Where is Jesus in Jonah 1?

Jonah-Web

We have been journeying through the book of Jonah on Sunday Mornings at South Orlando Baptist Church. One thing that I like to point out is how Jesus shows up in every chapter of the Old Testament. Encountering Christ in the pages of the Old Testament increases our joy in reading all of the Bible. I encourage you to study the following references in detail, and to learn for yourself the joy of how to discern Jesus in Old Testament passages. Here are some examples of how to see Jesus in this Chapter:

  1. 2 Kings 14:25, Jonah 1:1 – Jonah occupies the office of Prophet, one who speaks to the people on God’s behalf. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the Old Testament offices of Prophet, Priest, and King.  (John 8:26)
  2. Jonah 1:3-17 – In His mercy, God still pursues rebellious Jonah by sending the storm and the fish. Our merciful God pursues rebels like us through His son Jesus. (Romans 5:8)
  3. Jesus, who is God, demonstrated in his earthly ministry power over the wind and waves and the appointing of a fish. (Jonah 1:4 – Mark 4:39-41; Jonah 1:17 – Matthew 17:27)
  4. Jonah 1:3-17 – Jonah disobeyed God by running away. We all have done this. By contrast, there has been only one in all history who perfectly submitted to God in all things. (Philippians 2:8-11)
  5. Jonah 1:15 – The saving of the mariners through the sacrifice of Jonah prefigures the salvation of all nations through the death of Christ (1 John 2:2).
  6. Jonah 1:17 – Jonah is under the sea, symbolizing the realm of death. His state prefigures the death of Christ (Matthew 12:40).

If you missed the introduction to Jonah 1, you can watch it here:

You can download the audio here. 

 

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Charles Spurgeon on Reading the Bible Daily

2014 is almost here! Another year, another attempt to commit to read through the Bible daily. Charles Spurgeon attempted to drum up support for reading the Bible daily in a sermon to his church preached more than 100 years ago. As you contemplate the challenge of reading the Bible daily, I want to encourage you to take in his council:

“O my brethren, what can be better for informing the understanding than the Word of God? Would you know God? Would you know yourself? Then search this Book. Would you know time, and how to spend it? Would you know eternity, and how to be prepared for it? Then, search ye this Book. Would you know the evil of sin, and how to be delivered from it? Would you know the plan of salvation, and how you can have a share in it? This is the Book which will instruct you in all these matters. There is nothing which a man needs to know for the affairs of his soul, between here and heaven, of which this Book will not tell him. Blessed are they that read it both day and night; and especially blessed are they who read it with their eyes opened and illuminated by the Divine Spirit. If you want to be wise unto salvation, select the Word of God, and especially the Spirit of God, as your Teacher. There is nothing else that is equal to the Bible for inflaming, sanctifying, and turning in the right direction, all the passions of the soul.

And if you want something more than enlightenment for the understanding, and fulness of love to satisfy the heart,—if you need practical directions for your every-day life,—this Book will supply you with them. In every part of the sea of life in which a man may be, if this be his chart, he will not miss his way, or suffer spiritual shipwreck. If you were a king, you might learn your duty here; and if you are a beggar, or the poorest of the poor, you may find comfort and instruction here. Fathers, you may here learn how to manage your households. Children, you may learn here the duties of your position in your various relationships. Servants, masters, husbands, wives, sick folk, people in robust health, ye who are poor, and ye who are rich,—this Book is for you all, and when you consult it in the right spirit, it will talk with you all. Into whatsoever condition you may happen to be cast, this Book will follow you. It is such a wonderful Book that it adapts itself to all sorts and conditions of men. It whispers softly by the sick man’s bedside, and it has often called aloud, as with a trumpet voice, amidst the fury of the storm. It has a message for you while you are yet in the heyday of your youth, and a promise for you when you lean upon your staff, and totter to your grave. It is the Book, the everyday book, full of wisdom for every day in the week, all the year round.”

– Taken from the Sermon “The Best Thing in The Best Place” preached on August 23, 1906.

 

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The Most Exciting Announcement of All

 
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:8-11 (KJV)

 

Most of us dread the announcement time during church and find that time to be dull and boring, but this announcement that was given to the shepherds was anything but. The following are four reasons why the announcement to the shepherds is an exciting announcement for them and for us:

 

1) It is personal. The angels announced, “unto you,” to the common shepherds. The fact that God revealed the gift of Jesus to simple shepherds should be a comfort for all of us ordinary people. Paul suggests a possible reason in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, which tells us that God chooses the humble things for grand purposes, and ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Today, centuries after the shepherds heard this heavenly declaration, the message is still personal.

