INTRO: When youve done everything reason, experience and wisdom indicate you should do and the crisis is unresolved, you may resort to desperate or foolish measures. Well, the sailors on that little ship being beaten by a storm in the Mediterranean Sea had gotten to that point. While it may seem insignificant on the surface, the verse we have read does suggest some thoughts worth our considering. We may picture, then, the ships company gathered in a sheltered place anxiously casting lots as a means of determining for whose cause this evil is upon us.
I. DOES CALAMITY MEAN ONE IS A GREAT SINNER?
A. Now, admittedly this storm was because of sin
1. but at this point mariners did not know it
a. idea simply is that if something really bad happens to you its because of your being a sinner Job 4:7
b. Jesus refers to that idea in Lk 13:2,4
c. true, too, sin can bring calamity
B. And chastisement does come into righteous lives
1. Heb 12:5-7,11
2. frankly, honestly, I could not try to identify in your life just when the pain is Gods chastisement you know your life and can likely make that judgment
C. But, in general, disaster, calamity are not identified with personal sin
1. look at Lk 13:4 were these worse than others? no!
2. we can - at any time - be caught up in a situation not of our making .. but these mariners were very much influenced by the idea Eliphaz expressed in Job 4:7
II. WE SEE AN INCLINATION NOT TO CONFESS SIN
A. Among ships company, is it I idea did not surface
1. they believed someone was guilty
2. but no one was wiling to see himself as being so involved in error as to have caused the storm
B. No one likes to confess sin, error
1. but 1 Jno 1:8,9 and this confessing is not one which must be wrung from us!
2. honest looking at ones life is so necessary to change to improvement Ps 119:58,59 versus 1 Tim 4:1,2
III. AND WHAT ABOUT THE CASTING OF LOTS?
A. There were certainly some occasions of this historically and Biblically speaking
1. 1 Sam 10:20,21 apparently involved in selecting of Saul
2. Lev 16:8-10 selection of scape goat
3. Josh 7:16-19 discovery of Achan
4. Acts 1:26 selection of Matthias
B. Two principles to be noted:
1.Prov 16:33 the lot is immaterial it is always God Who does the disposing of matters properly referred to Him
2. Num 32:23 somehow our sin will indeed catch us
3. in some circumstances, though, Divine determinations were made known by this method which apparently satisfied all involved Prov 18:18
4. we keep in mind, too, that the lot belonged to a period of uncertainties, of Gods direct interventions, etc.
C. How are our decisions to be made?
1. firstly, note 2 Pet 1:3,4,19 ... ours is not a period of relative darkness Gods word (New Testament) has certainly given light (Eph 5:8)
2. God has given rules, guidelines, principles ... we learn them and apply them honestly, consistently
3. in situations of choice we read, we pray ... we choose as wisely as we know how and responsibility for the choice is ours
4. I am personally grateful for Gods having confidence in us ... that we can with His guidelines choose wisely, correctly
CLOSE: Well, the lot was cast ... and God no doubt wanted Jonah identified! The lot fell upon Jonah. Now his problems really begin in earnest. But realize two things: (1) obedience would have averted the whole business, and (2) repentance and confession would also have been wise, proper. Here are two great lessons we need to observe.
Cecil A. Hutson
26 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)