We spoke about Jesus and how He prayed the prayer of consecration and dedicated Himself to do the Father’s will. He prayed 3 times, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will be done but yours” (Matthew 26:39).
Consider your own consecration to the Lord. Consider whether or not you are able to say from your heart, “Lord, I’ll do whatever You ask me to do. I’ll go anywhere You want me to go. And I’ll stay where I am if You tell me to stay. No matter where You lead me, I’ll carry the good news of Jesus Christ to others.”
You will only be able to follow God’s plan for your life if you constantly maintain an attitude of consecration and surrender to the Lord’s will, whatever it might be. And that is why God’s plan for many people’s lives are hindered and many of His blessings are withheld because they haven’t totally consecrated themselves to God’s will.
God is looking for believers who will say as Jesus did, “Not my will, Father, but Your will be done.”
It wasn’t easy for Jesus to fulfill the Father’s plan, but Jesus didn’t focus on the temporary pain and agony. He kept His eyes on the prize, the joy set before Him. He saw the salvation of mankind coming to pass after the cross. Likewise, don’t focus on the pain, focus on the prize. After your cross comes your crown. After the shame comes the glory.
I want to encourage you this morning with this: It pays to serve God. It pays to follow God’s will and plan for your life. To pays to be obedient to God.
The Life of Jonah
Jonah was a prophet of God. He knew God. He understood God’s heart. He was not a baby Christian in the things of God. He knew more and he knew better.
Jonah 1:1-9 NKJV
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Never run from God. Always run towards him, no matter what you’ve done.
He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
When you disobedient and run from God’s will and plan, you always go down.
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest partsof the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
I want you to notice, because of Jonah’s disobedience, he has now caused a storm in other people’s lives. All it takes is one rebellious, disobedient person, to take a whole shipload of people down with him. You see, there are times when you are not the problem. The problem may be the people with whom you are associating.
11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous. 12 And he said to them, “Pick me up andthrow me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”
Some people know they are the problem, but they want you to throw them over so that you can feel bad. They want you to make the decision for them.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
As soon as you get the wrong people off your boat, your storm will cease. You will begin to experience a great calm again. Some of you need to throw some Jonah’s off your boat. They keep draining you of spiritual strength and natural resources. If you throw a Jonah off your boat, remember that God is still there for him or for her. When they threw Jonah off the boat, God had already prepared a great fish to swallow him and spit him back on the shore so he could travel on to Nineveh, his intended destination. When you allow the wrong people in your life, you’re not helping them, you may be keeping them from what God has prepared for them. Sometimes, you have to do what is best for you and your family, and trust God to take care of the other person.
It’s time for some of you to follow God’s plan for your life and let the other’s go to their Ninevah, the place God has prepared for them. Some people bless you when they come into your life; some people bless you when they exit your life.
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 2:1 NKJV
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said:
“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me.
“Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.
You see, it doesn’t matter how low you go, God will hear you if you turn to Him.
7 “When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.
8 “Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”
10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
God is merciful. If we turn to Him in repentance with all our heart and humble ourselves and say, “Not my will be done, Father, but Yours”, we will begin to see God turn things around for us and we will end up back on dry land.
Jonah 3:1 NKJV
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,
This merciful and gracious God that we serve, is a God of the second chance.
Nothing bad you’ve done can stop God from loving you. His loyal love hasn’t run out.
2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.
You see, even if you repent, you still need to be obedient to do what God has asked you to do.
Jonah 4:1 NKJV
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.
He was angry because he wanted them to pay the price for their sin and wickedness. The Assyrians were the Israelites enemies and Jonah wanted God to judge them and bring them down, but instead they repented.
God loves everyone. We must be careful that we don’t want people to get hurt and destroyed. We want people to turn to God before it’s too late. You must pray for them.
Turn to God. Repent. Surrender to His will. Submit to His plan. Pray, “not my will be done, Father, but Yours”.
Forgive those who have wronged you. Let go of anger, resentment and bitterness. Ask God to starting having compassion through you for others. Pray that God’s mercy will be extended towards those who are sinning and doing evil.
Ps. Lester Holland