It is amazing what God will do with somebody who says, I'm not worthy, because he's just telling the truth. None of us are worthy, except, except someone greater than us put a value on us and say, you are worth it. And the cross demonstrates that. And you, oh Christian, you better watch it. When you think that you're not worthy, Christ says, what are you talking about? You think I died for you for nothing?
I need you to agree with me. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of Jonah.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his message called The Value of the Soul in Jonah chapter three. When God created man, he created an extraordinary being. It says in the Bible, he did all things well. He said, let's make man in our own image, to give him free will, give him the ability to choose, to love, to feel, to think, to reason on a level that was higher, far higher than any other animal.
You find some people boasting, you know, that they can get a dog to understand 70 or 80 words. That's nothing compared to a human being. It's absolutely nothing. It's an indication that there is a creator, but it does not put them on the same level. We are unlike anyone else in creation, and Satan attacks that soul.
He attacks us because God put so much into us, it has enraged him. It is the seat of reason. And that reasoning of the soul says, where am I going to live forever? And that's why it is spiritual. When you find a person who is otherwise, especially when they're highly intelligent and they can't reason through eternity.
They are finite. They are like Esau. They only see on the horizontal plane, never the vertical.
They don't look up. They think they do, and they reject whatever others have to say about the spiritual realm. It's not enough to be intelligent. You have to be spiritual. It's not enough to be spiritual. You've got to use your brains. If you're just spiritual, you'll end up being superstitious or falling for some lie from hell.
But it's that combination. The ability to reason, come let us reason, God says. And the ability to see into the spiritual realm, as Jacob saw, the ladder going into heaven, and the traffic between the two. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.
How awesome is this place? The spiritual man was alive in Jacob. We don't read of that of Esau. We never read of the God of Esau. We read of the God of Jacob. Because Esau was strong enough to live this life without God.
Nobody is strong enough to face God after this life without his salvation. Therefore, the soul matters. And the value of the soul is the most valuable thing that you have. It is you. And it is your pastor's responsibility to stress this, to make it clear from time to time in different ways. We're always hitting on it.
This morning we happened to be emphasizing it. Luke chapter 22 verse 19, speaking of Jesus, he took bread and gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them saying, this is my body which is given for you. That's you. What is you? Your soul. Your existence. Who you are. Do this in remembrance of me. Remember me in my death. That's what he's saying. That's why at Resurrection Sunday we have communion.
It is a direct connection. It is a memorial service that includes not only the death, but the victory. The death of Christ is life to sinners. This is a big deal.
This is news. Jesus said, remember my death? It was on your behalf.
And why is that? Because I love you. You know, you can tell a child over and over, I love you. Mom loves you.
Dad loves you. After a while, is it registering with them as in the formative years? I mean, later on it registers most of the time, many times. Sometimes unfortunately there's a fight for it. But does it register when someone says, I love you? And they mean it.
And you should know they mean it. Or not. Again, read Isaiah 53. Because we would all be coasting to a roasting if it weren't for Jesus Christ and his cross. And hopefully, when I preach, I preach things that are useful to God and men. That God can use.
That can benefit people. Because that's what Christ did and does. To strengthen the saved and to save the lost. Because they are souls. And sometimes it appears that we're more mindful of the spiritual world of the believer that we are around than we are around the unbeliever. And I think that it should be no change.
The temperature, the environment stays the same. We're dealing with souls in the presence of the maker of heaven and earth. In studying the Bible, mere knowledge can make the heart indifferent.
Just learning things. Paul said, always learning, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now he said that about those who are up to no good.
But there are elements of that that apply to all of us if we're not careful. To just have another Bible study. To just constantly be taking in, when do you digest it? The word of God is compared to food. Ezekiel and John were told, take the book, eat it. Consume it.
Digest it. And if you don't, you're always learning. But you're never really coming into the knowledge. You never really become useful. It's all about you. There's nothing flowing out of you.
You know, you can develop almost a paranoia. I'm not learning anything. I didn't get anything out of that Bible message. Because it's all about you. When it should be about God. But with anointed biblical teaching, the gap closes.
Now you've got something more. Something that influences the heart. That moves the soul. And like anything else, value is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. How much are you willing to pay to serve Christ?
