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Mar 20, 2022

Runaway Prophet | Plants and People

Runaway Prophet | Plants and People

Passage: Jonah 4:1-11

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Runaway Prophet

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: boat, identity, worship, faith, jesus, sunday, god, sermon, evangelism, christian, bible, gospel, hope, believe, prophet, jonah, the bible, anger, storm, faith community, bible study, big fish, run away, live music, bible stories, life lessons, obeying god, mission in life, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, a new heart, 3 nights, burnt hickory worship, storm of life, hearing the word of god

We conclude the sermon series on Jonah today by looking at chapter 4 and the final scenes of Jonah’s heart. The fish has spit him back on land, he has proclaimed the gospel, people have repented and been saved, and now Jonah is angry. As we study the conversation between Jonah and God, we see that Jonah’s heart is idolatrous and ignorant. He has built his identity on something other that God, and has a desire opposed to God’s will. Can we not do the same thing in our own lives? Tim Keller puts it this way – “You are never father from God that when you are close to God and say no.” From the study in Chapter 3 we saw that God delights in mercy not in justice, and now we see that he gives Jonah a new heart even in his own idolatrous and ignorant anger. Are you Jonah or Nineveh? Are there places in your life that you are saying no to God? Has your heart set its desire on and are you building your identity on something other that God? You can be brought back and restored no matter how angry or how far you have run from God. Repent and ask God for a new heart and find your true identity in what He has created you and called you to be. You can always reach out with any questions or to take the next step – Burnthickory.com/next

Well, good morning, church, and happy first official day of spring to you and also welcome back allergy season for a lot of people in the place, it's almost like you have the plague when you sneeze now, right? It's like I don't have COVIDI promise, every time you sneeze. But hey, it's allergy season. We had a solid three weeks without it, so it was great. And it's back now. Let's see if you've got a copy of scripture. Go ahead. Let's get to Jonah. Chapter four Jonah Chapter four is where we're going to be today. We're going to check back in all morning this morning with our favorite runaway prophet Jonah today. And God willing, we're going to finish the book. We're going to land Chapter four, the chapter that no one ever reads. In Jonah, today, while you're finding it, let me just bring you up to speed like a good Netflix show of where we've been right? Where we've been in this series on Jonah is that we've shown that he's a prophet of God. He's a mouthpiece of God to his people, the Israelites. And he's not just any prophet. He's a good prophet. He's done some amazing things in Israel. Therefore, God knew he could be trusted. God launched him into a new task, called him to go reach the Ninevites.

 

Well, there's a problem with that. Nobody liked the Ninevites. Jonah. Like all good church people at some time in their lives, being a great, great spiritual person that he is, when God called him to go reach Israel's enemies, he said, No, I'm not going to do it. I'm not going God; you can do with me what you wish. In fact, I'm just going to run away from you. So, he tried, right? He tried to run. Jonah showed us in week one of the series that really and truly rebellion is just us saying no to God. I mean, whatever that no may be in your in my life. Week one was Jonah's rebellion, but then he jumped on a boat to get away from God instead of going northeast. He set out all the way west to try to sail to Tarshish. Tarshish is modern day Spain.

 

Well, God being God said, Well, I see you're sailing, and I will checkmate you and send a storm in front of you. Why? Because it's never a good idea to run from God. He's already where you're trying to run. God put the storm in front of Jonah to show him that God was in control. The God's path is always the right path and to redirect him to do what God wanted him to do. Well, Jonah in the boat with the storm ended up having to be thrown overboard. He gets swallowed up by a whale in week number two in our series and inside this whale, Jonah still fought God. three days, Jonah for God's will for his life. Have you ever been there in your life where you just felt like if I just fight it long enough, God will just give up? He'll just go away. He'll cancel the call. Wrong! God doesn't. But God does want to save us. So, at the moment, Jonah came to his senses. God said, OK, the whale literally put him back on the shore. I'll spare you the details. But it ended up back on to the shore, vomited out of the whale. And last week we saw Jonah walking into Nineveh preaching an incredibly bad sermon. But the whole country gets saved. Eight words God used to save this country.

