The Message

SCRIPTURE: Jonah 1:1-2, NLT

1 The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 
2 Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”


Everybody loves stories and the story of Jonah is one of the most popular stories in the bible. Have you given any thought to why this story is so popular? I think it’s because Jonah was such a jerk. Jonah is a bigot, a hater; he has a bad attitude, he is rebellious and these are his good points. I think we love the story because after reading about Jonah, we feel better about ourselves. We are thinking, “Um, I may be bad but I’m not that bad.”

I love this story because: 

  1. The Emphasis is on God’s Sovereign Grace. The book of Jonah is about Jonah but he is not the hero. The book is about how God used Jonah.
  2. I love the story because I can identify with Jonah
  3. I love this story because God gets all the glory.
  • Jonah is not the hero of the story. Jonah is there in the story as God’s messenger boy but it is not about Jonah.
  • Jonah does not get what he wants. God gets what He wants. We are horrible about worshiping paper boys. We are bad about making icons out of preachers. Hey folks, it is not about the preacher. Our message is Jesus. He is not about me anymore than it was about Jonah.
  • How many parents name their boys Jonah? How many praise songs or hymn have been written about Jonah. We don’t give Jonah the time of day and that is the way it should be. If I mention Billy Graham or Adrian Rogers, some of you go to sighing. You might talk for hours on what great men they are but if I mention Jonah and you think, “What a jerk!” Thus God gets all the glory!

One of my Seminary professors use to say, “It is fun to preach when you have a message.” I have a reoccurring nightmare: [usually on Saturday night] I am being introduced to preach and I have no message. God gave Jonah a message and that is very important. It is always good when the message comes from God.

LORD willing, we are going to talk about the MESSAGE this morning and then in the next message, we will get into the heart of the story.


Before we get into this fantastic story, I want to dispel some myths


The book of Jonah shoots down this fabrication. Jonah had a terrible attitude. He hated and despised the people he was preaching to. I don’t know about Bro. Wayne, but if I called a man to come preach for me and he told me: “I’ll come but my heart is not in it. Matter of fact, I despise the people of Danville and I hope they burn in hell.” I would tell him to forget it. When I was a pastor, I wanted preachers who came to help us in revival to love us.

I do understand where this myth came from: it came out of the holiness movement and I have nothing against holiness but holiness is not the way to Jesus–Jesus is the way to holiness. If we are not careful, we will put more emphasis on our purity than we do that of Jesuss. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying: God desires that we be holy but He is not limited by our unholiness.

As you are going to see in our study of Jonah, God is SOVEREIGN which means He can do as He pleases. He has the power to accomplish His will. The truth of the matter is: He uses whomever He pleases, whenever He pleases, however He pleases to accomplish His purpose. God used Pharaoh. He used Nebuchadnezzar. Dr. Jack Taylor said, “He even uses the devil.” When you think about it: God did use Satan to carry out the sacrifice at Calvary. The devil thought he had won a great victory when in truth, he had fulfilled God’s eternal plan.

The emphasis in Jonah is not on Jonah. It is not on the messenger. Jonah is no hero. He gets no glory and rightfully so. This short book is about what God can do through a flawed character like Jonah. God used him in spite of this rebellion, pride and prejudice.

Jonah is probably the only Prophet that is not quoted by someone in the N.T. No one quotes Jonah. How many verses have you memorized from the book of Jonah?

This book is here for a reason. Most of us are intimidated by characters like Paul. We don’t feel worthy to carry his books but we can identify with Jonah because he was so flawed, so messed up. JONAH STRUGGLED… do you struggle? I do; I can relate to Jonah.

