Welcome to the Kerwin Baptist Church broadcast today. Our desire is for the Word of God to be spread throughout the world so that all may know Christ.
Join us now for a portion of one of our services here at Kerwin Baptist Church located in Kernersville, North Carolina. Jonah here comes to a decision and he makes it. And it's a decision that I would like for all of us to make here at this church in the year 2014. Look at verse 1 if you will. Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly and said I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord and he heard me out of the belly of hell cried I and thou hurtest my voice for thou hadst cast me into the deep in the midst of the seas and the floods come past me about all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said I am cast out of thy sight. Now just think about that phrase.
We're going to talk about it here in just a minute. I am cast out of thy sight. Jonah here says I don't even think that you can see me anymore. Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. Father we need you this morning and Lord somehow would you allow us to let our hearts and the heart of Jonah here who literally wrote this book himself was honest about his failures, was honest about his feelings. Lord I pray that we would be able to somehow put ourselves in his position. Lord I pray that you would help each of us this morning to recommit our lives once again to serving you.
Lord many of us have found ourselves in some difficult positions in these last months. Lord in the middle of this even times where we feel that we to the best of our ability couldn't seem to pray through, break through, cry through, whatever the case might be. Lord I pray that we would come to the realization yet even still I will look again toward thy holy temple. Lord help us to look again this morning in your name we pray.
Amen. Just four quick points we're really only dealing with verse four today and I think today is going to be a little bit different than any of these other installments I guess in this series. I think today is the most personal day, the most personal message out of the series. Number one, just four things I want to show you from this verse. Number one, I want you to see that Jonah's disappointment was painful.
His disappointment was painful. Now notice this, he says in verse four, I am cast out of thy sight. If you'll notice in verse two he uses the word affliction and he uses the word belly of hell. You see for the first time in Jonah's life he literally felt that he was out of God's watch. He felt that he was literally out of God's sight. Now listen to me, we all often times complain about God's chastening. Preachers will get up and I have gotten up and will tell you and be honest with you about the fact that you've not gone through anything until God chastens you.
And I'm letting you know dear friend that you cannot do whatever you want to do and go your own way and live your own life and participate in everything that God says not to do. And then get mad at his chastening. Because the Bible says that if he loves you and you're his child you will be chastened.
And if you're not then you're not his child. And so if you're involved in lifestyles and things that are totally contrary to God's work and you have all the right in the world to do that. And God's not chastening you there might be a problem. And we all talk about how hard God's chastening is and how hard it is when God's chastening.
You're looking at a preacher that has felt God's chastening. I have dealt with it. I have felt it.
I have experienced it. And you know I came here at the age of, can you believe this? I came here at the age of 20 as your assistant pastor. That's hard to believe isn't it? Some of you are like I knew you back then.
That was horrible. I know. I came in green and you know I've been in ministry my entire life. I grew up in it. And I think in some ways I was ministry smart but in other ways I was people dumb. Common sense things and just how you treat people and thank God above that he brought me to work under Joe Myers. And he's the best people person you'll ever meet.
And to this day I'm scared of the future a little bit. Because over the years people have gotten mad at Joe Myers and talked bad about Joe Myers. And I think as nice and patient and kind as he is people get mad at him.
What chance in the world do I have? I mean if they get mad at him I'm in trouble. I have felt God's chastening and I know some of you have.
Look at me. But there is something worse than God's chastening. And that's when God leaves you alone. You know friend there is a time where you say no to God one too many times. There is a point where you run from him a little too long. And the Bible says the goodness of God leadeth us to repentance and he tries and he tries and he loves you back and he does everything he can do. Listen to me dear friend but there will come a day when that will end. And Jonah literally felt I have reached that point. I am cast out of your sight.
Listen to me. For the first time in his life I believe. At least his ministry. At least his adult life of serving God. And he had been a man of God and I believe that God wouldn't have asked him to go preach to these people if he wasn't a capable man. And a man that had loved God but he was just scared of God's will and he just didn't want to do it. And you can't blame him one bit for it.
But listen to me dear friend. It had come to the point that he could not feel the presence of God. It literally took not feeling the presence of God to appreciate the presence of God. It took not seeing God work to appreciate when God did work. How many times the presence of God is gone out of a service and gone out of a church and gone out of an individual's life.
And we all of a sudden realize that it's gone and we don't know why and dear friend the same reason here is the same reason for us. God never left Jonah. Jonah left God.
Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord chapter 1 tells us. Dear friend I'm here to tell you that often times the presence of God is gone and we don't even realize it's missing. But the day will come that you will need it. And you'll realize it's gone and it's been gone for a while and I don't know why. You're going to get to the point that you need God now and you need his help and you need miracles and you need his work and you need his ministry and you need his grace and his mercy.
And you're going to think where did I go wrong? Why is he not here like he always was? And dear friend I'm here to tell you the presence of God is not something that is owed to you and I.
It's something that's a gift. Friday night was a hard night for me. I think I was studying for the message and working on it and normally that's when I do my studying when I finally have time to do my studying.
And brother Ben will tell you often times when I email outlines for PowerPoints and different things sometimes 12 sometimes 1230 sometimes 1 o'clock at night. And I began to think about Jonah stuffed into that belly of that fish in a miserable condition. And yet the worst part about it was the fact that he could not feel the presence of God. The worst part about that fish wasn't all the waves that were above him and the weeds that were wrapped around him. And I'm sure the discomfort and I'm sure even the pain and I'm sure even the suffering it seemed what bothered Jonah the most was not even the fact that he was stuck in that fish.
What bothered him the most was that he couldn't feel the presence of God and that ought to be what bothers us the most. I will be honest with you and be personal with you briefly. You all many of you have lost loved ones you understand. Now I'm here to talk about my suffering and the things I go through. But I can't even probably describe the transition for a year since my mom has died. You all know I was close to my mom. My mom's close to me. We all know that that's not it. I'm a mama's boy and I'm proud of it.
And you don't like it. Come talk to me afterwards. We'll take care of it. Nothing wrong with being a mama's boy by the way. Jesus was a mama's boy. He took care of his mother.
On the cross one of the last things he did was make sure that his mother was taken care of. Friday night I had a hard time. I try not to think about it a lot. I just don't think about it.
I just stay busy. I don't have time to think about it. My wife says I don't really know how you feel about it. You don't really talk. I just don't talk about it. I haven't talked about it since the funeral.
I just don't. I had my moments and I had my times. Friday night was one of those times. When I got up and left the bedroom, I went and found somewhere that I could just be me. And I had my moment. And I know I'm going to see my mom again one day. I know she's in heaven. I know she was saved. I know I'm saved. I know I'm on my way to heaven.
Look at me. And I know I'm going to enjoy her presence one day. But it hurts me that I can't see her this day.
I know it's coming in the future. But it hurts that I can't talk to her, call her on the phone in the present. And dear friends, I believe with all my heart Jonah knew I would see God one day. But I want to feel Him now.
I want to see Him now. I've made so many mistakes. I can't believe I've made these decisions. I can't believe I've gone down this road and it took literally not feeling the presence of God. But having it like He had always had that all of a sudden now realizing how wonderful it was when He had it.
It's amazing how trials will make you reassess your priorities. It's amazing how Him being brought to this condition made Him realize how wrong His decisions had been. I find that Jonah mentions more specifically how he was suffering spiritually than he ever mentioned how he was suffering physically. The worst part about it wasn't his physical pain. The worst part about it was the spiritual agony he was in.
That I was blessed with closeness with God and I ran from it. I believe that Jonah here had thought, literally thought that God had quite forsaken him. Maybe he even thought that God would never return to him in mercy.
Nor show him kindness again. I don't know. I do know this and I want you to think about this with me as Jonah was stuck in that fish for those three days. It was a little bit low on illustrations of how God had brought people through something like this. There wasn't a whole lot of individuals that you could say swallowed by a fish for three days and then they came out and served God.
Nobody had ever been in this position before. Now Jonah knew his Bible and I believe that he probably did. He knew about the story of Job, how he was laying on the dung hill the Bible says and had lost everything. And he knew the story about how Joseph had been in the pit and then sold him to slavery and had gone into jail and prison and all that stuff. And how God had used him. And surely he probably knew about when David was in the cave and was running away for his life and felt everybody had turned their backs on him.
And yet did you look at all that? None of them seemed to measure up with what Jonah was going through. And Jonah didn't have a whole lot of things to look at and say hey God brought them through that.
He'll bring me through this. It was uncharted territory. Dear friend, little did Jonah know that he was a picture of what Christ would go through one day for us.
Uncharted territory. No perfect man had ever lived. No perfect man had ever been killed. No man had ever been put in the grave for three days and came out alive and beat death. But Jesus did that for us. His disappointment was painful.
