Share This Episode
Summit Life J.D. Greear Logo

A Whole New Kind of Obedience, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2024 9:00 am

A Whole New Kind of Obedience, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1280 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

January 10, 2024 9:00 am

In your high school English class, you probably learned that any good book or movie has something called a dénouement at the end, where the story gets wrapped up and we get closure for all the characters.

Moody Church Hour
Pastor Phillip Miller
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Alan Wright Ministries
Alan Wright

Today on Summit Life, a question for all of us to answer. Does Jonah ever get it?

I personally would like to think that he does because most scholars think that Jonah himself wrote the book, which means that Jonah is posing the question, which means that Jonah got it, but it's left as a question because it's a question for you and a question for me. Do we get it? Are you engaged heart and soul in the mission of God? Thanks for joining us today here on Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. In your high school English class, you probably learned that any good story has something called a denouement. At the end, that's just a fancy word for the way that the story gets wrapped up and we get closure for all of the characters. But when we look at the book of Jonah, we don't ever really get that kind of closure for Jonah. Today on Summit Life, Pastor JD Greer explains why this story leaves us hanging a bit as he continues our teaching series called Cast Away. If you've missed any of the previous teachings, you can always catch up online free of charge at But for now, here's Pastor JD with the second half of his teaching he titled A Whole New Kind of Obedience. Jonah chapter 4, but it displeased Jonah exceedingly and he was angry and he prayed to the Lord and said, oh Lord, is this not what I said when I was yet in my country? Isn't this why I made haste to flee to Tarshish?

You hear that by the way? He's still justifying himself. You see, he might have consented to obey God because he knows that you can't actually fight against God and win, but in his heart, he still disagrees. What you see is that Jonah has consented because of the pressure of the belly of a well.

But as soon as those pressures are gone, he's going back to his original heart position and he's justifying himself and he's expressing his hatred toward the Ninevites. Jonah's behavior, listen to this, Jonah's behavior may have conformed to what God wanted, but his heart is still unmelted. And that's why I've called the difference between Christianity 1.0 and 2.0. And some of you are at 1.0 because you know you can't fight against God and win, but God's not after just obedience. He's after a new kind of obedience, the kind that grows where your heart delights in him and delights in what he delights in.

Let's keep reading. For I knew, Jonah says, that you are a gracious God and merciful. How dare you? Verse 3. Therefore now, oh Lord, please take my life from me for it's better for me to dive and to live.

I love this. Verse 4. And the Lord said, do you do well to be angry?

This is basically the Lord saying, really? Jonah's disease is twofold. Number one, Jonah is an idolater. Jonah's idol is that he loves his racial identity.

He loves his status as a leader in a prosperous nation. The Ninevites not being destroyed would threaten that, so he hates them because they threatened to take from him that thing which he loves most. Let me give you the second, the second element of Jonah's disease. Jonah's ignorant. Jonah's ignorant of the grace that God has extended toward him.

You see that in verse 2. Jonah says, I knew, I knew that you were a God who was compassionate. Jonah's resentful of that. Now, if Jonah's going to bring up the compassion of God, he should probably not be resentful of it. He should probably be grateful because what character in this story has received more compassion than anybody else? Jonah, when you see yourself as a recipient of great grace, then God's compassion, listen, becomes his most precious attribute to you. And when God's compassion becomes his most precious attribute to you, then you become compassionate by nature to others. When you're generous, it's because you understand the beauty of God's grace. If you're not forgiving with your spouse or those around you, then you probably don't understand grace.

Those people who are recipients of great grace become dispensers of great grace. Honestly, Jonah probably saw his sin and Nineveh's sin in two different categories. I mean, he was like, oh, the Ninevites, they're adulterers. They're cruel. I'm not a bad sinner like them.

Let me ask you this. What had Jonah done? Jonah had looked into the face of God and said no.