  1. Jonah struggled with obedience. I have been struggling for three weeks with these messages. I felt God leading me to this book but I have never preached these messages before. I had rather do something tried and proven: something familiar. I have struggled to obey.
  2. Jonah struggled with compassion for people. Jonah had a good theology and he knew how to pray. His struggle was with loving people, especially gentiles. Are you struggling with loving people? I am. The Assyrians, whom Jonah loathed, were terrorist. They murdered, plundered, raped, tortured–you name it. They were the most hated and feared people on the planet…yet God loved them and wanted them to get warning about impending judgment. I don’t hate Assyrians, I’ve meet only one in my life time but what about Muslims? How do you feel about Muslims? I have to admit, I feel by them the way Jonah did by the Assyrians. I am struggling to love Muslims.
  3. Jonah struggled with pride. If he announced judgment and the Ninevites refused to repent and God destroyed them, that would be fine. He could return to Israel as a hero but the last thing he wanted was for them to repent. He would be viewed now as a traitor. Jonah cared more about his reputation than he did the Assyrians salvation. 

What are you struggling with today? [God uses struggling people]


There is a Greek word for this, ‘bologna’. This is horse feathers: it is not true, not even remotely true. THERE IS NO PANIC IN HEAVEN. God is in firm control of His kingdom and He has the power to make it come, and it is coming, and He will get the glory. No one is going to stop His KINGDOM FROM COMING.

When it comes to our personal obedience, there may be cause of concern but do not worry about the COMING OF HIS KINGDOM or God’s ultimate purpose being done: it is going to happen. I have no doubt about that…I may doubt a lot of things but that is not one of them.

God told Jonah to “Get up and Go to Nineveh,” but Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction. He did not cooperate with God. God did not panic, He simple sent a violent storm to stop the ship that Jonah was aboard and then He sent the fish to swallow the rebellious prophet and carry him back to the shores of Israel. Jonah’s rebellion did not stop God nor will yours or mine.

Psalms 106:3 reads, There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. Folks, joy comes with obedience. Disobedient Christians are never happy folks. God wants you to be happy: He wants you to enjoy life and that comes only through our obedience. OBEDIENCE is very important for us and it pleases God–He loves obedience but our disobedience is not going to throw a monkey wrench into his eternal plan of redemption. God worked His will through Jonah…Jonah’s disobedience cost him his joy but it did not stop God. God moved in power in spite of the fact that Jonah was pouting.


According to the Reforms, “Some Lives Matter,” according to scripture, “All Lives Matter.” I heard a Hyper-Calvinist say from the pulpit, “I know that John 3:16 is in the bible but there are more verses than John 3:16.” What if we could have only one verse…John 3:16 would be the one I would choose...“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” There is a hell to be shunned which is why Jesus used the word ‘perish’. 

God did not send His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. Jesus said Himself in Luke 19:10, The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost. There is a judgment against anyone who refuses to believe in Christ. All who refuse to acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord will be condemned, matter of fact, if you have not believed, you stand condemned now and if you were to die in this condition, you would be eternally separated from God which is not good.

Peter said,  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance [2 Peter 3:9, NKJV]

Paul said,For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

I don’t know about you but I will take God’s word anytime over that of the Reforms or the hyper-calvinist. Listen folks, God loves YOU and He demonstrated this at Calvary.

BUT IF YOU DO NOT REPENT…You will perish

Story of the Prodigal Father. Some years ago {many} I got a call, I knew from the sound of the womans voice, something terrible had happened. I got to her house ASAP and it was a grusome scene. She was screaming in agony and her husband lay dead on the bed. He had already turned purple from a massive heart attack. He was not a believer, not was his parents. As a matter of fact, his father had lead a wicked life. Never once had he darkned the door of a church. Countless preachers had witnessed to him but he had never shown any signs of remorse, let alone repentance. When his boy [age 43] died suddenly with a heart attack, it shuck him up. I was there and saw it with my own eyes. When he got to his sons house, he would not go in: he fell to his knees and began praying…God don’t let my boy burn in hell. He prayed this same pray over and over until he was without voice. I was a young man then and I had never seen anything like it: I am old now and I never seen anything like it since. I pray I never will.

Folks, you do not want to die without Jesus and you do not want your family and friends to die without HIM either.


The Seventy

Scripture: Luke 10:1-12, NASB

Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.


The ministry of the SEVENTY. They were hand picked by Jesus and appointed [as in public office] to go to all the cities on Jesus imminent tour. They were to announce His coming and heal the sick. Jesus gave them some brief instructions and sent them out. What do we learn from these instructions? What a wonderful privilege, to be appointed by Jesus to go before Him and announce His coming. I don’t think there is a greater privilege on earth. Isaiah 52:7 comes to mind…

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

Based on Jesus comments, we learn several things about being His evangelist and missionaries.


