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Aug 20, 2023

Just Say Yes To God

Just Say Yes To God

Passage: Jonah 1:1-17

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: God’s Not Done with You

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: boat, church, worship, faith, jesus, god, sermon, christian, bible, christ, hope, grace, preaching, sermons, spirituality, study, jonah, jesus christ, the bible, lord, christianity, transformation, storm, bible study, big fish, whale, self improvement, run away, life transformation, study the bible, bible teaching, trending, change your life, 2023, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, how to change your life, motivational video, god's not done with you

As we continue our sermon series called God’s not done with you, we dive into the story of Jonah. We learn that the discipline of God comes from His heart of love to draw us back to him, not to push us away. Sin starts with small decisions but ends with major disasters because it starts with us saying no to God and yes to our own desires. We also see that sin causes us to live as people we swore we would never be and our sin effects everyone around us. But the good news is that God loves us enough to provide a solution to our sin problem through His forgiveness and love. As you learn about Jonah’s sin in scripture, what takeaways resonate with you? How does your sin affect you and others around you? Have you placed your trust in Jesus to forgive you? As always, we’d love to connect with you, take time to pray and answer any questions you have. You can take the next step in your faith journey by visiting

Well, good morning, Church. I hope you have had an incredible week. And let me just say thank you for being here today. And then secondly, I know we've already talked a little bit about last Wednesday night, but I just want to publicly thank all of the people that made last Wednesday night happen. There are hundreds, literally over a hundred people who volunteer to make a Wednesday happen here. And it was the biggest Wednesday night of this church's entire history. And it was awesome. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And then also welcome back to what we're just saying is week four of a series, as you just saw on the bumper called God's Not Done with You. What we're doing is, is we're walking through some Old Testament events and some Old Testament stories with some people that show us that no matter what we think or no matter what Satan tries to press into us, or even no matter what other people try to put on us that we, the people who know Jesus and follow Jesus can be guaranteed that God's not done with us. If we're still breathing, and your heart is still beating, then God has a plan for you.

What we've done so far just to kind of catch you up just in case you haven't been around, Is we've walked through the story of Moses and the life of Moses, and we said in that story that God is not done with you despite what your past has been. We walked through the story of Joseph two weeks ago, and we said that even in the crazy circumstances of life where it seems like nothing makes sense and nothing is happening, that God is in the middle of those circumstances working for His glory and our good. Last week we looked at the Prophet Elijah. Last week, one of my favorite Old Testament prophets, and we kind of dialed in to one specific part of Elijah's ministry, and that was his post victory despair. And last week, we looked at the idea that no matter what that burden is, that is on your life and how heavy life is right now, that there is still hope and we serve a forgiving God, a graceful God and a God that wants us just to call back out to him. Well, this morning, we're going to keep walking and we're going to look this week once again at a person that could have 100% thought that God was done with them, but God in his mercy and God in his grace and God in his forgiveness showed his love.

This morning, we're going to look at a story of a guy who said no to God. Now I realize this story is not going to be applicable to a lot of your lives because you've never said no to God, right? Maybe that's a joke. But this morning's story is so true to many of us. We're going to walk through his life today and we're going to watch God step in as the prophet Jonah runs away from God from the clear direction that God has given him. And God is going to say on the backside of this message, the same as he has said in almost every message that we preach here, and that God loves you and he wants to walk with you. If you've got a copy of Scripture that I want you to turn with me to the book of Jonah today. To the book of Jonah today. You don't know where Jonah is. That is okay. All right. You can just go and it's right between Obadiah and Micah. All right? That makes it easy to find, right? Just like between those two and you'll find it. Or if you get to Isaiah, just keep going to the right from there. All right, let's just be honest. Go to the table of contents and get the page number and find Jonah. Right. It's four chapters, 48 verses. And it is hard to find.

As you're finding it though, let's talk about this guy that we're about to read his account. Jonah is an Old Testament prophet of God, a prophet or a mouthpiece of God. And the reality is, Jonah is a little bit of an outlier in Scripture when it comes to the prophets of God. And here's why. Most of the prophets, if not all except for Jonah, are known for what they did for God, what they did in the name of God. But the reality is, in Jonah's life, most of us, what we know about him is that he is known for saying no to God. He is known from running away from God. Every example is a good example, right? So we look at some really incredible examples of following God. But now today we're going to lodge a guy that when God called him, instead of saying yes to the call, he just looked at God and said no. Right.

So we've seen Moses in his past. We've seen Joseph in his right now, in a circumstance, we've seen Elijah in despair. Today we're going to see another guy that just put his hand up in the air, looked at God and said no to God. But God still loves him. Jonah is going to show us something today that is absolutely incredible and here's why. Do you know when we say no to God, it always ends up with us wondering where God went. But we, Jonah, is going to show us today is that God loves us even in the middle of that, and that God's idea is not to punish us, but to bring us back to him. In fact, I want you to write a principle down today before we even get into the text, because I think it's going to help shape the narrative of where we're going to go for the rest of the morning. Write this in your notes. Maybe it'll help you today. Here it is. Here's a principle that kind of lays through all of this, and that is the discipline of God. We're going to see this in Jonah's life today.

The discipline of God comes from his heart of love to draw us back to him and not push this away. You know, that's a really kind of a hard statement to swallow, because most of us in our mind, when we think of discipline, we just think of harshness. But what we're going to see at the end all through today's story is that God's discipline is not necessarily a punitive discipline. It is a discipline to bring us back into the full power and presence of who God has made us. All right. With that in mind, let's jump in the scripture, because we have a lot of scripture to cover, and it is an incredible, incredible event. All right. Let's walk through this life of Jonah. Not all of it. You're going to have to read the rest of it later. But at least the first chapter and a half. Here it is, Jonah, chapter one, verse one says this. It says, The word of the Lord came to Jonah, Son of Amittai. Here it is. Verse two. He's what God said, Go to the great city of Nineveh. Now, there are some that when they read this, they would say that Jonah should be read as a parable or it should be read as some enlightened myth with a point or something like that.

But here's the problem with that. That's not how this book is written. In fact, this book is extremely clear when you read it the rest of this week. Right. This book is extremely clear with times and dates and places. It's written in a style or a genre of historical writing. It's a real story with real people in a real place. Nothing in this account is this once upon a time, there was a prince named Jonah. There's nothing in here that is nowhere like that. Also, when you read it, you're going to see that Jonah is referenced in other parts of the Bible. He's referenced in Second Kings Chapter 12. We'll see that later on. He's referenced by just a historical Jewish historian named Josephus over and over again. And if all that is not enough, Jesus himself references Jonah in Matthew Chapter 12 and Luke Chapter 11 as a prophetic sign to Jesus's own ministry. And if anybody knows the truth and anybody knows history, it's Jesus. So here's the reality in this. You can read this as a myth as you want to. That is fine, but I'm going to read it how Jesus read it, because Jesus knows and I'm a Jesus follower. And if Jesus says it's true and he says it's history, that's where I'm going to lean.

So all that to say this stuff really happened. This stuff really happened. You say Matt, what difference does that make? You don't know the story, right? This really happens and it really is a thing. And Jonah is told to go to this place called Nineveh. Now, it doesn't make any sense to us because we're like, well, it's kind of like, I don't know, going to Kennesaw. No, it's not. Here's why. Nineveh was an incredibly evil city in the history of our world. In fact, just kind of historic writings, not even biblical writings will show you really quickly that Nineveh is known as one of the most ancient, evil, wicked cities, and one of their mortal enemies was Israel. They hated the followers of Yahweh, the followers of God. They despised them, they killed them. They struck them down in mighty form. They even placed them on poles outside of Nineveh and used them to light the gates at nighttime. They hated them. And Jonah was this prophet of God. And now God has come to him and said, Jonah, you remember those Ninevites over there? Yeah. They're pretty evil. God, remember those guys, man? Yeah. God, those guys, they need to know who God is, Right? Well, I need you to go to them. And here's the problem. Jonah didn't want to go. Now, I know this is hard for us to realize, but sometimes God asks us to do things that we don't want to do.

