Summary: While the benefits of the "Greatest Story Ever Told" belongs exclusively to Christians, we must not keep them to ourselves! We, like Jonah, must deliever the message of Truth and Repentance from our heavenly Father.
The Passage: Jonah 1:1-3
1:1The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2"Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." 3But 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.
Raise A Question: Have you ever deliberately run from God? Maybe there is someone here this morning running from God right now!
Pose A Problem: Here is the problem, and it is really larger than you might think, you cannot run from God until you have first heard from God! What I am saying to you is this, you know if you’re running from the Lord, and the Lord knows you know!
Identify A Need: If you see the problem here, then I believe we all agree, you must find your way back into the will of the Lord.
Open Up A Vital Issue: Jonah’s name is connected with the word “Dove”, which signifies a messenger. His father’s name was Amittai, which means “My Truth”. Put the two together and we find that Jonah, by name, was to be a messenger of the Truth!
One of the greatest issues in the world today is not sin or sickness or disease or even politics. One of the greatest issues of our time revolves around “Christians” not living up to their name.
The Point (Sermon In A Sentence): While the benefits, of the “Greatest Story Ever Told” belongs exclusively to Christians, we must not keep them to ourselves! We, like Jonah, must deliver the message of Truth and Repentance from our Heavenly Father.
1.The Message Received
1:1The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai.
Wouldn’t you think this would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to you or anyone else? Being asked by the Lord to go on an awesome mission involving the possibility of an entire heathen city repenting of their sins.
Oh, sure there could be some problems, like being physically beaten. Possibly run out of town. Certainly made fun of. Oh, and by the way, should you become the least bit successful in your ministry effort, in a place like this you would unquestionably be executed.
But, so what! The creator of the heavens and the earth had dialed Jonah’s number and he answered the phone!
God the Father loves to communicate with His children. He enjoyed walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. And He loves nothing more than when you call on Him or He calls on you and you pick up (answer the phone).
Each time you wake up and say Good morning Lord! He is there to welcome you into a new day. Even if you wake up and say Good Lord, its morning! He is there to say and I will help you through this!
Each time you pick up your Bible, whether to study intensely or just read for the pleasure of it, He is there to give you insight beyond your years. He will help you discover nuggets of gold in “them there” Scriptures that will bring understanding into your most complicated situations.
Each time you beat back the demons of hell that try everything possible to keep you from coming to church, if you allow Him God will take you to a deeper, richer level in your relationship to Himself and others.
Each time you make the conscience decision to truly enter into praise and worship, the Lord will welcome you into the Holy of Holies. Where healing is common, relationships are restored, and new boldness and strength is supplied to weary believers.
Each day brings with it the opportunity to learn something new!
An Illustration: I remember being a young pastor, sitting with some ministers many years my senior. I sat quietly listening and learning. One of them asked me what I thought the five stones, in the story of David and Goliath represented. Without hesitation I said that David was no only going to kill Goliath but his four brothers also if they got in the way. This pastor, who had probably forgotten more than I will ever know, look and me and said, “I have never thought about that.” Well to this day I’m not sure I was right, but the lesson to me was this, everyday time you pick up the Bible with a heart to learn something new, you will.
Well, with a build up like this surely Jonah was ready to take on any task the Lord had for him, right? No …
2.The Message Rejected