Tarshish or Caesarea?

Last night I gave my second sermon at the Sweet Vineyard church. This time we had quite the crowd – around 40 or so people. (and none of them walked out during the sermon!!!!)

The Pastor had asked me to talk a bit about world missions while giving the church an update on our upcoming trip to South America. As I prayed about the message, God gave me an interesting Biblical world mission’s connection that I normally don’t talk about… (normally when I talk about world missions, I do the whole “top line, bottom line” deal from Genesis to Revelation) Undecided

This time, I went straight for Jonah.

Note: the last “real” sermon before this one was about Acts 10 where Peter visits Cornelius’ home. It is interesting that both Peter and Jonah went to Joppa before going to the Gentiles…

Yelp – that little bitty book between Obadiah and Micah. I posted most of my sermon’s outline below just because. It’s missing some pieces as it is only there to “jog” my memory (and keep me on track).

West or North? When God comes calling we have two choices:

  1. Head West towards Tarshish and away from God
  2. Go North to Caesarea following the direction He gave you.

The choice is your. But know that if you go to Tarshish, there may be a storm or two in your path to force you back on track.

As far as the sermon it self, it went really good. I did get off track a time or two – the really interesting thing was that the sermon turned into quite the ‘turn or burn’ message as that’s what Jonah told the Ninevites. Undecided[@more@]

If you’re not a believer, you too have two choices:

  1. Repent and follow Him
  2. Keep doing what your doing

Neither one is easy. But if you follow Him, He will be there with you to ends of the world. He delights in setting free the captive, comforting those who morn, healing those who are hurt, and loving the unlovable – and you get to hand with Him for a long time!

Ok – maybe not a “real” ‘turn or burn’ message as I didn’t thump my Bible or jump up and down yelling. But I did give a clear gospel presentation and told the folks they had a choice. It fit – even though it wasn’t in my notes – it fix perfectly. Go God!! Laughing

Tarshish or Caesarea?

  1. Peter and Cornelius: revisited

1. Acts 10

1. Cornelius receives a vision from God and sends some servants to find Peter at Joppa

2. At the same time, God gives Petter a vision

3. When Cornelius’ servants showed up, Peter had a choice

1. Reject God’s word and go back home to Jerusalem

2. Accept God’s word and go to Caesarea

4. We know that Peter went to Caesarea and God moved

2. Acts 11

1. Peter had to explain his actions to the believers in Jerusalem

2. He told them that the Holy Spirit came and there was nothing he could do

  1. World Missions

1. These two passages are recognized as the beginning of Christianities movement from a mostly Jewish sect to a faith full of all types and kinds of people

1. ie. the Gentiles

2. Another familiar “missions” passage is Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

3. For lot of folks, these are the only two ‘world missions’ passages in the Bible

1. or at least main ones…

  1. Jonah

1. Let me tell you a story about another man of God who went to Joppa

2. We don’t know a lot about Jonah except that he lived around 800 BC

3. What we do know is told in the book of Jonah

1. it’s a small book between Obadiah and Micah

2. Only 4 chapters long

4. Let me give you a quick overview of the book

1. Jonah hears God

2. Runs to Joppa and catches a ship to Tarshish

1. Tarshish was the furthest know city in the Mediterranean Sea at that time

3. Along the way, a storm comes up

1. They are almost drowned

2. The sailors throw Jonah overboard

4. God sends a big fish to shallow him

5. Jonah repents

6. The fish spits him up on the beach

7. Jonah goes to Nineveh

1. A several day journey inland

2. He had plenty of time to think about what he was doing…

8. Jonah tells the people of Nineveh to repent

9. They do and God forgives them

5. Ok – now that we have an overview, lets look a little closer

  1. Why going to Nineveh was dumb:

1. Nineveh was the most feared country at the time (the city walls were covered with human skin)

1. You will be killed!

2. There where no temples or synagogues in Nineveh

1. In fact, there were no Jews in the city

3. According to the Mosaic convent, you had to

1. be Jewish or a convert thereof

2. be circumcised

3. bring a sacrifice to The Temple

1. There was only one, and it was in Jerusalem

  1. According to all the rules and thoughts of the time, no one in Nineveh could be saved

1. Jonah even thought God would destroy the city

2. Jonah 4

  1. Why going to Caesarea was dumb?

1. Cornelius was a gentile

2. According to the Mosaic convent, you had to

1. be Jewish or a convert thereof

2. be circumcised

3. bring a sacrifice to The Temple

1. There was only one, and it was in Jerusalem

  1. Sound familiar?

1. God likes to break our pre-connived notions about what Him can or cannot do

2. He forgave the people of Nineveh because they turned to Him and repented

1. It was a heart change

2. Just like Abraham

3. Both Jonah and Peter went to Joppa

1. the difference is that one of them ran west towards Tarshish

2. The other obeyed God and went North towards Caesarea

3. Both heard words from God that sounded dumb and stupid

1. The question is not if we will hear similar words

2. The questions is what we will do when we hear them?

  1. Modern Missions

1. Why going to Paraguay is dumb?

1. Cost too much

1. $10K to send four people for 3 weeks?

2. You could support a local pastor for years on that amount!!!

2. Can’t do anything in three weeks

3. language barrier

4. Your sucking the Paraguaian church dry!

1. They have to spend all their time on you instead of ministry

5. No long term change

2. Why we should go?

1. God said too

1. This is not a ‘cop-out’

2. Both Jonah and Peter knew they heard from God – they had no doubts..

2. Jonah

1. He changed a nation in three days!

2. The change lasted for years

3. Brother Andrew

1. He smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain

2. Said: the biggest gift I gave the people was not the Bibles I carried, but the simply fact that I, a brother in Christ, carried enough to come and visit them.

3. Just showing up

  1. Vineyard Missions

1. Local Church Based Missions (LCBM)

2. Partnerships as a Key Strategy

3. Establishment of Church Planting Movements

4. Development and Release of National Leadership

5. Contextualization of Vineyard Values in Each Culture

  1. The Sweet Vineyard

1. Part of the Paraguay Partnership

2. We are joining with

1. the Vineyard Boise

2. Chilean churches

3. to support and encourage the pastor in Paraguay