 

2) It is universal. The angels announced that this savior was given “to all people.” The message of Christmas is still an evangelistic message to be given to all people around the world. While some of us might still struggle with the sin of racism, Peter declared in Acts 10:34-35 that God is no respecter of persons. Today, through missions, we still get to play a role in sending the message of Jesus all over the world.

 

3) It is timely. The angels declared that the savior was born “this day.” The birth of Jesus on earth fulfilled Bible prophecy and had been planned before the world was even created. It is fitting that every Christmas, Christians spiritually celebrate the birth of Jesus as if Christ is being born for the first time. We must encourage all to follow the blessing of the great Christmas carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, “Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.”

 

4) It is timeless. Last, the angels shouted that the baby born was “a Savior.” People then needed Jesus, and people today need Jesus. From now until the end of time all people need Jesus.

 

Have you responded to this angelic announcement? And are you playing the role of an angel today by declaring to all that there is a Savior that was born in the City of David, which is Christ the Lord?
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Standing on the Promises – A Journey Through Joshua

We have been journeying through the book of Joshua in my church on Sunday Mornings. One theme that stands firm through the book is God’s faithfulness to His promises. As the Israelites enter the “Promised” land, they have to stand on the promises of God.  When you get towards the end of the book of Joshua, you read in 21:45 “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”

 

If I had to pick a theme song for the Journey through Joshua, it would be the Hymn, “Standing on the Promises of God,” written by Russell Kelso Carter (1849-1928). Although Carter was a professed Christian most of his life, it wasn’t until a crisis with his natural heart that he began to understand the reality and power of Bible promises. At age 30, his health was in critical condition and the physicians could do no more for him. Carter turned to God for help and healing.

 

Carter knelt and made a promise that healing or not, his life was finally and forever, fully consecrated to the service of the Lord. It was from that moment that the written Word of God became alive to Carter. He began to stand upon the promises of healing, determining to believe no matter what his physical condition, no matter how he felt. Over the course of the next several months his strength returned, and his heart was completely healed! Carter lived another healthy 49 years.

 

The hymn Carter had written several years before his healing miracle became more than words and music to him. Standing on the Promises became an integral part of his life:

 

Standing on the promises of Christ my King, Through eternal ages let His praises ring,

Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior;

Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing on the promises I now can see! Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;

Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free, Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord, Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing on the promises I cannot fall, Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call

Resting in my Savior as my all in all, Standing on the promises of God.

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The Blessed Life – A Study of the Sermon on the Mount

Bloch-SermonOnTheMount
In our study of the Sermon on the Mount, happening on Sunday Evenings at 7PM, we have reflected on the words of Jesus concerning His Beatitudes. In the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5:2-12, Jesus makes nine statements that start with the word “Blessed.” According to Tony Evans, the word literally means “happy, fortunate, blissful.” Here it speaks of more than a surface emotion. Jesus was describing the divinely bestowed well-being that belongs only to the faithful. The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is opposite to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness. The worldly idea is that happiness is found in riches, merriment, abundance, leisure, and other such things. The real truth is the very opposite.
The Greek word for blessed, makarios, was the name of an island off of Greece—the Makarios Island. It was known as the blessed island because it was self-contained. The residents didn’t need to leave the island in order to get their needs met. The island offered everything that they needed. The natural resources of the blessed island were so thick, so rich, so fruitful, and so productive that everything they needed to enjoy their lives was already built-in. The inhabitants of the island were self-sustained and self-contained without having to run to another island to get their needs met. The blessed island provided everything they needed.
All the stuff you get is outside of you. The new car, the new house, and the new money are all fine … but they are all extra. They are a bonus. In the biblical world of being blessed, you should be okay being on the island. Just being in the Kingdom with the King ought to put you in a blessed location. One of the ways you know that you aren’t blessed yet in the biblical sense of the word is that you got to keep leaving the island to have fun. You need more than your relationship with God to have peace. You crave more than your communion with the Father to have joy. The blessed person finds their sufficiency with Him.
Is your joy today in Jesus or in material things? Are you dwelling on the island of blessedness with our Lord, or do you find yourself leaving that island in a vain search for happiness?
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Mission Trip to Mackville Road

The invitation has gone out through all the church to join together for a “Mission Trip to Mackville Road.” We have identified 173 houses that we would like to take the Gospel to, and we have planned out our Monday nights to go and survey the homes.

