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You Were Made for More - East of the City, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
October 27, 2022 6:00 am

You Were Made for More - East of the City, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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October 27, 2022 6:00 am

Have you ever been watching a thrilling movie or TV show, when suddenly, without warning it just ends? And you’re left thinking ‘what happens next’? Well in this program, guest teacher Ryan Ingram picks up in our new series “You Were Made for More.” Don’t miss the good and the bad we can learn from the biggest cliffhanger story in the Bible.

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Have you ever been watching one of those super-cool, thrilling movies or TV shows, and then suddenly without warning, it just ends? I mean, you're wondering, like, wait, what happened?

I mean, what's next? Well, I want to share with you the biggest cliffhanger that I'm aware of in all of Scripture and how it comes out while you be the judge. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program. I'm Dave Druey, and we're nearing the end of our study of Jonah taught by Chip and our guest speaker, Ryan Ingram. In these challenging times, Living on the Edge is committed to turning to new teachers like Ryan for a fresh biblical perspective on the issues we're all facing. Our mission for Christians to live like Christians remains the same, whether it's through Chip's teaching or the occasional new voice. Now for these last two programs in our series, You Were Made for More, Ryan wraps up Jonah's story and highlights the good and the bad we can learn from his life.

So with that, let's join Ryan now for his message, East of the City, from Jonah 4. You were made for more. Like right now, you are made for more than upward mobility, making money. You're made for more than keeping up with the Joneses. This hedonistic lifestyle of eat, drink, and be merry because there's nothing more to life. So why not just live it out? You're made for more than seeking and trying to win others approval. I mean, how wonderful is the reality that you were designed, created with intention, purpose, and significance. You were made for more.

How do you shift? How do we shift to the more we're made for? You know, we've been wrestling with that question and talking about it and looking at this ancient book, the book of Jonah, he's a prophet, where we get this snapshot of really an antihero, a prodigal prophet. When we discover and are learning, how do we lean in and live the more we're made for? And here's what I love this whole journey, especially with Jonah, is I love that it's not just, you know, the picture of the perfect person who did everything right. And so you just somehow try to be them.

Because none of us feel like we could ever be them, including me. Our love, what I love is we see a prophet of God who so often does everything wrong and his God's grace and compassion and gentleness and mercy and redirection and kindness to him, to woo him back, to help him live the more he was made for. You know, the book began this way. It began with God calling Jonah to preach to the great city of Nineveh, the arch enemies of Israel.

I mean, if you go back and study or listen to week one, you'll find that Assyria, which Nineveh is the capital city of, they were perhaps the most violent and brutal culture in all of human history. And God says, I want you to go to them and preach so that they might have an opportunity to repent. And Jonah says, nuh-uh, I ain't going that direction. And he runs the opposite direction.

Instead of going northeast, he goes southwest down to Joppa, port city, to jump on a ship to Tarshish. And here's what we said week one. When we run from God, when we run from God, we shift away from the more we're made for. And we know that. We get that.

That makes sense. If you've been designed and created by God, then he understands your design and creation. And anytime we run from him, even when we don't understand his will all the time, when we run from it, we shift away from the more we're made for. Well, Jonah, in his running away, boards a ship for Tarshish. And God, in his grace and mercy, sends a storm to redirect him.

And yet he has no desire to go anywhere close or respond. In fact, the sailors are freaking out. I mean, this is a massive storm and they're professional and they're afraid they're going to die. And Jonah's in the belly of the ship and he's asleep, fast asleep. And they go, don't you care? He's like, not really.

Thank you very much. They cast lots and he's like, Jonah, we kind of think this is your fault. What should we do? He's like, I don't care. Why don't you just throw me overboard? And they try everything else.

