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The Costly Decision to Run From God - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
November 3, 2023 12:00 am

The Costly Decision to Run From God - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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November 3, 2023 12:00 am

The earlier we realize the importance of disobedience, the better off we will be.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, November third. God blesses those who obey Him, but when we resist His will, we miss out on His blessings. Let's find out more in part two of The Costly Decision to Run from God. I want you to turn to the book of Jonah.

Now, I want to settle once and for all right up front. Somebody says, well, now, wait a minute, I don't, that's all that stuff about a big fish or a whale. That's just the parable, and that's not really true.

Well, I want to show you why it was true. First of all, I want to show you that Jonah was not some figure that somebody came up with, but he was a prophet in the time of Jeroboam, and here's what the Scripture says to him all the way back in Second Kings, the fourteenth chapter, and the twenty-fifth verse. It says, speaking of the king, he restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of Aravah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which He spoke through His servant Jonah, the son of a Midtiah, the prophet who was of Gathhevara.

And that's about three to five miles from Nazareth where Jesus was born. Then when you come to the twelfth chapter of Matthew, and the Scripture says here concerning Jonah, verse thirty-eight, then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, Teacher, we want to see a sign from You. But He answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. Jesus spoke of Jonah the prophet as an actual historical being, not some figment of somebody's imagination. So, what we're going to read in Jonah is an actual account of an actual person of what happened. And so, here's what he says, For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. He used Jonah to describe and to establish the fact about his resurrection. So, I'm saying all that to say that this is not the figment of somebody's imagination.

This is a historical fact, something that actually happened. Now, let me just say this about the book of Jonah. The book of Jonah is not about a man, not about a prophet, it's not about a fish.

It's about the will and purpose of God. Therefore, the message of Jonah is a message that every single one of us have to deal with every day. And what I want you to see is this, running from God results in painful circumstances. It doesn't sometimes, it always does.

That doesn't mean that every single act of disobedience is going to be some painful thing, but especially continued disobedience has painful circumstances. And if you'll think about Jonah for a moment, what happened to him? First of all, when God spoke to him and he said no, immediately his conscience struck him. He began to feel guilty.

Now, listen carefully. The more important God's Word is to you and His command is to you, the more important that is and you disobey Him, the greater sense of guilt you're going to feel. Doesn't mean you're no more guilty. Guilt's guilt.

But you're going to sense the weight and the heaviness of that guilt. Secondly, what happened was he had no peace, no joy, no contentment, and no security whatsoever. No matter what he thought and what he believed, he knew that he was choosing to walk away from the will of God in his life. And he began to suffer. First of all, the Scripture says, he went down the drop and paid the fare thereof. But that was just the beginning because all that was was a few coins, or as we would say, a few dollars on the boat ride to Tarshish. He paid the fare thereof.

Went down the boat and went to sleep. They woke him up. He couldn't sleep.

Now because they had him on board. And so, what did it cost him? It cost him everything from the moment he decided to disobey God. When you choose to disobey God and you walk in that, it's going to be costly. Then, listen, there's no way to sin without paying a price. And somehow we have the idea today, we don't like the word obedience and we don't like the word consequences.

We just, we want to be able to do what we want to do and believe there are no consequences. You'd have to close this up and toss it away because the idea of the consequences of sin are from Genesis to Revelation. And listen, why are there consequences to sin? It's because God doesn't love us, no. It's because He does love us and He warns us there are consequences to sin. He cares about our future.

He cares what happens to us. So, the Scripture says He paid the fare thereof. He paid the price of disobedience to God.

It wasn't just a few shekels. It was up to the point of death. Now, that's one thing. The other side of that is this. Whenever a person chooses to disobey God, you choose to position yourself in a way that your, listen, your disobedience is going to bring pain and loss to someone else. There's no way of disobeying God without suffering loss. Loss of time, loss of abilities and skills in what you're doing, loss of finances oftentimes, loss of relationships, loss of the most precious of all relationships. Somebody else is going to get hurt. Every time a father walks away from his family, the kids get hurt and the wife gets hurt. When she walks away, they all get hurt.

The same thing is true oftentimes in friendships. When a person sins against God, you do not sin in a capsule. Sin against God is going to bring pain to other people. For him, for example, it was these sailors.

They were innocent men. And so, his sin brought upon them the fear of being shipwrecked, lost all of their cargo, so they lost their money, and it looked like they were going to lose their life. It's impossible to sin against holy God and do it in a capsule and not hurt anybody else. So, the truth is, when there is disobedience and rebellion toward God, there is a price to pay. It isn't just for the one who disobeys, but other people suffer as a result of it.