 

Last week, we saw the idea that God does not delight in judgment. He doesn't delight in judgment. He delights in mercy. He delights in grace. And he delights in his children, meeting and knowing him and falling in love with him. And then we also saw last week that salvation is from the Lord. It's not our role. It's not our call. We can't save anyone. We saw that last week, but our role in our call is to be the mouthpiece of God. And it’s to share the love of God in the hope of God and the voice of God. People do not come to faith till they hear the word of God. We saw that last week. Well, this week we are checking back into Jonah's life, and it has been amazing to watch Jonah. You know, I got to thinking this week if we could really kind of encapsulate where Jonah is in his life with one diagnosis, it would be shown in this week's text. This week, we're going to look at Jonah's heart problem.

 

In fact, Jonah doesn't have a heart problem. He really has a little bit of a sickness of the heart that a lot of religious people have a lot of good church people have in. Chapter four is going to show us Jonah sickness, but it's also going to show us the effectiveness and the effects and the symptoms of that sickness, which let me just challenge you. I want you to examine your life today to see if some of these symptoms may be creeping in, and as a result, you're not glorifying God, how he wants you to. So here we go. We're going to jump into Chapter three or Chapter three to lead us in a Chapter four. I know we do that all the time. But I want to give you the context of Chapter three, right?

 

Jonah has just preached to Nineveh. Now watch what happens. Jonah, three, verse ten, says When God saw what they did, "they" is the Ninevites, and how they turned from their evil ways. God relented, and he did not bring on them the destruction that he had threatened. Now stop there, because I want to tell you exactly what's happening. The people repentant, right? God stopped the judgment. He was going to rain down. He was going to destroy the city. He was going to take them over. But God stopped it. Now, If you are the preacher in this case, right? If you are the youth leader, if you are the evangelist, if you are the missionary, or even if you're the third grade VBS teacher and your whole class gives their life to the Lord, you're excited. Man, It'll be like me today, giving an invitation and then poof, 900 of you get saved right here. Give your life to Jesus. You want to talk about an exciting joker. I would be ecstatic at that point, right? I would be joyous. It would have made Jonah's whole time in the whale worth it at this point. Why? Because the whole country of Nineveh has turned to the Lord. You would think he was excited about this greatest revival meeting ever. If that's what you think in your own, look at the next verse. one person laughed. Here it is. But John 4:1 but to Jonah, this seemed very wrong. And he became angry. He became angry. You read that right. Did you try to read that twice and go, Well, maybe I read that wrong just for a minute.

 

The prophet of God is upset with people surrendering their hearts to God. He's upset. Keep going. Verse two, he prayed to the Lord. Isn't this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That's what I tried to forestall or stop by sailing to Tarshish. what is Jonah doing right here? Jonah is arguing with God. He is literally arguing with God right here, which, by the way, just as it is not a good idea to try to run from God because he's already there, it is equally as dumb to try to argue with God. Think about it. You are a finite human being. God is all knowing. Our president has been here at all times runs. The whole world is not even on our timeline. But yet we in our little bit of human being selves think, do we have the right to argue with God. Jonah is showing us, this is never a good idea to do it. But what do we do? We try it anyway.

 

But I also want you to see here that Jonah is trying to justify his actions still. Don't we do that even when we get caught in something, even when we quasi-repent to something? Don't we try to keep continuing to get those little bitty jabs in to justify why we did what we did? He's shown his absolute disdain for the Ninevites, but I also want you to see that Jonah consented to God in a way, right? He did what God asked him to do. He preached to the Ninevites. Why? Because he realized he knew he wasn't going to win against God. But he didn't do it with his heart. He didn't do it with his heart. He still disagrees with God. Catch this Jonah's behavior changed, but his heart was still raw.

 

You see, if this whole deal of Christianity was just about behavior modification, this would be an easy road to live. But it's not. It's really about our heart. It's about where heart leads us. We're going to see more of this in a minute. But keep going verse two, the rest of it. Watch what Jonah said. Jonah said, I knew that you were a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in love and a God who relents from sending calamity. It's almost like Joan is looking at God going, God, how dare you be so good to bad people? How dare you love evil people? But here's the deal from the beginning of this book, what we have said, that the whole book of Jonah is written to force ourselves to see us as Jonah, to see ourselves as people who are Jonah. The whole book of Jonah is to show believers what their heart looks like. It’s what this whole book's written on Think about Jonah just for a minute, though Jonah is not a nonbeliever. Jonah is not a baby. Christian Jonah is not new to the faith.

