Jonah cried out to God from the belly of the great fish. Then, God grants Jonah a change of heart whereby he agrees to obey. Another brilliant OT text full of application for today. Here is the sermon I preached Sunday, May 15 at the evening service at Bethel Baptist Church of Pataskala. Make sure to check back this week for chapters 3 & 4.
Jonah is one of the more interesting saints we read about in God’s Word. His behavior and thoughts expose us to contradictions which can make us uncomfortable. The short book buried in the ‘lesser-read’ section of the Old Testament has many themes about our immutable and longsuffering Savior and Lord, the truths of which ought to bring you to worship.
Here is the audio of my Jonah 1 sermon. I will post Jonah 2 soon. Lord willing, Jonah 3 & 4 will be preached May 22 and I’ll post audio after.
On March the 6th, 2016, I was honored to preach my first ever Sunday morning sermon at First Baptist Church of New Albany in Ohio.
To skip my comments and just listen to the sermon see below.
A few notable moments. Upon arrival I found out they were happy to allow me to lead the entire service. They had a bulletin already created which they could not get printed. As I was writing it out, I was so glad to see Heaven Came Down, How Great Thou Art and Victory in Jesus listed for singing. Then I noticed a song titled “Let Jesus Come into Your Heart” as the ‘invitation hymn.’
Not opposed to judging a song by its title, I asked if we could change it to “How Firm a Foundation” and they had no problem with that. The service flowed nicely with a skilled pianist and my friend Christopher offering prayer.
They had Scripture reading on their bulletin. I had not prepared for that. Since my sermon was about God’s Word, I thought it would be appropriate and helpful to read Proverbs 30:5-6. I then tested myself and tried to quote Psalm 1 from memory. I did it!! I thought Psalm 1 went nicely with my sermon, and it was the first time I had quoted an entire chapter of Scripture in public from memory (inside a church).
Then my daughter Bailey played perfect renditions of Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art on her flute for special music. You will notice if you listen to the sermon that I open by talking about the hymns. I then do what I am apt to do (and learned from my own pastor), and I spoke for 20 minutes off the cuff while ignoring my notes. So many things flood to my mind that I want to share.
I really enjoyed myself and was very grateful to my friends Mike Stockwell and Christopher Ledezma who attended along with my 3 oldest children. It was a time of service to God and to one of His local churches. I appreciate everyone who prayed for me and the service. As a hipster Christian might say “God showed up big time.” 😉
Feel free to listen here:
First off all, hat tip to Jason Marianna for reminding me that “THE” is all caps when referring to THE OSU.
Saturday, September 26, 2015: Joshua Richards and I preached the gospel from about noon to 3pm at the usual spot, Lane and Olentangy River Rd, prior to the Buckeyes’ victory over the Broncos of Western you know.
I only brought a couple hundred tracts with me, and we were able to distribute them all! Pray, dear Christian, that God would bring someone to repentance and faith as the result!
After Joshua preached for the first time, I delivered this sermon (embedded below). The scripture read included Psalm 14, Romans 1:18-32, Romans 3:10-27; Psalm 1, Psalm 149, and parts of John 10. I have said this before: for many Christians, this is more reading that you are willing to do in a day…or even a week. I’ll confess – some days, that is a problem for me too! Together, let’s repent of our apathy toward God’s Word, shall we?
After Joshua preached a second time, I read the entire book of 1 Peter in the open air and followed it up with 19 minutes of preaching, using 1 Peter as my launching point. At one point, there was a large group of people waiting for the light to change including many children. I was so joyed to have the chance to tell them of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I also read Psalm 23 aloud during that preaching stint. Overall, we filled about 2-2.5 hours of preaching. How we wish for more laborers to join us!
Here's Joshua preaching the futility of human works to please God, but Christ's power! pic.twitter.com/67t7ldU4hL
— Michael A. Coughlin (@ABereanOne) September 26, 2015
Our culture is so hateful toward God’s law that there was a truck that kept driving by advertising strip clubs with loud music and large images on the side of the truck. Two young
ladies women were walking around passing out free passes to a gentlemen’s strip club, as well. Much prayer is needed for our culture and for those of us engaging the culture with the gospel!
While Joshua was preaching, I followed an idea he gave me and I was able to offer prayer to a young man who had been recently injured. That was a really neat way to engage people and get their ear.
Praise Almighty God for His good work that day. His gospel must have been heard by thousands, and He will do as He pleases!
Here’s something that doesn’t make sense to me.
There are Christians that do not believe in a literal six day creation, as specified in the book of Genesis and Exodus and testified to by Christ Himself in the New Testament. I’m speaking of born-again Christians who hold the Bible to be inerrant, not just anyone labeled Christian.
This wouldn’t be so surprising, except think about this for a second.
A Christian is someone who believes God is angry with them for sin because a book that is thousands of years old says so. In order to atone for these sins, God (who is 3 persons, but 1 God ?huh?) became a man and was subjected to his own creation to the point of crucifixion. Then, miraculously, because of the resurrection of this God-man 3 days later from the dead, all of which happened 2,000 years ago, the Christian of 2012 can have all of his or her sins transferred to this point in time on the cross with Christ, and have the righteousness of God imputed to them; thus, being justified before God forever by His grace.
