28 Jun Jonah #3 – Getting On Mission (Jonah 3:1-10)
– Howdy Pastor Mark Driscoll here, and I’m happy to report that we are now giving away the Jonah Sermon Series, A Fishy Tale About A Faithful God. We take four weeks and go through one of the most interesting, curious, peculiar, well known and hotly debated books of the Old Testament. Looking at God’s reluctant Prophet, we’re calling it A Fishy Tale About A Faithful God it’s a four week study of the book of Jonah, verse by verse, you can find it in audio and video format at markdriscoll.org. If you sign up for the leaders letter, you’ll also receive about a 12,000 word research brief and introduction for those of you who want to go deeper into the book of Jonah and for those who are going to be preaching and teaching it as well. As always just very grateful for your support, a gift of any amount, and a prayer of any kind are always appreciated, you can find everything at markdriscoll.org. Alrighty, we’re in Jonah chapter three, if you’ve got your Bible go there. How many of you parents let’s be honest, you’ve lost a child at some point meaning they wandered off and you couldn’t find them for a little while you ever had that experience? Isn’t that a terrifying experience? There’s two ways that you’re some of you look at me like, “well that’s just horrible parenting “I can’t believe that happened.” Well, we know that your child is a toddler and cannot yet walk because if they could walk, at some point, they would wander off and you would have to go find them. And there are two ways that kids wander off some just literally wander we have one of those kids that would just get distracted and I remember one time we were at the store a kid literally just wandered away, we couldn’t find them. Our kid was in the middle of the clothing rack, the circular one. We looked through the whole store and the kid was in the middle of the clothing rack hiding from us there was another one, where one of our kids was a runner, and if you had a runner, you have a runner right? You even watch in the Olympics, your like, “Usain Bolt’s not that fast you should see my kid out of the blocks.” Some of you have kids that are runners man, and if you don’t pay careful attention, they’re gone, they’re gone. We had this experience years ago, Grace and I were talking we got five kids now, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19 elementary, junior high, high school, college, but years ago when we just had the first two, Zack the second he was kind of in the stroller car seat he was unable to be a runner or a wanderer. But our oldest Ashley, she was actually really quick ran track and was an all state sprinter. And this all began when she was quite little we were in this large urban church late at night, big building homeless people, a lot of danger, crime, drugs. The sun’s going down everybody’s left the church we’re visiting, saying goodbye to everybody we looked down, Ashley’s gone. And if you parents have that feeling grandparents you know what I’m talking about. You’re thinking okay, “well, I’m sure they’re here somewhere.” 15 20 minutes later, still can’t find her. We’re running around the whole church screaming Ashley, Ashley freaking out. Grace is freaking out, I’m double freaking out. And I’m just thinking to myself, I went to church with two kids I cannot come home with one kid right? That’s just not how this map will work really anxious and afraid, looking everywhere our daughter had run off and we went searching for her finally found her in the closed balcony. She’s an introvert needed a little alone time, and just hung out on the balcony all by herself for about a half hour, which felt like a month or two for us as her parents. And you know what’s interesting is, as soon as kids can start to walk they either wander or run and as parents, it’s our job to pursue them Amen. And if you don’t do that, let me just say that you should pursue them go hunt them down and find them. Now, what’s interesting is it’s not just kids that wander and flee and run, it’s also adults. And that’s the storyline of the Bible the storyline of the Bible is that we sometimes wander from God we’re not paying attention we’re not really committed to God, or sometimes we know who God is and what God says. And we literally are fleeing from God we’re running from God as far and as fast as we possibly can. And here’s the good news, God pursues us. Other religions will teach that we need to pursue God, that we need to see God, that we need to find our way back to God with our quest or pilgrimage whatever the case maybe that’s not the storyline of the Bible, the storyline of the Bible is sometimes like foolish kids we wander or run, we find ourselves in danger in harm’s way and God pursues us. God is looking for us, God is searching for us, God is calling out to us crying out for us longing to be restored to relationship with us, and that’s the parental father, heart of God. And this paradigm starts all the way in the first few chapters of the Bible with the first two people, our first parents, Adam and Eve, they sinned against God, they literally run from God, and they’re hiding from God, which is impossible. And God comes looking for them, and God comes calling for them, and God comes seeking and pursuing them. And this becomes the storyline of the whole Bible and this is the mega theme of the book of Jonah, where we find ourselves today. And so let me catch you up to speed on this case study where our guy runs from God and how God runs after the guy who’s running away from him. So in Jonah Chapter One God speaks to Jonah, Jonah chapter two Jonah speaks God, Jonah chapter three today, God speaks through Jonah to some people called the Ninavites. So in chapter one, God tells Jonah need to leave Israel go to a Syria need to leave Jerusalem go to the city of Nineveh and all it tells us in chapter one, verse two is the city was evil, evil and its location is modern day Iraq. So imagine God came to you and said, “Hey, I’m gonna need to send you to Iraq to be a missionary to the great, great, great, grandfather’s of ISIS and the Taliban and Al Qaeda right? Well, what Jonah does, he runs absolutely the opposite direction he boards a ship and he is trying to run away from God as far and as fast as he can. We looked at it geographically, this would be like God telling you go to the Texas border. You’re like, I’m not I’m going to San Diego gonna get myself on a boat and go