Eventually they do that. And here's what we see is that God uses storms. He's going to take that painful circumstance, that moment that he wants to use and develop and create and cultivate in you to shift you back to the more you're made for. And Jonah on the ship, he never cried out to God. The sailors, they repented and they actually turned and revival broke out on the ship. But Jonah never cried out to God when he could have saved not only himself and everyone else aboard. The time, you know, when he cried out to God was when he was in the water by himself and he knew this was the end. And he finally cries out to God and God provided in the most unlikely way and honestly, you can't help but laugh. God has a sense of humor, people. You got to read the Bible and understand that he's funny too. Like if we have sense of humor, God has a better sense of humor. Like how funny is it that God's like, I'm going to appoint a fish, a great fish and swallow you because you won't go that direction.

You won't have the ship turn around. But I'm going to, in fact, take this animal and cause him to take you in the right direction there. And here's what we discovered is God delivers us from storms to reveal his mercy, his undeserved favor in our lives and to position us to fulfill the more we were made for. And so Jonah once again finds himself on the shore headed towards Nineveh and God calls him yet again. He says, go and preach to the great city at Nineveh. And he's like, well, I guess I have no choice because even if I'm going to run from him, a fish is going to take me back, hello, I'm going to do it now.

He really gave a halfhearted effort. The city of Nineveh, it was a three day journey to traverse it. And the text tells us he only went a day in. And then also, if you study chapter three there, you'll notice his sermon was a five word sermon in Hebrew.

He went one day in, gave him five words, dropped the mic, I'm done. And something amazing happened. Even with the halfhearted effort, the entire city repented and turned from their wicked ways, their brutal ways and repented. Even the king. Now, here's what I love about the response of the king. He's overseen this and he's like reached to him and he says, who knows, maybe God will relent and let's repent and turn from our ways. And what he does is he has everybody in the city.

I mean, this is a massive, one of the greatest cities in the ancient world. He has everybody repent. But in his idea, he doesn't know how far to go. And so he has all the animals repent too. Like how do animals repent?

I don't know. He put on sackcloth on the animals too. So you're thinking about this, all the cows and their pastures and the herds, he's putting sackcloth on them.

He's like, I don't know what to do, but I'm going to do everything I know and everything I maybe this, I don't want to stop too short. I just think Jonah thought like, I think he was probably laughing at him. But here's what's amazing, unfortunate for Jonah. When our external acts of obedience, Jonah did the right thing.

Do not reflect our internal attitude, his heart. We miss out on the more we're made for. And Jonah was in the city of Nineveh with revival breaking out among the most unlikely people on the planet to turn from God. He's in the middle of it and he missed out on all of it. And that's where we pick up our story today. As we close out the book of Jonah, we actually come to the climax of the book. Now we would think that the climax is the city, great city of Nineveh repenting, but it's actually Jonah chapter four, where we discovered the fundamental shift to the more we're made for. And it's actually the entire point of the book of Jonah.

If you got your Bibles, would you open up to Jonah chapter four with me? I want to pick up the story in Jonah chapter three, verse 10, if you're following along to give you a little bit of the backdrop. The king, the whole city repents. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

They repent, God relents. And then we go back to our anti-hero Jonah. But Jonah, oh, Jonah. But Jonah, to Jonah, this seemed very wrong. In fact, above that, just say it seemed evil, a great evil. That's what it is in the Hebrew here.

It's three different ways to say it's exceedingly evil and bad, and he became angry, literally white, hot, angry. And what's to come is a prayer from Jonah and the way it's constructed, we miss it in our English, but it's this exasperated, loud, just rants of Jonah. He's going to pray. He's going to pray, but he's not like this internal seething. You know, some of us are seethers, right?

Like you're mad and you're just going to, I'm going to seethe. You're not going to know it, but internally, I am angry. No, Jonah wasn't internal on this.

This was external. This was like loud and he's seething and ranting publicly. He prayed to the Lord and now we get an insight to why Jonah fled in the first place that we didn't see in chapter one. He prayed to the Lord, isn't this what I said? Well, what did you say, Lord, when I was still at home that this, this is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish.

