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The Third Sunday After Epiphany
Series B

The Third Sunday After Epiphany Series B

Option #1
"Running With Jonah" Jonah 1 (Passim); 3:1-5,10

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, M.Div.

Many people run for exercise. Go to any fitness facility that has state of the art exercise equipment and you’ll still find many running on the track or the treadmills for exercise. Paul often uses running as a metaphor for living the Christian life. Today’s text is about the Prophet Jonah and the difference it made when he was running with God instead of away from God.

I. Running away from God

A Jonah wasn’t on this track alone: (preachers are subject to discouragement) 1 Kings 19:1-5; Jer. 20:7-12; Acts 26:19-23; 1 Cor. 9:16

B. Ex. 4:10-13––a layman’s excuse, but see 1 Peter 2:9, 4:11ff.; Isa. 43:21; Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:14-18;

II. Running with God––1 Cor. 9:24-26; Phil. 2:12-18; Heb. 12:1-2.

A. Proclaiming God’s anger over sin––Jer. 18:7ff.; Rom. 1:18.

B. Sharing God’s good news––Jonah 3:9-10; Isa. 43:25, 44:22, 55:6-7; Ps. 130:7; Eph. 1:6-8; 1 Tim. 1:15.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Old Testament

Here is a wonder of divine mercy in the sparing of these Ninevites upon their repentance (v. 10): God saw their works; he not only heard their good words, by which they professed repentance, but saw their good works, by which they brought forth fruits meet for repentance; he saw that they turned from their evil way, and that was the thing he looked for and required. If he had not seen that, their fasting and sackcloth would have been as nothing in his account. He saw there was among them a general conviction of their sins and a general resolution not to return to them, and that for some days they lived better, and there was a new face of things upon the city; and this he was well pleased with.

Note, God takes notice of every instance of the reformation of sinners, even those instances that fall not under the cognizance and observation of the world. He sees who turn from their evil way and who do not, and meets those with favor that meet him in a sincere conversion. When they repent of the evil of sin committed by them he repents of the evil of judgment pronounced against them.

Thus he spared Nineveh, and did not the evil which he said he would do against it. Here were no sacrifices offered to God, that we read of, to make atonement for sin, but the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, such as the Ninevites now had, it what he will not despise; it is what he will put honor upon.

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Object: A picture of the big fish about to swallow Jonah

You’ve seen this picture in Sunday School of Jonah about to be swallowed by the big fish. But I wonder if you remember why it happened. Can anyone tell me? (Allow for answers)

It happened when Jonah was on a ship sailing to what they thought was the end of the earth–the country we know today as Spain. But that’s not why Jonah got into trouble. The Lord caused a huge storm to engulf the ship Jonah was riding on. When the Sailors asked Jonah who he was, he told them they should throw him into the sea and the storm would die down. And that’s exactly what happened.

Jonah got into trouble because he was disobeying God; he was trying to run away from God. That’s pretty hard to do, because God is everywhere. That’s when the Lord commanded the big fish to swallow Jonah. He was inside of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights–like a weekend, if you add all day Friday to it.

When Jonah said he was sorry, the Lord caused the fish to upchuck him. That’s when Jonah started working with God instead of running away from Him.

I’ll tell you the rest of the story in a few minutes. For now, just remember: It’s a lot easier to run WITH God than to run AWAY from him. You’ll learn that sooner or later. Sooner would be better.

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Option #2: "God's No Short-Timer!"

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Point: God gives us perspective on life/Life.

Problem: Knowing this life is "passing away," we are tempted either to shirk our daily responsibilities or to tighten our grip so tightly that we become attached to and/or obsessed with them.

Promise: Because God invested Christ's entire life in something that is decaying and will be destroyed--this world, us--He makes us His new creation, curing our nearsightedness to see what alone is eternally permanent--God's mercy and love in Christ.

(The above is taken/adapted from a homiletical help by Henry Gerike)

1. As God's redeemed children, we have a loose hold on the things of this world because Christ through His Word and Sacraments has a firm grip on us.

2. Paul tells us that marriage, mourning, happiness, and shopping are all things of this world. The scripture does not tell us these things are sinful. It is rather a matter of emphasis. (David Busic & Jeren Rowell)


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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 11:49:59 AM