We don’t think of Jesus as being in a hurry or a rush but he was on the clock, He was scheduled to die as the Passover Lamb in just a few months so time was running out. He was sending the seventy into every town and village that He was planning to visit before His date with the cross. If these men only visited three towns per team, that would be 105 city wide crusades in less than 6 months. There was no time to waste. Jesus said, “Don’t greet others along the way”…you don’t have time to pack…you don’t have time for chit-chat…this is a business trip. If there is anyone thing the Christian church has lost, it is our sense of urgency.


The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

The fields are white unto harvest: the harvest is plentiful. The plentiful harvest is a fact stated–it is so because Jesus said it was so. Unfortunately some of us do not see the harvest, we question that Jesus knows what He is saying or that He is saying what He meant. I didn’t see the harvest until recently. I have always operated on Jesus word but to be honest, I did not see the harvest. The harvest doesn’t exist because I have seen it–it exist because it is real and Jesus saw it 2000 years ago.

There are hurting people everywhere and this was Jesus target: He sent the Seventy out to heal the sick and people are hungry for healing. There is a sea of hurt around us but we are so preoccupied with out comfort our self-preservation that we don’t get involved with the pain and hurt that is all around us.

I am convinced that we can reach people if we care enough to meet them at the point of their need but the problem is our selfishness. We don’t want to get involved in a ministry that cost us personally.


 Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes… [verse 3-4]

Lambs among wolves, hum, doesn’t sound that good. Sounds like risky business to me. For a lamb to go among wolves, he/she must have a good…trustworthy Shepherd. Jesus said basically, “I’m sending you unarmed into a hostile environment.” I think what the SEVENTY did was exciting, better than any football game. I would have loved being a part of this team. Were they all received well? Did no one get rejected? Every where Paul went, some believed while others rejected and more rejected than received, which is nothing new.

The greatest thing about church visitation is that it takes FAITH. People without faith will not show up. You never know what will happen when you go to knocking on doors. We have a deacon who loves to pull pranks; he sent me and my FAITH team to a house out in the middle of the forest. There were three on my team, we walked onto the front porch and I knocked on the door a man came to the door and he had to stoop to look under the door. A door is 6’8″. I believe he is the biggest man I’ve ever seen in my life; maybe 7’6″,45o pounds and he had the gruffest voice I’ve ever heard, it chilled my blood. He was not being nice and I was running out of things to say in a hurry. I forgot the key question and the faith outline, the two people behind me were literally trembling. The only thing that saved us was the man’s wife: she knew me from a funeral or something and she hollowed, “Bro. Jack, is that you?” and I said, “Yes ma’am.” This brave little woman was at least 3 feet shorter than this giant but she talk to him like he was 6 years old. He moved out of the way and let us in.

If you are fear driven, instead of faith driven, you will not make an evangelist or missionary.


…and greet no one on the way. [verse 4]

No time for chit-chat. Again, Jesus emphasized the urgency of the mission. There is a job to be done and we don’t have time to pursue other interest. Staying focused has been a struggle for me, I have the tendency to get caught up in things that have no eternal significance.


Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

When a man rejects Christ, there is nothing we can do other than pray. Our responsibility is to share the good news that the KING is coming but we have no control on their response. On this mission, Jesus placed emphasis on continued movement and not getting bogged down. The SEVENTY were heralding the coming of the KING and the nearness of the Kingdom. They had been assigned certain cities and they had a deadline. They couldn’t stop to try to convince anyone.


Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

The Christian laborer is worthy of his wages. People who help you want to help, they want to be a part of the ministry. We who are on the receiving end should not feel guilty and we should not refuse help when it is offered.


 Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you…[V. 9]

The seventy were most likely Jews and Jesus was sending them into the Trans-Jordan area which was mostly Gentile. Jews were not allowed to enter a Gentile home nor share a meal with them. To become a Missionary and Evangelist for Christ, you have to leave your religion at home. We cannot reach people for whom we have contempt. When can not win people to Christ by remaining separated. We have to get closer enough to feel their pain and help bear their burdens. Jesus will tell a story in this chapter about a man who was willing to help others by giving of himself and the same story tells of two religious Jews who ignored the man’s hurt.


