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August 2, 2020 12:01 am
Carter Conlon from the historic Times Square Church in New York City. So what does God do to get a hold of a hold search age that talks about him and sings about it but doesn't really want his presence in their midst. So you want to go there, were glad you've joined us for a call to the nation with Carter, you know a lot of people in our churches here in America. Don't mind the singing teaching with the fellowship.
I don't mind all of the things that go on in the name of God, but in reality many of the same people are fleeing from the presence of the Lord.
Carter will explain why that's happening in today's message from Jonah. It's titled away the store to follow along and some of the Scriptures together and just see how this particular moment we are in history today could affect your life and work at the hand of God possibly be in all of this now in the Bible there was a man of the Old Testament. His name was Jonah and he was called of God to do a specific thing that he just didn't want to do and so the Bible tells us that if fled in verse three. Jonah rose deflated charges from the presence of the Lord.
Now this is an interesting concept. I preached on this before and I have assured from my heart that I filled the Jonah fled from the calling of the Lord and that so many people preach this passage but that's not what it says he fled from the presence of the Lord because in the presence of the Lord. He became aware of the purpose of his life see a lot of people today don't mind religion but they don't want the presence of the Lord.
A lot of our churches in America today. They don't mind the smoke and the mirrors they don't mind the singing don't mind all of the things that go on in the name of God, but they actually are fleeing from the presence of the Lord because were God's presence is there is a conviction of sin were God's presence is this a turning from long to write a turning to righteousness as the Bible says God's presence as we don't just go to church and feel good about ourselves. Missionaries are born, their callings are given their were God's presence is you don't have a revival without omissions moment that you don't go to get a lot of people tried to have revivals in America in the last 10 to 20 years and they conjured up all kinds of things in the name of God, but nothing of any real significance is birth in it because the presence of God is not really there. It's gathering to worship and to speak about God, but the presence of God calls us into something that maybe were reluctant to do or even think that were capable of doing in Jonah's case, the Lord was calling them to people he didn't much care for calling him to ministry really didn't want calling to place didn't want to go and quite often. That's exactly what the calling of God, at least initially.
Looks like we we always think that it is God's calling. It's gotta be my dream vacation per se some mission feel somewhere that I've always longed to go to but if you go back to the just the history of the Christian church you will find people like Hudson Taylor been called the places were hard places were family members had to be very places where there was sorrow there was heartache and of course the reports of that would come back to other Christians living in relative safety and and they knew that the fall of the calling of God meant to go into those places were many, many had gone before, where there was difficulty where there was hardship where it wasn't easy and there's something in all of us to just wants an easy path.
We want heaven and we want more or less an easy path on the way to heaven. Now God speaking to this man but is not listening, presence of the Lord has come to him and in the presence of God. When God is there God never forgets what our calling as we might try to forget.
We could try to force it away. But God doesn't forget what is called us to do three times. It says in the first chapter the Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord. Now, as he is fleeing from God.
He went down into the belly of the ship, he paid a price to go in the opposite direction and when we go in the opposite direction. There's always a price to be. Trust me, and he headed out in the opposite direction for God was calling him and he went down into the belly of the ship and in the midst of a huge storm that's affecting people all around. Think about it. Today is a huge storm in our society people are despairing suicides are now on the rise over the Dixons are reaching epidemic proportions and lot of our small towns in America today.
Grandma and grandpa stone in the car with the grandkids in the backseat passed out in the street or in the driveway. This was happening in America.
Abortions are on the increase in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
It's it's just as if evil is now on steroids in the society and so the question is where is the church where the people of God, where are where are those who are called to make a difference in the society. I suggest to you that in the midst of this storm the prayerless NESN God's house is in evidence that were done exactly what Jonah did were sound asleep in the belly of the ship, just, and many many of God's people instead of praying or sleeping instead of praying or just looking for something to pacify their own sense of fear or lack of fulfillment and just as Jono once did. We are sound asleep in the midst of the storm were people around us are crying out it says people were calling out to their gods, whatever their concept of God wasn't on it. If you can hear it, but the Lord hears it, and if we come into the presence of God.
We will hear two people are crying in apartments in New York City. Single mothers don't know how the going to feed their kids young people are crying for a reason to live. The hopelessness it's wanting to swallow a whole generation is also becoming literally pandemic in our society today. Marriages are falling apart. Don't know where the going to get provision in her calling out to whatever their concept of God is not. If you concede in your mind.
