Not too long ago, I preached through the book of Jonah at Redeeming Life Church. (You can listen to those sermons here.) As most pastors do, I broke it into four sermons, one chapter per week. At this point, I'm not so sure that's the best way to break it up, but it works.
When most of us think of Jonah we think of a great fish. Some of us start debating the possibility of a big fish before we even try to comprehend the God who created and appointed that fish. And we often forget that God also appointed a tempest, a plant, a wind, a worm, and most importantly -- a man to go proclaim God's message.
I'm still struck by how reluctant Jonah was. He was afraid, yes; but he was also unwilling. He was unwilling to see or be a part of God mission to forgive and save Jonah's perceived enemies. But who was the real enemy?
It's hard to avoid the complexities in our world today. We wrestle with issues of gay marriage, abortion, other religions and cults, politics, drug dealers, pornographers, and so much more. Watching many Christians, I wonder if they have the same heart as Jonah? Would they rather see God destroy their 'enemies' rather than save and redeem them? Have we become a church of Jonahs? I hope not. I pray not.
At the heart is a grave misunderstanding. It seems we've forgotten who the real enemy is. The enemy is not Planned Parenthood. The enemy is not the LGBT community. Society is not the enemy. The hard life of the street is not the enemy. Our neighbor... not the enemy. Hollywood? Nope. The government? No. The local church? Wrong!
1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." I wonder what would happen if a zookeeper let a lion free in your workplace? Would you just go about your business as normal? How about if there was a lion in your neighborhood? I suspect you wouldn't be out mowing your lawn if there were a lion sitting on your front step stalking you. We'd be making phone calls. We'd be going for guns. The news media would be there. And we probably won't be too concerned with the little things.
We do have a real enemy. There is a lion prowling around. Ephesians 6:10:-20 tells us what to do:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak."
Let us not forget who the real enemy is, and let us be ready when the lion comes to u