Summary: Perhaps the storm you’ve been experiencing has broken you and gifted you with the realization that there is no LIFE apart from living the word of the Lord!
Series Title: The Book of Jonah
Sermon Title: LIVING BY THE WORD
Sermon Text: Jonah 1:1 “The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying."
The word of the Lord isn’t something we nod our heads to or merely sound out A-men to. It is more important and vital to our life than the very air we breathe or the food we eat.
Jesus said, “Man shall not live [Jesus is talking about life here] by bread alone, but on [or by] every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4; Dt. 8:3).
What bread is to our natural life, God’s word is to our LIFE.
• Without bread or food for our natural man, we die.
• Apart from the Word of the Lord, we have no LIFE.
The word of the Lord doesn’t merely sustain us or give us life, it also directs the course of our life, so that what we live is LIFE. When I use the word LIFE, I’m not referring to breathing in and out or a healthy body, but to a quality of LIFE that might be called eternal.
It is LIFE that is overflowing with…
• joy, and
• peace, and
• a jubilant sense of well being,
It is characterized by…
• a love for others that is ecstatic,
• a sense of being loved by God that is overwhelming,
• a deep sense of security, and
• confidence, and by
• the companionship of the Holy Spirit.
It has the ability to…
• endure adversity without complaining or caving in,
• to forgive your worst enemies with ease,
• to live carefree and faith filled.
I’m talking about the kind of LIFE that Jesus described when He said, “I am come that you might have LIFE and that more abundantly.”
Paul declared, “we walk [or live] by faith [a faith that is dependent upon and produced by the Word], not by sight” (2Cor. 5:7).
The Christian life should not be lived in reaction to circumstances and neither should it be based upon calculated attempts at engineering life. Such living, although applauded by the world and many in the Church, tends to circumvent the purpose and will of God.
Abraham was able to satisfy his desire for a son by his union with Hagar, but God did not accept Ishmael as the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham. Abraham merely wanted a son, God had His eye on the Son who was to come through Isaac.
We circumvent God’s best by devising plans that will produce the outcome we want.
Jacob was destined to be the son that God would use to bring about His purpose in the earth. But instead of trusting God and living life by the Word of the Lord, Rebekah and Jacob used deception to gain the blessing.
Now we may not use deception, but like Rebekah and Jacob, we devise and act upon plans that will give us what we want in life.
How many of us are so reliant upon God that we would give our youngest son the portion coming to him, all the while knowing that he will spend it on riotous living in the far country? How many of us are honest enough to admit that we are doing our best to keep the prodigal from leaving home, and that we are miserable with the results we are getting? They’re still at home, but they have no heart for God. In our reluctance to give up control, we’re headed for the storm of our life.
I admit that planning is not wrong, but it must be done with God’s counsel.
James offers a strong rebuke to those who make plans independent of God. He declares…
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow…Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil (James 4:13-16).
Solomon adds, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake for nothing” (Ps. 127:1).
Perhaps the idea of living by the Word of the Lord is disturbing to us because we’ve bought into the idea that we’re wise enough and educated enough to make rational decisions that will bring us the results we want.
• We consult E. F. Hutton and rely upon his advice before making financial investments.
• We consult a medical doctor and adhere to his advice when we’re sick.