I want you to notice secondly this morning that his determination was powerful. There's some reasons for that. Look at verse four if you would. Then I said I am cast out of thy sight.
Yet. And that means this although everything's stacked against me although I'm probably this isn't going to do one thing to help now. Although the case is probably too far gone. Although that maybe this is not going to do any good.
It's not going to change anything in my life. Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. Now there's some very interesting things to say about this. He is saying here that I have to look again because I've lost sight of a few things. The fact that Jonah said I will look again toward thy holy temple implies the fact that he had stopped looking at God's holy temple. It implies that there had been a time where he was close to God and a time where he had obeyed God and a time where he had gone and done what God had asked him to do. But things had changed and focus had changed and now Jonah's will had gotten in the way.
And now Jonah stuck in that fish in the belly of that well realizes where his will took him. And that's exactly where your will and my will will take us. Nowhere. Look at me folks. And he says this. I will look again. I've blown it. I stopped. I quit keeping my eyes on God. I got away from that. And the Bible says we ought to stay focused on God and we ought to keep our focus on the things of God and not on things on the earth the Bible says.
It tells us all that. But somehow Jonah had let his focus get away from God and God on people. And it had brought him to the fish's belly in a miserable condition thinking God was done with him. And he said the only thing I have left to do is if it doesn't do any good I'm going to get right with God. And I'm going to put my focus back to where it needs to be.
Listen to me. Other things had taken his attention. The whole time he should have been looking towards God's holy temple. The whole time the things of God should have been his focus. But the fact that Jonah disobeyed God and ran tells us that there was some things going on inside of him way before God ever asked him to go to Nineveh.
Dear friend, you look at me. Teenagers don't all of a sudden up and rebel one day. I don't care how good they acted for a long time. It started a long time before that in their heart. Let me tell you something. Good church members don't just up and rebel and leave in a day. And they don't do it because somebody says one little thing that hurts their feelings.
Let me tell you something. Their stuff has been going on for a long time. There has been separation going on for a long time in their heart. Their attention, their focus is not on the house of God. It's not on the things of God. They got other things in the world that's more important to them. And they're just looking for a good reason and a good excuse not to go to church, not to come to church, to go away from this church.
It's been going on a while. I'm right about that. Preacher will get up and preach exactly what God's laid on his heart and they'll leave. Well, you know, I tell you what, that just kind of hurt my feelings and kind of a thing. That's not what made them go. Jonah had left a long time before that. Jonah had left God a long time before God said, hey Jonah, would you go to Nineveh?
Look at me. Jonah had already drawn the line in the sand. Jonah had already said, there's some things I'm willing to do for God and some things I'm not willing to do for God. And if there's any limitation on your willingness, then there's always going to be limitation on God's blessing. If you want God's blessing to be limitless, then your willingness has to be limitless.
Isn't that good? Amen, preacher, that's great. He had been focusing on other things more than the Lord. He'd been looking at people. He'd been looking at things. He'd been looking at the world. And those little things had been grabbing a hold of him and he didn't even realize it. And then all of a sudden when God wanted him to up and let go of everything and let go of everything and leave everything behind and to go serve him and do what God had called him to do, the world had so much to hold on him and the opinions of people had so much to hold on him and his fear of what people might say or do had gotten such a hold on him that he ran from the presence of the Lord.
Dear friend, it might very well be that some of us have done the exact same thing. Maybe Jonah got to this point that he realized he had taken it for granted the first time. I bet you laying there in that fish, Jonah realized, you know what? I had it better when I was close to God.
I had it better when I might not have had as much of this and I might not have had as much of that and I had it a whole lot better. I wanted everything else and so I went and got it, but it was much better when I was close to God. And now that I got everything I wanted, now look where I am.
Maybe Jonah realized, you know what? When I spent time in God's house before, it was more wonderful than I even realized. And now that I'm stuck in this fish for these days and now I got time to think, I realize how much I miss the house of God.
And I will look again towards thy holy temple. I will get a burden again and I will get excited again and I will get my Bible and I will wake up on a Sunday morning and I will go to church. I don't care what happens. I don't care what ballgame's on tonight. I'm going to church.
Isn't it great that this message timed on this day? Maybe laying there in that fish, Jonah realized I didn't appreciate it like I should. I didn't appreciate God's house like I should.
He's laying there literally being regurgitated in a fish. He'd have given anything to have been in God's holy temple. He'd have given anything to have been in God's house. He'd have given anything to be able to walk up to the doors of the temple and be able to go in for a worship service and sit there and think and sing about how great God was.
