Monday, May 17, 2021

May 16 Sermon and Announcements



Jonah 4:1-11


Before we begin, I just want to take a moment to say what a wonderful Mother’s Day service it was last Sunday. God knows what we are capable of and everyone who contributed did a fantastic job. What a blessing it is to be able to share our Worship services on Facebook each Sunday.


Now let us wrap up our time looking at how Jonah reacted to God’s command to warn Nineveh. A quick review starting from chapter 1: God told Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh destruction from God was coming because of their wickedness. Jonah did not want to go, so he tried to run from God, but it did not work. Ultimately, Jonah’s disobedience was, seemingly, about to bring about his death but God had a plan. God sent a big fish to take Jonah to Nineveh. This time Jonah obeyed God and warned the people of Nineveh. The people accepted God’s warning and repented of their sin against God. God heard their cries for mercy and decided not to destroy Nineveh, which leads us to what we have read this morning.


When Jonah saw God was not going to destroy Nineveh, he got mad at him. Jonah said to God, “This is why I did not want to come to Nineveh to begin with. I was afraid you would change your mind and spare these Gentiles.” As it turns out, Nineveh is an enemy of Israel, and Jonah doesn’t believe any of Israel’s enemies ever deserve mercy from the God of Israel. Jonah is so depressed that he tells God to end his life as he believed it would be better to die than to live. In part, he was concerned that when his fellow Israelites find out it was he that warned Nineveh and caused them to be spared, they would kill him for treason. God then says to Jonah, “Do you have any right to be angry?” Jonah ignored God and went out to a place where he could see the city to watch, hoping God might yet destroy Nineveh. It was apparently hot so God made a vine to grow by Jonah to provide shade as he watched Nineveh. The next day God caused the vine to die and Jonah became extremely hot to the point he again said, “I just want to die!” God asked Jonah again, “What right do you have to be angry about the vine?” To which Jonah said, “Well I am and I want to die.” Then God used the vine to help Jonah understand what is important in the long run and what is not. God reminded Jonah that Jonah had nothing to do with that vine. It grew one day and died the next. Jonah did nothing for it. But then there is Nineveh, a huge city, filled with people who do not really have any idea what is right and wrong. Even though these verses do not actually say this, I believe God is trying to get Jonah to see, you warned Nineveh and the people listened. Shouldn’t you be more worried about 120,000 people than a vine that was here today and gone tomorrow?


Which leads us to what God is saying to all of us who will listen. One of the things God is telling us is that our God is a God of second chances. As long as we are still breathing, God will listen to our prayers, and if we need to admit to mistakes or sins and are willing to do that, God will forgive us and we get to start over again. One of the other things we can see is how we at times may believe we know more than God about certain things. Have you ever known someone who constantly pushes the limits? Someone who even purposely crosses the line of right and wrong? You say to yourself, “One of these days he or she is going to get it! They will get what is coming to them.” After all you have played by the rules and never seem to get credit for it, but this person is always messing up but never seems to get in trouble. Then it happens! It seems they finally get caught. You are looking forward to their paying for all they have done wrong. But wait, it seems the person admitted to all they have done wrong and instead of getting fired or punished they are given another chance. It is just not fair! Have you been there just like Jonah? After all, they deserved to be punished. It is the right thing to do.


Just like God tried to help Jonah understand, God is wanting us to understand as well. When Jesus came to minister to all who hear, Jesus came proclaiming love, grace, mercy and, yes, justice. We are to allow God to do things in his timing. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:38-42 how we should treat those who we may have disagreements with. Jesus said, “You have heard it was said, ‘eye for eye, and tooth for tooth,’ But I tell you do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him 2 miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” But God, why should we have to? It is not fair. We worked hard for what we have. We played by the rules and what do we get for our troubles? In a way, that is what Jonah was saying to God. The people of Nineveh do not play by the rules and yet they seem to have everything and you are not going to make them pay for their disobedience? How often do we look around us and see things that do not seem fair or do not seem right? And we ask God why? There will be a day of reckoning for everyone. What God was saying to Jonah, as well as to us today, is, “You just take care of you. I, God, will make it right when it is all said and done.” God is saying, “I showed mercy to you and it will be in your best interest to show mercy to others as well.” As we go back to the sermon title, “It’s Not Fair!” You know that sometimes it is not fair, but God simply wants us to trust him. Our God sees it all, and if there is a price to pay at the appropriate time, it will happen. Until then, just keep believing God, show mercy, grace and love to as many as we can and we will be blessed. You can count on it!

Pastor Larry



Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday


Submissions for the June newsletter are due to Carol by June 2.


Camp Emmanuel schedules and registration forms are available in the back of the sanctuary.


Women’s Fellowship will be making strawberry pies to order. Stemming is scheduled for Saturday, June 12. Volunteers are needed.


Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!




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First Sundays: food donations for food banks


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362


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Praise: District of IL/WI has hired a new District Executive: Walt Wiltschek. He will start September 1.



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Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.

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