September 21, 2014

The Lord NEVER Gives Up On Us

Passage: Jonah 1-3
Service Type:

Bible Text: Jonah 1-3 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: Abiding in the Lord
Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah…Arise, go to Nineveh, that great, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me. But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.  But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
10 …Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, Why have you done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them…I know that this great tempest is because of me…they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging…the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly…
The Lord is CALLING HIS people…
God expects us to SHARE His message
The Jonah Syndrome
God speaks and we run!
Who is in charge of our lives?
How do we run?
By avoiding God’s call in our lives
Unwilling to confess our stubbornness and pride
Our refusal to be obedient to God’s Will puts us “out of commission” spiritually.
Isaiah 55:8-9 My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Jonah 1:9-15 And Jonah answered, I am a Hebrew, and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land. Then he told them that he was running away from the LORD. The sailors were terrified when they heard this. Oh, why did you do it? they groaned…Throw me into the sea, Jonah said, and it will become calm again. For I know that this terrible storm is all my fault…Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once!
God cannot allow disobedience to remain
Hebrews 12:5-11 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?
If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?  For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
God will provide a way out!
Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.  And Jonah was inthe belly of the fish three daysand three nights.
What might the belly of a fish look like for us?
Having been in a fish’s belly there are several things you might want to learn from Jonah:
Everything around you stinks
It is a cramped, dark, and uncomfortable place to be
There is no way to get out, the fish has to vomit you out
Remember you would not be in the belly of the fish if you had not tried to run
There is one word that is associated with
God throughout the story of Jonah—”GREAT”
On the other hand, Jonah messes everything up and the main word associated with Jonah is “DOWN”
Jonah 3:1-4 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was a exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!
We need to reach out!
Mark 16:15Jesus said to His followers, Go everywhere in the world and tell the Good News to everyone.
Here is a reminder of an important reality:
If you’re a Christian, Jesus said, Follow Me, and I’ll make you a fisher of men.  If you’re NOT fishing, you’re NOT following.
Jonah 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God… Then word came to the king of Nineveh.
Galatians 6:2 Stoop down and reach out to those who were oppressed. SHARE their burdens…
God calls us to prayer, fasting and to be responsible
Jonah 3:5-9 …proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water.
Jonah 3:10 Then God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

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