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Death To Self-Will

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
August 6, 2023 1:00 am

Death To Self-Will

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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August 6, 2023 1:00 am

None of God’s creation is as stubborn as humanity. Even redeemed men and women try to resist His will. In this message, Pastor Lutzer explains four lessons from the life of Jonah about God’s relationship with defiant children. When we attempt to run, God goes with us, disciplines us, and confronts us.

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Ask a farmer and he'll tell you that mules can be stubborn, but none of God's creations is as stubborn as mankind.

Amazingly, even redeemed men and women try to resist his will. Today, we'll meet a prophet of God who was as stubborn as a mule. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. Today, we begin a series on brokenness, how God gets us to say yes, a study in the life of Jonah the prophet.

Later in our broadcast, Dr. Lutzer takes us to Jonah chapter one for a message on death to self-will. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our time of worship. In a moment, we're going to have the opportunity of singing together hymn 228, Rejoice the Lord is King.

It's a song that was written by Charles Wesley. So we're going to be standing to sing that in just a moment. Our scripture reading today is by Pastor Steve Mason, our pastor of evangelism and young adults.

Then notice also number 52, we will be singing that and then the courses that are listed. Would you join me as we pray together and then after we have prayed, we shall sing 228. And our Father, we do thank you today for this opportunity to worship you collectively because we know that when two or three are gathered together in your name, there's a special sense in which we experience your presence. So we pray, Lord, for the blessed Holy Spirit of God who's been given to the church to come and to lead us, to invigorate us, to convict us, to guide us, and made this be a transforming experience for us. And importantly, may you be glorified in Jesus' name.

Amen. Rejoice the Lord is King, the Lord and King of all. Rejoice in thanksgiving, joy of evermore. Give up your heart, give down your hearts. Rejoice again, our Savior, rejoice.

Lord, our Savior, great, the God of truth and love, may we encourage our Savior to receive our love. Give up your heart, give down your hearts. Rejoice again, our Savior, rejoice. Rejoice in glorious hope, our Lord, and just shall come, and take his servants up to their eternal home.

Give up your heart, give down your hearts. Rejoice again, our Savior, rejoice. Our scripture reading this morning comes to us from Psalm chapter 1.

If you will, please open your Bible and follow along. Psalm chapter 1. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yield its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous, for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Let's sing number 52, O God Our Help in Ages Past. O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy past and our eternal home. Under the shadow of the throne, my saints have crossed with you.

So gracious is thy humble home, and our defense is true. Behold, the hills in all earth stood, on earth received her praise. Thou everlasting, thou art thou, to ever's fiddle sing. To thy land and her rolling stream, there's all its songs of praise.

Take mine foregotten as a dream, as that the only gain. O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come. We now are one, one life shall last, and come eternal home. O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come. O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.

Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song. This corner soul, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest round and storm.

What lights of love, what dance of peace, when fears are still, when striding seas. My comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand. In Christ alone, who took on flesh for this rotting, helpless day. This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones he came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God unsatisfied. For every sin on him was laid, here in the death of Christ I live. There in the ground his body lay, light of the world my darkness lay. Then bursting forth in glorious day, out from the grave he rose again. And as he stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me.

For I am here and he is mine, born with the precious blood of Christ. No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me. From life's first cry to mine again, Jesus demands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand. Till he returns, for quote me more, here in the power of Christ I stand.

No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand. Till he returns, for quote me more, here in the power of Christ I stand. I will worship with all of my heart. I will praise you with all of my strength. I will seek you all of my days.

I will follow all of your ways. I will give you all my worship, I will give you all my praise. You alone I long to worship, you alone are worthy of my strength. I will give you all my worship, I will give you all my praise. You alone I long to worship, you alone are worthy of my praise. Yes, most assuredly, it is he alone whom we worship.

God's ways are beyond all ability to find out and to understand, aren't they? Now we're going to pray together, and as we pray together today, I want to give you an opportunity to participate. It'll be silent participation, but I want us to be united in prayer, and I want to guide you as we pray together.

So you be ready for that if you would, please. Father, we want to thank you today for your grace that has been poured out upon us. We look back and we see nothing but mercy that is undeserved and that is beautiful. But as we look to the future, we also know that there is anticipation and there are anxieties and concerns. Some have heartaches, some know that important decisions are going to be made.

Others may be going through a time of financial hardship and they cannot see the end of what they've been enduring, some physical problems. And we ask today, Father, that we might see you, that having seen you, all of our concerns might be put in their proper place. Guide your people now, we pray, as we pray together. Now I'm going to give you a moment. Just ask God to cleanse you from the sins that you may have brought with you in your heart this morning.

