Summary: A sermon on Jonah 4 about how petty we can become when we focus on other things rather than the mission of the church

Notes for Sermon 7/27/2003

Jonah 4:5-11


The lady who got mad about the Christmas tree.


A. Read Jonah 4:5-11.

B. How stupid and ridiculous to get mad about a vine.

C. How stupid and ridiculous to get mad at God for Jonah’s mission was a success.

D. Jonah’s mission. No, it wasn’t Jonah’s mission. It was the Lord’s mission.

E. Jonah’s mission and the Lord’s mission, Jonah’s will and the Lord’s will were miles apart.

F. We need to be one with Jesus Christ. We have a new heart and a new mind through Jesus Christ. Our will needs to conform to His will.

G. However, many times our mission, our agenda and the Lord’s mission and the Lord’s agenda are far apart. Our will is in opposition to the Lord’s will.

H. We can learn a lot from missionaries

I. (Mat 28:18 NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.(Mat 28:19 NIV) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,(Mat 28:20 NIV) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

J. What is the objective of a missionary? To do this. What is the central mission of the church? To help everyone know Jesus Christ and his mission for their lives. To be saved and to be sent.

Thesis: What is the Lord’s will and heart and why is it important to the local church?

For instances:

1. What is the Lord’s will and heart?

A. (1 Tim 2:3 NIV) This is good, and pleases God our Savior,(1 Tim 2:4 NIV) who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

B. (2 Pet 3:9 NIV) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

C. Why did he send his Son?

D. (Rev 5:9 NIV) And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

2. Why is this important to the local church?

A. In the church, the mission of the Lord must be more than just a hobby, more than just a sideline.

B. It must be a passion for us, something that burns within our hearts and drives our lives and our churches.

C. Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. How? Through the church, through individual believers.

D. In this day and time, North American churches are not pulling their weight. We see people in poorer countries sacrificing. We see them paying a great price and undergoing persecution because of their faith in God and their love for his work.

E. Their was a time when most missionaries came from North America, but now the missionaries are coming from South America, Asia and Africa. In fact, this is the only continent in the world where the church is not growing. We are not reaching the world nor are we reaching our own countrymen. We must confess that in our lives and in our churches we have become preoccupied with other things.

F. We have been silly and ridiculous like Jonah got over the vine, or gourd plant.

G. We can see how ridiculous we have become on the internet, some of the stuff people are actually selling in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus Saves Air Fresheners, picture of Jesus holding a lamb. He says, “Express your feelings with this beautiful meaningful air freshener.

H. There is a guy selling religious hot sauce. His first recipe was The Wrath. His new brew is called Armageddon. He says it’s great with potato salad, deviled eggs, pancakes, curry dishes, and Navajo tacos.

I. Holy steps insoles for your shoes. They have a picture of the city of Jerusalem on them. They are made of three layers. Top and bottom layers are made of foam. The middle layer is dirt from Jerusalem so that you can always be walking on holy ground.

J. Wash away your sins soap. “Do other soaps leave you with an unclean feeling? Wash away your sins soap drives those troublesome sin blots down the drain.” This will make cleanliness next to godliness for $8. For $12 we can get the matching bubble bath soap.

K. Pet baptizing kit. For those of you who thought that repent and be baptized were just for adults. Father Andrew is selling this on E-bay. If Nero has been biting the postman, or Cuddles has been chewing up the drapes, this is for you. It comes with holy water, a baptismal certificate, a prayer and instructions for a ceremony that will enrich the lives of both you and your pet.

L. The bobble head Jesus. You can put it on your shelf next to your Sammy Sosa bobble head.

M. Mother Teresa singing doll. The world’s favorite nun singing you light up my life. $49.95.

N. Slim for him workout video. Strengthens your heart and soul. This unique combination of liturgy will turn you into a firm believer. It also comes with reggae dance and techno tracks.

O. What is the world are we thinking about! We are not that superficial. Oh, but are we.

P. Take look at most church papers across our land and if we are unbiased, honest observer we would conclude that these people are not a community on a mission. We are more like an Elks lodge or a civic organization. The mission of the Lord and the mission of the church in America are miles apart.

Q. Think about some of the issues in the church that is so superficial like Jonah and his gourd vine.

1. Music.

a. At one church the young people would come up from time and time and sign praise choruses. I had a good friend of mine who said that we need to get back to the grand, old songs of the church. I said, “Old, define the word old for me.” “You know the good old songs of the church” Ok, how far back do you want to go. What do you mean? Well, do you mean Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts or Martin Luther? Which song do you like best? The Old Rugged Cross. Good, it was copyrighted in 1913 so we will sing songs around that time period. What about the songs by Bill and Gloria Gaither. I knew he loved some of those. Too modern, they have to go. Or maybe you want to do something really different and just do Gregorian Chants; this is really old back in the Middle Ages. Since this is a New Testament Church, why don’t we do like they did and not have an instruments (many of them didn’t), and just sing some psalms from the Old Testament. That sounds good. Well, I am so thankful that you like the music of the youth. Why? Because 75% of what they were singing came straight out of the psalms.

b. When I was interviewing at churches, one question was brought out time and time again. “What kind of music do you like?” “What does this have to do with anything?” Whatever will reach the most people as long as it’s done for Jesus, I’m happy with it. He kept pressing me. The best times of worship I have had are around a campfire with a guitar. This would not be good in the sanctuary.

c. One elderly gentleman at a church where they were having a lot of current music to reach the younger generation was asked, “Do you like this kind of music?” “Oh no, I don’t like it at all. I see all of the young people coming and some of them have been baptized and after seeing that the music means little to me.”

d. Do you know what the hottest current music style is in the South? Country. We better be having some Southern Gospel and some Rockabilly. As long as it praises God, not those tear in my beer songs.

e. We learn this from missionaries. Go into an area and have a few converts and then what kind of music to sing. Bring in an organ and teach them Beethoven. “We play the tom-tom.”