I didn't want these people to receive mercy. That's my heart. That was my aim.

That's why I ran in the opposite direction. And notice this, I knew that you are gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. He's quoting Exodus 34 six is where Moses asked to see God's glory. Show me the real you. And God says, I'll pass by you.

I'll hide you in the cleft of the rock. And he proclaims I'm the Lord, the Lord, abounding in grace and compassion, slow to anger. See this is Jonah's understanding of who God is.

And it confronts our kind of popular concept of the God of the Old Testament, isn't it? That he's actually gracious and compassionate, slow to anger. That word gracious is God's attitude towards those who have no claim on him because they're outside of any covenant relationship. That is his heart. It's what he's eager to do that you're not inside this relationship with me.

You're outside and you're far away from me. But my heart is to extend grace to everyone. And Jonah hates it. Compassion is that picture.

In fact, the root word here comes from the idea of a mother carrying a baby and that compassion that a mother has for their child, that tenderness, that care, God's going, I have this, I have this motherly compassionate heart. And Jonah says, I knew that's who you are. Now, now take away my life for it's better for me to die than to live. Doesn't he sound like a teenager, right? He's just ranting, teenager, now take me, Lord. And here's what Jonah is saying. If you're that kind of God showing that kind of grace to these kind of people, I don't want to live in that kind of world. That's what he's saying here.

I want nothing to do with that. And then notice God's reply and I love this. It's not my reply. I love how God responds because it's not to shame.

It's not to put into place. It's not even to just have this demonstrative, like, who do you think you are? That's what I would have replied.

Like who you come on. He says, is it right for you to be angry? Like you have this indignation, is it right for you to be angry? And then notice it goes on to say that Jonah had gone out and sat down at the place where? East of the city. So one, let's just say this, the rant was happening in the city.

Think about how awkward that is. He just preached repentance and then he's ranting at God for saving these people. He should be the prophet serving these people and he's ranting about it. He goes east of the city and you're like, well, why does that matter, Ryan? Well east of the city, one, if he was going to head home, he would have headed southwest. And so he's actually headed further away from Jerusalem, not closer. And in the Old Testament, this whole idea of moving east had often this connotation of moving from the presence and purpose of God.

And we see that it started all the way in Genesis chapter three. In Genesis chapter three, when Adam and Eve sin and fall and rebel from God, and they are then taken out of the garden, they are banished, where? East of the garden of Eden.

They're banished from his presence. When Cain murdered Abel and he runs from the presence of God, do you know what direction Cain ran? He ran east of the garden. Chapter 10 of Genesis, again in the tower of Babel and the city of people who are trying to build up their own idea of their own God and who they are, they went and moved eastward. It's this idea of moving from the presence and the purpose of God. And Jonah, instead of moving towards Jerusalem, he heads east. It's interesting that you can preach and serve God and still be moving in the wrong direction.

It's a call for those of us who are in ministry. Then he made himself a shelter, sat in his shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. You know, the king responded. He's like, maybe, maybe God might relent and let's do whatever we can. Jonah sees God's relent. He goes up on this, looking over the city. He's like, maybe God might get him after all.

I'm going to watch and wait and hope and pray. Now notice this, then the Lord encircle this word, the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head, to ease his discomfort. And Jonah was very happy. Again, this isn't just happy. It's three different words in the Hebrew.

It's a happiness, exceedingly, greatly happy. He's so overjoyed about a stupid plant. But at dawn, the next day, God circled this word, provided a worm, which chewed the plant so it withered. When the sun rose, God, again, circled it, provided a scorching east wind that brought such devastation. If you look east wind throughout the Hebrew scriptures, it constantly brings such devastation across the land. And the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die and said, it would be better for me to die than to live.

He is still in teenage land. But God said to Jonah, is it right for you to be angry about a plant? A plant? The plants.

I know some of you love your plants, so I'll tread lightly here. Jonah's response, it is. And that is totally teenager, isn't it?