Each of you in this room have looked at God at some point in your life. You said, no, God, I am not doing that. And that is blasphemy of the highest order. Jonah doesn't understand that. You and I don't understand that, which is why we don't understand how much grace God has given us.

Write this down. A spirit of unforgiveness and a lack of generosity is the indication you are out of touch with the grace of God in your own life. So that's Jonah's disease, idolatry and ignorance. By the way, and all of this after, after he is consented to do God's will.

Right? I mean, by Jonah 4, Jonah's no longer directly defying of God, is he? He's doing exactly what God wants. He's not even doing part of what God wants. He's doing all of what God wants. That is the picture of most religious people.

Religious people are like, well, I don't want to go to hell and I don't want to be in the belly of a whale, so I'll do what God wants. But that doesn't mean that you've come to delight in God or become forgiving like God. Delighting in God, becoming loving like God, those things can only happen in you by a deep and profound experience of grace. That's why the Messianic reading of Jonah is so important. Because in the Messianic reading, you begin to see that Jesus is the one who suffered all the consequences for your disobedience. And when you begin to see that, that should produce love and generosity in your heart. God is not just after obedience, church. Listen, he's after a whole new kind of obedience, the obedience that grows from the passions of the heart.

Right? There's more. Verse 5. Verse 5, Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade till he should see what would become of the city man he is hoping. He's like, I hope that repentance wears off, I hope that God forgets about it, I hope they take God off again. There would have been many there would have been nothing that Jonah would have loved more than to see a lightning bolt come out of heaven and just obliterate the city of Nineveh. Nothing would have made him feel better.

You got somebody in your life like that? Verse 6. Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when the plant came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant.

Not just killed the plant, attacked it, so that it withered. Verse 8, when the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, not just an east wind, a scorching east wind. And the sun beat down on the bald head of Jonah so that he was faint.

Doesn't say bald in Hebrew, but I'm pretty sure Jonah was bald. And he asked that he might die and he said, it is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, do you well to be angry for the plant? And Jonah said, yes, I do well to be angry. Angry enough to die. Now, if I were Jonah's counselor and Jonah was telling me this story and he got to this point about, you know, and God said to me, do you do well to be angry? And I said, yeah, I do well to be angry for the plant.

Angry enough to die. At that point, I would have been tempted to laugh. And then I would have looked at Jonah and seen that he is not laughing. And then I'd wipe the smile off my face and I'd say, wow, it sounds like that plant was really important to you, Jonah.

And just kind of nod my head. This is the second time that God has asked Jonah if he has a right to be angry. The first time was in verse four and Jonah had no response.

This time, he explodes back to God. You're daggone right I'm angry. And I've got a right to be angry.

I am justified in my anger. Verse 10. And the Lord said, you pity the plant for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow. It came into being in a night and it perished in a night.

Should I not pity Nineveh, that great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left and also some cows? The word of God, my friend. The word of God. God says, Jonah, you're all tore up about a plant. A plant. A plant.

They came into being in a night and perished in a night. I mean, that's a pretty impressive plant. I'm not going to lie to you. Turbo plant.

He's like, you didn't work for it. It's temporary. It's passing. 120,000 people in the city don't know their right hand from their left. By the way, most scholars say that's not a reference to people who are ambidextrous. That means that they're children.

Don't know their right hand from their left. 120,000 kids. It's like, Jonah, how could you look at such a massive destruction of life of sinful people? Yes, but people, Jonah, just like you. Even children who are as precious to me as your children, Jonah, are to you.

How could you look at that with no emotion, Jonah? Yeah, I think the last line is thrown in there for a little sardonic kind of comic relief. Also, by the way, just real quick, this is a little off topic, but that last line, all so much cattle, is in there for another reason.

You want to know what it is? All through the Old Testament, there is a promise that God is not just redeeming the human race. He's also redeeming the whole world, which includes all creation. Remember I told you last week that they made the cows go without food, and the effect of that would be to moo.