Would you do that, please? Father, we pray that you might make us so sensitive to your spirit that you might be able to speak to us and show us those areas of sin that we have hidden from ourselves and even from you. Cleanse your people, we pray. And then, Father, we pray today that you might help us to give to you all of our concerns for the future.

Your word says, casting your care upon him because he cares for you. Remove from our shoulders at this moment that which concerns us, the issues that are hindering our peace and our joy and our freedom in Christ. Make, oh Father, a transfer of those issues from our shoulders to yours as we give them to you. Father, we pray that you might deliver us from anxiety. There are so many unknowns, and our worries impinge upon us.

They come uninvited at inopportune times with uncanny power to distract. Deliver us, Father. Teach us to make that transfer, and may it be complete. And now, Father, we want to also ask that you might help us to pray for someone else that's in need. Direct us to that person that we should be committing to you at this moment in supplication and prayer. Father, would you reach down and bring about the transformation of heart and mind and soul that we seek for others? We seek it first for ourselves, and then also for others, oh God, we pray. Our Father, as we look toward the future, we pray that this may be a year in which there is unusual blessing in this place.

But we don't want to keep the blessing in these walls, no. We want to bless the city of Chicago, to bless, Father, those ministries that touch the lives of others, that touch our children and our young people and our adults. Oh Father, how we need you. We do not have neither the resources nor the ability in ourselves because we're asking you for miracles. We're asking you that hard hearts would be softened. We're asking you, Father, that people who are indifferent would be brought into fellowship with you. We're praying, Father, for those who've never trusted Christ as Savior, that they might do that. Make this a transforming year, Father, we pray. And we ask for this nation, oh Lord. We pray that there may be an end to the hostilities. And we pray, Father, for the protection of our soldiers and, oh Father, help us and give us wisdom. May we always be turning to you and seeking your face and saying, Lord, how should we be involved in a country that has so many resources and so many opportunities that are being squandered. Make us a generous people, we pray. Make us the kind of people, oh God, that have finally come to grips with your sovereignty and grace in our lives. And I pray for the sermon series that I'll be beginning today. Father, teach us brokenness. Self-will rears its ugly head. Oh God, give us a heart that is as big as yours.

We pray in Jesus' name, amen, amen. About two weeks ago, a friend of ours was a Christian leader who enjoyed spending a lot of time on the road out of town. It was discovered that he had a friendship with a woman who was not his wife.

That was the reason why he wanted to be out of town so much. It's interesting that when another friend, a Christian, confronted him, the man admitted to the relationship, said that he knew it was wrong, but also said he was not ready to change, to go back to his wife, to repent, and to heal their marriage. I wonder how long it's going to take for God to get him to say yes and to be obedient. I have no doubt that at some point he will, but maybe at that point he will have destroyed his marriage permanently and impacted his children, which is an ongoing event that is obviously happening. And perhaps by the time he says yes, the ruin will be much greater than it is even now. Also, you know, there are stories that come to us like of a Christian who had a pattern of deceit, admitting only what needed to be admitted, but hiding a great deal of things regarding financial matters and other kinds of matters and unwilling to say yes to God.

Oh, kind of say yes, but not really yes. How does God handle self-willed Christians with their self-exaltation and with our great penchant for self-protection? How does God get us to break and to say yes? Through marriage, I'm related to someone who likes to tell this story about himself, so he wouldn't mind if I were to tell it to you, that when he was a boy, he was being spanked for taking a chocolate that he was not supposed to take, and there he was across his father's knee, that's the way it used to be done, and while he was across his father's knee getting the spanking, he reached out and took another chocolate. How does God deal with defiant children?

That's the topic that we're going to be speaking about. This is the beginning of a series of four messages on the book of Jonah titled Brokenness, how God gets us to say yes, and we'll discover that even Jonah never really does in the book say yes, yes. When we get to chapter four, we're going to see his full-blown narcissism come to the surface as God tries to deal with a prophet who will do everything that he possibly can to obstruct the will of God. Jonah lived in about the year 750 years before the time of Christ, and what happened is there were two other prophets who were prophesying at that time, Hosea and Amos, and they made predictions that God was going to use the Assyrian Empire and the capital was Nineveh, God was going to use this wicked nation, and those Assyrians, unlike Assyrians that we know today, those Assyrians were wicked.

