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JONAH: Grace

JONAH  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  58:29
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 Grace Jonah 2:1-9 The Lord appointed a great fish… Jonah just wanted to die, rather than to do what God called him to. Guys I want to judge Jonah, but - I’m more like him than I’d like to admit. Have you ever known that you should be different towards people, that you should love people more, that you should be less judging, that you should be more responsive. Have you ever had a day when you just felt waves of guilt and waves of heaviness? Maybe you don’t even know why - maybe you’re just feeling the distance between yourself and God? I know I feel this more than I’d like - but I also know, I feel distance and God is right there with me. I see this prayer of Jonah’s prayer often painted in the negative, but Church I think we’ll see a guy who felt far from God, who would rather run from God’s presence, would rather be killed - then we’ll see a loving pursuing God scoop Jonah up, and we’ll see a picture of what happens when our hearts turn back to God. Let me ask you something… Does this mean that you’ll do everything right from the point of repentance on - we’ll see in Jonah’s life, no. But we’ll see a loving God pursuing his people, and church maybe you’re like Jonah. Lets see a few things in Jonah’s prayer - actually, I think we’ll see 3 points in Jonah’s own prayer. Maybe you feel trapped like Jonah and so maybe there is something in Jonah’s reaction that will resonate with you. Today, is communion, this is a time that we specifically hone in on Jesus’ own sacrifice for us, something we are so needful of. When guilt weighs heavy on our heart, when our sinful selves become apparent: Maybe not because we’re running from you, but maybe so. Maybe not because we want to be away from your presence, but maybe so. Maybe not that we’d chose even death over obedience, but maybe so. Church - as we come to Jonah’s prayer that LOTS of people say are negative, I pray that we’d see that it is NEVER too late for repentance: Jonah 2:1–9 (ESV) Jonah’s Prayer 1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. 3  For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. 4  Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ Church - Jonah is alive. What a merciful God. Lets remember who God is - the creator of all the universe. Jonah was a prophet of God, God called Jonah in the only book in the Bible that starts calling a Jewish prophet to go to unbelievers. Yet - here we’ll see that God loves no only the ministry, but also the minister. I’ve said, this encourages me - does it encourage you? Do you see yourself as a minister? If you’re a believer, you’re a minister. You minister God’s grace as you share his goodness with those around you. Does that scare you? Good, it means you’re not in control and maybe just maybe - you’ll need to trust God for your plan of ministry. I remember the very time of my calling - I spoke audibly “but God I don’t know my Bible well enough to be a pastor”. Some of you were in elementary school when I spoke those words. God is loving and merciful - Romans 2:4 says: Romans 2:4 (ESV) 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? What is God leading you to? Is it repentance? Is it recognizing the grace you’ve seen since repentance? Is it realizing guilt that you feel that the weight of condemnation believer that you feel is a lie and that God’s grace is so much greater than our sin - freedom and Lordship are in a perfect balance - and we can celebrate a light yoke that brings a spotlight to God’s goodness. Jonah asked to be tossed to the sea and now prays to God. #2 We’re saved by God’s grace, through our faith in Jesus. 5  The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head 6  at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. 7  When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. 8  Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. 9  But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” Jonah’s mess got him in trouble - but now, finally he’s turned to God. Working against God could not fulfill him. V9 shows that Jonah sees that salvation and God’s grace anchor him. Jonah was in a place, brought so low; he’s blown it. He cannot take back all that he's done, all that he’s guilty of, all that he's become, but look at Jonah’s trip back. He didn’t do much, he simply was brought low by God and simply though prayer came back. Jonah work, traveled him 1,500 miles in the wrong direction - he hid and ran from God, he lied about the purpose of his journey - his heart wasn’t aligned with God’s mission to bring salvation to the world, yet one prayer - one launched by fear, one launched by circumstance, called him back to God. This prayer isn’t a negative example; it’s a realistic one. Jonah had nothing by prayer left. He had nothing left but crying out to God, for God - a prayer of repentance and turning back to GOD. Is that you? Jonah, received grace, and received God - I want to give you a moment like that today - an opportunity like that today - you may not be in the belly of a whale, but maybe you’ve been running, maybe you’ve never turned in the first place to God - see Jonah today - a man who knew God but ran: God wants us to turn to him, think about Jesus talking about the entire point of his coming: Luke 5:32 (ESV) 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Maybe you’re a Christian already; let me ask you this, are you living your Christian life in grace? God’s entire plan for our life is that we’d be enabled by grace, living lives of repentance, and living lives that enjoy God. Full of grace - in verses 8-9 Jonah turns his will over to God. We’ll see God respond to the prayer of Jonah. Christian, I want to encourage you in something - you’re going to completely mess up the Christian life, but want to know what’s insanely good, God isn't’ relying on you, but you on God. Ezekiel 18:27–28 (ESV) 27 Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. God’s desire is that we’ll turn. That we’ll turn and face what, our strength, moral behavior? No that we’d turn to trusting Him and His plan to save us in Christ. That’s the abundant life - we GET a relationship with Christ. Christian - go back to God! Don’t feel like you have to be doing huge things, that you have to change the world - that’s the trapping of our generation we think we have to do HUGE things, let me tell you what god loves the minister, not just the ministry! Maybe you need to turn today to God for the first time. Is that you? See Jonah here - turning and praying to God, maybe you need to turn today and pray. Jonah, we’ll see, didn't’ turn and live perfectly from this point on, but he lived a life loved by God. I don’t know about you, but I’d be way more excited to know that God would live to me full of grace, over thinking that I’d live perfectly! Jesus is the light that shines into dark places, I’d rather to rely on that - the light of the world shining into darkness over my strength. I’m amazed that can change my life and redeem me. Are you amazed by that? That God can redeem your life, from he path you’ve chosen for yourself and he can re-track your life, and give it a ministry - and during that ministry he’ll love the minster (you). We see in scripture that when we confess with our heart Romans 10:9 (ESV) 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Is that you, do you believe? Acts 2:37–39 (ESV) 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” What will we do? What will we do with this message? Maybe you’re not a Christian - maybe you’ll call out today to Christ. When we cry out from the depths of whom we are, we cry out like Jonah, turning to God. As we take these last few minutes here - and prepare to celebrate communion maybe you’re communing for the first time with Christ because for the first time, you’re a believer and a beneficiary in all that he’s done for you - maybe you’ve turned and trusted. JONAH: Grace Pastor John Weathersby Transcend Church 5 of 5 Sunday 10/1/2017
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