So you got all these cows all over the city mooing, creating the sense of mourning. Romans chapter eight says all of creation is groaning, awaiting the redemption of the sons of God. So he's showing that, yeah, hey, Jonah, it's not just even, it's about the people, yes, but it's also the whole world cries out for redemption, and you resent it. So how does Jonah end? What is Jonah's response?

Look at your Bible. What's the next verse say? There is no next verse. That's right. That's it. That's the end. The Dukes of Hazzard ending, Bo and Luke duke in midair.

You just don't know where they're going to land. It's a cliffhanger. It ends with a question, because the book is a question for religious people, like Jonah, and that question is, do you care? Do you care more for perishing people than you do for your stuff? Stuff that is temporary, like the plant that comes up, goes away, fades away as quickly as you obtained it, and on the scale of eternity is actually pretty meaningless.

That's the question of the book of Jonah. It's a question for you. What do you care the most about? What are you most upset about right now? The tears that you shed last year.

Go back and think about the last year. The tears that you shed over the course of a year. What were they about? How much grief does the fate of lost people bring to you? Romans chapter nine, Paul says, when he thinks about the fate of people apart from God, apart from God, he says, literally, I am in anguish every day. What'd you cry about last year? Have you ever been in anguish over lost people?

Have you ever shed a tear over somebody who is lost? You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. For more information about this ministry, visit We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to quickly tell you about our new featured resource this month. It's time for our brand new yearly set of scripture memory cards. And don't worry, it's 52 new scriptures to commit to memory in this new year. One reason we prioritize memorizing scripture is that it allows us to share our faith with unbelievers better. We are urged in first Peter 3 15 to always be ready to give a defense for our hope in Christ. So having scripture at the tip of our tongue can help us walk unbelievers through the salvation message and help them understand their sin and need for a Savior, speaking God's words instead of our own. It also helps us bring an encouraging word to a friend in need or a colleague in crisis. You can keep this pack of 52 cards or maybe even better, share them with others. They're an inspiring reminder to your loved ones that God is always with them. Support Summit Life today by giving us a call at 866-335-5220.

Or you can give online at Now let's return to our teaching. Once again, here's Pastor JD. For Jonah, the Ninevites were not people. They were a concept.

It was a big enemy city. That's why God points out the 120,000 children. God thought of them as individuals.

Do you know there are 2.2 billion individuals in our world who have yet to be warned about Jesus? Individuals just like you, made in the image of God like you, who experience pain and sadness and fear just like you, who love their kids just like you love yours, who know what it's like to be alone, who know what it's like to be scared, for whom going into eternity apart from God and into hell would be every bit the tragedy that it would be for you. No worse for them than it would be for you. No better for them than it would be for you. Individuals just like you. And do you care? Do you care? And does your life have any indication or demonstration that you care? Adoniram Judson, first American missionary, for whom I named my first son, said this, listen, quote, but surely if any sin will lie with crushing weight on the trembling, shrinking Christian soul when grim death draws near, it would be the sin of turning a deaf ear to the plaintive cry of tens of millions of immortal beings who day and night cry out, cry out, come and save us, for we are sinking into hell. How could we not care? How could we not weep?

Why do we have so much passion for things that really don't matter at all and so little passion for things that actually do? You weep about the plant, but there's 2.2 billion people in the world that have never heard the name of Jesus and never a tear comes. That's all because some of those are getting ready to retire today. They're not part of our church, but they were just telling me, really excited because they're finally going to retire and now they got a chance. They've been collecting a certain item for about 20 years. They got a great collection of it and now they're going to be able to devote the next 20 years of their life to be able to travel around the world and get the biggest collection of these anybody's ever seen.

