What is Your Character? Pt 5

Amen. So let's go ahead and get started. In the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about God's character. We have what we've been doing we have just been nailing down God's nature, and who he is. The question that comes, is why do we need to know this? And the reason that we need to know this, why we need to know the definition of God's character and who his true nature is, is because once we begin to know him, we will get to understand him.

We will get to we will understand how much he loves us and how much we love him. And then we will begin to trust him in that good trust, hard to find these days. I mean, honestly, if you think about how many people can you truly trust with everything at all, the people you know, all the people in your circles who can you trust?

I don't know about you guys, but I am looking I would love to have one more person that is on my team that is right beside me, and who I can trust with anything. Somebody that I can go to with anything, and they won't shun me for it. And, and that's God.

Psalm 107 verse 43 says this. It says, Whoever is wise will observe these things and they will understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. Now, we've been using this Scripture for the last couple of weeks, and I want you to understand that those that are wise have the revelation of God's love for you in that good. Everybody repeats after me.

Say I am wise. Amen. Yes. Do you understand? God's true character is of loving kindness and in a quick review, we need to just take a look at what God's loving kindness incarnate and what it incorporates. Several things make up the definition of loving-kindness. It's God's loving kindness that makes a relationship with him possible. It's God's loving kindness that makes a relationship with him possible.

Even though we have walked, ran, driven, and flown away from him, it is God's loving kindness that makes forgiveness possible. It is God's loving-kindness that allows us to experience intimacy with God. God's love and kindness are His nature. God's loving-kindness is His unending love. Do you remember the example that I gave last week, or maybe just two weeks ago?

I said God's love is like a crocodile. Love. You guys know how crocodiles eat, right? They open those big old jaws and then whatever they come in contact with the man, they just slam down those crocodiles, they just grab a hold of you. That's God's love. You know, I saw something on TV one time, and it was at a zoo.

And I don't know why they had this exposition, this exposition going on. But there was this guy who took a crocodile, and I guess he trained it, but this crocodile would come up to him with his mouth wide open, and then this guy would go ahead and he would stick his head inside the crocodile's mouth. So people could take pictures.

And I guess he'd been doing this for years, but the video I saw, was not very successful. This crocodile opens his mouth, this guy sticks his head in the crocodile's mouth, and all of a sudden you just see bam in this crocodile just latches onto this guy's head. And immediately there were three or four guys that have crowbars and they're sticking these crowbars in this crocodile's mouth and they're doing everything they can to pry this crocodile off this man's head.

I mean, there's broken teeth. They're trying to break his jaw. I think they broke the crocodile's jaw to get this man out of the jaws of the crocodile. And I'm here to say this, this morning, if there's anything that you get from me this morning, know this, and it's completely scriptural. There are not enough crowbars in the world to release you from God's love.

That part may be Scripture, but it doesn't talk about crowbars. Isn't that good? There is nothing that you can't do that would make God love you any less. Nothing. And somebody out there is going, well, yeah, that's true. The person down the road from me, you don't know what I've done. Zero. I want to say this. There is nothing that you can't do that would make God love you any less.

And on the other side of that, there is nothing that you can't do. There is no amount of work that you can do that would make God love you anymore. That is what is so cool and awesome about his nature. He just loves. He is love and you can't escape it. Just nature. Now I want to present this to us as a family, as a church, you know, as Christians were born again, we're filled with the Holy Spirit.

Shouldn't that be the example that we follow or shouldn't that be our example? Somebody needs the revelation today that God is a nice guy, that God is a good guy. Somebody needs to know today that we can trust God and that is my desire for everybody that is under my voice this morning whether it be here online that you somehow find a way to trust God.

And how does that trust come? That comes from knowing him, that's being in his word and seeing what he says about us, and seeing how much he loves us. And he gives us example after example after example. And the great thing about that is, is once we can trust God, then we can step into our calling. We know him, we know his voice.

And we can say we can go to him. God, God, what is it that you want me to do? And with confidence, we can do it. I don't know about you guys, but that would take a lot of weight off my shoulders. Yeah. Having the confidence that I could hear God's voice. I trust him enough that when he says, Go here, I go there.

That's the definition of freedom. But God is a nice guy. He's a great guy. I want you to think I want to exercise with you for just a second. Did you just close your eyes? And I want you to think of a person. I want you to think of a person that you generally have to work at being nice to.

