THE MOST URGENT MINISTRY FOR EVERYONE IN CHURCH

THE MOST URGENT MINISTRY FOR EVERYONE IN CHURCH by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

Running From God  (1)This morning we will conclude our series on the Book of Jonah titled, “Running From God.” Our last message comes from Jonah chapter 4 titled, “The Most Urgent Ministry For Everyone in Church” – Whether you’ve been in church all your life or got here sometime back or this is your first time. Many of you have asked me – “what is this ministry that is so urgent?” Is it preaching or music or prayer or youth or children? It is the SOS ministry. It stands for – “SLIDE OVER SOME” MINISTRY.

Jonah 3:10 – 4:3 10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”

Overall Background: If I had written the Book of Jonah, I would have ended in chapter 3. What a great way to end with Jonah 3:10 “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them (Nineveh), and He did not do it.” What better way to end than on a high note – bad people became good, trusted God’s grace and God was forgiving and merciful as always. In other words, “And they lived happily every after. The End.” But, oh no, listen to Jonah 4:1 “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.” The verb for anger comes from the Hebrew word that literally means – “to burn.” In other words, it burned Jonah up.Instead of rejoicing over God’s grace towards the Ninevites or helping lead the Ninevites into discipleship, Jonah gets angry. Listen to his prayer again 2 …“Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” Why does Jonah want God to kill him? Because now the pagan Assyrians are on the same level as Jonah. Because now the barbaric Ninevites are just as much a part of God’s family as the children of Israel.

Before we shake our heads at Jonah, we need to examine our own hearts and churches. How hard it is for people to slide over and let others in. The one ministry that is desperately needed among American Christians and churches is the SOS Ministry = Slide Over Some Ministry. I’m not talking about just sliding over in your pew. I am talking about sliding over in our thinking and our acceptance of others in the body of Christ. This message is critical because if this does not happen, American Christianity is drawing its last breath. You may think – how does this apply to me. Don’t check out yet. You’ll be surprised how much you need it.

Let’s see what happened with Jonah:  5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city.

Background: Last time he ran west, this time he runs to the east. Won’t you too? Last time he went west, he got swallowed by the great fish. So he goes east and “There he made himself a shelter (“sukka” = hut shelter) and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. In other words, he is pouting and waiting for God to pick.

Christians pout. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking we don’t. Camera phones and selfies did not invent pouting. It’s been around for thousands of years.

Application: How do you respond when things don’t go your way? We are talking about in the church but also in your home and marriage and at your work.

What is God’s response? 6 And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. The same God who prepared the great fish now prepares a plant and it provides shade for Jonah. God is trying to deliver him from his misery. The word for misery is the Hebrew word “ra’a” = misery/evil/disaster. When you are pouting you are miserable and you make everyone else miserable around you. Misery loves company.

So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. Literally: “Jonah rejoiced over the plant with great joy.”What’s next? 7But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm. The same God who prepared the great fish and the plant prepares a worm.“And it so damaged the plant that it withered.” God showed mercy to Jonah by providing a shade over his head and now God took it away for the moment. What’s next? 8And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement (cutting) east wind and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

Where is God going with all this? 9Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”

I cannot help but think of another time in the Bible a similar thing happened. It’s in the Gospels. We’ve all heard the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 – A father has two sons and the younger says to the Father“Give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” He takes his share and goes to a far away country and wastes everything. Then, a severe famine hits the land and the only job he could find was in working with swine. All he could eat was what the pigs ate. Don’t mistake this with pig farms in America. Finally, he comes to his senses and says to himself – “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to share and I perish with hunger.”18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’

Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni

But you know the story – Luke 15 20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. As he is trying to seek his father’s forgiveness, his father interrupts him and commands his servants to, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

Now, I’m sure that you’ve heard some wonderful messages of the grace of God towards us when we turn towards Him. I’ve preached some myself. But did you know that it’s not the main point of the story. In fact, the whole section begins with this statement in Luke 15 1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them. Because the Pharisees and the scribes complained to Him about the tax collectors and the sinners, Jesus gave this parable of the Prodigal Son.