as far and as fast as I can. A great storm is sent by God the ship is about ready to sink the pagan sailors know that something is wrong. Jonah finally relents and he says, literary Surrender me to God’s Will thrown me into the waves of the sea and God can do whatever he wants to do with me. Chapter Two, we learned that a fish was sent to pursue Jonah. So our little image here, so Jonah is running from God, and the fish is God’s way of pursuing Jonah. And I told you last week, the fish is not the hero of the story the fish is just God’s version of Uber to go pick Jonah up and bring him to another destination. So God is pursuing Jonah and in Jonah chapter two Jonah’s in the belly of this fish for three days and three nights, and what does he do? He stops and he prays and he talks to God. It says then that God spoke to the fish and the fish vomited Jonah forth onto the beach. We say there’s only one thing worse than throwing up being thrown up. So Jonah is thrown up onto the beach, and then he’s got like a 500 mile walk into the city of Nineveh and it’s hot desert I know you guys have no idea what that’s like but just imagine you live in a hot, dry desert and you have to walk 500 miles. Today we pick up the story, where he then arrives in the great city of Nineveh. And I want you to read with me starting in chapter three verses one through three, “then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time” I need you to see this. Sometimes God says the same thing to us over, and over, and over, and over any of you have kids? True or false? When you’re parenting kids, you can be like, “well I told him once, I’m glad that’s over.” Well, we’re God’s kids, and sometimes God’s like, I’ll tell you what we’re talking about it okay again, let me tell you again, we’re talking about this again, and yep, yeah, we’re gonna talk about it again and again and again and again and again. And God’s looking in the eye saying, we’re gonna talk about it again. Like, God why do we keep talking about cause you’re not listening so we’re gonna talk about it again. Here’s the good news though, God’s like a loving parent who’s willing to have the conversation over and over and over He’s very loving, He’s very patient, He’s merciful, He’s kind, He talks to Jonah again. Some of you would come here and you say “God told me to do something I didn’t do it, “God told me not to do something I did do it “is God done with me?” No he’s gonna talk to you about it again, He loves you He’s not done with you. The second time saying, “arise, get up go to Nineveh” Just imagine this for a moment. You spent three days in the fish, you don’t smell good, Amen and now you’re gonna walk across the desert for a month or two smelling like a fish, “and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah rose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now, Nineveh was an exceedingly great city three days journey and breath, that’s a big city take you three days to just venture and journey around this massive city. And let me say this, there’s a guy in the New Testament named Peter, he betrays God, he abandons God, he denies God and Jesus reinstates him and really Jonah’s kind of the Peter of the Old Testament, God told him to do something, he didn’t do it, God met with him, restored him and is still going to work through him. Some of you need to know that this too is the story of your life maybe God had a call on your life, God asked you to do something, you didn’t do it, God’s not done with you, He loves you He will reinstate you, you need to meet with him. And then he’ll call you back into whatever it is that he had for your life in ministry. And that’s the encouraging story of Jonah. But the issue here is that he’s sent to the great city of Nineveh. Here’s the big idea, God loves cities need you to know this and this is very important and significant here in the early days of the Trinity Church, and if you’re new this is just our third week, and we’re glad to have you and we love you, but I want you to understand something and that is that God loves cities and God wants us to have his heart for all cities, but especially for our city. Why does God love cities? Cause God loves people and cities have more people by definition, a city is marked by two indicators density and diversity, density there’s more people per square foot in a city or per square mile and also diversity, there’s just different kinds of people, different races, ages, cultures, languages, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds. And so, for the first time in the world’s history today, the majority of citizens on planet Earth, they reside in cities and our world has become increasingly more urban and people are living in cities. And here’s one of the reasons why cities matter. And this great City of Nineveh, it was one of the key cities in the Assyrian Empire, because culture is made upstream and lives are affected by the culture that is made upstream in cities. And so give you an analogy an illustration, some years ago, I was in India on a mission trip, going to visit a friend of mine who plants churches and runs an orphanage, just a wonderful guy. We land at the airport and that was quite a situation. And then we get into something called a rickshaw which is a motorcycle with a basket on the back that they pretend is a cab for human transportation, I call it a Kevorkian cab. So I got in the Kevorkian cab, and we’re following this river, and it starts kind of in a rural area, and then it gets a little more urban and then it goes to the big city and we’re sort of following this river and this river stinks like nothing I’ve ever smelled in my whole life. This is a disgusting river and downstream you realize people are bathing in the river, they’re taking the water out of the river and they’re drinking it, they’re cooking their food in the water out of the river, they’re washing their clothes in the water out of the river. And as you drive upstream, you realize, well, there are fields filled with cows that do their thing and it goes into the river and you go further upstream and you realize there are businesses without any environmental regulations dumping all of their pollution in the river, and you go even further upstream and there are literally people going to the bathroom in the river. You think what about those kids downstream that that’s their drinking water? There’s nothing they can do to cleanse the stream to make the