INTRO: The book of Jonah is a book of contrasting destinations. Nineveh was one of the prominent destinations. It was, in fact, the prime objective of the book ... a city in dire need of Gods word. By contrast, there was also the destination of Tarshish. That city was no doubt a worthy place with much to commend it. However, Gods objective was to send a preacher to Nineveh so that that great city (as it is called) could know its sin and its fate if it continued in that course. I want us to think about the destinations of Nineveh and Tarshish for what they represent in Jonahs behavior.
I. TARSHISH DESTINATION OF DISOBEDIENCE
A. Remember, this was not Gods choice of destinations
1. perhaps most would see no harm in Jonahs going there
2. outwardly, his doing so would arouse no human concern
3. but when God declares a certain way or path, any other is the destination of disobedience (Isa 45:19)
B. Tarshish was the destination of willful disobedience
1. to go there Jonah had to deliberately disobey God
2. ignorance of Gods will could not be claimed
3. Rom 1:32 a disobedience without excuse!
C. Tarshish was the destination of unhappy consequences
1. from moment of the choice, Jonah is troubled
2. from Genesis to Revelation Bible illustrates in scores of lives the misery, unhappiness of violating Gods pattern, plan and word
3. perhaps, though, no book or person better demonstrates this than does Jonah his disobedience touched so many
II. NINEVEH DESTINATION OF OBEDIENCE
A. Here was Gods choice of destinations
1. His defining this one ruledout any others
2. we must remember that about Gos explicit directions - He did not need to tell Jonah not to go to Tarshish
3. God had a reason for defining as He did this destination
B. Jonah 3:3 It was the choice of obedience
1. so Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh
2. how hard had been the lesson of obedience for Jonah!
3. and his experiences are there to instruct us - Rom 15:4 ... thus, it is rank foolishness for us to knowingly make the same mistakes he made
C. Nineveh was the destination of Gods word
1. this is an important fact for our own lives
2. GodS word has a point 2 Tim 3:16,17 ... He takes pains to reveal the way that is best, that is right (Rom 1:16,17)
3. only one response could be acceptable .. according to the word of the Lord
D. The choice of Nineveh resulted in happy consequences
1. firstly, Jonah was in a correct relationship with God - therein must have been personal relief (Prov 29:18)
2. secondly, Nineveh repented and was spared
3. obedience touches lives in a positive way just as disobedience has a negative impact on others!
III. WHAT SHOULD OUR DESTINATION BE? OBEDIENCE!
A. For us it is not a place rather, state of mind, way of life
1. obedience may involve specific steps, occasions, etc.
2. but these specifics should be easily observed because the daily attitude is that of listening and obeying
3. Heb 8:10 the mind, the heart truly filled with the law of God leads to a life convincing others of the presence of God in that life ... Heb 8:11
B. Destination: obedience can become fairly easy mode of life
1. not easy in that it has no difficulties, problems
2. but easy in that as we become more dominated by the teaching and example of Christ we find obedience becoming a less difficult response ... more a life response than an occasion response
3. Rom 8:5,614 with Eph 5:8-10
C. This obedience does result in happy consequences
1. man is made in such a way that disobedient living is harmful to the person disobedience is like pouring sand into the gears of a machine it ruins!
2 Rom 1:27 we are made to obey God its that simple
3. our obedience will no doubt influence others to this way of life ... more happiness!
CLOSE: What will it be for us, then? Tarshish or Nineveh? We may choose either destination. Choose wisely and well; because you have to live with the consequences of your choice.
Cecil A. Hutson
20 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)