Those of you who have teenagers, if you just remember being a teenager and you felt so justified, so right, so this, and I don't care, I don't want, I hate everything about you. And is it right? Yes. That's Jonah. And I'm so angry.

I think I were dead. Oh, how often we get consumed with little things and make them everything and then complain to God about it when they let us down. But the Lord said, notice his response again, you've been concerned about this plant. You did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and it died overnight. You did nothing for this. You didn't even plant it, Jonah. You didn't water it. You did nothing.

It sprang up and it died. And yet you are exceedingly abundantly happy overjoyed about this and now you're wanting to die. Should I not have concern for the great city of Nenah? You're concerned about a plant.

Should I not be concerned about people? And then he qualifies it, helping Jonah, trying to move Jonah's heart, trying to move his perspective, trying to change his understanding, trying to break through the hard hearted. It is I'm right and I am depressed because of your goodness perspective, Jonah, in which there are more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right from the left. That right from the left is an idiom of they don't know what's morally right or wrong.

Scholars are divided. They don't really know what the 120 refers to. Some think there's 120,000 children in the city. Is it not right for me to have concern about those who have yet to even learn right from wrong? They're at that age. Others think it's just people who've never been taught, who didn't know, who grew up in a environment, grew up in a culture who had no idea that this was so wrong and vile.

Shouldn't I have concern about them? And then I also think this is the part, like some of you parents know this, like you're in the middle of a heated conversation with your kids, right? And they're down a line of reasoning and argument. And so then you add just the briefest bit of humor to kind of break the moment, but also to kind of make your point, right? Some of you do this. I do this at times when I'm kind of aware of it. And I think this is what God did here.

Should I not be concerned about 120,000 people who don't know their right from the wrong? And then he goes, and the animals. And I think Jonah's looking out over the city and he sees this whole city that's repented and he's seeing animals with a bunch of sackcloth on them.

He's like, that does no good. And God's going, should I not be concerned about the animals too? And he also knows that Jonah cares more about the animals than the people in Nineveh.

Should I not at least be concerned for the cattle that are there? And then here's what's crazy. That's the end of the book done. It ends. It's a cliffhanger.

If it is a movie, you would go, wait, wait, we don't know what happens. You can't end that way. And yet it does.

And it does so for a reason. We do not know Jonah's response. We never know if he moved east of the city back into the city. And here's the reason why, because the issue is not so much about Jonah and the story, but the issue is for you and me. The issue is for us to say, where are we? And so often I find myself, maybe you find yourself east of the city, griping and grumbling to God about things of lesser matter. When God says you're concerned about plants, you're concerned about things, you're concerned about creature comfort.

Should I not be concerned about people made in the image of me that have infinite worth and value? He's making that argument from lesser to greater plants, animals, people. And then this causes us, causes us to ask the question, where are we and how do we respond? And it's here that we see the fundamental shift required to live the more we're made for. When our hearts break for that which breaks God's heart, it fundamentally shifts us to the more we're made for. When our hearts break, when we can have our hearts understand that every single person on the planet, regardless of whether you agree with them politically, wherever they live, globally, this image bearer of the God most high.

And God loves them with an everlasting, all consuming love. And his heart breaks for them. He breaks for the devastation, destruction that we have created on this planet. And he longs for every single person to experience his grace and his goodness.

When our hearts begin to break, everything else outside of that is just behavior modification and adjustment externally. God wants to do a heart issue, a heart transplant, a heart change in us. And it returns us back to the purpose of the book of Jonah. The purpose of the book of Jonah first and foremost is to reveal God's expansive love and mercy for every single person on the planet. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and you've been listening to the first part of guest teacher Ryan Ingram's message East of the City, which is from our series You Were Made for More, facing the Jonah in all of us.

