Jonah vs. Paul

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We have been studying the book of Romans, and in that process of going through the book of Romans, we’ve learned an awful lot about the apostle Paul. We’ve learned about his heart for the Roman church, obviously, but we’ve learned about his heart for the church in general. And in that and as we’ve gone through all of that and everything, we’ve seen, Paul’s incredible desire to present Jesus to anybody that he comes in contact with. Right? He just wants everybody to know who Jesus is and what he’s done. But he also wants to teach truth. And he does it through the book of Romans and through all of his writings. But he also wants to teach truth about sin, about the law, about redemption. So he’s also doing all of that. And we saw that in Romans. But then he also has this this where he wants to encourage the church. He wants he wants to be an encouragement to him. He wants to rejoice with the church in all that we are in Christ and to love and care for each other as a church, and then to glorify God with our lives. So in the as we’ve gone through the book of Romans, we’ve seen Paul, all these things about him. And I was thinking, well, that’s been good to learn about Paul and learn these things about Paul. So let’s see what led Paul to this place. How did he get to this place where he wanted to teach and encourage and and rejoice with the church, both in Rome and the church in general, and and what caused him to respond the way he responded? But I also want to contrast that response with another man in the Bible, with a man named Jonah.

Now, most of you are aware of the story of Jonah and the account of Jonah, but the contrast in the way these two men responded to God is fun to look at. So that’s what we’re going to look at this morning. There we go. Cool. All right, Jonah, one, one. And we’re just going to this just introduces Jonah quickly to us and simply says this. Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, Jonah, all we get from this is Jonah was the son of Amity. And I’ll tell you this, there’s a lot of people that think the account of Jonah is fictional. I mean, especially the part about being swallowed by a big fish, you know, and all that kind of stuff that just seems fictional to people. But there’s an awful lot in the Bible that explains who Jonah is. And actually, outside of the Bible, look at Second Kings. This is chapter 14. I’ll start in verse 23 and listen to what it says. It says, In the 15th year of Amaziah, the son of Joash, King of Judah Jeroboam, the son of Joash King of Israel, began to reign in Samaria and he reigned 41 years.

Now, first we get pretty mixed up, right? There’s two Joe Ashes. One was was a king in the northern kingdom of Judah and his son was Amaziah, who was now the king, and the other is Joash, who was a king in the southern or excuse me, the southern kingdom of Judah, Northern kingdom of Israel. I apologize. In this northern kingdom of Israel was joash the king and his son was Jeroboam and Jeroboam is just getting ready to take the reigns. He was in Samaria and he reigned for 41 years. So two Jo ashes. We got them separated, but now we get a little confused again, it says, And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. And he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin. And so now we got two Jeroboam’s Well, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was was one of the early kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. And he was an evil, awful king. And he actually started the whole kingdom of Israel headed down the wrong path. He caused the whole nation of Israel to sin, the whole northern kingdom of Israel to sin. And and now pretty much every king is compared back to Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. And so what we see here is that Jeroboam, the son of Joash.

Has followed after Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. And he’s been evil. He’s done evil in the sight of the Lord. But now here’s what we learn about him. About Jeroboam, the son of Joash. He It says that he restored the border of Israel from from La Boheme. As far as the Sea of Arabah. That’s the the Dead Sea. That’s the Hebrew word for the Dead Sea. So as far as the Sea of Arraba, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke to his servant, Jonah, the son of the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher. So we learn a little bit more about Jonah from Second Kings. Jonah, again, it’s reiterated, was a son of Amittai, but it also says that he was from Gath Afar. Now, Gath Ofir was in the northern part of the kingdom again of the Kingdom of Israel, in the land of Zebulun and close to the Sea of Galilee. So this city that Jonah was from was from that area. And so we can see it’s easy to conclude that Jonah was a real prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel. And he prophesied during the time of Jeroboam, the son of Joash. But we also have some extra biblical stuff that helps us understand this. The Jewish historian Josephus talks about Jonah as well, and he prophesied that King Jeroboam would do exactly what these verses say, that he would go ahead and he would take back some of the land that that Israel had when Joshua handed out all of the land and said, take this part and take this part and gave it all to each one of the tribes.