I think about it. I mean, is everybody is there anybody in here that doesn't have that person? Are you like, no, think about it. I'll close my eyes and I'll think of that person in there this person in my circle in my life that I truly have to work at, smiling and talking to and even being close to.

Now, I want you to realize that person. I want you to see that person. And I want you to know that God loves that person, that God doesn't have to work to be nice to that person, in that awesome God is different than we are. And the issue that we have when it comes to understanding God's love and the trust of God is that we put our experiences towards people God loves differently than anybody you've ever known, and he doesn't have to work at it.

He loves that person that's in your head. He loves them just as much as you do. Even though you may not understand why he does. You think about this. I want you to listen to it again. Think about somebody that you may have unforgiveness towards, somebody that has hurt you, somebody that has transgressed against you, and you're having a hard time forgiving this person.

If you see that person in your mind, you will. And if you understand the loving-kindness of God, his character here, and his true nature, you will know that God has forgiven that person already. The great thing about it is, is that He doesn't have to work at it like we do. He just does it because that's who he is.

We don't know many people like that, do we? There are a few. There are a few. One of the greatest things that God allows me to do is to work with people, to work with couples. And so I've worked with couples over the years. There's been a note that always is very, very consistent. Not always, but it's consistent when I'm working with couples and this comes up as I'm working with couples, one of them will always say, I'm so sick and tired.

This is the 57th time you've done this. Have you ever heard that before? Has anybody ever used those words? McCall This is the 13th time you've done this to me this week. You. I see the elbows. Fun. You know, we laugh at that. But you know what that means? That means that we're holding something over somebody. How many of you right now are holding something over somebody?

Know this today about God's loving kindness, and his character. God never holds anything over you. Somebody needs to hear that this morning. God never holds anything over you. God's not sitting up there going, Joe, this is the 37th time you've done this. You didn't hold it. Scripture says that God chooses not to remember it.

What does he say? He says, I take it in, I throw it into the sea. I choose not to remember it. And I believe that's what we're working on. And we're working together, is we're all working on that. We're working on choosing not to remember what people have done to us. Look, as a born-again Christian, as a spirit-filled Christian, we're going to mess up.

We're just going to mess up. Has anybody in here ever messed up? Remember, don't lie to God it's offensive. We're going to mess up. It's going to happen. But I want you to know, because of God's love and kindness, because of his character, he will never hold it over. You turn me to first, John one nine and Pastor Jay talked about this a little last week.

He says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful. And just to forgive us of all of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness in other words, our God loves us so much that he is quick to restore. He is quick to restore. He wants to be back in a relationship with us in his word, just as, Hey, if we mess up, just confess it back to him.

Don't come to confess it to me. I don't need to know. Don't go confess it to your neighbor. They don't need to know. You have a conversation with God and go, look, God, I missed it here. I messed up here I am sorry. Thank you for giving me and move on. Pick up your bed. Move on. We're not going to sit there and wallow in it.

He's not going to hold it over us. No, this. You don't have to work your way back to God. You don't have to work your way back. As a matter of fact, you can't. But when we mess up with people, what do we try to do, guys? What do we do when we mess up with our wives too?

Yeah, this is Joe again. Is this the flower shop? Yeah, it's the usual. Here's my credit card number. Hey, babe, I'm going to make sure I get the laundry done and I'm going to cook. Yeah, we are. We're trying to work our way. We're trying to weasel our way back into relationships with people. We don't have to do that with God.

God just says, come to me, tell me you missed it, and let's move on. Let's get back to what I called you to do. Others will tell you that you've made your bed. Now lie in it. And that's what we said last week. God didn't say that. That's not Scripture. God says, pick up your bed and walk. Scripture says that we are God's masterpiece.

We're the greatest thing that He ever created. He wants to be with us. He never wants to be separated from us and be covered his because of his loving kindness that allows that type of relationship to happen for the rest of our time. This morning, I want to look at one of the greatest examples of loving kindness that I've ever found in the Bible.

Not number one, but I bet it's number three or four. Would you turn with me to the book of Jonah? If you don't know where Jonah is, it's in the Old Testament. It's between Obadiah and Micah. If you have a holy anointed, awesome Bible like mine, it'll be somewhere around page 812. If you've never read the book of Jonah, may I encourage you to read that today?

