Learn why the story of Jonah was read in the early church between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
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good morning happy easter he is risen some of you have been to church before if you're new here among us my name is gene i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor and i wonder if there's anyone else here like me i hope not but anyway who has their favorite restaurants do you have maybe one or two restaurants that you really like to go to and if so do you have a favorite menu item can you imagine that menu item you get excited about it right you can't eat there all the time but when you do it's awesome you think about it when you're driving there on the way now maybe this has happened to you you've gotten to said restaurant you decided to eat there on a holiday like today and you're handed something you didn't like the prefix menu and so in a panic you look at the menu and try to find the favorite food and it's not there have you ever had that happen to you no i guess it's just me i don't like the pre-fix menu this happened to me many years ago there are other things about holidays i don't like about restaurants but many years ago it was valentine's day my wife and i decided to go to our favorite restaurant and we were handed a prefix menu i didn't like that because you see i'm like a meat and potatoes kind of guy i go straight for the main course that's me if i'm adventurous i'll get an appetizer once in a while but i just want to eat so i don't bother with the salad and i don't eat dessert i know that he's crazy so i end up on the prefix paying for all these things i didn't want it's a set price so here's what we did we decided that we would celebrate valentine's day 364 days a year and on valentine's day we would stay home and just have the airing of the grievances that's it if you caught that reference good for you now what a lot of people don't know and let you in on some secrets on the back end of church a lot of people don't know that churches do this too churches have a prefix menu so to speak that they serve on holidays it's what normally happens on christmas and easter now deputy johnson i don't think he's here today is he couldn't make it and so first of all deputy johnson helps out the church great volunteer and he's not here today i just want to say a moment of thanks he'll probably watch it later thank you for what you do but he told you last week does the announcements follows up for me i told you last week that he was a pastor at a mega church that is a really big church then decided to become a cop and that tells you everything you need to know about this job in fact i started to think about like why would you do that tony like what's wrong with you and i've said that to him you're crazy but then after a few counseling sessions i started thinking i would love to arrest this person and put them in jail so i get it now that's absolutely fantastic but he told you last week if you were paying attention that when you work in ministry after a while you start to hate christmas and easter no one's going to tell you this but during christmas and easter time if you work in ministry they put on a big production so it's when you drive your staff crazy they're all running around trying to do all this different stuff you got to order the bouncy castles right we've got to have someone's got to pack the easter eggs and so it just makes you crazy and some churches do like 13 000 services all weekend long it's nuts and this is what the church does when it's trying to be big when it's trying to be a mega church here's what happens the production value goes up but the biblical value goes down and so i'll tell you a pastoral secret you've been in church for a long time you've heard it you know that the pastor on easter and christmas usually doesn't use a lot of scriptures we don't want to do that to people and indeed them with something they don't understand also i bet you noticed the message gets a little shorter it's like 25 20 minutes you don't want to push anybody too much or step on any toes tony told you why this doesn't work well first of all he noted that you spend thousands of dollars on these services but barely anybody comes back the next week it's insanity but they keep doing it over and over and over again expecting a different result and i'll tell you why people even if they do come back the next week won't come back the week after that because they look around they go where's the bouncy castle how come the pastor is still preaching 20 minutes already shut up i have to get lunch why are there so many scriptures on the screen he's talking about all these things i don't understand they won't come back the next week because we've presented a bait and switch that's what the church does so i want to state a couple things it's going to be interesting it's e3 and you probably guessed this if you came in here we're not trying to be a mega church that's not our objective it's our objective to love our community to be a family that's it just be a family of christians together when the room fills up people what are we going to do i don't know i'll keep doing what i'm doing but we'll be okay there are 13 000 churches in naples florida we don't need another one right that's it we're done so we're not trying to do that here we're trying to be a church i want to know all your names i want to do life with you i want this to be a family and that's what the leadership here wants so you're going to hear some cool things about the cafe we're now opening that up monday through friday eight to four it's about loving people the proceeds from the really awesome coffee if you had some of that it's fantastic it's gonna go toward helping our community so we need volunteers they're gonna they're gonna ask for that probably in the announcements but so today here's the deal it's gonna be a little different but you'll make it we'll feed you afterwards too it's a prefix menu but you don't have to pay for it so you know i can't get everything perfect all the time but today if you're a regular attender you're going to get excited about this it should be anyway you're not going to get the prefix menu amen you're going to get scriptures today it's going to be exciting i'll show you some