When Joshua did that, they had lost some of the land to some of their enemies, to the Syrians. And so Jonah prophesied about that. So let’s look at what Josephus had to say. This is out of the Book of Antiquities, chapter ten and paragraph one, and it says, now one. Jonah, a prophet, foretold to him. That’s Jeroboam, the son of Joash foretold to him that he should make war with the Syrians and conquer their army and enlarge the bounds of his kingdom to the northern parts, to the city of Hamath, the same as the Kings already talked about the same city, and to the southern border of Lake of Asphaltites, which again is the the Dead Sea. Except this time this is the Greek for the Dead Sea. And so it says for the bounds of the Canaanites originally were these as Joshua their general had determined to them. So Jeroboam made an expedition against the Syrians and overran all their country as Jonah had foretold. So. Not only was Jonah a real prophet, he was a son of Amittai. He was from Gath for the Northern Kingdom. But we have record of his prophecies being fulfilled exactly the way he foretold them.

That’s a pretty good backup. We have one another backup about Jonah being a real guy, but we’re going to talk about that one in a little while. So this is Jonah. Now, in comparison, what do we know about Paul? A lot of us know quite a bit about Paul or Saul because that’s who he was when originally he was Saul. And so we know this. Saul was born in Tarsus of Tarsus was a city in Cilicia, which Cilicia is actually was would have been up in what’s modern day Turkey for us to help us kind of see where that was at. He was a city or a citizen of this Roman province by birth. And so that’s an important thing. And he was from the tribe of Benjamin. His parents were Jewish. His father was a Pharisee. He was trained under Gamaliel, the most important the most famous rabbi at the time in in all of Judah. And so he he was trained by the most well known. And so here’s what some of the things he says about himself are that are kind of interesting. He says in Acts 23, in verse 22 and verse three, he says, I’m a Jew, born in Tarsus, in Cilicia, and brought up in this city educated at the feet of Gamaliel, according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers being zealous for God, as all of you are this day.

And so he’s explaining who he is in this. And then later on, in that same chapter in verse 27 and 28, he says, So he’s being addressed by this Tribune and trying to find out what’s going on with him and who he is. And so the Tribune came and he said to him, Tell me, are you a Roman citizen? And Paul says, Yes, I am. And the Tribune says, Well, I bought this citizenship with a large sum. I had to pay a whole bunch of money to be a citizen of Rome. But Paul says he says this, he says, but I am a citizen by birth. And that changed the whole way that these Roman soldiers treated Paul because he was a citizen of Rome. And then in the next chapter 23 and verse six, Paul says this about himself. And now Paul perceived that one of one part were Sadducees and the other part Pharisees. And he cried out to the council Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee. So Paul was a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. And so he’s just laying out, This is who I am. If Philippians three verses five and six, he says this about himself, circumcised on the eighth day of the eighth day of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. As to the law, a Pharisee as to zeal, a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law, blameless, blameless.

So this is how Paul describes himself. So we see Jonah, a prophet of the Lord who prophesied, foretold for God. And then we have Paul. Paul is a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees trained under the best teachers. At the time, he was zealous for God and he was blameless under the law. So these are the two men that we’re dealing with and we understand a little bit about their past. Now let’s go on, Jonah, said. Jonah one. One says that the word of the Lord came to Jonah. And so in verse two, we see what that word of the Lord was, what the calling was to Jonah from God. And he says this He says, Arise. Go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it for their evil has come up before me. Wow. God wants Jonah to go to Nineveh now, and he wants him to call out against him. He wants to preach against the city of Nineveh. That’s a tall order. Eventually, Jonah will go to to Nineveh and he’ll say in chapter three, verse four, he says, 40 days in Nineveh will be overthrown. That’s what he’s going to go into the city and say. And but Nineveh. This is pretty amazing. Nineveh was a capital of the Assyrians. And the Assyrians were awful people that the Assyrian empire at the time encompassed the area of Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

So all of those areas, as you look on a map, that was the whole Assyrian empire. So it was huge. It was big. Nineveh was a huge city. Nineveh had 120,000 people at the end of Jonah says. 120,000 people. As a matter of fact, the Bible says it takes three days to walk around the whole city of Nineveh. It would take you three days. That’s how big the city of Nineveh. So this was a big this was an important city. But here’s the thing. The ninevites were hated. They were hated enemies of Israel because they would come and raid. They would come and the Assyrians would come and raid Israel. And and they were extremely cruel and vile to the people they conquered. It’s you just you can’t even imagine some of the stuff that they would do if you haven’t heard about it. But they were just awful when they would conquer people. And there’s a great chance as as soon as Jonah walks into the city and starts preaching against it that he’s going to be killed and he knows all this stuff. He knows he doesn’t want to go there. And by the way, eventually the Syrians are going to conquer the whole northern kingdom of Israel and they’re going to kill or they’re going to take captive everyone from the northern kingdom of Israel. And that kingdom will eventually never be heard from again.

