Sermon for August 01, 2009
Sermon Series: It’s Not Too Late:
Sermon #3: It’s Not Too Late for JONAH, the REBEL
Scripture Ref: Jonah 1:1-4
1. Now the word of the LORD came unto JONAH, the son of AMATAI, saying, 2. Arise, go to NINEVEH, that great city, for their wickedness is come up before ME. 3: But JONAH rose up to flee unto TARSHISH from the presence of the LORD, & went down to JOPPA & he found a ship going to TARSHISH, so he paid the fare thereof & went down into it, to go with them unto TARSHISH from the presence of the LORD.
Most of us have heard of JONAH since we were CHILDREN through BIBLE STORIES being read to us; either by our MOTHERS or by SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS. & there are many people who BELIEVE that JONAH is nothing more than a FICTICIOUS CHARACTER that makes a GOOD STORY for children. However, JONAH is a REAL PERSON. He is 1st mentioned in the book of II Kings chapter 14:25.
It wasn’t long after the days of the prophets ELIJAH & ELISHA that JONAH came upon the scene in NOTHERN ISRAEL during the days when JEROBOAM was their king.
1: The CALLING & ASSIGNMENT from the LORD: An HONOR:
Jonah 1:1-2 ‘Now the word of the LORD came unto JONAH, saying, Arise, go to NINEVEH, that great city & cry out against it, for their wickedness is come up before ME.’
This ENTIRE BOOK of JONAH deals with HOW WE RESPOND to the CALL of GOD.
I want to BEGIN this morning by saying to us,
It is an HIGH HONOR & a BLESSING to be CHOSEN & CALLED by GOD to DO ANYTHING we can for HIM.
Often time people ARGUE, “I cannot do anything!”
The LORD doesn’t ask us to DO ANYTHING we’re NOT ABLE to do.
So rather than going about trying to EXCUSE OURSELVES & trying to find A WAY OUT we should be going about with this ATTITUDE about OURSELVES:
“I’m NOT the HOTTEST ITEM on PLANET EARTH but with the LORD’S ANNOINTING I’ll DO the BEST I CAN for GOD.”
Philippians 4:13 ‘I CAN DO – ALL THINGS--- through CHRIST which strengthens me.’
Brother A J Tomlinson, one of the FOUNDING FATHERS of the CHURCH of GOD denomination used to carry A SIGN with him from CONVENTION to CONVENTION as he BOOSTED the WORK of the LORD. It read:
‘A WORK for EVERYONE & EVERYONE a WORKER.’
JESUS told us that rather than being CONCERNED with what we have LAID UP on EARTH such as MATERIAL & MONATARY things we should STRIVE to LAY UP in HEAVEN AHEAD of us TREASURES that CANNOT be TAKEN AWAY from us. The ONLY WAY we can LAY UP TREASURES in HEAVEN which will be WAITING for us ---is for us to be DOERS & NOT just HEARERS today!
Now would be an EXCELLENT TIME for us to ask ourselves SERIOUSLY; “WHAT am I DOING for GOD?”
As LITTLE as GIVING a THIRSTY PERSON a CUP of WATER in the NAME of the LORD will BRING about the BLESSINGS & the ANNOINTING of GOD into our lives.
Being FAITHFUL to GOD is the BEST WAY I know for GOD to BLESS our lives!
So GOD INSTRUCTS JONAH, “Get up & go to NINEVEH & PREACH to them saying, GOD has seen your WICKEDNESS & UNLESS you REPENT within 40 DAYS, GOD will DESTROY this place.”
2: JONAH’S FREE WILL DECISION: NO!
Jonah 1: 3 ‘But JONAH rose up to flee unto TARSHISH from the presence of the LORD, & went down to JOPPA, & he found a ship going to TARSHISH, so he paid the fare thereof, & went down into it to go with them unto TARSHISH from the presence of the LORD.’
The phrase: ‘You can RUN but you CANNOT HIDE’ is never any MORE TRUE than when you’re referring to SOMEONE who is trying to RUN FROM the LORD. There is NO HIDING from GOD!
NINEVEH was to the North East
JONAH went to TARSHISH which was as far West as he could go.
A PROPHET – A MAN of GOD: TOTAL REBELLION:
JONAH goes down to a seaport town called JOPPA & there he finds a COMMERCIAL SHIP headed to TARSHISH & he paid them A FARE to allow him to sail with them to TARSHISH.
We don’t have to be a PROPHET to try to RUN from WHAT GOD is trying to get us to do.
We’re NOT ANGELS or SPIRITUAL ROBOTS who are FORCED to DO the WILL of the LORD. We have the FREEDOM of CHOICE --- We can CHOOSE to say YES or NO.
HOWEVER, it’s going to COST US SOMETHING when we DECIDE to REBEL AGAINST the LORD.
We’re about to DISCOVER that REBELLION will take you FARTHER than you WANT to GO & will COST YOU MORE than you WANTED to PAY.
