Salvation comes from the LORD and salvation comes for even the worse of hypocrites. Jonah knew better than to sin against God. He knew what he right thing to do was. He was a prophet of God who spoke of God's behalf. He knew what it meant to live righteously before God and yet deliberately went against it. But though his sin was great, the LORD who saves is greater.
All alone in the middle of a raging storm in the ocean, Jonah is at the edge of his life. No longer able to come up for air, he is tired from the struggle. His heart is filled with panic and his lungs are filling up with water. Seaweed wrapped around his head. Jonah is about to drown and for all intent and purposes, Jonah is dead. There was nothing Jonah could do to save himself. All he could do was to beg for help. He was at the mercy of God.
And then came along a huge fish! As if drowning wasn't bad enough, now he was also going to be eaten. If there was any doubt as to where salvation comes from, then Jonah wants to set the record straight and in no uncertain terms "salvation comes from the LORD". This huge fish which would have been the sure death of any man was indeed the merciful provision of God for Jonah's salvation. Could you imagine a more dramatic picture for new life and a second chance?
Jonah was saved from this situation but more importantly Jonah was saved from his sins. It was Jonah's sin that got him here in the first place. If you break the law, you will suffer the consequences for it. If you sin against God, you will suffer the consequences for it. Just because you suffer, it does not mean you are the victim, it could very well be that you are the villain. Jonah was the villain. Nevertheless, God is his saviour.
God saves, because of his mercy not because of our merits. The crucifixion was a horrifying death for all that hung there. And yet, this painful death for Jesus was the merciful provision of God for the salvation of the world. Jesus was not suffering as a consequence of his sin, but as the consequence of the world's sin. The victim died to save the villain. So, that for you and me, we can be saved from our sins by accepting Jesus's sacrifice on our behalf.
If you have been saved from your sin, then don't continue to sin. Rather, listen to your saviour, walk in the ways of righteousness. Doing what is right will more often than not be different to doing what is comfortable, convenient, and culturally acceptable. Know that it will be hard to keep doing what is right but do not grow weary, because you are not going through it alone.
1 Peter 3:17-18 For it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
God Calls Jonah to Ninevah.
When God calls, He reveals a purpose. Jonah was to preach against the rising wickedness
of that great city of Nineveh. God had a heart of compassion . He desired to give the people
a chance to repent of their sins.
Jonah disobeyed God’s Call
When Jonah disobeyed God, he had his own will and purpose. He did not want the people
in Nineveh to be pardoned. They were wicked and vile, and didn’t deserve God’s mercy. He
wanted God’s judgement to fall on them. Jonah played God. He did not entertain the
compassionate heart of God.
Jonah encountered the storm.
Jonah hopped on a boat to Tarshish in Spain. He thought God won’t be able to track him.
He should have known better. He was a Hebrew who worshipped the living God who made
heaven and earth. Jehovah God is an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God. He
tracked Jonah in the bottom deck. He caused a storm. The sailors panicked for fear of
drowning. They prayed to their gods with no effect. Jonah testified to them that his living
Jehovah God was judging him for fleeing. Jonah revealed to them that the answer to
calming the storm was to toss him overboard. They made sacrifices and offering and vows
to Jehovah before tossing Jonah overboard.
The sovereign God caused a big fish to swallow Jonah.
As God was in control of nature to serve his plan, he directed a big fish to swallow Jonah
and preserved his life for 3 days and 3 nights. The big fish is not a myth. A blue bottom
whale measuring 100 feet long, 12 feet wide mouth, 4 chambers with air in them, was
discovered in 1930 off Cape Cod. Should we doubt God’s power in causing a miracle to
preserve Jonah enroute to Ninevah? The Bible contains numerous truths that our God is a
God of miracles. Jesus used the event of Jonah being 3 days and 3 nights in the whale to
illustrate his death and burial for 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb before resurrection.
What is your response when God calls you?
The Wonder of Obedience : When we obey, we choose to love God ( Jn 3:16 ) and our yet
to believe relatives and friends. Obedience is a distinct mark of love for Jesus ( Jn 14:23).
