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Tag: Jonah (page 1 of 2)

Practical Heretic

Practical Heretic [Jonah 4] – It is worthless to agree with a theology that we cannot embrace.  We must fight against the tendency to withhold from others the same grace that benefited us.

Main Points

  1. A practical heretic is someone who mentally affirms correct theology yet practically denies it.
  2. Don’t refuse to give the grace that you have been given.
  3. You will experience great peace when you remove yourself from the center of your universe.
  4. Jonah’s problem with the conclusion of this story is that he would have written it a different way.
  5. You cannot make reservations on God’s promises.
  6. Grace becomes entitlement when we make judgment calls on who should receive it.
  7. When we desire God’s grace for everyone but our enemies, we forget that we once were God’s enemies.
  8. Failing to submit to God’s plan will reduce us to pouting protesters.
  9. You may try to get away from the sin around you but you can’t get away from the sin within you.
  10. Don’t have more concern for your temporal comfort than others’ eternal security.
  11. Jonah’s ending is uncertain.  Ours doesn’t have to be.

The New American Commentary: Jonah

As I preached through the Book of Jonah, I used many resources.  One of the most accessible commentaries on the book was Frank Page’s entry for Jonah in the New American Commentary Series.  I thought it was a helpful contribution that included sufficient linguistic studies, thorough treatments of argued discrepancies, and helpful pastoral insights.

Favorite Quotes

  1. The plans of a sovereign God are not so easily thwarted by the stubborn will of a puny prophet (229).
  2. Pray like everything depends upon prayer; and work like everything depends upon work (230).
  3. Superficial solutions to the entanglements caused by our rebellion and disobedience seldom work (236).
  4. The major point is that God, through the fish, could sustain this pouting prophet during “unbelievable” circumstances and return him to the place where he could renew his commission to serve (242).
  5. His job was to deliver the message, not to critique or revise it (255).
  6. Countless numbers of modern-day believers miss much of the joy of being involved in God’s wonderful work because of self-centeredness (272).
  7. He did not experience this emotion either in his own deliverance from certain death or from the mass turning of the people of Nineveh.  His happiness was induced by a plant (278-9).

The God of Second Chances

Preached 02/26/2017 at Rocky Creek
Jonah: God’s Relentless Pursuit
Series Overview: Jonah was a prophet on the run but discovered quickly that he could not outrun God.  No matter how hard we may try to avoid God’s call on our own lives, we will soon realize that we cannot escape God’s relentless pursuit.
The God of Second Chances [Jonah 3] – Despite our sin, God provides second chances.  Not only does he show grace to us, but he can show grace through us.
CONFESSION
  • Rerouting – GPS trip from Greenwood to Greenville
  • No matter how many times I veer off course, God always has a plan for me to arrive at my destination.
QUESTION
  • Do you believe that God could give a second chance to someone undeserving?
  • On Feb. 18, 2017, Norma McCorvey died.  She went by the pseudonym Jane Roe as in Roe v. Wade.  In 1971, she was a young woman who was addicted to substance abuse who became pregnant and sought an abortion in the state of Texas.
  • It was ruled unconstitutional, and some pro-abortion forces who were searching for the right plaintiff used her story to advance their agenda.
  • It went to the Supreme Court and ruled in her favor in 1973 but after she had to give the child up for adoption.
  • Since 1973, there have been over 50 million abortions in America.
CONNECTION
  • Jonah’s Second Chance
  • Instead of reproofing the messenger, God simply repeats the message.
  • God doesn’t rub our noses in our mistakes.
  • Getting ready to go to Japan, overwhelmed with past mistakes.
  • Rom. 8:1; Jer. 31:34
  • As ambassadors, we herald a message that we did not compose.
  • I don’t write the mail – I deliver it.
  • MFuge – first sermon
  • The serious warning of God’s judgment is a mericful call to repentance.
  • Great City – it was a three day event, many people in this city and so God cared about it.  God cares about people and cities.
  • Jonah’s arrival was probably dramatic – different ethnicity, lone exhausted traveler, possible bleached skin, looking like the walking dead
  • Only five word sermon – “Yet forty days Nineveh overthrown”
  • What kind of sermon?
    • Was this all God told him to say?
    • Is this the cliff notes version of it?
    • Was this a graceless sermon from a prophet who had just received grace?
  • Nineveh’s Second Chance
  • The people believed God and were fearful of God’s impending wrath.  The countdown was on and they were terrified.
  • When will we take God at his Word and realize how serious he takes our sin?
  • Matt 12:39-41 – Ninevites will judge the Israelites at time of Jesus because they missed something greater than Jonah right before their eyes.  The Ninevites repented after one prophet’s one message.  What about God’s people who have heard it over and over?
  • Revivals often start at the bottom and move their way up.
    • Revivals begin with the commoners more than they do the royalty.
  • When we encounter God, all perceived dignity is discarded.
    • The ruling authority of the province rises from his throne – the seat of royal power – and humbles himself to join in with the commoners.
    • He rose to sit down.
    • He took off royal robes to cover himself with sackcloth.
    • The inclusion of animals reveals how desperate they were.
  • God is more interested with the proof than the promise.
    • While the people promised fasting, sackcloth, prayers, and ethical repentance, the latter is all God cites in the end (“how they turned from their evil way” 3:10).
    • Our lives should match our lips.
    • Our deeds should match our words.
    • Our practices should match our promises.
    • They relented from violent practices.  They were cruel people who infringed on human rights.
  • The fact that God relented his plan doesn’t mean that he changed his mind.
    • Same word is ra’ah meaning “disaster” or “evil.”
    • The divine disaster coming would continue the sinful disaster they were experiencing.
    • God will bring divine disaster on people who are unrepentant of their sinful disaster.
    •  C.S. LewisThe Great Divorce: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.” 
    • Jer. 18:7-8: If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
    • We make threats that sound like promises: “If you aren’t in your bed by the time I get upstairs, I am going to stuff you in the hamper.”  “If you are late one more time, you will be fired.”  “If you forget our anniversary, you will sleep on the couch.”
SUGGESTION
  • Do you believe that God could give a second chance to someone undeserving?
  • Jane Roe
    • On Feb. 18, 2017, Norma McCorvey died.  She went by the pseudonym Jane Roe as in Roe v. Wade.  In 1971, she was a young woman who was addicted to substance abuse who became pregnant and sought an abortion in the state of Texas.  
    • It was ruled unconstitutional, and some pro-abortion forces who were searching for the right plaintiff used her story to advance their agenda.  
    • It went to the Supreme Court and ruled in her favor in 1973 but after she had to give the child up for adoption.
    • Since 1973, there have been over 50 million abortions in America.
    • In the 1990s, she was befriended by some neighbors at the abortion clinic that she worked for.  An evangelical ministry started working next to the clinic and reached out to her.  She converted to Christianity.
    • In 2003, she made legal efforts to reverse Roe v. Wade.
Despite our sin, God provides second chances.  Not only does he show grace to us, but he can show grace through us.
  • Left black jacket at home for NGU Presidential announcement.  Had to borrow another jacket.  The only way I was presentable is if I was clothed by another.
  • Isa. 61:10: I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, my soul will exult in the my God; for he has clothed me with garments of salvation, he has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness.
  • Zech. 3:4: He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.”  Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”