So, I would simply ask you a question. What is there in your life that you know God does not want in your life? It may be a habit.

It may be something you're doing. It may be a plan that you have, but you know it's an act of disobedience. And yet, you've decided you're going to do it.

Have you counted the cost? Have you considered the consequences that holy, righteous, almighty God cannot remain the God that He is and allow you to get by with sin? Listen, that brings hurt and pain and shame upon other people as well as yourself. Now, because it doesn't happen today, and because it doesn't happen immediately after your sin, doesn't mean it's not going to happen.

God in His patience and His forbearance toward us allows us time to repent and to get right with Him. And yet, when a person persists in their disobedience, known disobedience to almighty God, there are going to be consequences. And what you have to ask is this, do you really want to hurt your family the way you're hurting them? Do you really and truly want to hurt those whom you love, those who love you? Do you want to hurt the people who respect you and honor you?

Or are you just willing to do it? And oftentimes, a person, they don't want to stop and think about the consequences. Think about kids who run away from home and get on drugs, cause their parents all kind of trouble. The only thing they're thinking about is me, myself, and I. And the truth is that's what sin's all about. Sin's all about me.

It's not about what's good for other people. It's all about what I want. And the truth is that which I want oftentimes is the very thing that destroys me.

And so, here he is and he's running from God and his painful circumstances, listen, have now drifted over to those who had nothing to do with it. Now, the next principle is simply this, that God's grace often provides a second chance. And I would say not often, but most of the time He gives a second chance. Now, the second chance is not always. I say maybe.

For the simple reason, there are some opportunities that God may offer us, that He may command us. Some things He wants us to do that two years from now won't work. Next year won't work. Next month won't work. Maybe next week won't work.

Maybe tomorrow won't work. And so, when we say that God offers a second chance, He's given all of us second, third, fourth, tenth, hundred, five hundred thousand, how many chances and opportunities has God given us to repent of our sin? He's forgiven us and kept us moving. But when a person deliberately, willfully says, This is what I'm going to do, no matter what somebody thinks, I'm going to do what I want to do, don't give me this God stuff, I'm here to tell you, you're headed in the wrong direction for a painful ending in your life.

So, think about it. Did He give Jonah a second chance? Yes, He did.

Now, we'll have to admit that He was rather convincing. Here He is in the belly of a whale and seaweed wrapped all around Him and He knows He's going to die at any moment. And all of a sudden, all of this determined, willful, prideful, I'll do what I want to do, melts into nothingness and He's ready to go wherever God wants Him to go. God give Him a second chance?

Yes. Aren't you grateful that He's given us a second, third, fourth, tenth, thousandth chance? So, it's very interesting what happens here because God calls Him again that second time in the third chapter. So, Jonah rose, went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now, Nineveh was an exceeding great city, three days walk. Then Jonah began to go through the city, one day's walk, and he cried and said, Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown. Then the people of Nineveh believed in God, that's our Jehovah God. They called a fast put on sackcloth from the graves to the least. And the king, when it reached him, he called a fast.

Now, here's the big question. Why would the Ninevites, why would they who had no respect for Israel whatsoever, didn't believe in Israel's God, why would they listen to a prophet come walking through their city streets talking about the God of Israel was going to destroy them because of their wickedness if there were no repentance? Why do they believe Him? I'll tell you why I believe they did. Because when they looked at Him after having been in a whale, because there are accounts of other people being swallowed by whales, not just Jonah.

And the accounts that I've read have always been that their skin turned absolutely white, I guess for what's inside of a whale. There had to be something besides just His voice. Why listen to some Israelite so-called prophet? They listened to Him, they saw Him, they were convinced, and immediately the word got to the king.

They called a city wide, almost like a nationwide fast, sack, cloth, and ashes, even the king, repentance toward Almighty God. Even in His spirit of disobedience, God accomplished His purpose. And what I want us to see here is simply this, that God will accomplish it. God, listen, God isn't looking for perfect men and women to use. He's looking for available servants, people who are willing to be used. And I think there are many people that God would use if they get their life straightened out, because some people He's not going to use because of the way they're living.

He's not going to use them. And some people He will use, and we wonder how and why. And so, there's a great awakening, people repent, and what would you think?

