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December 15, 2002 PM

Jonah 4:2

INTRO: One of the strange things about Jonahs behavior here is the prominent fact that he, Jonah, had been the recipient of Gods mercy when God delivered him from the belly of the great fish ... but he is now begrudging Nineveh that same mercy!In the gospel of Matthew there is a narrative which involves a man who has forgiven a great debt ... but who refused to forgive a much smaller debt owed to him (Mt 18:23-35). That sounds very much like what Jonah is doing. It causes me to wonder if this may be a typical human problem against which we need to be warned. Well, in the course of Jonahs displeasure he pronounces a great Memorial To God.


A. He begins with the essential benevolence of God

1. mankinds total experience should well prove this

2. in garden of Eden God provided for every need

3. following the fall, He provided clothes (Gen 3:21)

4. Mt 5:45 with Ps 145:9,15,16 on the evil and on the good

B. Though not Jews, Ninevites were His children

1. certainly not in the proper spiritual sense

2. yet, they, too, were in His image with souls

3. Ezek 33:11 here is gods position from this position (or fact) springs the grace of God (Ezek 34:6)

4. note, too, that the following characteristics in the memorial flow from Gods grace


A. Though perfectly just, God seeks ways of mercy

1. yes, law requires justness from God

2. but god does not take the easy way of exact justice He does not turn away from the love, the care, the grace which are so much a part of Him

3. thus, God may be Just ... but He is also Justifier (Rom 3:26)

B. Gods mercy seeks out mankind offers life

1. didnt have to send Jonah to Nineveh mercy did!

2. didnt have to send Christ to humanity mercy did!

3. yet, even in this mercy there must be a corresponding response from us (see again Rom 3:26)


A. We must acknowledge the wrath of God

1. its a fact - unpleasant as it is - revealed in Bible

2. Eph 5:6 we must not be persuaded to believe otherwise

3. Rom 1:18 if mankind does not respond to Gods gracious offer of mercy, Gods wrath is his chosen lot

B. But, marvelously, God is slow to anger

1. he explores every avenue so patiently

2. an angry God would simply have destroyed Nineveh - no warnings, no opportunity for repenting ... just bang (think of Noahs world and the warnings)

3. God gives us ample time to respond to Him ... but He has not provided for an infinity of response time!


A. I wonder if this may not be saying, God does care

1. we tend to make God be so antiseptic emotionless

2. his actions, words seem to come from cold reason

3. but great kindness presents a very different picture

B. God does feel - God does care - God does want involvement

1. Ps 145:9 note tender mercies

2. Ps 36:7 - note loving kindness

3. I believe that God - with His children - is as tender, as touched, as kind as a mother with a child. (Ive been told a mother never hurts quite as much as when one of her children hurts so, too, with God)

CLOSE: And Jonah says that God forgives. What a magnificent conclusion to His memorial ... God forgives those who seek Him and who desire His forgiveness. Isnt it wonderful to know this is the real God. This is your God.

Cecil A. Hutson

15 December 2002

God's Plan of Salvation

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 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 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 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)

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!

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)