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JONAH:To See God

JONAH  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:01:07
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To See God Jonah 1:11-17 Genesis 3:1-7 Romans 1:25 Genesis 3:2 Genesis 2:17 John 8:31-32 Jeremiah 31:33 2 Corinthians 3:3 Matthew 1:21 A. They fear God (this makes a LOT of since). B. They offer sacrifice (this is worship) C. They make vows (they’ve repented of their own trust and knowledge of life and trusted God to the degree that they see Him here and to the level of their knowledge of Him). Matthew 12:43-45 1 John 4:4

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 To See God Jonah 1:11-17 Go with me back, to the original fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden - it’s important to see how tethered truth and life are, so that we can understand the weight of non-truth and allowing / participating in non-truth. I fear that one of the greatest dangers in our age is giving over truth and establishing an environment where evil will thrive - and masquerade as Jesus’ Church - and this cannot be. Genesis 3:1–7 The Fall 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” So we’ll pause here - let me ask, did God actually say that? Do you see this subtlety introduced lie begins with a questioning of what God has said, a questioning of truth, this rhetoric many years later - today has taken root and God’s word is questioned nearly constantly. I want to give you some homework - read Romans 1:25 and ask yourself, do I find evidence of this today. …Genesis 3:2 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” What just happened here was a great exchange that would cast down throughout all humanity - truth, God did say you shall not eat of a specific tree - the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) the question of truth seemed logical. This war of clarity rages today, what has God said - the culture clouds it, and as popular culture crowds the church, projecting against the church what it should and shouldn’t be truth is in jeopardy - but the truth is our freedom. This is my fear church, for us. The pressure is great - and we don't even know it. We think we feel it - but we don't even realize how much truth is being eroded by even seemingly small corruptions, seemly small compromises, entering in even seemingly small changes to our accepted language - and before you know it, the truth of God is eroded - presented cloudily, and perhaps, lost. But truth is the freedom that sets us free and so without truth we’re without hope. As we look to Jonah today - I want to see what happens when people who don’t know God are presented with the unadulterated, un-smoothed over and culturally sensitized picture of God. So far in this book of Jonah, we’ve recognized a few things - so let me back up and catch us up. Jonah is a book about God. Maybe that surprises you - maybe you think it’s about a man eaten by a whale who lives - but it’s not, it’s about God. It’s about a man, who later Jesus would say to a group of expecting people, people who demanded a sign from Jesus people, who should have believed based simply upon having Jesus Himself before them, in Matthew 12:38:45 Jesus says to them, you’ll get no sign, but the sign of Jonah - who was in the belly of a fish for 3 days (like I’ll be in the earth for 3 days) - this book of Jonah is about God, and His passion to save people, and to redeem people - this is a book about a loving God - and these sailors today - will see God truly for the first time, oh make no mistake like some of us maybe, they worship god’s but they don’t know God - lets see what it does to them: It is not religious systems, and acts, that bring us closer to God, but truth. And the truth shall: John 8:31–32 (ESV) The Truth Will Set You Free 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We have so many articles and discussions, how can I know I’m a believer, am I saved, … Jesus answered that here simply - do you abide in His word? Do you read your Bible, do you go to it, do you seek it and know it - if so then you’re his disciple and by going to the word and abiding in prayer you’ll know the truth - and truth will give you freedom. What about when we “the church” allow non-truth in, what if we preach non-truth, will people be disciples, if we don’t drive people to the word and to abiding, can they be disciples, you see truth is important truth is key. Want freedom, Church? Find truth. Want, others to know freedom - show them the truth no lies, no burring hard parts to find later - show God truly. Jonah 1:11–17 (ESV) 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. Jonah is running from God. I think running from His presence and maybe you've felt that desire - though it’s ridiculous you’re just trying to be hidden from God’s holiness - you don’t want to be exposed to the things of God, maybe the feeling of conviction, maybe you feel that your heart is too exposed when you see the truth of the goodness of God’s character and your own heart is laid bare before God you want nothing to do with Him. His Church, or His son - and so maybe you hide from all those things - maybe you’re not all that unlike Jonah. Church, let me talk to you for a moment if you’re there - stop running. Not because God will get you, though He will, just stop running and find rest in God rest in truth as you abide in the word you’ll see over and over and over that God is a sanctuary and fortress and source of rest - stop rowing stop fighting and find rest in truth. Do you see who God is after in Jonah - it’s not just the Ninevites that’s too easy, He’s after Jonah, who is already His, do you see God pursuing Jonah, what about you? So you see God’s after the sent (Jonah) God’s after the sent too (Nineveh) ..And maybe just maybe - others along the way Church, Christian, you don’t know what God is doing who God is after- so keep truth before you that’s the freedom. Let this picture of God working in the story of Jonah persuade you to follow after a graceful loving God who's after people as He’s after you, continually, are you moved by that? I am. He may have us, in a saving way, but church let us not forget that we’re conformed daily into Jesus’ own image, progressively so - and let us not forget that we’re to participate in that growing process - we see it in Jonah, God growing him, not simply using him and along the way - we see God reaching others. Jonah is still running here from God’s presence, I think this is an assisted suicide in Jonah’s mind just kill me. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13  Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. A good friend of mine, Charles Spurgeon said this: “Straining every sinew they laboured by violence to get the ship in safety to the haven. Brethren, no word in any language can express the violence of earnest action with which awakened sinners strive and struggle to obtain eternal life. Truly, if the kingdom of God were in the power of him that willeth and him that runneth, they would possess it at once.” These men, they didn’t know God. They’re experiencing his power and His passion for repentance maybe for the first time. They don’t want to kill Jonah. The law is written on their hearts - they know murder is inherently wrong as we all do (Jeremiah 31:33 & 2 Corinthians 3:3). They're pulling with all their might with all their strength - to shore, for safety - however safety will only come through God’s plan, sacrifice of another. Jonah in this case into the belly, then out he’ll come with a message of grace and repentance, where our Lord will come out with a message of repentance (briefly mentioning this picture of Jonah) before going into the grave for 3 days and nights - only to be resurrected to life eternal - and then we’d connect the dots. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. They just experienced the power of God. First hand. They stop working and pushing and trusting them selves they see God’s power and then: 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. They became worshipers, who trust God. Maybe you think I’m stretching here, but I’m simply reading the text. Their reaction to seeing the power of God is: A. They fear God (this makes a LOT of since). B. They offer sacrifice (this is worship) C. They make vows (they’ve repented of their own trust and knowledge of life and trusted God to the degree that they see Him here and to the level of their knowledge of Him). If you pressed me hard on these guys salvation - I’d have to say the text is inconclusive, but I see evidence of their salvific reaction -let me ask you church; but let me turn the question around - what is the evidence of yours of ours who have the sign of Jonah AND truth of Jesus? A Great Fish Swallows Jonah 17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Why so that we’d ultimately see the truth and the sign of Jonah fulfilled completely in Jesus, so that we too would know the power of God - but also at the same time - God was getting Jonah - do you see the truth here - this is about God’s jealous passion for our hearts! Do you know, when Jesus points to this story of the sign of Jonah, he then goes on to talk about something that at first seems odd - lets read it: Matthew 12:43–45 (ESV) Return of an Unclean Spirit 43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” Let me tell you what Jesus is saying here - in light of Jonah’s sign, he is talking about salvation. We saw those men rowing and rowing, their hardest. Jesus has destroyed evil’s power, His ability to cast out demons, which they said was by the power of Satan, was actually evidence that He was putting the house in order so Satan could not break in, think (greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world 1 John 4:4). While Jesus walked on the earth present, the evil spirits were subjected direct to His power. Folks we might work to clean our lives up but unless they we’re filled by the Holy Spirit as we give our lives to Christ seeing and knowing Him as Lord, we will be worse off than before rowing and rowing for shore - working our hardest and more vulnerable to attack than maybe even before. This is why truth is so important - it’s counter intuitive in some ways. We want to row for shore, Christ says - I’ll calm it, come to me, trust my father. And so it’s this truth that set’s us free - lets not hide from or apologize for the truth - lets love it, trust it, live it and proclaim it - and trust God to work on us, as He lives in us and works on us - that’s the church, God’s sought after people in His kingdom, seeking after His kingdom it’s marvelous truth. Let us find and know and speak truth - God is passionate for us and truth is His way. Worshippers abide in His truth and His word lets abide in a rich personal prayer life and lets be disciples of Jesus’ own, together as His Church. In the beginning, the questioning of truth tailspun the world and so too today we’re spinning more and more - lets be those who gracefully and peacefully point folks to the truth of God that sets us free and is peace lets not redefine church and redefine life and allow those things to happen without so much as a contrary corrective word from scripture lets be bold in love - it’s truth that sets us free. JONAH: To See God Pastor John Weathersby Transcend Church 5 of 5 Sunday 9/24/2017
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