Summary: One would think that when an evangelist comes to a large city and practically the entire city repents and comes to faith, that the evangelist would be jumping up and down with joy to God. Not this prophet...
The Reluctant, Rebellious, Pouting Prophet: Jonah Chapter 4
Today's message is the final in a four part series on the book of Jonah.
Turn to page 1325 in your pew Bibles to Jonah chapter 4. If you have your own Bible, it is after Obadiah and before Micah in the Old Testament.
So far, we've learned that Jonah was told, in Chapter 1, to go to Nineveh, he said no and ran the other way to Tarshish, the wind began to blow at the hand of God and when the sailors did throw him overboard the sea calmed and Jonah was swallowed by the great fish.
In Jonah Chapter 2, we saw how Jonah cried out in dispair to God, he rededicated himself toward God and God delivered him by having the great fish throw him up on the beach. We also learned that "Salvation is of the Lord"; this is what we are taught in the New Testament by Paul, James Peter, John, the writer of Hebrews and yes, even Jesus Himself.
Some people think that salvation is by works, that is that to be saved and/or to stay saved you must do things that are pleasing to God. But what does this scripture say? Salvation is of the LORD. We can't do any of the work, because then salvation would be of ourselves. What does the word of God say about this?
1) We are spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
2) Because we are dead in our trespasses and sins when we are unsaved, we do not seek God. Some churches have "seeker" classes, and I think that that is wrong. Either God calls you and you are saved by Him (Salvation is of the Lord) or you are blind to Him and do not seek Him.
10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.
3) If we could be saved by our works, our good deeds, then we'd be able to brag about it.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
4) If we could be saved by our works, then we God would owe us. He doesn't owe us anything at all; he created us and it is us that are separated by Him. We don't have the ability to come to Him.
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. (NKJ)
In Jonah chapter three, we see that God is a God of second chances. How many of you are glad that God is a God of second chances? Has God ever given you a second chance? Sure He has. God deals with us when we sin, but he shows us his love in that he treats us as children; if we misbehave, then God takes us to the woodshed.
God used Jonah, who did not want to see the Ninevites saved, to bring them to faith. They knew from the message and the appearance of Jonah that this was something unique, this message. Also, it was a movement of the Holy Spirit in the message that was conveyed by Jonah. One thing that the Bible is clear on is that the word must be heard for salvation to occur: