Faithlife Sermons

What Is Your Priority

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I. We all have priorities

A. We all have those things that we think are more important than others

1. We have that one thing we invest more in than anything else
2. Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955)
3. If we are known by what we do, and what we do is set by our priorities, then our priorities are important
4. Especially so if what Charles Spurgeon says is true: A man's heart has only enough life in it to pursue one object fully.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
5. One object.
a. What object describes your life?
b. What is your priority?

B. 1 Corinthians 7 Paul is writing about priorities

1. Something to consider in setting your priorities is time
2. Time is short
a. This world isn’t going to be here long
b. Judgment is coming
c. Jesus can come back at any time and time and opportunity as we know it will be over
3. Know, believing time is short, what should our priorities be

II. Story of Jonah

A. God gave Jonah a message

1. message of judgement against Nineveh
2. Should have been Jonah’s priority, instead he ran the other way
3. We can understand why, the same thing that stops us sometimes, fear
a. Nineveh was a great city in size and evil
1) had a circumference of sixty miles and a population of over 600,000 people
2) It was the capital of the Assyrian Empire
3) This was a huge assignment, three days to see it all, how could one man do anything
b. Nineveh was great in sin
1) Think of the most wicked city in the world today (during Cold War Moscow) - that’s Nineveh
2) Assyrians were known for their violence, showed no mercy to their enemies
3) They impaled live victims in the desert sun to let them roast, skinned people alive, kill anyone, men, women & children just because they didn’t care for them
c. Sound like a place you would want to go on vacation?
d. How about go as a prophet from an enemy country to tell them they are fixing to die
4. Jonah ran
a. He just as soon they die
b. He didn’t want to die, so sharing God’s message was not a priority, he ran
c. Before you condemn him, you don’t know what you would do until the chips are down
1) Know what we think we will do but could we
2) like westerns - never pull your gun unless you’re going to use it. If you do and can’t pull the trigger, it may be taken away from you and used against you
3) Priorities have to deeply ingrained and by the grace and strength of God kept or we’ll run
5. We need to remember “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.”
6. Jonah ran, boarded a ship to Tarsus, a great storm came up, Jonah was thrown overboard, he spent three days in the belly of a great fish that swallowed him, repented of his failure and was vomited up on dry ground

B. God Met Jonah

1. When Jonah landed on the shore God was there
2. God doesn’t give up
a. God wasn’t pleased with Jonah, but He didn’t desert him.
b. God controlled the storm, prepared the fish and rescued Jonah
c. As Jonah sat on the shore, God spoke again, “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh and deliver the message I have given you.”
d. Aren’t you glad God gives second chances
3. God forgave his servant and restored his ministry
a. that’s what God does
b. Abraham fled to Egypt, lied about Sarah, God gave him another chance
c. Jacob lied to his father Isaac, God restored him and built the nation of Israel
d. Moses killed a man, God called him to lead His people
e. Peter denied the Lord three times, Jesus forgave him and he led the Early Church

B. Jonah delivers the message

1. Jonah 3:3a (ESV) So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.
a. even though the NIV and NLT say obeyed the text does not use a verb that describes Jonah’s action as obedience
b. means to rise, get up, stand up
c. Jonah went but it doesn’t say he was happy about it, or went willingly
d. God said get up and go and he got up and went
e. We may not be happy with what God asks of us but our priority to to get up and go as He directs
2. Went to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s judgment that in 40 days Nineveh would be no more
a. God repays for what one has done
b. Psalm 62:11–12 (NLT) — 11 God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you; 12 unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done.
3. The people believed God, they fasted, put on sack cloth, repented
4. Romans 10:14 (NLT) But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
5. Because of the preaching of the prophet, God was revealed to the people, they repented, and God forgave
6. Because they repented and believed, God changed his mind on Nineveh
7. That’s what God wants to do today

