Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Marcus Mecum » Marcus Mecum - Three Gifts Everyone Needs - Part 2

Marcus Mecum - Three Gifts Everyone Needs - Part 2

Marcus Mecum - Three Gifts Everyone Needs - Part 2
TOPICS: Spiritual Gifts, Easter

And so, the shipmaster this Easter is wanting to ask you some hard questions. "Are you on the run today? What's this last season been like to you? What happened"? Jonah says, "When the ship master says 'you're not gonna sleep through this storm, you're not gonna ignore this storm, you're not gonna run' from it this time, this time the ship master has him cornered and he's going to really get to the bottom of it with Jonah". And you know what Jonah does? Jonah says, "This is going to be the way we resolve this storm". He says, "You're going to have to throw me in the water".

But the point is, when Jonah begins to answer the hard questions, he understands that it's going to take steps of obedience for him to begin to get back on the right path. And one of the things he says, he's like, "You know what, I'mma have to go into that water". So, the ship master cares enough about Jonah that he grabs him, and he throws him overboard. And now, Jonah is in the stormy waters, and he prays. And he says, "God hurled me into the deep," who put Jonah there? The Bible says God did, "Into the heart of the seas". He says, "The currents swirled about me, and all your waves and breakers swept over me". And then, Jonah 1:17, the Bible says, "God provided a great fish and it swallowed Jonah". You're welcome.

Well, happy Easter. Hopefully, you're enjoying this 'cause I'm not. When I think about this story of Jonah, the Bible actually says in Jonah 1:17, that, "The Lord sent a big fish that swallowed Jonah". This final gift, the gift of a whale that I wanna talk to you about, is the most misunderstood gift of all. Jonah said, at first he thought that he had been banished from God's sight, but yet he looked again. I think that so many of us every now and then have to look around at what we're going through, and we've drawn conclusions about it. But every now and then, we have to say, "You know what, maybe it's time to look again".

Maybe you've thought, God is absent. Maybe you thought, you know, "I prayed, but it's like heaven had a busy signal". Maybe you thought that God had left the building, when it came to your situation. You know, most see the whale in the story with Jonah, it's like a form of judgment or a form of punishment. Like, God was angry at Jonah and getting even with him. But without the whale, Jonah dies. Without the whale, Jonah doesn't survive. You know, we never hear Jonah's story without this big fish that God sent. He never ends up preaching to Nineveh, this nation never experiences a revival.

The whale is not a picture of punishment, it's a picture of God's divine grace, his divine protection. Maybe it's time today you look again at your disappointment. Maybe you need to look again at the painful moments of your life. Maybe even look again at the failures that you've made in your situation, or in your family, or in your personal life, or in your walk with God. You see, somewhere in the heart of what looks like the end, God's got a whale, God's got grace, God's got his hand of protection, if you'll look for it. God's grace really can swallow someone up this Easter.

To me, that's what Easter is all about. It's the announcement, that just like Jonah had to put his life in God's hands, we maybe have to take that step and say, "Okay, God I'm gonna put my life back in your hands". Without this moment in Jonah's life, it's the end. But when he puts it all in God's hands, when he goes overboard. When he makes a decision to say, "I'm not gonna go halfway, I'm gonna jump all in," this was the moment he became 100% reliant on God's grace. You know, for us it's not 99% grace and then 1% good works. The problem is, most of us want 1% credit for the things that we've done right. "Yeah, yeah, God's done a lot, but I made a lot of good decisions as well".

And we'd like to give ourselves credit. But it's all grace or no grace, you are not part of the salvation equation. You can't trust Jesus 99%. Trust is 100% going overboard, going all in. The Bible says, "When Jonah did that, the Lord provided a huge fish that swallowed him". Jonah's in the stomach of this whale for three days and three nights. Surrounded by darkness, surrounded by the stench of death, surrounded by hopelessness. This wasn't an easy season for him, this wasn't fun, this wasn't pretty. This wasn't a moment of his life he's proud of. Seventy-two hours of complete hopelessness, wondering, questioning, "Is God gonna come through this time? Probably not. I doubt it. No one survives a situation like this".

We've all heard the stories, but God's character was not in question, it was Jonah's character on the stand. I don't know what you're going through, but I wanna tell you, God's character is not in question, it's our character that's on the stand. But I love this whale because it took Jonah down into the deep waters. Jonah had to be in this place where he had to be willing to say, "Okay God, take me to some deep places". Jonah had to say, "Okay God, I'm okay with you doing a deep work".

Three days and three nights, God had Jonah in the deep. God took Jonah to school, God said, "Okay Jonah, it's time you face some stuff. It's time you quit running from some stuff". Remember he was angry with God's level of compassion towards the people of Nineveh. Now, he's the one that needs it. Now, he's the one that says, "God, do you love me? Do you care? Can you see me out of this"? You see, you can't go overboard, and not expect God to give you an overhaul. In order for God to give you a new chapter, he gotta help you end the old chapter. If you let God in this next season do a deep enough work, you know what he's gonna show you? He's gonna show you the exact things he showed Jonah. He's gonna show you that he's faithful. He's faithful even inside the belly of a whale.

You know, it was in this belly, in this place of hopelessness, surrounded by darkness and the stench of death, that the Bible says, "Jonah prayed, he prayed in his distress, he called". Seaweeds wrapped around his head and the Bible says, "He remembered God in this". I want you to think about this prayer, the Bible says, "Inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. And he said, 'in my distress I called to the Lord, he answered me. From the deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and God listened to my cry. He hurled me into the depths,'" who hurled Jonah there? God did, "Into the very heart of the seas".

This next part is so powerful, "The current swirled around Jonah, all the waves were breaking and sweeping over him. And he said," this is what Jonah said, "I have been banished from God's sight, yet I will look again". I will look again towards your holy temple. I'm not gonna run from church anymore, I'm not gonna run from God's house is what he's saying, I'm gonna look to it. "The engulfing waters threatened me. The deep surrounded me, seaweeds wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountain, I sank down," Jonah says, "And the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you," I love that phrase, "But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. 'when my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, I remembered you in my prayer, rose to you, for your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols,'" listen to what happens, "They turn away from God's love".

That's what Jonah was saying, he said, "I turned away from your love. But guess what? God's love was always there when I turn to him". And what did Jonah find? "Shouts of grateful praise," he says, "I'll sacrifice to you. I'll vow to you. I'll make a promise to you, and I'll make good on that promise. I will say, 'salvation comes from the Lord'. And the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry ground". Look at what he found in the belly of the whale, he found a shout of gratefulness, he found a shout of praise, he finds a fresh commitment. He says, "I'll make good on my promise". He finds God's love in the belly of a whale. Seventy-two hours and he says, "God's love was present there with me". And you know what else he finds? He finds he can trust God, no matter what life looks like.

You know, whale vomit is surprisingly, incredibly rare. I guess, whales rarely vomit, they do have a very sensitive digestive system. So, if they eat something not in their diet, the irritation will cause a reaction, a coughing like reaction. And when they vomit, a black, gooey substance comes out that they call, "Ambergris". And this black, gooey substance floats to the surface of the waters and the sun bakes it. And it turns it into a hard, waxy substance that is sought after all over the globe. People all over the world search for this hardened wax of whale vomit. It's said to be so valuable, that one man found a 200-plus pound glob of it and sold it for almost 3 million dollars. You see, something inside a whale vomit, they use in the manufacturing process of the most expensive perfumes in the world.

For example, this chanel number five has whale vomit in it. God, bless you. See, whale vomit is the evidence that God sends gifts. See, without the whale experience in Jonah's life, he would have showed up in Nineveh just a normal guy, and normal experiences, normal clothes, a normal aroma. But what Jonah went through, changed his life, it changed the fragrance of his life. That experience that he went through, gave Jonah an aroma that he would have had no other way than had he gone through some things.

