Sunday, September 27, 2015

Jonah and the Sinners

 When Jonah heard the call of God he plotted Nineveh on the map and went in the opposite direction (Jonah 1:3).  Now it may appear that Jonah was running from Nineveh but what he was really running from was God's Presence.  Disobedience will never bring us closer to God it only pushes away from Him.  

Anyway Jonah knew God had called Him to speak truth to a particular group of people and he decided that disobeying was worth it if it meant the people would be destroyed.  He did not show compassion, grace, mercy, love, nor did he go to them and speak God's Truth.  Jonah saw their judgment as a just punishment for their actions.  God did not relent nor did He let Jonah off the hook,  through some expert persuasion technique Jonah so the error of his ways and cried out to God to save him (Jonah 1:4-2:10).  In the end Jonah proclaimed "Salvation belongs to the Lord (Jonah 2:9)"

So Jonah made it to Nineveh thanks to "Fish Transportation Services" and boldly spoke God's Truth in a land where people prideful walked in sin.  When the people heard the warning that Jonah brought forth they were convicted and committed to changing (Jonah 3).  But this is not what Jonah truly wanted, Jonah desired to see destruction and devastation.  Jonah was not looking for God to have mercy and compassion, Jonah wanted God to utterly destroy them.  Jonah was out for blood, for whatever reason. He had expressed his displeasure of God showing mercy and stating that this was the very reason he ran in the first place because he knew God was a merciful God (Jonah 4).

God gave Jonah shade but quickly destroyed them plant, this upset Jonah to the point he wanted to die (because it was really hot).  But God informed Jonah that he was angered over the plant being destroyed, he had pity for it.  Jonah had more compassion for a plant that he did not create then for a group of people that God created who are walking in sin.  It's like being more compassionate about saving a whale then seeing a soul save (Jonah 4).

So how does this relate to us today, well look at the world around us.  We have chaos to the left and to the right, laws are being passed the legislate sin, and Christians seem to be in an uproar speaking judgment.  What I take form Jonah is 1) We warn others of coming judgment 2) But we preach and teach to them salvation.  Jesus said it best, "We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)" In other words judgment is coming so we must warn all of what is to come if they continue to sin but we preach the truth of Christ (all of His Words, i.e., the Bible).  Those who are living a life of sin need to hear truth and be warned of what is to come if they do not allow the Lord to transform their heats.  But we as Christians can become cold and callous like Jonah and only desire to see their judgment.  We want to hold a big, "I told you so" party but the desire of God is that no one perish, this does not mean God allows anyone to sin freely it means that God wants all to come to repentance and be transformed.  So we must be careful to share the truth of Christ warning of coming wrath but letting a sinner know salvation, mercy, grace, and love are present now.

But the questions that remain for Christians are: Are we willing to speak the truth in love to those who are homosexual, those who aggressively come against the cross with murderous acts, and even those who mock Jesus to by saying, "God is a just judge who desires you to experience His Grace and not His Wrath because living in opposition to Christ is acceptance of wrath but living for Christ means acceptance of Grace and being transformed by His Spirit to living according to His Word (John 3:16-21, 8:31).

So are you willing Christian to talk with the homosexual about God's Grace and warn them of His Wrath or do you want to see them come to ruin? Are you ready to speak to those who persecute the church and pray that they would receive the Gospel?  It happened with one of the greatest enemies the church has ever known in Paul (Acts 9:1-31)? Don't be stubborn and cruel like Jonah go and share the Gospel and reach someone for Jesus that they may experience the JOY! of salvation just you did.

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable