Summary: What has happened to our missionary zeal?
Sermon for 10/13/96
A. In Teaching to Change Lives, Howard Hendricks tells about an 83-year old Michigan woman he met at a Sunday school convention in Chicago. "In a church with a Sunday school of only 65 people, she taught a class of 13 junior high boys. She had traveled by bus all the way to Chicago the night before the convention. Why? In her words, ’to learn something that would make me a better teacher.’ "I thought at the time, most people who had a class of 13 junior high boys in a Sunday school of only 65 would be breaking their arms to pat themselves on the back. Not this lady." Hendricks concludes, "84 boys who sat under her teaching are now in full-time ministry. 22 are graduates of the seminary where I teach."
B. All of us are to be missionaries. We are all foreigners. WE need to give the gospel to others.
C. However, even though all of us are to be missionaries, there is some who are called to go to foreign lands and present Jesus to them.
D. When I think of a foreign missionary, I think of somebody who comes and speaks about his work in a very dull and dry manner for too long about things that I have a tendency not to care about. How pathetic!
A. Today we are going to discuss missions and missionaries to foreign lands.
B. A missionary’s life needs prayer and support. The United States used to be a great sender of missionaries. All Christian faiths sent out great scores of missionaries at the turn of the century. However, know Christians are not sending out the most missionaries but the cults and the Muslims and other religions are sending out much more. This is a shame; we have open doors in Eastern Europe.
C. More doors open today than ever before, but fewer and fewer people are willing to go. Why is this so?
D. One of the reasons I believe is that we are not studying the Bible like we did years ago.
E. Sunday school was started in England in the 1800’s to teach children about the Bible, gospel. Many times these Sunday school’s had to teach reading, writing to be able to teach the children the Bible. No child labor laws. Became popular in the United States and other English speaking countries.
F. Out of these Sunday school’s came missionaries, preachers, evangelists and women who gave their life in service to Jesus Christ.
G. There are several ways to be in the Word today. However, Sunday school is still one of the best ways to get people into the Word and living it in their lives.
I. (Heb 4:12 NIV) For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
J. Where do we develop a love for the Word of God? Usually in Sunday school, or a program like Sunday school.
Thesis: Let’s examine the story of Jonah and see how this episode parallels our own day and our own lack of missionary zeal.
Scripture text: Jonah.
I. Give the story of Jonah.
1. God told him to go to Ninevah but he got on boat to go to Tarshish.
2. There is a great storm at sea.
3. Jonah is thrown overboard and the sea become calm. A fish swallows him.
4. Jonah prays inside the fish and in three days he is spit up.
5. The Lord tells him to go again to Ninevah and he goes and the people repent.
6. Jonah basic message.
7. God does not destroy the city and Jonah is mad.
8. Jonah is sulking and the Lord provides a gourd for him to get shade under.
9. The Lord destroys the gourd and teaches Jonah a lesson.
II. We are selfish like Jonah.
A. Jonah had a wonderful ministry in Israel, the Northern Kingdom. I am sure that it was not all roses because the people still were not worshipping God, as they should have. The life of a prophet was always a tough one. But for Jonah his ministry did not seem that difficult. Oh, he did suffer persecution but he lived in one of the riches countries in that area for that time.
B. 2 Kings 14:25- Jeroboam II - He restored the territory of Israel... According to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher.
C. Jeroboam did evil in the sight of the Lord, he reign 41 years. However, he was not like the kings before him, he did not persecute the righteous.