Friday, November 9, 2007

Jonah and the Gospel

Wednesday night we were challenged to allow the gospel to go deeper. In fact we were challenged to do everything we can to drive the gospel deeper by pursuing some of the classic spiritual disciplines. We noted that these disciplines are not the goal. The best way to honor a water pipe (if that were your desire) would be to enjoy the water it brings. The same way with the disciplines the best way to honor the disciplines is to enjoy the water (Jesus) that it brings. But again all of these must be clothed in grace. If you really want to here a solid sermon about this I would suggest listening to this sermon by Jonathan McIntosh: How Change Works
I also am a little reluctant to use the phrase "allow the gospel" or "allow God". Perhaps if you have that same aversion what a dear pastor friend said to me might help. After asking him in what way is it appropriate to use the phrase "allow the gospel" he responded thus:

"I'll try a quick, 2-part answer.
#1. As often happens, part of answer comes down to semantics. Just how exteme are we defining "allow"? Which seques into second part.
#2. Colossians 3:15-16 tell us to "let the peace of Christ rule....let the word of Christ
dwell...." Obviously we cannot stop these things if God chooses to force them on us -nor- can we make them happen if chooses to deny. We let these thing happen in our lives by a). Not doing things which impede or hamper and by b). doing things which promote them.

Illustration.....I plant corn in my garden and 'let' it grow.I let it grow in several ways. I fertilize, weed, and water. I also let it grow by not tromping it down or uprooting it. I don't cause the growth, but I can have a part in letting (allowing) it to grow in healthier, more productive way."

This illustration and statement really helped me. We "let the word of Christ dwell" by not hampering it's growth and by doing things which promote them. Such as the disciplines we talked about Wednesday night.

You can view the sermon from Wednesday night here: The Gospel According to Jonah
This one is a little rough and could probably use a better title. When actually delivering it keep in mind that I changed much of the introduction and the conclusion was a little more full. Also I realize that this sermon could probably be adapted to many stories in Scripture. We could look at the story of David and Bathsheba, Peter denying Jesus, Simon in Acts 8; pretty much anywhere that you find a sin narrative you could adapt this sermon. If you feel a little cheated (since I did not do my typical expository style) on studying Jonah perhaps some of our Sunday School lessons from the summer on Jonah would help: The Consequence of Defiance; Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet. Sadly, those are the only two out of the four that have been preserved, and they are a little rough still. If you are still having a Jonah itch that needs scratched I would suggest listening to Arturo Azurdia's series--the best preaching on Jonah I have ever heard. The Jonah sermons are about a third of the way down.

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