 

Jonah is not a lost person. Jonah, new scripture. He preached scripture. He was a mouthpiece of scripture. But yet his heart was still raw. His heart was still raw, he was still nasty. But in fact, look at his description of God, it's really good. What's this, what's what, God? How he describes God? Jonah gives, he says, God, you're. Look some of these words we just read this verse. You're gracious. You're compassionate, you're slow to anger, you're abounding in love, and God, you relent. That is an amazing message, is it not? That's an amazing mental mind piece of who God is in Jonah's life. That character sketch of God could literally transform every single one of us. But here's the problem, Jonah. It's not a problem of what Jonah knew. It's a problem of what Jonah's heart was operating in. You see, Jonah knew scripture. In fact, those words that you literally just read being compassionate, being slow to anger, being a god who relents is in fact, Exodus chapter 34 verses six and half of verse seven. Jonah is quoting scripture back to God to try to tell God No. We laugh because we do it all the time, don't we? That's what that's what he's showing us right here. So, the reality is the takeaway is, is just because we know scripture, just because we're labeled as a servant of God does not always mean that our heart is aligned with God's heart.

 

It just means we know some stuff and we have some stuff in our minds. You see, Jonah says all the right things, but he says all the right things really just to justify his feelings and not to come in line with who got is. He's just trying to justify himself. But I think Jonah in this moment realizes he's not getting away with the argument. I think he realizes he's not pulling over the wool over God's eyes. And Jonah. Jonah falls off the radar here, and he drops the ultimate toddler tantrum right here, right? Watch what he does in verse three. He says now, Lord. Take away from take away my life. For it is better for me to live than to die, right?

 

I can just see Jonah, he's on the floor, he's crying, he's kicking, he's screaming right now. Just take my life, boy. It is better for me to live than to die in this moment. And I love this. Watch what God says to him. But the Lord replied. Is it really right for you to be angry? You know what God's saying here? God's saying, Jonah, look at me, Jonah, look at me. Breathe, right? Because that's what we say to kids, when you do that, breathe. I know your heart. I know your heart. God looks at Jonah. He says, Look, Jonah, from the outside looking in. Everyone on this planet thinks you're a good prophet. Everyone on this planet thinks that you know me, you walk with me, you love me, you're right in my will. But God looks at Jonah and he's saying, Jonah, you better check your heart. You better check your heart because I know what your heart looks like and you're not tricking me. Here's what I want to do with the rest of the time we got this morning.

 

I want to show you three snapshots of Jonah's heart. The two of them give us warnings to direct ourselves away from him. one of them is an encouragement that's an inference that the book gives us. Number one, I want you to see Jonah's heart closely. Jonah has an idolatrous heart. An idolatrous heart. You say, Matt, what is idolatry? Idolatry is quite simply, when we worship something other than God. When we put something on the throne of our life other than God, which is very interesting because in Jonah 2:8, let me remind you what Jonah says right as he's coming out of the whale. He says those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God's love for them. He's just spoken these words, and now he's proving that he has an idolatrous heart.

 

I want you to see that Jonah's problem in his life. It is not a knowledge problem. Jonah knew the Lord. Jonah knew what the Lord did. Jonah knew how the Lord operated. No one needed to teach him anything about the Lord. He didn't have a mind problem. He had a heart problem. And Jonah's heart problem was the fact that he had an idolatry problem and that he loved his nation. He loved the role that he had as a prophet in his nation, and he hated the people that God called him, and he put his nation ahead of his God. So, what he did in the chapter you see now he's locked in this battle over the Ninevites. He's locked in this idea of God. You really love these people? And God's like, yeah, I love them, and I want them to repent, and I want them to know me. And he's like, Are you kidding me? They're a threat. Jonah would say to my way of living. You see is his comfort was his God. It was an idolatrous hard Jonah's dealing with a major idolatry problem. In fact, let me just clear up what idolatry is. I know we talk about it. That's a real churchy word. Let me just give you two kind of idolatry statements that'll help you define it in your life. Number one, idolatry is when you build your identity on something other than God.

