Jonah 3:1-10 “radical mission”

To come to a place of true appreciation for God’s Grace we must first journey through seasons of repentance. Like the people of Nineveh we go through a similar journey where God shows us our wickedness, and as we repent He exercises His mercy and forgiveness to us.

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Jonah 3:1-10

3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city,[a] three days’ journey in breadth.[b] 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.  6 The word reached[c] the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

Jonah 1:17-2:10: Radical Renewal

In times of hardship and suffering we are often motivated to ask, “Why?”, and to feel that God is absent or is shutting us out. In this passage, we see how suffering can be used by God as a means to our spiritual renewal. Jonah’s unusual rescue from drowning and his prayer point us to God as the source of salvation from our distress.

Jonah 1:17-2:10

17 And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying,

“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress,
    and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
    and you heard my voice.
For you cast me into the deep,
    into the heart of the seas,
    and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
    passed over me.
Then I said, ‘I am driven away
    from your sight;
yet I shall again look
    upon your holy temple.’
The waters closed in over me to take my life;
    the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
    at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
    whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
    LORD my God.
When my life was fainting away,
    I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
    into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
    forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
    will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
    Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

10 And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

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Jonah 1:4-16 “A Radical Response”

When Jonah attempted to flee to the ends of the earth rather than obey God, God stopped his flight by sending a mighty storm. In the same way, we can trust God to achieve his purposes in and through us in all kinds of ways, even when we disobey him or run from him.

Jonah 1:4-16

But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”

And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard[a] to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the LORD, “O LORD, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

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Jonah 1:1-3 “A Radical Rejection”

Are we willing to do what God calls us to? In today’s passage we see Jonah run from God’s call for him to go to Nineveh, rejecting His plan and in doing so rejecting relationship with God. Thankfully Jonah is not written off by God, but instead God pursues him, teaches him and gives him another chance. We can take confidence from this, knowing that God is full of Grace and when we turn back to him, he will forgive us and restore us to relationship with Him.

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Jonah 1:1-3

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil[a] has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah 1:1-2 “Radical Mission: A Radical Request”

The Book of Jonah opens with God making an extraordinary request of the prophet Jonah. We learn from this request that God is the Lord not only of Israel or the Church, but of every nation. He is also the Lord of each of us, and each of us has our own radical mission from God.

Jonah 1:1-2

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”

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Genesis 1:26-31 “Christianity in a Gender Confused World”

In our culture the traditional understanding of Gender is a thing of the past. Gender has become not so much related to biology – chromosomes, birth sex or genetics – but more related to psychology – Am I really a man in a woman’s body? Am I really a woman in a man’s body? Do I feel like I could be biologically male but psychologically female? How as Christians do we respond to a situation like this? We hold fast to the fact that we were created as male and female – biologically and psychologically – and seek to love our gender confused neighbours well. We do all this whilst seeking to understand gender ourselves. This means that we should refuse to enforce or endorse non biblical gender stereotypes and seek to learn what God’s mandate for biblical masculinity and femininity is.

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Genesis 1:26-31

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;  male and female he created them.  28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Colossians 4:7-18 – ‘A picture of the church’

In the conclusion to Paul’s letter to the Colossians we see a picture of the Church. The Church is a global kingdom of people from all different nations gathering together in local congregations and living in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. A better understanding of Church helps us to love one another despite our diversity and it also helps cultivate a heart of worship towards God.

Colossians 4:7-18

7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant[b] in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers[c] at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

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Colossians 4:7-18 – “God’s Glory in the Lives of Tychicus, Onesimus, and Mark”

As Paul concludes his letter to the church in Colossae, he makes special mention of several believers who are with him and he expects to soon be visiting Colossae. Paul’s words concerning Tychicus, Onesimus and Mark teach us about how God is glorified through shadow ministries, submissive hearts, and second chances.

Colossians 4:7-18

7 Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts,9 and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him),11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.”

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

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Hope in Seasons of Sorrow

How do you hope in seasons of sorrow? We see today two particular things Christians hope in doing seasons when the storms of life rage. Firstly, We hope in the character of Christ. Christ is sovereign and all powerful, he is in control, and he knows exactly how much sorrow we can bear. He promises not to burden us with something which will extinguish our faith. Secondly, we hope in the true healing of our heartbreak. Time may well dull the pain of sorrow but it never fully heals it, we look forward to the time when the Lord God will truly heal our heartbreak as we finish the journey and go to be with Him in heaven. Hope in the character of Christ true healing is what can help us journey with Jesus through hard times. We may well even be surprised by worship in the hardest of times.

Isaiah 42:3

A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Revelation 21:4

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

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Colossians 4:5-6 “Walking Towards People”

Paul exhorts us to walk in wisdom towards outsiders; he wants us to approach people who may not know the Gospel of Christ. Considering this passage from the perspective of someone like this, we are confronted with three critical questions: How are you approaching me, how will you speak to me, and will you answer my questions?

Colossians 4:5-6 (ESV)

5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

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    Starting December 25, 2016, Sunday Morning Worship takes place at 10am in the Piano, located on 156 Armagh Street. Free parking for GPC attendees is available off Oxford Terrace.