water life giving change needs to happen upstream before it flows downstream, cultures like that, culture is made upstream in cities, and it flows into suburban and rural areas. And so when God’s people get frustrated because we don’t like what’s in the stream of culture, it’s like, don’t sell my daughter those clothes that’s not enough fabric. Don’t show my son, those videos, those are naughty you know, don’t give us these elected candidates as options give us another option, just hypothetically throwing it out there, these kinds of things downstream, you’re like I don’t like what we’re listening to in the music, what we’re wearing in the fashion industry, where we’re going in the political environment and the laws, well, then you need to be upstream. And God knows this, this is why He loves cities and He calls His people to city. So if you look at the first 300 years of the spread of Christianity, after Jesus life, death, burial, resurrection and return to heaven, by the three hundreds AD, the majority of people that lived in ancient Roman cities, they were Christians, it was an urban phenomenon. Those who lived on the farm were primarily pagan, and in fact, pagan means one who lives on the farm or prescot. And so, what happens is that God’s people lived in places like Phoenix and the non-Christians tend to live far away. And if you read your Bible, you look at the early missionary journeys of a guy like the Apostle Paul, who was one of the early leaders of Christianity. He goes from this city, to that city, to this city, to that city and he almost ignores the rural areas because if you reach the city, culture goes out from the city, and in our day this would mean that the airport is in the city, the universities are in the city, the politicians are in the city, the banking centers are in the city, the fashion industry is in the city, the entertainment industries in the city. So if the city loves and serves Jesus, then the culture that is made in the city by the people who love Jesus in that city, it flows downstream. And that river only flows one way it doesn’t flow into the city, it flows from the city. So God number one you need to know He has a particular affection commitment and affinity to cities, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love people in other places but since there are more people in those places, he has a particular affection for cities, because he loves people and this is Nineveh, a premier city. And God wants the people in Nineveh to hear about him. And Nineveh was a horrible city, it says in Nahum chapter three, Nahum is a prophet in the Bible in the third chapter, it kind of gives the resume for the city of Nineveh I’m sure it’s not what they put on the Chamber of Commerce, please come visit our city, you know brochure, but it says that they were good at witchcraft, prostitution, child sacrifice, and murder. That’s what they’re good at. It says that they would have bodies stacked up in the streets, because there were so many ongoing murders, now we may even have a hard time considering this. When the quake hit in Haiti some years ago, I helped bring some medical supplies and ministry, and when we landed, they had not yet remedied everything and so literally the bodies were stacked up in the street, one of the most traumatizing things you’ll ever see, the stench was so horrifying. I literally had to take the peel of oranges and stick it in my nose just to give myself something other than to smell than what was actually happening in the city. And the portrait in the picture in the Bible of Nineveh is it’s this bloodthirsty child sacrifice, women abusing violent, violent city and God loves it, and God has a plan for it. Because God is bigger than human sin He’s bigger than governmental corruption, He is bigger than human prostitution God is big enough to deal with all of this. So not only does God care about cities, he cares about the city of Nineveh, It’s a large and great and influential city, let me submit this to you as well. God also cares about our city, here we are in Scottsdale and then there are many cities surrounding this valley So when I speak of the valley I’m talking about Phoenix and Glendale and Peoria and Mesa and Chandler and Gilbert and North Scottsdale and all of the Greater Phoenix Valley. God loves this city, and this too, is a great city. Let me tell you a little bit about it if you’re new and a lot of you are new, this is a fast growing city. It’s the sixth largest soon to be the fourth largest city in America, 250,000 people are moving here. If you’ve only lived here a year or less, raise your hand for a minute, then that’s most of the people. A lot of people are new and if you’re new and you’re here and you’re a Christian, you may say, “I don’t know why I’m here” I know why you’re here the same reason that Jonah was in Nineveh for mission so that the city would come to know the Lord Jesus, the God of the Bible, come to serve the Lord Jesus, the God of the Bible come to become increasingly like the Lord Jesus, the God of the Bible. Nonetheless, this is a great city and you may move here and hear that it’s conservative but It’s not, it’s libertarian, that’s different. How do I know it’s libertarian? Because everyone has a gun libertarianism is this, you leave me alone, I leave you alone, we both have guns to ensure this happens okay? That’s libertarianism. And you know, you’re in a libertarian town when there is a guy on a motorcycle, tell me if you’ve seen this guy, guy on a motorcycle helmet on the back, not on the man. He doesn’t wear the helmet what he does however, is he talks on his cell phone while driving his motorcycle and holding his gun that’s a libertarian okay? Libertarians you leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone you don’t make rules for me, I don’t make rules for you. In a libertarian town there’s no higher authority than me so I do what I want, you do what you want and we leave each other alone. Which sometimes means there’s a rejection of God because He wants to come in and pretend like He has authority over everybody and libertarians don’t necessarily appreciate that. Because they like to be their own authority that is our great city and valley and I’ll tell you a little bit about it too. There are four kinds of cities I like to say, there are college towns, college towns are where, young late teens early 20s go to get their education. This tends to include a lot of hacky