C. Repentance brings forgiveness.

1. This is where we all start - repentance
2. Where Jonah began in the belly of the great fish
3. Where the disciples started
a. Mark 1:17–18 (NLT) — 17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 18 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
b. left, left behind, turned from
c. they left the life they knew to follow Jesus
d. They set a new priority in their life
4. This is where we begin
a. we leave our nets, our priorities to follow Jesus
b. We begin living by a new set of priorities
c. A priority where Jesus calls us to be His messenger

III. Prioritize your Energy

A. How you use your energy matters

1. The end and judgement are coming
2. Paul and the Early Church believed it could happen any day
3. it’s been 2,000 years and may be another, we don’t know but what we do know is people are slipping off into eternity and judgment every day without Jesus
4. the only out for any of us is to hear the Word, believe the Word and repent
5. Paul reminds us the time is short, this world is passing away, so how should we live?
6. 2 Peter 3:11 (CEB) Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be? You must live holy and godly lives
7. As we begin following Jesus our priorities change, how we use our energy changes
a. realize time is finite
b. we have a limited time to do the work of Jesus, to reveal Him to the world

B. How do we prioritize our energy

1. (v29) those with wives should not focus only on their marriage
a. Paul was not opposed to marriage
b. granted he said if you’re not married your better off if you don’t get married
c. He also had a lot to say about marriage that was good and instructional
d. His point was time is short and marriage is not the most important thing in your life
e. the world needs to be restored to God; people need to be led to the Lord
f. the most important thing, our priority should be the mission of God
g. Our priority should be to reveal Christ and His redemptive power because judgement is coming
2. If you’re weeping or mourning, don’t be absorbed in it to the point it controls your life
a. For Israel there was the mourning custom they went through
1) mourn and weep for up to 30 days
2) wear sack cloth, smear themselves with dirt and ash, shave their hair, tear their cloths, wear black
b. Mark Batterson tells the story in his book Win the Day of Queen Victoria who only wore black after her husband died in 1861 until she died in 1901
c. Matthew 8:21–22 (CEB) — 21 Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
d. So are we not to grieve and mourn for a loss, of course we are but it’s not to be a priority
e. We have a mission, to reveal Christ to the lost world
3. As you rejoice don’t be absorbed in your joy
a. Whatever it is you are happy about be happy but remember your happiness is not your priority
b. I don’t think Jonah was happy
c. Your happiness is second to the mission of God
d. the mission of God is your priority
4. you buy things, don’t be absorbed in your possessions
a. Let’s face it; you’ve got to buy things.
b. accumulating possessions should not be a priority in your life
c. we have to work to live in this world, but our work is not to be the number one priority in our life
d. whatever it is you are buying, it’s not going to last, sooner or later it will fail, pass away
e. you’re working, buying is all secondary to the mission of God
5. Our priority is to be the mission of God
a. to represent, reveal Christ
b. The present form of everything else is passing away
c. Things wear out and have to be replaced, joy and mourning come and go, even your marriage will end someday
d. nothing will last forever, it will pass away but the mission of God is eternal
6. 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.
7. God is to be our priority and provider
a. Psalm 62:5–8 (NLT) — 5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. 7 My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. 8 O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Interlude
b. Psalm 62:10b (NLT) if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.
c. God, the things of God, the mission of God, the revealing of Christ to the world is to be our priority, the center of our life

C. What is your priority

1. How do you prioritize your energy
2. Time is short, the end and judgment are coming
3. Don’t put your trust in things or people
4. Put your trust in God who is your everything
5. Repent, leave what you were and go reveal Jesus to your world
6. Remember 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.
7. We have a priority: it is to reveal Jesus to people that they will believe and repent so God can forgive
8. What manner of life should you live? What should your priority be? A holy, godly life that reveals the mission of God
9. If your priorities get all messed up, God doesn’t give up on you, He is ready to forgive when you repent and leave the old priorities behind
10. What is your priority? Tougher question: Does your life reveal it?
10. May your priority be to reveal Christ is all you do.
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