Or how much was Christ willing to pay to save us? We are supposed to be the ones that think these things through. We may not have the answers, but in pursuit of the answer, there is development. There is spiritual development that you would otherwise never get. That a goat never gets.
But you can get it. For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are gods. They belong to God.
The possessive apostrophe on that God. You were bought at a price. Yeah, because man sold the kingdom, his dominion. He sold it to Satan and he has ended up on the auction shop. And God bought him back at Calvary, at Golgotha, the place of the skull.
It was a violent exchange. God said, I'll pay for it. And I'll have others suffer with me to help gain more. That's why Christians suffer. That's why Paul suffered. That's why Paul encouraged the Christians, you must enter the kingdom. There's going to be suffering. God is deputizing you and you are going to experience what he experienced. Don't be surprised when bad things happen to good people. The world is cursed. Rains on the just and the unjust.
What are you going to do with it? That's what it comes down to. People are watching. People are watching you in the workplace. Once you say you're a Christian, there is easy to prove.
Just show up to work drunk. Now many unbelievers were shocked at your behavior and will hold you accountable to your confession and they would be right. Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by the tradition of your fathers.
There's a sacred cow incidentally, the traditions of your fathers. There's something that they put an emphasis on that God did not. But with the precious blood of Christ.
That's what redeemed us. The precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Redeemed from the slave block mankind was sold to back in the Garden of Eden. The Bible starts in a garden. It ends in a city.
In the New Jerusalem is a city. These are things for us to not dismiss. Proof is everywhere. And only those who don't want Jesus to be Christ, they miss it. But many of them don't want Jesus to be the Christ because their understanding of who Jesus is is warped. And unfortunately many times that twisted view of Christ is because of people who claim Christ. I did not want to become a Christian before I became a Christian because of Christians.
It's a kooky behavior. That can't be God. God cannot want that. I don't want that God if that's what he wants.
Boy was I shocked to find out that wasn't what he wanted. And just because someone says I'm a Christian is not okay the deal is done. Really are you a Bible believing Christian? Are you a self-willed Bible believing Christian? Are you an emotionally driven as opposed to a spirit led Christian? Do you just do what you feel because you got the spirit brother?
Or do you listen to precept upon precept line upon line as we are commanded to do throughout the scripture? We are left here sharing in the sorrows of life in this cursed world to help those who are ignorant about Christ that is God and themselves before the holy God. Jonathan Edwards was a very intellectual Christian preacher and theologian. I don't agree with his much of his theology but I don't dispute that he was very much in love with God. And he preached a sermon that I think is an overrated sermon but not the title.
I think the title is wonderful. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Now how do you mean that? Do you mean that you have this picture of God having sinners in his hands and he's about to squash them? Or do you mean that they're in his hands and he's trying to reach them by sending a Jonah to a Nineveh? Well, how's the world going to learn these things?
We're left here to make it clearer to them to help the ignorant not be so ignorant. To stand against the devil's work and against his captives because his captives do his work. Ezekiel chapter 13, therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh, behold I am against your magic charms by which you hunt souls. They're like birds. I would tear them from your arms and let the souls go. The souls you hunt like birds. You see the souls of people.
They're real people just like me. We tend to watch other people suffer and think well that's them and we're just not part of this and that is of course not the whole story. And you may not feel worth much to God. You may not feel worth much to other people. You may not feel worth much to yourself.
Satan is messing with your head. When Peter first saw one of the miracles of Christ, you know what he said? Depart from me for I am a sinful man, oh Lord. Peter's response was, I'm not worth it. I'm not worthy. Put John the Baptist's shoes.
I'm not worthy to untie his shoes but I ain't going anywhere. He is the Lord and he shall baptize you with fire when the Holy Spirit comes. So here's Peter saying depart from me and the Lord's response was he just ignored the statement and he went on and made Peter part of his group. Changed his name, gave him a new nature, a new identity.
