INTRO: Although we have engaged in fairly extensive studies of the little book of Jonah, I would like to include the book in our study of the books of the Bible. In view of the recentness of our studies of Jonah, our lesson tonight will be a bit more brief than usual. Still, there are some points to remember. The man Jonah presents us with some serious questions. And when we have finished reading the little book, some of those questions remain. I suppose that in this life we will not have the satisfactory answers we would like to have. But it may be that we are putting too much emphasis on the unanswered questions ... and not enough on those things we can know from this book.
I. GOD IS VERY AWARE OF WHAT TRANSPIRES ON THIS EARTH
A. Nineveh was a Gentile city of Gentile people
1. the vast majority of the Old Testament is concerned with Israel
2. while the various prophets did from time to time speak of and to nations not of the Mosaic covenant, their ministries were to the people of the promise
B. So, Gods concern for the wickedness of Nineveh may be a bit of a surprise
1. and Gods sending a prophet on such a lengthy journey to cry against the city is perhaps just a bit out of character
2. lesson: God is the God of all the earth! - Acts 17:24-28 ... rest assured, He is aware and concerned about what is transpiring on our earth at this very moment in time!
II. A REBELLIOUS CHILD OF GOD IS A TRAGIC TESTIMONY
A. The fleeing Jonah is on a ship manned by pagan people
1. this might not have been significant if Jonah was on a legitimate journey
2. but Jonah is fleeing from God and responsibility
B. So, Jonahs behavior places an entire ships company in grave danger
1. listen to the crew members: Jonah 1:8-10 ... Why hast thou done this?
2. Prov 25:26 - one who should be a well of life (Prov 10:11) has become corrupted to Gods use (to deliberately ruin a source of water would have been a crime of great proportions - there is a great spiritual truth here)
III. GODS PURPOSES WILL NOT BE THWARTED
A. Nineveh had to hear Gods message ... that was Gods purpose
1. and Jonah was the servant He chose to deliver the message
2. God could have done so many things here (a replacement?) - but He had chosen Jonah for some reason, and Jonah would go
B. 2 Cor 4:7 - God has entrusted His greatest purpose to fragile human servants
1. and it is true that some of them will fail in their ministry of the word - and Satan has always sought to thwart that ministry (as he did with Jonah)
2. but Gods purpose will be accomplished - the message will be preached - people will hear - and, happily, many people will respond - Isa 55:11
IV. SO, AN ENTIRE CITY/NATION REPENTED WHEN THEY HEARD!
A. I think I lose sight of this fact because of concerns about unanswered questions
1. I get caught up in wondering how God could use such a servant; how he was able to survive in the fish; how he could fail to rejoice in Ninevehs repentance
2. and what about the vine and the worm ... and Jonahs anger for vines death
B. Do we appreciate the power of the word of God in peoples lives?
1. Rom 1:16 - Jas 1:21 - but the message is entrusted to earthen vessels
2. it is we who are in the Jonah position now - it is we whom God has charged with taking the saving message to a lost world ... are we running away?
V. THE STRANGE, ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOR OF A HUMAN BEING
A. The illogical, unreasonable anger of Jonah is baffling
1. Jonah 4:1 - he was very angry
2. and his anger caused him to act in irrational and unbecoming ways
B. Jas 1:20 - The validity of this statement is proven over and again in life
1. anger is a human emotion which non of us can afford!
2. anger (except in the case of true righteous anger) will always, always be hurtful and leave things broken
CLOSE:Jonah is a very unusual and, I believe, special little book. I read it often. I find in it inspiration ... and correction. There are too many times, Im afraid, that this little book is a mirror ... and I dont always like what I see!
Cecil A. Hutson
20 April 2003
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)