While many have shown an interest in helping out, I know others are struggling with the desire to go and knock on doors. I can understand that struggle. I am certain that knocking on doors is not anyone’s preferred way to share the Gospel. But I am also certain that God is going to bless our teams with wonderful opportunities to share Jesus Christ with our neighbors.
My prayer is that God will break us all out of our comfort zones and place us in situations where we cannot help but to talk to people about Jesus. Wrestling with the feelings of a comfortable Christianity, Nicole Winkel, writing for Christianity Today, attempts to answer the question, “Have we become too comfortable to share the Gospel?” I believe her observations correctly address the feelings of many of us:
The Christian life is great, but at some point in our lives we might reach a point where our own comfort hinders us from looking at the needs of others.
I have to admit that I have become lazy over the years. Sadly I am not referring to my work. Much worse, I am talking about my attitude as a Christian.
It is easy to find yourself in a safe haven, especially if you are mainly surrounded by other Christians. Yet the real challenge begins when we step out of our comfort zone. For me, however, it does not stop there. The majority of us work or are friends with people, who do not share our belief. We might also, for example in my case, not have had a Christian upbringing. The problem I find myself faced with now is not that those around me do not know that I am a believer or that I find it difficult to tell them about it.
 
Since I became a Christian when I was 17, most people have accepted my faith and were interested in my lifestyle. But what happens, when you go a step further and actually do what God said in Matthew 28:19-20?
“[Go] and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (NIV)
What I noted is that if people were curious about my faith, it lasted as long as I did not make any attempt “to evangelise” them. But is that not what God asked us to do in the above-mentioned verses?
Whenever I meet new people, I will let them know that I am a committed Christian. But what does this actually mean? Can our level of commitment be measured by the frequency of our prayers, how often we read the Bible, go to church and attend prayer meetings? I believe that being committed as a Christian does not only entail that you take responsibility of your own life, but that you also let others know about what Jesus did for them 2013 years ago.
I have come to realize that I have turned into a selfish Christian, which actually is an oxymoron in itself – being a Christian and being self-centered at the same time. How is that supposed to work? I am saved, so I am good, but what about the millions of others, who do not know God. What will happen to them? It makes me cringe that I cannot even remember the last time I shared the Gospel with someone. There are no excuses for that, not a busy work schedule, my private life, or the fear of rejection.
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The Nature and Attributes of God – A Sunday Morning Study

Do you find yourself doubting God when you are faced with a difficult situation? Are you often frustrated by negative circumstances? Is it hard for you to trust God with the challenges of life?

 

People have many different perceptions of what God is like. Some see Him as an indulgent grandfather or a divine Santa Claus. Others see Him as a vengeful dictator. Many people fear God because they have a distorted understanding of His character. God not only wants you to view Him correctly, He wants you to know Him intimately.

 

How you view God and His involvement in your life touches every facet of who you are. Everything about your life—your desires, motives, attitudes, words, and actions—is influenced by your perception of God.
Even your self-esteem will improve once you realize the awesome greatness of God and the worth He places on you. When you have an accurate understanding of who God is and how He is involved in your life, you will be motivated to excel in the use of your time, talents, and abilities.

 

God is completely trustworthy. But you can trust Him only to the degree that you know Him. God has unlimited abilities, so He can do anything. He is all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, and sovereign. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

 

God’s character is of the highest integrity. He is morally perfect in every way, so He will always do the right thing. He is holy, absolutely truthful, righteous, and just. He will never betray your confidence.

 

And God is totally committed to His relationship with you, so you can experience the many blessings of His gracious goodness. He is loving, merciful, faithful, and never changes. He will always do what is best for you.

 

Are you in the midst of difficult circumstances? Are you facing challenges that seem beyond your ability to cope? Do not despair because God is with you and He wants to help you.

 

As we work through our Sunday Morning series at Bruner’s Chapel Baptist Church on the Nature and Attributes of God, allow the truth about Him and His marvelous character to transform your situation and your life. Only then will you experience God’s best and become all He wants you to be.
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A Catechism of Bible Teaching by John Broadus

Here is the Catechism of Bible Teaching by John Broadus:

Click here to download.

Useful for family devotions and growth in doctrine and salvation. This Catechism will be a helpful addition to your personal library of tools to help disciple your children and grandchildren.