A hand-picked man. Peter was a thorn in the flesh of the intellectuals is to this day of those who think that they're, he was a dumb fisherman. Look, he doesn't even write well in the Greek if he writes at all in the Greek and yet this man has his name inscribed on the foundational stones of the new city at the gate. It is amazing what God will do with somebody who says I'm not worthy because he's just telling the truth. None of us are worthy except, except someone greater than us put a value on us and say you are worth it. And the cross demonstrates that and you, oh Christian, you better watch it. When you think that you're not worthy, Christ says what are you talking about? You think I died for you for nothing?
I need you to agree with me. No matter what you're going through, I need you to desire to go to Nineveh if I called you to go to Nineveh. Second Corinthians chapter three verse five, not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves but our sufficiency is from God. Paul says look, I don't have anything but I do have things that God has given me.
I have nothing of my own. Paul said this about his theological upbringing. All the things he learned in school about, you know, theology. He says I count them as dung. I got rid of all of them.
I wiped the plate clean. I poured everything out so that Christ could refill me, could rewrite everything in me. Just just say you were raised a Mormon and you became a Christian. You know the Mormons used to go out of their way to make sure people knew they weren't Christians. They recently have tried to reinvent themselves so people would say, okay, they are Christians and it was deceptive. That's why they've changed the name from Latter-day Saints, Latter-day Saints from Mormon and then LDS even more. Anyway, this is all deceptive. But let's just say you came out of Mormonism.
You would have to count as dung. Everything you learned in that place, it's all corrupted. It's not trustworthy. Even if it was right, it's not trustworthy because it's mingled. And so we come to Christ and he teaches us his way.
Not alone. He doesn't take us into the closet or out into the wilderness of Arabia. That was in the days of Paul for Paul and that alone was not how Paul had other vehicles of learning also. He has instituted his church, a blood-bought assembly. You know, it's offensive when someone thinks that the church being blood-bought is only the universal church. It is the local church just as much, if not more, because that's where the contact is.
That's where the rubber meets the road. Christ sends me to Nineveh's tomb, just like he did Jonah. I don't have to behave like Jonah.
I can just go and deliver the message. Christianity is life with the Savior. It is not an experiment. This explains apostates. And most apostates, they become vicious, more so than a regular unbeliever against the faith. I was learning about Icelandic people being the Ottomans coming and stealing them, raiding their villages and enslaving them. And one of the survivors writes that the apostates, the Icelandic or Christians from other places too, that capitulated, that renounced their faith to save their souls were the worst persecutors that they faced amongst the Ottomans.
And that is a fact. Well, how does a person become an apostate? What is an apostate? Well, someone who was in the faith and then they rejected the faith because they were experimenting. Well, let's see if this Christianity will work. Let's see if God will heal this. Let's see if God will do this. And when they find out after a long haul that it is a fight, it is a knockdown, drag-out fight, they don't want it anymore. They reject it as false.
Why? Because, again, to them, Christianity was not life. It was an experiment. They weren't loving what he loves, Christ, that is. They weren't loving what Christ loves, wanting what Christ wants. A. W. Toja says this, speaking of our personal Nineveh's, real Christianity has never been a hothouse plant. How can you not love the guy?
He's a genius. We're to say things like that. We're not to be saved so we can be sheltered inside of a hothouse. We're supposed to be out growing amongst the thorns as it says in Song of Solomon, like a lily among thorns, so is my beloved. Jonah was sent to Nineveh, not Babylon. There's so many other places he could have been sent. God chose Nineveh. And God is to choose where you go also. You have no right to choose what church you go to without God. You have no right to make decisions, spiritual decisions without God.
He is Lord. We all tend to lose some of this because so many things hit us, but we regroup. We get back. And I find that a great many Christians, they get it without even being able to articulate it.
And now we want to keep it and make it do more. If we could see people more as souls than bodies, if we could see them more as souls than those who are offensive, I think that would change things for us. Remember, because of sin, man is either in a state of ruin or redemption. There's no other place. You're either right with God or you're not spiritually. You're soul, you, who you are, not in the deeds and things we get tangled up with. Every news headlines preaches the doctrine of sin.
They're quite gleeful about this. I mean, why don't we want to watch the news? Because it just all drags you down. They don't tell you things like, you know, hey, Rick had another birthday. He made another one. Let's rejoice. It's always something bad. As the saying goes, nobody wants to hear that the plane landed safely. Oh, yeah, I do. I wouldn't mind that, a statistic every day.
