INTRO: In reading and studying the 2nd chapter of Jonah, I reserved verse 10 for special consideration. Actually, Id already developed the seed thoughts for a lesson based on this verse when I began thinking of the direction I plan to go with our thoughts tonight. Here was a great fish which God used in a remarkable way to accomplish His purposes. As you think about the scriptures, animals have been very prominent in the many incidents recorded. Tonight, I want to talk about The Fish That Obeyed ... And Other Bible Animals.
I. THE FISH THAT OBEYED Jonah 2:10
A. A description of the incident?
1. a disobedient prophet whom God wanted to correct
2. extreme methods to deal with extreme problems
3. a fish which did exactly what God commanded it it swallowed Jonah, and it vomited out Jonah when Gods purpose was accomplished (Ps 148:7,8)
B. A dumb animal? Perhaps, but ...
1. this animal was wiser than so many human beings
2. Eph 2:2 the course of this world ... disobedience
3. obedience to God is the only real wisdom that exists. wisdom which has not taken int o consideration Gods will/word is short sighted wisdom! (note Heb 5:9)
II. THE ASS THAT REBUKED HIS MASTER Num 22:27-31
A. What was going on here?
1. King Balak wanted prophet Balaam to curse Israel
2. Balaam was very interested in the rewards for doing so ... but knew, too, that he could not go beyond the word of the Lord (v.18)
3. but Balaks servants persisted in persuasion and Balaam decided to go with them to see what might happen
B. The ass saw Gods angel and realized danger of going on
1. God used the ass to try to show Balaam his foolhardiness
2. who was stubborn? the donkey or Balaam?
3. Jude 10-12 note especially v.11 ... three men stubbornly determined to have their way Balaams ass had more sense than these men representing the highest order of animal!
III. THE FISH THAT TESTIFIED FOR CHRIST Matthew 17:24-27
A. The issue of the payment of temple tax
1. law of Moses authorized it for temple use - Ex 30:12-16
2. Peter knew tax was legitimate was ready to pay it
3. but look how Jesus secured the money to do so!
B. This fish confessed the Sonship of Jesus
1. issue of vv.25b,26 is central here His Sonship
2. the manner of securing appropriate amount of money was proof to Peter that Jesus indeed was the Son of Him in whose control all creation is (note Col 1:14-17)
3. later, of course, resurrection confirms - Rom 1:3,4
IV. THE GOAT THAT CARRIED AWAY SINS Lev 16:20-22
A. The marvelous day of atonement!
1. God has been dealing with human sin for so long
2. a special day with very special meaning for Israel
3. this living goat symbolized the carrying away of sins of the people a visible dealing with sin ... annually!
B. This special goat certainly prefigured Christ
1. 1 Pet 2:24 Jesus bare our sins ... on the tree
2. but how complete was the work of Jesus ... Heb 10:12-1_
3. for Christians there is promise of 1 Jno 1:9 .... without elaborate ceremony, trappings simple penitence and confession result in Gods continuing forgiveness
V. THE SERPENT THAT LIES Gen 3:1-5
A. The animal here is not sent by God, nor used by Him
1. rather, Satan uses it to effect his harmful purpose
2. into the mouth of the serpent - which apparently had none of the frightening character before this - Satan puts lies to deceive and beguile
3. isnt it strange how willing Eve was to listen to bad advice!
B. Satans deceptions still plague the human family
1. Rev 12:9 which deceiveth the whole world
2. ... which seems to say the human family is still taking bad advice over good
3. someone has observed that ssssin begins with the hiss of the snake!
CLOSE: For you and me, though, I think I like best the lesson of the fish that obeyed God. Are we as wise as he?
Cecil A. Hutson
06 October 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)