Summary: A look at how we only let God into certain parts of our lives when He needs to be "Lord of all" in our lives.
WHY WEREN'T THE SAILORS BOTHERED EARLIER? Because they believed in small, provincial gods.
- Jonah 1:7, 10.
- One of the unusual things about this verse is that it tells in verse 10 that Jonah had told them previously that he was running away from God. You would think that when the storm arose that he would be the person they’d immediately accuse.
- One reason they may not have done that immediately is that, given that they were sailors, they likely had plenty of reason to believe that they could have been the one at fault. (I’m reminded of the scene at the Last Supper where Jesus says that one of them will betray Him and they all ask, “Is it me?” Even if everyone else doesn’t know about our secret sins, we do and the guilt lurks.)
- The larger reason, though, is that these sailors almost certainly believed in small, provincial gods. By “provincial” I mean that the “god” had an area of authority: perhaps a geographic area or a certain part of a person’s life (like money) or something like that. The “god” had a “province” that he had authority in.
- That means they were small “gods.” You didn’t have to worry the “mountain god” is you were at sea. You didn’t have to worry about the “water god” if you were in the forest.
- I think when Jonah makes his statement in v. 9 that his God is the God of the sea, that gets their attention. They realize that it’s probably Jonah that’s at fault.
- This is hard for us to understand because our minds default to a omnipotent, omnipresent God. It’s important to understand that their minds defaulted to small, provincial gods. That would have been what they thought. In fact, I’m not even sure that Jonah’s statement makes them immediately shift to a big God – it may just be that the mention that one of the provinces of Jonah’s God is the sea gets their attention.
THE "TERRIFYING" TRUTH: God is the God of everything and that means that nothing is off-limits.
- Jonah 1:9-10.
- Maybe pause halfway through the statement and unpack the first half before sharing the second half.
- The point I want to draw out of this for us this evening is this: our God is the God of everything.
- Rather than the small, provincial deities that the sailors believed in, we serve a God who is over all.
- As v. 9 says, the Lord made all creation: heaven, sea, land.
- When we think about God being the God of everything, we usually think of all that God has made: sun, moon, stars, galaxies, forests, oceans, lakes, etc.
- There is a second thing that the idea that God is the God of everything brings up: He is the God over every part of our lives. He is the God of every aspect of our lives.
- The second half of the statement is that “nothing is off-limits.”
- God has authority over every part of our lives.
- We accept Him as “Savior” but also as “Lord.” Lord means Boss, CEO. It means He’s in charge and has authority.
- Paul writes that we are “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Because of that, we owe Him our lives. We are His servants. We do that willingly, knowing that He loves us. But, still, we are His servants. He is “Lord of all.”
- That’s a hard truth because we often say that we believe in a God of everything but then label certain parts of our lives as off-limits to Him.
- I want to be specific and talk about a few of the areas where we commonly refuse to give God authority.
- To use a house analogy, we invite God into the living room, dining room, and kitchen, but won’t let him go through the closets or go upstairs and look in the bedroom.
- One place I’ve noticed this phenomenon is, ironically, in fundamentalist circles. Often, there are certain issues that are ironclad within the church (watching R-rated movies, wearing certain clothes), but then nothing at all is said on other areas (handling money wisely, justice issues).
WHAT ARE SOME PARTS OF OUR LIVES THAT WE WANT TO DECLARE OFF-LIMITS?
1. My wallet is off-limits.
- Our financial lives are off-limits to God.
- Some points:
a. How few Christians tithe.
b. How American Christians are, on average, as indebted as non-Christians.
c. How we pursue the American Dream.
2. My bedroom is off-limits.
- Our sex lives are off-limits to God.
- Some points:
a. Living together and sex outside marriage are normative even for many Christian young people.
b. Porn is an extensive problem in Christian circles.