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The Moment of Crisis, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 4, 2024 9:00 am

The Moment of Crisis, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 4, 2024 9:00 am

Haven’t we all gone through the motions to do something we really didn’t want to do? Like pulling weeds, or taking out the trash!  Pastor J.D. is continuing our Castaway series with another teaching from the book of Jonah.  We’re in Chapter 2 to learn what obedience really means.

Summit Life
J.D. Greear

Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Being in the belly of a fish can coerce your obedience. Seeing that Jesus went into the belly of the fish for you is what will create desire in your heart. God's not just after obedience.

He's after a whole new kind of obedience. The goal of every sermon that I ever preach is not to tell you, don't be like Jonah. The goal of every sermon is to help you worship. Thanks for joining us today on Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host Molly Vidovich. Haven't we all gone through the motions to do something we really didn't want to do? What do they say sometimes, just suck up and do it? Well, today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D. turns to the book of Jonah to remind us that just because we do what God asks us to do doesn't necessarily mean that we're acting from a heart of obedience. It's another thought-provoking message from our castaway series in the book of Jonah. Don't miss a message by revisiting previous broadcasts online or downloading the free unedited sermon transcripts.

They're available at Now here's J.D. with part two of a message he's titled, The Moment of Crisis. Just to review real quick, Jonah was running from God in disobedience. God told him to go to Nineveh. Jonah didn't want to go. So God sent a storm to just about kill everybody on that boat. So they take Jonah and they throw him overboard. Jonah hits the water.

The water goes calm. Jonah thinks everything's cool when all of a sudden out of nowhere this huge fish comes, swallows up Jonah, and is about to take him to the bottom of the ocean for three days and three nights. Now, you may look at that at first and say, well, why is it that God is doing that? It seems like Jonah had already learned his lesson, right? I mean, when you get thrown overboard and all of a sudden the storm dissipates, you think Jonah had gotten the point. But you're about to see here in a moment, Jonah had not gotten the point. God had not fully gotten his attention yet.

What you're seeing here is not meanness, it's mercy. Because, listen, God is relentless in pursuit of those that he loves, okay? Chapter 2, verse 1, then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish. Then, so it's not when he first gets swallowed, it's after three days and three nights. Then he finally is broken down, which gives you a picture of the depth of struggle that Jonah is in with obedience to God. Because what God had asked Jonah to do went down to the core of who he was, right? So Jonah finally turns in repentance, and you're going to see that in verse 3.

I'm going to show you in the next several verses three things that Jonah's repentance was built upon, which every prayer of repentance is always built on these three things, okay? Verse 3, for you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas. And the flood surrounded me, all your waves and your billows passed over me.

Then I said, I'm driven away from your sights. The waters closed in over me to take my life. The deep surrounded me.

Weeds were wrapped around my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever. Here's the first thing Jonah realizes and puts into an expression.

Write this down. Number one, the futility of life without God. He realizes, number one, the futility of life without God. Jonah was finally in a place of absolute hopelessness.

The weeds, he says, like chains are wrapping around his head. The bars, like a prison, closing around him forever. And that's what it takes for a lot of people to finally have their foolish pride shattered. You see, whatever it is, listen, repentance always begins in a note of despair and it is God's mercy that shows it to you before you die. Because see, there is a time coming when you will stand before God. And in that moment, if you stand before God and you are not right with him, you are not in fellowship with him, then everything you've accomplished, everything, all your career, no matter how good your marriage was, no matter how well your kids turned out, no matter how many praises you received or what accomplishments you achieved, it's all meaningless if you die and go to hell.

Verse seven, when my life was fading away, I remember the Lord and my prayer came to you, it came into your holy temple. You know, what's interesting to me is that Jonah is celebrating, watch this, his deliverance before he gets out of the belly of the fish. You want to know why?

You want to know why? There is a greater deliverance than deliverance from bad circumstances. It is the deliverance from sin. Verse eight, those who pay regard to vain idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. This is the key verse in Jonah.

Scholars tell you something remarkable just happened in that verse. God applied idolatry to the sins of Jonah. Jonah acknowledges that his sin was birthed in idolatry. All sin begins in idolatry. That is what somebody who repents understands.

This is number two. They realize the emptiness of idols. They realize the emptiness of idols. Listen, an idol is anything you love more than God, trust more than God, or you crave more than God.

What has the most weight in your life? What is the one thing when you look into the future, you're like, that's got to be there in order for me to be happy. That's what your idol is. Let me give you something from Martin Luther, the great German reformer. Here's what he says in his larger catechism. He says this, to whatever we look for any good thing and for refuge in every need, that is what is meant by God.

To whatever you give your heart and entrust your being, that, I say, is really your God. What is it that you look to in your life as the primary source for good things? What is it that you couldn't live without? Is it marriage? Is it success? Is it your kids turning out okay and living close to you and having a really happy family? Now, are any of those bad things?

