Summary: 4 of 4 in the series "Inside~Out: Developing the Heart of God" More sermons by Charles Sackett at http://www.madisonparksermons.com Audio also available at http://www.madisonparksermons.com
4 of 4 in the series "Inside~Out: Developing the Heart of God" More sermons by Charles Sackett at http://www.madisonparksermons.com Audio also available at http://www.madisonparksermons.com
113,000 people just like that within 25 miles of 48th and Broadway and one too few microphones. Sorry. 113,000 people all with their own individual issues, hurts, problems, every one of them in need of the same fundamental answer -- somebody to help them, somebody to help them in whatever way they need to be helped, but ultimately somebody to help them come to know who Jesus is.
And quite honestly as we have made our way through the book of Jonah what we have discovered is that there are some, hopefully not many, but there are some who just are outside the range of our possibility. I mean, they just don’t fit. They don’t belong for whatever reason. They just shouldn’t be here. In fact, what should happen is that they ought to have God’s wrath. At least that was Jonah’s perspective as you remember us walking through those first three chapters together.
I have to confess to you that personally I don’t know that I’ve ever had somebody in my life like a Nineveh. I don’t suggest that I’ve always felt accepting of everybody, but I don’t feel like I have ever had an enemy like that, somebody that I just loathed. I’ve read about people who did or should have at least.
I think about the missionary Helen Roseveare who went to the Congo in Africa at the time of the uprisings. She was held captive for months, brutally raped and beaten until she was finally released and sent back to England where she was given an opportunity for healing, and she went back to the Congo and started a medical clinic right there among those who had been her captors.
Some of you are familiar with the movie "End of the Sphere," five missionary men killed by the Alca Indians, Nate Saint being one of them. The movie is the story by his son Steve after their family went back to that same tribe and introduced them to Jesus. In fact, the very man who killed Nate Saint traveled the United States with Nate’s son Steve telling the story of redemption. Those people had Ninevehs in their life, and somehow they found it in them to overcome that and still feel open to sharing the gospel.
I’ve known some people that I was pretty sure would never want to know Jesus. I know lots of stories like that. There is an elder in the church where I was ordained in Idaho. His name came up one night at one of the elders meetings. He was a mechanic in town. Why, Merv would never come to know Jesus. There isn’t anybody that could ever reach him for Christ. Did I mention he is an elder now? Because one of the men, Gary, said, nobody is beyond God’s reach.
I remember watching a true stereotypical 1960’s hippie walk into the gym one night where we were playing basketball and thinking to myself, this guy has got to leave. As I made my way over to talk to him, I really felt prompted, which does not happen to me often, but I felt deeply prompted rather than asking him to leave to ask him to stay. So against my better judgment I said, why don’t you stay? He did and became a bible college professor.
I read this fascinating story this week. It’s a couple, I don’t know, never have heard of before, Louie and Janette. It’s a couple in their 80’s with a 55-year old son Lewis. Their son was severely mentally handicapped all of his life, cared for in an institution. As christian parents these two prayed diligently that somehow he would come to know something about Christ in spite of his limitations.
About the time -- the story says about the time Lewis was 50 years old an amazing thing happened. The family was together on a car ride when all of a sudden without warning, without prompting Lewis began to speak. By the way, he had never done that before. He said, you know, mom, you know, dad, Jesus was born, Jesus died to save us from our sins, he rose again, yes, he did. The only complete sentence he ever spoke in his entire life. Louie and Janette were greatly touched, it says, by hearing those words from his son. It turns out that someone had conducted a catechism class for a group of people that included Lewis, and apparently Lewis absorbed more of the material than anyone could have anticipated.
And the man who tells this true story ends it this way. God can reach any heart and any mind with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Never underestimate his ability nor his determination to do so. He can reach anyone. Never underestimate his willingness nor his determination to do so.