sacks guys roll up their jeans, vote for Bernie Sanders grow a beard and do things they shouldn’t that’s a college town okay? Flagstaff, number two, there is a kind of town that once you have graduated and you want to start your career and build your resume, you move to so that you can start your career you move into a you know a condominium, you rent for a while. You go out for happy hour, you work out at the gym, you hang out with other other singles and break commandments. That would be like Portland or San Francisco these are young, urban professional towns and also the central quarter here in the Phoenix Valley. Number three, there are towns that once you get married and have kids you realize this is too expensive we need to go to a place that we can afford the cost of living and housing. Furthermore, we need to have good freeways so we can live away from the dangerous city and we can have a nice place for our kids parks, good schools, safety, reasonable price point for living and then we can commute in and out of the big, nasty, dangerous city to earn our income to pay our bills. And we wanna garage doors so that we can pull in and it’ll go down and we can ignore our neighbors that’s what we’re trying to do I got all of you from Gilbert. Okay, now number four, there’s a fourth kind of city and that is after your children are raised and grown and you’re an empty nester and you’ve paid off your bills you move there basically to retire. Because you’re living North you’re tired of shoveling snow, you wanna start shoveling sun so you moved to Florida or Arizona. And and so where we find ourselves and what makes this a great city, It’s all four cities in one, that’s why it’s growing. ASU is one of the largest if not the largest colleges in America, plus you’ve got Grand Canyon University and others. It’s a great spot for young urban professionals especially in that central corridor. It is an amazing space for families with school choice and open enrollment and lots of flourishing suburbs and a good freeway system and a low tax point and also for retirees true or false it’s the best place to be, especially in about two months. Amen, Amen and so it is a great city and it is a growing city and it is an influential city, and it’s an up and coming city and just like God had a heart for Nineveh, God wants us to have a heart for Phoenix. But here’s the problem that Jonah has and the problem that we all have. He has a personal relationship with God he just doesn’t want it to interfere with his life. We’d like to have a personal relationship with God love me, forgive me, bless my family, that’s enough don’t cause us or compel us to go beyond that. Because what Jonah really appreciated was not God’s mission, but his convenience and comfort. So Jonah wants to be in Israel, he doesn’t wanna go to a Syria, he wanna be in Jerusalem, he doesn’t wanna go to Nineveh he doesn’t wanna do that, I mean it’s terribly inconvenient right? Let’s just look at the story, seasick on a boat three days into fish and a 500 mile walk across the desert, that takes a month or two in that day. It’s wildly inconvenient, it’s expensive and how many of us we moved to this area because we want convenience and comfort. You drive around Scottsdale, what does it say on the sign America’s most—
– America’s most livable city.
– Livable city which is, well until we go to heaven well hang out here it’s as close as we can get that’s what it means okay? And it’s nice you can golf, you can go to the spa ladies, get your nails done, right? There’s lots of fun things to do It’s a great place to be and I was thinking about how comfortable it is to live here yesterday when I was floating in my pool. And as I was floating in my pool, and I was praying for us, it just sort of dawned on me. Hey don’t judge, so I’m floating in my pool and I’m thinking to myself Jonah met with the Lord on the water and he prayed to the Lord. And so I’m I, the difference is he was in a fish and I’m on a floaty I felt like I won, okay. That’s the convenience of the comfortable lifestyle that we enjoy, and sometimes what keeps us from mission and sharing God’s heart for the people in our city and greater valley is our comfort and our convenience. My air conditioned car drove into my garage, the door went down, I walked into my air conditioned house, I took a cool drink out of my fridge, and I thought I might go jump in the pool but it seems like a lot of effort. And then when God comes and says, “we’ll love your city “and serve your city and bring good news to your city “and have my heart for the city” sometimes our responses like Jonah’s No, I know you, my family knows you and we are fine do not inconvenience us. Jonah however, begins to kind of a little bit not perfectly obey the Lord. Let me say this before we jump to the next point, here’s why I have so much enthusiasm, excitement and hope for our great valley. People who are moving here, and many are moving here, they’re making a massive life change. And they may be open to the most massive life change of all, not just changing where you live, but who you worship. And not just worrying about where you live in this life, but where you will live in your eternal life. And so I have great hope that if people are moving here and coming here and locating here, that if they’re open to change, we could talk to them about the Lord Jesus Christ, and perhaps they’ll be open to the greatest change of all. And so that’s God’s heart for our valley, and again, some of you are new here and you may wonder why you’re here, you’re here to be a missionary. You’re here because there’s a great city that does not yet know and love the Lord Jesus. There are some wonderful churches in this valley and I’ve got some extraordinary relationships with some fantastic pastors. But we all agree that there are not a have enough people that know the Lord Jesus, and those who are coming need him as well and there’s a massive amount of work to do so there’s an opportunity for you. You’re a missionary, I want you to understand that a missionary is not just someone who goes across the globe, sometimes they go across the street when the moving van shows up and the total stranger from the Midwest doesn’t know when he went on the block. The missionary is not just the one who goes to all the nations of the earth, but also realizes that God is bringing all the nations of the earth right here to the valley. And there’s an opportunity for us to know and love and serve people and speak the Word of God to them. And that’s how the story continues, where we find that God’s word works. Jonah began to go into the city going a day’s journey it was a three days journey he makes it one day. And he called out so he’s preaching, he’s declaring he’s proclaiming yet 40 days and none of us shall be overthrown. Okay that’s it, in Hebrew, that’s five words, five words. Now, there’s a couple of options number one, this is a summary of what he said and there are certain long sermons in the Bible that we only have basically a short summation or perhaps that was the case number two, maybe that’s all God told him to say, and he was faithful. Or number three, he did the minimum. How many of you were those kids in school? You’re like, “what’s it take to not fail” a D plus, D plus it is okay? 55% you’re welcome, all right I’ll be at recess okay? He may have been that kid who’s just doing the minimum five words, five words that’s it. And they’re not even particularly hopeful words here’s what he says, “yet 40 days “and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” that’s it. He doesn’t say God loves you, He’ll forgives you, He has wonderful plan for your life, you can go to… No, here’s what he says, “40 days you’re on fire” drops the mic walks away that’s it. So you get 40 days you’re on fire, that’s his tweet, he literally goes to a rack tweet, I’m out. Five words, not even encouraging hopeful or joyful words, just five words. And you know what? Sometimes five words is enough, if those are God’s words, the story continues, people believe God, that’s amazing, that’s amazing. Because when the Holy Spirit shows up with God’s word, anything can happen. They called for a fast some of you have never heard that word, this is where you don’t eat for a while just throwing it out there something to pray about. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, really uncomfortable, from the greatest of them to the least to them. So from the richest to the poorest, from the oldest to the youngest, the whole spectrum. The word reach the king of Nineveh, this is like Osama bin Laden or Fidel Castro I mean you know for us we’d say, really that guy is for sure not joining our team, for sure not joining our team, the Jesus flag team. The word reach the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne. Do you know what it takes to get a king off their throne? How many of you are dead with a chair and a lever and you know exactly what I’m talking about right? I’m not getting up houses on fire, I’m not getting up. The king is on his throne, he doesn’t usually get up from his throne he gets up from his throne. He rose from his throne removed his robe covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes the story continues and he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh he calls a national day of repentance. Well flags at half mast all the kids out of school, all you governmental workers, there’s a new holiday it’s the hey God, we’re evil and sorry day. Can you imagine our government doing this? Can you imagine just imagine a politician here on TV saying “I repent and we all should.” Right, I know you’re like “what that’s possible” apparently it is, so let’s pray for that Amen. Because this is a really good idea he issued a proclamation and publish it by Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles will get together on this. “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, “taste anything, let them not feed or drink water, “but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth “and let them call out mightily to God.” It’s a permitting it’s a national prayer meeting. But everyone turned from as what ways evil, and from the violence that is in his hands and these are violent people. Here’s what he says, “Who knows? “I don’t know.” everybody’s like, what do you think God will do? I don’t know, I don’t know. Who knows God may turn into land and turn from his fear saying or so that we may not perish here’s what he says, “I don’t know what God’s gonna do. “I sure hope God doesn’t treat us “the way we treat other people. “Let’s tell him we’re sorry and see what happens.” Jonah knows that God is a God who forgives the king and the Ninavites do not know that God is a God who forgives. And they apologize or repent him anyways, how many of us know that God forgives, and we don’t even apologize to him or repent? They don’t even know if he will forgive them, they say, “Well, I don’t know we’re evil “and maybe he’ll treat us differently “than we treat other people we’ve really been pretty mean “to other people and I don’t know I mean “I guess God could treat us that way, “but maybe he won’t let’s just see what he does.” Right let’s bring the media in and turn on the cameras and let’s start the Twitter campaign and let’s call a day of fasting and mourning and praying and repenting and let’s fly the flags at half mast and let’s make sure that starting with the senior political leaders, that we we acknowledge that we’re evil people. This is arguably the biggest revival in the history of the world, from an unwilling guy who said, perhaps five words, because God’s word works, because God’s word works and you need to know this. That we live in a world that has a lot of speculation it doesn’t have a lot of Revelation it has a lot of words from men and women, but it doesn’t understand the Word of God. And when the Word of God comes it comes with the power of God and it doesn’t matter how powerful a nation is, the Word of God is more powerful, it doesn’t matter how powerful a king is, the Word of God is more powerful, it doesn’t matter how powerful a people are, the Word of God is more powerful. That all of a sudden authority of force has showed up in the great Assyrian city of Nineveh that is far more powerful than the people far more powerful than their culture, far more powerful than their proclivities and their trends and their passions and their desires in their history, far more powerful than their leadership far more powerful than even their sinful flesh and that’s the power of the Word of God. And once’s the Word of God shows up, people just change, lives just change, cities just change things just change, because it’s the Word of God that brings power it’s the Word of God that brings force. It’s the Word of God that spoke all of creation into existence and when the Word of God comes in power, things