Summary: A sermon for Independence Day on Jonah 3

Sermon for 7/6/2003

Jonah 3


In John Steinbeck’s story The Wayward Bus a dilapidated old bus takes a cross country shortcut on its journey to Los Angeles, and gets stuck in the mud. While the drivers go for assistance, the passengers take refuge in a cave. It is a curious company of people and it is obvious that the author is attempting to get across the point that these people are lost spiritually as well as literally. As they enter into this cave, the author calls the readers attention to the fact that as they enter they must pass a word that have been painted over the entrance. The word is repent. Although Steinbeck calls that to the readers attention it is interesting that none of the passengers pay any attention to it whatsoever.


Our characters this morning take note of this message and repent.

Thesis: We see here three who display repentance. Let’s look at these three.

For instances:

1. Jonah (vs. 1-4)

A. Last week we talked about running back to God. In the belly of the fish Jonah displayed repentance through the following:

1. Prayer

2. Faith

3. Confession

4. Praise

5. Commitment

B. An important step is to make a U-turn. This is literally what repentance means. Going in one direction and then turn around and go another.

C. Make a change. Running away from God and now running back to God.

D. The last step in the process is obedience.

E. Jonah disobeyed God and ran away to the ocean. He ended up in the belly of a whale. He prayed and asked God for a second chance. God made that fish spit him up on the beach. Now, Jonah has a choice, he can go to Nineveh and obey God or he can choose to disobey and do something else.

G. It is hard for us to imagine Jonah disobeying again. People do it all of the time.

1. A man is stranded out in the ocean and he prays to God that he will be saved. He makes a bargain with God, a vow, and he says that if God saves him he will be give the rest of his life to God. A helicopter comes and rescues him and he says, Oh thank you God. He comes home and he tells people how fortunate he was that helicopter came along. He forgets all about his vow and he forgets all about God. He displayed some repentance to God but it was not genuine. This man used God! How do you think God will respond to that? How would we respond to that?

2. There is another man who I read about who was in a battle and his buddy next to him was a Christian. The bullets were whizzing by and this Christian was hit and this Christian prayed for his friend as he was dying. When this Christian finally died, this man who cared nothing about Jesus Christ, vowed to God that if God could get him out of this battle alive that he would serve his friends God for the rest of his days. God answered his request. This man came back to the United States and this is exactly what he did. He became a preacher and up until a few years ago, Raymond Blair preached to a large congregation in Florida.

H. Which one of these displayed genuine repentance?

I. Many people weep and bemoan their sins and the consequences of their rebellious actions, but they do not come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, they come to him for deliverance and when they are delivered they quickly go back to their sins.

K. (2 Pet 2:22 NIV) Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

L. The day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:37 NIV) When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"(Acts 2:38 NIV) Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:39 NIV) The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."(Acts 2:40 NIV) With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."(Acts 2:41 NIV) Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:42 NIV) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

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