How to Stay Out of the Belly of a Fish
10 Lessons from the story of Jonah on Living as a Missionary. Just finished a series of messages at Bridge Church walking through the story of Jonah. Here’s what we learned in brief. Find the messages here.
- God wants to USE ME.“The word of the Lord came to Jonah” 1:1. God has a mission for each of us. God saves us so that he can use us to bring glory to himself.
- God COMMANDS ME to go certain directions. “go to Nineveh” 1:2. God’s desire for us is specific as it was to Jonah. Ephesians 2:10 – “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Jonah’s walk was to include a stroll through Nineveh.
- __________ leads me away from God. For Jonah it was his prejudice against the wicked Assyrians that led him “away from the presence of the Lord” 1:3. It may be different for each of us. Selfishness, Pride, Fear. We all have heart issues that cause us to hesitate & disobey.
- DISOBEDIENCE is dangerous. It’s the Worst Case Scenario for the Christian. Jonah found out just how dangerous it is to disobey God when God provided a storm & a great fish for him to retreat in for a few days to think things over. When we disobey we place ourselves in line for God’s discipline or for natural consequences of sin.
- God is a God of SECOND CHANCES. After Jonah confessed & repented, God gave him a second chance – “the word of the Lord came to Jonah THE SECOND TIME” 3:1. Thank God for second chances.
- God has a heart for the WHOLE WORLD. God’s love for the world (John 3:16) looks past our preferences, prejudices, & temporal judgments against people. God’s love for the world meant he even loved Jonah’s enemies, forcing him to deal with his anger & bitterness toward the Assyrian people.
- I must deal with my heart issues if I am going to be used by God. God’s mission often exposes our heart issues of prejudice, pride, self absorption. We can’t go with God & not expect our heart to change toward people.
- When I obey God, I can expect Him to be working on the other side. Jonah preached to the Assyrians & surprisingly they responded by repenting. God had prepared them for the message. When God places the order, He pays the tab. He doesn’t lead us somewhere He has not been himself.
- God’s will is not an optional item on life’s menu for the Christian. Jonah tried to pick & choose his path to obedience. “Instead of Nineveh, I’ll go to Tarshish.” God’s will is not optional. And religious practice is no substitute for dealing with our own sin & obeying God.
- Being on mission for God means His will & the lives of people trump my personal preference, comfort, & convenience. God continued to press the issue of Jonah’s heart issues. Jonah was angry that the Assyrians would receive grace, but grew happy when he found some good shade to cool him off. He was more interested in his own comfort than the fact that a whole nation of people was in danger of destruction. God’s will must be more important than our own comfort & convenience if we will have God’s heart for the world.
What other lessons can you think of from the story of Jonah?