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God's Works Despite An Antimissionary

April 8, 2018 Speaker: Mike McDonald Series: Jonah

Topic: Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet of a Relentless God Passage: Jonah 1:1–1:6

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A Recap from Sunday’s Sermon

Preaching Text: Jonah 1:1-6

The story of Jonah is simple on the surface.  God calls Jonah twice to preach to a rival city, Nineveh.  The first time Jonah resists, so God sends a storm and a fish to help him reconsider.  The second time he obeys bringing surprising success.  With that alone, a “moralistic” interpretation could mistakenly be applied. I.e.: disobey God and he will punish you.  Obey and he will give you success.  

However, this is neither what the Bible teaches, nor what we experience in life.   Sometimes success happens despite sinfulness.  Other times, failure appears to follow faithfulness.  Furthermore, chapter 4 ends with Jonah being mad enough to die, despite his successful preaching campaign. 

There is a different interpretation to be had from Jonah, one that is marked by God’s grace.  This new preaching series is titled “Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet of a Relentless God.”  We see God’s grace, not just to the wicked Ninevites, but also to Jonah himself.

God relentlessly pursues those who are lost, even his own people.

Twice in verse 3, Jonah tries to get “away from the presence of the Lord.”  What he finds is the same thing King David rhetorically asked in Psalm 139.  “Where shall I flee from your presence?”  The answer is nowhere!  God is everywhere seeking to save the lost for his love’s sake.  The Bible shows us the great lengths God is willing to go for love.  God himself, in the person of Jesus, came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). 

The application is simple. Don’t be like Jonah, resisting God. Instead, extend his grace to others just as you have received it.  

Taking It Home: Discuss a time when God surprised you by showing up when you were “fleeing” from him.