That's exactly what's happening in Jonah's life. And watch what Jonah does. Jonah clearly does not want to go. In fact, we're not going to get there today. But in chapter three, he does not only just not want to go, Jonah is not sure that he even wants these Ninevites to know who God is and to be saved. You say Matt, how could anybody ever say that? Well, I think that there's probably places on this earth that if we really dialed into it, it might be the thoughts of a lot of people. So Jonah is not really sure what to do. He doesn't want to do it. So he puts his hand up from God and he goes, hey no God. I'm not going to do it. Watch this. Watch what happens in verse three says this. But Jonah, he ran away from the Lord. Have you ever been there? He ran away from the Lord and he headed to Tarshish where he went down to Joppa, and he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and he sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

All right. So what are we seeing? We're seeing right here begins the sin or right here begins the rebellion of Jonah against God. And I want you to notice something as we're reading the Scripture, it is not like what God is asking Jonah to do is unclear. It's not like Jonah doesn't have a kind of a halfway understanding of what God is asking him to do. No, it's very clear to God. It's very clear to Jonah. Why? God is asking him to go. And the fact is, Jonah just doesn't want to do it. In fact, it's almost like Jonah says, okay, God, if you're asking me to go east, what I'm going to do is take out the compass and I'm going west. Now, if you pull out the maps in the back of your Bible later on today, you'll see that Jonah literally sets himself in a direction in the opposite way of God's calling on his life. God says, go this way. Jonah takes the compass out and finds a boat that is going as far as you can on this earth in the civilized world of the time, away from where God wants him to go. Why? Because Jonah had a better plan for his life. Let me just ask you something. Have you ever been in a situation where you thought that your plan was better than God's plan? Of course you have. For a lot of us, it's called Tuesday, right? We've been there. The reality is, that's a fight in all of our lives, too, of God saying, Go do this.

But me as a human being that has free will in my life going, God, I want to do this, and I have a better idea. So he is rebelling against God. So here's what I want to do. I want to pull some principles from Jonah's life that revolve around this rebellion. They revolve around this sin. And I want to show us what he didn't do. And then I want to pull some principles on the end that show us the love and the faithfulness of God even when we run. All right. Let me give you a couple of them. There's seven of them today. Number one, Jonah's sin teaches us this. Number one, it teaches us that sin's first step is simply us saying no to God and yes to my desires.

You see, many of us, we had this picture of sin in our mind that it's just this huge, grotesque, outward deal that happens in our lives. But verse three has already just shown us that sin is birthed in our minds when God says Do this, but yet I feel like I have a better idea. I feel like my mind or my heart has a better way. But God is going, that's what sin is. In fact, serious spiritual rebellion in our life or sin in our life many times is not this outward, grievous cultural sin. It's not this cultural deal that we're fighting against another person. It's not just me living worse than other people around us. In fact, for some reason, for some of us that are Christians and believers in Jesus, when we think of sin, we tend to evaluate our walk with God in comparison of how godly we are in accordance to the other people that are in our lives. But the reality is, where God is saying to us is that Lordship and Holiness starts with our standing before a Holy God, not our standing before a culture that we just think we're better than. You see what God is showing us in this is there's so many of us that inwardly are living a life that is just not glorifying God because we think we have a better idea. Yes, we're moral. Yes, we go to church. Yes, we throw a little bit in the offering plate, or I might even work in the parking lot, a little bit of the church to help keep the chaos down. But the reality is, am I looking at God in my life saying, God, I have a better idea, I have a better idea.

A lot of so-called I guess you say air quotes "Godly people" have something in their lives that they are still saying no to God with. This is Jonah's life. Jonah is a prophet of God. He's a good prophet of God. He knows God. But he said no. Now, look, your no may not be not going to Tarshish, but your no to God may be in some relationship that you're in. That you're just not willing to give it up. And you told God to take his hand away from that. That's the area you're keeping back. Yours may be in some activity that you just like to do that is taking up your time, it's pulling you away. Yours may be in some certain lifestyle that you feel like you want to have. And as a result of that, everything and all efforts go towards that lifestyle. Your no may be coming in some kind of habit that you have that you just say, God, I'll give you everything else, but I'm just going to keep this. What Jonah is showing us is that sin rebellion in our life just simply starts with saying, No, I have a better idea. But here's the problem with that. When we do that to God, we don't lose God's presence in our lives. Because when you become a Christ follower, you are sealed in the Holy Spirit, but you lose his power in your lives. You lose the power of God in your life, and you invite Satan's power into your life to rule you.

