People leave the presence of God. Prophets, like Jonah, leave His presences. In the belly of the fish, Jonah worshiped. His prayer from there reached the Temple of God. (Jonah 1:2; Jonah 2:1-9)

Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11539
6:30 PM on 9/9/2018



P. Schaller
You know one of the folks with us is Pastor Dave. How many days are you here? Are you going to be here for radio time? Can you call radio sometime? He has a lot of wisdom and Marian. Is she here? Good to have you here. Don’t you love, we love the Body of Christ. We love each other, don’t we? Top soil. A lot of top soil around here. Pastor Dave, what a treasure. Pastor Dave, I’ll tell them your story a little. He was born with good eyes. But then in the oxygen tent, he got too much and so he’s lived his life blind. And if you know him, if you hear him, if you love him you receive from him. You say wow. This man is a treasure. He’s one of God’s treasures.
This morning we had an amazing time here in the message. We had four words. I want to repeat it in some way. I don’t have any notes except those four words. Maybe you were in Federal Hill or not here this morning. If it comes out half as good as this morning, it was really touching to us. We’ll have our message and then we will love each other. We’ll hang out for a couple days before we go home! Ask your neighbor why do you hang out here after the service?
The first word this morning and tonight is “wander.” I thought of just sitting here when we were singing that beautiful song. I don’t know tunes or words. I just can’t sing! It was a beautiful worship song. All of them were.
When Cain killed his brother, he was very concerned there would be revenge on him in Ge 4, that someone would murder him. He had the guilt. He left the presence of God it says. Then one other place where you see that phrase is with the prophet Jonah. He left the presence of God. Adam and Eve when in the garden were in the presence of God. When they left the garden under the curse because of sin in a sense they lost the presence of God. And they became
1) Wander. Prov. 21:16 man that wanders out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
Jer 14:10 my people love to wander. The only one to be honest, I think so, I think the only one didn’t wander in this life was Christ.
He was never without – Lk 22:37, he said the things concerning me have an end. In the gospels, read them through again and look for every time when he directs the disciples to the next step. I must go now to Jerusalem. I will be delivered up and crucified. On the third day, I will be raised. When you and I walk with God, there is always a direction. Under the ministry of the anointing of God, God will always give you direction and guidance.
In Jn 8, he is the light of the world and he who follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. Spiritual guidance. We are lost by our desires, our lusts. Sometimes people move from one thing to another, one state, and one career path. Those things are not that important as much as the mind and heart God has given you and me. We could get established in the presence of God. In God’s presence. Wandering. We said this morning, you could go from relationship to relationship. Even in religion people wander from one teacher to another, one church to another, one emphasis of teaching by wind of doctrine, by seducing spirits. By doctrines of devils. More than ever I have felt more vulnerable to the fact that the devil could deceive me or mislead me. Somehow I feel that could happen to me. I’m preparing a message to share with the church about it. No matter what happens to me or any of the leaders here, you are to follow God the rest of your life. That’s no excuse for you to check out and start wandering about. You are called to be a follower of God. People are shipwrecked in their faith and get confused and troubled and leave the presence of God. I understand murderers leave the presence of God. Amen. They do, but prophets leave the presence of God, also. They do. Pastors leave the presence of God also. The history of the church is about this. I was with a brother yesterday and I said what happened to your generation that were in this church? He said they were trusting in men. I said what does that mean? They trusted in men and when men disappointed them, they were gone. Wandering out there going from a movie to a girlfriend to a city to another place.
My people love to wander in Jer 14:10. They do. That was a good portion. That was fun. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Maybe it got through to us a little bit.
2) Top soil. Dirt. What’s in dirt? You can talk back to me. Earth worms, bacteria, mud, minerals, nutrition, dead chipmunks! Acorns, leaves, dead leaves, rotting leaves, water, moisture, sand. What’s in dirt? Death and life. Your life is a biography of top soil and some of you have a lot of manure in your top soil! I got your attention anyway! Let me say it now seriously. Somebody, Pastor David, those few words I said about him are words of honor for him. He’s got top soil and in that dirt of his life was planted this seed of God’s word and the H.S. You know what came up out of that top soil. This precious faith. This living God. There are some churches when you come in with your top soil and they want to scrape it off and remove it. This is a thought from a writer I have been reading lately. It was refreshing when I understood what he was saying. Every church is made up of people whose biographies are those of humanity, brokenness, disadvantages, misfortunes, glorious victories, accomplishments. Every life is different. When Jonah left God’s presence, he went to Tarshish and got on a boat. On it were pagan sailors sailing to Tarshish. Jonah went down and fell asleep. The storm came. Why is this happening to us? The guy downstairs, the guy down in the boat is the problem. They couldn’t believe it and worked to bail and save the ship. Jonah is saying I am the reason. Throw me overboard. They did it. It was a calm and the pagan sailors became believers in the God of Jonah. Imagine in the top soil of Jonah’s life in leaving the presence of God in his failure and rebellion and disappointment, there is still top soil used by God. We have things in our lives, sin and failure and rebellion and unbelief and leaving the presence of God. As children of God, when we leave the presence of God his presence doesn’t leave us. I will never leave you or forsake you. Lo, I am with you and will go with you always unto the end of the earth. Dirt means life, a death, smelly, trouble, heartache, emergency room, bad phone calls, and lost jobs. It can be victories and beautiful things. A beautiful family or home but it’s still dirt. What needs to be put in every life is God. Every life needs to find God.
We are in Jonah 1:2. vs. 3. I got a message and calling but I’m not going. I’m not going to do it. I don’t like those people. I’m a Jew and they are Assyrians, our enemies. They are unworthy of having me there. Put any number of names in there of people you wouldn’t want to go to or minister to. My top soil may be this way. It’s unbelief. It might be leaving God’s presence. There is more to your life than your unbelief and rebellion. It is God’s word and Spirit. God himself.
This is the third word, worship. Jonah went down in the water and maybe it wasn’t down far enough. He had to go down further so a fish swallowed him. That has happened a few times I’ve read. One man was in 24 hours in a fish and another fishing ship caught it and opened it up and he was there. He was out of his mind for a couple weeks but came to sanity. He had white blotches on his body from acid from the fish’s stomach.
It was there where what already planted in him as moving him and leading him. It was in a belly of a fish he said this prayer, Jonah 2:1. Aren’t you in the belly? I’m in the belly but he heard me. As I’m in the belly, my God heard me. This must be great grace on this man in this state of distress. The Holy Spirit must have given him a prayer. The H.S. led Jonah in worship. Not when he got out but when he was in the fish. This is one thing we must realize. While I’m in my trouble, I want to find God. I would like God to be planted in my life and heart.
I want words of communion. Not just words of communication. In short, it means when you go into a hospital room with someone deathly ill, they are so weary and sick they can’t hear anything other than something that speaks to their heart maybe or silence speaks to their heart. Communion with God speaks to their heart. We had two brothers who went to a hospital visit. And one of them was new and did a lot of talking to the sick person. He stepped out to use the bathroom and the patient said I’m so glad he’s gone. When we come to worship, we should be very quiet. We don’t have much to say. We are in the presence of God. When I’m out of the presence of God, I wander.
After a couple years of it, you might come to the end. I’m chasing after many lovers in Hos. 2. I’m searching different purposes and accomplishing things. My son told me a pro- golfer who did it all. He made it to the top. But it’s just like everybody, I need an anchor. I would love to worship God. I’d love to worship God but I can’t. I can’t find him. I don’t know who he is. Yes, you can. This is the gospel, the good news. Christ came so you could be a worshipper of God and not a wanderer of humanity. Lost in the foolishness of the NFL and stock market and passions of buying and selling and running from one girlfriend to another and socio-political culture of our day of who is right and wrong. So exhausting. Filled with wandering. P. Ben said the devil has given the human race an orphan spirit. The devil is an orphan himself. He has no God. He left God. He’s wandering going to and fro on the earth. He has no righteousness. The throne of God is established on righteousness and grace. Jonah prays. The prayer is beautiful.
vs. 3. I’m cast out of your sight. I’m sorry. I left your sight. I was cast out of your sight. I forsook you. I got angry. We were knocking on doors, Randy and two others and a man came to the door. Mark and Josh were at the door and the man was so angry they said. He was so angry. You’re talking to God to me? My wife died 13 days ago. Where is God? Where is God? Top soil. That humanity of anger, rebellion, brokenness, death, bacteria is not a problem with God. Jonah, you left me but I am here. Call out to me. I will answer you and fill you. I will plant my word in that soil. When I am showing up in your everyday life. When I am your God you are not an orphan or wanderer. You get rooted and established in my reality, my person.
vs. 5-7. What temple? Solomon’s temple. Into the temple in Jerusalem. My prayer went into the temple. Or was it the temple in heaven? In any case, he knew his prayer went into the temple and God could restore him and hear him and answer him. Worship. Don’t be afraid of being a worshipper with all your heart. The big awesome reality of God and his person. Worship in prayer. Wait on God. Forget the formalities of prayer, the postures of prayer. Just be before him and hear him and worship him and love him. He is there with us. He will lead us in and out. When we are with each other in the Body, I recognize people’s top soil. I like to recognize people’s challenges. They left the presence of God but are here. We had a brother who overdosed and they brought him back to life. I bought him a sandwich in the café. I gave a sandwich to a dead man! A dead man brought back to life. God saved your life, brought you back. He has a plan for you. Become a worshipper. If we are worshippers, we will not be wanderers.
When solidly rooted as a worshipper, the psalmist said I will not be easily moved, Ps 62. Remember the old antennas that were metal and stainless steel rod and go like this when the car moved. Up here they move but down here they don’t move. You are established with Christ and yeah, I move. I get upset because the toast burned but I’m not easily moved. We are worshippers of God. Moses did it. David did it. Paul did it. Jesus did it. Jesus showed us worshippers of God and praising God and receiving from God words, communion words, and fresh words. One of the things I love about the ministry is fresh words. I love it wasn’t always frozen words. I like it that our vocabulary changes. We have something fresh that comes from God in our hearts by the H.S. I love God answers our prayers and leads us. Jonah knows when he is in the fish. He knows God is hearing him.
vs. 8. They that observe lying vanities. We have three guys got off of drugs in our church here and went back. I asked P. Jason how it happened. He said women. Turn to your neighbor and say, women. Second thought, forget it! Guys like girls… Men like women. Right? How could we change that? How could a man who is lonely and wants a woman in his life and she brings him back to drugs. Let’s talk about it in our church. There is a lot of lying vanities. There are a lot of traps and deceptions in this world.
David said Ps. 16:8 I have always set the Lord before my face. I shall not lack anything. He restores my soul. You learned to be disciplined in heart and mind with regard to the opposite sex. Learn to be a godly man and woman. I don’t care what the culture is saying. I care what God is saying. I don’t care what they say in newspapers and movies but what God is saying. It’s influential. Our soil in our lives is prepared to receive all kinds of seeds. Lies and thoughts, lying vanities. Jonah said. I believe the lying vanity. I believe if I went down to Tarshish I’d have the good life. Bus tickets were half price. Tarshish was Spain or England they say. It was a great deal but didn’t turn out too good. It starts good but you know a thing by how it ends. This is our fourth word. End. The things concerning me have – TELEOS means purpose. Jesus said I’m going to Jerusalem but I can’t go yet. Your time is always ready but not mine. He was navigating his time schedule with his Father.
I have a purpose I am accomplishing and so does Jonah. God doesn’t forsake Jonah and not you. Be encouraged. Become a church goer. Be a church or Body member. Be a person who attends and participates. Go on out and have a creative life in God. Walk with God and see what God will do with you. Enjoy God, dance with God, praise God, pray to God. Walk with God and have an adventure of faith with the living God. Religion sometimes will come in like a farm and plow off the top soil and bring in the concrete and asphalt and put up a mall. Where did the farm go? No, it’s a mall. That’s our church. No, our church isn’t a mall. It’s a field, dirt. We need the dirt. Bring the dirt back in. Don’t freeze it in concrete and asphalt. Bring in the people, real people, blind people, deaf people, and failure people. All kinds of people. Bring them in. I am God and plant a field and one day will bring in a harvest. A field filled with trouble and death but in it was nutrition and sunlight and water. The seed of my word did a deep work in the hearts of the people. Some of us are young in a way but 20 years is not a long time. If it’s 20 more years for some of us. I am nothing. I am absolutely nothing but he is everything and has done something. He’s there with you all the time.

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