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Watch 2022 online sermons » Christine Caine » Christine Caine - Divine Assignment - Part 4

Christine Caine - Divine Assignment - Part 4


Christine Caine - Divine Assignment - Part 4
Christine Caine - Divine Assignment - Part 4
TOPICS: Calling, Assignment

The goal of it ultimately for us is that we would become conformed and transformed to the image of Christ. That we would become more like Jesus. And it's in those places where you feel contained, where you feel like you are trapped, where you feel metaphorically that you are in the belly of a whale, that God is doing his deepest work in us in order to do his greatest work through us. I am so excited that you've joined me for today's episode of equipment and empower. What I'm about to share with you is a message that's so near and dear to my heart. It's all about your purpose and your calling, and empowering you to live on mission for Jesus. So let's not wait another moment, let's dive into today's message right now.

I am so grateful that you have joined us today. I know that you have not tuned in by accident. Even if you were just playing with the remote control and don't quite know how it stopped on this program. I believe that God has a word for you. God has a plan and a purpose and a destiny for your life. And you've joined us as we close up this series from the book of Jonah, looking at the life of a man who was given a divine assignment by God. And initially he said no to his divine purpose and wanted to run the other way. And we're going to see what happens when we say yes to divine assignments given to us by God, and when we say no to divine assignments given to us by God. Often, we want to do the will of God, but we are waiting for some huge, spectacular will or plan or purpose from God to fall out of the sky.

And often it is in our normal every day, mundane, ordinary lives, when we choose to be obedient in those circumstances, that God puts his super on our natural, and we end up living the supernatural purpose and destiny that God has for us. We're going to the book of Jonah, just to recap. The Bible says in Jonah 1:1-3, "The word of the Lord came to Jonah". So the word of the Lord came to Jonah. Jonah obviously had an ear that was inclined to the word of the Lord. We could be in our quiet times, we can maybe be watching TV programs like this, or listening to podcasts or going to church. There are different scenarios where the word of the Lord can come to us. It came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, "Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because their evil has come before me".

Jonah got up to flee Tarshish from the Lord's presence. And we've been looking in this series at what it is when the word of the Lord comes to you. You can be a person that's got a heart after God, a person that is desperate for the plan and the purpose of God. But when the word of the Lord comes to you, you don't like where the Lord has sent you. The Lord sent Jonah to Nineveh, a dark city, an evil city, full of crime and violence and immorality and iniquity. And he did not believe that the Ninevites deserved to be forgiven. Even though he needed the forgiveness of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, the love of God, the goodness of God, the kindness of God. He knew that this merciful, loving, kind, good God would also forgive the Ninevites if they repented. And you know what? He didn't want that to happen.

I wonder in our lives how often that happens. There are certain people that we think, you know what? I don't want them to repent because I know that God's going to forgive them and I don't want them to receive God's forgiveness. So what he did was he got up and he thought, I'm going to the Spanish resort town of Tarshish, a town on the Spanish coast. And so often when we don't want to say yes to the next thing that God has asked us to do, we do the equivalent of just opting for a nice resort town. We want the comfortable choice. We want the convenient choice. We want the safe choice. We want the choice that just makes us feel good. So even if God has said, "I want you to go to Nineveh," or, "I want you to stop doing that thing," or, "I want you to start doing that thing," we're like, "Peace out, God. I'm going to Tarshish". I'm going to go and have just a nice, comfortable, safe, complacent, trouble-free life. That's what he wanted to do.

It says Jonah got up to flee Tasha from the Lord's presence. But every time you do that, you're fleeing from God rather than running to God. And when we obey God and we stay in the will of God, we have the power of God, we have the presence of God, we have the purpose of God, we have the provision of God in order to fulfill the purpose of God in that place. And it goes on and it says, "He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish". He went down to Joppa. You always going to go down when you run from the presence of God, and he found a ship going to Tarshish. You will always find something going the other way. Every time that you are on this threshold of obedience to God in some area of your life and you could guarantee that more often than not, when it's a big thing, it's going to stop an addiction, stop a bad habit, stop you from making a wrong relational decision, stop you from stepping out of the purpose of God, the enemy will make sure that there's a ship going the other way. There's something going the other way to take you away from the purpose of God.

