I’m Graced (Jonah 2)
– I have observed that people live their lives according to what they value, NOT according to their values. (A “value” is something we think is worth more than something else.)
– “Values” used to mean, “What is most important to us, the code we live our lives by”. Now it only means “What should be important to us, as long as it isn’t inconvenient, or get in the way of our happiness”.
– “Value” isn’t a platitude. What you value is displayed by how you choose to live your life.
– Ex: FF sticker parked in the fire lane because “It was the only place left to park!”
– I have performed several weddings over the years, and to me, “personal wedding vows” reveal someone’s values:
– One time the Bride said, “I promise never to get in the way of your happiness.” (Happiness has now been declared as the priority. Not commitment, faithfulness, accountability…)
– Feelings WILL betray you! I want my bride to say, “I promise to hold you accountable to what God has called you to, and never give up on you when you fail.” (Values!)
– As a Christian, you and Jesus have exchanged vows:
– You said, “You are my Lord, I will choose your will over my own, and be your servant.”
– The Lord has said, “I will save you from death, and will bless you for your obedience.”
– Have you been honoring the vows you made to God, or have your values been changed?
* Have you assumed that because you have been blessed, that you must be living a good life?
– Blessings always follow obedience. If you are not being obedient to what God has called you to, then maybe you aren’t being blessed… you are being “graced”!
– Jonah: He is a prophet of God, disobeyed and ran, thrown overboard, last seen in a fish belly.
– Jonah 1:17, Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
Read, Jonah 2:1-10
- You must know the difference between Grace, Mercy, and Blessings.
– These things come from God, and reveal His character. But the cause vs. effect can be confusing.
– Mercy and Grace are similar, but not the same. They are like two sides of the same coin:
– GRACE is, “The unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings.”
– When you get what you don’t deserve… that’s GRACE.
– Eph. 2:8, God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (You don’t deserve it. You can’t earn it.)
– You receive grace because God is so good, even when you are so bad.
– MERCY is, “Compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”
– When you don’t get what you deserve… that’s MERCY.
– Example: Cop pulled me over in Matt’s alley at 2am, no ticket.
– Romans 4:7, (Paul quoting Psalms 32), Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
– Jonah is being given a second chance to obey God, despite his moral failures.
– BLESSING is, “God’s favor and protection.”
– Proverbs 3:33, The Lord curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright.
– God always blesses obedience. God never blesses disobedience.
– If you are living a self-centered life, valuing convenience, and doing what makes you happy, and are still experiencing “God’s favor and protection” you may think, “I’M BLESSED!”
– Jonah was disobedient to God, but then saved from drowning, and kept alive in the fish. Was he being blessed? No!
– If blessings aren’t given to the disobedient, then it must be something else you are receiving from God. You aren’t blessed… You are GRACED!
- You are Graced!
– We often say we are blessed because of God, when really it’s God grace and mercy.
– His grace has saved you from death, and not even you can screw that up.
– His mercy has given you another chance to be obedient to what He has called you to.
– 2 Peter 3:9, The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
– Jonah was graced.
– He was saved from death by getting swallow by the great fish. What seemed like his demise, was really his deliverance.
– God’s punishment was patiently withheld to provide Jonah the opportunity to repent.
– Jonah was in the fish for 3 days before he finally put his pride aside and repented!
– Jonah 2:1, (Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.) “THEN Jonah prayed to the Lord…”
– How long was Jonah going to be kept alive in the fish while God patiently waited for him to be obedient? Verse 9 says, “…I will fulfill all my vows.” (Finally!)
* The thin line between God’s punishment and God’s forgiveness is your repentance. *
- Your repentance leads to Your deliverance.
– Psalms 103:4 (NIV), [Praise the Lord] “who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…”
– The image of the pit is a dark and cold hole. Something we can’t escape from, at least on our own.
– What is the pit in your life? Is it addiction, conformity, complacency, selfishness, rebellion?
– I picture the pit in “Dark Knight Rises”, full of living, but hopeless people. (No escape, unless you are a super-villain, a super-hero, or someone throws you a rope.)
– Jonah was in a “pit”. His sin has brought him there.
– Jonah’s sin was pride and rebellion. He wanted his own will more than God’s will for him.
– Jonah was saved from the pit, but not right away. He did something, then God did something.
– Jonah has 3 revelations while spending time in his “pit”:
- Cry out to the Lord, and he will hear you.
– Jonah 2:2, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me.”
– Jonah is a “backslidden believer” whose sins have trapped him. He knows where his hope comes from.
– Was it for the right reasons? (Does it matter?) He had no other option but death, no hope, nothing left to lose, nowhere else to turn. Maybe that describes some of you?
– Romans 10:13, For Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
– Just because it is your last option doesn’t mean that you aren’t choosing it, and doesn’t mean that it is not real, or you won’t be saved.
* You say it. You mean it. He hears it!
- The pit he is in seems like death, but is really a second chance at life.
– Jonah 2:6b, But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!
– The best thing that ever happened to Jonah was getting swallowed by the fish!
* The circumstances that seem to be your demise may actually be delaying death long enough for you to come back to repentance again.
- When you worship false gods you are actually turning your back on God’s mercy.
– Jonah 2:8, Those who worship false gods turn their back on all God’s mercies.
– Worship is, “Reverent honor or homage paid to a person or object.”
– An idol is basically something in your life that you place higher value on than your relationship with God. What are you building your week around? (The game, family, etc…)
– When we place other things as the priority in our lives, above God, they become our pit of disobedience. Where are your values placed?
– Why did God chose Jonah for this mission?
– After Jonah disobeyed, God could have let him go and went and found someone else.
– He chose Jonah for this mission because he needed it as much as Nineveh did. God needed to do a work in him.
– Psalms 119:2-3 (NIV), Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do no wrong but follow his ways.
– God’s call to obedience demands a response. “Ignoring it” is a response too!
– What mission is God calling you too? Are you running from it like Jonah did, or pretending like you don’t hear Him?
– Our obedience always benefits others. Nineveh will be the eventual benefactor of Jonah’s obedience to God.
– At the end of the biggest trial of Jonah’s life, he comes to the understanding of the power of God’s grace and mercy:
– Jonah 2:9, I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.
– God’s mercy allows us time to repent, and accept God’s gift of salvation by His grace.
– And this is God’s response to Jonah’s repentance:
– Jonah 2:10, Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
– prayer –