And they’ll also try to conquer the the Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem in particular. But God intervenes and takes care of that. If you remember the story of the Assyrians come and camp out before Jerusalem and you remember King Hezekiah and and laying the letter down on the altar and praying to God. But what God does is he confuses the whole Assyrian army and they end up attacking each other. And that night, 185,000 Assyrians die. The whole army. And so God protects Judah and Jerusalem in that way. That all happens a while after Jonah, but that’s how awful the Assyrians are. That’s how difficult of an assignment it is for Jonah to be walking into the city of Nineveh. So God called Jonah to this terrible place and to these awful people. And he says, Go tell them that I’m going to overthrow the city in 40 days if they don’t repent. So, Paul, he had similar feelings of hatred, but his hatred was directed towards the followers of Jesus at the time. He he not only hated Jesus and he hated those who proclaimed him. He hated what they taught. He hated everything about him. He hated the name in which they taught it. He. He. It was just he did everything he could to get rid of the people of Judah or the the people who followed Jesus and listen to the way he explains it himself.

This is in Acts chapter six. Starting at verse nine, it says, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison and after receiving authority from the chief priests. But when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them and I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme and in raging fury against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. Raging fury. Paul’s own words. I had a raging fury against the followers of Jesus. That’s a hatred you don’t see very often, right? I mean, that’s a deep seated hatred. He did everything he could to get rid of the people that followed Jesus. And this this raging hatred, this raging fury even led him to foreign cities. And look for these guys to to try to try to bring them back, to try to put them in jail, to see them put to death. It didn’t matter. But here’s what we know. God had a different calling for Paul. He had a completely different calling for Paul. And so we see in Acts chapter nine, starting at verse three, says this now, as he went on his way and he approached Damascus, this is one of the times he was often trying to persecute all the followers of Jesus.

And so he’s on his way to mascus to to gather them up and haul them back to Jerusalem and put them on trial. And so as he approached Damascus, then suddenly a light from heaven shone around him and falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? And he said, Who are you? Lord? And he said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, but rise and enter the city and you will be told what to do. Wow. Now, there are some pretty unique similarities here between Jonah and Paul when they’re called. You know, both of them are very proud of who they are, what their standing is before God, what their position is before God. And they believe that they’re doing what God wants them to do. They believe they’re serving God and doing the things that they’re supposed to be doing. And so there’s some pretty good pride there. Jonah thought that he was better than the Assyrians. He was one of God’s chosen people, right? He was he was a prophet of God. He hated the Syrians. He hated the Ninevites. And he didn’t want to see them repent and turn to God. He that’s the last thing he wanted. As a matter of fact, he they were Gentiles. They didn’t deserve the grace and the mercy of God in Jonah’s eyes. They didn’t deserve it, let alone should he be the one that goes and tells them.

And Paul was very similar. Paul was proud of his heritage as a Pharisee. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews. He was proud of his training. He he knew about the God of Abraham. He knew about the law. He understood it all. He practiced it to the point of blamelessness. He says himself he was proud of what? Where he thought he stood in comparison to other Jews. He. He was proud because he thought he was so much better than the Gentiles. And he was extremely proud because he knew he was much, much better than these followers of Jesus, these followers of the way that he needed to go and eliminate. And so, listen, this is this is the challenge, I think, that comes from this. And in my experience, this kind of spiritual pride is the worst kind of pride. I mean, I’ve seen it so much and it’s just we think we’re better than others. We think we know more than others. We don’t think that there’s any hope for others, that there’s any purpose for others. And worst of all is we don’t think that we’re wrong in any way when we’re walking around with this kind of spiritual pride. So we don’t see any reason to change. That’s the kind of spiritual pride both of these men had. So in the middle of that spiritual pride they’re both presented with. They both have to make a decision about a calling from God.

