There are two important festivals in the Christian faith: Christmas and Easter.
Christmas is more widely celebrated than Easter.
Actually, Christmas would have no meaning without the miracle of Easter.
If Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead, then He is not whom He claims to be, neither can He do what He says He can do.
But the Lord Jesus Christ has indeed risen from the dead, proving that He is indeed God the Saviour, and that He is able to fulfill what He has promised.
1. The Resurrection of Jesus is Historically Verified
The whole of Jerusalem was aware of it, and there were many witnesses.
1 Cor 15:3-6 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
2. The Resurrection of Jesus is Miraculously Publicized
Jesus did not leave us a single book, a single song, or a single painting; neither did He set foot outside of Israel.
But the books written for Him, songs composed for Him, and paintings crafted for Him fill the entire world.
From 12 ordinary disciples, the Christian faith multiplied to 1/4 of world population.
3. The Resurrection of Jesus is Personally Testified
The resurrection power of Jesus Christ touches every heart and transforms every lives!
"Jesus Christ, the resurrected One, has changed my life!"
Religious leaders have come and gone, the fact remains: Only One has risen from the dead, only One has conquered death, only One offers the promise of eternal life to those who follow Him.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die."
John 14:19 Because I live, you will live also.
Because He lives: Your sins are forgiven, heart is set free, sicknesses are cured, future is secured, eternal life is assured!
Jonah 3:1-10 is the greatest revival ever recorded.
A man without modern means of communication and technology preached a simple message for three days.
The result? A city of half a million people repented in fasting and sackcloth, from the king to the slaves cried out to God. This is revival, this is miracle!
The amazing thing is that God used Jonah, a most unwilling and reluctant prophet.
There is hope for our city, there is hope for the world!
There is hope for your family, there is hope for your friends, there is hope for your neighbors, there is hope for your colleagues, there is hope for the strangers you met on the road.
That's why we believe in missions, that's why we obey the Great Commission, that's why we pray, we give, and we go!
What do we do when we go? We share the good news of salvation, that there is healing and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Where do we go? Starting from where we are, from this room to the nations.
What does it take to save the lost?
1. The Man of Commission (Jonah 3:1-2)
God's method is a man!
"Men are God's method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men."
- E.M. Bounds
Ezekiel 22:30 I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.
God is looking for YOU! God's method is a man, and that man is YOU!
Jesus has commissioned us to go and make disciples of all nations. Will you go?
2. The Message of Conviction (Jonah 3:3-4)
Jonah walked into Nineveh with a simple eight-word message: "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."
In the Hebrew text, there are only five words in Jonah’s message; yet God used those five words to bring conviction to the entire population.
Isaiah 55:11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Jonah gave a message of judgment; we have a better message of grace, hope and salvation.
Go tell the world that Jesus saves!
3. The Miracle of Conversion (Jonah 3:5-9)
Jonah 3:5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.
Conversion of souls is always a mystery and a miracle.
Humanly speaking, what Jonah did and said was ridiculous.
But Jonah wasn't alone, the Holy Spirit was there!
Have faith in the power of the gospel, and trust in the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
4. The Mercy of Compassion (Jonah 3:10)
Jonah 3:10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
When God saw their deeds of repentance, He relented from judgment and granted them mercy and grace.
Jonah 4:2 I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.
Do you really believe that God wants to save your family and friends?
Do not forget the call of missions in your life.
Jonah 3:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time …
Jonah was given a second chance to serve Him.
God has given us a second chance too!
Have you met people with extreme mood swing? Or are you one of them?
Here in Jonah 4:1-11 we see the extreme mood change of Jonah.
In v.1-3 he was so angry that he prayed for death. Then in v.6 he was "extremely happy." But in v.8-9 he was so angry again, even to death.
We read in Jonah 4:10-11, Then the LORD said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"
God was saying, "Jonah, you care so much about the plant, but you have no concern for what I really care about."
What does God care about? God cares about PEOPLE!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
God's heartbeat is for people. Sadly, God's people do not always share His heartbeat. The story of Jonah is one good example to teach us about right priorities in life.
What Are You Concerned About:
1. Possessions or People?
Jonah was so concerned about his plant, which wasn’t even really his. God was concerned about the people in Nineveh.
We are to love people and use things, but instead we love things and use people.
Things will pass, but people are forever. Why? People have a living, eternal soul.
Mark 6:36-37 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Souls are precious and priceless!
Jesus gave His all to save the lost. What have we given?
So, what is really more important to you, possessions or people?
2. Comfort or Compassion?
The plant gave shade to Jonah, kept him comfortable. He was busy pursuing his personal comfort rather than having compassion on the needs of others.
While we are busy upkeeping our prosperous life, children in Cambodia are wasting away in hunger and suffering.
While we are busy enjoying our comfortable life, lost and dying souls are heading towards eternal punishment in hell.
Have we no compassion for the lost and the poor?
The biblical principle is: To whom much is given, much is required.
It takes sacrifice to save the lost and help the poor.
So, what is really more important to you, comfort or compassion?
3. Self-Will or God's Will?
In the story of Jonah, everything obeyed God's will except Jonah himself.
Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s will to be done.
Matthew 6:9-10 Pray, then, in this way: "Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven."
Missions is God's will.
Jesus gave us the Great Commission, not the great suggestion.
If what you want is more important than what God wants, then look carefully into your heart.
Is God on the throne of your life, or is it the big old, ugly SELF that is there?
Missions begins with surrender and completes with sacrifice.
The book of Jonah ended with a question.
We can’t answer for Jonah, but we can answer for ourselves. What is your answer to God?
Our Christian faith is anchored on relationship, not rituals. The greatest commandment is to love God, the second is to love people, therefore it is all about relationship.
Nevertheless, there are two main rituals: Water Baptism & Holy Communion. Both are symbolic acts that teach us spiritual truths.
Water Baptism is a public declaration of our decision to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior for the rest of our life. Holy Communion speaks of our union with Christ on a daily and continuous basis.
Churches differ on the detailed practices of the Holy Communion, but the significance and meaning remains the same.
Significance & Meaning:
I. Remember the Lord
Twice in 1 Cor 11:24-25 Jesus said, "Do this, in remembrance of Me."
The Holy Communion serves as a great reminder, lest we forget.
Remember the Lord, not in an intellectual or mental way, but to acknowledge Him in all our ways.
Remember who He is and what He has done for us. The bread and juice remind us of His broken body and shed blood on our behalf.
II. Renew Our Commitment
We identify with the Lord Jesus Christ through Holy Communion.
We commit ourselves to proclaim the Lord's death, resurrection and second coming.
III. Reflect on Our Life
Holy Communion is a great time to consider our personal walk with the Lord.
Reflect and review your own life. Ask the Holy Spirit to examine and reveal what is in your heart.
IV. Repent of All Sins
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
V. Receive His Blessings
His body was broken so that ours can be made whole.
His blood was shed so that our sins can be forgiven.
Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
We receive spiritual, emotional and physical healing from the Lord.