You would think, well, Jonah would be so excited about what's happening. But listen to what I want to clarify a verse in, in the ninth verse of the third chapter. Who knows, the king says, God may turn and relent. Now, relent doesn't mean change His mind, but that means He will not persist in the direction in which He's going to destroy us. And remember this, God doesn't change His mind. Why would God change His mind when He knows past, present, and future? God oftentimes makes promises that are conditioned upon, or He makes proclamations that are conditioned upon. And what He said to Jonah, here's what you to tell Him, forty days it's over for you. But He was telling them that to warn them so that it would not happen, and therefore, He did not continue that.

And so, what happens? Chapter four, but it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. Now, why in the world would this prophet who was sent to preach the truth of Jehovah God, the one true God, and they believed Him and repented of their sin, even from the king, fasting and praying and crying out to God to hear them and please do not destroy them. And the man who delivered the message is greatly displeased.

And he's angry. Here's what he said, he said, the reason I went to Tarshish is because I knew that if I did what you said, here's what was going to happen. This whole crowd was going to be saved.

And so, I didn't want that to happen. In other words, the very thing God wanted to happen, He didn't want it to happen, it happened, and what's He doing? He's arguing with God. And so, the Scripture says, Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.

Well, that's the second time he's trying to die. The Lord said, Do you have good reason to be angry? Then Jonah went out from the city and sat to the east of it and they made a shelter, and this big leaf grew up over him and sheltered him from the sun. And the Bible says God appointed this plant, and Jonah was happy about the plant, but God appointed a worm to eat the plant with it.

So, now he's got this hot scorching sun and east wind coming down upon him. He's about to faint, and he's begged with all of his soul saying in this eighth verse, Death is better to me than life. Three times the man is trying to die rather than obey God. Verse nine, Then God said to Jonah, Do you have a good reason to be angry about the plant? And he said, I have good reason to be angry even to death. Then the Lord said to him, You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and, He says, which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.

Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who don't know the difference between the right and left hand, which is probably the children, as well as the many animals? The last thing we hear about Jonah, he's still arguing with God, wanting to die when he had obeyed God against his will and the purpose of God was accomplished. Now, as I said to you, this is about God and the will of God.

It's not about Jonah and Phish, because thirty-eight times in these four short chapters, it's all about God. So, the last principle, running from God can be eternally disastrous. So, I say to you, if you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, all the excuses in the world will not change one verse of the Word of God. All of your arguments, whether they be scientific or not scientific, listen, all of your unbelief is not going to change a single principle from the Word of God.

Here is the most basic of those principles. A man will reap what he sows, more than he sows, later than he sows, period. You run from God. You choose not to believe Him. You choose not to trust Jesus Christ as your Savior.

And what happens? You will suffer eternal separation from God. That is the ultimate penalty of rebellion toward God. And I plead with you in the name of Jesus Christ Himself. Listen, stop and think about where you're headed. Stop and think about what the consequences are of your disobedience to God. Stop and think about your eternal future. Apart from Jesus Christ, there is, listen, absolutely no hope.

He came, died on the cross, laid down His life, rose from the dead, sits at the Father's right hand, absolutely unmistakably clear and evident that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the way of salvation. There is no other. Your good works will never get you there.

You don't know how many works, how it's going to work. The Bible's crystal clear, it's not by works, but by the grace and love and mercy of God provided through the cross, Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. Running from God is a deadly mistake. And my prayer for you is that you stop running and run to Jesus, asking for forgiveness of your sins, surrendering your life to Him and watch Him do the most awesome work in your life. And Father, we thank You that we don't have to beg You to do that because that's what You want to do for all of us. You want to save the most rebellious. You want to save the most sinful, the most evil, the most wicked, the most vile. Your compassion and Your love as expressed by how You responded to the Ninevites in spite of all their wickedness.

Your love hasn't changed. And I pray for every single person who is listening and who will listen to this message to realize. This is a message about your love and your compassion and your willingness to forgive. It is also a message about the ultimate judgment upon disobedience. And I pray that every single person would be willing to examine themselves honestly, look at their future, and ask the question, if I refuse to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, what is my hope for my eternal future?

And help them to understand that the answer to that is very simple. There is no hope, none whatsoever. I pray that You'll grant everyone the wisdom, Father, to make a wise decision.

Stop running and start resting in the grace of Almighty God in Jesus's name. Amen. Thank you for listening to part two of The Costly Decision to Run from God. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-03 03:38:52 / 2023-11-03 03:47:12 / 8

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