change, people change, nations change, Kings change, destinies change, families change, and the Word of God comes to Assyria and the Word of God comes to Nineveh, and all of a sudden there’s humble repentance. I’ll tell you why here’s what Hebrews says, “For the Word of God is living and active, “sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit “of joints and marrow and discerning the thoughts “and intentions of the heart and no creature “is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed “to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” All of a sudden, the Word of God comes to the people of Nineveh and they demonstrate humble repentance. The root word for humility literally means to know your place. It starts with the king, he’s on his throne, he realizes I don’t belong on a throne, I got to get off this throne. Somebody else is seated on a throne. And repentance, the people no longer blame others for what they do or excuse themselves, they instead hear the Word of God, they respond to the Word of God and they realize “there is something fundamentally wrong with me “and I need God to change it. “Not just what I do, but who I am.” And let me tell you this, this is so important for me my great prayer every week is to bring you the Word of God and for the Holy Spirit to allow the Word of God to do the work of God in you and through you. And I want you to know this, this is not our view of God’s word here at the Trinity Church. We do not believe that this is an old book, we believe that this is God’s eternal word and because it is timeless, it is always timely. Furthermore, we believe that it is the only perfect thing on the earth is the Word of God. Furthermore, we do not believe that God’s word changes with the shifting tides of culture, human preference, opinion or interpretation. We do not believe that we are in authority over God’s word. We do not believe that we have a right to edit God’s word, cause God did not commissioned us to be as editors but to be as messengers. Our view of God’s word is that ultimately God’s word is in authority over us that we don’t just study God’s word God’s word studies us, we don’t just interpret God’s word God’s word interprets our heart, our motives or intentions, our longings, our desires. We don’t sit under God’s word that we might argue with it we sit under God’s word that we might hear from it, and submit to it in obedience for it. Our view is that when God’s word speaks, and people receive it, they simply fundamentally change your soul changes, your life changes, your family changes, your destiny changes, your legacy changes, and people with your last name for generations to come, are then implicated and affected because the word of the Lord rings to you and through you to your whole family and from their out to our entire city. And so this is God’s word would you please read God’s word? Would you please study God’s word? Would you please memorize God’s word? And if you disagree with God’s word, would you please change your mind? Would you please change your mind? This is the Word of God and the Word of God comes to the great city of Nineveh and this is what I love they have the same problems we do. And they’ve not found any solution until the Word of God comes Our city and the cities that comprise our great valley there is this longing for men to treat women with dignity for children to be raised and not murdered, for people to be value and not used and abused and discarded. For there to be life and peace and love and joy were made in the image and likeness of God. And there’s something in us that longs for that yearns for that is hungry for the kingdom of God and the way that the world was when God made it before sin entered it. And so we fight wars and they don’t change things. We elect politicians and they can’t change things. We start organizations and they love and serve people but they can’t save people. What every weeping mother what every fearful politician what every brave police officer is longing for what every case worker dealing with those children who are being armed and falling through the cracks is longing for is ultimately only experienced and found by the Word of God, exercising authority over a group of people and changing them. The hope for Phoenix hope for Scottsdale the hope for Glendale, the hope for Peoria, the hope for Chandler, the hope for Mesa, the hope for Gilbert is the Word of God. It is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that there is something fundamentally wrong with us, we need to be humble and know our place under God we need to repent and change our ways and turn back to relationship with God. And as a result, God will be gracious and compassionate toward us that he will do a great work in us and allow us to go to work with him to share this life changing eternity altering identity forming good news from God’s Word with the whole valley. I just love you, I’m so excited to be here and this is why we planted the Trinity Church Amen.
– Amen, now, the story then continues that we should ultimately just leave the results up to God. You can’t save somebody, you can’t change somebody, I can’t give you a new nature. I give you a candy bar, but not a new nature. There are certain things that only God can do amen let’s all say it, there are certain things that only God can do, say it again, there are certain things that only God can do. Our job is to love people, to serve people and to present to them the Word of God. And then to leave the results to the God of the word. Jonah chapter three verse 10 when God saw what they did, how they turned and this is repentance, some of you your life has been spent your back toward God your face towards sin. You’re just walking away from God, you rebelling against God, you’re fighting with God, you’re arguing with God, you’re ignoring God. Repentance is literally turned around you say you know what, okay, God, I’m gonna pursue you as you pursued me, I’m gonna respond to you because you’ve spoken to me, I wanna relationship with you because you’re so willing to have a relationship with me. When they turn from their evil way God relented of the disaster that He said He would do to them and He did not do it. This is like a police officer comes upon a criminal with a loaded gun. And the criminal’s raising the gun and a police officer says “you got two options, you put the gun down, or I open fire” and the criminal says, “Okay, I’ll put