And I'm looking at that and I'm a little more polite than this, but I look at them thinking, I was like, really? That's how you want to spend that a good person claiming to be a Christian. You want to spend the next 20 years of your life before you meet King Jesus walking around the world collecting toys. That's how you want to spend the last 20 years of your life collecting toys when there's 2.2 billion people on our planet that have never heard the name of Jesus. I'm not saying every one of you when you retire have to be a missionary. And most of you probably do.

I'm just saying that it just doesn't make sense. A life that is yielded for the trajectory of the acquisition of more stuff. There's one other thing about Jonah I want to point out. I told you that Jonah is a literary masterpiece.

Remember that? All kinds of literary devices. One of them, listen, one of them is the repetition of the word great. The word great in Hebrew appears all throughout the book of Hebrew. Now, sometimes in your Bible it will be translated differently than great.

Let me read you all the times it shows up, but I'll always translate it great. Chapter 1, verse 2, arise, go to Nineveh, that great city. 1, 4, but the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a great tempest on the sea. Chapter 1, verse 10, the men were greatly afraid. 1, 16, then the men feared the Lord greatly. 1, 17, then the Lord appointed a great fish. Chapter 3, verse 2, go to Nineveh, God said, that great city.

Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, or great, great city is how that would be translated. Chapter 3, verse 5, they put on sackcloth from the greatest of them to the least of them. 4, 1, it displeased Jonah greatly, and he was angry. 4, 6, so Jonah was greatly glad because of the plan. 4, 11, should I not pity Nineveh, that great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons? The whole point of that literary device is to show you the greatness of God's mission. Nineveh's wickedness is great, God's grace is greater. Jonah's hatred for the Ninevites is great, God's compassion for them is greater. Have you felt the greatness and the weightiness of that mission, and is your life now characterized by the greatness and weightiness of that mission? It was said that Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China, could hardly bear to stand to be in an audience like this one. Not because he hated church, he was an Englishman, he came out of England, he said, I cannot bear the sound of a thousand English-speaking people singing the praises of God together, when there are still so many millions of Chinese that have never even heard his name. He made this statement, he said, would that God would make hell so real to the church that none of us can rest.

Is your life marked by the heaviness that comes from participation in that greatness? Every year, we take up, it's called the Christmas mission's offering. That's not the original name for it. The original name for it is the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. The offering is taken for the name of a single four foot six missionary to China named Lottie Moon. She gave away her 30 years there in the mission field to the Chinese people. A famine swept China when she was in her late 40s, and so she started to write American pastors where she was from and say, won't you please give something to your brothers and sisters in Christ in China who are starving. She literally gave up all the food that she had, all of it, to her Chinese brothers and sisters, and she died of starvation.

They say that she weighed less than 50 pounds at her death. Chinese nurse was with her when she died, said that the last thing she did when she died is she's breathing very slowly and heavily. She could tell it was coming toward the end, and she said, Lottie Moon, begin to sing Jesus Loves Me. She got to the end of that song, singing it in Chinese, and then she began to do this where she'd clap her hands together and open them, which in her part of China was a traditional greeting. When you greet somebody that you love, do this, and she would open, and she would say the name after every time she did that of a Chinese believer who had already gone on to be with Jesus. Then it said, the nurse said that she came to the very end, and she did it one more time. She clapped her hands and opened them, but she said no name, and then she quit breathing, and she died.

The Chinese nurse who was a Christian said it was clearly obvious to me that she had seen the Lord Jesus at last, and she saw him and just died. Her whole life, listen, speaks of the weightiness of the mission. So again, Jonah ends with a question. Does Jonah ever get it? Y'all, does Jonah ever get it?

I personally would like to think that he does, because most scholars think that Jonah himself wrote the book, which means that Jonah is posing the question, which means that Jonah got it, but it's left as a question because it's a question for you and a question for me. Do we get it? Are you engaged, heart and soul, in the mission of God? You see, you got a choice. You can either be involved in radical self-emptying devotion of the mission of God, or you can be disobedient. I know most of us like to think of this middle category where we come to church, we volunteer a little bit, we might tithe, and then we feel like, hey, it's okay, you know, I'm doing what God wants me to do, and no, I'm not really radically generous with the money. I'm not pouring myself out of mission, but I'm okay.