 

It's when you build your identity on something other than who God is. Here's the thing we all have an identity. Every single one of us has something about us that defines us. When other people see us, they think there's so-and-so, there's that person. This is who that person is. It's the label that people put on us. In fact, our identity is also that first thing that comes into our mind when we think about who we are. You know, when you're having those little introspective conversations with yourself, you're not crazy. People do it all the time. We think about who we are. And if your identity is anything other than the fact number one that you are a son or daughter of the king, then we have the idea in our life that we're slipping into an idolatrous relationship with God. You say, Matt, what does that mean? That means this if you think about yourself and the first thing that you think about is that you're a mother or you're a father. You got to check your heart a little bit.

 

That's not a bad thing, but it can't be the primary thing. If you think about yourself and you think things like, Well, I'm just good at my job or I'm just a good person, I'm good at school or I'm just a good athlete. If that is the primary thing that you think about when you define your life or when other people define your life, you may be slipping into what the Bible would call as an idolatrous relationship. Hear me. Those things are not bad things, but they can't be the primary thing. They can't be your primary thing. It’s what the Bible is teaching us here. When we build our identities around anything other than the grace, the love and the acceptance of who Jesus into our lives. Listen, church, we are slipping into idolatry. We're slipping into it. We're walking into where Jonah is in our life. And when it happens, let me just say this. When it happens, it might not rear its ugly head really quick, but I promise you this eventually it will.

 

Eventually, it'll blow up on us, and eventually it will cause us to end up in the role that Jonah is in with hatred. Right? It’s what we're seeing. And disdain, hatred and disdain for things. Matt, how could it do that? Here's how. It's because when love and acceptance of God is not the primary to definer of our lives, you will always find something else that threatens what you have as the primary definer of your life. Let me let me explain it like this because I know that's kind of heavy, right? Here's how you can find it. If you find your ultimate identity and worth in your physical attributes. Let me say one or two things is going to happen. Number one, you going to always find somebody prettier than you and you're going to resent them. This is how it works. Our number two, you can look at yourself in the mirror one day and go, What happened? Amen. And there's going to be disdain in your heart. There's going to be hatred in your heart, whether it's towards another person or its towards yourself, whichever one it may be.

 

Or maybe that's not. You will listen to this if you find your primary identity in your academic success, which Matt, you're like, Why would you do that right? But there are people alright. Let me say this eventually you are going to run out of classes to take. And you're not going to have an identity anymore, you've seen these people, you've seen what's happened to them. Or eventually you're going to crash and burn at some point in your life and school is just not going to happen for you or you're going to fail something, you're going to realize somebody else is better than you. And it brings out that resentment towards that person that did get valedictorian. Here's another one. If your primary identity is being a good parent, I'm going to step on some West Cobb and East Paulding toes right here, right? If that's your primary identity, let me just say this, the moment your kids walk away from your leadership and turn their back on you. Man, your world crumbles, your world crumbles. Why? Because you can't make decisions for them their whole lives, but your world will crumble there when they fall off on the deep and you will have an identity crisis because you don't know what do.

 

Or better yet, when they move out, you're going to look at your spouse and go, I don't even know you because I've worshiped them for so long. Maybe that one, maybe for you, you put your primary identity in your job or your vocation. Let me tell you, there's going to come a day when you get passed over, when your department gets cut, when you get moved, when that job doesn't fulfill you anymore. Or maybe yours is in your athletic prowess, right? That was most of us dudes in high school. We thought we were the kings of the world, right? Listen, the game's going to give up on you, but God won't. He won't. The point of Jonah's mind is this He wanted to love God. But yet his role in his nation and his love for his people outweighed his love for who God was. And church, I think it is so easy for us to slip into that. And now what God is doing by calling him to do this, he's exposing how Jonah had built his identity around his country and his people, and not who God was. Idolatry is that. But it's also, number two, idolatry is just when you desire something more than God. It's just when you desire something in your life more than you desire God. So how do I know what I desire most? It’s pretty easy. What brings you the most amount of joy and happiness? That's what you desire most. You see, here's the thing when we delight more in being successful in our career than being successful in God's eyes, then we're living an idolatrous life. When we delight more in being rich, well-off or substantial like financial resources than knowing God, then we're slipping into an idolatrous life. When we delight more in having the dream marriage than in knowing and loving God, then we're slipping into that idolatrous life. When we delight more in making the team or getting the job or getting the next role.

