INTRO: When you think about it, disobeying God is a very foolish and fruitless thing. Consider Who God is. He is eternal and self-existent. He made the worlds by the word of His power. He is the final judge of human affairs. There is indeed none like unto Him. Yet, mankinds relationship to God has been a rather dark history of disobediences ... in spite of Whom He is! But you would at least think people who were acknowledging themselves to be Gods servants would obey Him. And certainly a prophet would. Well, contrary to our expectations, we have just read of a prophet who shows us clearly How Not To Obey God!
I. GODS COMMISSION (1:1,2) ... AND JONAHS RESPONSE
A. The commandment of God was plain, specific
1. this is the nature of Gods commandments
2. what hope of our obeying if they are otherwise?
B. How Jonah responded? (1:3)
1. the word but signals trouble!
2. wed have expected the word and thus, and Jonah rose up to go to Nineveh ... not so; Jonah flatly disobeyed
II. AN ANALYSIS OF JONAHS DISOBEDIENCE
A. Why would there-to-fore faithful prophet disobey?
1. was it fear? Ninevites were a hostile people
2. was it difficulty? city was a long way off ... and Jonah may well have been aged
3. no, it seems that Jonah just did not want to obey this specific commandment (4:1,2) he may not have wanted the Ninevites to repent; he may not have wanted God to appear a changeable God ... fear nor difficulty figured in, however
B. He sought to flee from Gods presence
1. no doubt knew that an actual fleeing was not possible (Ps 139:7-12)
2. the fleeing was away from fellowship, responsibility and reminder (Gen 3:8)
3. separation from the church often is a signal of disobedience already at work Jonah wanted to be away from God, nation, people, work!
C. He took deliberate steps into his sin
1. decided to flee, where to go ... planned well
2. Tarshish was in what we call Spain a long way!
3. everything was very convenient to his decision the ship was there; he had the fare; all was well
4. worth noting ... from Gods presence into that of the ungodly!
III. LESSONS WE MAY LEARN HERE?
A. Even Gods faithful people can become disobedient
1. Peter- even Peter - had a problem Gal 2:11-14
2. and there was Demas 2 Tim 4:10
3. can it happen to you? 1 Cor 10:12
B. Gods word does not allow neutrality
1. when God spoke to Jonah, he had to do something about it
2. his word disturbs to some kind of action ... we either obey, or we dont but no neutrality
3. what has been your response to His word? Jno 8:37
C. The means to sin will always be readily available
1. it wasnt hard for Jonah to set out for Tarshish!
2. if you are disposed to sin, the means of your sinning will come readily to hand
3. it is essential, then, that we keep our hearts centered on the Lord; that we maintain fellowship with His people; that we devour His preserving word ... for 1 Jno 2:15,16 (the appeal is there!)
D. Be careful of the attitude of the word but
1. have you ever thought, I know thats what the Bible says, but ...
2. that but is a dangerous leaning toward disobedience
3. note the attitude Eli taught Samuel 1 Sam 3:9,10
CLOSE: The opening scenes of the book of Jonah are a study in how not to obey God. Whatever may be our excuses for not obeying Him, there are no real excuses ... only sin!
Cecil A. Hutson
28 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)