INTRO: I wonder how willing Jonah was to participate in the casting of lots. He knew he was guilty before God. Yet, perhaps he thought that there was a good chance the lot would fall to someone else. But it didnt. The lot fell upon Jonah. Now came the embarrassment of discovery. It is always embarrassing to be exposed as a sinner ... at least to one who has been representing himself to be upright. How red Jonahs face must have been. As soon as the lot fell to Jonah, the mariners began to ask Jonah questions designed to help them understand why the violent storm had broken around them. What they were asking Jonah really amounted to this: Who are you, Jonah?
I. WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION?
A. Jonah was a prophet of God
1. a man charged with very special responsibilities
2. a man very specially in the employ of God
3. a revealer of Gods will; a teacher; a spiritual and moral leader; often the backbone of the nation; special problems always came when prophets erred (Jer 23:15,16)
4. mariners can now see that Jonah is no ordinary passenger
B. But what is our occupation?
1. ah, nothing so responsible, we say chemist, clerk, etc.
2. such is an indication of how we divorce our religion from our day to day lives!
3. listen: Eph 4:1 ... vocation 1 Pet 2:5 ... holy priesthood
4. as far as God is concerned, we are people - like Jonah - of a very special occupation with special responsibilities
II. WHENCE HAVE YOU COME?
A. Jonah had come from before the presence of the Lord
1. what a lovely and favored position that is
2. but look at direction he is now going ... away!
3. Jer 14:7 Jonah was backsliding (Jer 2:19)
4. mariners are reminding him pointedly of this
B. Its possible that we are drifting from Gods presence
1. true, in a sense one cannot escape from Gods presence
2. but this word presence speaks of favored position of one who is devotedly, faithfully serving God
3. thus, 2 Jno 8,9 abideth ... we must continue in this faithful service to maintain that favored position
4. from Israel we can learn seriousness of backsliding!
III. WHAT IS YOUR COUNTRY?
A. Jonah was of Israel
1. he dwelt in the promised land
2. it was a nation/land long identified with God
3. and God had called it the land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8)
4. it was (by comparison to others) a civilized, caring, blessed land Jonah was fleeing to pagan, violent, lawless land
B. Christians have a country apart from geography
1. 1 Pet 2:9 a holy nation
2. our citizenship is higher than one that has a loyalty only to temporal government Phil 3:20
3. this holy nation is Gods; it is a nation within which His law makes each citizen better than he had imagined he could be: it is a nation in which the King has granted mercy, favor to every citizen
4. we need to ask, then, is the world too much with us?
IV. OF WHAT PEOPLE ARE YOU?
A. Jonah was a Hebrew who served the God Who made land and sea
1. nothing, perhaps, was more significant than this
2. a people of God, in covenant with God - Ex 19:3-6,8
3. the Hebrews were different a peculiar people because of their very special relationship with Jehovah
B. Did you know that you are an Israelite?
1. Gal 6:15,16 Christians are the new, spiritual Israel
2. Rom 2:28,29 with Co l 2:11-13 it is we who have believed and have been buried who are true Jews!
3. and we are in that covenant relationship which Jonah neglected/forsook by his disobedience (Jer 22:8,9)
CLOSE: Who are you? You are more than meets the eye. You are of all people most favored on earth. Do not forsake you vocation, your spiritual heritage for anything!
Cecil A. Hutson
02 June 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)