Our Motives for Service

The Book of Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:37
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Our Motives for Service

Briefly summarize the story of Jonah up to chapter 4 Explain that in chapter 4, we see Jonah's reaction to God's mercy towards Nineveh.
Why do we do what we do?
What motivates us to serve God?
What causes us to act? What causes us to serve the Lord?
Some Christians that know Jesus still serve Jesus for the wrong reasons.
We are not to serve the Lord for what we can get out of it, or even what we can give to it, but we are to live all out for Jesus because Jesus went all out for us.
The Apostle Paul tells us…
2 Corinthians 5:15 NKJV
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Jonah declared his motives and his anger because of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
We can learn a lot from Jonah’s motives for service.
Jonah was angry because God forgave and showed mercy toward the pagan Assyrians.
Our service for the Lord should be done out of a grateful, thankful, and loving heart.
Are you serving Jesus for the right reasons?
Why do you do what you do?
This passage gives us some insights about our motives for service.

Our Motives Can Reveal Our Hearts

Jonah 4:1–2 NKJV
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.
Jonah's anger and desire for punishment reveal his true heart towards both God and the people of Nineveh.
Jonah was mad because the pagan Gentiles received the same forgiveness and mercy that God showed to the Jews. He didn’t think that was right, or warranted.
Jonah obeyed God on the outside, but was rebelling on the inside. He was obeying to save his own skin.
Get this, Jonah was angry because the people of Nineveh were saved.
Jonah totally misunderstood the will of God and the work of God in the world.
He was angry: (refers to a burning anger)
What are some common motives for serving God? (e.g. love, duty, guilt, pride)
Warren Wiersbe writes: “The heart of every problem is the problem in the heart, and that’s where Jonah’s problems were to be found.”
What should our heart’s motives be?
Colossians 3:23–24 NKJV
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Our service for God ought to be:
prompted by the love of God,
motivated by the Spirit of God,
and done for the glory of God.
That brings me to the question, “What pleases God more, our BUSYNESS His BUSINESS?
Which brings us to point two...

God Desires Mercy Over Sacrifice

Jonah wanted justice.
Jonah felt it was his duty to champion God’s righteousness and woe unto anyone who wasn’t living right.
He would let them have it with both barrels.
Kind of like many today.
Preaching hellfire and brimstone upon the world for it’s sinful living.
Do you know what the problem with that is? It’s like yelling at a dead man and telling him to get up and look alive.
He can’t do it. Because he’s dead.
How did Jesus communicate with a lost and broken world?
He came with love and compassion, and showed a better way. He came offering life.
And that life was through knowing Jesus as Messiah and Savior.
Hosea 6:6 NKJV
6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Throughout the Bible, we see that God values mercy and compassion over religious rituals or sacrifices.
It's not enough to simply go through the motions or do good deeds out of obligation; we must have a heart of love and compassion towards others.
And the crazy thing was, Jonah knew that’s how God operated.
Jonah 4:2 NKJV
2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.
Jonah’s motives were not fueled by mercy and compassion.
To Jonah the mission was a failure, but to God the mission was a great success.
Many people go through life never getting what they want or wishing they didn’t have what they’ve got!
Let me give you a Great Spiritual Principle: *When we serve out of the wrong motives we will be frustrated in the ministry!
So what do we need? We need a change of perspective.

Our Perspective Can Change Our Motives

Jonah 4:3–4 NKJV
3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” 4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah's perspective was limited by his own biases and prejudices against Nineveh.
He got to the place where he was on the verge of suicide. He may not have been quite to the point of taking his own life, but he wanted to die. And that is one of the signs of suicidal thinking.
Some of you may have been there at one time or another.
We get to the place where exhausted, absolutely drained, and we’re ready to give up. Ready to quit.
Jonah needed to get out of his own head and learn to see into the heart of God.
Our own perspectives can limit our ability to serve with love and compassion (e.g. judgmental attitudes towards certain groups of people, wrong thinking concerning what constitutes serving God vs. religious activity, etc.)
What do we need to do?
We need to ask God to help us see others as He sees them.
How would Jonah’s ministry been different had he seen the Ninevites the way God saw them?
We need to learn to have the same attitude toward those apart from Jesus as He has.
Philippians 2:5–8 NKJV
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
We se Jesus' selfless sacrifice as the ultimate example of love in action
How can we imitate Christ in our service to others this week?
Our Motives Can Reveal Our Hearts
God Desires Mercy Over Sacrifice
Our Perspectives Can Change Our Motives
Let’s examine our own motives for service and ask God to give us hearts full of love and compassion
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