The real point of the parable is not that the Prodigal Son came home but read how the elder brother reacted to it. He heard the noise of the music and dancing and he was angry. Listen to Luke 15 28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. Just like God came out and pleaded with Jonah. 29 So he answered and said to his father, “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

Doesn’t that sound like church people? Preacher – just cause you have some new people coming, you’ve forgotten about the old. He doesn’t care for us any more. We’ve been there all along but now He has found others. How did the Father respond? 31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ”

Application: Do you see others as a threat or as a trophy of God’s grace?

Back to Jonah 4 10 But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons (Nineveh proper) who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” What’s the point? Jonah has more compassion over a plant – a plant that he did not put in the ground or even take care of. But, he could care less for people who are made in the image of God.

It is amazing to me how people can get tickled over seeing their azaleas blooming! But God forbid if someone sits in their favorite spot in church. Some people can get so excited over finding 99-cent grapes but it tears them up to see more people or different people come to church.

Application: Let me ask you something – Do plants or animals or things matter more to you than people? Extend that a little – what is the value of one soul to you? The other day I was driving down the street with my boys in the back. I was listening to them making plans for their weekend. “Okay – first, were going to play the Wii, then, we’ll go outside, and then, we’ll watch a movie and eat cookies.” Just then I saw this rough looking guy walking. I don’t know anything about him. He might a horrible criminal who could kill me without thinking twice. Right then a thought crossed my mind – “The same God who made my boys also made him.” He values that person just as much as he values them.

Let me switch gears here – the burden for “sliding over some” is not just for the people who have been here for a while but also for people who are new.

In the Book of Acts, there is a great illustration of this. Acts 6:1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.

Background: The Hebrews were the first Christians and the Hellenists were the next to arrive. It wasn’t long since Jesus had left them. It wasn’t long since they had the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But already, there’s a division in the church. This time the tables have turned. Those who came in after are complaining about those who have were there first because they felt neglected.

The church is a home. How do you act when you go to someone’s home? Do you walk in demanding your way? Of course not. You come in with humility.

At the end of the day, none of us deserve to be here. It’s only by the grace of God that we are what we are. Why do we judge others? John Bradford, the English preacher, when he would see criminals being led to the scaffold, would often say – “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.”

This Church is about Jesus Christ. Do you know Him who bought our salvation by His blood?

WHAT JESUS DID TO SAVE YOU

WHAT JESUS DID TO SAVE YOU by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

Many of us who are saved have never truly grasped the magnitude of suffering that our Savior went through on the cross for us. If we did, there would be a radical change in how we live. Many of you who are lost – if you truly understood how much Jesus suffered for you, you will respond to His love and be saved.

Running From God  (1)

Running From God (1)

Jonah 2:1-6 1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. ‘Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. 3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ 5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. 6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.

Overall Background: Anytime we study a biblical passage, we have to first look at it in its original and immediate context. In other words, we need to understand it as the people who first read it understood it. Then, we can take step back and look at it from the larger and fuller context. So far, we have seen what the life of Jonah teaches us from its original context. It teaches us to obey God, accept God’s discipline, and trust His faithfulness in our lives. Now we need to step back and see it from the larger context. What does the rest of the Bible say about Jonah? How does it fit into God’s plan of salvation?

Well, Jesus mentioned Jonah at least twice in His ministry. When the scribes and Pharisees came to test Him and demanded a sign from Him. Jesus said in Matthew 12:38-41 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

Jesus compared His death, burial, and resurrection to Jonah’s experience in the belly of the great fish. In a sense, if you want to understand how Jesus felt on the cross, read how Jonah felt inside the fish. This morning I want us to look at Jonah 2 and understand what Jesus went through on the cross for us. Is all this just to teach you something interesting and novel? No. It is help you realize how much Jesus suffered for us. If you are saved, this should motivate you to live a godly life. If you are lost, this should motivate you to get saved immediately.