But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.


The Open Door

SCRIPTURE: Luke 9:1-6, NLT

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then He sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.


I enjoy reading the commentary of Warren W. Wiersbe. The man fascinates me: he pastored the Moody Bible Church is Chicago, Illinois and somehow managed to write a commentary of both Old and New Testament. What is more amazing: He practice an open door policy. When people called him for help, he laid down his studies and helped. He said, “I was tempted once to get an unlisted number but the night  before, a desperate man called who was contemplating suicide. I like to think that I had something to do with saving this man’s life.”

Jesus did not have an unlisted number and He was a very busy man with important things on His agenda; yet He never refused to help anyone who called on him in humility and faith. He did spend the night alone at times and rise long before sun up which is the best way to get your quiet time in but it encourages me to know that there are others like me who feel a call to respond to needs.


Luke begins chapter 9 with Jesus sending out the 12 on a mission as an extension of His ministry and as a glimpse of things to come. Notice the sequence…


{As and object lesson, call your staff or deacons to come forward and them gather them around you. Huddle, whisper an encouragement to them and send them back out into the congregation} Then make the following points. The Disciples were…..

  1. They were called out–out of the world, the masses at large.
  2. They were called to–gather. Called to Jesus!
  3. They were called for–A Mission {Heal, cast out demons, proclaim the gospel}


  1. Power–dynamis {dü’-nä-mēs} The power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature,

    power for performing miracles, moral power,  the power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts. The English definition of ‘dynamic’ is relating to energy, motion, or physical force always active or changing. We generally think of dynamic as the power of force like a hydroelectric dam.

  2. Authority–exousia {eks-ü-sē’-ä} The power of choice, leave or permission,

    the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege), the power of rule, authority over mankind. Examples would be congressmen, judges, State Troopers, Police, Military.

  3. Power and Authority delegated: The disciples did not have inherent power, they had only the power that Jesus gave them. Their authority came from their call, commission, the fact they were sent by Jesus Himself.


It is not fair to send a delegation on a mission without some training or instruction: Jesus gave His disciples both. Jesus instructions were–

  1. Take nothing for your journey. {Material things can slow us down, encumber and weight us down–the lighter the load, the more speed on the road}
  2. Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.
  3. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. {Don’t waste time, your mission is urgent}
  4. If a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” The Jewish Rabbis would shake the dust off their feet when leaving Gentile territory. Most folks believe that Jesus is saying, “Treat those who reject like pagans and keep moving.” We have to look for fertile soil. As a young preacher, I thought my job was to go after the most notorious sinners in the community and of course, many of these had been witnessed to by a dozen preachers and showed no signs of repentance but only wanted to argue. I had evangelist Junior Hill come and help me in Revival. It was a very small church: we were tickled when we had over 50 in SS. Junior and I had been knocking on doors for a couple of days when Junior said, “Jack, you are visiting the wrong people. We have not visited a soul who has any interest in the kingdom of God.” He instructed me to keep my head up during the invitation and get the names of those who raised hands. We began on Wednesday to visit the ones who had showed interest and before the meeting was over {Friday night}, we had seven professions of faith.


There are some great things about being sent especially by someone greater and you can’t get greater than Jesus…

  1. There is no pressure to succeed. The disciples were given detailed instruction. Their responsibility was to comply with the instructions. Obedience was their focus. Jesus did not say, “If they don’t respond, I am holding you responsible.”
  2. There is no pressure to be popular. Popularity has nothing to do with your mission. Simply obey instructions–preach the gospel of the kingdom and leave the rest to your Commander and Chief.
  3. There is no fear of rejection. They are not rejecting you, they are rejecting the one who sent you.


Example: I grew up as a little brother which means I had two older brothers. Trust me, they never responded to my commands but when sent by Mother or Daddy, there was some authority in the message. Had nothing to do with me delivering the message but everything to do when the one who sent the message.