This week we kicked off a new series in the book of Jonah! Most people know the story of Jonah as the simple story about a man who was saved by God from the belly of whale, but there is so much more to the story than that.
Jonah was a very successful prophet, but when God told him to go to preach to one of the greatest ( but most evil) cities in the world at the time, Nineveh, he fled and hopped on a boat headed the other way. God gave him a simple command but in this case Jonah rejects God’s command and runs. He simply said no to what God was telling him to do. He was in active rebellion. The truth is, in so many ways we are all ‘Jonah’. Either we are actively obeying what God tells us to do or we are actively disobeying. There is no middle ground.
The essence of discipleship is change. It’s being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. This is one of the most basic purposes of our church. If you are not changing; if you are not growing; if you are not actively seeking to be conformed to the image of Christ then you are not obeying God.
However, this is not a simple of matter of following the rules. Throughout the book of Jonah God is working to bring about real change in Jonah’s life and in Jonah’s heart. What we see is that Jonah doesn’t want to go to Nineveh ultimately because he hates the Ninevites. God sent him to tell the Ninevites to repent but, ultimately, Jonah doesn’t want them to repent. He wants them to be destroyed. This shows an arrogance in Jonah. He correctly believes that the Ninevites don’t deserve God’s grace. But Jonah’s error is that he believes that he does. We see throughout the book of God is working to bring about that change in Jonah’s life. The story of Jonah isn’t just one in which God wants Jonah to go to Ninevah. It’s also a story of God using that situation to change Jonah’s heart. And heart change is something only God is capable of doing.
As disciples of Christ we should want to follow what God tells us to do, but we know it’s not possible for us to do so. Like Jonah, we run from God’s commands and in doing so break them constantly. And like Jonah, we need God to change our hearts. If God has given you a command and you are rejecting that command, then there’s a specific way that he is trying to change you. Turn and face the command that you are fleeing from. Realize that it is not in you to follow it. You need God to show you his grace and let that change your heart. Christ died so that we could be in relationship with God. He came and died to fulfill all of God’s commands. “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 5:20-21
Band for the Week was:
- Brent Francese – drums
- John Bass – bass
- Alex Dellapenta – guitar + vox
- Jon Pritchett – guitar
- Katie Pritchett – vox
- Patrick Downing – guitar + vox
Setlist for the Week was:
- God is Able
- Nothing but the Blood
- How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
- The Wonderful Cross