I won't even tell you about the atrocities that they committed, and that God was going to allow them to come to Israel, and there in Israel God would let them take people captive because of the people of Israel's disobedience, and Jonah was not happy with God's arrangement. I'm beginning to read here in Jonah, and I know it's difficult to find in your Bible. Some of you may have to use the table of contents, but it's in what is called the minor prophets because they are short, not because they're unimportant, and it's Jonah, Micah, Nahum. As you get near the end of the Old Testament, that's where you'll find it. I'm reading today from a translation called the English Standard Version, the English Standard Version, and some of the reasons why I'm reading from it will become clear even as we go through the text, but keep that in mind, English Standard Version. Verse 1 says, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.

Could anything be clearer than that word from God? But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish, so he paid the fare and went on board to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord, going the opposite direction.

What was sticking in his, what burr was in his saddle, we might say? Sometimes people say, well, you know, he was just a bigoted man, and he was such a bigoted man, he didn't care about the salvation of others. Not quite right, because when he's there on the boat, he cares about the salvation of the pagans that he's with. In fact, apparently he leads them to faith in Jehovah. Some people say, well, he was afraid to die, and he thought he might get killed in Nineveh.

No way. This guy wanted to die. You've got to have a death watch on this guy. He's constantly complaining about, why aren't you striking me dead? It is better for me to die.

You get to the fourth chapter. He's wanting to die. No, no, no, his rebellion was more noble than all that.

He was a nationalist, loving the nation of Israel. And he says, if I go to Nineveh, and if I cry against the city, God may choose to forgive them, and that would only strengthen them, and then they'd come against us. That was his problem. Sometimes our rebellion, most often our rebellion, is because of petty issues that we hang on to. Some of you, God bless you, you live with people who have issues, and they don't want to give up those issues. Those issues are precious to them.

They've had them for so long, they're not going to give them up. And so you look at it like this, and most of the time it's petty issues. Sometimes it is very noble issues, very noble.

That's what is going on here in the text. He has noble issues with God. And so what he's saying is, Lord, you know, later on he explains in chapter 4 why he didn't go. He says, you know, you're merciful, you're gracious, and I thought that you might show mercy on this city. That's why I fled. He tells us.

What he's saying is, I'm a lover of Israel. You expect me to go to these pagans who in turn are going to be persecuting us. Now, you need to know that when you run from God, as he does, you don't stay home. Because whenever you run, running from God is never static, and that's why he flees from the presence of the Lord. It's because he doesn't want to just stay home and rebel. He's got to run to cover his conscience and to give the illusion of him doing something worthwhile.

So he is running. It would be like a Christian Jewish man, a Messianic Jew, being sent to Berlin, say in 1942, to preach to the Nazis a message that God might actually forgive them and strengthen them as a result of it. And so because of this intense nationalism, his hatred toward those evil Ninevites, and they were evil, Jonah said, no. It's interesting that three times in chapter one, you have the word down mentioned. It says in verse three, he went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. Then later on, now we're in verse five, it says he went down into the inner part of the ship, and when he had lain down, the translation I have says, he slept down, and then he gets thrown into the water, down into the depths of the sea. Whenever you run from God, listen carefully, you always go down, you never go up. You always go down.

Down, down, down, down. He also used the circumstances, I'm sure, to justify his own will. The scripture says that he went down to Joppa, he found a ship going to Tarshish. There weren't ships leaving for Tarshish every day, you know.

But you know, isn't that wonderful? There's a ship. Do you have room for one more passenger? Yes, we have one more passenger. We have room for one more passenger.

Do you have money? They ask him. Oh yes, yes, yes. And he pays the fare thereof. And he says to himself, surely God must be blessing me in my disobedience.

Look at this confluence of events, the way in which things are working out. There's a ship, I've got the money, I'm on my way. God is affirming my disobedience. And so he pays the fare thereof. Now, one of the things we're going to learn is that he's not the only one who's going to have to pay for this. However many shekels it cost him to go out of the will of God, I can assure you of one thing and that is this, that it's going to cost him a whole lot more and it's even going to cost the sailors something. Because you don't go out of the will of God without paying the fare thereof. All that by way of introduction, three lessons come to mind and then three further lessons, three or four.

We want to make sure that you get your money's worth today. Okay, first of all, one of the things we learn is that when we run, God goes with us. He wanted to flee from the presence of the Lord.