Each one of them. So in Jonah, chapter three or chapter one and verse three says this This is how Jonah responded to God saying, Go to Nineveh. But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish. From the presence of the Lord. And he went down to Joppa and he found a ship going to Tarshish. And he paid the fare and he went down into it. And to go with them to Tarshish and away from the presence of the Lord. Now, listen. Remember, Jonah is a prophet of the Lord. Jonah really understands that he can’t run from the presence of the Lord, Jonah. He should have known better, right? Trying to run from the presence of the Lord. But listen, because of his spiritual pride, because he didn’t think that the Ninevites deserved the favor of God. They didn’t deserve the mercy. They didn’t deserve the grace of God. Because that’s the way Jonah felt. He felt like he could run from God. It’s pretty amazing. Know Surely, Jonah, as a prophet of God, knew what David had said in Psalm 139. Listen to what David said. Starting at verse seven, it says, Where shall I go from your spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol. Sheol is just the place of the dead. If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the innermost parts of the sea, even there, your hand shall lead me. And your right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me. And the light about me is the light about me be night. Even the darkness is not dark to you. The night is bright As the day for darkness is as light with you. David’s saying this whole rhetorical thing. Where can I go to hide from you? Nowhere. Jonah knew that. Jonah knew he couldn’t run and hide from God. But spiritual pride will make us do some pretty not smart things. Really does like trying to run from God. So Jonah goes down to Joppa. He catches a ship for Tarshish. God. There on the ship, there, out in the sea. God brings this terrible storm. It’s so awful that the ship is almost to break apart. The Mariners figure out that it’s Jonah’s fault. It’s Jonah’s fault that they’re going through all this. It’s Jonah’s fault that they may lose their ship. It’s Jonah’s fault that we might die. And so in Jonah chapter one, starting in verse 11, it says this. What shall we do to you? Well, let me bring it up for you. There we go. What shall we do to you that the sea may quiet down for us? For the sea grew more and more violent.

And he said to them, Pick me up and hurl me into the sea. Then the sea will quiet down for you. For I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you. Nevertheless, the men rode hard to get back to dry land, and they could not, for the sea grew more and more violent. Jonah said, Pick me up and throw me into the sea. They didn’t want to do that, so they tried harder. They rowed harder and harder and tried to get over to the land, but they still couldn’t do it. So their next step was to call out to God. And this is kind of an interesting thing because when they first approached Jonah and they first approached all the men, they said, call out to whatever God you serve and see if he’ll quiet the storm and settle the storm down. Now they’re calling out to the God of heaven and they say, surely the darkness or excuse me, I was up in the next passage, Oh, Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life and lay not on us innocent blood for you. Oh, Lord, have done as it pleased you. They recognized that God was doing all this. That’s pretty amazing. So what did they do? They picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea. They picked him up and chucked him in, and they threw him into the sea. And immediately the sea quieted down.

Huh? Now you all know the next part of the story. Joan was thrown into the sea. A great big fish swallows him. He prays from the belly of the swish of the fish and the the fish vomits him back up onto the dry land. And God once again, says Jonah, go to Nineveh. This time Jonah finally goes. But listen to what happens. In chapter three, starting at verse five, it says this And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and they put on sackcloth and from the greatest of them to the least. And the word reached the king of Nineveh. And he arose from his throne. And he removed his robe and he covered himself with sackcloth. And he sat in the ashes and he issued a proclamation publishing through Nineveh by the decree of the King and the nobles. Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth and let them call out mightily to God and let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and return and turn from His fierce anger so that we may not perish. And that’s exactly what happened When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had set, that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

No. I don’t know about you, but I think about if I’m Jonah. I didn’t want to go there in the first place. I finally go there. I did what God told me to do, and now I’m just going to say, God, the rest of it’s in your hands. Whatever you do with this is is up to you. I’m going home. It’s a several day journey to get back home. Anyway, I’m going home. This is the rest of. This is up to you. I did my part. Right? It’s not how Jonah responded. Jonah’s response to God’s mercy toward the Ninevites was this. In chapter four and verse one. Says. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly. He was angry and he prayed to the Lord. And he said, O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That this is why or that that is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster. Now listen to this. Now, therefore, O Lord, please take my life from me. For it is better for me to die than to live. Wow. Jonah says, I would rather die than live. Because you showed your favor, your grace, your mercy and your love to the ninevites.

