INTRO: Perhaps several lessons could have been developed out of the verses we have read. But it seemed to me that this particular incident needed to be considered as a whole for the lessons it contains. But I did find myself in somewhat of a dilemma when I tried to decide how to approach the text. I started out with Jonahs Priorities. As I thought further, I decided on Jonahs Value System. But that didnt really strike a responsive chord. As I read and reread the text, I settled on the idea of Things Jonah Forgot. Think about that idea with me for a few minutes.
I. HE FORGOT THAT PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THINGS
A. Jonah got worked up over death of a gourd vine!
1. 4:7-9 no doubting it he was upset about that vine
2. he had been exceeding glad of the gourd
3. that ought to begin to tell us something of Jonahs priorities
B. More concerned about gourd than with nearly a million folks
1. what about those souls? what about the innocent child
2. Mk 8:36,37 Ps 49:8 here is what was important to God
3. it seems like the time in which we live has forgotten this we love things and use people ... how sad
II. HE FORGOT GODS WORK IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN I
A. Through entire book I seems to crop up as a problem
1. but in 4th chapter, it really overcomes Jonah
2. his integrity, his wishes, his comfort, his feelings
3. glad for gourd because it provided relief for him
B. But he was a prophet ... a people person ... a servant
1. he - of all people should have realized the importance of Gods work among mankind
2. Phil 2:7 hes talking about probability of his execution ... death for the work of God which, if others have been blessed by his life and work, is a cause for rejoicing!
3. I can tell you first hand that I understand Jonahs problem here ... and too often I fear I identify with it!
III. HE FORGOT TO THANK GOD FOR GODS BOUNTY
A. Whence came that gourd vine?
1.the speed of growth would indicate miracle to Jonah
2. there was not doubting that God had provided for his need
3. but so caught up in himself was Jonah that he did not have the grace to address thanksgiving to God
B. We often take our blessings without tracing to the Source
1. All that we have is Thine alone, a trust O Lord from Thee
2. Ps 103:1-5 and forget not all his benefits
3. perhaps you feel you have no particular blessings if so, you are blind! I frankly confess to being, because of Gods grace and favor, the richest man alive
IV. HE FORGOT THAT LOSSES IN LIFE ARE TEMPORAL AND PREDICTABLE
A. Because gourd died, Jonah felt it better to die than to live
1. certainly became attached to that gourd! (4:10)
2. but nothing material is permanent even our bodies will finally wear out, or be diseased and die
3. Mt 6:19 its a real mistake to become emotionally dependent, entwined with what is on this earth (1 Cor 7:31)
B. The gourd died ... but Goddidnt!
1. note the spirit, sentiment of 2 cor 3:5
2. and couldnt we find great comfort in Ps 34:19
3. if we can learn to place our confidence and trust in the Lord and His workings, the change of life and circumstance will not destroy us nor make bitter people of us
CLOSE: Jonah forgot that God is Sovereign. And in that sovereignty God will decide the issues of life out of His marvelous attributes His righteousness, His mercy, His grace.
The book of Jonah ends with an unanswered question. Jonah has been pretty free with his dialogue with God. But what can he say now? He knows God is right. The only thing left for Jonah is to write the whole story so that we - you and I - can learn from his won profound experiences with God.
Cecil A. Hutson
29 December 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)