Summary: Many times when we read the story of Jonah, our focus is on the significance of the great fish. But should that be our focus? This message looks at the message of Jonah that we often miss.
Tonight, we’re going to have an opportunity to get into a story that’s very familiar to all of us. But I want to look at it from the vantage point of “Who was God trying to catch?”
The Holy Spirit speaks to each one of us and He speaks to us individually with words specifically to us. But there are times He will say things that you can share with others. I want to preface my message tonight with something the Holy Spirit shared with me. The piece I’m going to share with you fits very well in what we’re going to talk about tonight.
What I’m about to read was given to me while I was reading 1 John 4:16.
“The more you spend time with Me, the more you will come to understand My love. And the more you understand My love, the more you will see My heart in dealing with people. People need to experience My love and that will happen as more and more of My love is poured into you and you pour it out onto others.
“My greatest need is to have people who are willing to do whatever I ask of them. So until I have people like this, My ability to touch the lives of people is limited. And I want to touch people, again, like I did when I was here. But I’m no longer walking the earth. I can no longer function in the earth the way I did when I was here.
“That’s why My greatest need is people who will hear My voice and respond to My directions. When that happens, you will see revival like you’ve never seen or head of before – people being healed, the dead being raised – all because I have people who are willing to follow My word.
“So find that place in Me that will allow Me to find a place in you. And when you do, I will be able to use you to usher in revival.”
So, we see that the Father’s heart is for us to love people the way He loves people, for us to bring people into the kingdom the way He would want them brought in. But so many of us are influenced by things outside the Church that we find ourselves thinking like people outside the Church.
I think about my feelings years ago when Osama Bin Laden was alive. I would been one of the first people to say he needs to die. But do you know that was not God’s heart? That was Barry’s selfish heart. God wanted the man saved. That was God’s heart. So many Christians, like I was years ago, have God’s nature but are not living out of God’s heart.
The record we’re going to look at tonight is in the book of Jonah, but we’re not going there just yet. Put a marker there because we’re going to get there eventually.
Before we get there, I want to look at God’s heart a little bit. I want to look at what God desires. These are verses we’re familiar with and that we’ve read before.
(9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.
(10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
We are to pray that God’s will is done here on earth like it is in heaven. What’s implied here is if we don’t pray, then God’s will is not going to get done. Do you see that? Why would Jesus tell us to pray if God’s will could get done without it? That’s a message in and of itself – how we don’t understand and value prayer.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise [The promise he’s referring to is the Lord’s return.], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Jesus is coming back but He’s not rushing it because He wants as many people as possible to be saved.
“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
God is saying “There is no reason for you to die and to miss heaven. The only thing you have to do is turn from your wickedness. And when you turn from your wickedness and start to serve Me, you will not die.”
“‘Who will have men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”