So what has happened right here? Jonah has said no. He pays the fare. He's heading quickly away from where God wants him to go. Let me ask you something. Does this describe where your life is right now? Does this describe kind of what you're walking in right now? I'm not trying to get on you, but I just want to point out the fact that many of us, that's exactly where we are. Keep reading though, verse four. Watch this. Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea and such a violent storm arose. Now, look, we don't know how long this is, but in my mind, I feel like Jonah probably got a couple of days of smooth sailing. Right? And now all of a sudden, something starts to rise up on the sea. Do you know the reason? Look at this verse. You know the reason and the problem with running with God? You know why it's so bad? Because God's already there. You're not going to run from him. So what did God do? God sent a great wind on the sea. He sent a violent storm that arose on the sea. Keep reading. And that ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid, and they cried out to his own god. Here's the situation. Right. All these pagan sailors are scared out of their mind. They're like, Hey, everybody, pray to your god. You're little "g" gods. Hopefully one of them will pick up the phone, hopefully one will be a good moral god, and they will get us out of this situation.

In my mind, like they're grabbing their crystals. I got the Ouija board out, their prayer cloths. Whatever they’ve got, they're going to pray to whatever you can think of. They're promising their lives. Keep reading. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below the deck where he lay down and he fell asleep. Now, look. How ironic is it that all the pagan sailors are praying to whatever comes to their mind? They're having a theological debate about God and what to do. And the one and holy prophet of God who's been given the message of God is downstairs asleep. Right? How ironic. But I can't think of a better description of what culture looks like a lot of times. There's so much being thrown out of hey, do all this to save you. And the ones that know the truth, they're kind of asleep down in their little cabins. So Jonah goes down to Joppa, he goes down into the ship, he goes down into a deep sleep. That's a Hebrew play on words. And what it's showing us is that Jonah is progressing in his sin. Why? Because that's how sin works, In fact. Write this second lesson of sin down. Number two. Sin starts with small decisions, but ends with major disaster. That's how sin works. The first step is simply saying no. And it always starts with a small decision, but it always ends in a major disaster. What is that saying?

That's saying be aware of the drift of sin. Why? Because before you know it, you are a long, long way. You know what I'm talking about, right? Remember when you were a little kid and you got on the beach at Panama City Beach and you had your inner tube out there and you're floating in your inner tube and you look up 15 minutes later and you're 19 miles from your house right? That's what sin does to us. It's a drift. It starts off unnoticed. It starts off just like a small little decision, starts off a small little habit. And we don't even really realize it's happening till something throws us over. Some wave hits us or our mom screams at us on the beach, running down the whole isle. Here's the question, though: When will we get to the point where we realize it? Man, it blows up. That's when we get to the point. Look at verse six. Watch Jonah. It says the captain went to him and said, How can you sleep? Get up and call on your God. Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish. Verse seven, the sailor said to each other, Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.

Plus, I love this. They cast lots and a lot fell on surprise Jonah, right? It's almost like they spin the bottle. And every time I was like, Jonah. It's almost like they drew straws, and it's like Jonah. It's almost like they rolled the dice. It's like three again. Jonah Right. God showing them every time it's on Jonah. Verse eight. So they asked him, Tell us who is responsible for causing all this trouble for us. What kind of work do you do? Isn't it a little ironic, right, that this man's only job was to pray and proclaim who God was? And they don't even know who he is? Man, I don't know about you, but that's piercing to me. Keep going, they said where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you? Verse nine, he answered. Watch this. He said, I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven. Man, I love this. Who made the sea, who made the dry land. Verse ten. This terrified them. And they asked, What have you done? They knew he was running away from the Lord because he had already told them so. Now there's so much in that paragraph. It could be all day. But I just want to point out a couple of things dealing with sin. I want to show you number three, watch this. Jonah's sin shows us, number three, is that sin. It quickly causes us to live as people we swore we would never be. That's what sin does to us.