the gun down.” And the police officer says, “I will not open fire.” You need to know that the story of Nineveh is the story of the whole world. That God has a long wick of great patience. And what Jonah says, is because of your evil deeds, the wick has been burning and we’re down to 40 days. And at the end of 40 days, there will be no more patience or mercy, there only be justice and consequence. And immediately they repent, they’re not going to test the 40 days. They’re going to…. They’re going to turn immediately. You need to know that, that God has a long wick and his wrath burns very slowly. But there is a day in human history where God’s grace and mercy has patience comes to an end. There will be a day that the Lord Jesus Christ returns in all of his glory, the dead will rise. And every nation will pass before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ and they will give an account for the life they have lived, and the god they have worshiped. That day is coming and just because Jesus has been exceedingly patient does not mean that He is not coming. It means that He is patiently waiting for us to repent as they did, so that He could relent as He did. Jesus speaks of hell more than anyone in the entire Bible and God’s wrath and justice are sure. So is His mercy and His patience. How many of you are here today and you were like the Ninavites? You’ve just lived a life that you felt, was the life you wanted. You have not particularly regarded God’s word, His commands has decreased His laws for you. And perhaps it has worked for you, for many of the Ninavites it worked, they were successful, they were powerful, they were fluent, they were conquering, they were plundering, it worked for them, but it didn’t work for God. How many of you were like the Ninavites? And this is really the day where you say, you know what, God has a problem with me and if He’s willing to forgive me, then I need to turn to Him, be forgiven by Him and enter into a relationship with Him and the Ninavites would invite you to join them. How many of us are like Jonah? We believe in God, and we will walk with God, as long as God is doing what we want Him to do. And as soon as God seeks to give us something that we find inconvenient or uncomfortable, like serving someone or being on mission or having heart for the valley or caring about lost people or even hoping that the most evil people that live in our society would come to repentance and meet the God of the Bible. That we run, in various ways we run we resist, we fight, we flee. Well the story of Jonah has to turn as well. God’s patient with Jonah, God’s patient with the Ninavites. God’s patient with you and God’s patient with me. But lemme say this though, what I wanna be careful that I don’t do at this point, is tell you that being on mission with God, having a heart for a great city, is something that you have to do. I want instead, you to know, that it’s something that you get to do. True or false? God could have done this without Jonah. In fact, Jonah’s The only hard variable in the whole story right? See, we know that God can speak through a donkey, He did in the Old Testament here, at the Trinity Church, He’s doing it again this morning God speaks through a donkey, Amen? We know in the Old Testament, God can speak through a burning bush, so I mean, He could set a cactus on fire and have a conversation God can do whatever he could send an angel, He could send a dream, there’s lots of ways that God can communicate. Why is God so committed to communicating through Jonah? Not because He needs Jonah but because He loves Jonah. And He wants Jonah, to experience His mercy, and then He wants to speak through Jonah to others about His mercy. God doesn’t need you, God can do whatever he wants to do without you, God doesn’t need me He could do whatever he wants to do without me. But God invites us because He loves us, And He wants not just to use us for some work, but He wants to do some work in us. Not just through us, but in us. When I was a little boy, I really want to be like my dad. And so my dad was a construction worker His name is Joe. So like Jesus had a carpenter dad named Joe. And I was the oldest of five kids and my dad worked very hard to feed us five kids. He literally hang sheetrock for decades until he broke his back feeding his family. That was my hardworking, blue collar union dad Joe. So when I was a little boy, maybe two, three, four, I don’t even know, I said, “Dad I really wanna go to work with you “I really want to go to work with you.” And my dad said, “that’s great “I wanna bring you to work with me.” So my dad would wear these steel toed brown work boots, so I went got steel toed brown work boots. My dad would wear jeans and roll the bottom up, like the Fonz. And so I got little boy jeans and I’d roll the bottom up, like my dad. My dad always wore a white T-shirt, so I got a white T-shirt, and he rolled up cigarettes in his sleeve but I didn’t do that when I was three. He had a big tool belt with all of his tools, and I got a little tool belt with all my tools. And he had a lunchbox so I got a little lunchbox and he had a pharmacy filled with coffee, and I filled mine with juice or coke or something. And so I jumped in my dad’s truck to go to work with my dad, at the job site. And I thought, oh, he’s really lucky to have me today it’s probably a real blessing for my dad to have a crew. I thought I was big help, you know? So my dad was like, “well take those, two boards there son “and take these nails and nail them together, “and then when you’re done, take this pile over here “and move it over there and…” “Okay, you’re welcome, dad, you’re welcome, “I’m glad to be your crew.” Now as a dad, I realize I wasn’t very helpful, right? It’s not like the building was going to, literally, rise or fall depending upon my contribution. In fact, I’m very sure that the two boards I pounded together, didn’t really make it into the final building. Furthermore, I’m pretty convinced that the pile I moved from here to there, was eventually just thrown away and I really wasn’t doing anything but staying out of trouble. The reason my dad brought me to work is ’cause he loved me, he wanted to spend time with me, he wanted me to see what he did, and he wanted us to do it together. Ministry and mission is like that. It’s going to work with your dad. Oh God, do you love them? Oh, I get to see that. You heal them, I get to see that you forgive