Complete Sermon Notes

How to Get Back on Track


Bible story vs. Bible fact:

Jesus said – “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.” — Matthew 12:40

DIRECTION 1:1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

  • Even this great Prophet was KNOCKED OFF TRACK.

DISOBEDIENCE – 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”

  • God knows what will get us back on track. Usually, it’s what we cherish: health and looks, finances, reputation, power, control, pride…

“To get us to our weakness point, God often breaks the strongest link.”

Some storms are sent to redirect – others are sent to strengthen: how do you know when to jump ship [like Jonah], or see it through?

  • Is there peace/assurance or conviction/remorse? Daniel rested w/ lions, Peter slept in prison, Jesus when to sleep in a storm.


If He didn’t “break up” our plans we wouldn’t change direction.


GOD USES DISCLOSURE – 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know [who caused this trouble that has come upon us].” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

  • Blaming his occupation, his heritage, his skin color…upbringing, etc.

The system is holding me back; it’s my parents fault. The leadership has it out for me.

  • Disclosure is an opportunity to do what is right. People are watching.

GOD USES DISCORD – 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous. 12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”

  • Getting back on track involves sacrifice – a change in course.

The greatest sacrifice was Jesus: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth.” — Matthew 12:40

  • Why not turn the ship around? I’m not sure Jonah was ready.

  • Why overboard – was he looking out for others? This is one sign of genuine repentance – seeking to fix what he caused.

GOD USES DESPERATION 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.

  • WHEN we keep going against God, the problem grows.

14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows. 17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

  • Obedience will restore peace – that I assure you.

But peace doesn’t mean complete restoration – the sea was calm but he was in the belly of a fish. And often, we move from one storm to another set-back.

HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK – OWN IT! And God will rebuild.

  • Don’t be defensive; be determined…determined to do what is right.

  • Don’t blame-shift or make excuses; accept the responsibility. Excuses lead us further down the wrong road.


Pride is so deadly because it doesn’t listen – I can list Christian leaders since 1980s.

God said, “Shut this down before I shut you down!”


“‘No flesh will glory in My presence’, thus sayeth the Lord.”

  • Use embarrassment and shame to your advantage – STEPPING STONES.


Story of a young man who cost his company $100,000. When he went to quit…

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