In his spiritual pride, Jonah got mad at God. Mm. I would rather die than watch what you’re doing, Lord. Then see how you’re treating these guys. An interesting again. Instead of going home, he goes out of the city and sits up on the mountain and watches. And he watches. He’s watching to see if God’s going to change his mind and still destroy the city of Nineveh. That’s how far he is into this. He still wants God to do it, even though God’s already relented. He knows God’s going to relent. He said that and He’s God already has. And he sits there. And while he’s sitting there, the sun is hot and he’s pretty miserable. And so God provides him some shade. And then Jonas still being mad and is upset still. And so God takes a shade away and Jonah continues to be mad. He continues to be upset. And at the end of the book, God says to this, Jonah. It’s totally within my rights to have mercy, to have pity on the city of Nineveh. It says all 120,000 of them. That’s up to me, Jonah. It’s not up to you. And that’s the way the book ends. It’s such an interesting way that it ends. So spiritual pride left Jonah angry with God, even when God was just being himself, right? God was being gracious. He was being merciful. He was being loving toward any that would turn to him.

And as a prophet of God, Jonah should have really been pretty happy about that. He should have been rejoicing with the people in Nineveh that they had turned to God. Instead, we get a pretty different response from him. We get it. He’s just he’s. Doesn’t doesn’t want to see what God did. Now, let’s look back at Paul a little bit. Jesus appears to Paul on the road to Damascus. He’s temporarily blinded and Jesus tells him to go into Damascus, into Damascus and wait there until he gets further instruction. And so he’s in Damascus. He’s been fasting for three days. And so the Lord sends a gentleman named Ananias to him. And this is such an interesting thing. Ananias is a great guy. Ananias is a believer. He lives in Damascus. He’s a follower of the Lord. And Ananias says this to God. But wait a minute, God. God says, Go. Go find this guy named Saul and place your hands on him and set him apart. For what? The work that I have for him. It’s a special work. And Ananias says, Wait a minute. God, this guy has come here specifically to throw us all in jail, specifically to do all of this stuff, specifically to take us away. He’s come here to persecute us and God says, No, Ananias, I’ve got a plan for him. I got something that I want him to be doing for me.

And and we know that that means that means he’s going to be going to be the the apostle to the Gentiles. And so Ananias goes and he finds Paul and and he lays his hands on him. Listen to Paul’s response. Listen to how that goes. Maybe there we go in Acts chapter nine, verses 17 and 18. It says this. And so Ananias departed and he entered the house and he laid his hands on him and said, Brother Saul, isn’t that amazing? It had only been a few minutes. And he went from noone. Saul was there to persecute him to calling him brother. And he says, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me so that you may reign, or that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately something like Scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized. Wow. And then later on in chapter nine and verse 20, it says, And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogue saying He is the son of God. And then in verse 22, it says, But Saul increased all the more in strength, and he confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. That’s a pretty big change. Paul has this distinct experience of Jesus speaking directly to him. And though he still he still spiritually proud, he still has his heritage, he still has his knowledge.

He still has his position. But listen, he humbly sets whatever he knows or whatever he thought he knew about God and whatever, whatever he thought he understood about God’s purposes, He sets all that aside and he immediately starts to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God, and Jesus is the Messiah. Wow. Pretty big difference between Jonah and Paul’s response to God’s calling. We could go on and we could cite a whole bunch of passages and even books of the Bible that confirm this complete change in Paul, his zeal for telling others about Jesus. And as you know, he spends the rest of his life doing it. And he not only spends the rest of his life doing it, it’s ultimately the reason he’s put to death. Because he says, I’m telling you about Jesus. I want everybody to know about Jesus. So we see these two opposite reactions to God. Jonah hated the Ninevites. He tried to run from God. He got angry with God. And and because just because God showed his grace, mercy and his love to his enemies. And interesting. It’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t really record anything further about the life of Jonah. Jonah is mentioned later on, but it’s no further information about the life of Jonah. This is the last we hear. Paul was angry with the believers of Jesus. Had that raging fury against them, remember? So he.

