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Summary: Instead of the Go mentality, Jonah had a no mentality. This sermon deals with the church’s stubborn resistance to go to those that are different then us. Featured as part of the message is Barna’s report on the state of the church. We must recover the "go

The Jonah Files #1 - The "GO" mentality

Let me take you back 2800 years ago to a strip of land in the middle east. This was the Promised Land. This was the land given to God’s people to do God’s work.

A very peculiar, once in the Bible kind of incident took place that speaks to us and where we are at today. The mans name was Jonah. This begins a 3 week study on this man and the mission he avoided. Let’s get right into it…

Jonah 1:1-3

Jonah was the handpicked messenger of God for a very special mission. It was a mission way out of his comfort zone. He has been used to the “church” people. They were normal, nice, did the right things, shook his hand on the way out the door and said, “nice job preacher.” The Ninahvites just weren’t “his” people.

Jonah owned and experienced life changing, transforming truth. He had in his possession truth that would set people free, change their life, make them a child of God. He was a weapon in God’s hand, just like you.

Now he is running. This isn’t how the great people of God act is it? Running away, avoiding responsibility, burying gifts, refusing to be used? Is this typical? God has something great on the horizon and we run from it?

3 points to this morning service…

God was working…

God was about to do something great. He was working on the Ninivahites.He was making them ready..

Let me tell you a little about these people

Nineveh was at this time the metropolis of the Assyrian monarchy, an eminent city (Gen. 10:11), a great city, that great city, forty-eight miles in compass (some make it much more), great in the number of the inhabitants, as appears by the multitude of infants in it (ch. 4:11), great in wealth (there was no end of its store, Nah. 2:9), great in power and dominion; it was the city that for some time ruled over the kings of the earth.

But great cities, as well as great men, are under God’s government and judgment. Nineveh was a great city, and yet a heathen city, without the knowledge and worship of the true God. This great city was a wicked city: Their wickedness has come up before me (their malice, so some read it); their wickedness was presumptuous, and they sinned with a high hand.

Assyria was one of the most brutal nations of the ancient world. They were feared and dreaded by all the peoples of that day. They used very cruel methods of torture and could extract information from their captives very easily. One of the procedures was to take a man out onto the sands of the desert and bury him up to his neck -- nothing but his head would stick out. Then they would put a thong through his tongue and leave him there to die as the hot, penetrating sun would beat down upon his head. It is said that a man would go mad before he died. That was one of the "nice little things" the Assyrians hatched up.

As an army, They moved as a mob across the countryside. However, when they moved down like a plague of locusts upon a town or village, it is said that they were so feared and dreaded that on some occasions an entire town would commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of the brutal Assyrians. You can see that they were not loved by the peoples round about.

We also know that at this time the Assyrians were making forays into the northern kingdom of Israel. For a long time, it was Syria and the northern kingdom that fought against each other, but they finally came to an alliance because of the threat of Assyria to the north and east of them. However, Assyria eventually took both Syria and Israel into captivity. When the Assyrians were beginning to penetrate into a nation they hoped to conquer, they would make a surprise attack upon a city, take captive the women, and then brutally slay the men and the children.

…why did He choose to talk to them? A self absorbed, brutal, selfish people. What did he see in them that was so great? Same thing he saw in you, nothing, he just loved them.

God is working in all kinds of places we don’t even know about. Bars, pool halls, police stations, parties, car accidents, city park,

But God, those aren’t my people, I don’t want you working over there! Can’t I just stay here? Can’t I serve you in a classroom, nursery or at an altar?

That is not where God only works…

Where was God working in the NT? Where did Jesus hang out? Not the nice people. It was the dopers, the gangs, the prostitutes, the fringes, the hated and despised, the problematic people. He said as plainly as possible, “the sick need a doctor, not the well.”

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