3 important truths about the cross from the story of Jonah:

I. THE CROSS IS GOD’S ANSWER TO SIN.

2:3 “For You cast me into the deep.”

Background: Jonah is saying “God – you threw me into the sea.” There’s a little problem there. In Jonah chapter 1 God sent a storm to discipline him (not punish him) because Jonah was running from God. Once the sailors figured out that Jonah was the cause of the storm, they asked him in verse 11 “…What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?” Jonah responded in verse 12“…Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you…” At first the sailors refused but then, as it became worse, they asked God’s forgiveness and then…1-2-3…tossed him overboard. So, is seems that Jonah suggested and the sailors implemented. But now Jonah says – “God – you threw me into the sea.” What’s that all about? Listen carefully—

–       It is true that the chief priests and the elders plotted against Jesus to kill Him.

–       It is true that Satan incited Judas to betray Jesus was 30 pieces of silver.

–       It is true that the crowd shouted crucify Him.

–       It is true that Pilate passed the sentence and then washed His hands.

–       It is true that the Roman soldiers brutally nailed Him to the cross.

But the cross was from start to finish the work of God.

–       Listen to Peter on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth…23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;

–       I Peter 1says, 18 “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things…19 but with the precious blood of Christ…20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world.

–       Revelation 13:8 calls Jesus “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

Albert Schweitzer said that the cross was Jesus being crushed under the “unyielding wheel of history.” Not true. Jesus said in John 10:18 “No one takes it (my life) from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.”

It is true that human beings crucified Jesus, the Son of God, in a cruel, heinous, and evil way. Nonetheless, it happened just as God intended for it to happen. The cross was not an atrocity. The cross was not an accident. The cross was not an afterthought. The cross was God’s answer to your sin and mine.

Application: What do you think about the cross? Jesus took your punishment upon Himself so you don’t have to suffer in Hell one day.

II. THE CROSS IS GOD’S PUNISHMENT FOR OUR SINS.

2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. ‘Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. In his affliction Jonah cried out to God. The pressure was too much for him.

How about Jesus? So also Jesus, in His ultimate affliction, cried to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:42-44 41 “…He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

That condition is called “Hemidrosis,” where a person is under such severe stress that the tiny capillaries in the sweat glands break and blood and sweat flow down together. Jesus was under extreme affliction because He knew what was coming. Jonah’s affliction was his own doing. Jesus’ affliction was because of our doing.

Back to Jonah 3 “For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods (Literally: river swirled about me) surrounded me; “All Your billows (breakers) and Your waves passed over me.” We know what that meant for Jonah – he was in belly of the fish and the fish was deep in the sea but inside the water was like a raging river. He was being tossed back and forth.

How about Jesus? On the night of the crucifixion Jesus was jerked back and forth.

  1. Arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  2. Taken before Annas the ex-high priest and questioned.
  3. Taken before Caiaphas and condemned for blasphemy
  4. Taken before the Sanhedrin and condemned and beaten.
  5. Taken before Pilate and accused of treason
  6. Taken before Herod and mocked.
  7. Taken back to Pilate and scourged with 39 lashes. His back was probably in shreds.
  8. Then He had to march up the hill to Golgotha. He was bloody, bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted.
  9. Finally, He was nailed to the cross between two common criminals. The nails are not what you use to hang picture frames.
  10. But the worse was the sin of every human being put upon Him and God’s wrath was poured upon the Son. This spiritual suffering was the worst.

Back to Jonah 2 4 Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight; Jonah felt abandoned by God.

How about Jesus? Matthew 27   45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” As Jesus feels the emotional, physical, and spiritual suffering of the cross, He feels abandoned by His Father.

Back to Jonah 25 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. I find this interesting – Jonah had weeds wrapped around his head.

How about Jesus? John 19, 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.

Back to Jonah 2 6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; Jonah is saying that he has gone as low as any human being could possibly go.

How about Jesus? For 3 hours Jesus hung on the cross for our sins. He went as low as possible for us.

Back to Jonah 2 6 “…The earth with its bars closed behind me forever.” Jonah felt like he has

How about Jesus? Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Let me clarify – Jonah was disciplined for his disobedience. Jesus was punished for our transgressions.