Some of you, I just described your college experience, right. Sin just quickly causes us to live as people that we spent our lives swearing we would never be like. Think about the prophet. Just for a minute here. Think about Jonah. Jonah was a mouthpiece for God in Second Kings 14:25. It tells us that Jonah was not only a prophet, but he was one of Israel's, what they said, Premier prophets. In other words, he was on the all star prophet team. That's what he means. He was one of the best of the best. Had an incredible ministry in Israel, stood for God at every occasion he could. Very successful. But now where are we seeing Jonah? Jonah is running. Jonah is hiding. Jonah is not speaking for God. Verse eight clearly just told us he hasn't let anybody in on the fact that he follows the Lord. What is he doing? He just wants to blend in. Plus, if you'd have asked Jonah before this, Jonah, deny God. He would have looked at you when he went when he was in Israel and been like, I will never deny God. I will never not stand up for God. I will never not be a mouthpiece for God. But here's the problem with this. That's what sin does to us. Sin starts small. It starts tiny. It starts this idea in our mind where we feel like nothing is happening to us. And then before you know it, we end up in a place we never thought we would be, around people that we never thought we would be around, walking in a way that we swore we would never walk. It causes us to walk away from our identity in God and the mission of God.

And I know I'm stepping up in some people's business right here. Because I know there's seasons that I've felt this happening in my life. You see, this just makes me want to ask you, do people, when they see you, do they see you as a person that just wants to blend into the crowd, or do they see you as a person that has been redeemed in the name of Jesus? Is your primary mission to blend in? Or is your primary mission to stand out? Or has sin thrown you off of your identity so far, you just want to hide? Jonah is running, he's hiding, and he knows the storm is there because of him. And write this down. Here's the fourth lesson that Jonah's life teaches us. Sin starts between me and God, but it always bleeds into other people's lives. Do you know what Satan wants you to believe? Satan wants you to believe that your sin is only going to affect you. But I'm telling you, it affects those that are around you. You may not know it now. You may not even see it right now, but it will. And man, do we not see this in Jonah's life? It leaks into all these poor sailor's lives. They're just trying to do their job. Now, nobody is saying here that these sailors were a clear picture of Christ followers because they're not. They were pagan sailors. Right. But we know clearly that this storm is on Jonah. This is for Jonah. They are suffering because of Jonah.

And let me be honest with you for a minute. Some of you right now in your lives, your friends and your family are suffering because of your disobedience to God. Some of your friends and your family are not seeing the truth of who God is because of your disobedience to God. You parents listen to me real close. Your walk in disobedience with Jesus will affect your kids' walk and obedience to Jesus. It will. I promise you it will. Your kids will grow up materialist if you're a materialist. Your kids will grow up self-centered if you give them a self-centered life. Your kids will grow up. Not putting God is the primary of their lives. Primary lifestyle driver in their life if you don't put it as the primary lifestyle driver of yours. Your kids will grow up with a minimal view of Scripture if your kids never see you or hear you speak of Scripture over their life, I promise you. That if God Is not a priority your kids aren't. Your sin is leaking into their lives. You singles, listen to me for a minute. Your friend group is watching you. They're watching how you respond to your singleness. And they are watching to see if you can honor God with your singleness. Or are you just bouncing from hard and bad relationships one to the next to the next to the next, and not seeing God as the fulfillment of your life. It's going to bleed into their lives. They're going to see who God is to you. You students listen to me just for a minute. Get off your phones and listen to me for just a second. All right, I'm just kidding. They really weren't, I just needed to say that. Your school is watching you. They're watching every move you make. They're watching every single thing that you do. And they are asking themselves, Is this God real or is he just something these people sit through on the weekend, and it does nothing to their lifestyles?

Your sin will affect people. It's going to affect people. It's going to affect those that are closest to us. It will have an indirect and a direct effect on us and them. So the greatest thing that we can get people around us is our personal holiness. That is the greatest gift, the greatest gift for me and for you and my family is to walk with Jesus, to love God, to lead people. Because of my personal holiness. I can be a beacon of light or I can bring consequences to their lives. This brings me to number five. Speaking of consequences, number five is that sin always results in consequences. It always results in consequences. You may not see right now. You may not feel it right now. A minute ago I just said in my mind, I think Jonah probably had a couple of days sailing. Of man, I'm sure glad I got away with that. Because that's usually how it works. But there's always a consequence. The ultimate consequence is that the wages of sin is death. The ultimate consequence of sin is that we invited sin into this earth and now we live in a broken and hurting society that is just crying out for God to save us.

