Why Missions?

                                          Jonah

Introduction: This morning is the first week of a two week mini-series about missions and a 2022 missions goal.

I look today at a familiar story with a not always so familia message for my ‘Why Missions’ message today.

Background

The pagan Assyrians, long-standing enemies of Israel, were a dominant force among the Jews from about 885 to 665 B.C. (200 years). The Old Testament accounts describe their forays against Israel and Juday in which th raveged the countryside and carried away captives.

Jonah – What we know

As indicated in 2 Kings 14:25, Jonah was the son of Amittain and a native of a village 3 miles northeast of Nazareth.

  • Jonah was a fierce nationalist who was fully aware of the havoc the Assyrians had wrought in Israel over the years.

Jonah 1:2, “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” (NLT)

Question: Why did Jonah refuse to go, run away, get thrown off a boat and swallowed by a great fish before being spit out 3 days later?

  • Jonah found it difficult to accept the fact that God would offer mercy to Nineveh of Assyria when its inhabitants deserved severe judgment.
  • Jonah feared that God would show mercy, thus extending the Assyrians’ opportunity to harass Israel.
  • His reluctance to preach at Nineveh was based upon a desire to see their decline culminate in a complete loss of power.
  • Jonah was afraid they would listen, repent and find God’s mercy!


Application: Question
: Why is it so hard for us to be ok with God showing mercy, even to our enemies? Because that’s the way we are! It is not natural!

Jonah was the only prophet sent to preach to the Gentiles!

The Book of Jonah, though placed among the prophets in the bible, is different from other prophetic books in that it has no prophecy that contains a message; the story is the message!

The Book of Jonah has been called the outstanding missionary book of the Old Testament.


Purpose of the Book

God’s purpose in the book of Johan is to emphasize that God loves all people and desires to show them mercy based on repentance.

M.H. – message ringing in my ears lately,…what’s being preached a lot today is ‘believe and receive’ in leu of ‘repent and be saved’.

Question: Why missions? While America is saturated with a Christian witness…millions around the world have not heard or had an adequate witness of the Gospel!

Question: Why missions?

  1. Because its Gods Heart (command) –

  2. Matthew 28:19 ; ‘Go into all the world and make disciples..’
  3. 2 Peter 3:9, ‘God is Not willing that any perish but that all come to repentance.’;  
  4. John 3:16-17;
  5. Matthew 9:36, ‘Jesus was moved with compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd.’
  • Because its Our Heart –


Questions: Why Missions?

  • God loves all people and desiresto share His forgiveness and mercy with them.


Is Jonah’s Reluctance / Our Reluctance?

Upon hearing God’s call, Jonah, who’s name literally means ‘Dove,’ or ‘Pigeon’, changes dispositionally: he becomes:

  • Strong-willed, fretful, pouty, hasty and clannish and angry
  • He turns, willfully disobedience


The End Game / Message?

God prepares a plant/vine to grow to shade Jonah after he delivers God’s message.


Just as quickly as it appears, God prepares a worm to cut the stem of the plant and cause it to wither.

The Lord further intensifies Jonah’s uncomfortable situation by preparing a not east wind to dry Jonah’s parched body.

Question/Answer: What does Jonah do at this point? He laments the death of the vine and expresses his displeasure to God.

God’s answer in 4:10,11 is kind of the OT version of John 3:16 in the New Testament.

‘Then the LORD said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness,1 not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (NLT)

Conclusion: I / we must pay attention to and heed God’s heart to help reach others with the message of repentance, grace, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation just like we have received the opportunity ourselves.

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