Date written: March 12th, 2006
Scripture ref: Jonah 1:1-3
TITLE: Lessons from the Life of Jonah
PROPOSITION: In this sermon we will study the book of Jonah and glean some general lessons from the book.
Objectives: To further familiarize all with the book of Jonah and the lessons it teaches.
1. Read: Jonah 1:1-3
2. About the Text:
1) Of all of the Old Testament prophets, I believe many of us find ourselves like Jonah.
2) Jonah was told to do one thing: go and preach to the people in Nineveh.
3) Instead, he ran away from his responsibility.
4) We have responsibilities today as well.
5) This is why the book of Jonah is so practical in the lessons it has to offer.
3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
I. You Can't Run From God
1. Jonah tried to run from God.
1) God gave Jonah a job, but Jonah didn't want to do it.
2) So he ran from God.
3) He ends up on a ship.
4) A storm threatens to overturn the ship.
5) He is thrown into the water.
6) A great fish, that God prepared, swallows him.
2. Jonah was under God's observation all along.
1) In Job 34:21, Elihu correctly declares, "For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings."
2) Proverbs 15:3 "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."
3) Hebrews 4:13 "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
4) Revelation 2:23 "I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
3. God sees all things and He knows our hearts. There is no place that we can hide from Him.
II. You can't run away from your own problems.
1. Jonah had a problem.
1) The people of Ninevah were the enemies of Israel.
2) And Jonah didn't want to preach to his enemies.
3) The problem was of Jonah's own making.
4) So, he tried to run away from it.
2. Jonah created his own problem, but his solution was to not deal with it.
1) How many times in our life do we create our own problems?
2) Galatians 6:7 states, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
3) And we will be held responsible for what we do with the problems we create.
4) Romans 14:12 says, "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
5) It is better to resolve our problems now with the help of God's word, than let God resolve them in the day of judgment with his divine justice.
6) John 12:48 "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."
3. God resolved Jonah's problems for him, but it wasn't according to Jonah's desires.
III. God's mercy can be rejected, but it is foolish to so act.
1. By refusing God's word, Jonah found himself in the belly of a great fish.
1) Jonah realized that his belief that he could outrun God was a lie.
2) He also then realized that to believe a lie is to forsake God's mercy.
3) So Jonah prayed to God to deliver him.
4) Jonah confessed, "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy" (Jonah 2:8).
5) Jonah was then vomited out by the fish onto the shore.
2. How often do we reject God's word and thus also reject God's mercy?
1) Paul speaks concerning those who love lies more than truth in 2 Thesalonians 2:10-12 stating: "…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
2) We cannot afford to reject God's truth.
3) In so doing we will reject our own freedom (John 8:32).
3. Let us accept God's mercy by accepting His word.
IV. Personal Prejudices Must Not Interfere in Preaching God's word to others.
1. Jonah was prejudiced against the people of Ninevah.
1) He didn't want to preach to them.
2) So he ran off.
3) God called him back to do the job.
2. God doesn't show favoritism today.
1) Acts 10:34-35 "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
2) James 2:8-9 "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors."
3. The gospel today is to be preached to all. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16.
V. When God's word is preached, those with honest hearts will repent.
1. Jonah finally went to Nineveh.
1) When he got there he said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
2) That was the extent of his preaching.
3) It wasn't a "positive" message, but it had positive results.
4) The people of Nineveh believed God and repented.
2. Today we have "good news" to preach, but not everything in the gospel is positive.
1) Paul warned Felix of the judgment to come and Felix trembled (Acts 24:25).
2) The good news is that we don't have to suffer condemnation.
3) Many, however, refuse to believe the message.
4) But good and honest hearts will believe. In Luke 8:15 Jesus states, "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."
3. The people of Nineveh repented because they had honest hearts.
VI. We ought to be happy when people turn to God.
1. After Jonah saw the repentance of the Ninevites, he sulked.
1) Jonah wasn't very happy that his enemies repented and were spared.
2) He even wished to die.
3) So God prepared a gourd to give Jonah shade.
4) Then God took it away.
5) God taught Jonah that he ought not to be upset over something that doesn't belong to him.
2. The souls of men ultimately belong to God who created them.
1) God wants those souls to be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
2) When they are saved, the angels in heaven rejoice. Luke 15:10 states: "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
3) After Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep, he concluded: Matthew 18:14 "Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
4) And God wants us to rejoice with Him. John 4:36 says, "And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together."
3. Let us rejoice over those who are saved regardless of who they may be.
VII. The anger of man doesn't work the righteousness of God.
1. At the end of the story, Jonah was angry.
1) He was angry with the people for repenting.
2) He was also angry with God for destroying the gourd.
2. Anger is a problem we must all deal with in this life.
1) There are some good reasons to be angry.
2) But there are many more wrong reasons to be angry.
3) James 1:19-20 says, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
4) Eph.4:31 states, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:"
5) Eph.4:26 states, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:"
3. Jonah's anger wasn't hurting anyone but himself.
VIII.God instructs man through providential preparations.
1. In the story we see that God prepared several things.
1) God prepared a fish (1:17).
2) God prepared a gourd (4:6).
3) God prepared a worm (4:7).
4) God prepared an east wind (4:8).
5) These things were prepared to teach Jonah a lesson.
2. Today, we have the word of God to teach us, but God may providentially teach us as well how to apply His word.
1) Consider Hebrews 12:5-7 "And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"
2) Consider also Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
3. God prepared these things so that Jonah could learn. We learn through experience as well.
1. There are many other great lessons in the book of Jonah, but let's consider these that we have studied.
1) You can't run from God.
2) You can't run away from your own problems.
3) God's mercy can be rejected, but it is foolish to do such.
4) We cannot allow our own personal prejudices to keep us from preaching God's word.
5) When God's word is preached, those with honest hearts will repent.
6) We ought to be happy when people turn to God.
7) The anger of man doesn't work the righteousness of God.
8) God instructs man through providential preparations.