Application: Did you ever realize how much Jesus suffered for us? By the way, you and I have no right to tell anyone that they will go to heaven without Jesus Christ. It is as if saying – Jesus, you really didn’t have to go through all that.

III. THE CROSS IS GOD’S PROMISE OF A NEW BEGINNING.

Jonah 2, 6 Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God…9 Salvation is of the Lord.10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

How about Jesus? Listen again to Peter in Acts 2:24whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

Praise God! Jesus did not remain in the grave. He came back to life on the third day. Why? Because He was God. He was sinless. He had finished the task of paying for our sins.

Why did I preach this message? Because it is Palm Sunday? No. Because it is Interesting? No. Because the cross demands a decision. Is Jesus your Savior?

For e.g. There was once an artist named Steinberg. He was using a young gypsy girl as a model for one of his paintings. Sometimes she would just come and watch him paint. One time Steinberg was painting his masterpiece “Christ on the Cross.” One day she said to him – “He must have been a very wicked man to be nailed to a cross like that.” Steinberg replied – “Oh no. Actually, He was a very good man. The best man who ever lived. He gave His life for others.” The gypsy girl asked him – “Did He die for you?” Steinberg stepped back and thought to himself – “I don’t even know the one I am painting.” He gave His heart to Christ. Why? He moved from the color, canvas, and palette and He moved into the story.

Have you ever moved into the story?

WHEN WE HIT ROCK BOTTOM

WHEN WE HIT ROCK BOTTOM by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Running From God  (1)We are in our new series on the Book of Jonah, called, “RUNNING FROM GOD” and this morning we are in Jonah 2 for our third message titled “WHEN WE HIT ROCK BOTTOM.” All of us at some point in our lives have reached that place where the only way to go is up. Maybe some of you are there this morning. Don’t lose hope. Desperation can be a life-changing experience.

Jonah 2:1-3 1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. ‘Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. 3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’

Overall Background: Ask any child in Sunday School if they’ve heard the story of Jonah and the whale (big fish) and a smile will come across their face. We all know of the prophet Jonah whom God called to go to Nineveh and instead he ran in the opposite direction towards Tarshish. He got on a ship and went down to the lowest part, lay down, and was fast asleep. “God can’t find me here.” Really?!! God knows exactly where every person is every moment. Jeremiah 23:24 “Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

God knew where Jonah was and He sent a violent storm on the sea, so that the ship was about to broken up. Was God trying to punish him? Of course not! He doesn’t punish His children but he often disciplines them. Jonah knew that God was dealing with him so he told the sailors to pick him up and toss him into the raging sea and all will be well. Sure enough when they threw him overboard, the sea became calm. If that were the end, we would not be reading this book today. Listen to what came next. Jonah 1:17 “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 2 tells us what went on for those three days and three nights.In Jonah’s own words, he went down to hell. He went so low that he could see the roots of the mountains. In other words, he hit rock bottom.

Application: Let me ask you – have you hit rock bottom in your life? Are you rock bottom right now? How are you dealing with it? By the way, you don’t have to be in the belly of the fish to hit rock bottom. It can happen in the form of a personal tragedy, horrible accident, terrible sickness, relationship crisis, job loss, or financial problem.

This morning we will learn what to do when we hit rock bottom from Jonah 2.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR HELPLESSNESS.

3 “For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas,

For e.g. Think of the missing Malaysian plane. It is more than likely in the Indian Ocean. With all our technology and gadgets we cannot seem to find it.

Jonah is inside a big fish in the sea. Imagine how lost and helpless he is.

3 “For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods (Literally: river swirled about me) surrounded me;

The question in my mind is “Is Jonah in the Sea or in the River?” Sea is usually calm in the deep. So outside the fish it is calm but it is deep. Inside the fish it is like a river. Keep in mind that this fish is swimming. Verse 3again “All Your billows (breakers) and Your waves passed over me.” Jonah is not in some submarine taking a joy ride. He is being pounded left and right. Jonah is for the first time realizing how physically helpless and insignificant he is.