 

What are we doing? We're starting to slip into that relationship. Here's another one when we delight more in the success of our kids, whether that be academically or athletically, amen. Then we're slipping into this idolatrous relationship. Why? Because those are the things that are the idols in our lives. And those are the things which in turn become the gods of our lives and begin to rise up in our life. Jonah finds more delight in the prosperity of Israel, his country and the destruction of his enemy than he does in knowing and loving and living out the call of God in his life. We're seeing it so clearly. Let me ask you this morning. What's the god of your life? Who is the god of your life? Well, Matt, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't Jesus. Maybe. It is the South. Mama knows when you ain't here. What's the god? You see, it’s easy to identify what the god is. It’s what you spend the most time on what you're terrified to lose, what you obsess over to have what drives you and that one thing that you just know you couldn't live and have happiness without. That's the god of your life. What we're seeing in Jonah is that ain't got. It’s the idolatrous relationship. Or how about this, you want to know what the god in your life is? Ask the person that's closest to you, to be honest with you, not to lie to you.

 

Number one, Jonah has an idolatrous heart. And challenges us to run from it. Number two, Jonah has an ignorant heart now, not be mean, right? But he just has an ignorant heart. Remember in verse two, when Jonah has already said that God is a compassionate God, but he resents God from being compassionate. And this makes no sense. It's totally irrational. But what have we seen in the book? What we've seen in the book is Jonah doesn't understand one thing about himself, and it's this that Jonah has received more grace than anyone else in the story. He's received more grace. Think about it just for a minute. Jonah knows God, but in knowing God, he's run from God. He's hid from God; he's fled from God. He's fought God in the whale. He's calling God out for doing what he's doing. He's doubting God's plan, and now he's hating God's salvation of people. Talk about giving grace. God has given him grace, upon grace, upon grace, upon grace. At least the Ninevites didn't know God and they were evil, right? Jonah knew God and was evil.

 

Jonah knew God and was moving away. Here's the problem Jonah didn't see himself in the category of people who needed God's big grace. He just thought that he might need a little dusting every now and then for those uh-ohs in his life, not for the sin. You see, here's the deal when we see ourselves as basically a good person who makes mistakes. We don't realize the amount of grace that God has given us, and that God continues to need to give us. Jonah did not really grasp that sin was sin is really what it boils down to, right? Why? Because Jonah had put sin into these categories. He had put the Ninevite's sin into the evil sin category. But he put his sin into the Oh, I'm sorry God, I just made a mistake category. Think about the Ninevites. They were adulterers, they were murderers, they worshipped idols. They were cruel. They skinned people alive, we've said all of this. They stole, they took over nations. But look, Jonah did none of that. But here's the question What did Jonah do?

 

Let me tell you what Jonah did, because this is a warning to all of us. Jonah said no to God. Listen, close, Jonah knew God and said no to God. Jonah knew who God was. So, here's the deal. Is there any sin greater on this planet than saying no to God? Then saying no to God. Before you answer that, let me remind you what the original sin was. Genesis Chapter three, what was it? It was saying no to God. You see Genesis Chapter three. It wasn't that the fruit was bad, or the tree was bad. It's the fact that Adam and Eve looked at God knew God enjoy God's provision in their life, but yet looked at God and said no. Said no. Do you realize it was the sin of saying no to God that brought damnation and separation from God to every single person on this planet? But yet Jonah is looking at the Ninevites going, those Ninevites.

 

Those Ninevites We used in week one, but Tim Keller says this you're never farther from God that when you're close to God and you say no, and you say no. You see, Jonah's sin was the rejection of God's heart in his life. So, let me ask you, where is your heart? Where is your heart in the middle of all this? Let's keep going in the story makes sense. In the middle of all this, Jonah does what God wants him to do. Please remember, he doesn't do it with a pure heart, right? It’s like a good religious person just living a religious life. They don't want to go to hell, but they don't want to follow, Jesus, right? Just a good church person.