Some are lighting candles are burning incense summer chanting summer. We don't know what they're doing. People are doing all kinds of things because of the severity of the storm that's come worldwide now in this generation. And so suddenly the captain of the ship comes down into the belly and start speaking to the conscience of this menaces arise: your God.
Perhaps your God will consider us that way so that we may not perish, but this is an unsaved man coming to the man of God and saying, rise and start calling out to your God, and perhaps he will have mercy on us and so Jonah finds himself suddenly on the deck of the ship very much like Paul the apostle did in acts chapter 27.
Now the sailors the run.
That vessel said to him tell us, for whose cause is this trouble upon us to others. Why is this happening in our world. What is your occupation where you come from, what is their country and what kind of people are you and suddenly he's confronted with the reality of who he is, is confronted with the reality that he was commissioned by God to go to a place to tell the people who are known for their godlessness of their violence about the justice of God, he feared in his heart that this these people would be shown mercy and he didn't want them to be shown mercy. The Scripture clearly tells us that at the end of this book called Jonah so he fled in an opposite direction, but suddenly coming into his consciousness is who are you when asked people are online listening.
Who are you who are you, what is your occupation. Where do you come from and what is your country like where's your citizenship. What kind of a people do you belong to, what is your heritage. What is been handed down to you from previous generations. What is your speech supposed to sound like where's your conversation supposed to lead people to what kind of people are your people and we had the courage to answer the questions they would say well I come from a lineage of people who went into arenas were torn apart by lions rather than deny the God that they served. I come from a heritage of people died by the sword, who were put in prisons were marked were stoned or sewn asunder as the Scripture says I I come from a heritage of people who really through blood and fire passed on the torch to me to bring to people in my generation, a torch that talks about the mercy of God talks about the provision of God, the protection of God. The sacrifice of God's son on the cross so that all men and women and children might be set free from the penalty and the power of sin. It says the men on that ship were exceedingly afraid.
Verse 10 and this is why you done this for the they knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord because he had told them his sleep. Why did you do this, why did you flee from God's presence and bring the storm upon a star not sharing this to indict the church.
But this will this actually happened and we know from Scripture that God sent this storm to get a hold of this one man in all the sailors on the ship are in the storm now because one man is going in the opposite direction to where God has called him, what do we have to do that.
What what shall we do the said in verse 11 that the city may be calm for us because the sea was getting worse and worse and worse. I wanted tell you something the coronavirus is only the beginning of sorrows is only the beginning of trouble is going to touch us worldwide. The days ahead are going to be extremely difficult for everybody, even as one time Mordecai the cousin said to his cousin Esther don't think because he found the palace to live in that you're going to be safe. This crisis is come into this world is going to touch everybody and in every place. Now his answer is very strange unless you begin to understand the God started to speak something to us through this passage of Scripture he said to them, pick me up and throw me into the sea, then the sea will become common for you, for I know that this great tempests is because of me find a smooth sailing place on are not called to live to focus on my own safety, security, bone, happiness my own way of doing things. I am called by God for divine purpose it is you will throw me into the midst of your trouble.
It will become calm for you is who is the church of Jesus Christ our light, we are assault.
We are defined this way by Jesus Christ himself where to bring healing preservation of truth. What a great thirst for the things of God were to be lights in the set upon a hill that cannot be hidden. So throw me into the midst of your trouble.
Mother was instead of sleeping in the middle of the ship throw me into the center of your storm. That's the purpose of my life. That's what I'm called to because this was the beginning of the understanding that he had caused hardship in other people's lives because he had turned away from the full calling the God had placed upon him now he's in a storm there in the storm.
But Jonah storm is about to turn from the storm to a whale of a storm. That's where I think we get the expression it was a whale of a storm. It was a whale of a windstorm. I've heard when I was a kid, I didn't realize it, but most likely the terminology course came from the book of Jonah.
Just when you think it couldn't get worse.
Imagine the taken and in his mind it's okay if you just if you'll just kind of throw me overboard or maybe at this point is us.
It sounds like a suicide mission for him. Just let me die and everything will be well for I know that God is allowed this because I'm running from the call of God.