things you might not have seen before in your bibles and if you're new here today welcome you are our honored guests therefore i'm going to give you the full course we're going to give you the full menu today not last year's leftovers so again happy easter at c3 every sunday is easter sunday we celebrate that all the time we sing those songs all the time and every day in the life of a practicing christian is the lord's day every day i want to welcome you into that today so it's all about the resurrection we're continuing continually celebrating that it's on my mind a lot today you notice the video we're going to continue in our series the rest of the story so we are a church that loves in word and deed we love our community we love our people we're a people church not a program church we honor the word of god though that's the thing and we've seen this a lot of churches really aren't honoring the word of god meaning you could go to church for like 10 years here in america and probably not ever hear or read the whole bible that's a shame and there are a lot of programs that i've talked about like the story leaves people thinking that they've read the whole bible and we've learned here they didn't a lot of lifelong christians have come to church and said to me i had no idea that was in the bible and so what's really good is that we're covering it what's really bad is it's not being taught you can't say that this is god's word but well this part here is not important what it's either all god's word or not and so it's all important it's not up to people to pick and choose like that so we're going to continue in the rest of the story you can go back online and watch some of the messages last week we talked about king amaziah so if you don't know anything about this stuff i'll try to make it easy king david david goliath you probably know who he is right you probably know who his son solomon is wealthy guy right so several generations after that there's king amaziah and we're learning lessons from these kings and their prophets weaving throughout the story so amaziah was known for his arrogance so he talked about arrogance that was the application last week then i kind of skipped over some stuff in the second part of the chapter and that might have surprised my fact checkers there why did he do that this week you're going to find out exactly why we're gonna pick up in second kings where i kind of skipped over second kings 14 25 jeroboam the second recovered the territories of israel between la behemoth and the dead sea just as the lord the god of israel had promised through jonah interesting son of a maid the prophet from gas heifer so today we're going to talk about jonah now you might say what does that he's ruining easter this guy he's just ruining easter i love ruining things right so no bouncy castle no easter egg no candy and now we're gonna learn about jonah he's gonna talk about a whale like where am i right now listen hang in there okay so the people encourage if you're not new if you come a lot like just just hold the person's hand next to you and say it's okay he's he always does this he get it gets a little confusing and then he you know it'll just calm down right we have food afterwards it's gonna you're gonna live so here's the thing jonah short four chapter novella so to speak between obadiah and micah if you're still looking for it in your bibles i think you got it good so a lot of people think of jonah and they think of the whale and that jonah he was in the belly of a whale because he was disobedient that's usually where people go but there's a little bit more to the story than that so i'm gonna shorten it a tiny bit but fill you in with some of the really important details yes it's all really important but anyway so you have this guy jonah and he flees from the lord after being told to prophesy to the people in nineveh that is an assyrian city so the point here is that and this story is really told by the jewish people because they don't like the assyrians so the kingdom of israel fell to them and so they don't like them there's a little bit before that if we're placing jonah here so it's to teach the people there the moral is to teach the people be nice to the other nations that's it jonah doesn't want to be nice go and prophesy destruction against them instead jonah decides to go to joppa and dorcas or tabitha isn't there yet that's many years later you got to be deep to get that one he goes to jabba and he boards he boards a ship to go to tarshish she pays a fair boards the ship but the lord sends a great wind against the sea and this causes a storm the boat is going to break up and so the sailors on the boat they freak out they cry out to their gods they start throwing cargo overboard lightening the ship i guess i've never been in this situation is supposed to help out when you're about to have a shipwreck don't know but anyway they're doing this but jonah he's in like the cargo hold sleeping now if you read the ancient greek version it says snoring he's snoring so maybe the captain hears it so the captain comes down what are you doing wake up get up pray to your god maybe he'll save us in the meantime the sailors are casting lots this is kind of like rolling dice but the lots point to jonah as the culprit so they approach him why is the storm come upon us and they start grilling him who are you where do you come from what's your nationality well he says i'm a hebrew doesn't answer all the questions i worship the god of the heavens he created the land and the sea here they start freaking out because previously it says he had told them that he was fleeing from his god uh oh what did you do and so they asked him what do we need to do to you to make this stop well throw me overboard throw me in the sea well text just says that they just keep rowing they're like no we're gonna sort this out but it doesn't work out the storm keeps getting worse and worse and worse so they go back to him and now they cry out to the lord not their false gods don't hold us responsible for this man's sin and don't hold us responsible for his death we know that you had a good reason for putting the storm against us pick him up throw him out of the boat but the lord sent whale sea monsters better big fish to swallow up jonah and he's in the belly of this fish