Of course not. Idolatry is when a good thing becomes an ultimate thing. Or the way we say it is when a good thing becomes a God thing and so it becomes a bad thing.

It's when you take something and give it so much weight, so much worthiness, that it matters more to you than the presence of God. What are you envious of that others have that you don't have? What do you end up worrying about late at night that one day you'll lose? What are you bitter about having lost? Look back over your life.

What are you most bitter about having lost? Chances are it's connected to an idol. What's the one thing you say, without that life would not be worth living?

That's your idol. Refuge. See that word in Luther's statement, refuge. Where do you go for refuge? When things are tough, where do you turn for comfort? Food.

The opinions of others. It's kind of a little narrative you tell yourself. You're like, well at least I'm, you know, a good person here and a good person there and all that kind of stuff.

Is that where you turn? Maybe money or how about this, shopping. You get a little depressed, so what do you do? You go medicate with plastic. There ain't nothing that a good pair of shoes won't fix.

I kind of say that joking, but I'm kind of not. Certainly that's the way that you deal with life is you just fill it with one more junk because you know that when you've got new stuff in your hand, you're happy for a little while. When you got the latest fashion on, you're okay. I can handle it. I'm me, you know. Where you turn for refuge?

Where do you turn for comfort? It's when a good thing becomes an ultimate thing or a God thing. That's idolatry. You've given your heart to them.

You've got to possess them. And the tragedy, Jonah says, is that when you do that, you forfeit the grace that could have been yours. He said the tragedy is when you give yourself to an idol, God's love, his compassion was there. Everything that you were looking for was there, but you forfeited it and you gave yourself to an idol. You don't have to earn God's steadfast love. It was a gift.

It was a gift he gave you because he overflows with it because you're his child, but you forfeited it. Jeremiah, another prophet, said in another place to another people this, essentially the same thing. I love this. Jeremiah 2 13. My people have committed two evils.

Number one, here's first evil. They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water. Number two, they have hewn for themselves cisterns that can hold no water. Now, a cistern is not like brethren and cistern, okay? It's cistern.

I made that up myself. Cistern is like a little well they would dig to hold rainwater. He says here's the tragedy, okay? The first problem is that there was a fountain of living water that bubbled up from the earth that was clean and pure and satisfying and never ran out.

They forsook it. And then because they were so thirsty, they dug for themselves these muddy, nasty cisterns which couldn't hold water. He says the problem, the reason they went to the second is because of the first. The reason some of you are so given to sensuality, so addicted to money, so addicted to people's opinions is because you have forsaken the fountain of living water. The second evil grows out of the first evil.

And I can stand up here all day long and preach to you about the stupidity of the second evils, but until you come back to the first, it'll never work. Because you have divorced yourself from the ever-flowing love of God is why your heart craves so many other things because your soul is starving. Does that make sense? In Jonah chapter 4, he's going to use a word for God that I love. It says the Lord is compassionate. In Hebrew, that is the word rehem.

Rehem literally means from the womb. It is a feeling that I don't mean to be condescending to you single people, but you really have a hard time understanding until you have had kids of your own. When I look at one of my kids and they're crying, they're really hurt. Well, first of all, nine out of ten times my kids cry, it is absolutely ridiculous and nothing but drama, okay? But that one out of ten times that they're really hurt, when you look at them as a parent, there is something inside of you that is an emotion that you've never really felt before that says, I would do anything to take that pain out of your body and put it into mine if I could.

It is rehem. It is compassion. Jonah says that's the kind of love that God has for you.

In fact, what we have toward our children is a pale comparison of it. It is the all-satisfying love. By the way, if you have pleasant memories of your childhood, it's almost always tied to that kind of love coming from your parents because that was a love you experienced. If you're disappointed in your childhood, it's because your parents didn't do that for you. It's what you were longing for in your parents. And if they gave it to you, then you were blessed by it. If they took it from you, then you're embittered by it. But the point is, it was supposed to be a shadow of the love of your Heavenly Father for you. You see, the fountain of living water in Jonah says the tragedy is that you forsook it. You walked away from it.

Everything that you were looking for was in it. Why? Why do you forsake that love? Why?

Why do you go on digging new wells? What you're looking for is not in romance. The arms that you were looking for in romance were His arms. That's why I've told you, lonely, discontented, bitter, single people become lonely, discontented, bitter, married people. They sit in our offices getting counseling because the love they were looking for was not in a spouse. It was in the love of God. It's not in the affair.

It's not in the new marriage. It's not being at the top of your class. It's not getting the highest paying job. It's not at the top of the corporate ladder. I told you before, the Forbes magazine article I read with the CEO said, I spent my entire life climbing the ladder of success. I wanted to find out I was leaning against the wrong building.

