INTRO: Have you ever heard the expression, When all else fails, read the directions? We put a great deal of confidence and trust in what we can do. With some of the projects I undertake I am also reminded that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I suppose, though, thats the nature of human pride. And before we know it, were in way over our heads. When weve gotten ourselves boxed in and thoroughly distraught, we turn to the directions ... when all else has failed. The three verses we have read represent perfectly the feeling when all else fails. The sailors had tried everything ... almost ... to save the ship.
I. THEY HAD TRIED CRYING TO THEIR GODS
A. Jonah 1:5a Here they are in prayer
1. apparently a mixed crew several national gods involved
2. there was no lack of religion among them
3. but their gods were not living, real - Jer 10:5
4. when need really came, their gods failed them
B. Are folks today any different, really?
1. devote lives to jobs, to hobbies, to pleasure, to ideas
2. our idols do not take form of graven images but they are nevertheless real
3. note Col 3:5 and 1 Tim 5:6
4. and when help is really needed, these idols fail to give it ..
Ps 49:6,7 Prov 11:28 ... its the saddest sort of scene to watch one die whose hope has been in his gods
II. THEY HAD TRIED THEIR WISDOM
A. Jonah 1:5b They cast forth the wares ... to lighten ship
1. they had a lot of experience on which to draw
2. they put that wisdom of sailing to work for them
3. everything they knew told them this was the way to handle the crisis
4. but their wisdom didnt change a thing!
B. And how about us ... are we any different?
1. often theres a right way, a wrong way and my way
2. certainly we should use our wisdom, our experience
3. but there must be limits here Prov 3:5b
4. human wisdom simply cannot solve all of our dilemmas only wisdom tempered by Gods wisdom can help us ... Prov 9:10 and 21:16 ... the answer is often within reach, and ignored!
III. THEY HAD TRIED THEIR OWN STRENGTH
A. Jonah 1:13a The men put physical powers to work
1. ancient sailors were seasoned, strong, rugged
2. surely their combined strength would land ship safely
3. those oars had gotten them out of tight spots before
4. but physical strength availed nothing these sailors have about come to the when all else fails stage!
B. Some folks today are like those sailors
1. bluster, force is the ready answer to everything
2. for some, physical strength or beauty is a matter of great pride
3. remember Samson ... there came a time when brute strength wasnt the answer to his need having depended so much on his strength, he failed!
4. 1 Cor 1:25-27 our physical strengths or attributes will not always be the answer nor be available! then we will need something more
V. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS ... DO IT GODS WAY!
A. Jonah 1:12-15 Finally, mariners turn to the living God
1. they are forced to that as the only choice left!
2. yes, they could have gone on in their foolish mistakes ... some people do exactly that and they are wrecked in the process
3. they wisely recognize Gods will is true wisdom
B. The earlier we conclude this truth, the better for us
1. there is only one God, only one way of wisdom
2. its sad to be all the way to ones extremity before finally surrendering to Gods will ... that can be so painful
3. rather, we should early -as soon as our knowledge of god comes - seek His way ... thought: Ps 63:1-4
4. when Gods way was done, the sea ceased from her raging when all else failed ...
CLOSE: Where is your trust? Place it in God and His wisdom now. Why should we have to make the mistakes of others before we realize that is the only real choice we have? If youve already found things and people failing you, try God and His way!
Cecil A. Hutson
14 July 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)