Summary: We are called to be lights in the world, to preach the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are called to not only to evangelize but to disciple the nations. Not just carry around Bibles, or wear silver crosses on their necks. We
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. Jonah 3:10 KJV
We are called to be lights in the world, to preach the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are called to not only to evangelize but to disciple the nations. Not just carry around Bibles, or wear silver crosses on their necks. We are called to change the planet, with our actions prayers and the light of the gospel. Not by apathetic programs or formulas, but with renewed minds and spirit filled hearts. We are to shine brighter than the darkness. However there seems to be a disease, calloused cancerous wasting virus creeping through the church. It is a mentality so contrary to the gospel and the Word, yet so comfortable in fallen human nature. A condition obsessed with hiding our lamps under our beds. A disorder devoid of love, hope, faith and action. A way of life that should never be tolerated in the Body of Christ. It is “an obsession with destruction.”
And there is no better description of this than in the Book of Jonah. Jonah? Yes Jonah, I’m not talking about the 3`days in the belly of the fish, but the voyage to Nineveh. Now before I get ahead of myself we should go to the beginning of the story
1Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1:1-3 KJV
Now for those who don’t know Nineveh was at the time the capital of the Assyrian Empire the Greatest at this time. There where anywhere from 120 000 to 350 000 (depending on the interpretation of 4:11) This was the “center of the world” in Jonah’s day, home of idols and false gods and the jewel of the First major empire. God reached out to Jonah to go and cry out to this people to call them on their wickedness These uncircumcised heathens with no covenant relationship with God. A thought that was so uncomprehendable to Jonah that he got on a boat and went the wrong way to Tarshish (modern southern Spain). He refused to go to this people, a people who in his mind “didn’t want or deserve God” This is the first stage of this mentality I am speaking of, this wasting disease in the church. For generations the western European church has played the part of Jonah, unwilling to go east to our modern Nineveh’s of the Muslim and Hindu worlds (you can count the Sikhs in British Columbia in this group as well) “These people don’t want God” so they can die without Him. “They have different colored skin and eat different food, they can never receive the gospel”. Why bother with them, they’ll get what’s coming to them in the end?
I’m going to skip over the part with the fish for now. Let me fast forward to when Jonah entered the city. He only made it through a third of the city before the all people began to repent even the king himself dressed in sackcloth.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? Jonah 3:4-9 KJV
Jonah went into the city calling out judgment and destruction on the thousands and thousand of citizens. And something unexpected happened, they listened. They fasted, dressed in sackcloth and prayed that maybe God would spare us. The unworthy, undeserving heathens had received the words of God and accepted them. And they acted immediately. They didn’t wait the forty days that Jonah was crying out they acted on day one. Maybe there is something to be learned here, that maybe they will listen, maybe they will repent and accept God and Jesus.