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Summary: This is the 3rd sermon in the series "Stubborn Saints". This sermon looks at serving God with the right motives.

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Sunday Evening January 26, 2003 Bel Aire Baptist Church

Series: “Stubborn Saints” (#3)

I HOPE THEY LOSE

Jonah 3:1-4:11

Introduction:

1. As we watch the Super Bowl, most people have chosen a team in which they hope wins. The motives for each person wanting a particular team to win are different. Some people want a certain team to win because they hate the other team.

2. I remember talking to an avid Texas A&M fan about football and asked them a question about a game between Oklahoma State and The University of Texas. Their answer was, “I cheer for whoever is playing against The University of Texas”.

3. This is exactly how Jonah felt. Yes, he was going to Nineveh to preach to them, but it wasn’t’ because he wanted to. It was simply because God gave him no other choice and because he knew there was no way that these evil people would change.

The Message

Jonah 3:1-4

1. The message to the city of Nineveh was simple: Turn or burn!

2. This is also a great example of God’s sovereignty. I’m sure Jonah didn’t preach his best sermon. He probably didn’t put his all into this sermon, but God used Jonah anyhow.

3. Let me ask you a question about Jonah for a second. “Was Jonah serving the Lord the way he was supposed to?” No! Did God still get the message out? Yes. So how did this affect Jonah? We will find that although Jonah was obedient it was out of obligation and fear not out of an obedient heart. The job still was accomplished, but Jonah did not receive joy in his life because of his hardened heart. What is your motive for serving God?

We have heard the message, now let’s look at…

The Responses

Nineveh’s Response

Jonah 3:5-9

1. They heard and believed.

2. The king of Nineveh immediately humbled himself and repented.

3. Then he told the people of the city to also humble themselves before God and repent and they did.

God’s Response

Jonah 3:10

1. God saw that they had believed, humbled themselves, and repented of their evil ways.

2. God had compassion upon them. As evil as these people had been, God immediately forgot about all of that once they repented. This is grace. Grace is getting something although you do not deserve it.

3. God had mercy upon them and did not destroy them. Mercy is not giving you what you deserve. By the way, this is what God does for us when we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and repent of our evil ways and follow Him. He saves us from eternal destruction although we do not deserve it. That shows us His grace and mercy.

Jonah’s Response

Jonah 4:1-3

1. He was displeased with God’s decision not to destroy Nineveh and it made him angry.

2. Jonah let God know real quickly that this was the reason he didn’t go to Nineveh the first time (like God didn’t know that).

3. He was actually mad at God because God was merciful, loving, slow to anger, and gracious. Jonah’s solution was: “Fine God, just kill me.” Talk about “cutting off your nose to spite your face”! Jonah was so mad that he began to start acting stupid. Like killing him was going to really teach God a lesson or something. Have you ever got so mad at God that you made totally stupid comments and did stupid things?

The Lesson

Jonah 4:4-11

1. I love this object lesson that God gave Jonah. God wanted Jonah to get the message. “Who do you think you are Jonah?” See God is the One Who created all things. It is up to Him to what happens to His creation.

2. He loves us so much that although we deserve destruction He makes a way for us to have eternal life. God offers that eternal life to all who will accept it, regardless of what we think. That means that the lesson for Jonah and the lesson for us today is the same. All, including you, need salvation and it is offered to everyone. We don’t pick who we think deserves salvation. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done to us. When God tells us to tell them about salvation that is offered to us through Jesus Christ, then you need to just do it.

3. If at anytime you have not told someone about Christ because of their color, age, appearance, smell, etc… you are no better than Jonah. You are in sin and you better repent and do as God has called you to.

Conclusion:

1. Most of the books of the Bible end on a good note, but notice here that we do not find Jonah pulling it together. I wonder if he did or did he just give up because God did not do things the way he wanted God to. I guess we will never know the answer to that question, but you do know the answer to the same question in your life. If you have decided in your heart not to give your best for Christ when it comes to certain people, are you willing to change or will you go to your grave angry?

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