Some people trust in their bodily strength. Some people trust in their good looks. Some people trust in their connections. Some people trust in their wallets. When you are in the hospital room with your loved hooked up to all kinds of machines, that’s when you realize that you are not as big and tough as you thought. You would give everything you had to revert that situation but you can’t. I’m not suggesting that we need to act all helpless and weak. What I am saying is that we should acknowledge how small we are.

But it gets deeper – Verse 5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; Jonah is saying, “I felt like my soul was drowning.” What else? “The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head.” At first reading, I want to laugh. I can picture Jonah with a bandana of reeds around his head. But what he is really saying is that he is choking.

Verse 6 I went down to the moorings (base) of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever.” Jonah is inside the big fish, plus surrounded by water, plus jostled around. How can he see where he is?The language he is employing is more spiritual than physical. What Jonah is saying is that he no longer knows where he is. You may not believe me but there are people here this morning that are exactly in that spot. They may not be inside the belly of a fish but spiritually they feel empty and lifeless.

Application: Are you trusting in your physical strength, outside beauty, connections, wealth, or family? Are you willing to acknowledge your helplessness.It can all be taken from you in a millisecond. Sometimes you can even feel spiritually helpless. Daily in my prayer time I tell God that I am nothing more than a clod of earth.

2. AFFIRM GOD’S PROMISES. 

Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly.

Background: Did you get that? Listen again – “Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God” = “El Yahweh Elohayaw.” So far it has only been Yahweh (Jehovah). It was all impersonal. Now he is in the belly of the fish. All the superficial is being stripped away and the prayer has become personal.It’s one thing to say, “The Lord is a Shepherd” but its quite another to say, “The Lord is My Shepherd.”

What’s more? Listen to verse 2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD. This is no rote prayer. This is a real cry for help. I can’t help but think of Peter walking on water. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine. “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (Mathew 14:30) The moment he focused on his circumstances he began to sink and he cried out = he screamed.

2 And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction.

Let’s put Jonah on the stand. “Jonah you disobeyed God. What makes you think that God will hear your prayer?”

Jonah’s Answer: Because God said in Psalm 50:15 “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

“But Jonah you really blew it.” I know but Psalm 103:9-14 says “…Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. 14    For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

So Jonah claimed the promises of God and prayed. As he prayed, his faith began to rise.

Jonah 2:2b-3  2b “And He answered me. ‘Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice. 4 Then I said, “I have been cast out of Your sight;Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.” 6 Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God. 7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.

Application: What promises are you holding on to? Throughout my life I’ve had many – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” “All things work together for good to those who love God.” “My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

3. ACT ON YOUR COMMITMENTS.

9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”

Many people make commitments to God when they are in the foxhole. If you will only get me out, I will serve you. God gets us out and we forget. Jonah kept his word. He wrote it down for us.

For e.g. Family in church back home that made a vow for their daughter to get healed and then forgot.

Application: Do you have an outstanding vow to the Lord? Do you have a pending commitment towards the Lord?

4. ALLOW GOD TO FINISH YOUR STORY

We know why Jonah asked the sailors to toss him into the sea. He knew that he had really blown his testimony with these guys. For him to stand before them and share the gospel was worthless. They wouldn’t listen. It was time to demonstrate the gospel. By the way, people are tired of our words. They want to see the gospel lived out in us. tweet this button

Jonah was acting out what Jesus would do one day. Jesus won’t be running from God. In fact, He is God Himself. He will come by “the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” and human beings will take Him “by lawless hands” and crucify Him (Acts 2:23-24). That’s the only way God’s wrath against sin will be satisfied.

God says “Okay Jonah. You’re willing to let your life be a testimony to the death of Christ. I will make your life a testimony to the resurrection of Christ.

10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

God can do the same for you. No matter how far you fall from God, the moment you turn and return to Him, your life becomes a living testimony. Isn’t that wonderful?!!

Do you know Jesus as your Savior?

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