THF SUNDAY SERMONS
24TH JULY, 2022
SERMON TITLE: How to Enjoy Peace in the Midst of the Storm (III)
SERMON TEXT: Jonah 1:1 – 15
PREACHER: Reverend Ebenezer Olawuyi
- Father, every Jonah in my boat, let them be cast out (Jonah 1:15).
- Father, open my eyes to recognize the Jonah troubling me.
We have been looking at the topic: Enjoying rest in the midst of the storm. I have gone through the background and told you what peace actually means, that is, it is not the absence of trouble or war but the assurance that God is with you in the midst of that trouble. We have looked at three levels of peace: Peace with God, Peace of God and Peace with Men; the first determines the remaining, if you don’t have the first, you can’t have the remaining. We have also looked at 6 things you need to do to enjoy peace:
- Trust God: Learn to trust God like the little 6-year old girl in the plane; her father was the pilot in the cockpit. They were passing through the Pacific and the pilot announced that there was a very bad storm. The little girl was sleeping, she reclined her seat and was deeply asleep. Everybody was troubled in the aircraft, even the air hostesses who have been used to things like that were troubled and that really means trouble indeed. Passengers may get troubled but not the air hostesses because they have been going through it. One of the air hostesses woke up the girl and told her that there is trouble. The girl stood up and asked if her daddy was still at the cockpit, they said “Yes” and she just reclined back, saying “My daddy is there and I know as long as he is there, this plane cannot crash.” You have a greater Daddy, hallelujah; a greater Father who cares for you (Isa. 49:16). Anytime you are passing through any challenge in life, remind yourself that God has not forgotten you. The bible says, “He calls the stars by name and by the greatness of His might and power, none of them is missing.” Do you know how many stars there are? There are billions of galaxies and in the milk-way galaxy alone, there are over a billion of stars, now each of those billion pathways of stars (galaxies) have billions of stars. The Bible says God calls each of the Stars by name and none of them is missing before Him. He can account for them every time. What is the population of the world? About 8 billion and Nigeria is about 200 million which is significantly insignificant – infinitesimally insignificant. So, if God knows billions of stars and calls them by name, how will He forget you in the population of about 200 million? He knows you, your address, your father’s name, your mother’s name, your mother’s maiden name, even your grandfather’s and grandmother’s maiden name, in short, He knows all your family history and He won’t forget you. No matter what you are passing through, be confident that God cannot forget you. You are too precious to be forgotten.
- Cast your Cares on Him: If you know He cares for you and won’t forget you, always cast your cares on Him. Any trouble you have, just tell Him, “Lord, I come before you and lay the burden before you.” Don’t forget this very important nugget: when you cast it there, leave it there and go. Whatever you carry away is not on the table of your boss. Leave it there! This is a very big problem among believers, after casting the load, they still carry it away with them. He won’t treat that, leave it there and go. Say, “Lord, I trust you with the load, handle it, I know you will give me result.” When you give your troubles and cares to Him, He will give you His peace.
- Submit to the Word of God: Let the Word of God rule in your heart (Col. 3:15). Let it be the umpire of your life and the final say. Sometimes, it’s very difficult but when you do, I tell you, you will enjoy peace. Let the Word of God be the umpire and don’t argue. The Word of God should be exalted above human reasoning. The Word of God should be exalted above prophecies. Don’t agree to a prophecy that tells you to leave your wife. One prophecy comes to you and say, “Don’t come to church again” and you believe it? Let the Word of God be number one. Anything you hear, first of all check if it’s true. God won’t contradict himself, He uses scriptures to prove scriptures. Don’t just take a scripture… sometimes that’s what happens in the body of Christ. A lot of people just take one scripture – isolated scripture, like “the Bible says don’t just take water alone, take a little wine for your stomach’s sake” and just conclude that the Bible asks them to drink wine, they have forgotten where the Bible says, “Give strong drink (wine) to he who is ready to perish”, also Prov. 23:29 – 30 which says, “Who has woes? Who has sorrows? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, Those who go in search of mixed wine”. Let the Word of God be number one. Use scriptures to prove scriptures.
- Remain Faithful: My prayer is that everyone of us in this congregation will be known as faithful men and faithful women. In your place of work, your boss will be able to say: “If I can’t trust any man, I can trust this man. I can leave my place of work for one month, I know him, I can trust him, he won’t take advantage of me or turn my business into his own business.” If you’ve got a faithful worker, please treasure that faithful worker, they are rare. I was discussing with one big businessman who is in the US about three days ago and he was complaining about how wicked the world is. He has chains of business in Nigeria and he says he has seen a lot of things. He was talking about a number of employees he has dropped. He said it is difficult to even find one person that is faithful out of hundreds. Let wives and husbands be known as faithful people; that your wife or husband will not be around for two months and you will still uphold your marriage vow. Grace can sustain you. Be a faithful husband and wife.