It says, "He paid the fare," and it's always going to cost you to get on that thing that's going to take you away from the purpose of God. "He paid the fair and went down into it to go with them too Tarshish from the Lord's presence". It is amazing. Not only is there a price to pay for going the other way, but in light of your eternal purpose, the other way is always down, even if it looks like it's taking you up. Jonah went down into it, it says in verse 3, Jonah went down to Joppa. He went down into the ship. He went down ultimately into the sea. And ultimately, he went down into the belly of a fish and down into the ocean. He went about as far down as you could go.

When you run away from God, you're never going to get to where you think you are going. Naturally speaking, when it comes to the purposes of God, it might look like you are going down in the eyes of the world. Man, why did you leave that job or that relationship? Or why did you make that choice to serve there or to do this? You're not going to go up the corporate ladder up into the right. It doesn't look like you're just making a decision based on money, or you're just making a decision based on preference. Why are you making that decision? In the natural, often, when we make choices to obey God, people look at us, family and friends and people in our sphere of influence and go, "Why are you making that decision"? Because it doesn't always make sense. But the fact is I've discovered that when we humble ourselves in the eyes of the Lord, that he exalts us in due season. The way up in God is down. But the fact is that when we choose to disobey God, it doesn't only just affect us, but it impacts every person around us as well.

Jonah ended up going down. He thought he was just going to Tarshish. So he thought I'm going to Tarshish, and I'm going away from what God has asked me to do. But then, then he went down, down, down into the ship, he went down into the belly of a fish, he went down into the ocean. And I wonder and just feel really prompted in this moment. Someone watching this on the other side of the screen, whether you feel, Chris that's me. I've just gone all the way down. I've just gone down. I said one no to God and kind of followed my flesh or followed my own desires, and now, I'm so far down, I've messed up my whole marriage, I've lost my job, I'm addicted to drugs, I have become an alcoholic. I have just locked in a cycle of destructive habits. I've gone down. I didn't mean to go down, Chris. I was thought I was on my way to Tarshish. I just thought I was saying a simple no to God. I just thought that I would end up in a resort town, but I'm at the bottom of the ocean.

I want you to know if that's you right now, that if you just reach out to God and you tell God, "Listen, I'm at the end of the end". And the reason you haven't reached out to him yet is because you feel that you're unworthy. You feel like you've committed an unforgivable sin. You feel like you should have known better, or you feel like you deserve where you are. I want you to know that the grace of God is where you are right now, right on that couch. The grace of God is where you are right now. And if you just reach out to God and say, "God, I repent. Please forgive me," that your God will come to you. He will come running to you. You are not too far gone to receive the grace of God, to receive the mercy of God, to receive the love of God, to receive the goodness of God, to receive the kindness of God, to receive the forgiveness of God. Reach out to God right now, you might be feeling you are at rock bottom.

I know as I'm speaking this, that this is ministering to someone and this is your word. This is your word because you tuned in. You're not even sure how you've tuned into this. And you are at the end of the end and you are at the bottom of the bottom. And you are wondering whether life is even worth living anymore. I'm here to tell you, yes, it is. That God loves you. God has a plan for you, God has a purpose for you. It is not over. Your failure is not fatal. Your mistake is not final. God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Right now, reach out to him. Ask him to pour his love and his grace and his mercy, and receive that from him now in Jesus name.

You know, Jonah started running, not only did he end up in the bottom of the bottom, but the fact is in chapter 1, verse 10, we read the men on the boat cry out to Jonah, "Why? Why have you done this to us"? Why have you done this? Jonah's disobedience impacted everybody else on that boat. And often, that's the same thing in our situation, where we think that our friends are going to love the fact that we're compromising and living lives of compromise, and we're just out doing what everybody else is doing.