I'm doing what God, you know, that category doesn't exist. Jesus said if anybody wants to come after me, he's got to take up a cross and follow me. Not if a handful of select people want to come after me, they can take up their cross. Anybody that comes after me has to take up their cross and follow me. You are either deeply involved in the mission of God, or you are disobedient. Sometimes the self-like, sometimes the, just the selective way we read the Bible just baffles me. You read a verse like 1 Peter 5, 7, cast your cares upon him because he cares, and then you turn over a few pages and you read a verse like this. Anybody comes after me, let him take up his cross and follow me and go into all the world and preach the gospel, and now God doesn't applaud me.

That's for college students who have no job. That's who that's for. I exempt myself from that. Or you read a verse like Matthew 11 28, come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. And you think, oh, that's for me. I love that verse.

I got it on a coffee cup and on my kitchen wall. Then you read a verse like Acts 1 8 that says, go into all the world in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Edomos, parts of the earth. And you're like, not for me. By what right do you appropriate the comforts of scripture, but not the commands? There is no category where you exempt yourself from those things. You're either part of the going and sending process. Not all of you are supposed to be sent, but maybe God's put some of you in a place where you can be part of the sending process. Maybe he's given you a job where you can help support.

Maybe he's given you skills that can help open up different fields. Maybe it's supposed to be that you devote yourself to prayer. You're either going and sending or you are walking in disobedience.

There is no middle category, period. You understand what I'm saying? And if you're not, by the way, naturally inclined to this way, the question I would ask is, do you really understand the gospel?

How about this? Do you really believe the gospel? I know you say you believe it, but how could you believe what the gospel says about the lostness of the world?

And then live the way that you live, right? I've got to say, you either don't understand the gospel really, you don't believe it, or you're not tainted by the love that the gospel is supposed to produce. Where would you be without Jesus?

You'd be at exactly the same place at 2.2 billion people in our world are without you. If you understand that, it will transform your life. Not because I stand up here and yell at you, but because you understand what the gospel says and what it means.

How can you apply this today? How can you engage in the mission of God? Pastor JD has made it clear. Be a part of his mission or be disobedient.

That's pretty black and white, huh? This mission is at the core of all we do here at Summit Life. If you joined us late, remember you can find our entire teaching library as well as many Bible study tools free of charge at Okay, JD, maybe it's a silly question, but scripture memory seems kind of like an activity reserved for kids. Tell us, why is it just as important for us as adults to keep up this practice? You know, I love that you asked the question that way, because I mean, even in churches like ours, it's like, I mean, you know, memorization is what the kids do.

But why would adults exempt themselves from that? Jesus, when he resisted Satan, quoted scripture. And so if Jesus needed that, then certainly JD Greer does, and so do you. God calls us to memorize his word. He says, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

How can a young man or an older man cleanse his way by taking heed according to God's word? It renews your mind. It transforms you. It gives you hope when you're in the midst of darkness, and it gives you power when you're in the midst of temptation. It gives you promises when you're tempted to despair. So to help you on this incredible and essential journey of scripture memorization, we've prepared something for you here at Summit Life called our Summit Life scripture memory cards, 52, one for each week of the year, that are a fantastic tool to aid you in the memorization of scripture.

Don't wait on this. Go right now and secure your set today at As our way of saying thank you for your one-time donation of $35 or more for your monthly commitment as a gospel partner, we'll send you this brand new exclusive resource, the 2024 scripture memory cards. Ask for your set today when you call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220, or you can give online at I'm Molly Vidovitch. Join us again Thursday when Pastor JD shows us there's something greater than Jonah. So be sure to join us right here on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-10 11:31:36 / 2024-01-10 11:42:39 / 11

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime