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Prayers From Inside a Fish

Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I don’t think Jonah gets swallowed by the fish before he hits the water, or even right after he hits the water.
To be saved from death, we have to refuse to worship anything or anyone besides God.

Jonah’s rebellion gets him in huge trouble.

2-6a
Rejecting God will leave us dead. Sin leaves us dead. Not immediately, but eventually.
Romans 6:23 HCSB
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sin. Any sin.
When I was in second grade, trolls were really big. Not like what we have in the movie with Justin Timberlake, but these little tiny, big eyed, round bellied, naked things with long hair. Some had jewels instead of belly buttons. The book store at Germantown Elementary sold troll pencils that had little trolls on top instead of erasers. They had a hole in their bottom and just “woop”, popped em right on top of the pencil. It was neat until you spelled something wrong, which you do a lot in the second grade. They eventually made some more masculine versions they called Battle Trolls…
I was in K-mart with my parents once and they had these back packs that had little trolls in a see through pouch on the front of the bag. One of the trolls had fallen out of the pouch and was sitting there on the ground. My seven year old brain though, “fair game”! I picked it up and was excited about my new troll. When we got in the car and my mom noticed I had taken the troll, “DID YOU TAKE THAT FROM THE STORE BRIAN!?!?!” … In terms of the world, not a big deal. But I had stolen.
Even taking that troll was a sin. It was enough to make me guilty before God and deserving of hell.
I know that probably sounds like a lot to you.
Sometimes we can think about sin like it’s those little trolls. They aren’t really good, but they’re kind of cute. Nothing really bad about them.
We have to understand the one who we have sinned against to understand how bad our sin really is.
God is perfectly holy. Everything He does is right. It’s perfect. It’s everything He is…
The punishment for a crime has as much to do with who you did it to as it does what you did...
When you sin against an infinitely holy God, you can’t pay that off.
We also have to understand what our sin says about what we think of God’s plan for us, our trust in God.
I didn’t think, “I’m not pleased with what God has provided me” when I took that troll, but ultimately that’s what we’re telling God when we steal.
or...
Jonah rebelled against God and received God’s immediate judgment and he’s describing his situation figuratively and literally in this prayer.

Jonah

He’s describing our situation spiritually because of sin.
3
emphasize ALL
Ephesians 2:1–3 HCSB
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
This is what sin makes us. We have to understand and accept this. If we don’t, then we are doomed to stay there.
This is what sin makes us. We have to understand and accept this. If we don’t, then we are doomed to stay there.
But when we recognize, something can be done. Just like with Jonah.

Jonah called to the Lord and was returned to service.

4b, 6b-7
To be rescued from the spiritual death that sin causes, we have to call on the Lord.
Romans 6:23 HCSB
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 11:9
And just like sin affects all of us, the remedy is the same for all of us.
emphasize EVERYONE
Romans 10:11 HCSB
Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame,
Romans 11:13 HCSB
Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. In view of the fact that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
Romans 11:13
Romans 10:13 HCSB
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Romans 10:13
But we must call on the Lord.
Dawson, our youngest, is only 17 moths old, but he’s already practicing for his terrible twos. Now he can be extremely happy, when I home in the afternoon I can hear him as soon as I get out of my truck, “DAADAAAAAA!!!” When I come through the door he gets this huge smile and runs up and hugs my legs. It’s really the most adorable thing ever. But as happy as he can be, he can be just as unhappy. And even though he can say my name, he really can’t say much else, so he has trouble telling us what he wants sometimes. When he wants something, he has these noises he makes… I’ll follow him to the fridge, because always food he wants, and I’ll open it and ask what he wants. He’ll point… Hopefully I can figure out what he’s pointing at, but if it takes me more than two guesses, oh no! He can’t handle that. He goes down… If he would just tell me what he wants, I’d take care of him!
If you just call on the name of the Lord, you’ll be saved. Believe in Jesus. Put your faith in Him.
But! If all you want is to be saved, then you don’t get it yet. You have to want the God who is providing the saving most of all. Jonah knew that.

Jonah declares he will serve the Lord.

8-9
We have to put God before everything and everyone else in our life. It’s foolishness not to! We have to make that commitment to Him, you will want to make that commitment to Him when you truly get it, when you are truly saved!
Jonah says it’s forsaking faithful love if you put any idol before God.
An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure’
We were made to find our meaning and significance from our maker. We were made to love Him, to follow Him. Salvation is his, we can’t get it from ourselves or anything else in this world.
So if all you’re looking for is salvation, you don’t get it.
When I was five I heard that if you prayed a prayer then you could go to Heaven. That’s an easy decision to make right? I don’t have to think long about that. I really didn’t think a whole lot about the One getting me into Heaven. I didn’t get it.
When I was thirteen I understood for the first time that God loved me and wanted to know me. To have a relationship with me. And He sent Jesus to die for that. And for the first time I loved God more than the salvation He offered. I didn’t want to chase the popularity I’d been chasing anymore. I knew getting a girlfriend wasn’t going to make me feel like I was complete. For the first time, I knew that was all supposed to be found in God. I loved Him more than the things I got from Him.
If you love the promises of God more than God Himself, you don’t get it yet. Those are just bonuses to have a relationship with your Creator and Savior. Being able to know Him and serve Him is the real prize.
Psalm 100 HCSB
A psalm of thanksgiving. Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Acknowledge that Yahweh is God. He made us, and we are His — His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.
The writer doesn’t go on about what He’s received from God, he goes on about God and praising Him. When this is the attitude of your heart, you get it! You truly know Him!
If you don’t know Him truly, let tonight be your night. Acknowledge your sin, call on his name, and quit putting the things of this world (examples) before Him. He’s so much better. And when you know that, you’ll find that He gives better prizes too!
If you’re feeling a nagging at your heart, that’s God telling you to call out to Him. Respond to that! If you want to talk with someone about becoming his follower then do it tonight!
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