Be a person that can be trusted with money; someone that won’t manipulate money. Prov. 13:15 says, “Good understanding gains favour, but the way of the unfaithful is hard,” that’s why they struggle so much and you wonder why. Be like the people of old who were not even asked to give accounts because they were faithful. That’s why the Scripture says don’t just pray for labourers, pray for faithful labourers. I keep telling people who are employers of labour that if they can get one faithful labourer, they should do what it takes to keep him/her. Faithful people are rare. If you want to enjoy rest, be faithful. Remain with God, He will prove Himself and give you rest.
- Live in Contentment: Don’t forget, Paul said, “I know how to abound and how to be abased” (Phil. 4:12). I am content, I don’t go borrowing, I manage what I have. Learn to adjust. I have told you, it’s a thing you’ve got to learn. Don’t live a fake life, copying other people. Be real! If you don’t have now, it’s just a matter of time, things will change. Some people spend the money they have not earned to buy the things they don’t want; some buy the things they don’t want to impress the people they don’t like, saying, “Let them know I have arrived”, whereas he is in debt. Why do you want to impress? You want to go and buy a car just because you want to show to people that you can? It’s not bad to say you don’t have, there is nobody that doesn’t experience that. Even the sun has its own time of spell; there is a time it shines, another time, it goes down, so why are you getting bothered? You may not have, but that doesn’t mean you will stay in that position forever. Young people, calm down. There is a time for everything under the sun, I cannot overemphasise that. Be content and frugal with spending. If you have to, there is nothing bad in buying “fairly-used” things. This life is in phases. I used to think it’s only black people that use “fairly-used” items but a lot of white people also use “second-hand” items. If you cannot buy, lease, if you cannot lease, rent. There are different levels, just find your level per time and gradually God will change that level. Job says, “I will wait until my change does come.”
- Planning: Planning for your future is vital. You have a purpose in life and that cannot be established unless you plan. Planning establishes purpose. You have a dream, a vision, if you don’t plan, it will be frustrated. Plan for your tomorrow. The common saying goes, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” Plan every aspect of your life, don’t be a fire-brigade person. The shade of that tree you are seeing today was planted by somebody sometimes ago. If that person did not plant it and thought about the future, you won’t be enjoying it today. Noah did not see rain before he started building the ark. He just thought about the future and started building it. Sit down, think and use your common sense. Don’t behave like the prodigal son who lavished his money. It’s not just, “Give me money”; if you give some people money, it will worsen their situation because they don’t have a plan. I have told you the philosophy of rich people and that of poor people. For rich people, every money that comes into their hand, they invest and spend the remaining whereas for poor people, when they get money, they think of what to spend it on.
Think about the future. The journey of 1000 years start today. Plan for your children and your family. Part of planning is training those children. Some people don’t have time for their children and family. Plan for your children because one day, you will grow old and need those children. This was what Jesus told Peter, that someday, he will need somebody to hold his hand. If you are not bothered about your children, it’s like you are building a house and you are careless with the roofing, you will stay under leakage. Plan for your health. Don’t think you can eat anything and do anything now. Foolish people are careless about their health. They use their life and their health to look for money and after getting the wealth, they use it to gain back the health they have lost. Plan for your future. The best time to plan for your healthy future is when you are strong. Now that you are strong, don’t allow yourself to breakdown. Try to preserve what you have now. Every aspect of your life needs planning. As a student, plan for your future. Don’t start reading when it is exam period, begin to read now. Plan for your future so that you will not cry. People who don’t plan don’t have rest. They get troubled because they don’t have plans.
Today, we will move to the next point:
- Ally yourself with the right people: There are people you go with in life that will make you not to have peace no matter how much you pray. In the Scripture we read, the crew, all of them in the boat prayed but that did not stop the tempest until Jonah was removed from the boat. There are some people that are not supposed to be with you but you are finding it difficult to separate from them. Some people wonder and say, “If I separate, what will happen?” You will not have peace until you separate from them. There are some people who are not supposed to go with you in the journey of life, they are the troublers of your life. There are some people you should not go into partnership with them in business, if you do, the business will ruin. Their presence in that business will trouble you no matter how much you pray; they are like maggots that need to be pulled out. There are some people who are troublers of your house or marriage and if you don’t remove them, you will never have peace. There are times in which you can take care of some people from afar and not allow them to be inside.