It says that twice in verse three. He rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, went on board, away from the presence of the Lord. Now, you say, well, did he honestly think that God was localized? You know, in those days you had local deities, you had a God who was in Israel and it was believed that once you left Israel, then there were other gods for other countries. One day I had a long ride with an air traffic controller who told me that a plane leaving some part of the world may actually go into the airspace of several different countries and one traffic controller hands it off to the other country and then the other country hands it off to the next country and in the very same way, there were people who said, well, you know, God is the God of Israel and there's different God. Once you get out of Israel, you have to worship another God. Now, that is true historically.

That's what was believed. But Jonah knows better than that. He's a prophet of God. You'll notice in verse nine he tells the sailors, he says, I am a Hebrew and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and dry land.

He knew that he could not escape the presence of the Lord as such. What he's saying is, I resign. I'm finished. And as far as God is concerned, what I'm going to do is to take all these issues of my relationship with him, I'm going to put them on a shelf and on that shelf I'm going to put a label that is going to say to be dealt with later. For now, God isn't a part of the picture. That's what happens, you know, to backslidden Christians. Oh, they still say grace. Yeah, they pray at mealtimes and they say nice words, but basically if you ask them about their relationship with God, that is being postponed until another time. God is on the back burner, not the front burner. And so there they are. They are running from God.

They're resigning. But you can't run from the presence of the Lord. Psalm 139, Whither shall I go from thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I go to heaven, thou art there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall uphold me. If I say, Oh, surely the darkness shall cover me, then even the night shall be light about me.

For the darkness hideth not from thee, the night shineth as the day, the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. You run from God and God is with you. You can't run from the presence of the Lord. You can't even hide from God in a big city like Chicago. You can't hide from him.

Second lesson. And that is that when we run, God disciplines us. You'll notice the text now. It says in verse three, But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Verse four, But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea.

Jonah and God are going to but one another now. And you'll notice it says the Lord hurled a great wind. The NIV says he sent a great wind.

He just didn't send it. The Hebrew text says he hurled a great wind into the sea. And the sailors in turn, they hurl their cargo into the sea. God hurls this great wind into the sea. Now, the wind has numerous different effects most assuredly. The wind causes the fish to re-congregate and causes confusion. It may have done some damage along the shoreline. Maybe the wind was able to even destroy other vessels that were in the area. So the wind here is really blowing.

It sweeps the coast. But its purpose, its express purpose in God's sovereignty is to get to a man who is running away from the express will of God. God is trying to get to Jonah.

That's the purpose of all this. Now, notice that the storm was not caused by the pagans. Sometimes we say, oh, you know, America has so many different problems and we blame it on the radical liberals, their agenda, our losses and our freedoms, and we say to ourselves, you know, look at the storm that we are in. Well, yeah, we are in a storm, morally and spiritually, and our freedoms are in jeopardy.

But listen carefully. Maybe the storm is not because of the pagans that we love to talk about. The storm may be there because of believers who are not walking with Almighty God. That could be the purpose of the storm. The storm is for the people of God, at least in this context, it is. Now, notice that what is Jonah doing in the middle of this storm? Well, it says that he went down into the inner part of the ship. I'm in verse five.

And he had laying down and was fast asleep. Don't tell me that it's not possible to have peace outside of the will of God. You can run from God and you can say, you know, I have my peace.

This is what I want to do and I've decided to do it, and I'm at peace with myself. And so Jonah is sleeping. The other sailors, of course, are absolutely desperate, but Jonah is asleep in the bottom of the ship. And so it's the pagans who come to Jonah and say, Jonah, we're all calling on our own God, why don't you call on yours? Cast lots and God controlled the lot and it fell on Jonah. And then Jonah becomes very honest with them and says, well, you know, I'm running from the presence of the Lord and this great storm, he says, happened because of me.

And so he gives them some insight into this meteorological phenomenon of the storm. And he says, it's my fault. And then he says, cast me into the sea. They say, oh no, we don't want to do that. We've cast the cargo into the sea, but we don't want to do that. And they're praying to God and they're saying, we don't want to toss them overboard. He says, toss me overboard. Toss me overboard. Let me die.

I'm not going to go to those Ninevites. We're talking about stubbornness here. And so eventually they say, all right, we have no option or else all of us are going to drown. So they cast him into the sea.

And now we come to a third lesson that we learn. When we run, God confronts us. The Bible says in verse 17, and the Lord appointed, not just prepared, but appointed. Is God appointing a fish to swallow up Jonah? And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. So God says to this fish, and we don't know what kind of fish it was. We as Christians don't have to measure the gullet of a whale to see whether a man can get in.

