East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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July 7, 2013
"The World's Questions"
Jonah 1:6-11

Intro: Jonah series, remind us what church is to be, do. So far: God commanded Jonah; (to be motivated by God's mercy to call people to repentance.) Jonah ran away; (to guard our hearts from sin.) God sends storm, sailors scared, Jonah sleeping; (to wake up to the dire situation of the world under God's judgment.) Today, as we continue the story, we'll discover the most important, practical strategy for sharing your faith effectively!

A Disturbing Echo, Desperate Questions! (Read Jonah 1:6-11.) Captain calls for Jonah to wake up. Unsettling echo for Jonah! Hebrew: "Arise, cry out!" (v.2.) Is Jonah listening? Focus on questions sailors ask. Surprise! Non-Christians ask us same questions! Listen to their questions, we'll discover how to effectively share our faith!

How can you sleep? (Jonah 1:6) A question of amazement, interest! Jonah's sleep was the sleep of hardened disobedience. Woe to us if the world asks us this question for the same reason! But this question could also reflect the world seeking the Christian's peace in a terrifying world. ("Where does your peace, assurance, fearlessness come from?") People will ask you the reason for your hope. Are you listening to their questions?

Who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? / What do you do? (Jonah 1:7) Determine Jonah's guilt with a dice game, ask questions of responsibility and purpose! "Who is responsible for all this trouble?" Last week: to the degree that the church abandons its mission, world's trouble is our fault; we're responsible! First question leads to second: "What do we (the church) do?" ("Why do you go to church? Why does the church even matter? What's the point?") Church's mission, purpose is to bring God glory by sharing God's grace in Jesus. (Easy to get distracted from that purpose!) As the church reclaims our our purpose and shares the message of God's grace with the world, God will show grace to those around us . Are you listening to their questions?

Where do you come from? / What is your country? / From what people are you? (Jonah 1:8) Questions about our nature, character, origin! ("Where do your true loyalties lie? Why don't you live like we do? Are you for real?") Let there be no confusion! Our citizenship is heaven. Not of this world! Our loyalty is to God, first and foremost! It affects how we think, feel, live! People will ask you the reason for your hope. Are you listening to the questions you are asked? Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you!

What have you done? (Jonah 1:9-10) Question of reproach! Jonah gave a good, solid, theologically sound answer, (v. 9). But his confession and his life were worlds apart. Sailors knew it! ("Isn't the church full of hypocrites? Why are Christians always angry on the news? Why are churches always splitting, always fighting with each other?") At times, we need to accept the criticism of others, admit our hypocrisy, confess our sins to God and them, take responsibility! One of the healthiest things church can do today! People confused, intrigued when you apologize, b/c humility is so rare! Are you listening to their questions? Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you!

What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us? (Jonah 1:11) Ultimate question! ("Why do I feel guilty? Why do I feel God is punishing me? What do I do with these feelings of shame, guilt, dread? How can I get God to like me?") How can God's wrath be satisfied? Only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! As you and I, with the same spirit of sacrificial love as Christ, lead the questioners to Christ, that God's wrath will be settled for them, too! Notice: This is the ultimate question. One of the reasons people don't listen to us, is b/c we're answering this question before we've listened to their earlier questions. Not listening to us b/c they're not here yet!

Application: Some doubt qualifications to witness: Don't know enough...the right thing to say...have persuasive arguments... Was Jonah prepared? No! Couldn't even pray! But the sailors were asking him how to solve their problem. Why? God's spokesperson. So are you! The most effective strategy for witnessing: Listening! Taking time to care, to hear the fearful, amazed, indignant questions that non-Christians ask, and then provide honest, loving answers! People will ask you the reason for your hope. Are you listening to their questions? Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you!

Next Week: Why did God require His Son to die on the cross? Why couldn't God just forgive sinners without making Jesus suffer? Was God being unnecessarily cruel?

I'm New Here
© East Side Church, 2013