It is a total dude's book. It's three pages long. You can read the whole book in 10 minutes, and it is one of the greatest examples of love and kindness that I've ever seen. Now, I'm not going to go Scripture by Scripture through the book of Jonah with you, but I want to share with you something that God showed me about Jonah that I've not seen in a while.

See, Jonah was called by God and God called Jonah to go and to preach to Nineveh. Now we all know the story of Jonah. When God, when Jonah hears God's voice and says, I want you to go to Nineveh, he's like, I ain't going there. I don't want to go there. And there are lots of different reasons why Jonah would not want to go to Nineveh.

Let me tell you, the Bible describes the people of this city as wicked. If the Bible calls you wicked, that's pretty not good. I mean, if you do a study on an invite, you will find that they had parties where they killed babies. They are decorated with people's skulls. Now, remember, at this time, Thomas Edison hadn't invented the light bulb yet.

Right? They had streets just like we do today those streets needed light. What they would do is they would take people while they were living. They would put them in oil in tar, and they would hang them on a pole and they would light it on fire so that their streets would be lit up. Now, I'm telling you, I'd like to be the light in a dark place, but not that way.

These people are what God said was wicked. And God told Jonah, he said, I want you to get up. I want you to go to this city, and I want you to preach repentance to them so I don't have to destroy you. And Jonah goes, I ain't going now. For the longest time, I thought that Jonah didn't want to go because he didn't want to mess with the Navy with these people. After all, they're so wicked.

But I want to show you another reason why Jonah didn't want to go today. Jonah did not want to go to any of you because of God's love and kindness, Jonah begins to run. As a matter of fact, he didn't run. He gets on a boat, buys a ticket and gets on a boat, and doesn't care where he's going.

He just wants to get out of here. And as he's on this boat, we all know the stories. The storm begins to rise. The waves begin to crash against the boat. The wind begins to beat against the boat. And Jonah's in the back of the boat. He's asleep, and they're all in this boat. They're all these worldly people that are on this boat.

These are just the same people that we go to work with every single day, people that you know. And then you have all these false gods and these worldly people. They begin to pray or they begin to pray to all of these false gods. And guess what happened? Nothing, absolutely nothing happened. The waves beat the boat. The wind continued to go.

And they're like, Is anybody else on this boat? And they look back and they see Jonah and they wake Jonah up. They're like, Hey, man, we're in this storm. If you have a god, you need to pray to this God right now that this stops or we're going to die. And Jonah goes, Guys, I'm sorry. This is my fault.

This is my fault. My God, the true and living God told me and gave me a task. Instead of doing it, I'm running from him. And now we're being punished. He said, If you want to save yourself, what you need to do is you need to take me and you need to throw me overboard right now. If you will throw me overboard, this whole mess will stop and we'll be okay.

And this is where it gets good. And do you know what this group of worldly people did after they? After he told them to throw him overboard? Do you know what they did?

They embraced him. They said, no, we're not going to throw you overboard, brother. Hey, we all mess up. Let's figure this out together, man. Wouldn't it be awesome if globally the church got a hold of that?

If Jonah wanted to be kicked out of somewhere, he should have got up in front of a church and admitted that right, man? Man, we make quick work of him. But you think about it. We know people when we get upset. They won't come to church with us on Sunday morning because they're at the bars on Saturday night.

The reason that they're their balls on Saturday night is that there's a bunch of worldly people out there embracing and holding them, telling them it's okay, right? So back to loving-kindness. So these guys begin to throw in the rowing as fast, as hard as they can. They're trying to make it back to the shore and nothing is working.

And they find one and finally go, okay, it's either us or it's him. And they pick him up and they chunk him overboard and he's in the water. And guess what happens to the waves in the wind? It ceases. And I love this. I love this. What it says Scripture tells us. He said that those worldly people believed.

So John is in the water. What would you be doing if you were in the water at this time? I mean, seriously, what would you be doing except trying to doggy paddle, right? Keep your what? What would you be? What would you be doing? Yeah. Do you think that would be the obvious choice? I wouldn't even wait until I hit the water.

Well, I was in the air. I'd have been like, Oh, Lord, I'm in, I'm in, I'm messed up, right? No mention of that. He's in the water. No mention of, you know, just praying to God saying, hey, I messed up this restore our relationship right? And God sends a fish. Now, if I'm in the water and I see a fish that is big enough to gulp me up, I'm going to start praying, right?

I'm going to do everything I can to restore the relationship with the Lord. Does Jonah start to pray the Jonah? No, not. When the big old fish opens up, bam, Jonah goes in. Now, at this point, if I am swallowed by a fish and I am alive, I'm going to start praying and I'm going to do whatever I can to get God's attention to go get me out of this situation.

Is that what Jonah does? Now look at Jonah, chapter one, verse 17. Now, the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, three days and three nights. Chapter two, verse one. Then then Jonah prayed to the Lord, His God from the fish's belly.

You want to talk about stubbornness, but we've done that. Have we been in the fish's building? Like three days later? We're like, Oh, yeah, I do serve a God that loves me. Maybe I should go to him on these three days, Jonah prays and he repents. And because of the loving-kindness of the Lord, the Lord causes the fish to take Jonah to the land, and the fish vomits him out onto the land.

He restores him. He restores him to his calling. Look, a lot of us know, because we've heard the word and here over this whole semester that, hey, we are supposed to be witnesses that are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Yet we have these excuses that keep us from doing that. Well, you don't know what I did last week.

You don't know what I'm doing. You don't know what? How? I spoke to my wife. Hey, go to God. Give it back to him. Let us let him restore his relationship with us. And let's get back to being a witness that is empowered by the Holy Spirit. That's what Jonah does. So Jonah goes to the city and he begins to preach.

He begins to say, Hey, this city. Hey, you guys. All 120,000 of you, you better hear this word. You better know that God loves you because if you don't, the judge is going to come, and guess what happened? These wicked people began to believe. They begin to believe in the word says that they were believing and they begin to fast and they begin to put ashes on them.

They begin to put set clothes on them. As a matter of fact, the words go so far as to say that these people believe so hard after hearing Jonah preach that they took their dogs and their cats and they put ashes on them. They put them in sackcloth. And there were animals all over the place running around. And God sees this, God sees this.

Jonah, chapter three, verse nine, Who can tell if God will turn and relent and turn away from his fierce anger so that we may not perish? First ten, then God saw all the works that they turned from their evil way, and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

Now, this is where we start to see the loving-kindness of God again in this story. Talk to God for just a second. Now here. How many of you, when you were a kid or in you were in high school, dreamed about winning the winning touchdown? Right. You've got these dreams of you being in the Super Bowl and there are 1/2 0 seconds.

The ball is in the air. You go up, you're in the endzone, and you're almost stepping out of Bam. But your foot drags and you catch the ball, bam. The Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl. I told you it was a dream, right? How many of you guys dream that? Right, or how about me? How many guys dreamed about, you know, imagining yourself playing baseball near the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded, right?

And bam, you hit the ball. Home run, we win the game. What we just talked about is the pastor's dream of preaching to 120,000 people and every single one of them repents and they're saved. Man, that's my dream. That should have been Jonah's dream. He should have been dancing up and down, going, Praise God for these people. Is that what he said?

No, he didn't. I want to show you somebody that knew God's loving kindness. Jonah, chapter four, verse one. But it deeply displeased Jonah exceedingly. And he became angry. He became angry. Instead of being excited, he became angry. Now the question is, how could a pastor become angry in a situation like this? The answer is in chapter four, verse two, I love it.

I just this just blows my mind every time I read this. Jonah says this. So he prayed to the Lord and said, Oh, Lord, was this not what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previous this to tortious for I know that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger in abundant in loving kindness, one who relents from harming first three therefore now, Lord, please take my life for me, for it is better for me to die than to live.

And I'm going to close with this genesis. God, I told you this was what was going to happen. I told you. And that's why I ran because I know how wicked these people are. And let me tell you something. God, you should get every single one of them. You should hold this over their head and you should just smite them.

You should wipe them from the face of the earth. That's why I didn't want to go because I knew if I preached your word in your love and repentance to them, they would do that. And because of your loving kindness, you'd say, It's okay, I love you. Jonah goes on to say, I would have rather die than to see this.

I'd rather die than have an egg on my face. Jonah knew the loving-kindness of God so much that he knew that 120,000 people would be saved if they just repented. How well do we know that? So I want to ask you to stand on your feet.