INTRO: I have a great interest in the Old Testament. Each time I study a section of it in some depth my appreciation for it grows. Perhaps one of the best known of all the Old Testament narratives is the account of Jonah and his being swallowed by the great fish. That narrative comes from a short Old Testament book bearing the name of him who wrote it ... Jonah. There are in the book of Jonah some very pointed lessons for Gods people in any age. Our study of this book will seek those living lessons in view of Rom 15:4. As this interesting book opens we hear Jonahs commission from God ...
I. THE MAN THE BOOK
A. Who was Jonah?
1. he was a prophet of God - 2 Ki 14:25
2. was born at Gathhepher near Nazareth of Galilee
3. his name means dove which is often the symbol of mourning ... his fathers name meant truth (so, Jonah was the son of truth)
B. What about the book of Jonah?
1. its genuineness is unquestioned by Christ - He refers to it factually ... Lk 11:30-32; Mt 12:38-40 & Mt 16:4
2. it is more narrative than prophecy yet, vital in Jesus manner of use of it
3. a book about a man with whom we can identify
II. THE NEED FOR A MAN LIKE JONAH?
A. God needed for Jonah to go to Nineveh
1. a Gentile city about 500 miles east of Palestine
2. a large, important city of great wickedness
B. Some needed lessons here are these:
1. wickedness of man is noted by God Gen 6:5,6
2. wickedness unrepented of will not go forever unpunished
Ps 45:7 and Jonah 3:4
3. yet, God is not willing that any perish 2 Pet 3:9
4. He does want the warning sounded ... here there was a concern for a Gentile city and people Ezek 3:16,17,19
5. yes, Jonah was very needed by God for Gods purpose
III. THE KEY WORDS IN JONAHS COMMISSION
A. The word arise
1. did the word have to do with posture or inactivity? inactivity of preaching, of prophesying
2. looking at the narrative, perhaps the latter
3. before God can use us, we must be aroused, even awakened out of lethargy or complacency we must be attentive to God, to need
4. Rom 13:11,12 it is high time to awake!
B. The word go
1. the specific need was in a city 500 miles away
2. God did not say to Jonah He would send some Ninevites to him waiting for the spiritually needy to come to an assembly or class will not evangelize the world
3. go is word of action, involvement - it puts Jonah in the picture of responsibility was there any inconvenience? very likely, but Jonah was the servant to whom the opportunity came! and the responsibility of it was his
4. word go has a familiar ring Mt 28:19!!
C. The word cry
1. here the word has to do with the manner of presentation of an urgent message
2. Jonahs would be a lone voice, crying, Warning
3. times are when that situation occurs even now ... do we feel, Oh, whats the use or, fearfully keep silent?
4. Acts 24:24,25 rather than pleading, Paul was preaching
5. sin is rampant and touches even into our own homes and families never has the cry against wickedness been more urgently needed
CLOSE: The world around us is a modern Nineveh. And you and I are Gods Jonahs. Will we sleep through the opportunities? Will we run away from them? Will we resent them? If well bestir ourselves to go and teach, some are bound to respond favorably!
Cecil A. Hutson
14 April 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)