Summary: WHEN PREACHERS PREACH GOD’S WORD, IT WILL BRING A RESULT. THE PROPHET JONAH LEARNED THIS THE HARD WAY, AND I HOPE WE ALL CAN LEARN IT THE EASY WAY.
THE PREACHING PROPHET
TEXT- JONAH CHAPTER 3
I’ve learned a great deal about preaching the last 5 years. Now don’t think that I mean that haven’t got a lot more to learn, because I know I do.
I have found out the need for a solid scriptural sermon. I need to support all the points I make in a lesson with scripture. I also found out the value of an illustration. People learn differently and some learn best by a good illustration.
If a sermon is going to hit home for all of us, it must have points that hit home in their neighborhood. The sermon must be relevant to their lives.
I have also learned the value of humor in a good message. Some people don’t like humor and I know that. They don’t mind you crying, but don’t ever laugh. To some people laughing is just NOT acceptable.
I know I must work on shorter sermons, because they are always the crowd favorite. As one Preacher put it, “when sitting on the old wood pews that have no cushions, a member can absorb no more than the backend can endure.”
Well, if the Ninevites were like most people they should have loved Jonah’s sermon. It has to be the shortest sermon on record for 27 centuries. His messages to the Ninevites lasted for only 8 English words in English, depending on the translation of the Bible that you’re using and when he preached it. Jonah preached in the Aramaic language, which he means it only took 5 words.
How would you like it if the sermon on Sunday only lasted a mere 5 words? No one answer that please!!!
Before we look at this mini-sermon and the Ninevah’s response, lets look at how Jonah’s life up to this point.
Jonah was a popular preacher from Gath-helper, and he was sent east to preach God’s message TO THE Ninevites. The city of Ninevah was part of the Assyrian Empire.
Due to Jonah’s hatred for these people , Jonah bought a ticket on a ship for Tarhish which was headed to the western most point on the map. He was trying to run from the presence of God. He didn’t want this preaching assignment.
He went down in the ship and went to sleep. God bought a storm and they were about to sink. They told Jonah to pray to his God for safety. Jonah said that all this was his fought, after the lots fell his way. He said to solve it, just throw me over the side and it will be safe for you. Jonah knew that God had brought this storm for him. They didn’t want to at first, but finally did, or they would drown.
Old Jonah sank to the bottom and was about to drown. He began to pray to God for forgiveness. He knew he did wrong. God heard his prayer and sent a big fish to swallow him and save him from drowning. After three Days, the fish spit him up on the shores of Joppa. Strangely, it was the same place he got on the ship. So, old Jonah was right back where he started.
Now we pick up with chapter 3 and see about this 5 word sermon. If you have your Bibles with you read with me.
Read Jonah –3
ALL THIS HARDSHIP COULD HVE BEEN AVOIDED
Jonah found himself back at the place he started on the ship for Tarshish. He was right back in Joppa. I bet he was really kicking himself now. He was back in Joppa with egg on his face , so to speak. What a lesson! How many times have we said to ourselves, “only if I had done it right the first time.”
So the Bible says, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. Now he had a 30 mile trip to Nineveh and kicking himself with every step.
In our prison visits for two years, when I talked an inmate who had been here before and now back, I ask them, “ Does that old mule have to kick you twice before you get the message.”
Jonah did found out something about God that we all need to know, and that is that God does give second chances. Most of the time people will not do that, but God will. We have all made mistakes in our lives in some way and we wanted another chance. God is great and he does give us second chances.
John Ortberg writes, “If there is one way that human being consistently underestimate God’s love, it is perhaps in His longing to FORGIVE.” He says, “Redeeming is what God is into. He is finder of directionally-lost sheep- the searcher of lost coins- the embracer of foolish prodigal sons. His favorite department is LOST and FOUND.