It's not a new hobby. It's not in a drug or a fling with a secretary. It's in the rahim of God.

That's what you're looking for. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer, and we'll return to our teaching called the moment of crisis in just a moment. But before we move on, I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who supported us financially in 2023. We couldn't do any of this without you, and we're so excited for everything God's going to do through this ministry in the new year.

Because of your financial support and most importantly, your prayers, we have seen God multiply our efforts like only He can. And for your gift today, we'd like to send you our most popular resource each year. It's the 2024 Summit Life Planner. We've included a Bible reading plan to help you maintain that most important spiritual discipline this next year. And the scripture we are reading together aligns with the teaching you'll hear here on Summit Life in 2024. Receive this planner as our thanks for your gift to the ministry right now.

And this is the final few days where it's available, so give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at Now let's get back to today's teaching on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Verse 9, he gives you the third element. But with the voice of thanksgiving I will sacrifice to you.

What I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord. Some scholars say this is the most important verse in the whole Bible. I'm actually inclined to agree with them because this is repeated in Revelation and it summarizes the entire plot line of the Bible.

Repentance comes from knowing number three, that salvation belongs to the Lord. You see you could generally say there are three different kinds of people in the world. There are irreligious people. There are religious people and there are Christians. There are irreligious people.

There are religious people and there are Christians. Irreligious people don't believe they need salvation. Religious people believe they need salvation but believe salvation belongs to them. Christians know they need salvation I know they need salvation. I know that salvation comes from God. That salvation is a gift that God gives. Salvation is not in us. Salvation is something that our heavenly Father gives to us out of his heart and not because of our merit.

So in Revelation, the song that we will sing for eternity as salvation belongs to the Lord, we will walk around heaven, the Bible says, with his name on our forehead and on our hand. Not my name. I'm not walking around heaven with a list of things, awesome things that I did. So you're like, tell me, JD, about your life. I'm like, well, look at all this awesome stuff I did. Here's my own name and all my accomplishments written down. His name is written on there because I will say salvation belonged to him.

It wasn't because of anything I did that got myself here. It was his grace. It was his compassion. Salvation belonged to the Lord. He did for me what I couldn't do for myself. When I was so far gone, he gave me what Christians have called grace, which you've already heard. Grace is an undeserved gift from an unobligated giver.

It is something entirely that comes as a gracious act of God, salvation belongs to God. And see, when you get that, it will produce three things in you. Two of them Jonah gets, one of them he totally misses.

Here are the first two. It creates in you, first of all, humility and confidence. Humility and confidence. You see, the gospel is the only place where you're gonna get both of those.

Everybody else will have one of the two of those. Either you know that you're not worthy, you know that you messed up, you don't really think that much of yourself so you have humility, but no confidence. You know, you're like, oh, well, you know, I'm not sure if I'm gonna go to heaven, I'm not sure if God's flees with me. You're humble, but not confident. Or you got people who are confident, but not humble. You know plenty of people like that, right? They're like, oh, you know, if there is a God, he's certainly happy with me because I just drip with awesome sauce. I'm just awesome all over the place.

And I just, it's just me. So they're confident, but they're not humble. The gospel is the only thing that produces both confidence and humility because it says, I know the depth of my need and I understand the depth of his love. And when you understand the depth of your need combined with the depth of his love, it produces both humility and confidence because you realize, as I've often explained to you, that the gospel is that you are more wicked and undeserving than you probably ever imagined, but more loved and accepted in Christ than you ever dared to hope.

That produces humility and confidence. All right, Jonah gets that. You see that in this prayer. But there's a third thing that Jonah doesn't get, which is what the rest of the whole book is about really, and that is passion.

The gospel is supposed to produce in you a passion for God, a love for God, and a passion, grace and generosity toward others. But Jonah doesn't get that. Jonah's gonna emerge from the belly of the fish. He's gonna be fully surrendered to God's will, but he still hates the Ninevites, and he's still bitter at God. He's gonna obey, he is, because he doesn't want to go back into the belly of that fish, but he's not gonna be happy about it, which is supposed to give you a picture of most religious people, right? We know it's stupid to run from God. Well, it's just dumb.

There's just no way to get around it. But see, in your heart, you've never learned to love like God loves. If I could speak this way, there's almost like what I would consider a Christianity 1.0 and a 2.0, okay? Christianity 1.0 is when you realize it's dumb to run from God, and so you surrender to God because you're like, really, I mean, how can you win against God?

That's 1.0. I realize I need God's grace, and he offers it as a gift, 1.0. 2.0 is where you recognize the greatness of God's grace, and that's where you really start to change. There is a point where you surrender to God because you feel like you have to. Most religious people have gotten that. But then there's a point where you start to love like God loves. You start to do what God does because you desire what God desires, and that comes when you understand the depth and the beauty of God's grace to you.