for three days and three nights turn the page so now we get something like a psalm chapter two something like a psalm jonah is crying out to god and it says from the belly of the fish so it kind of zooms in and out here can be a little bit confusing i called out lord and you answered me i called out and you heard me in this distress and he describes sinking down to the sea there's seaweed wrapped around his head but still i'll face your temple i'll cry out to you i praise you lord and that's what he's doing there those who worship idols they're evil i don't do that i worship you and trust in you alone from the belly of the fish and then it says that the whale or the fish vomits jonah out and spits him on the beach or the dry land depending on your translation turn the page so chapter 3 the lord says jonah rise up get up go to nineveh pronounce this judgment against them so he goes this time now he's finally obedient took a lot didn't it he's finally obedient he gets to know a city so large that takes three days to walk around it or see it all depending on your translation but when he gets there he's obedient he proclaims judgment against nineveh in 40 days this city will be destroyed the people respond they put on sackcloth and they fast now sackcloth is like imagine the worst wool sweater you've ever worn in your life the idea here is if you don't want to be happy let's say you're mourning for someone or you're supposed to be repenting of something you put this on and it ensures that you're not going to be happy that's the point and so sometimes people do it for show sometimes it's under like a king's garment sometimes they do it for different reasons so anyway they put this on the king himself hears about it he gets off his throne takes off his royal robes puts the sack cloth on himself and sits on a heap of ashes then they send out a decree him and his noblemen everybody's to do this you're to fast you are to pray perhaps god will relent you're going to give up your murders your violence it says evil ways sure enough it works god changes his mind here he doesn't do it but jonah gets very angry he doesn't like this jonah says and this is kind of interesting i forgot something funny you know who else wears the sackcloth the animals even the animals fast it says you nor the animals can eat anything it's just kind of a funny thought right why would you put a sackcloth on an animal some of you do this think about it maybe your cat or your dog was the easter bunny this year huh see you're weird too that's why your animals are secretly plotting to kill you in your sleep anyway i almost forgot that part it's kind of funny thing how could i forget a funny part anyway jonah jonah kind of makes an excuse here so now we're in chapter four jonah makes an excuse here he's like that's why i didn't go the first time i knew you were a merciful god filled with loving-kindness right so i knew you were going to do that that's why i didn't listen to you it was going to save you some trouble here uh-huh i'm so angry he's like just kill me if what i said won't come true pretty prideful guy interesting should you really be angry about this so now he goes to the east side of the city builds himself like a tent a shelter because he still thinks maybe it's to happen he wants to see them die so god causes a big leafy plant to grow over jonah's head and it brings him comfort it says kind of funny because he already has a tent anyway there's a plan cause some comfort he loves it but then dawn the next day causes a worm to come and eat like the root of the plant killing it and now god sends a scorching wind against me so hot he feels like he's going to pass out and die that's what he said i want to die basically so god says why should you be angry about this does it again second round of this should you be angry about the plant yes so angry i want to die kind of blowing things out of a portion don't you think so the lord says you feel sorry about the plant though you did nothing to put it there it came quickly it died quickly but nineveh has more than 120 000 people living in spiritual darkness greek says who don't know they're right from their left not to mention all the animals shouldn't i feel sorry for such a great city and it ends right there now some will say that this is not a real story because who can get swallowed up by a big fish or sea monster and living there for three days that's not possible so they fictionalize it it's literally a big fish story some scholars will even say that it's a fictional story what they point to is little funny ironies or literary devices and things they take it up a notch a little bit with their intellectualism fair enough maybe it is or maybe it's been constructed a certain way to be based on a true story certainly we saw that jonah was a real prophet second kings is a historical book so if he's in there it's real and it really happened i want to show you something kind of interesting the news story it actually happened now i snoped it you can't trust everything you read on the internet and we all know that right but i saw a bunch of big fish stories and so i had to like vet them very carefully and i've edited this one it's actually true so meet the guy there he is medically documented witnesses and everything he got swallowed by a whale didn't stay in there for three days probably didn't pray a psalm but still doesn't negate this guy's experience pray for him apparently it's possible to get swallowed by a whale who knew the bible told us here's the other thing and i've gone this way in that way in my walk with the lord on this but i finally come to this conclusion god is able anything is possible with god we should never discount his miracles just because we didn't see it never god is able it's about faith that's what we celebrate today so if this could happen jesus could raise from the dead if we go and discount something like this well then it makes it easy for people to discount jesus and we need to be careful with that now some of you in the room probably knew where i was going some didn't maybe you know that jesus mentions jonah in matthew and luke two of the gospels so let's go to matthew matthew 12 38 one day some teachers of religious law and pharisees came to jesus and said teacher we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority but jesus replied only an evil adulterous generation would demand such a miraculous sign but the only sign i will give them is the sign of the prophet jonah for as jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights so will the son of man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights the people of nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it for they repented of their sins at the preaching of jonah now someone greater than jonah is here but you refuse to repent like jonah some people will fictionalize jesus but to jesus this wasn't fiction was it so i'll take a moment and do something that i do do every year usually around easter because it's kind of important one of the things it's just kind of a base part of our christianity that people ignore is that we're supposed to be telling people about jesus and they're going to hit us with stuff like all this made up stuff that maybe they learn in college and we have to be able to make a defense for why we believe the bible tells us that all of us not just like oh that talk to my pastor no all of us it's kind of silly right we believe so many things we're so willing to talk about so many things put them on the internet all this stuff we can make a defense for why we like our favorite sports team we can make a defense for why we're red or blue politically we can make a diff we can defend just about anything so we know about taking the time to learn about things but with our eternal salvation very few christians can make a really good defense that's a problem so i'm going to help you out a little bit with something how do we know how do we know that this is real now christian's always it's about relationship man that means nothing to someone who doesn't believe they just think you're crazy it's about really what what are you talking about what does that mean go ask my pastor not convincing right if you don't don't you go to church and read about how come you don't know weird so here's the thing basic charge leveled against the bible i'm sure you've all heard this one the bible let's talk about the new testament not the old testament it gets dicey in there it's complicated so let's just talk about the new testament right now the things written about jesus yes i know not the prophecies i get it but the new testament what people will say is it's like a long game of telephone been played over hundreds of years have you heard that like it just they just told the story over and over again so many things have changed it's not reliable blah blah blah blah blah blah okay so that's the first thing you've got to shoot down it's real easy and i use my alexander the great example it's my favorite one because it's simple do you believe in alexander the great yes why because of the things written about him that's why you believe in that okie dokie fine let's look at those things and you can look it up but i'm going to make this short today because i went with jonah decided that instead the things written that we have today for alexander the great come three and four hundred years after his death thinking about that right so that's it the things we have written about we don't have anything else before that we don't own it it's dust we only have that that's how we know about alexander the great writings three and four hundred years after his death wait that sounds like the charge leveled against the bible doesn't it yeah yet but do you believe in him yeah why because of the historical writings my professor told me huh well let's look at the new testament 27 witnesses 27 books it's not just one book 27 witnesses to jesus written by witnesses matthew he's an apostle he had an interaction with jesus he's a witness and if they're not witnesses they interviewed luke people who were witnesses he hung out with the apostle paul a lot a whole bunch of other people and he interviewed them to get his information right all of the books of the new of the new testament were all written in a witness period all of them not three or four hundred years later now there's a favorite among scholars i'll tell you about it you have probably if you've never even picked up a bible you've heard some of these verses first corinthians you went to a wedding and you heard first corinthians 13. but if you kept reading or they just started flying off the handle and reading scriptures at this wedding you'd get to first corinthians 15. it is super important in making a defense first of all scholars whether they believe in jesus or not will all say that that's a historical document is written by a guy named paul was really important in the church he believed what he was writing the people he was writing to clearly believed him and it was written about 25 years after what we celebrate today that's a lot better than three or four hundred now you gotta change your thinking right we're spoiled we get it immediately immediately i can't find my phone takes more than like one two i'm like come on you know like it's that bad you know i just damn done i turn it off right so 25 years calm down to get your google result but anyway i've seen dial up it's worse than dial up this is not normal in ancient history in fact there's nothing else like it nothing everything else is coming hundreds of years later that was the norm this is super fast this happened jesus rose from the dead what i can't believe this let's write it down and tell everybody they're scrambling for copies of this letter what did paul say they're literally dying to deliver it and get it dying think about that our convenience they're dying to get their hands on this dying this is what they're doing they're grabbing the letters saying hold on a second they're washing off papyrus other stuff love notes i don't care whatever this is hold on i got it got some fires i want to copy this down here and it's circulating like mad it's getting out there like crazy because this really happened this is crazy we got to tell everybody about this amazing so here's what he says first corinthians 15 1 let me now remind you dear brothers and sisters of the good news i preached to you before this is paul the apostle writing you welcomed it then and you still stand firm in it it is the good news that saves you if you continue to believe the message i told you unless of