And I'm sorry. I'm not sorry to have to say this, but I'm sorry for you if you don't believe the story because Jesus apparently did. But what happens is in the text here is God says to this big fish, do you see that man over there? Go swallow him. Now, when a man swallows a bad fish, I think it's called botulism. But I don't know what word to use when a fish swallows a bad man.

Not sure exactly what the word is. But God finally says to Jonah, Jonah, guess what? You and I are going to meet when I'm preparing a meeting place. And we're going to get this business of your rebellion ironed out. And I now have your undivided attention, as we shall see in the message next week. But lest you think, well, the sermon's over.

He only preached 15, 20 minutes today. No, not quite because I have some additional lessons. First I began with two, then I had three, then I had four, then I had five. And I said, Lord, if you keep showing me things in the text here, these people are going to be here for a long, long time.

So I've reduced them to four. Some additional lessons today. First of all, you cannot permanently, you cannot permanently obstruct God's will. God intended that the Ninevites repent. And God said, that's going to happen. Even if you're rebellious, Jonah, I'm going to get you back on track.

And if I can't use you, if eventually you go out into the night being incredibly stubborn, I'll choose somebody else. But those Ninevites, those Ninevites are going to repent. You can't permanently obstruct God's will. For a time Jonah obstructed it because the Ninevites should have really repented earlier, I suppose. But you can't permanently fight against God and think that his purposes are going to collapse because of your disobedience.

They won't. I have a friend who was fired from a church. It's a big church in another state. And he was fired from the church over a disagreement. And the church had its version of the story. He had his version of the story.

And he was absolutely convinced he had been done an injustice. He told me that when he left the church, he literally stomped the dust of his shoes from the step of the church, condemning it to God's judgment. And then he also told me 15 years after this event that since he left, God has done nothing but cause this church to flourish.

It's got more staff, more money, more ministry than it ever had before. That should wake you up, shouldn't it? You think that your petty little injustice is going to thwart the will and the purposes of a sovereign God who intends that people be saved and that ministries be blessed? Now, of course, we should be straightening out these things if we can. Sometimes we can't. But the simple fact is that the purposes of God are bigger than our own rebellion. God has so many options to accomplish his will that if we're not going to become a part of his will, his will will be accomplished one way or another. Isn't that wonderful?

I hope that those of you who didn't clap also agree. So that's the first summary lesson here is that we cannot permanently obstruct God's will. Second, God's will is a living relationship.

It's a living relationship. You know, some people think that the will of God is so difficult to find that should you ever slide off on one side or another, everything is lost, it's entirely hopeless because all that you need to do is to try to find this elusive, elusive needle in a haystack. People are seeking it when then point of fact there may not even be a needle in the haystack. Listen, here's a prophet who heard God's word clearly. Wouldn't you love to hear from heaven and tell you to do ABC? I mean, could it be any clearer, go to Nineveh and cry against the city?

But we wouldn't give for that kind of guidance. And in the face of that kind of guidance, you have a prophet who rebels against God. He rebels against God and goes the opposite direction.

You'd think God would say, enough of that and I'm done with you. And here God works with him. If God is willing to take a rebellious prophet who knew his will exactly, if God is willing to work with a guy like that, how much more is he willing to work with those of us who really do desire his will? As we lay at our lives before him, he will guide us because he's interested in where we end up and he's also interested in getting where we're supposed to go if we lay our plans before him.

He's in the guiding process. In fact, what's interesting in the text is, and don't make too much of this now, but what's interesting in the text is that God even used a rebellious, backslidden prophet in his backslidden state. God used him in the lives of these sailors. Because these sailors, when things go bad and the storm comes, the Bible says that each began to call upon his God. There were as many different gods represented as there were sailors. I belong to this God, I belong to that God, this is my God over here. Well, everybody holler to your own God, okay? Well, after Jonah explains to them the living and the true God, it says in verse 14, Therefore they called out to the Lord, O Lord, let us not perish for this man's life and lay not on us innocent blood for you. O Lord, have done as it pleased you. So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea and the sea ceased from its raging.

Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. Maybe these pagans are going to be in heaven because they came to know the true God through a backslidden prophet who is running as fast as he could from God's will. Isn't God great?

Isn't that wonderful? So don't ever think that you have to be put on the shelf because, you know, somewhere along the line you made a bad move. First of all, if you desire to seek God's will, that's a different story, but even in our rebellion sometimes, God will actually use us.

I mean, he is so incredibly gracious that it's almost hard to comprehend it. So that's the second lesson. A third lesson is that our disobedience has wider consequences. Our disobedience always has wider consequences. When Jonah left, you know, he thought to himself, well, you know, this is all just about me. I'm going to be rebellious against God, but it's not going to affect anybody else.

Oh yeah, yeah, it did affect other people. These pagans, for one thing, threw their cargo overboard. Listen, the cargo was their livelihood and everything that they owned. So, you know, Jonah paid his fare to go to Tarsh's, a couple of shekels.

Listen, these sailors paid a much higher fare for his disobedience because whenever you and I disobey, we're always taking other people with us. Our impact is such that it is not possible for us to simply say, well, this is just about me. No, it's about your family. It's about your church. It's about other people. It's about the impact that God has in your life and intends to have. I mean, it's got repercussions here.

The man that I began this message talking about, he can say, well, you know, this is just about me having found this other woman. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's just about you, but look at your family that's being destroyed. Look at your testimony that's being destroyed. I mean, you can't tell me that you can just somehow be disobedient in a narrow kind of way and not take others in your disobedience.

Listen, the issues that you have in your life, and there are many ways to run from God, as I'll be explaining in another message, but the issues that you have in your life are issues that if you do not give up, it will infect other people. It will have a negative effect in terms of your attitude, in terms of your actions and what you have, and you can't just disobey alone. The Ninevites were affected by his disobedience.

The sailors were. The Ninevites were affected by his disobedience too because supposedly they should have been repenting a lot sooner. So Jonah teaches us that our disobedience always has wider consequences. But there's a fourth lesson, and that is that it's always best to hurry back to the Father. It's always best to hurry back to the Father. Wouldn't it have been wonderful if instead of telling the sailors, throw me into the sea, wouldn't it have been wonderful if Jonah had said, yes, I'm running from the presence of God. God sent this storm. He has my attention.

I repent right now, and I'm going to take the first ship I can back because as soon as I get back, I'm going to actually go and begin to minister to the Ninevites, and I'm going to do it with joy because God has broken me and my stubborn self will. Wouldn't that have been wonderful? But he doesn't do that. No, no, no. He's harder than that. He's more stubborn than that.

And so what he says is, I'm guilty, but just throw me in the sea and I'd rather drown than do this distasteful thing called the will of God. It is always better that we hurry back to the Father. Always better.

Always better. Because the fare that we're going to pay will only increase. We will only keep going down, down, down, down, down. The longer we put off repentance and obedience, the longer we deceive, the longer we muscle God's will and say, I will not do it. It's always better to hurry back to the Father. And for those of you who've never trusted Christ as Savior, it's always better for you to come to him quickly. As the Holy Spirit of God speaks to you about your need for a Savior, it is always better for you to be quick to say, I will obey, I will do God's will, I will come and I will accept Christ. It is always better to do it quickly than to just prolong the agony as God continues to work and obstruct us and make it difficult for us and create fish for us so that eventually he bends us and brings us right down to the dust and says, now will you do my will? And finally, at the end of a person's life sometimes, people finally say, well now that I'm about ready to die and I've done all the damage, yes, now I'm willing to obey. How God gets us to say yes.

So what issues do you have in your life? How are you running from God? For those of us who are believers, we quote Galatians chapter 2 verse 20, I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. In the life that I now live, I live by faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I go on that cross and in faith, I've been crucified with Christ.

I have no future. I have no plans except to die to self-will that Christ might live. Let's pray. So where are you right now, spiritually?

What ship are you taking to God knows where? And what resistance of the blessed Holy Spirit have you been able to muster because you find God's will so distasteful? You talk to God right now because he's listening. Father, there are some people listening who need hours not moments to come into your presence and finally lay down the weapons of a rebel and to say, I give it all to you, everything, everything, everything, all the issues, all the self-justification, all the reasons, all the noble reasons, all the petty reasons, we just give them to you and say, Father, take over. Work mightily to bring that about, Father, because we are so helpless and so stubborn that we will not give up until you corner us. Teach us, Father. In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer brought a message on death to self-will, the first in a four-part series on brokenness, How God Gets Us to Say Yes.

On next week's broadcast, join us for a look into Jonah chapter 2 and death to self-reliance. We are so grateful to all who support The Moody Church Hour, and during this month, we have a special opportunity. Every gift you send will be doubled thanks to a matching gift fund.

It's been set up by others who value The Moody Church Hour as it reaches the wider culture and addresses crucial issues of the day. You can make your gift a double one by calling 1-800-215-5001. The number again, 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Online, go to That's Join us next time for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-06 02:18:25 / 2023-08-06 02:36:29 / 18

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