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Words on Revival from Charles Spurgeon -

It is incumbent upon all Christians to be thoroughly awake to the interests of Zion, but upon the leaders most of all. Special supplication should be made for beloved brethren in office that they may be full of the Holy Ghost.
Workers in the Sunday-schools, tract distributors, and other laborers for Christ, what different people they become when grace is vigorous from what they are when their life flickers in the socket! Like sickly vegetation in a cellar, all blanched and unhealthy, are workers who have little grace; like willows by the water-courses, like grease with reeds and rushes in well-watered valleys, are the servants of God who live in his presence. It is no wonder that our Lord said, “Because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth,” for when the earnest Christian’s heart is full of fire it is sickening to talk with lukewarm people.
While a true revival in its essence belongs only to God’s people, it always brings with it a blessing for the other sheep who are not yet of the fold. If you drop a stone into a lake the ring widens continually, till the farthest corner of the lake feels the influence. Let the Lord revive a believer and very soon his family, his friends, his neighbors, receive a share of the benefit; for when a Christian is revived, he prays more fervently for sinners. Longing, loving prayer for sinners, is one of the marks of a revival in the renewed heart. Since the blessing is asked for sinners, the blessing comes from him who hears the prayers of his people; and thus the world gains by revival. Soon the revived Christian speaks concerning Jesus and the gospel; he sows good seed, and God’s good seed is never lost, for he has said, “It shall not return unto me void.” The good seed is sown in the furrows, and in some sinners’ hearts God prepares the soil, so that the seed springs up in a glorious harvest. Thus by the zealous conversation of believers another door of mercy opens to men.
When Christians are revived they live more consistently, they make their homes more holy and more happy, and this leads the ungodly to envy them, and to enquire after their secret. Sinners by God’s grace long to be like such cheerful happy saints; their mouths water to feast with them upon their hidden manna, and this is another blessing, for it leads men to seek the Savior. If an ungodly man steps into a congregation where all the saints are revived he does not go to sleep under the sermon. The minister will not let him do that, for the hearer perceives that the preacher feels what he is preaching, and has a right to be heard. This is a clear gain, for now the man listens with deep emotion; and above all, the Holy Spirit’s power, which the preacher has received in answer to prayer comes upon the hearer’s mind; he is convinced of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come, and Christians who are on the watch around him hasten to tell him of the Savior, and point him to the redeeming blood, so that though the revival, strictly speaking, is with the people of God, yet the result of it no man can limit.
Brethren, let us seek a revival during the present month. Let us pledge ourselves to form a prayer-union, a sacred band of suppliants, and may God do unto us according to our faith.
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When the perfect comes…

“…when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:10). (The following post was adapted from an article by Jon Bloom)

“When the perfect comes.” Those inspired words stir up deep longings for a time we have never known and yet desperately want.
Right now even the best things are not what they should be. And so much goes so very wrong. In this partial age, our bodies, our loved ones, our careers, our creations, our investments, and our plans are all subject to the forces of uselessness (Romans 8:20). This age is marked more by suffering (8:18), longing (8:19), groaning (8:23), and hope (8:24) than by fulfillment.
We must remind each other that the partial, this age that is all that we’ve ever known, is passing away and the perfect is coming. To all you road-weary travelers who have found that the way that leads to life (Matthew 7:14) is harder than you ever imagined, the perfect day of rest is coming (Matthew 11:28).
To all you who find yourself poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), humbled, desolate, and in desperate need of what only God can provide, the perfect day of the all-abundant kingdom is coming.
To all you who are mourning the loss of a precious one (Matthew 5:4) and finding it hard to press on under the heavy cloud of sorrow, the perfect day of death’s death (1 Corinthians 15:26) is coming.
To all of you who are growing tired in the relentless struggle to hold back the flood of unrighteousness, both from within and without, and who long deeply for a time when all is made right (Matthew 5:6), the perfect day of your satisfaction is coming.
To all of you who have been injured by the wickedness of another and have responded with a tear-filled mercy (Matthew 5:7), the perfect day of restoration is coming.
To all of you whose soft heart (Matthew 5:8) is tormented over the sin-hardened, sin-infected world around you, the perfectly pure day is coming when you will see what your soul most longs for.
To all of you peacemakers who are blessed of God (Matthew 5:9) and yet find this blessed work heartbreaking, misunderstood, and underappreciated, the perfect day of reconciliation is coming.
To all of you who find yourselves in a disorienting darkness that feels unbearable and wonder if God has abandoned you (Psalm 88:14), the perfect day is coming when the Light, in whom there is no darkness (1 John 1:5), will shine upon you (Numbers 6:25).
And to all of you who increasingly love and long for Jesus’ appearing (2 Timothy 4:8), who have an inconsolable homesickness for a country far better than any that exists here (Hebrews 11:16), your perfect home, a home prepared especially for you (John 14:2), is coming.
When the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. The promised “soon” (Revelation 22:20) is getting sooner. Let us keep encouraging one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
May God bless us to hold fast to the hope set before us (Hebrews 6:18). And let us press on to know Him (Hosea 6:3)!
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