Faithlife Sermons

Jonah

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Intro
Hebrews 12:1 NIV84
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
If these people could come out of the stands and run with us, what would they say. Last week was jacob and this week is Jonah.
Jonah is best know for making bad choices. We can identify with him because we all have made bad choices.
show pics of people who made bad choices

For when you’ve made bad choices...

God always gives you a second chance.

God always gives us a second chance.
Jonah 1:1–5 NIV
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 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. 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.
Talk about the wickedness of Nineveh
Every decision cost something, but every wrong decision we make, costs other people something.
Jonah was asleep. He was oblivious to the impact of his decision on the men in the boat.
Ques… Are we making decisions in our life that are causing us to draw closer to God or drawing us further from God.
Storm came… in a moment of crisis. Jonah wakes up and takes responsibility.

How do we Recover from Bad Choices?

1. Take responsibility for your bad choice

Jonah woke up and took responsibility.
Jonah 1:12 NIV84
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.”
First step is to take responsibility for it.
Proverbs 28:13 The Living Bible
13 A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance.

“You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.” John Wooden

So they threw Jonah overboard. Here is the cool thing. God knew Jonah was going to run… that he would be thrown overboard and so he prepared for the fish to swallow Jonah.
Even when we make mistakes (sin), God makes the preparations for us to have a second chance. God is always waiting at our point of crisis to rescue us and give us a second chance.
Jesus referred to Jonah in Matthew. Jesus validated this story.
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Matthew 12:40 NLT
40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
God shut down the digestive system of this fish and he eventually threw Jonah up on the beach.
Jonah was in a tough place and he did what we need to do. He repented.

2. Repent and turn away from the bad choice you made.

Repentance begins in the heart. It starts on the inside.
Jonah 2:9 NIV84
9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.”
Acts 3:19 NIV84
19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

“Repentance means that you change your mindset so deeply that it changes you.” Bruce Wilkenson

True repentance is turning away from the bad decision and turn towards God… towards where God has directed us to go.
Jonah had to turn toward Nineveh and go do what God told him to go do.
Here is what we have to do next…

3. Embrace God’s Grace.

Jonah 3:1 NIV84
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:
That’s grace. Jonah was ready to do what God wanted him to do, and God gave him another chance and Jonah embraced it.
Jonah 3:2 NIV84
2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Look what Jonah did this time. Jonah embraced God’s Grace.
Jonah 3:3 NIV84
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days.
Don’t let the enemy of your soul convince you that you have run too far and done too much to come back.

“Grace always runs downhill. It me time when I was a the bottom, not the top.” John Maxwell

John Newton - slave trader hauling slaves… storm came and they knew they would die… His mother was praying for him to turn to God and away from the evil choices he was making.
At his point of crisis, he cried out to God and said God, I am a wicked man… forgive me.
God spared him and he wrote Amazing Grace. He repented and turned toward God from the evil. He fought for freedom of all slaves with Wilbur Wilberforce and eradicated slavery from England and eventually America.
Hebrews 4:16 NIV84
16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Don’t let bad choices define you.

You are not your past. Sometimes we cause our own mess and sometimes we get caught up in other people’s storm… We cannot let those bad choices define us.
Romans 8:1 NIV84
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
He doesn’t see all the bad choices we make… He does not condemn us. It doesn’t matter what you have done, God can use you… He has a purpose for you.

Don’t let bad choices disqualify you.

Jonah could have said, God I have disqualified myself from doing what you wanted… God says no, I have called YOU.
No matter how you have messed up, it does not disqualify you. If it did, God would never used Peter or Paul.
God takes imperfect people and uses them to accomplish His perfect will… that includes you.

“The will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God can’t keep you and the power of God can’t use you.” Warren Wiersbe

Jonah embraced the grace of God and headed for Nineveh.
Sometimes we have to go back to our disobedience and make it right… apology… restitution...
story from CBN about a drunk driver who killed two girls Eric Smallridge
He repented
He made restitution’
The hardest thing he had to do was to embrace the grace of God.
Romans 8:28 NIV84
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

How Can We Safeguard Ourselves Against Making Bad Choices

1. Use God’s Word to guide you.

This is our guide book. It will always guide us to God’s best for you. It protects you from bad things and provides good things.
It guides you to the Lord’s will and to the Lord.
Psalm 119:105 NIV84
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
REad it… study it… meditate on it… memorize it

2. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom.

John 16:13 NIV84
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
The voice of God will never contradict the written WOG.

Are my choices God honoring?

If you ask this sincerely, HS will let you know.

How will this decision affect my spiritual health?

Is this decision helping me move closer to God…
One decision we have to make are in the area of our friends. We have to discern the difference between people we are friends with and people we are friends for. Some we are friends for so we can lead them to God.

How will this decision affect the people closest to me?

If you really want to safeguard your life against bad choices...

3. Seek Godly counsel.

People who are mature… of Godly character… who are seasoned int he faith.
Proverbs 13:20 NIV84
20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

“God always gives his bet to those who leave the choice with Him.” James Hudson Taylor

God has a will and purpose for your life. The secret it to embrace it and run towards it.
You may be here today and you’ve made some bad decisions in your life and you are in a crisis. Today you can turn back to God by turning away from those bad choices and turning toward God. Just ask God to forgive you, repent from your actions, do the right things and embrace your grace.
Thankful that we serve the God os second chances.
Salvation prayer -
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