Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: An examination of the what evangelism will cost those who are engaged in its practice.

Sermon Three: The Old Testament Prophets and the World of 2005

Jonah 1-4

God’s Word on Evangelism


As a way of acknowledging the All-Star forward’s impact, Nike has hung a billboard of James on the side of a building near Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cavaliers that is 110 feet high and 212 feet wide.

On the massive mesh banner, James soars toward an unseen basket with his right arm extended over his head, ready to deliver one of his signature slam dunks. Next to the sprawling reproduction of the photograph taken during his rookie season are the words: "WE ARE ALL WITNESSES."

But properly speaking, the Bible has called us to be witnesses—but not spectators. You might recall that I preached a sermon a while back and before I did I showed you a clip from a Star Wars film that showed the difference between trusting in false power and trusting the Spirit: One impacts on the surface and the other turns worlds inside out. It’s the same here, I am not content to be a spectator sitting and watching. Nor is that what we are called to. I will be one of those who plays and participates—being a witness, being a martyr for the Cause of Christ and not for the cause of self.

When Jesus said to the apostles in Acts 1: You will be my witnesses, he was also saying, ‘You can be my witnesses’ and ‘You shall be my witnesses,’ and ‘You had better be my witnesses.’” Because, “How can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15)

Today, we will look at the story of Jonah and talk about the beautiful feet of those who are sent, of those who are sent, of those who share the Gospel.

The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.” Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, “O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him. But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

Walter Kaiser writes, “The text was written to help others avoid the trap Jonah fell into and to encourage their adoption of YHWH’s Heart for the nations—yes, even one’s most brutal enemies!” (Mission in the Old Testament, 69; for all Kaiser quotes.)

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