course you believed something that was never true in the first place i passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me christ died for our sins just as scriptures said he was buried and he was raised from the dead on the third day just as the scripture said he was seen by peter and then the 12 after that he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time most of whom are still alive though some have died he was seen by james and later by all the apostles last of all as though i had been born at the wrong time i also saw him this is historical gold it's there's nothing like it in ancient history this is a witness writing about real events that happened calling others into account famous people you're not going to mention famous people if you're lying you can check and then oh the other 500 people check with some of them most of them are alive any historian will tell you there's nothing like this for this time period it's historical gold so that's what you have in your hand right there it's the word of god but it's also a history book now there are many similarities between the story of jonah the story of jesus so jesus calls his death the sign of jonah because it points to jesus's death and his burial three days as jonah was in the sea monster or fish for three days jonah's release from the sea monster fish prefigures jesus's resurrection jesus and jonah both rose up after being entombed for three days both came with a message from god in both cases they were awakened while sleeping in a boat look at the end of mark 4 and this awakening in both cases resulted in the calming of a sea in both cases some of those participating in the sacrifice came to believe see mark 15 the roman soldier jonah's casting into the water repenting and rising again gives us a picture of baptism which is a representation of jesus's death and resurrection when we get baptized we die to ourselves and we come up out of the water rising a new creation in christ this is why in the early church and still some like the orthodox church practiced this between good friday and easter sunday on saturday they call it holy saturday they read jonah it's been a practice in the early church for a long time jonah's name means dove this also has foreshadowing the holy spirit descended upon jesus leica dove jesus told his apostles be wise as serpents but gentle as doves and this is how we should be as we spread his good not bad good news now if you know the story and i won't tell this one too because you guys are going to get hungry and cranky you know the story of noah he sent out a dove raven i know also dove to find new life and this is a picture of how we are to be as we proclaim new life in christ it all comes together i told you but here's the difference big difference between jonah and jesus jonah was disobedient at first jesus was always always obedient so one section of scripture i encourage some of you to look at on friday philippians 2. beautiful my favorite verses of scripture that describe what jesus did in his obedience and it says philippians 2 make your own attitude that of christ jesus who existing in the form of god did not regard equality with god as something to be taken advantage of instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a slave taking on the likeness of man and when he had come as a man in his external form he humbled himself in obedience to the point of death even to death on a cross for that reason god highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above all names so that every knee will bow every tongue should confess that jesus christ is lord everyone in heaven on earth below the earth to the glory of god the father amen important so as christians we are called to be like jesus make your own attitude that of christ jesus who humbled himself and was obedient to the point of death even to death on a cross as christians we are called to live in obedience to christ period we're called into commitment we've seen in this series that commitment is key we've also seen it really seems that the world today lacks commitment no one wants to commit to anything do they it's kind of a problem so if you're not new here keep coming back but if you are new here today if you just came for a visit you're like where's the bouncy castle i rebuke you for that i encourage you to come back come back if you're from out of town find a bible believing church and commit to it join it keep coming back and i want you to know something it's a family and so it's going to have its issues if you're looking for the perfect church good luck you're not going to find it it's not supposed to be like that also i encourage you find a small family based church where you can't hide church is about not just commitment but accountability you're supposed to do life with one another we were never meant to be alone you shouldn't be alone and know that if you're here at c3 you're not alone you're not alone we're here for you but don't look for all the big stuff the shiny glossy to hear about all these controversies in these big churches the church is bragging about the numbers trying to be big it's a real red flag and there's going to be big problems behind the scenes because they're running it like a business and not a church it was never supposed to be like that so look for a place that you can commit to and you can get into the practice of commitment in christianity consistency in community and that's okay i don't ashame anybody if you just usually come on christmas and easter that's fine but just think of one thing if you just went to the gym two times a year if you only worked out two times a year do you think it would work out for you neither does christianity there's a purpose in the church and the reason the bible talks about it it's important so perhaps consider coming to church and committing to christ as he has committed to you let me pray for you lord i thank you for everyone in the sound of my voice everyone tuning online i thank you so much for that ministry every person who came in here visitor if it's the first time lord open their hearts so that you can receive they can receive your spirit fill them with your love your kindness your mercy as they go out this week as vehicles of your love and obedience to you i ask these things in jesus name amen so you