Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jonah...the Sequel

I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching through the book of Jonah here at Grace Church on Sunday mornings. This Sunday will be our last Sunday in this series. But every good book has a sequel, right? After all, aren’t there like 50 Rocky and Star Wars movies?

From the book of Jonah, the sequel can be found two books further right into the Old Testament in another little Minor Prophet book called Nahum. This was another prophet who lived some 150 years after Jonah. He is given the same command as Jonah was. He is to go to the city of Nineveh, which was still the world power at the time, and preach against their wickedness.

In Nahum 1:8, Nahum gives a stunning prediction of Nineveh’s destruction by a flood. To the people of Nineveh, this was ludicrous. Remember, this city was considered to be impregnable with two walls and 1500 towers surrounding it for protection. History records that the Babylonians besieged the city and tried three very unsuccessful attempts to invade. This bolstered the Assyrian’s confidence. Feeling virtually unconquerable, the entire city engaged in a drunken party. In the year 612 BC, the Babylonians damned up the nearby Tigris River causing a flood of water to rush against the walled city. This flood hit the city hard enough that it put a whole into the wall through which the army of the Babylonians entered and conquered the drunken city, just like God had predicted through the prophet Nahum 150 years after Jonah.

Now here is the part that sticks with me. Under Jonah’s ministry, the entire city came to repentance as they believed God and turned from their wicked ways. What a miracle. I have said all along that there are many miracles in the book of Jonah but the greatest miracle of all has nothing to do with a fish. The greatest miracle in the book of Jonah is seen in an entire evil city repenting and getting right with God. That is amazing. Yet, 150 years later, as the generation who experienced this revival were completely passed off the scene, Nineveh returned to such a wicked condition that God destroyed the city.

So what does that mean to you and I who are part of Grace Church? It means this. We have a great church currently. There is no debating that. Our church is exciting. Our church is growing. God is using our church to meet people where they are and to move them to where He wants them to be. But, folks, listen. It’s not enough to be a great church today. That is simply not enough. The greatness of our church will be determined by what our church is like 20 years, 40 years, 50 years, and even 100 years from now. Will we still be a church that teaches and preaches the truth of God’s Word? Will we still be a church that meets people where they are and moves them to where God wants them to be? That is all dependent on one very important thing. How much are we willing today to pour into our children and youth ministries today?

I believe that one reason Grace Church is strong today is because for 33 years Dr Young made reaching children and youth one of his core values. We must do the same!

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