Sermon 24 Aug 25 — Jonah 1:1-3; Rev 21:5; 22:17,20; Matt 24:45,46 “Holy Thirst Quenching” The U-Turn Church series.
Reflection Questions: Why do you think Jonah “ran away” from the responsibility God gave him? Do you/we do anthing similar? In John’s Revelation vision he hears Jesus say “let those who are thirsty come” and says the gift of the water of life (aka living water or spiritual thirst quenching) is free for the taking by anyone who wants it. Have you tasted this water? Have you felt it’s life-giving force? How are we doing at dispensing this water to the thirsty? Do they know it is available? How does Nineveh respond when Jonah finally points out to them how “thirsty” they are?
Sermon summary: The chapter from U-Turn Church for this week is titled “Urgency.” The authors point out that “Without a sense of urgency nothing changes.” Part of my role as STM is to facilitate healthy, realistic urgency. Generating unhealthy urgency is easy. Healthy reality-seeing fear is not. The book suggests considering four questions as a way of generating urgency:
- “what does our future as a church realistically look like?”
- “what do we want it to look like?”
- “do we have a sense of urgency for the future of our church?”
- “what is my part in seeing the needed change come about?”
The trouble is that we prefer to get urgent about distractions, about technicalities. It is part of our Egyptian style captivity in the church. We think there is a technical solution for everything, and have lost touch with adaptive and spiritual realities.
In that, we have lost track, collectively, of our main mission as church: to facilitate the work of the body of Christ as an organization. We have forgotten that what is at stake ultimately is the eternal well-being of souls. That is our mission, our “collective eternal Priority” as the book puts it.
The mission of God often comes as a “new thing” Since creation God has been coming to us with new things. He came to Jonah with a new thing – calling the people of Nineveh out of darkness. Jonah was part of the chosen! Why warn the enemy? So Jonah went the opposite way.
God asks his Jonah’s and his Christ Community churches to go and bring new spiritual life into the world. To show people the way back to God by way of Jesus. To live Kingdom of God values in our cultural expressions. Doing this brings ultimate glory to Gods reputation.
God has made available to his children– through the self-giving of his son, and the release of the Holy Spirit — the water of life, aka living water This is a spiritual refreshment that is intended to be come a wellspring of life giving godly urgency. God means for us to experience that wellspring, and to have it overflow in us and from us out into a spiritually parched world.
17 Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
God has been introducing new things since the creation of the Earth. Living water is a new thing God began to do through and since Jesus. He gave hints about it earlier, but now it is in place.
The church will be faced with new things until the final new thing happens. That ultimate new thing is when Christ fully returns. God is saving his big finale for that day. Revelation 21 verses 1 and 5 say “then I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth… He who was Seated on the throne said, I am making everything new! Then he said, write this down for these words are trustworthy and true. it will be totally new, unlike anything we have known here.
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
When a congregation is drinking deeply of living water, and it becomes a wellspring in them, heart change happens, holy urgency happens, and those who do not know God rightly yet find new life and refreshment. May we become, more and more, as the body of Christ in St Albert, Holy Thirst Quenchers for God’s glory.