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John Brown :: Jonah 1

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I. INTRODUCTION

A. Last week we began our study of the book of Jonah.

1. As usual, we did a brief background study and you might remember that I shared with you that this little book has been very controversial.

2. You may also remember that I shared with you the historical evidence of Jonah and his ministry and that there is no reason NOT to believe that everything in this book is accurate.

a) But of course, if you do not believe in a miraculous God, then Jonah's story would be a bit hard to believe.

b) And that is where the "critics" choke. They do not believe in the Lord - therefore they cannot believe in the miracles of the Lord - therefore they cannot believe that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish and "submarined" to Nineveh.

(1) But least there be any doubt - the Lord used Jonah as a example in Matthew 12:39-41 as the only sign to His generation regarding His death and resurrection.

3. There is much to be learned in the book of Jonah about how the Lord trains a disciple.

a) We don't like to the word "discipline" much but it is impossible to be a disciple without discipline!

(1) Alan Redpath says in his study of this book, "We are only really free when we are not free, to be free of God."

(2) You see as a disciple of the Lord, we are really slaves!

(a) We use to be slaves to sin and the flesh, but we chose a different Master and willfully accepted to be servants of the Lord.

(i) And we really experience our greatest freedom when we realize that doing His will is freedom!

(a) But this takes "discipline", and we are going to find that Jonah was a bit undisciplined.

(b) And being undisciplined prevented him from doing the will of the Lord, so the Lord is going to "re-train" him. He will make him a true disciple!

(i) As we watch the Lord make a disciple out of Jonah, we can see how He will make disciples out of us!

4. One last thing before we begin our study, please keep in mind that this book is autobiographical.

a) Meaning Jonah wrote this about himself! Could you or I be this brutally honest about our hatred, prejudice, doubt and general shortcomings in the Lord?

II. JONA 1:1-17 (NASB) The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." 3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 4 And the LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5 Then the sailors became afraid, and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten [it] for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down, and fallen sound asleep. 6 So the captain approached him and said, "How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps [your] god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish." 7 And each man said to his mate, "come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity [has struck] us." So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, "Tell us, now! On whose account [has] this calamity [struck] us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" 9 And he said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." 10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, "How could you do this?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. 11 So they said to him, "What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?"-- for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. 12 And he said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm [has come] upon you." 13 However, the men rowed [desperately] to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming [even] stormier against them. 14 Then they called on the LORD and said, "We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us; for thou, O LORD, hast done as thou hast pleased." 15 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows. 17 And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

A. I would like to point out that one of the primary disciplines of a disciple is simply to obey!

1. Please notice that the Lord did not open His idea for debate or even ask Jonah what he thought about it. He simply said, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

a) You see the Lord is going to judge Nineveh for its wickedness, and He want to send them a messenger with the hope they will repent.

(1) We see here in this Old Testament book "in miniature", what we see in John 3:16 (NASB) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

(a) Well you could say this, "For God so loved Nineveh, that He gave Jonah, that whoever would repent should not perish, but have eternal life."

(b) Jesus was all over it, but Jonah wanted no part of it!

(i) So we will learn how the Lord teaches His disciples the discipline of obedience.

B. Another great discipline of a disciple is love!

1. Jonah hated the Ninevites, but hatred doesn't mix too well with being a disciple of the Lord. It prevents us from doing His will!

a) Luke 6:27-31 (NASB) "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.

b) Jonah is going to learn to love the unlovely with the Lord of the Lord.

(1) Not always easy to do, but necessary if we are to do the will of the Lord!

C. And yet a 3rd indispensable discipline of a disciple is to ALWAYS take the Lord's side - especially when it comes to sin!

1. You see we must be 100% committed against it- 90 or even 99% won't cut it!

a) Anything short of 100% will end in disaster.

(1) Jonah obviously didn't see Nineveh's sin the same what the Lord did.

(a) It didn't bother him the same way it did the Lord.

(i) Therefore his reactions were different also.

D. I am convinced that the Lord will call each and every one of His disciples to "Nineveh" at some point in their walks.

1. It may not be some far away land. It may even be some inward struggle, but I guarantee, whatever our personal "Nineveh" is - it will test our obedience, our love and even our opinion of sin!

a) It will be a place where we must die and Christ must live!

b) It will be place where He must reign and we must bow!

c) It will be a place where we learn that doing His will is the only place where we are really free!

(1) But it will also be a place of tremendous joy, and tremendous Holy Spirit anointing and power.

(a) John 12:24-26 (NASB) "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. 26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

(b) It is a place on anointing and power and fruitfulness because we have died and Christ reigns!

III. CONCLUSION

A. What "Nineveh" do we face this morning?

1. Perhaps it is some secret sin that has come up before the Lord and He is asking us to speak against it!

2. It could even be an attitude or a business practice, but it is that thing that perhaps we have tolerated with 90 or even 99% obedience, but the Lord is saying, Jon 1:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

a) In other words - IT IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE. We must see it as the Lord does. There must be a death and it must be ours. We must bow and Christ must reign!

B. Or we can run - as Jonah did. But we must understand, if we run we will grow even more callused to that sin, and even to the people that are hurting around us - perhaps even because of us!

1. Jonah 1:4-5 And the Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5 Then the sailors became afraid, and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten [it] for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down, and fallen sound asleep.

a) The storm raged, but Jonah didn't care. He was asleep!

2. Jonah 1:15-17 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. 17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

a) Obedience is always better than the alternatives!

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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