Summary: Temptation can arise in various ways of which this is just one!
Might This Temptation Arise In Man’s Mind?
Last week I wrote a brief introduction to the book of Jonah. Today we move on, but do read and study the book of Jonah. It has many lessons to teach us about ourselves and about Almighty God, and do remember that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, pointed to Jonah as a sign of His own life and death and time in the grave, before being resurrected.
If you treat the book of Jonah as fiction then the main figure in the book is Jonah – is this why people find it hard?
If you treat the book as fact – as God’s Word – as the actual state of affairs – then the main figure is Almighty God.
This book is a book about God and what God does.
It was written to tell us about God.
God wants Nineveh to repent and not be destroyed.
Ah, what a lesson on the mercy and grace of God.
There are miracles in this book, and some people find miracles hard to accept, and that might be part of the reason as to why many regard it as fiction.
But as soon as you start to question the validity and authority of the book of Jonah you end up questioning Jesus. That is highly dangerous in all kinds of various ways.
Verse 1 – Jonah is a prophet. Jonah receives a word from the Lord. God gives Jonah a ministry – a message – and a work to do.
This is the finest thing you can hear – and the finest thing you can do – hear from God and be involved in a work of God. The most valuable thing in life is the living God coming to you with His Word, and through His Word.
Jonah is given a most unwelcome task and ministry. He is called to go to Nineveh – the capital of Syria. They were enemies of Israel. They were enemies of God’s people. Their policies were based on cruelty and retribution.
God has every right to tell Jonah where he is to go, and what he is to say.
Here we see something of the place of preaching in the plan of God – preaching is God’s way. Other ways may be used by God, but this is one prime way He has chosen.
God chooses a man to preach His Word. Already we see that this book is about God, just as Genesis is about God, and Matthew and John and Acts are about God.
Go and preach against the wickedness and sin of Nineveh – whether it is popular or not. Go and do what I tell you to do. Say what I give you to say.
Might this temptation arise in man’s mind? We must never preach against a thing, because that upsets people, and can offend people, and may distress people.
There are times when some people need to be upset and offended and distressed, in order that sin might be dealt with before it is too late.
God had seen their wickedness and so He wants to send a man with His Holy Word.
Jonah is to go to non Jews. Nineveh was not on Jonah’s schedule. Converting Nineveh was not something Jonah planned to do, but there were 120,000 people there - the figure referring perhaps to wider than the city itself – just as we speak about London as being more than the city.
The Gospel is for everyone. Jesus – His Word – His mercy – His Love – forgiveness – His healing – His power – is to be offered to everyone.
It has to be preached to everyone – across the racial barriers – across the denominational barriers – but so often, like Jonah and Peter, we are prejudiced.
God may ask you to do something that does not make sense.
God has a calendar and a plan that can surprise us at times.
The risen and living Jesus has poured out His Holy Spirit upon people whom we thought could not be visited by God. Are you not glad about that?
Have you that complete and total assurance that you are ‘born again’?
Have you been baptised in water? Has the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ baptised you in the Holy Spirit?
It is good before going any further to take time to check that these basic fundamental essentials are part of our spiritual foundation.
Might this temptation arise too in man’s mind – that we do not need all this in these present days?
In the New Testament, everyone who came into the Church of Jesus Christ had this experience and I know of no other way of coming into the Church of Jesus Christ. Do you?