grace

Better: Jonah -- Jesus loves his enemies

Get to know Jesus better in the Old Testament

An Armenian nurse had been held captive along with her brother by the Turks.  Her brother was slain by a Turkish soldier before her eyes.  Somehow, she escaped and, later, became a nurse in a military hospital.

One day, she was stunned to find that the same man who had killed her brother had been captured and brought, wounded, to the hospital where she worked.  Something within her cried out, "Vengeance!"  But, a stronger voice called for her to love.  She nursed the man back to health.

Finally, the recuperating soldier asked her, "Why didn't you let me die?"

Her answer was, "I am a follower of Him who said, 'Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.'

Impressed with her answer, the young soldier replied, "I never heard such words before.  Tell me more.  I want this kind of religion."

It’s really hard to be kind to people who aren’t kind to us. When people are vehemently opposed to who we are or what we believe, we’re often tempted to give them a wide berth, or to do them harm. Sometimes, we're even tempted to do this on Jesus' behalf, with those who we think are his enemies.

In this message, we'll discover how the story of Jonah reveals Jesus' heart for his enemies and how he wants us to handle them. The fact is: Jesus has called his followers to a different way of looking at the world than others do, and that includes loving our (and Jesus') enemies.

If you need a refresher on the story of Jonah, go ahead and read Jonah 1-3.

Jonah wasn't so much afraid of the Ninevites though, as he was afraid that God wouldn't destroy them:

Jonah 4: But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?” 

Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

Nineveh was the capital of the nation of Assyria, enemies of the nation of Israel. Jonah figured that, if he avoided giving God's message to his enemies, they would not turn to God and God would destroy them. He tried to force God's hand into getting rid of Israel's problem, but that wasn't what God wanted.

Jesus loves those who hate him and has called you to do the same.

God: saved the wicked people of Nineveh
Jesus: came to earth to save people who had rejected him.
Jesus: died for sinful people
Jesus: asked God the Father to forgive the people who were torturing and killing him.
Jesus: said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Jesus: said to go into ALL The World and make disciples and to love your neighbour as yourself…even if your neighbour is your enemy.

And if you still think they don't deserve it, remember:

Before you came to Jesus, you were one of those enemies.

How can we follow the call of Jesus? Here's somewhere to start:

Check your attitude and fear at the door and invite at least two unchurched people to our Easter Extravaganza this week!

 

 

Listen to the whole message:

Better: Hosea

Jesus loves you so much!

Where were you on 9-11-2001? How did the events that transpired impact you? How did they make you feel?

Now, think of May 2, 2011. That's the day Osama bin Laden was killed. How did you feel about that? Relief? Joy? Pity? Around the world, millions rejoiced at his death, but what we often forget to consider is that Jesus love him. It broke God's heart that bin Laden would do what he did, but it also broke his heart that he would not turn from his sins--his wrongdoings and rejection of Jesus--and accept the gift of life Jesus purchased for him.

We all have different ways of looking at the world. Maybe you think you're not good enough for Jesus to love you or to forgive you. Maybe you think you're too good (oops, that's pride. Guess what? Yep, sin.). Maybe you looked down at someone today or yesterday and assigned them a lower value than you, or you believe Jesus won't save them. Or maybe you don't think about others at all, 'cause they're just not that important to you.

You need to know: Jesus loves you. Jesus loves them. His greatest desire is to see you run into his loving arms.

We're going to look at Hosea and what we can discover about Jesus from it. Hosea was a prophet who lived in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (as opposed to the Southern Kingdom of Judah). Israel and Judah both had problems with turning to other gods than the One True God, and to lifestyles God had told them were wrong.

Hosea 1:2-3 (NIV)
"When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son."

Basically, God told Hosea to go out and marry a prostitute. This being told to a godly man living in a culture that put a premium on marrying a virgin!

Hosea 3:1-5 (NIV)
The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.” For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.

Hosea brought his wife home. And he paid a bride price for her...even though he didn't have to. Likewise, Jesus paid a price he didn't have to pay to bring you to him; however, the price that Jesus paid was much greater and was the only possible way to open the door for us to come back to him.

Everyone is guilty of rejecting God, but Jesus will never stop trying to bring you home.

When you cling to sin you reject God.

That's not to say that any time you sin you're leaving God behind. Sin is what broke the relationship with God you were meant to have, but when you place your trust in Jesus as Master and Saviour he forgives you of all your sins. No, but when you say that your sin is more important than serving God, that is a rejection of him.

Hosea 14:1-2 (NIV)
Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.

Jesus’ love is bigger than all your sin.

Hosea 14:4 (NIV)
“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.

Maybe you see your sin as a big pile or mountain or wall that you can't forgive yourself for, your friends and family won't forgive you for, so surely Jesus won't forgive you for it either. But his love is bigger than all your sin, and if you'll let him, he'll take care of it for you.

Romans 5:8 (ESV)
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Imagine what Pincher Creek would look like if people understood they have worth in Jesus' eyes--he loves them and he wants them to accept his gift of forgiveness and eternal life!

Action Steps:

  • Have confidence in Jesus' love and grace.
  • Share it with at least one of the people he has placed around you this week!

Would you like to accept Jesus' gift of life, or want more information? Send us an email or contact us on Facebook!

 

Listen to the whole message:

Saving Faith

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NEVER MISS A MESSAGE! SUBCRIBE ON ITUNES.

Pastor Stephen talks about defining a faith that will truly save you from the consequence of your sin and give you a life-giving relationship with God through Jesus.

*Note: this message is based on a message Pastor Stephen heard first at Northview Community Church in Abbotsford, BC.
Made a decision to follow Jesus? Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you, so leave your comments below!

Faux Pas: The Acceptable Class of Sinning #4 (Complaining)

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NEVER MISS A MESSAGE! SUBCRIBE ON ITUNES.

What does the Bible say about complaining? What about grumbling? Do we have to be thankful in everything? Why? Pastor Stephen tackles this issue in this week's Sunday Morning Message.

Made a decision to follow Jesus? Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you, so leave your comments below!