Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Get Up And Bark

Jonah 1:1-6
“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. 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. 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.[a] But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of 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.”
I want to start by asking a very important question, who was Jonah?  The answer is simple and straightforward, Jonah was a prophet of God.  Jonah had heard the voice of God, he knew the will of God, and he knew the presence of God, but Jonah fled from the presence of God because he didn't want to obey God.  Jonah didn’t want to carry the message of God’s judgement on sin.  Jonah was like a lot of preachers today; he only wanted to preach a popular message to audiences of his own choosing.
So Jonah fled to Tarshish, he went down to Joppa.  Joppa means beautiful, beautiful but dead, let me tell you something, in your disobedience you may do something good, but if it's not what God said, it's still disobedience.
But the Lord sent out a great wind in to the sea and a great storm arose, “the weather started getting rough and tiny ship was tossed,” so that the ship was likely to be broken.  I want to point out a very important fact: It was God that sent the Storm after Jonah.  That may not fit into the feel good message of modern society that says, God never gets angry, God never judges anyone, and God would never deliberately cause you to suffer.  But the God of the Bible will send a Storm into your life, and he may just allow you to lose everything that you put your trust and confidence in to bring you back to him.
I can tell you from my own life, when I was angry and resentful, when I was living in rebellion and being stubborn; instead of God cutting me off He sent storms into my life to wake me up and turn me around.  I thank Him and praise Him every day that he didn’t just let me drown.  God in His love and mercy allowed me to suffer enough to bring me to my senses.
“…but Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship and he lay and was fast asleep.”
The sailors and passengers we're all or their lives, and they began to cry out to their gods and to throw things overboard.  The “things” that had value to them, which had been loaded onto the ship because they were essential to them, were just thrown into the sea, the storm had turned them into worthless rubbish.
The passengers and crew were in total desperation, when suddenly they became aware that one of the passengers was not on deck.  The shipmaster found him sound asleep and with total desperation for his life and the lives of everyone else on board he asked the sleepy prophet, how can you sleep at a time like this?
Where are the true prophets of God?  Where are the men of God that preach truth that we can use to navigate by and make it through the storms?  Where are God’s servants who are more concerned about doing God's will then making money?  Where are the prophets who aren’t concerned about being politically correct?  Where are the teachers who are more concerned about God's reputation than their celebrity status?  Where are children of God that preach righteousness, holiness, separation from sin, sanctification and consecration?  Where are the prophets who do not use grace as a cloak for sin but as the power to conquer sin?
Again the question is asked how can you sleep at a time like this?
I am not trying to warn you that a storm is coming, the storm is here!  I am telling you that the sea of sin is raging and the ship is about to go down.  Sleeper, it’s time to get up and cry out to God!  Our country is in a storm, our society is in a storm, and the church is in a storm.  It’s time to stop napping and do something for God!
The whole infrastructure of our nation is being dismantled.  Everything is being redefined restructured reformatted.  It's hard to even tell what a true family is anymore, the family structure and the family unit has been redefined by society: In many homes there are two daddies or two mommies and that is being defined as normal.  Good is now defined as evil, and evil is defined as good. What was bitter is now called sweet, and what was sweet is now called bitter.  The prophet Isaiah sounded out a warning to a generation such as ours.
“Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20
What was once called sin and an abomination unto God is now simply called an alternative lifestyle. Murder is now called pro-choice.  Alcoholism is not recognized as bondage or an addiction anymore, it's just called a disease.  Fornication and adultery are not called sin anymore they're just called indiscretions.  Now we're being told that God’s only concern for us is that we are comfortable, happy and prosperous.
This is absolute contradiction to the word of God: Sin is darkness, sin is disobedience, sin is transgression of Gods law, sin separates us from God and the only way to restore that broken fellowship with God is to repent.
These false teachers are also sounding out the message that everything is getting better and better, just hang on everything will smooth out.  At the same time our government is saying: we'll take care of everything, and what they're taking is our liberty, our rights, and our freedoms, they're being stolen from us one after another.