But, you know, I bet Jonah thought he's got away with this one. But then God sent the wind and God sent the storm, and then watch what he does next. In verse 11. It says, the sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, what should we do to make the sea calm down for us? Verse 12, I love this. Pick me up, Jonah said, and throw me into the sea, he replied. I don't know where that came from. I guess God kind of gave it to him, you know, And it will become calm. Watch Jonah. I know that this is my fault. I know that the storm is coming. I know that this great storm has come upon you because of me. Right? Verse 13. Instead, the men did their best to row back to land, but they could not, for the sea was getting wilder than before. Man, you got to give it to these pagan soldiers, right? These pagan sailors, They didn't want Jonah to die, but now they're in a rowing contest with God. And God's got his little finger on the boat. He's like, really, boys? I mean, really, Come on, we need to get this done right. Verse 14. Then they cried out to the Lord.

Now notice something in verse 14, the little "g" god that they were crying out to earlier. Now, even the pagan sailors are calling out to the Lord the Capitol "L" Lord, that is Yahweh. Please, Lord, they said, Do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man for you, Lord, have done as you please. And they took Jonah. They threw him overboard. And the raging sea grew calm. Jonah strikes the water, and all of a sudden it just goes to glass. So what's happened? And Jonah realizes that, man, this storm is on me. And this storm, Jonah realizes, is a consequence from God. Now, let me get really kind of deep for a minute. This storm is not for punishment. You know, growing up and I read this, I was like, man, God is punishing God. He's a wrathful God. Now there is the wrath of God, but not for his believers. There is the wrath of God, but not for those that have given their life to him. This storm is not a punitive storm.

You say, Matt. What? What does that even mean? Here's what that means. This storm is not to be harsh to Jonah. This storm is to keep Jonah from going even further away from God. Which is God's grace, is it not? It's God's grace. Here's what that means. God is more concerned with your eternal future than He is your momentary pleasure. He is more concerned with getting you back to him. Matt, are you saying that God is in the business of sending storms our way? Yes. But not for punishment. Not for punishment. So you're going to push back a little bit, but let me explain it. God put this storm in his life to direct him back to him, not to punish him, to bring him back. You see, for believers, listen to me. God loved us already at our worst. He knows us at our heart level. And now God's desire for us is to bring us back to Him. And sometimes God puts storms in our lives to get that done, and we should be thankful for that. Now, I know at the moment it is really hard to thank him for it.

But, you know, there's only two things that bring us back to God. Number one is our theology. That's a big word of just saying our understanding of God and who God is in our theology should always be enough to draw us back to God because we realize who he is and what he's done. But most of us are like Jonah, we know the truth. We know who God is, but we need to be reminded. That's why the second thing sometimes is the afflictions in our lives that bring us back to who God is. Can I just tell you, I told a little bit of Melissa and I's story last week, but man, I can tell you that it is in the moments where there have been some major roadblocks of life that I have felt closer to God than I've ever felt with Him. Ever felt with Him. See, God puts a storm in Jonah's life to get him back on track, right? God does the same for us. Sometimes that storm in our life is just to kind of redirect us from a path that we're going to go down and we don't even realize where we're going. Sometimes the storm in our life is a storm that leads us up to a situation.

So when something big comes along later, we've already got some practice in that. We've already got some wisdom at that. Sometimes storms are like the one in Jonah's life right here that just correct us and point us back to who God is. You see what we're about to see so clearly is God sent the storm because he loved Jonah. A loving God would have just let Jonah. Or a non-loving God would have just let Jonah run away. That's what he would have done. But God loves us so much. Sometimes he puts a wall up that we need to run into to redirect us back to who he is. That's what he's saying right here. And it does seem that God would want to protect us from all the little harms, but God wants to protect us from eternal harm.

So let me just ask you, is that happening in your life right now? Do you keep running into the wall or do you just finally need to realize, may God, maybe this is you, I need to see you and feel the nudge? Get back to the texts. Watch what happens right here because the only way to survive this storm in Jonah's life is not to fight the storm, it's to submit in a storm. So, Jonah, if Jonah would have thought this storm, he would have been killed, but he didn't. He said, pick me up, throw me over and watch what happens. Verse 17. Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days. And three nights. I love this one verse. And here's why. Think about Jonah, just for a minute. Let's get into his mind. He just saw the storm. He just saw the calm when he hit the water. He's like, oh, thank goodness that's happened, right, man, I'm glad I didn't die. And then, boom, Deadliest Catch. Right? I mean, he is in the whale.