So if I die then maybe God's anger towards new be pacified in the storm will cease, and you'll be safe and so they take him up as a last resort. They throw him overboard and he probably thinks at this point is going to drown only to be swallowed by a whale that is storm just became a whale of a storm on the bridge. I can't. I can't fathom being in a worse place that I can't fathom the depths your ear in a whale. I meant figure this one during a whale and you're down in the belly of the whale and on all the dead represents and all that that smells like and how dark that is until you could just begin to fathom what that would have been like for Joan. At that moment I tell you one thing, it began to pray in that place. I'm looking at people here that they don't know what to do. The storm is gone so big that the waves are so high, I have one here. All of this region 11 example rated the entasis from Ohio. My husband's at a breaking point is a pastor in the business owner is in desperate need of prayer.
The pressures are too much. What might I suggest maybe maybe one's got to prosper. Once you live, the others got a die. It's hard to be a pastor and a business owner at the same time. Now Jonah prayed to the Lord from the fish's belly. Chapter 2 now.
Here's his prayer. I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction and he answered me. I cried out.
Is it we won't cry if were not afflicted.
It's it's really that simple.
That's the kind of creatures that we are, if everything is going smoothly and were allowed to just delivered our slumber. If we can flee from the presence of God, then we will just more or less ride through life like that and finish her course like that but he said I cried because of my affliction and he answered me, and he answered me, it doesn't say Eddie was fed up with me and I didn't say it doesn't say any said don't talk to me anymore. You haven't obeyed my calling. It doesn't say no.
You ran from the calling I placed on your life is is know he answered me out of the belly of sale, which is is is a place of the dead. I cried and you heard my voice for you cast me into the deep into the heart of the seas.
The flood surrounded me in all your billows and your waves passed over me. Then I said I'd been cast out to your sites yet. I will look again towards your holy temple. Jonah says I recognized that the place I was in that it was because of my lack of commitment to your calling in my life and because I chose to flee from you. Instead of walked towards you. I chose not to believe that you could use my life or something of great value and instead I chose my own way paid the fare and headed off in the opposite direction. But yet you sent the storm and then you send a whale of a storm my way and I felt as if I deserved your judgments all your billows and your waves all your warnings everything in the Scripture that tells me what I've been, what I've failed to become his passing over me. Suddenly over my mind is coming back. The word of God that I neglected the promises I didn't claim as my own. The strength I could've had.
But I forfeited it for my own ideas and then I said I'd been cast onto your side. But he said yet.
I will look toward your again toward your holy temple. The water surrounded me even to my soul, and others. This trial was so deep it adds to itself in the very fabric of might be it couldn't go any deeper.
I was at the blood by once and I was at the .0 of of life, the deep closed around the weeds were wrapped around my head. Mother was a deep sense of failure was just all regrets is all I could think about this, this, the sense of God. What I do with my life and wanted to do with your presence and what about done with your calling and look at the people and came in to sell because of my life. The storm that they had to endure because you were trying to get a hold of me and I believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ is trying to get a hold of his church. Again in this hour is trying to get hold of of every person that sits in every seat in every house of God. And yes, he will allow a storm to come because all things are working together for good, because we do love God deep down in all and we are the called according to his partner, not our purpose. His purpose.
I went down to the moorings of the mountains, the earth, with its bars close behind me forever. Another was the, the things of this world were trying to convince me that it was hopeless. I had no future. There is no way to get out of here. I went down verse six to the moorings of the mountains, the earth, with its bars closed behind me forever. In other words, I was hopelessly swallowed up by my failure hopelessly. There was no way out. I knew it there was no way to get out of this predicament. I meant there's no way to get out of this fish that swallowed me. There's no way to get out of the debt faded within me. I remember the Lord and my prayer went up to you, into your holy temple now died seemingly doesn't get any farther apart than that is not amazing like I'm down as low as I can go near as high as you can go. But, oh God, I'm praying for you now and if you can still hear my voice he says in verse nine. This is where it starts to really turn but I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving that amazing before he said three before he rediscovers his purpose is as God I'm just going to start thanking you. I can't go any lower. It doesn't get any darker this get any worse by making the choice not just going to thank you for being merciful. No, thank you for being you deliver. I want to thank you for being kind.
I'm going to thank you for being one opens prison doors are set captives free to heal the wounded heart to give sight to the blind.
I'm going to start just thanking you for being who you are and he says in the end of verse nine of chapter 2, I will pay what I have vowed salvation is of the Lord. In other words, I am called of you to bring this great message of salvation to anybody who can still hear it I'm called to go where ever you send me to go.