It's like I've often explained. God is not just after obedience in your life. He's after a whole new kind of obedience.

He wants an obedience that comes out of desire, where you do what God does because you love what God loves, not because you're afraid of the belly of the fish. That's why you gotta read the book of Jonah in two ways. You gotta read it in what we call the existential way. Existential means about you right now in this moment. Existentially, you gotta realize that you're Jonah. You're Jonah, and just like God was pursuing Jonah, God is pursuing you.

You gotta read it that way. But there's a much more important way to read Jonah, and that is what we call the messianic way, where you realize that Jesus is Jonah. Because Jesus, watch, would be everything that Jonah was supposed to be. Jonah was cast out into the sea, and the sea became calm. Jesus was cast out into the sea of God's wrath, and that sea became calm. Jonah spent three days at the bottom of the ocean.

Jesus would spend three days in the tomb under God's wrath, and then he would emerge victorious in the resurrection. Everything that Jonah does wrong, Jesus does right. Jonah ran from his enemies. Jesus ran to his enemies.

See, when you begin to see that, that's when your heart begins to change. In fact, Jonah chapter two, if you read that prayer, you know what it sounds eerily close to? Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane. The weeds of sin were wrapping around his head. He was being taken down to where the bars of death would close around him forever. And he would pray, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But he really was forsaken by God. And you begin to understand, listen, that Jesus went through the belly of the well for you. He went through it for you so that you would never taste the depth of sin.

So everything God's doing in your life right now is mercy, and what you should look at is look how Jesus went into the belly of the well for you. That produces passion in your heart. Being in the belly of a fish, watch, can coerce your obedience. Seeing that Jesus went into the belly of the fish for you, the real fish, is what will create desire in your heart. God's not just after obedience, he's after a whole new kind of obedience. Which is why I've explained to you, the goal of every sermon that I ever preach is not to tell you, don't be like Jonah.

You'll see that. The goal of every sermon is to help you worship. The goal of a lecture is you leave with information.

The goal of a motivational speech, you leave with action steps. The goal of a sermon is that you leave overcome with the beauty of who Jesus is and what he did to rescue you, because that is the only thing that creates worship and desire in your heart. So yes, see that Jonah went to the belly of a fish and be warned. See that Jesus went to the belly of a fish for you and worship. Let the kindness of God lead you to repentance.

Be overwhelmed with his grace towards you. So here's how we close. I give you two questions. Two questions, all right? The first, the existential, okay? Existential question. Are you surrendered? Are you surrendered? God has brought some of you to this place at this time, in this moment, and he is saying to you, it is time to stop running.

Why? Why do you keep forsaking? They're him, the compassion, the love that I am extending to you.

It's time for you to stop right now and surrender. That's one question, are you surrendered? Second question is for those of you that have, are you full of passion for God and for others? I would invite you in this moment to reflect on the beauty of Christ for you, to where you care about the Ninevites in your life, the people that you hate, the people that you're jealous of, and you can't forget that you care about them as much as Jesus cares about you. Dwell on the love of God for you, and let that produce love for God and for others in you. Do we love like Jesus loves?

Do we care like he cares? Pastor JD is helping us see how Jonah's life is, in many ways, a reflection of our own lives. Let's choose to love in a whole new way this year. If you joined us late, you can listen again online at So JD, our annual day planner is back once again, and our listeners only have a couple more days to get a hold of it. This is a staple resource that so many of our listeners have come to rely on. Yeah, Molly, you know, when we first started this a few years ago, I'm not even sure exactly how many, we knew people would like it, but we didn't realize how much it would catch on.

It's one of the most popular resources that we provide each year. I think, you know, there's nothing magical about the new year. It's, you know, one sense like every other day, but it just gives you a natural place to pause for reflection. And so this is a tool that allows us to take stock of our life to, you know, Psalm 90 verse 12 to consider our days, consider what's going on and what we're spending our time on.

We all know the experience of coming into the new year with a lot of goals and a lot of intentions and, you know, having it completely washed up by week three of January. This will help you turn those intentions into reality. So it's our special planner. It's gonna be your trusted companion in this. We're gonna throw in a one-year Bible reading plan to sweeten the deal on it.

Don't miss out on this. Let's go into this year together, partnering together to reach the people that God has put in our lives to reach. You can get your copy by giving $35 or more to this ministry right now, or by joining us as a gospel partner. We'd be so honored to have you join our team of faithful monthly supporters who partner with us to share the gospel all over the world. Simply give us a call at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220, or you can always give online at I'm Molly Vidovitch. Be sure to join us tomorrow when Pastor JD describes the making of a witness. That's Friday right here on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-04 12:28:39 / 2024-01-04 12:40:15 / 12

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