Couple this with the death of all first-born Egyptian sons after 9 other remarkable plagues, men who perfectly penned Words from God Himself and preserved them as scripture, and a virgin woman giving birth to the King of kings in a manger in the middle east and you’ve got a recipe for some FAITH.
So what I don’t understand is this: How can someone readily believe all these other seriously exceptional events, events which we can only conceive of because of the scripture, yet these same folks deny the special creation of God which is actually evident to all men through general revelation?
Romans 1:19-21 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. <20> For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. <21> For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This baffles me!
I haven’t ‘blogged’ for a long time. At least not regularly. But tonight my wife actually suggested it. This is a strange occurrence because we get so little time together anyway. I used to write my blogs on a laptop while riding a bus to work, but my new job is only good for listening to Todd Friel (which isn’t bad); the point is, no typing while driving.
It has been pointed out to me that I can sound ‘academic’ in some of my posts. That is meant in a critical way. I guess when I write posts about theology, I always feel like I need to somehow make it perfect. As if I can counter every potential argument, or lay out every possible cross reference.
It reminds me of Jerry Rediger’s voicemail greeting: “Please leave a brief and detailed message after the tone.”
But what may be lost in the array of amateur theology articles with a Jesuit educated vocabulary (I’ve repented of that if you are wondering), is the state of my heart. It may be clear that I intellectually assent to a lot of good doctrine. It wouldn’t take a CSI to detect that I probably have TULIPs growing in my front yard, or that I can read a page of ‘you might be a Calvinist if…’ quotes and wonder why its so funny. I don’t vote Democrat and I don’t watch TV (except football games) and my favorite book actually is, the Bible. Yep, I’m one of those guys who doesn’t really have a favorite verse, because, of course, all scripture…is profitable.
And can you tell I’m an evangelist? I would post more on the topic but I’m afraid of it coming across like boasting instead of sharing. Am I trying to please men? I don’t know. I think it’s wise to be concerned with others and how I’ll be perceived. But why do I evangelize? It is solely for the glory of God? Is that the be-all and end-all of my faith? Do I rejoice in the salvation of a lost sinner only because of the glory it exhibits of Christ? There have been times I have coldly preached or shared the gospel, without a shred of concern about the hearer. I have preached or spoken with ONLY Jesus as the audience. For that, I must, and have, repented.
Thankfully, that is few and far between. Because the fact is this, I truly love the lost. I was granted, by the grace of God, at a very early time in my walk with Christ, a deep love for people who do not know Him. In fact, I went to such an Arminian, seeker-sensitive, antinomian megachurch when I was saved, that I fit right into the groove. For those of you who don’t know, antinomianism can be loosely defined as ‘grace-abuse.’ These are the people who violate the spirit of grace by presuming it and becoming lawless. They cite the various glorious verses in the bible which speak of God’s grace and how good works cannot save, and they ignore the verses like Jesus telling a number of people, “depart from me, you workers of iniquity. (lawlessness)” The point being, I was really good at going out and inviting people to church and telling them the gospel. I wasn’t shy about it, (or if I was, I hid it well). I was the perfect new convert. I was so excited about what my eyes had just been opened to, I couldn’t imagine keeping it to myself.
I also found that I loved God…A LOT. I, like most Americans, had assumed I had always loved God. I didn’t understand my new affections. I assumed this was how ALL CHRISTIANS must feel about the Lord. So I unknowingly went out and simply offended others. I mean AT CHURCH. I was reading my bible regularly and the Holy Spirit was growing me, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that other people at my church didn’t want to have sin removed like I did! They didn’t even want to call the same things sin. I heard a lot of talk about liberty and grace. Both wonderful, biblical doctrines. But I heard nothing of holiness or righteousness or transformation.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I was talking about how much I love the lost. What I want to share is that I love Jesus Christ more than anything. And yes, bringing him glory through biblical evangelism is one of my goals. Evangelistic success isn’t measured simply by the number of disciples made. But to approach a living, breathing soul with the most important news ever and to have no real concern for that person’s eternity? That’s cold-hearted and not God glorifying, in my opinion. Oh Christ sees your efforts, your creativity and your words, but He is a discerner of your heart as well. He knows if you are truly interested in the people with whom you are witnessing. He knows if you are using the occasion to indulge your flesh, or if you actually despise the lost soul with whom you are professing to be sharing Christ.
I have been there. I’ve talked to people and realized I didn’t care if they got saved. One time, I began to witness to a guy because he kept trying to talk to me on the bus and was annoying me. So I figured, well, I’ll tell him the gospel and then he’ll certainly leave me alone. What a jerk. So of course, God humbled me quickly and allowed me to present the gospel to the man, but also worked on my heart right then and there. By the end I was truly expressing care to the man.
So dear brother or sister, please know that I do what I do out of a great love for a great God. But that isn’t all; part of the outpouring…part of the application of that love for God is a love for His creation. If God does not rejoice in the death of the wicked, why should I? Please do not make the mistake I did and forget your own utter helplessness. Your own utter sinfulness. Your own desperate need for a savior.
Now I’m rambling. I actually had intended to write about how wonderful it is to me that my local church leadership wanted to support an idea I brought to them about sending police and firefighters and other service men and women to a movie for free. I am so grateful…people are so good to me. And I deserve none of it.