them, I get to see that. You’re patient with them, I get to see that. All Ministry of mission is, it’s going to work with your dad, and it’s not that your dad really needs you, he just loves you, He wants to spend time with you, and He knows that if you get to know Him, you’ll become more like Him. That’s why God keeps trying to get Jonah to go to work with Him. Because He loved the Ninavites? Yes, but because he also love Jonah. God wants to do a great work through you and us here in the valley, because God loves all the people in the valley, but He loves you too. And the more time you spend with the Father, doing ministry and mission, having a heart for those that perhaps, to begin with, you don’t even like, God starts to change your heart and to give you His heart and you become more like God. Now, as Christians, we’re in privileged position historically, because when it comes to the story of Jonah, we know the rest of the story. Human history continues, and God keeps pursuing people and chasing those who wander and those who run. And finally He comes as the Lord Jesus, and Jesus says, “I came to seek and to save those who are lost.” That Jesus is on this great rescue mission, that God sent a fish after Jonah but He sent Jesus after the world. And the Lord Jesus comes down and He amazingly teaches us about the story of Jonah. If you don’t know this, here’s what Jesus says about Jonah. Matthew chapter 12, verses 38 through 41, Some of the scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus saying, “teacher, we wish to see a sign from you” here’s what they’re saying, “like a circus sideshow “or carnival act, do a miracles do something “but we don’t really trust you or believe in you or love you “but do something exciting, we’d love to see a show. “We’d love to see a show, do a miracle!” But he answered, “An evil and adulterous generation “seeks for a sign ’cause here’s the truth, we don’t chase “signs and wonders we chase God and signs and wonders “follow those who chase God.” He answered them, an evil and adulterous generation seeks his sign but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet, Jonah. So we’re like did Jonah live? Jesus thought he did. Was Jonah real God? Jesus says he was. What about the whole fish thing that really happened? He says for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the… The great fish, it happened. So will the Son of Man speaking of Himself, be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, the men of Nineveh will rise up with the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented for they preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. Here’s what Jesus is saying, the whole story of Jonah, it was preparatory it was anticipatory, ultimately pointing to my coming. And Jesus says, “Now I’m here and I’m greater than Jonah, “I’m greater than Jonah, and what happened to Jonah? “He came out of a fish, I’m gonna come out of the gray, “he preached repentance, I’m preaching repentance, “there was a great revival for one nation, “there will be now a great revival for many generations “and nations.” And that’s what the Lord Jesus says. So let me tell you real quickly and pretty excitedly, how Jesus is the greater Jonah, Jonah traveled from Israel to Nineveh, but Jesus traveled from heaven to earth. Jonah went to Nineveh unwillingly, but Jesus came to the earth willingly. Jonah came forth from a fish, but Jesus came forth from a grave. Jonah preached a few words for God, but Jesus came as the Word of God. Jonah saw a king get off his throne to repent, but Jesus is the King of kings, who got off His throne, so that we might repent. Jonah gave people 40 days to repent, but Jesus has given people a few thousand years to repent. Jonah saw one nation bow their need to God, but Jesus is the God before whom every knee from every nation will bow. And Jonah was sent to Nineveh, and here’s the good news, God the Lord Jesus Christ has sent us to this great valley. And He has sent us here to bring the Word of God to bring the love of God, to bring the saving message of the death, burial, resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jonah knew that God was merciful, but he didn’t understand mercy to the same degree that we do, because we know that not only does God command repentance, but He humbly comes as the Lord Jesus Christ, He lives the life we have not lived the life without sin, He has died the death we should have died, the death for sin, and that is Jonah came forth out of a fish, so Jesus came forth out of a grave, and Jesus makes repentance possible. Jesus is the way that we receive forgiveness, Jesus is the way that we receive mercy, Jesus is the way that we have relationship reconciled with God. Jesus is the one whom we go on mission with, to the great valley. We know more than Jonah did, we experience more than Jonah could because Jesus came as the greater Jonah. And so I’m really excited to be here with you I have no idea what God has for us at the Trinity Church, but we will open the Word of God, we will bring the Word of God, and we’ll see what Jesus does, Amen?
– Amen. Let me pray. Father, I pray for those who are like Jonah. We’re a little religious, a little stubborn, a little hard hearted, we like our convenience, so we don’t like to lose our comfort. Lord God, I pray for those of us who are like Jonah that we would have a heart change, and that we would go to work with our dad doing mission and ministry bringing the Word of God. Lord, for those who are like the Ninavites, and there are not yet believers in the God of the Bible, where they have a broken Holy Spirit moments of repentance and earnest change. And Lord God made you do a great work in their soul as you continue to do a great work in our city and Lord God, we pray for the valley. We pray that we would see something as they saw. The Word of God come with power. Changing people, altering culture, transforming lives and legacies. And Lord God, we ask that we would be used a view, even as we leave here today, to speak the Word of God the life giving, soul changing, identity forming, eternity, redirecting Word of God. May we not be ashamed of the Word of God, may we not apologize for the Word of God, may we not edit the Word of God, may we humbly, lovingly, clearly, winsomely, bring the Word of God to the valley, and God, would you do a great work in this great city, for your great name? And we ask this in the name of Jesus, amen.