I'm guessing that Jonah thought, "I've failed, I've messed up. I've missed it. There's no way God could use this. There's no way God could use someone like me after all of the things that I did to run, and to hide, and to ignore those black holes of worry, and fear, and craziness that I found myself in. There's no way, that anything worthwhile could come out of that". But you know, 2 Corinthians 2 says that, "We are the fragrance of Christ to those who are perishing". And that when Jonah showed up in Nineveh, he didn't smell disgusting, he didn't smell gross. Jonah smelled of someone who had been into the deep places with God. The aroma of Jonah's life, was the aroma of someone who was willing to let God take him to some deep places. As a result, this man that we call Jonah walked into the city of Nineveh, and the aroma of his life turned an entire city back to God.

And Jesus said to us, "This is the sign I'll give you. If you wanna know who I am. If you wanna know where I'm from, this is the sign I'll give you". Because just as the aroma that was on Jonah's life as a result of what he had been through, changed and turned a city. So, when Jesus on the third day came out of that grave, there was a fragrance from that moment, that was released in the earth. A fragrance that says, "He's good". A fragrance that says, "God is for you". A fragrance that says, "I know you think you deserve justice, I know you think that you're not deserving of mercy". But the fragrance that Jesus released in the earth, is you and I don't get what we deserve because Jesus on the cross got what we deserve.

And mercy, and grace is something extended to us, not because we've earned it, it's just unmerited, it's undeserved, it's just freely given by God to us. I still remember the first time that fragrance caught my attention. I still remember it. I was 16 years old, I had no clue of God, I had no awareness of God. I had no understanding of spiritual things or godly things. And I was invited to a youth service on a Saturday night in a little church. And I'll never forget that youth pastor preaching Jesus dying on a horrible cross and discussing in such a passionate way the brutality, and how savage the death of Jesus was.

And I remember him saying, "It was your sin that put him on that cross". And that fragrance of hope, stopped me in my tracks. I'll never forget as he begin to lay out that, "As much as your sin put him on that cross, as much as the things that you've done caused him to have to die in your place, he didn't stay that way. But then he rose again from the dead and because he rose again, you and I can have newness of life". And I'll never forget the fragrance of that love that I felt. Took out this heart of stone and gave me a brand-new heart, melted me. Think about it, for 30 years, I've been unable to forget that fragrance. Never forget walking down to an altar saying, "Yes," to him. And the fragrance of forgiveness turned my life completely around.

And so, I felt like God was sending me into Easter to talk to some Jonahs. To talk to some people that have been through some storms. It's been an unusual gift, you haven't seen it as a gift, you've been running, you've been hiding, you've been ignoring, you've been hoping the issues just resolve themselves. You've crawled down into every imaginable dark place. But the shipmaster's here to ask you some hard questions. Remember, good questions inform, but great questions transform.

If you wanna leave the Easter service informed, that's one thing. But if you'll answer the hard questions, you can leave this Easter service transformed. This transformation is so significant, that the way God decided to describe it in the scriptures, was the only way they could think about putting a definition on this moment where we answer the hard question, was to put it in the same category as being born. And the Bible says, "When you answer the hard question, when you really answer the question of, 'do you believe that Jesus is God's son? Do you believe he came, lived a sinless life? He who knew no sin, became sin so you and I may become the righteousness of Christ"?

When we answer that hard question, it's called being born again. The world makes fun of it, but it makes a ton of sense. It's the moment your new life begins. It's the moment you don't just realize that you're born, that you're alive, that you exist, but it's the moment you find out why. And it's a supernatural miracle. No man comes to the father, unless he is drawn by the father. Someone says, "I'll get right with God when I wanna get right with him". That's not how it works. When the shipmaster shows up into that dark place in your life and he starts to ask you the hard questions, you have a decision to make.

Are you gonna keep running? Are you gonna keep hiding? Are you gonna keep ignoring? Are you gonna say, "Thank God, I'm ready to go overboard. I'm ready to put my full trust in you, my full confidence in you. I'm ready just to go all in with you". See, the answer to the hard question is one or two answers, "Yes or no". Yes, I do believe, no, I do not believe. The Bible says that, "Jesus is God's only son and that he raised him from the dead and if you believe in him," there's that, you gotta believe, "What's believing"? It's saying yes to the question, yes, he is God's son. He is the way out of this sinful life. Not my good works, not my good deeds. No, the only way out is through receiving the grace and the mercy that God extends through Jesus Christ.
Are you Human?:*