2. Time

a. One church had a split over a clock. One group wanted to put a clock up because the preacher kept going over. One group wanted to let the preacher preach and not put up a clock. The group who didn’t want the clock won over and so that group who wanted the clock started a church on the other side of town. Could you imagine the size of the clock they put in their new building?!

b. Then we hear of missionaries speaking for hours to crowds and the people actually want to hear more. Then they come to the United States and they speak for 30 minutes and we think it is so boring. If they are that bad of a speaker, how can they speak to crowds for hours at a time?

c. (Mat 5:6 NIV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

d. I remember the first short term mission trip that the youth group at my home church took. It was to the Haitians in Miami, Florida. We went to teach for VBS and to help them clear a lot for their new building. They met in a store front with no air conditioning. There were about 5 sets of pews and then a wooden pulpit in the front and that was it. No dividers! It was the middle of the summer in Miama, Florida. We started at 7 pm. No one came. They went by Haitian time and at 7:15 a few arrived and they all started to come. By 7:30 the place was so full of adults and children that we had little room. We started to teach and do our VBS. There were few discipline problems even though we had no dividers. The children listened and we all had a good time. The adults had a class in the front. It lasted until 9:30 every night and there was so much love on their sweat covered faces. Many times we would not get back to our house until 10:30 because they all fellowshipped together long after we were done. I could imagine the complaints of people, no air conditioning, the facilities were terrible, too crowded, but it didn’t stop them. Hunger and thirst!

3. Conflict between the younger and older generation.

a. The younger generation likes this. The older generation likes that. What are we going to do?

b. I am not saying that we need to leave the older generation behind. However, if we say that we do not care about the younger generation, we might as well say that we want America to go to hell. For that is what it will become if we do not reach out to the youth?

c. I believe in youth ministry. I was trained to be a youth minister. I was too boring so they demoted me to the preaching ministry.

c. My youth minister Richard Clark had some retired people as youth sponsors. Did a good ministry. He would often go to the senior groups and talk about what a joy it must be to have a lot of time to pray and read the Bible. It must be a joy. I hope that when I get older I will use my time in prayer for the young people.

d. Those that are older in the faith are close to the Lord and spend a lot of time in prayer. I have a dream of one day the older generation in this church will have prayer partners with the youth and will pray for them on a weekly basis, get to know them and pray for them. What a blessing that would be!

e. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left?

1. Who is this talking about? The children.

2. The Muslims took over Greece by kidnapping the Christians children in Greece and then taking them and training them in the Muslim way. In this way, in a few generations, the Ottomans took over Greece and for a time there were more Muslims than Christians in Greece.

3. I am encouraged by the things that are going on here with the youth.

4. Jesus with the children.

f. Where do we get this idea? From missionaries. We have campus ministries in foreign countries that are making a tremendous impact, orphanages, and children’s homes. This is how we impact the culture.

g. Abraham Lincoln- The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. We can take this in the church and in our culture.

R. Evangelism needs to be at the heart of the church. If not, we are silly and petty and foolish in the eyes of the world.

S. George Barna surveyed American Christians and asked, “What is the purpose of the church?” 89% of “Christians” said the church exists to care for me and my family. John Piper said, “We have come to the place where God is a means to our ends and we love the gifts more than the giver of the gifts.”

T. One missionary sent a report to a supporting church and he said that many times he did not love the people group that he was sent to reach. Then he said that at those same times that he felt that way, he didn’t love God very much. Isn’t that the reality! That is where Jonah was. He didn’t love the Ninevites nor did He love God!

U. When we love God we love the things that God loves. When we care about God we care about the things that he cares about.


A. Notice that we never seeing Jonah changing his attitude or mind. It just ends with a question? There might be a chance that he got it.

B. There is a good chance that he didn’t. God said, “Write down your experiences and share them with the Israelites.” Jonah said, “Yes, sir.” Anything not to be eaten by another whale.

C. The Israelites never got it. The Lord blessed them so that they could bless the world. However, when the Lord blessed them they forgot about God.

D. (Dan 9:16 NIV) Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

E. The conclusion of the book is a stinging rebuke to Jewish narrowness and to our narrowness.

F. Jesus Christ came into our lives and he had compassion and grace. He saved us and gave us a second chance on life.

G. The least we can do is try to extend that second chance to others.

H. Some people will never get it. However, I pray that you do! Come and be baptized.

I. Dedicate your life to God and to his will and heart.