Here's how many planes landed safely. To deny the sin in mankind is to go to the beach and ask, where's the sea? It is just blindness and stupidity mingled into one thing, and we, again, are entrusted to address these things as was Jonah, but, and we run from it. For Jonah, it was racism. He didn't want the Ninevites saved. They weren't Jewish people. They weren't covenant.
That race of people needed to go to hell. For us, it could be something else. I'm too busy. I had too many family things going on. Oh, I got too many church things going on. I mean, it could just be a whole bunch of things.
God expects us to figure this out, to notice them, do something about it. When I read the Bible for the first time, this presence of Jesus Christ was there, and that presence said to me, nobody can think this stuff up. Nobody can make this up.
There's nothing like this anywhere else. You've read other stuff. Have you found anything that has come close? I had not, and so I surrendered. Do we tell lost souls of our world they have the same power to repent as we do?
I don't know. Is that lost? Do we lose that to tell somebody, look, I don't know what you've got going on. You could be fighting with some sort of an addiction. You could be fighting with depression. You could be fighting unemployment. You could be fighting health issues.
Still the soul is the centerpiece of it all, and what are you doing with it? Are you going to wallow in what Satan is doing to you? Are you going to fight back? I'll help you. I'll fight with you.
You're not going to be easy. That's why it's a fight. All fights are difficult. In fact, we watch a boxing match. If a guy gets knocked down at the first punch, we say, that wasn't a fight.
But when it's knocked down, dragged out, it's something else. Do we tell them the same power to repent is available and save them as Jonah was saved from the jaws of hell, as Nineveh from the wrath of God? We're to make them think about their eternal state, and I'm almost done.
Mark, chapter 8, verse 37. What will a man give in exchange for his soul? Well, a lot of people give stuff because they're just spiritually ignorant and something's just evil. There are evil people. We ought to understand that. We're not to be naive. There are evil people, and in their evil state, there's nothing we can do but war against them, protect ourselves against them.
Going around trying to put a ribbon on a trash can and saying, oh, this is no longer trash is naive and stupid and not true. We ought to be careful. Wise as serpents, harmless as doves. What if God never let us repent?
I get scared just when I type that I got scared. What if God says, you're done. There's no heaven for you.
Just live through this difficult life and perish. But he does not. Jonah, again, chapter 3, verse 1. Now the word of Yahweh came to Jonah a second time. That's God. He gives us another chance. That is grace. Do we do that?
Or are we too legalistic and high-minded? I hope not. There are things that God will only give an answer to prayer. There are some things he will not give unless you ask for it. James said you don't have because you don't ask.
And when you ask, you ask him this. Well, that's in the story of Jonah. Salvation is one of them. Jonah was trapped in the beast. What would have happened if he never made that prayer that was found in Jonah chapter 2? Here we read it in verse 1. Then Jonah prayed to Yahweh his God from the fish's belly. Verse 10. So the Lord spoke to the fish and it puked Jonah out on the dry land.
What would have happened if he never prayed? The greatest miracle in the book of Jonah is not the fish. It's that a whole city repented.
Isn't that not even close? The fish is amateur work compared. I mean, it's the work of God. But the souls, it wasn't about the animal. And many people come to the book of Jonah and they thought, how could he breathe in that thing?
What was he wearing? It's a miracle, doofus. That's what the miracle does. You can't explain it. They do that with a virgin bird. How can a virgin? It's a miracle.
Look up into the sky. You tell me if the fact that the moon doesn't come smashing into San Francisco, that's a miracle. So without prayer, even the prophet would have perished.
Is that not part of the story in chapter 2? Without prayer, even the man of God would have perished. God's grace knows the worst about us. And yet he persists. He comes after us like he did Jonah. He knew Jonah was going to run.
He was waiting for him. I close with this verse, 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 9, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in God's word. If you've missed any part of this message or would like to explore more teachings, you can hear them by going to crossreferenceradio.com.
Pastor Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Again that website is crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio that we upload. It's a great way to stay connected to God's word. Just search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. That's all for today. Thanks for joining us here on Cross Reference Radio.
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