lord told Paul that he would take him there, and that he must appear before the emperor. And Paul is not disobedient; he is moving in harmony with God's purpose.  He boards the ship and heads for Rome. Nevertheless the winds are contrary and everything else seems to go wrong on this voyage.  God, who controls the winds and the waves, could surely have made it easy for Paul to get to Rome.  But He didn’t.  Thus the sticky theological question:  Why does God not always intervene and change our circumstances?

Sticky Theological Question #2—Why is it that, even when we are doing what we understand to be God's will for us, we oftentimes still have such great difficulty in accomplishing it? 

Same scenario as above.  Paul is clearly doing what the Lord told him to do.  But everything seems to be going wrong.  Thus the sticky theological question: Why is it that, even when we are doing what we understand to be God's will for us, we oftentimes still have such great difficulty in accomplishing it? 

Sticky Theological Question #2—If God is sovereign, doesn’t that mean I don’t have to do anything but wait for God to act?

An angel of the Lord came to Paul on the ship in the middle of the storm and assured him that everyone on board would be saved.  So, did that mean Paul could go below deck, settle into his hammock, and wait for God to fulfill his promise? No.  He goes out on deck, and sees the sailors trying to escape.   Paul says to the soldiers, "Unless you stop them, we're all lost."  Think of what he's saying. The Word of God is clear—everyone on board the ship will be saved.  Absolutely.  Unconditionally.  But Paul says that in the next few seconds, the fate of everyone on board will depend upon what a human being will do or will not do.  Thus the sticky theological question: If God is sovereign, doesn’t that mean I don’t have to do anything but wait for God to act?