We choose to honour both His commands and His heart for sinners. We draw close to God
when we obey. When we disobey, we put our unwise desires above God’s love for
Let’s honour our Lord with “Take my life and let it be; consecrated Lord to Thee”
Pastor Kim Bew Lim
Today is the 14th of January 2018. Can you believe we are already 2 weeks into 2018.
Before we know it, it will be this time next year. Another year will come and another year
will go but will have anything changed? Or will it be the same old same old mixed in with
regret, missed opportunities, and wasted potential? As the novelty of New Year
celebrations fade, I wonder if the motivation and zeal to change our lives from this new start
has faded as well.
No matter how well we may have started the year, what counts is how we finish the year.
You may get off to a flying start but if you don’t finish the race then what does it matter?
You don’t get a prize for starting the race. The ultimate goal is not to start well but to finish
well. And the truth is you may stumble at the start, you may stumble in the middle, and you
may stumble at every single point, but so long as you keep going and get there in the end
then that is all that matters.
The Apostle Paul was able to say ‘I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I
have kept the faith’ (2 Tim 4:6-8). There was not a shadow of doubt in his mind or in his
heart. He made it to the end. He did it. He got there.
But this was by no means easy. Blood, sweat and tears every single day - and it was all
worth it. For his prize was a crown that never fades. (Bible verse) It was the crown of
righteousness as one approved by the righteous Lord himself. (Bible verse) That is what is
at stake here. Much more than just right behaviours but this crown of righteousness is all
about right relationships. Righteous relationships with man, and a righteous relationship
with God. And if you are right with God then this will stretch into all eternity. It is no surprise
then that the Apostle Paul would be so dedicated, deliberate and disciplined in his life.
Are you fighting for righteousness? Are you pursuing righteousness? Are you believing in
the righteous one who is the author and perfecter of our faith?
It is most sobering to realise that throughout church history and even amongst our
congregation at ESCCC there are and there will be those who have and will profess faith
and yet in the course of time, for whatever reason will not continue to fight the good fight,
will not finish the race, and will give up the faith. May it not be so for any of us reading this
now, that from this day forth, we will all be able to say now and forever, I have fought the
good fight, I have finished the race and I have kept the faith.
Where will you be this time next year? Where will you be 5 years from now? Where will you
be in eternity. To put it quite frankly, you will either die in your sins or you die in the faith and there you will spend eternity.
God’s Word declares : “ Praise the Lord O my soul and forget not all his benefits who
forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases”. For his forgiving our sins and healing all
our disease, we have much to thank God.
King David is a man after God’s own heart. Though he was hunted down by king Saul all
his life, he experienced God’s mercy and grace in protecting him. He wrote numerous
psalms in praise and thankfulness to Jehovah God. He never forget to thank his God for all
the benefits God showered on him.
God has forgiven our sins in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for us. Yet many of us
have a weakness to forget to thank him. Forgetting to be consistently thankful to God robs
us the opportunity of being intimately close to him. We honour him when we choose to
remember to thank him in word or in songs ( Eph 5 : 18-20 )
Family can honour God in a powerful way when they gather regularly to remember what
great things God has done for them. Sadly not many Christian families gather in having
Family Devotionals to declare what great things God has done. God provides their children
with education, nourishments and careers. God provides parents with jobs, financial
resources and homes. Here is a lovely cliché “a family that prays together stays frimly
together”. Families suffer dysfunctions when there is no occasion for thanksgiving. Family
joy and cohesion suffer when there is ruled by criticisms, dissensions, factions and
complainings. Adopt a turning point in the New Year. Let God be honoured in the home. Let
the family members be grateful for what God blesses them.
God loves his church . Christ died for the church , He delights in blessing his church. A
church that regularly practices thankfulness to God is a happy and joyous church. A church
that affirm its members with gratitude for their caring deeds with it deserves to attract more
This world is devoid of people who show sincere gratitude for good deeds done for others.
ESCCC is a caring vibrant church . The members work hard to be like Barnabas who cares
and encourages others. This is one powerful reason why our numbers grow . We want to
thank all members who sacrificially care and lead each ministry group in our church.
God honours us when we honour Jesus.
Thank the Lord O my soul .. and forget not his all his benefits.
Pastor Kim Bew Lim