He's in it, but he's still fighting. God. Now, you gotta dig to see this. But Jonah is now still fighting God in the whale. You want to talk about stubbornness. You know why God showed us this? All right. I'm going to leave that right there. Right. That's where we are. Talk about an awful experience. The temperature has got to be hot. You know what I'm saying? The juices are flowing in the stomach of that whale. It is dark. It probably smells like a porta potty in South Florida in the summertime. I mean, God is still preparing this miracle. In fact, God is doing a miracle right here. And even in the middle of the miracle, Jonah is fighting it. Why? Because number six, sin's power is stronger than we think, it's stronger than we think. And it does not like to let us go. It doesn't. He fights for three days. Really and truly, though these three days God is moving in these three days. We're going to see that in just a minute and watch what happens to him from inside.

Verse one chapter two. From Inside the Fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. And he said, in my distress, I call to the Lord and he answered me. You know what this means? God knew right where he was. God had lined all this up. God knew, right? God had Jonah right where he wanted Jonah to be. But Jonah had to make the decision to cry out just like we do. Look at his prayer. Verse two says, From the deep in the realm of the dead, I called for help from God. And you listened to my cry. Listen to me closely. God never, never leaves you hanging when you call out to him. Watch this Verse three. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the current swirled about me. All your waves and breakers they swept over me and I said, I've been banished from your sight. Yet I will look again towards your holy temple. The engulfing waters threaten me. The deep surrounding me. The seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down and the earth beneath barred me in forever. In other words, paraphrasing for those of us who don't like long sentences, I was at the bottom and in trouble, and all I could do was call to you Lord. Jonah is showing us here that repentance always starts with this desperation moment, this refocus moment of who God is and what God wants to do. And God is trying to get Jonah to see him at the center of his life and watch this verse six. But you, Lord, my God, you brought my life up from the pit. Man, that's my prayer from this message today that some of us can see that. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, And my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.

Jonah didn't think there was any hope until this moment. And God was working. He was working. In fact, God had Jonah and this little temporary, I guess you could call it a hospital for his soul. And at this moment, Jonah is already praising God, even in the misery, because he realized who God was. You see what happened here? Jonah's knowledge of God pressed into his soul at this point. And that's where a lot of church people's life needs to be. The knowledge of who God is needs to press into our soul. It needs to affect our lives. So we say yes to the call of God. If Jonah could talk to us today, he would just simply say, Man, sin is strong, so strong. It makes me think in these situations that God has left me. But God is really delivering me and redirecting me. Thank goodness he is, because here is number seven. And that is that sins' only lasting solution comes from the forgiving and loving God. That's it. Let me read it to you. Verse nine. It says, but I with shouts of grateful praise will sacrifice to you what I have vowed, he said, I will make good. I will say, Here it is. You might want to circle this, salvation comes from the Lord. Verse ten. It's what you've been waiting for and the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Those last five words, verse nine is the message of all Scripture. It is the Gospel wrapped up in one sentence where it says, Salvation comes from the Lord.

Listen to me Church, here's what happened in Jonah's life. God put the whale in his life to do what? To get him back to Nineveh. Do you know where this whale spit Jonah, back up on the shore? Nineveh. Nineveh. Remember earlier I said that the discipline of God doesn't push us away from God. It draws us back into God. What has this done in Jonah's life? He got on a boat going east for God said I want you to go west. Right. He got on a boat. Got a boat running away from God God put a storm. God put a fish. God put a fist that swam for three days and got him back to right where God wants him. To God be the glory that His grace, His forgiveness, His love, His mercy is for us to know him. I read something this week that describes this whole account. Let me just read it to you as we close. Sin will always take you further than you want to go. It will keep you longer than you want to stay. It will cost you more than you ever thought it would cost. It will leave you worse than you ever thought you could be. But God's love never leaves you and He can complete the rescue you. Listen, the very moment you turn to him. Let me ask you something this morning. Does this describe where your life is right now? You see, the reality is all we've done all morning long is walk through the gospel. That's it. The whole story of Jonah is nothing more than the story of the gospels.