One day, they're going to say, "Hey, why didn't you tell me"? Why didn't you tell me there was a God that loved me? Why didn't you tell me there was a God that had a plan for me? Why did you not tell me that God had a purpose for me? Why did you not love me enough to tell me that God exists, has a plan and a purpose for my life, and that I need to make a decision to receive him into my life as my Lord and Savior.

Why didn't you love me enough to tell me? Oftentimes, we're just in with the crowd and accepted by the crowd, and we forget that we're called to be salt and light. That we're called to be ambassadors for that we're called to live lives that are set apart and holy and different, so that people would look at our lives and think, what is this purpose that's in you? What is this hope that is in you? What is this reason for this hope that is in you? Who is this God that you serve? And those men were like, "Why did you do this"? Why did you do this? You know, it's never only about us, both our obedience or our disobedience. It's never only about us. It impacts the people around us and ultimately the generations that are to come after us. Obedience and disobedience is not just like, well, this is just my life. It's everybody around us.

So we see in the life of Jonah that it was actually his confinement that preceded his deliverance. I love it. In chapter 1, verse 17, we read that the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. Don't you love this? The Lord prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. Sometimes the Lord's going to prepare something that's going to get us into a place of containment and confinement. So that ultimately we will cry out to God, see our need for God, realize what we are doing so that we can then get back on track with the purpose and the plan of God for our lives. Maybe you feel like you're in a place of containment or confinement right now. Can I just tell you that maybe the Lord has put you in that place to outwork his Christlike character in you so that he could prepare you for what he's got prepared for you.

There's been so much discussion by so many commentators about this fish. You know, I think it's awesome, whatever it is and whatever this fish was, I think it's awesome that God is going to use whatever he wants to use to get us to a place where finally, we will be still enough to stop running from him, stop running from his plan, stop running from his purpose so that we can actually cry out to him. You know, given my natural aversion to be in the belly of any fish, I think I'd rather opt for obedience sooner rather than later. You know, we were out with a family on vacation recently, and we got a boat out to this reef where you could go snorkeling.

Now you are all going to laugh because I have an aversion to critters. And so I got off with the girls and with Nick so that we could go snorkeling. And like about 10 seconds into my snorkeling experience, I get up and I start screaming in the water to Nick, "There's fish in here! There's fish in here"! And Nick's just laughing, going, "Christine, what do you expect there to be in the ocean? This is actually where they live". And I thought I wanted to snorkel to see corals and reefs, but not fish. I was freaking out over fish. Anyway, this is why I'm not journaling in my life. This is why I am imploring you, obey sooner rather than later. We do not want to end up in the belly of a fish. But when Jonah was finally in that position of confinement and containment, he finally was still enough to cry out to God, to realize his need for God.

You know, there are definitely times in our lives when, I know that we feel trapped. Maybe you're feeling that right now. You're feeling like God, you've got me contained, you've got me confined. I've certainly felt this at different times in my life. And the fact is you feel like I'm trapped. God, you have trapped me. I've actually said this to the Lord many times, "God, I feel trapped. You've trapped me". And you know, the fact is that it's only in that place where it seems like there's no way out that God outworks himself and his will and his purpose and his plan in us so that we could become more like him. And the fact is even on the journey to purpose, in the journey to destiny, in the journey to outworking the plans and purposes of God on this earth for our lives, the goal of it ultimately for us is that we would become conformed and transformed to the image of Christ, that we would become more like Jesus.

And it's in those places where you feel contained, where you feel like you are trapped, where you feel metaphorically, that you are in the belly of a whale, that God is doing his deepest work in us in order to do his greatest work through us. You know, in these times, it's so easy to blame the devil. And just to think that, the devil's trying to withhold the promises of God from my life, the devil has brought me to this place. We love to blame the devil for so much. But can I just say yes, he is real. And yes, he adds plans and purposes against our lives, but there are times, and according to this text, when God prepares a place of containment or confinement so that he could prepare us for what he's preparing for us. It wasn't the devil that sent the fish, it was God that prepared a fish for Jonah to go into his well.