 

But watch this, Jonah doesn't grasp the grace of God yet, he doesn't see that. How do you know that? Well, I love it when you ask questions, look at verse five. Says this, Jonah. Had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city there, he made himself a shelter and he sat in its shade, and he waited to see what would happen to the city. Now if you read that from a glance and you don't know what's going on, you really think for a minute that Jonah's just kind of admiring his work. He's like an evangelist going, Yeah, God, they all got saved. I'm going to enjoy this moment for a minute. Pull this lawn chair up and just watch your glory happen. But that's not what Jonah is doing. Jonah is outside the city, hoping that they turn from their repentance back to their evil ways and that God judges the city. That's what Jonah's wanting to happen. Nothing would make Jonah more happy than to still see the destruction of all of Nineveh for their evilness. Which let me ask you this is there something or someone in your life that you look at as that evil? That you're asking God, God, you should probably just destroy that look. They're not beyond the grace of God. Keep going in the story, verse six gets even better. Then the Lord provided a leafy plant, and he made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head.

 

In my mind, he's bald headed. I don't know why, but he is all right. To ease his discomfort. Right? Amen bald people, here it is. And Jonah was very happy about the plant. Do you realize that's the first time Jonah has been happy this whole book, and it's over a plant? There's a point to that. Watch this verse seven, but at dawn the next day, God provided a worm, which chewed the plant and it withered. You can't make this up, right? When the Sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the Sun blazed on Jonah's bald head. So, he grew faint, sorry I added that, Lord. He grew faint. And watch this. He wanted to die seems to be a common occurrence in his life. He said it would be better for me to die than to live.

 

Verse nine. But God said to Jonah. Is it right for you to be angry about a plant? It is, Jonah said. I'm so angry I wish I was dead. Look, you can't make this stuff up, right? Jonah is on a middle schooler emotional roller coaster at this moment, right? He is celebrating a shade plant and wishing the total annihilation of the Ninevites. Wishing God would take them all out. So, God does what he often does, right, he tries to be compassionate. He grows a plant over him, to try to get him to turn. And Jonah still hard heartily says no. Then God sends another what we would call storms in this book that we talked about a couple weeks ago. And the worm kills the plant and then in the second time in the chapter, God looked at Jonah again, which he looks at us all the time and says, Hey, you really have a right to be angry and complain about this? And Jonah was like, you dead gum right, I do. It's hot out here. Keep going in the story. But the Lord said you have been concerned about this plant, though you didn't, you didn't end it or make it grow.

 

It sprang up overnight and died overnight. Verse eleven, you might want to highlight this one. Listen to what God said, and should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh? To which there are more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left. And there's many animals, I don't know why that's there. I tried to find it all week. I don't know. It's the craziest thing. I literally spent like three hours trying to find out why the animal’s matter. Right? Why? I know you didn't know that, but I didn't. So, what's happening got? God's looking at Jonah and going, Jonah. You don't care about 120,000 people, which by the way, the scholars say this, just the children, they're at a point they don't even really know right from wrong. You don't care about the fact there's 120,000 people that don't know me, that don't love me, that don't know anything about me, but yet you want a plant, and you care about a plant. Here's what they're saying to us Where is our priorities? Our priorities are so out of sync with God. That we look at him on the mundane things of our life and we care so much, but yet there's still 2.2 billion people on this planet that don't know the name of Jesus.

 

That's the point of the book. The point of the book is the great commission has been spoken over us and that our role is to be a - yes Lord, I will walk into you. But are we so concerned with my desires and my needs being met that I am going to be like Jonah? And not care? Jonah was struggling. Before we go any further, how does it end, right? What did Jonah say? Well, look at the next verse it says in the Bible, right? Here it is. There is no next verse. That's the worst ending of a book in the whole Bible. But I want you to notice something. The book ends with a question for Jonah. And the book ends with a question for us. And that is, do we care? Do we care? And can we see ourselves being recipients of God's mercy and grace so much, that no matter how evil it appears that the world is, that we know that we are called to reach them in the name of Jesus? What do we care the most about? Listen, they need our hearts and how in the world, Jonah is showing us this, can we have so much passion about the things that don't matter and so little passion about the things that do? Which, by the way, I know I said there's a third point. And it's an implied point. Number three, I always don't have an idolatrous heart and an ignorant heart.

 

Number three, Jonah walks away with a new heart. He walks away with a new heart. You say, Matt we just finished the book, where'd you see it? Well, let me explain it. Most scholars, not all, know that Jonah wrote the book of Jonah. There's a reason Jonah wrote the book of Jonah. Jonah wrote the book of Jonah as his personal testimony of how God delivered him, how God moved in him, how God changed him. And now he wants all of his people in Israel to see the heartbeat of God for the rest of the world. From this point forward in Jonah's life, this is his personal testimony. He uses the book to be a teaching tool for Israel. He uses it. Do you realize the fact that we wouldn't have this book if Jonah's life was not redeemed?