Matt, how is that? All that the gospel is, is that we deserved death, We sin. We walked away from God, but God in his love and his grace and his mercy for us, for God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jonah ran away from God. God provided a whale to bring him back to God. Here's the good news for me and you. We're not Jonah because we don't have a whale. But we're Christians because we have Jesus. You see the good news for Jonah is the whale showed up. The good news for us is that Jesus showed up. And while we were at our worst, running away from God, God gave us deliverance. But here's the question. Have you cried out for it? Have you cried out for it? Have you asked God to forgive you for sins? If you ask God to come into your life and give you his love? Have you asked God to make Jesus your Savior, Your Lord? All that matters to you? Listen, in one way or another, we are all Jonah, at one point in our life we were running. But the question is, have you allowed Jesus to rescue you?

You see, the discipline of God is to draw us back to him. Do you need to surrender to him today? In just a minute we're going to have an invitation. I'm going to be standing over here today and, maybe today you're here and you just need to say that I need Jesus to save me today. Man, I'd love to walk you through what that looks like in your life. But for the rest of us today, I want to celebrate the fact that we don't have a whale, but we've got Jesus today, and I can't think of a better way to do that than to celebrate the Lord's Supper together. The Lord's Supper is a symbol that Christians have been celebrating since the beginning of time that represents the body and the blood of Christ that was broken and shed for you. It represents the fact that Christ lived the life that we should have lived, and He died the death that I deserve to die to give me life. In fact, in Matthew 26, it says this about this meal. It says while they were eating, that's the disciples and Jesus. Jesus took the bread and when they had given thanks, he broke it and he gave it to his disciples saying, take any this is my body. Then he took the cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them and said, Drink from it, all of you. This is the blood of my covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus said, I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of this vine from now on until that day, when I drink it new with you in my father's kingdom. And they sang a hymn and they went out to the Mount of Olives. On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He took the cup and he passed it to his disciples. He gave them bread to represent the fact that his body was about to be broken, his blood was about to be shed. And from that point on, he's asked us to celebrate this moment in remembrance and the fact that he has given us life. That he's offered us forgiveness and that he is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

So today, in just a second, if you are a believer in Jesus, if you've given your life to Jesus today, I'm going to ask you in just a few minutes when your heart is ready to partake of this. If you didn't grab one of these on the way in. I've got some deacons that are walking around the room. They can give this to you real fast. But if you're a believer, if you've given your life, this is not for those of you that don't know Jesus. I'm sorry. This is a family activity because it represents something that has happened in our hearts. But if you have, you don't have to be a church member here. It is just about you knowing Jesus today. In just a minute, you're going to tear the top off and take the bread and you're going to thank God for his broken body in your life. You're going to roll it over and you're going to take it and tear off the top for the juice and you're going to thank God for the blood that has given you forgiveness for your sins. You do this when your heart is ready, and after that, you can stand and worship your king. This altar is open. If you want to pray today, I'll be over here by the Next Steps banner today. If you want to walk, if you want somebody to pray over you today.

Lord Jesus, walk with us, Lord, in these next couple of minutes. And God show us that while sin has consequences, we serve a savior that has freed us from the wages of sin and given us life. God, May we walk in it, It's in your name.

Amen. Amen.

Partake as your heart is ready. And then worship.

Follow Along with the Message

Just Say Yes to God (Jonah)

August 20, 2023

PRINCIPLE: The discipline of God comes from His heart of to draw us back to Him, not to push us away.

Jonah 1:1–2
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 T“Go to the great city of Nineveh.”
Jonah 1:3
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

Jonah’s “Sin” Teaches Us…

1. Sin’s first step is simply us saying “ ” to God and “yes” to my desires.

Jonah 1:4–5
4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.

2. Sin starts with small decisions, but it ends with disaster.

Jonah 1:6–10
6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.” 7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)

3. Sin quickly causes us to live as people we swore we would be.

4. Sin starts between me and God, but always bleeds into lives close to us.

5. Sin results in consequences.

Jonah 1:11–15
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” 13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.
Jonah 1:17
Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

6. Sin’s power is than we think.

Jonah 2:1–2
1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me…
Jonah 2:2–6
…From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever…
Jonah 2:6–7
…But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.

7. Sin’s only lasting comes from the forgiving and loving God.

Jonah 2:9–10
9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” 10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

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