It's not my choice. It's your choice, and Jonah suddenly in the midst of his trial remembers what he vowed to the Lord and says this incredible word salvation is of the Lord. It's up to you, Lord, how you choose to bring this great message of salvation unto whom you bring it to and who used to send it there and so verse 10 as soon as he praises. I will do what I said I would do God. If you would touch my life again. I will live for you. I will serve you.
I will speak for you. I will go or you call me to go so the Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. I love this story and suddenly he finds himself on land in the place of his calling, but something has changed something in this man's life is changed and here's what it is. There is an incredible presence of God with him, amazing presence of God is a three day walk through this city, a city of Assyrians known further godlessness known for their cruelty. No further desire to conquer other people need absolute enemies at that time of the people of God, and Jonah walks through the city and all is is Mrs. is really simple. 40 days and it's all over, God senior wicked is 40 days. The fire of God's coming down on the ground's gonna swallowed it was going to happen you going to be burned up.
The city is going to be gone. You're all going to die 40 days and what he didn't realize is the presence of God that he had run from is now with them. And God is that someone's Jonah, God is speaking to the people. Jonah is just confirming what God has already been speaking to the people praise be to God and the Scripture tells us the people of Nineveh believed God business either believed in Joan. I love this in chapter 3 and verse five assists with the people of Nineveh believed God. There was this incredible presence of God with them, proclaimed a fast put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. The word came to the king of the end of a rose from his throne laid aside his robes covered himself with sackcloth and sat in asses it is truly truly amazing that it's as God saw their works they turn from their evil way and God relented from the disaster. He said he would bring upon them and did not do it. Jonah had no idea that Nineveh city of thousands of vitamins hundred 10,100 20,000 did no idea the hundred and 20,000 people were going to turn away from the center turn towards God had no idea in his mind.
He was just going to pronounce judgment on this particular city had no idea what God's going to do. See, the Lord does not show loss. The whole plan. It just shows us. The next step and all you and are required to do is take the next step in and take the next step and intake. The next step in everyday take the next step. It was only a three date ministry and were talking about it thousands of years later were still talking about a three day ministry amazing when you think about it three days and it's all written down meds and if you serve God for just three days and up for chapters in the in the word of God for. That's what Jonah got three days and three days of obedience.
Three days of opening his mouth and telling people there's is injustice, but there had to be something of God in his message that spoke of mercy deceived because I don't think he was speaking about mercy. I think his message was just about judgment, but God was overriding he at least had a vessel through whom he could work and it was overriding that messes of judgment along and he was speaking about mercy. The people knew the kingdom, the whole of Nineveh new the God would be willing to source merciful return from our wickedness and turn towards him and because of the obedience in the short short ministry recorded here one man hundred and 20,000 people were spared in eternity in hell. There were spared for a season so they can get to know God. There were spared for a generation from judgment with sentiments of darkness forever is see when you and are walking in the right place.
We were doing what God calls us to do. He sees no longer about us is now about other people. It's about them finding forgiveness is not about just us getting out of all of our struggles in our trials. If heaven is your home is your name is written down in God's book of life.
If you have trusted Christ for your salvation. If you can honestly say God is your father the Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Holy Spirit is your helper if you can say that heaven is your home. Your future is secure. Now it's not about you. It's now but others and when Jesus is following me there is a cross that comes without I'm sorry. I wish I wish I could tell you, like some others, it is Tuscumbia life of ease and plenty, but that's not what the Bible says there are seasons and times in this world when is going to be difficult to live for God, but with God all things are possible. The presence I love this one thought that in a moment Jonah is back on land is not far away from his calling is in the exact place of his calling is literally spit out of the shores of Nineveh were gonna call them to go an incredible presence of God is with him. So this is my prayer for you on the just praying for your healing unprinted to become light on not just praying for deliverance from drugs or depression or addiction or whatever it is I'm trying to become mighty. The do not just come out of something. But you go into what God has for your life on some of the greatest advances in the world are people are the greatest struggles before they came to the knowledge of where God was leading them all. Praise God, if you can hear me tonight if you can hear this, God can raise up an army. This world is in the storm in this world needs an army of God empowered spirit filled men and women who go to the place that God has called them to the message today has been brought to you by Carter Conlon from Times Square church. For more information log onto TSC.NYC TSC.NYC plan to be with us next week for a call to the nation with Carter,