When God told Abraham to leave to the land He was going to show him, He didn’t tell him to leave with his nephew, Lot but he loved his nephew and took him with him. He never progressed in life until Lot separated from him. It was after Lot separated from him that God told him, “Abraham, look up…” There are some Lots you need to separate from also. There are some people who are like mistletoes, although the plant is very healthy… In those days, when a mistletoe attaches itself to a cocoa plant, that cocoa plant will never be the best any longer. It is a parasite that competes with the cocoa until you remove it. You don’t even plant it, it just attaches itself to it. There are some people who have attached themselves to your life, until you separate from them, you can’t go further, they are like mistletoes. You know since they joined you, your life has not remained the same. Maybe since they entered your relationship, you have not had peace in there. You know it, they came like mistletoe and you discover that you and your husband are always quarreling, they are mistletoes, you need to pull them out. I remember when Pastor Adeboye said he had to take a decision to sack some people. There are some people that enter into your organization and when they enter, there is trouble until they leave. Thank God for Abraham who decided to separate from Lot. He told him to take any side and because of Lot’s carnal mindset, he even made his situation worse (Gen. 13:12 – 13). Concerning him, Peter wrote that he was tormented, a righteous man in the midst of unrighteous people. There are two types of Christians: the Abraham type and the Lot type. The Abraham type are the ones enjoying the fullness of the blessings of the covenant while the Lot type are just in pain. That was exactly what happened to Lot, he was tormented because he was in the midst of wicked people. He pitched his tent and became the President of Sodom’s Chamber for Commerce, Industry and Mines. He was a leader, always at the gate. He was getting the money but was not enjoying it because he was wrongly allied, he had pitched in a wrong place. The Book of Isaiah 55:21 says, “You will not build houses that another man should inhabit neither shall you plant vineyard for another man to eat…” it was not like that for Lot. In that same land, he lost his wife and then, his two daughters to incest. So, what did he gain out of Sodom? Nothing. When you are wrongly allied, you will trouble your rest. There are people you should not be attached to.
Another example from the Scriptures is in 2 Chron. 20:35 – 37, “After this, Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted very wickedly. And he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish… Then the ships were wrecked, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish.” The way to enjoy peace: ally with the right people. This is very straightforward, Jehoshaphat, a great, good king went on a business trip with a wicked king and the Lord destroyed his work. You will not labour in vain, your business will not be bankrupt. Be careful who you bring in. There are some people God has rejected, don’t carry them along.
In 2 Chron. 25:7 – 9, Amaziah was the King of Judah and at the same time, another King, Jehoash was the King of Israel but he was a wicked king. The Lord said concerning Amaziah that he did what was right in His sight. At a time when the people of Seir came to fight against him, he hired 100,000 mighty men of valour from Israel. A man of God then came to him and told him not to allow the hired soldiers go with him because He was not with them. Don’t go with someone whom God has rejected if you don’t want trouble in your life. Don’t bring a cursed man into your house. I told you sometimes ago about a man of God who saw a wall frame and saw a beautiful artwork on it. He said it was good and as a white man, he bought it and put it in his house. He had a great ministry but from then on, the ministry started going down until the Word of Knowledge came to warn him about what he put in his house. Do you know what the artwork was? It was a dragon and dragons represent Satan himself according to Revelations. He put the frame of Satan in his house; where can light and darkness stay together? It’s not possible. So, when he brought Satan to be a watcher at every meal, the main person that was there walked out. If it had come in there through another means, God would have fought it but since he willingly brought it, God had to step out. Be careful! Don’t use sentiment to ruin your life: “He is my cousin,” “He is my friend’s child,” etc. If God opens your eyes to see, separate from it or when they want to leave, don’t force them to stay. God heard what they said that you didn’t hear, so don’t insist that they must stay.
Back to Amaziah, God warned him that if he decided to go with the people of Israel, then, He will reject him. If God is not with you, you will mess up in the battle no matter how great you are. Thank God he listened and gave them up. When he asked about the money he had given to the troops of Israel, the man of God answered him, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.” What are the things you are holding on to? God says, “Give them up.” He will make you great without them. I have said it over and over, in my own time, I gave it all out, including the smallest microphone and my books. I sent them back and said I won’t take any away. Today I have more than 10 microphones and many books. God is going to give you more than that but be careful, don’t be wrongly allied if you want to enjoy rest.
Pray these prayers:
- Father, separate from me every Lot that is in my journey of destiny, in the name of Jesus.
- Father, everyone you have rejected, let them not come into my boat.
- I will not join anyone you have rejected. Let me not bring an Achan into my life and family, in Jesus Name.
- My Father, help me in the journey of life so that I will not align with the wicked people in the name of Jesus. Help me not to pitch my tent in Sodom.
- In the name of Jesus, I stand in the presence of the Lord, as the Lord liveth, I will eat the fruit of my labour, another man will not eat the fruit of my labour. I will not plant for another person to inhabit.
Jesus is God’s wisdom for us. He has been given to us as wisdom. For you to be able to make this decision in life and find yourself in the right place, you need this wisdom in your life, you need Jesus. He has been made to us the fountain of life by which we are delivered from the snare of death. Why not allow Jesus to come into your life today to be your Lord and Saviour and you will discover your life will take a new turn. If you are doing that, put your left hand on your chest and say, “I give you my heart this morning. Lord, I receive Jesus as my wisdom for life. Come into my life as my Lord and Saviour. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”