Summary: The third in a series of messages from Jonah.
* For years we have sung the hymn – “Send the Light”. The second verse begins with these words, “We have heard the Macedonian’s call today” and for years I didn’t know what that was or where it was found. Let me read Acts 16:9 for us. (READ) Come and HELP us. What a request.
* That type of request is heard very little today and yet it needs to be a part of our culture as believers. Too often do we think we have arrived and need no assistance. I never ceased to be amazed at those who claim to know Christ and then feel like they have learned it all, done it all; even to the point of believing they have “finished their race.” I remind every person here that when the Apostle Paul wrote these words his death was imminent.
* Tonight, for the sake of time, we will visit only one verse in Jonah but it is a telling verse. Remember we have studied the first 5 verses. Jonah has run from God down to Joppa, down to the boat, and paid the fare (you always have to pay when you run from God). He has gone down into the “hull” of the ship and fallen asleep. Meanwhile back on deck God has hurled a storm which has the crew afraid. The ship is about to break apart and go under so in desperation the crew throws the cargo overboard and prays for help. The captain takes action. (READ)
1. The APPROACH – The Captain (that is, the man in charge) came down into the ship where Jonah was sleeping to confront Jonah. At this point, hope was waning, if not lost. For the Captain to leave his post and go down into the ship when the ship was sinking was significant. This meant he had to leave the ship under someone else’s control while he ran this errand. May I suggest that the Captain or Shipmaster didn’t ease up to Jonah? May I use my imagination to suggest that if the Captain was down looking, he was looking for answers and not necessarily for Jonah? Might I suggest that he was not interested in a crew member for passenger “thinking about” whether they would help or not? It takes no imagination for me to believe that this Captain was on a mission when he approached Jonah. He was pulling out all stops to save his ship.
a. Some of those same emotions are felt by church leaders when approaching members for responsibilities. It is just as important to the survival of the local church as it was to the survival of that ship. In the middle of this storm, everybody had to chip in and do their part.
2. The ASKING – Don’t you like the directness of this question? “What are you doing—sound asleep?” May I embellish this conversation just a little? “How can you sleep through this storm? Don’t you know what’s going on? We are in the middle of a typhoon and are about to die! We have all done all we can, we have dumped the cargo which would have brought us profit for this trip, and we have even prayed to our God, but something is not right! What are you doing?” I can even imagine a little fear mixed with a little impatience and a touch of anger in his voice.
a. Consider that question with me; what are you doing? We love talking about the “good ole days” and so let’s talk about them. In the good ole days many things were different. We didn’t have in our church families many of the “tools, toys, and trinkets” which we have today. But we also didn’t have people who felt their time had passed when they went into retirement. Personally, my papaw was the music director for his church until well into his 70’s. Mammaw kept teaching Sunday school and feeding multitudes at the church until they carted her off to the nursing home. Miss Hannah Dobson taught 2 grades Sunday school until she was too old and disabled to get out.
b. The question “what are you doing?” is the question which I ask tonight. One day that question will change into “what have you done?” Then it will be too late. I hope our answer is not “sleeping.”
3. The ASSIGNMENT – This assignment is simple. We want you to help us. How? Get up and pray to your God. The first step was to “get up”. Romans 13:11-14. The man in charge said, “Now is not the time to sleep, there is storm threatening our lives. Get up.” May I say for us, now is not the time to sleep, there is a storm raging. It is the storm of truth decay, moral relativity, and humanism. More closely to us; it is the battle between darkness and light, heaven and hell, right and wrong, good and evil.