But he was stuck now. And dear friend, it's sad that it takes getting to that point to realize how precious God's house is. Maybe he didn't realize how blessed he had been while he was there. You see, it's easy to sit in God's house or to sit in the things of God and give your life to things. It's easy to sit and think everybody else has it better. It's easy to sit here and think, boy, if you really want me preacher to really dedicate my life to God, I'm going to have to not do this and I'm going to have to not. And this isn't a bunch of rules, folks. I'm just saying when God's the priority, things change. They just do.
And you know what, you want me to do this and I'm not going to be able to do this and I'm going to have to change this. And it looks like that would be great and that would be wonderful. And you know what, oftentimes we can sit in the house of God and not even realize how blessed we are here. And we're going to think the blessing is so much greater out there. You go ahead and go down that road and you enjoy it for a while.
But one day you're going to find yourself in a situation and you're going to think, oh, I don't even realize how great it was back then. I've lived long enough and I've been in ministry long enough, folks, to see where some of those roads end. Am I preaching too hard this morning?
You know I love you, right? I know I find it interesting here that being in this fish, it quickly swept away all other priorities. It took away all other focus.
It took away all the attention on other things. Look at me, it's amazing when everything is gone, you realize how important God is. That ought to prove how things get in the way of us and God.
Because when all those things are gone, you find out they didn't do one thing for you. Listen to me, I find it interesting here that this is what Jonah said. He said, yet I am cast out of thy sight. But when I make it out of here alive, I will look again towards thy holy temple.
Didn't say that, did he? He said, I am cast out of thy sight, yet. That means this, Jonah didn't say, I'm going to wait for things to change before I get right with God. What Jonah is saying is this, I'm going to get right with God even if nothing changes. Look at me, dear friends, you don't sit there and wait to feel the presence of God for you to change. You change so that you can feel the presence of God. So many times we say, well if God will do this and if God will do that, then I will do that. Uh-uh, honey, that's not the way it works.
You make the first move. You draw nigh to God, he'll draw nigh to you. His determination was powerful. As far as Jonah knew, I believe he did not even fully believe that this would even make a difference. But it didn't matter, I believe he just literally believed he was going to die in that fish. But he had determined if I die in this fish, I'm going to die right with God. I'm not going to go down like this. This is not going to be the end of my life. It's not going to end like this. I'm not going to die in this state. I realize how I've blown it in my selfishness and I don't care if I get out of this fish or not. I can't take one more second not close to God.
Oh dear friend, let me tell you what conviction is. Let me tell you what revival is. When God gets so heavy around a church that all of us are so determined. I don't want to go another second not close to God like I ought to be. I don't want to go another day away from God.
I want to get right now. I believe we have a whole church that ought to determine. I am going to look again towards thy holy temple. I have let some things get in the way and I have let some things get my attention. And none of these things are wrong, none of these things are sinful.
It's not wrong that they're in your life. But when things start taking priority over God, we're in trouble. So many things I want to say but my time is quickly leaving. I find it interesting here, let me just say this before I go to the next point. I have to pick and choose what I'm going to say because I've got too much to share.
Look at me. I find it interesting here the humility of Jonah that he said this. I am cast out of thy sight yet I will look again towards thy holy temple. I find it interesting here that Jonah almost out of an admission of guilt, almost out of an admission that I don't deserve it. He never said I'm going to dwell in the house of God.
He said I just want to see it. And it reminds me of the prodigal son that when he came back to his father, he said father I'm no more worthy to be called thy son. Just make me a hired servant.
Look at me, I don't have to live in the house, just let me live around the house. And Jonah says I might not deserve to even go in the temple. But would you at least let me look at it again. It was that precious to him.
He didn't have a whole bunch of demands. Well God I'll come back if you do this. He said God would you just let me just look on your temple one more time. I want you to notice number three that his direction was prayerful. He said I will look again toward thy holy temple.
Listen to me dear friends, this is called repentance. It's when I'm looking one way and I determine you know what, this isn't going to be a decision on just a Sunday morning service and I go on with life. Jonah said this, I'm going to look toward your holy temple. This means that he was looking one way and heading one way and going the wrong direction in his life. And he said I am going to turn around and I am going to look toward thy holy temple. Jonah knew that this was a big decision. It was serious. It means some things are going to have to change. And that quickly brings me to number four. His decision was personal. God bless you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-22 22:18:10 / 2023-01-22 22:28:56 / 11