So he’s out persecuting them. He’s punishing them. He’s putting them in jail. He’s agreeing with their deaths. And then he has this instant encounter with Jesus and becomes one of them. Paul’s persecuting these guys all of a sudden. He’s part of these guys, part of this group, and he ends up being one of the greatest servants of God in all of Scripture. And I think a lot of people will say that. And and he does it for the remainder of his life. And and even, like I said, to the point of being the apostle to the Gentiles whom he hated as well. So God completely changed Paul. And what a great change in Paul because he has so much for us to learn and so much for us to gather about even being Christians and from Paul. So it’s a it’s a wonderful thing for us and very helpful to us as believers. But what can we really take away from how Jonah and Paul respond to God’s calling and hopefully we can get something from it? I think we can. I think there’s a lot of things we can get from it. But first of all, I just want to mention that if you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you’ve trusted him with your life, if you’ve placed your faith and belief in him to save you, then listen, you have a calling from God.

Every believer has a calling from God. He probably didn’t speak to us directly, but we still have a calling from him. As Christians, God has placed at least one calling on every one of us. I think he’s actually placed several callings on all of us at the very least. We’re all called to tell others about Jesus, right? Just like Paul. That’s the very least we can do as our calling. Tell others about Jesus. But I think there’s a whole bunch more. At the very least, we can love God and love others. Right? We’ve all we’ve all got these callings that that are given to each one of us. At the very least, we can be lights that shine in this world. Those are all callings that we have from God. Every one of us. There’s not a person that’s a believer in the Lord Jesus that doesn’t have those callings. And some people, some have other callings, some have some callings that are usually something that God’s impressed on our hearts that’s going to further his kingdom, some additional callings. So we all have callings from God. And I think it’s important to get that. But God’s callings are going to be a part of every believer’s life and a part of our lives all the time. So the big question is, is how are we going to handle them? How are we going to handle those callings? We’re going to run.

We’re going to run from instead of to God’s calling and get angry with God like Jonah did. Sometimes God calls us something that don’t feel comfortable. Doesn’t feel good sometimes. God. We end up in a situation where we’re. I don’t like that. That’s not me. I’m not going to do that. Well, that’s running from God. Sometimes we get angry from God. God, why did you let that happen? Why did you put me in that situation? Why did you call me to that? So sometimes we get angry with God. But we also have the opposite. We have how Paul responded. We could humbly do what we know God’s calling us to do. We could humbly, immediately, wholeheartedly turn to God and do what he’s what he’s asking us to do. Because, listen, we all know this. God’s God’s not going to ask us to do anything that he doesn’t give us the power to do through his indwelling spirit so we can do it. There’s no question we can do it. And listen, before we get be too hard on Jonah, because it’s easy to get down on him and be kind of hard on him. But remember this, what happened to him and his response and the result. It was all ordained by God so that Jesus could explain it later on. And by the way, this is the greatest proof that Jonah really lived. And I’ll just do the math through reference.

But in Matthew chapter 12, starting at verse 39, it says this, But he answered them. He says, An evil and an adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. And the men of Nineveh listen to this will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. What a great statement. What a wonderful thing. And listen, Paul had this firsthand encounter with something or someone greater than Jonah. Paul had a firsthand encounter with Jesus Christ and it gave him a heart to teach, a heart, to encourage or a heart to rejoice with the church. Obviously with the church in Rome, like we learn, but with the church as a whole, with all of the church. He’s taught us so much, like I mentioned. And and so, listen, it’s my prayer this morning that every person here has had this personal experience as personal accountant account. Excuse me, this personal encounter with Jesus with something greater than Jonah. I pray that it’s our heart’s desire then to minister in truth and love to those Jesus brings into our lives.

And in whatever situation he puts us in, that’s really that. That’s our calling. Once we’ve had that personal encounter with Jesus, that’s our calling. Because listen, you know what? You and I are going to be challenged with decisions every day. Every day we’re going to hance to we’re going to have to see how am I going to respond to God’s calling? Something is going to come up every day where we’re going to get to say, okay, what am I going to do? Am I going to fight it? I going to get mad at God? Am I going to run? Am I going to head the other direction? What am I going to do? Or am I going to respond like Paul? And may we be believers, Christians, that respond the way that Paul did? May we respond humbly, immediately? I think that’s a big step. Immediately. Maybe we respond whole heartedly and may we be effective our whole lives with it. As long as we have breath, May we respond to God in this way, to the callings that He presents to us? I think God’s church would be incredibly different if we all responded when when God gave us the opportunity. I know I’d be different if I responded every time God gave me the opportunity with one of his callings. And I think God’s church would would accomplish so much as we do that and as we respond wholeheartedly to our Lord, humbly to our Lord, when he calls each one of us.

Romans 16:17-27