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Believing God

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What was Jonah’s Problem?

Jonah has an interesting story. A problem of sorts. Have you ever thought about why he had such a passion to not go to Nineveh? It is really simple; He hated the Assyrians. Throughout the history of the Israelites the Assyrians have been their enemies. Cruel and relentless enemies. And now God tells him to go and preach repentance to them.

Nineveh was Assyrian

The thought that God is finally going to punish them is of course at the forefront of Jonah’s mind and Yet he knew and believed that God was going to forgive them. So he ran. He ran because He figured that if God was going to redeem them, He would have to use someone else. It seems to me there is no one in scripture who believed God more. It also means that that there was no one more rebellious.

Jonah Hated Assyria

He KNEW God Would Forgive

He Believed God

Keep that in mind for just a moment. Someone who believes in God but rebels at the same time. Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of Luke. We will be reading Luke 1:13-23
Luke 1:13–23 NASB95
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.

Review

Zacharias

Look back in the text just a bit with me, we need to establish some facts about Zacharias. While these may not seem overly important, they go to help us establish some things about Zacharias. In verse 5 we see that he was a priest of the division of Abijah. Abijah was a division of Levites established when Zerubbabel returned to Jerusalem in Nehemiah. The priests were divided by lot and given tasks of worship in the Temple.What is important to know was that he was given the duty of lighting incense in the temple as part of worship. In order to do that there were some ritualistic things one must do to enter the temple alone to present this sacrifice of incense. Oversimplified; between his duties in the temple and the statement in verse 6 that tells us that they were both righteous in the sight of God, we know he was a man of faith. The multitude were outside praying while he was alone in the temple. When the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar, it tells us he was gripped by fear. Then we get to the beginning of our text. Your prayer has been answered. This is where we left off last week. We should realize that when God answers our prayers it is in His timing.

God heard his prayer

Zacharias Response

But lets look at Zacharias’ response. There is no rejoicing. There is no amazement. There is simply a how response. Much like Abraham responded when God told him about Isaac. Abraham Laughed. But Zacharias knew that God had given Abraham a son. He knew God had done it in the past. He had studied the Torah. He unlike some others had been educated in the books of the Torah and knew what God had done in days past. He had read all of the times God fulfilled his promises. And he did not believe God. He even went so far as to ask the angel how is this gonna happen. Only to find out the angel he was speaking to was Gabriel.

Jonah sinned when he believed God

Now lets go back to Jonah. Jonah was rebellious and sinned against God by running, because He believed God was going to do something, He believed was wrong. Zacharias sinned against God because he did not believe God was going to do what he promised. They Both sinned.

Zacharias sinned when he didn't believe

The Bible teaches us in Romans 3:23 that the wages of sin is death. Sin is sin. Doesn’t matter what the sin is the wages of sin are the same. Death. Eternal separation from God.

The wages of Sin

The consequences of sin

What I want to focus on for just a moment is that there is a difference between the wages of sin, and the consequence of sin. Eternal separation from God does not occur until judgement. Consequences occur here and now.
In physics, Newtons third law is that for everything there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you take that to the world of our interaction with God we come up with everything we do will have a consequence. A consequence is simply the effect of something happening earlier. Some are good some are bad. For example- I tried to make a copy cat recipe last night of Panda Express Pepper chicken. I reached in the cupboard and grabbed the soy sauce and carefully measured 2 tablespoons. When I went to taste the sauce I discovered I had grabbed Worchester sauce instead. It was good, but it was not what I wanted.

Zacharias punished

The same thing is true about what we do. For Zacharias he was punished immediately. He was made mute. He came out of the temple humiliated. He had been before God and been struck mute and could not tell anyone his experience. He now was unable to serve. He could not talk, communicate with others. He could not verbally deny God.
But it did allow him some time to communicate solely with God. Some time to repent. Sometime to reflect. Much like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. Sometimes we take where we are for granted. Sometimes we overlook all the Wonders that God provides us with.

The older brother

On Thanksgiving my granddaughter amazed me. In a few weeks she has gone from being a little army crawling baby, to a full speed crawler who sits up and stands and tries to walk. She loves to eat things that crunch. She likes to chatter at you when her hearing aids are in. To look at where she is today from even a week ago. Which made me wonder where am I today from a week ago.

What don’t you believe?

It doesn’t change God’s plans

Nita and OCC

We need to understand that our unbelief does not change God’s plans. Look at last week. Nita and I got to be here as people from our community brought in 532 Shoe boxes. Gifts that tell children all over the world of the love of Jesus Christ. We got to see the heart of little Riley as she brought all her boxes to remember her friend. We got to meet with families who just wanted to share. And some of you could have come and greeted people too. We started four years ago with only 24 boxes from our church. The next year our 300 from our community, last year with over 400 and this year at over 500. We should be amazed.

Christmas Lighting 2018

Saturday we will be here to share the Love of Jesus. We will have opportunities to greet people. To talk to people about Jesus. We will be for some the only Jesus they may ever see.

Will Christ Light shine in us?

The question right now is- do we believe He will shine through us. Are we ready to be vessels He can use. I look back at our sign up and I wonder. Do we believe God will use us? We need to remember this weekend and the ones coming. This is about us being Jesus. Some of us will sow in words. All of will sow and water in actions.

Some sow, some water, some reap

What if??

I have to confess I think we are all a little more like Jonah than Zacharias. We know God will give his Salvation to anyone who asks. But what will that do to our comfortable little Church? What would happen if we suddenly had 10 new members? Even 2 new people? What about 30?

Are you growing?

When I was in high school I hear d the quote when you are green you grow, when you are ripe you rot. Are you growing?
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