You can gather on a street corner and talk about anything and anyone, you can preach Islam, you can preach occult practices, you can preach homosexuality and lesbianism and the cops will show up to protect your right to assemble and your freedom of speech.  But if you preach Jesus, preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, those same cops will arrest you and take you to jail.
The most popular movies today are of sexual bondage and the occult.  Christians by the millions sit in front of a television set that has become a portal to hell through which all kinds of movies and sitcoms filled with lesbianism and homosexuality and the occult pour into their living rooms.  And in light of today’s news, please forgive me but my sarcastic nature will not allow me to refrain from asking, I wonder if Charlie Sheen thinks he’s winning now?
Again I ask the question: How can you sleep at a time like this?
Again Isaiah sounds out a warning to us he says: “His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are sleeping dogs, they cannot bark. Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” Isaiah 56:10
I want everyone to like me, but I'm not going to lie to you to gain your friendship or approval, I have to bark.  I have never considered myself a prophet, but I hear the trumpet sounding and I can read the handwriting on the wall and I have a responsibility to sound the alarm.
“Cry aloud and spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet and show my people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins.” Isaiah 58:1
I have to sound the alarm and I have to make the warning clear.
“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” I Corinthians 14:8
I have to bark in order to wake up the slumbering saints, I must sound the alarm to warn those whom are half in and half out of the church. I’m barking today to warn the people who have one foot in the world, those that have a bible in one hand and a pair of dice in the other, a bible in one hand a glass of wine or a joint in the other, and those that read the Bible from their phones on Sunday morning and use the same phones to view pornography all week.
The church is filled with people that say, “We don't need revival, we've got all of God we need, we don't need repentance, we don't need mercy, we don't need forgiveness, we don't need Gods help, we’re happy and we're good.  We're holy; we confess we are so we are.  We're rich, we're prosperous, we're happy, and we're comfortable.  We confess we're free so we are.”
If it were that simple, if all you had to do was make some kind of confession to get everything God offers, then Jesus died for nothing, He suffered for nothing, He shed his blood for nothing and the Holy Spirit came for nothing.
There is far more to the life of a true believer than just moving your lips. The life of a true believer is a transformed life, it is a life of repentance, of turning your back on sin and the world, a life of separation, of sanctification, of consecration, it is a life of submission, and a life of faithfulness and obedience to God. 
A true believer strives to have pure thoughts, to speak words of grace, to die daily to self and to take up your cross and follow Christ.  We are to have no fellowship with the works of darkness, to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us, and to have a disciplined life of prayer, reading our Bible, being faithful to church, tithing, sowing, and witnessing.
The time we are living in is not a time to be spiritually asleep, it’s time to be awake, to be alert, aggressively and boldly confronting the powers of darkness, rebuking sin, casting out devils, healing the sick and the oppressed and boldly confronting false doctrines and seducing spirits that are infiltrating the church.
“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober vs (7) For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.” I Thessalonians 5:6
“And that knowing the time it is high time to awake out of sleep for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11
How can you sleep at a time like this?
How can you bury your head in the sand and pretend everything's fine?  How can we be silent when truth is being trampled in the street?  How can we be silent when the Word of God is being watered down, deluded, stripped of its power, candy coated and sugar sprinkled?  We have a responsibility to defend the truth!
To prove all things and to hold fast that which is good, to rightly divide the word of truth, and to contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.  Just like the shipmaster came to wake up the sleeping prophet, the Holy Spirit, who is the ship master of the church, is sending a wake-up call for all of us today.
120 thousand souls were saved because a slumbering prophet woke up.  He woke up to his calling, he woke up to obedience, he woke up to his responsibility, and he woke up to the desperate need of those around him.  I was just wondering, how many souls will be saved when we wake up?
How can we sleep at a time like this?  Get up and start barking!

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