INTRO: The ship was in danger of breaking up in the storm. Every experienced hand" on board had begun to take every possible measure to save human life. Prayer and practical experience were being combined to save the hapless sailors and their sleeping passenger. Everyone was doing everything possible ... everyone, that is, but Jonah. Just why the ship master happened to come upon Jonah at this particular time we are not told. But he did come across the fallen prophet ... and he asked Jonah a most embarrassing question. (Text.)
I. A PAGAN HAS TO REMIND JONAH OF DUTY!
A. Jonah was missing an opportunity to testify of God
1. Jews were known to be God fearing people
2. they were people of prayer, of worship, of a truly theocratic sort of state in which civil and religious realms were one and the same
3. so, here was a very special Jew sleeping in crisis
4. by comparison Acts 27:22,33-36 ... a godly man of confidence and assurance who encourages (often people in cirsis are most ready to hear of God and gospel)
B. Jonah was letting others down by his sleeping
1. who was the one man who could have helped Jonah!
2. he knew the true God who controls th universe
3. he was prophet of special relationship and responsibility
4. and he was the one man doing nothing! (Lk 10:30-32)
C. In his present sinful rebellion could he have helped?
1. of course, ship master - at this stage - apparently did not know the whole story of Jonahs flight
2. but look at Isa 59:1,2
3. if we cut ourselves off from God through sin, we have no reason to expect Him to answer our general prayers
4. whole situation here is sad Jonah has lost his spiritual vitality and is a useless prophet (see Prov 25:26) ... how embarrassing!
II. IS THE CHURCH SLEEPING WHILE THE WORLD PERISHES?
A. Could not the ship masters comments apply spiritually?
1. he was, true, concerned about his physical life
2. but how many are in the world whose souls are perishing without God? (Eph 2:12 a sad verse in a way!)
3. and who has responsibility? Phil 2:15,16
4. the church has truth, has resources (potentially), has God, has the commission in so many ways is the only hope for people in the storm of sin
B. Must unbelievers remind us of our duty?
1. You Never Mentioned Him To Me
2. this would be a tragic, pathetic, possible rebuke!
3. perhaps there are not people who are vocalizing their desire, their need but we know the need already
4. and the Lords word of commission is go ... go to the lost and declare the gospel; go to the hurting and bind up the wounds
C. We are called to awaken to work while it is day
1. Rom 13:11,12 and 1 Thes 5:5,6 wake up!
2. Col 4:3-6 with reference to those ut of Christ we are to redeem the time and seek opportunity for speaking the mystery of Christ
3. Jno 9:4 while it is day
4. I am very afraid the sleep of indifference has begun to take a great toll on the church and its vitality
D. We, like Jonah, are the privileged of God
1. the call of privilege is duty
2. the obvious truth is that if the privileged do not accept that duty, those our of Christ certainly cannot
3. remember Mt 5:13-16
4. we need to remember that to fail in duty is to lose our privilege (Mt 25:30)
CLOSE: So many terrible things can happen while the church sleeps. We badly need, each of us, to awaken to our challenge in this dark world. The silence of Christians is an embarrassing silence which is bound to bring embarrassing questions and outcomes.
Cecil A. Hutson
19 May 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)