The church before the watching world. Jonah 1. Tim Keller sermon. iTunes
Intro. It is Ironic that Jonah works hard to flee from pagans and now is totally surrounded by them in chapter one on the boat with the sailors.
The big idea: the subplot story of the interactions between Jonah and the sailors teaches us about religion and the church’s role in bringing the truly good news.
1. Every person has deep spiritual longings but these longings are distorted by fear.
Romans 1 says that everyone knows of THE God and are made worshippers of something.
Extreme conditions bring out our religion which is really one based on fear. The sailors prayed when the storm got so bad they were going to die. This is not a prayer from men who speak to a heavenly father they trust and love but it is a prayer of fear. Man want to deal with God only when they have to but we don’t trust him ‘as far as we can throw him’. Ironically, we can’t throw God at all.
2. We are called upon as followers of Christ to use our faith for the public good.
We find Jonah hiding, asleep in the bow of the boat. Finally the captain rebukes Jonah, yelling at him for being absorbed only in himself. This can often be the same indictment on us as the church, totally focussed on ourselves and little on the world and culture around us.
We can be accused of two things like Jonah:
A. Not knowing the worlds problems. Not knowing how their hopes, dreams, and their categories of thinking work and how to bring the hope that the gospel explodes. B. Not doing anything about it.
The gospel is that we are more sinful than we know. When we see ourselves for the spiritual failures that we are, it is only then that we see we are at the same time more loved than we know, which causes us to love others unselfishly.
Picture: college world series summer 2011, the Jonah-type storm