 

He wouldn't have written this down. If he kept running. He wrote it down to look at you and to look at me to say this, you're never too far from God to use you. You're never too far from God for him to deliver you. You're never too far from God for him to use you. And just when you think you are at your most evil. God swoops in and he saves you. And he wants you to be his voice. Wants you to be his mouthpiece. He wants you to jump into the mission of God, to push, and to say yes, to live out of that compassion. And to be his.

 

Remember, I've told you 100 times this book forces us to ask ourselves two questions. Am I Jonah? Or am I Nineveh? And today, that's how we're going to end this whole series. I want you to determine this. In fact, I just want you to buy your heads, I just want you to close your eyes for a minute. I just want you to get into a spot where you don't care what's going on around you, you've kind of lost all the distractions. And now I just want to ask you today this. Are you engaged with the mission of God? The mission of God. At a heart and a soul level? Have you said, here I am, Lord send me? Because can I tell you that is all he's asking from you? He doesn't need your abilities, he doesn't need your excuses, he doesn't need anything else you'd offer him except for your heart. He'll do the rest. Do you need to say yes to him today? You see, you've got an incredible choice today as a believer in Jesus, you can either be part of the radical self-sacrificial mission of God. Or we can pull a lawn chair up on the side of the mountain and just watch Nineveh.

 

That's the choice today. It's easy. It's an easy thing to see. It's a tough decision to make. Which one are you? And secondly, are you Nineveh? It's the question from the whole book. Today, do you need to meet Jesus? Not do you need to be a church person. Not you need to be a religious person. But do you need to meet Jesus today? Quite frankly, do you just need to surrender your heart, your life, and allow him to save you?

 

Do you realize, the moment you do that, he gives you a new heart? He replaces your heart of stone with a heart of flesh that can glorify him. And he sets you on an eternal path as his child. Do you need to give your life to Jesus today? Oh, man, I wish I could have seen Nineveh. Historians tell us that that this change lasted for over a couple of generations till it was eventually destroyed, overtaken. But let me just ask you do that; you need to give your heart to Jesus?

 

Lord, in these next couple of minutes. God in the worshipful spot that we're at right here, God, just ran in this place. Allow people to say yes to you. To surrender our idolatrous hearts or ignorant hearts to allow you to give us new hearts. God, I just pray that you to save people in here today. In fact, God, I just pray that if are people that need to give their heart to you in this place today. God, as soon as I finish this prayer, God, with no hesitation. I pray that whatever room that they're in, that they step from where they're at, they walk boldly, proudly. They can bring somebody with them to the front of whichever venue they're in, and they look at whoever's in the front of that venue and just say this, I need Jesus. And God will walk them through the rest. God, if they're online, they can reach out through the next steps App. But God, I just pray that there's that boldness in them today that sets their life apart. You tell us, we profess you before man, You'll profess us before the father. And God, I just pray that people in this that have been dealing with you, that have been pushing you, that have been just batten your Holy Spirit around that today would be the day of their salvation that they can honestly say that today they moved from being Nineveh to be in Jonah. And you'll save them. For the rest of us, put us on your mission and rescue us, Jesus. It's in your name, we pray.

 

Let's all stand together and worship. If you need to move the day to give your life to Christ, I'll be right here.

Follow Along with the Message


Plants and People

March 20, 2022

Jonah 3:10
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 4:1–2
1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish…
Jonah 4:2
…I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
Jonah 4:3–4
3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

3 Final Scenes of Jonah’s Heart

1. Jonah has an heart.

Jonah 2:8
Those who cling to worthless Idols turn away from God’s love for them.

Idolatry Is…

1. When you your identity on something other than God.

2. When you something more than God.


2. Jonah has an heart.

“You are never farther from God than when you are close to God and say, ‘No.’”
— Tim Keller

Jonah 4:5
Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the&bsp;city.
Jonah 4:6–9
6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
Jonah 4:10–11
10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left — and also many animals?”

3. Jonah walks away with a heart.


Additional Notes

 

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