Running On Empty: What the Empty Tomb Means To An Empty Life

Empty wallet? Empty relationships? Empty life?

It may be hard to see how a Jewish Rabbi who died nearly 2,000 years ago could have anything to offer your emptiness and brokenness today.

But that’s until you consider that this man didn’t stay in the tomb. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, but he was (and is) so much more!

On Easter Sunday, we began a three week message series entitled Running On Empty.

You can listen to and share the messages below:

1. Hopeless (John 20:1-18)

Subscribe to Sermons in iTunes

Sermon Summary

Before encountering the resurrected Jesus, the empty tomb was bad news for Mary. She couldn’t see how the empty tomb might be good news. In her grief, she didn’t even recognize the resurrected Jesus until He spoke her name.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to see Jesus in the midst of our troubling circumstances. What makes the difference is when we can see the resurrected Jesus at work in and through our life circumstances to receive glory and to work all for our good.

We are not without hope because Jesus, who suffered far greater than we ever will, understands our need and promises to be with us. Even more, He has promised that these circumstances are temporary and that we are not alone!

Note: If you found this sermon helpful, would you give us an honest review in iTunes? This will make this sermon available to more people. Thanks!

2. Faithless (John 20:19-31)

Join us April 23rd at City Life Church for the next message in this series.

3. Aimless (John 21:1-25)

Join us April 30th at City Life Church for the next message in this series.

Please contact us if you have questions about this series or about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.

Get Connected

We want to invite you to join us on Sundays at 10:30 as we continue our current sermon series. Please sign up to receive emails and never miss out on sermons and ministry opportunities at City Life Church.

Jonah and the Great City: Wake Up and Jump

Jonah Sermon Series

Listen to the Audio

Subscribe to Sermons in iTunes

Note: If you found this sermon helpful, would you give us an honest review in iTunes? This will make this sermon available to more people. Thanks!

Watch the Video

Sermon Summary

Text: Jonah 1:4-16

Has there ever been a time you ran from God? Maybe not from one city to another, but maybe run from His will? If we’re honest, it probably happened sometime this week (if not today).

As we look at Jonah in the boat from Jonah 1:4-16 we will see what happened to Jonah when he ran from God and how he responded to God. We will also look at the sailors reaction. But most of all, we will learn about God’s sovereignty and His providential mercy.

1. The Powerful Sovereignty of the One True God

When Jonah disobeyed God’s call, God sent a violent wind. In this action, we see the terrifying sovereignty of God. We must realize that God is holy and righteous and just. He created all things and we cannot question His will.

In fact, it is a good thing that God is righteous and angry towards unrighteousness. We wouldn’t want a police officer to see a murder happen in front of his eyes and then say to his partner, “Did you see that? I don’t feel like doing anything about it. Let’s go.” No, we want justice against evil.

God displays His wrath, but the amazing thing about God’s revelation in Scripture, is that we also see His merciful love. Throughout Scripture, there are even stories, such as this one, where God’s justice and His mercy collide and we see that ALWAYS His will is good.

If you are going through a storm in life I don’t know if it is God’s punishment or His faithful love. We don’t know the whole story, but Jonah’s story reveals that God is just and that God is merciful and that often those two things come together (most notably on the cross).

2. The Depressing Futility of Many Gods

Before we get to Jonah, we meet a group of sailors who are terrified of the storm God sends. Since they don’t believe in Yahweh, the One true God, they are left to fend for themselves. They try several approaches:

a. Everybody pray to your own god!

They don’t seem to have much confidence in that approach so they immediately turn to a pragmatic solution:

b. Everybody throw stuff overboard!

The Captain remembers there might be another god they missed – the god of the man sleeping in the boat:

c. Did we pray to all the gods?

But the sailors on deck aren’t going to wait around for Jonah to pray, because, when have their gods ever done anything for them? So they go for a completely superstitious solution:

d. Let’s cast lots!

Imagine this boat is representative of the 7 billion people on this planet. People turn to their gods in times of trouble, but ultimately they will find there is nothing there. So, they turn to pragmatic, self-help solutions. That still doesn’t work so people try other religions or superstitions to make sense of life. All of it is absolute futility.

It’s foolish to continue on a course that gets you nowhere.

3. The Hopeless Resignation of a Failed Prophet

Nowhere do we see in this text that Jonah actually prayed to his God. We also don’t see him ask God to forgive him. He basically resigns himself to death.

Even when he tells the sailors who he is, it doesn’t seem as though he really believes it. His words ring hollow.

Though Jonah is a Hebrew and fears the one true God, maker of heaven and earth, he never submits himself to God. Rather than ask forgiveness, he commits suicide. Even the sailors can’t believe this is the solution, yet ultimately they too agree with Jonah and throw him overboard, committing murder (though asking Yahweh not to hold it against them)

This is the culmination of the thinking of the world and a failed morality.

Suicide is never the answer. Divorce won’t solve anything. Drugs and alcohol won’t remove your problems. Abortion won’t make your life better.

If you live a godless life and turn to godless solutions for yourself despair and depression and

Whether you are contemplating terminating a baby’s life in the womb, terminating a marriage, or terminating your own life, there is an answer! There is hope!

Jonah attempted suicide to avoid his problems. But Yahweh swallowed him up with mercy.

Contrast Jonah’s attempted suicide to the example of Paul (Acts 27:20-22, 31-32). Paul was in a similar situation as Jonah but in Paul’s case he trusted God and even convinced the terrified sailors not to jump which spared their lives. Our confidence in God inspires confidence even in the godless to believe.

Jonah attempted suicide to avoid his problems. But Yahweh swallowed him up with mercy #JonahandtheCity Click To Tweet

4. The Providential Mercy of a Glorious Savior

Of course, Jonah could not have anticipated that Yahweh would send a giant fish to swallow him. But before that, we see God’s mercy in calming the storm and saving the sailors (who, by the way, seem to at least acknowledge the greatness of Yahweh, though we do not know if they truly became believers).

Yahweh was also merciful in sending the fish. Again, His sovereign will shall be done regardless of our disobedience. Jonah’s attempted suicide didn’t take God by surprise, but He was unwilling to let Jonah perish in His disobedience so in His mercy He sent a whale.

Finally, we see God’s providential mercy ultimately in Jesus. The God-Man who also found Himself asleep in a boat on a raging sea. The same God-Man who was able to speak with the same sovereign authority to the wind and the waves and calm the storm. The God-Man who came to us in our futility and submitted Himself to the point of death on a cross.

Join the Conversation

Are you in a storm right now? Have you bought into the lie that drugs, sex, a relationship, even death might be better than what you are facing? If you are considering drastic action to avoid a problem or a person, please get help right where you are! Our church is here to pray for you. What are you going through?

Please share this sermon with your friends. Right click on the images below and share them online:


Get Connected

We want to invite you to join us on Sundays at 10:30 as we continue the Jonah and the Great City sermon series. You can also sign up to receive emails and never miss out on sermons and ministry opportunities at City Life Church.