3: GOD RESPONDS to JONAH’S DECISION:
Jonah 1:4- ‘But the LORD sent a great wind into the sea, & there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.’
JONAH made HIS DECISION & then GOD made HIS DECISION.
JONAH said ‘GOD I’m RUNNING’.
GOD said: ‘JONAH I’m HURLING a GREAT STORM your way.’
We tend to think when STORMS come OUR WAY that they are BEING SENT by the ENEMY, the DEVIL. But I’m PURSUADED to BELIEVE that WHEN we are DISOBEDIENT to the WILL of GOD then many times GOD SENDS a STORM to get OUR ATTENTION & to get us BACK on TRACK again.
The TERRIBLE STORM could very well be our GREATEST BLESSING in the long run.
4: OTHERS are AFFECTED by OUR REBELLION & DISOBEDIENCE:
Jonah 1: 5 ‘Then the mariners were afraid, & cried every man unto his god, & cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But JONAH was gone down into the sides of the ship; & he lay, & was fast asleep. 6. So the shipmaster came to him, & said unto him, “What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy GOD, if so be that GOD will think upon us, that we perish not.” 7. & they said everyone to his fellow, Come, & let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, & the lot fell upon JONAH.’
This STORM was a DIFFERENT KIND of STORM.
SOMEBODY was RESPONSIBLE for this STORM & INNOCENT PEOPLE were SUFFERING.
The DEVIL wants to BRING DOWN ALL he can with the REBELLOUS.
ONE REBELLOUS PERSON can cause a WHOLE LOT of GRIEF & SUFFERING.
So they CAST LOTS & the LOT FELL upon JONAH. JONAH you are the BLAME!
5: IT’S CONFESSION TIME:
Jonah 1: 8-11 ‘Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? & whence comest thou? What is thy country? & of what people art thou? 9. ‘& he said unto them, I am a Hebrew, & I fear the LORD, the GOD of heaven, which hath made the sea & the dry land.’ 10: ‘Then were the men exceedingly afraid, & he said unto him, “Why hast thou done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. 11: Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee? That the sea may be calm unto us? For the sea wrought & was tempestuous?
WHAT have you so STUPIDLY DONE that YOUR GOD is AFTER YOU?
We can TRY EVERYTHING there is to TRY but the STORM WON’T CEASE –UNTIL we REALIZE this is HAPPENING BECAUSE of OUR DISOBEDIENCE to the LORD.
6: THROW ME INTO THE SEA:
Jonah 1: 12 ‘ & he said unto them, Take me up, & cast me forth into the sea, so shall the sea be calm unto you; for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.’
JONAH was WILLING to COMMIT SUICIDE than DO the WILL of GOD &
GO to NINEVEH.
Talk about STUBBORN REBELLION: There are many people who KNOW their REBELLION is the CAUSE for the MESS they’re in BUT STILL WON”T DO RIGHT!
7: IT GETS WORSE BEFORE IT GETS BETTER:
When NOT in the WILL of GOD it can GET WORSE if we DON”T SURRENDER:
Jonah 1: 15 ‘So they took JONAH, & cast him forth into the sea, & the sea ceased from her raging.’
We don’t need to be IN THE COMPANY of those REBELLING AGAINST GOD.
Jonah 1:17 ‘& the LORD had prepared (appointed) a great fish to swallow up JONAH. & JONAH was in the belly of the fish three days & three nights.’
GOD didn’t CREATE a GREAT FISH:
GOD PREPARED or APPOINTED a GREAT FISH to come & SWALLOW UP JONAH.
There’s a REBELLOUS PROPHET over there ABOUT to DROWN & I need you to go pick him up.
The GREAT FISH was SENT by DIVINE APPOINTMENT not by CHANCE or by ACCIDENT!
8: WHATEVER IT TAKES:
Do you REALLY WANT to RELEASE ALL THINGS unto GOD?
I mean GOD KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT IT WILL TAKE.
Are we WILLING to TRUST GOD’S DIVINE WISDOM?
Sometimes we have to be BROUGHT WAY DOWN BEFORE we & others WILL LOOK UP!
DAVID testified & said the LORD DELIVERED HIM OUT of a HORRIBLE PIT.
JONAH BEGINS to PRAY:
Jonah 2: 1 Then JONAH prayed unto the LORD his GOD out of the fish’s belly, & said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, & HE heard me, out of the belly of hell cried I, & thou heardest my voice.’
JONAH begins to DESCRIBE what it was LIKE INSIDE the FISH.
LYING in BELLY WATER with SEAWEED WRAPPED around his HEAD.
That was one more DARK – WET -SLIMMY-- STINKING PLACE.
You know the SAD THING about it all? It was JONAH’S OWN FAULT.
Proverbs 13:15 ‘The way of the transgressor is hard.’