Chip and Ryan will join us shortly to share some additional thoughts to what we've heard. Have you ever thought you could or should be doing more with your life, but because of past mistakes or current circumstances, you feel unworthy or unmotivated to make a difference? Well, if you've wrestled with that, this series is for you. As Chip and guest speaker Ryan Ingram teach through the book of Jonah, they'll reveal we were all made for more. Discover how to shift your ambitions, relationships, and life to the greater purpose God has for you. To learn more about this series, go to livingontheedge.org, the Chip Ingram app, or call 888-333-6003. Well before we go any further, I'm joined now by our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram. And Chip, I understand you have a special word for our listeners.

Absolutely, Dave. What I want to share now is really important. There's about eight billion people in the world today, but there's only one you. And you know, God has wired you with specific gifts and talents. Your life experience and your story are unique. He knew exactly who you'd become long before you took your first breath.

And he's got a purpose and a plan for your life. But do you know what it is? Well, here at Living on the Edge, we've created a brand new resource called The Real You. It's an online questionnaire designed to provide insight into how God wired you. This is more than spiritual gift test. You identify the patterns in which you think, what motivates you, and why teams need someone just like you.

It'll take about 20 minutes to complete, and it won't cost you a thing. Then based on your responses, The Real You will offer suggestions about how you can practically live out God's purpose for your life, whether that's at home, in the office, at church, or in your community. As a Living on the Edge partner, we want you to be the first to access this resource. Head over to therealyou.org to learn more, that's therealyou.org.

Most Christians don't know how to leverage their God-given wiring and experiences for the kingdom. We want to change that. Thanks, Chip. Well, as you can tell, we are really excited about this new resource. We hope The Real You will help you not only discover who God made you to be, but how He made you to think, act, and live.

As Chip said, you can sign up for this free assessment by going to therealyou.org. Or if it's easier, text the word REAL to 74141. That's the word REAL, R-E-A-L, to 74141. App listeners tap special offers. Well, now here's Chip and Ryan to share some application from today's message. Thanks Dave.

And Ryan, thanks so much as we're getting near the end of this series. I mean, it really is crazy that this is an actual prophet of God, right? This is God's man. He has God's calling.

And yet, his attitude is like, I mean, it's unbelievable how ungodly his attitude is. When you think about the application to us and maybe why God allowed this story to be in Scripture, what's your response to Jonah and where do you see the application in our lives? You know, I think our natural response is to think, how could a prophet of God get it so wrong? Just like when I see the response of the disciples with Jesus, it's easy to think, how could they have missed it?

How could they still be arguing about who's the greatest just before the Last Supper? And then we turn our attention to other Christians who maybe worship differently than we do, vote differently, or you fill in the blank differently. The question I think we need to ask isn't what's wrong with them, but heavenly Father, what do you want to show me?

Reveal the broken areas in my life. Like I said in the sermon, the purpose of Jonah is to act like a mirror for us to examine the state of our heart, calling us to shift our lives onto God's purposes. The problem is self-righteousness. Judgmentalism, a critical spirit, is nearly impossible to see in the mirror. It's easier to see it in others, and yet it's so difficult to see in ourselves. That's why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount to take the log out of your own eye before taking the speck out of your neighbor's eye.

See, true growth begins when we start to realize whether I like it or not. I have some Jonah in me. There are some of the disciples in me.

I have a log in my eye. And so right now, as a step of application, would you simply pray this prayer with me? Jesus, have your way in me. Reveal anything in my heart that's not of you.

Would you break my heart for that which breaks yours? In Jesus' name, amen. Great word, Ryan.

Thanks. As we wrap up, I want to thank those of you who make this program possible through your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs, purchase airtime, and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians. Now, if you've been blessed by the ministry of Living on the Edge, would you consider sending a gift today? You can do that when you visit LivingOnTheEdge.org or the Chip and Grow map, and now you can text the word Donate to 7-41-41. That's the word Donate to 7-41-41. And we want you to know how much we appreciate your support. We'll join us next time as we wrap up our study of Jonah. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-05 21:05:01 / 2022-11-05 21:11:29 / 6

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