A Fish Named “Grace”

Jonah: God’s Relentless Pursuit

Series Overview: Jonah was a prophet on the run but discovered quickly that he could not outrun God.  No matter how hard we may try to avoid God’s call on our own lives, we will soon realize that we cannot escape God’s relentless pursuit.

A Fish Named “Grace” [Jonah 2] – No amount of rebellion is greater than God’s love.  His relentless pursuit of us often finds us in the lowest possible places.

Main Points

  • You’ve been trying to go your own direction in your life – how’s that working out for you?
  • We are all sinners – we all rebel in our quest for independence.
  • If a man being swallowed by a fish and surviving seems hard to believe, how can you believe a man being swallowed by death and resurrecting?  The empty tomb is more spectacular than the empty fish.
  • Jonah spent 3 days in discipline when he could had been spending 3 days in service.
  • The fish was evidence of God’s grace – not his anger.
  • God gives wrath to his enemies and discipline to his children.
  • God appointed a fish to be at the right place at the right time to digest a reluctant prophet in just the right way.
  • Jonah doesn’t pray for sailors or Ninevites – he only prays for himself.
  • God’s discipline does not indicate a lack of care but reveals a proof of love.
  • What is causing my current distress?
    • Is it God’s tests?
    • Is it Satan’s temptations?
    • Is it someone’s attacks?
    • Is it my consequences?
  • Jonah came closer and not further from the one who was disciplining.
  • Jonah’s prayer is not a request to be saved from the fish but gratitude for being saved by the fish.
  • Before you can preach a message to another, you have to receive it yourself.
  • God can always hear even the faintest cries of desperation.  (cf. Ex. 2:25)
  • God’s deliverance is often progressive because his discipline is part of the process.
  • We don’t make promises to obtain deliverance, we make promises because we have received deliverance.
  • Don’t bargain with God for salvation, commit to God because of salvation.
  • How could I deny another the salvation that has benefitted me?
  • When I truly understand my own sinfulness, I have no problem accepting that God could save any sinner.
  • Sometimes the lowest moments and the greatest moments of our lives are one in the same.
    • The prodigal didn’t come up until he had hit rock bottom (Luke 15:16 “And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything”).
    • King Nebuchadnezzar didn’t exalt God until he had first been humbled (Dan. 4:35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’”).
    • The prophet Isaiah wasn’t ready for obedience until he grasped the depth of his disobedience (Isa. 6:5 “Woe is me!  For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts”).
  • God’s relentless pursuit often finds us in the lowest possible places.

Anywhere But Nineveh

Preached 02/12/2017 at Rocky Creek

Jonah: God’s Relentless Pursuit

Series Overview: Jonah was a prophet on the run but discovered quickly that he could not outrun God.  No matter how hard we may try to avoid God’s call on our own lives, we will soon realize that we cannot escape God’s relentless pursuit.

Anywhere but Nineveh [Jonah 1] – It is not beyond God to call us to difficult and unexpected tasks.  If we attempt to flee, God proves that he can always outrun us and get us right where he wants us to be.

Main Points

  • If you do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and send you out to sea.  Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and your eyes will be opened.  Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
  • What would it take for you to say “no” to God?
  • God uses previous appointments to prepare us for upcoming assignments.
  • It is not beyond God to call us to difficult and unexpected tasks.
  • Don’t allow the prejudices of your heart to hinder you from sharing the grace of your God.
  • Whenever we encounter the word of the LORD, we have a choice between obedience or rebellion.
  • Abandoning God’s call on my life often comes more from a continual drift than a momentary decision.
  • You will never outrun God.
  • Disobedience endangers those around us.
  • The most dangerous place to be is not where God could call you but the opposite direction to which you would flee.
  • Would you pray this today: 1) Lord, open a door for me, and 2) Empower me to walk through it.