9: JONAH REPENTS:
No doubt JONAH THOUGHT --- IT’S ALL TOO LATE NOW
The 1st STEP of DELIVERANCE:
Jonah 2: 7 ‘When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: & my prayer came unto THEE, into thine holy temple. 9: But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.’
LORD I will KEEP MY VOW:
LORD I WILL GO TO NINEVEH
10: IT WASN’T TOO LATE:
Jonah 2:10 ‘& the LORD spoke unto the fish, & it vomited out JONAH upon the dry land.’
Now 1st of all JONAH isn’t looking too good right now: He looks like he’s VOMITED UP. I don’t know what FISH VOMIT looks like but it’s NOT PRETTY.
But the INTERESTING THING here is WHERE he was VOMITED UP.
He VOMITED UP JONAH on DRY LAND.
Now the LAST TIME we CHECKED JONAH was in the MIDST of the SEA – but he gets VOMITED UP on DRY LAND.
So while JONAH is PRAYING to the LORD the FISH is TAKING JONAH SOMEWHERE.
From the MIDDLE of the SEA to DRY LAND:
But the DRY LAND he’s taken to isn’t NINEVEH it is JOPPA.
JOPPA is where JONAH got on the BOAT & PAID the FARE to RUN from the WILL of GOD – RIGHT?
SO if the FISH is TAKING him BACK to DRY LAND – then he is TAKING him BACK to his POINT of DISOBEDIENCE.
Once again JONAH has to DECIDE WHICH WAY he’s going TODAY.
Are you going to BUY ANOTHER TICKET to TARSHISH or have you RECONSIDERED things?
11: GOD DOESN’T CHANGE HIS MIND:
Jonah 3: 1 ‘Now the word of the LORD came to JONAH the second time, saying, 2. Arise, go to NINEVEH, that great city, & preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3. So JONAH arose, & went unto NINEVEH, according to the word of the LORD. Now NINEVEH was an exceeding great city of three days journey. 4. & JONAH began to enter into the city a day’s journey, & he cried, & said, Yet 40 days, & NINEVEH shall be overthrown.’
The LORD spoke unto JONAH the SECOND TIME.
Now that’s GOOD NEWS. Not just for JONAH but also for you & me.
But the LORD DOESN’T CHANGE HIS MIND just because we ACT LIKE a SPOILED CHILD & THROW a TANTRUM FIT.
GOD’S ORDERS were the SAME.
GOD’S WORD the 2nd TIME wasn’t ANY DIFFERENT from the 1st TIME.
JONAH had to CHANGE his REBELLION.
GOD doesn’t NEGOIATE.
12: JONAH’S MESSAGE:
JONAH arrives in NINEVEH & he goes around crying out, “YET 40 DAYS & NINEVEH SHALL BE DESTROYED.”
Now that is GOOD NEWS & BAD NEWS
The BAD NEWS is that NINEVEH is going to be DESTROYED
The GOOD NEWS is that NINEVEH has 40 DAYS to REVERSE it.
THANK GOD that WHEN we REPENT GOD REVERSES HIS JUDGMENT upon us.
& THANK GOD for SECOND CHANGES.
REPENTENCE is GIVING GOD the OPPORTUNITY to REVERSE HIS DECISION.
Jonah 3:5 ‘So the people of NINEVEH believed GOD & proclaimed a fast & put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them: 6. For word came unto the king of NINVEH, & he arose from his throne, & he laid his robe from him, & covered him with sackcloth, & sat in ashes. 7. & he caused it to be proclaimed & published through NINEVEH by the decree of the king & his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, nor drink water: 8: But let man & beast be covered with sackcloth, & cry mightily unto GOD: yea, let them turn everyone from his evil way, & from the violence that is in their hands. 9. Who can tell if GOD will turn & repent, & turn away from HIS fierce anger, that we perish not?’
That was UNBELIEVABLE!
This was a WICKED CITY filled with VIOLENCE. They were both WICKED & VIOLENT.
This is the ONLY TIME in the BIBLE & probably in HUMAN HISTORY where a WHOLE CITY gets SAVED at the SAME TIME. This is the GREATEST REVIVAL in HUMAN HISTORY. The PEOPLE REPENT. The KING REPENTS. Even the ANIMALS REPENTED.
They WANTED GOD to KNOW they were SERIOUS.
& all of this was what JONAH was RUNNING FROM. The GREATEST REVIVAL ever:
OUR OWN REBELLION AGAINST GOD HINDERS GREAT MOVES of GOD in our own LIVES & FAMILES.
We EXPERIENCE the STORMS of TARSHISH because we don’t want to go to NINEVEH.
Here are the KEYS to REVIVAL: We all NEED REVIVAL:
1: JONAH finally was OBEDIENT. GOD’S PEOPLE must OBEY the LORD.
2: When the WORD was PREACHED the people BELIEVED.
3: The people REPENTED.