So there is some circumstances, and you're trying to kick against it and God's going, "I have prepared this place of confinement, this place of containment for you because I'm forging my character in you". Often, we want to bust out of that place of containment. Man, I'm just going to change that job. I'm going to get out of this family. I'm just going to leave this church. I'm just going to leave. We want to get out of that place that we feel is containing us and confining us, but that is the place that it is actually preparing us for what God has for us. Don't despise seasons of confinement. Don't despise seasons of containment. Don't despise seasons of anonymity. Don't despise seasons of obscurity. Don't despise seasons where you feel that you are being overlooked, that you are feeling like you are being uninvited, feeling like you are the most, maybe gifted or talented for a position, but you've been overlooked for that position.

I need to remind you through out scripture, we see example of example, where these are the very places that God prepares us in anonymity, in obscurity, where it seems like we're being overlooked, where it seems like the opportunity's not where it seems like we're in a place of containment and confinement. And it's in that place that God is preparing us for the very thing that he has prepared for us. You know, I often think about how some of the world's most influential leaders did their greatest work in places of confinement. We read Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. He wrote letter from Birmingham jail. We read and he wrote that obviously from Birmingham jail. Nelson Mandela wrote his book long walk to freedom from Robben Island where he was in prison for 27 years. And of course, out of the confinement of the grave came the greatest event of human history.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ. You might be feeling today that you are tightly shut up. That you are confined and you are contained right now. But I want to remind you today that breakthrough is coming. I want to exhort you today, do not quit. Do not give up, do not run away. Your time of breakthrough is coming. The good news is it says that the word of the Lord in Jonah 3:1, I love this. It says now the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. Did you catch that? The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. The great news today is that with Jesus Christ, there's always a second chance. Yes. Jonah blew it the first time. Yes. Jonah ran away from the presence of the Lord the first time. Yes. He went down into a ship. Yes. He went down into the belly of a fish. Yes. He went down into the ocean and he was running from the presence of God. But here is the good news of our great, our merciful, our loving, our kind, our generous, our lavish God.

It says in chapter 3, verse 1, "The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time". I'm here to tell you it's not too late. Our God is the God of the second chance. Our God is the God of the third chance. Our God is the God of the fourth chance. I want to remind you today that you are not too far gone. You are not the one exception to this rule, that God loves you. You are not the one exception, that you are not the one person that God cannot forgive. You are not the one person that God cannot love. You are not the one person that God cannot redeem. You are not the one person that God cannot restore. Your failure is not the one thing that God cannot deal with.

The gospel is good news. It's full of great joy and it's for all people. You can have the chance to live a life of purpose, of power, of destiny. I want to remind you that the gospel is for all people. The Bible says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Bible says, if we believe in our heart, that Jesus is Lord and confess with our mouth that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved.

I wonder today if you know this Jesus that I'm talking about. Not do you know about him, but do you know him? I wonder today if you've received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You were created by God for a relationship with God. And it's Jesus that connects us to God. It's Jesus that connects us to the grace of God. For only Jesus Christ can give us forgiveness for our past a brand new start today, and a hope for the future.

And if you've not received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior today, right here, right now, I want to give you the opportunity to open up your mind, your heart to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You can just pray a simple prayer right where you are. You can just pray. It's not the words that really make the difference. It's the intention of your heart. You can just pray something like this, Jesus, I surrender my life to you today. I'm sorry that I've sinned against you. I asked that you would forgive me for all of my sins, that you would give me a fresh start today, and a hope for the future. I want to be your son or your daughter. I want to be a child of God. I receive your goodness and your grace and your mercy. Thank you that your word came to me a second time today. In Jesus name. Amen.
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