The Message

SCRIPTURE: Jonah 1:1-2, NLT

1 The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 
2 Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”


Everybody loves stories and the story of Jonah is one of the most popular stories in the bible. Have you given any thought to why this story is so popular? I think it’s because Jonah was such a jerk. Jonah is a bigot, a hater; he has a bad attitude, he is rebellious and these are his good points. I think we love the story because after reading about Jonah, we feel better about ourselves. We are thinking, “Um, I may be bad but I’m not that bad.”

I love this story because: 

  1. The Emphasis is on God’s Sovereign Grace. The book of Jonah is about Jonah but he is not the hero. The book is about how God used Jonah.
  2. I love the story because I can identify with Jonah
  3. I love this story because God gets all the glory.
  • Jonah is not the hero of the story. Jonah is there in the story as God’s messenger boy but it is not about Jonah.
  • Jonah does not get what he wants. God gets what He wants. We are horrible about worshiping paper boys. We are bad about making icons out of preachers. Hey folks, it is not about the preacher. Our message is Jesus. He is not about me anymore than it was about Jonah.
  • How many parents name their boys Jonah? How many praise songs or hymn have been written about Jonah. We don’t give Jonah the time of day and that is the way it should be. If I mention Billy Graham or Adrian Rogers, some of you go to sighing. You might talk for hours on what great men they are but if I mention Jonah and you think, “What a jerk!” Thus God gets all the glory!

One of my Seminary professors use to say, “It is fun to preach when you have a message.” I have a reoccurring nightmare: [usually on Saturday night] I am being introduced to preach and I have no message. God gave Jonah a message and that is very important. It is always good when the message comes from God.

LORD willing, we are going to talk about the MESSAGE this morning and then in the next message, we will get into the heart of the story.


Before we get into this fantastic story, I want to dispel some myths


The book of Jonah shoots down this fabrication. Jonah had a terrible attitude. He hated and despised the people he was preaching to. I don’t know about Bro. Wayne, but if I called a man to come preach for me and he told me: “I’ll come but my heart is not in it. Matter of fact, I despise the people of Danville and I hope they burn in hell.” I would tell him to forget it. When I was a pastor, I wanted preachers who came to help us in revival to love us.

I do understand where this myth came from: it came out of the holiness movement and I have nothing against holiness but holiness is not the way to Jesus–Jesus is the way to holiness. If we are not careful, we will put more emphasis on our purity than we do that of Jesuss. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying: God desires that we be holy but He is not limited by our unholiness.

As you are going to see in our study of Jonah, God is SOVEREIGN which means He can do as He pleases. He has the power to accomplish His will. The truth of the matter is: He uses whomever He pleases, whenever He pleases, however He pleases to accomplish His purpose. God used Pharaoh. He used Nebuchadnezzar. Dr. Jack Taylor said, “He even uses the devil.” When you think about it: God did use Satan to carry out the sacrifice at Calvary. The devil thought he had won a great victory when in truth, he had fulfilled God’s eternal plan.

The emphasis in Jonah is not on Jonah. It is not on the messenger. Jonah is no hero. He gets no glory and rightfully so. This short book is about what God can do through a flawed character like Jonah. God used him in spite of this rebellion, pride and prejudice.

Jonah is probably the only Prophet that is not quoted by someone in the N.T. No one quotes Jonah. How many verses have you memorized from the book of Jonah?

This book is here for a reason. Most of us are intimidated by characters like Paul. We don’t feel worthy to carry his books but we can identify with Jonah because he was so flawed, so messed up. JONAH STRUGGLED… do you struggle? I do; I can relate to Jonah.

  1. Jonah struggled with obedience. I have been struggling for three weeks with these messages. I felt God leading me to this book but I have never preached these messages before. I had rather do something tried and proven: something familiar. I have struggled to obey.
  2. Jonah struggled with compassion for people. Jonah had a good theology and he knew how to pray. His struggle was with loving people, especially gentiles. Are you struggling with loving people? I am. The Assyrians, whom Jonah loathed, were terrorist. They murdered, plundered, raped, tortured–you name it. They were the most hated and feared people on the planet…yet God loved them and wanted them to get warning about impending judgment. I don’t hate Assyrians, I’ve meet only one in my life time but what about Muslims? How do you feel about Muslims? I have to admit, I feel by them the way Jonah did by the Assyrians. I am struggling to love Muslims.
  3. Jonah struggled with pride. If he announced judgment and the Ninevites refused to repent and God destroyed them, that would be fine. He could return to Israel as a hero but the last thing he wanted was for them to repent. He would be viewed now as a traitor. Jonah cared more about his reputation than he did the Assyrians salvation. 

What are you struggling with today? [God uses struggling people]


There is a Greek word for this, ‘bologna’. This is horse feathers: it is not true, not even remotely true. THERE IS NO PANIC IN HEAVEN. God is in firm control of His kingdom and He has the power to make it come, and it is coming, and He will get the glory. No one is going to stop His KINGDOM FROM COMING.

When it comes to our personal obedience, there may be cause of concern but do not worry about the COMING OF HIS KINGDOM or God’s ultimate purpose being done: it is going to happen. I have no doubt about that…I may doubt a lot of things but that is not one of them.

God told Jonah to “Get up and Go to Nineveh,” but Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction. He did not cooperate with God. God did not panic, He simple sent a violent storm to stop the ship that Jonah was aboard and then He sent the fish to swallow the rebellious prophet and carry him back to the shores of Israel. Jonah’s rebellion did not stop God nor will yours or mine.

Psalms 106:3 reads, There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. Folks, joy comes with obedience. Disobedient Christians are never happy folks. God wants you to be happy: He wants you to enjoy life and that comes only through our obedience. OBEDIENCE is very important for us and it pleases God–He loves obedience but our disobedience is not going to throw a monkey wrench into his eternal plan of redemption. God worked His will through Jonah…Jonah’s disobedience cost him his joy but it did not stop God. God moved in power in spite of the fact that Jonah was pouting.


According to the Reforms, “Some Lives Matter,” according to scripture, “All Lives Matter.” I heard a Hyper-Calvinist say from the pulpit, “I know that John 3:16 is in the bible but there are more verses than John 3:16.” What if we could have only one verse…John 3:16 would be the one I would choose...“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” There is a hell to be shunned which is why Jesus used the word ‘perish’. 

God did not send His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. Jesus said Himself in Luke 19:10, The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost. There is a judgment against anyone who refuses to believe in Christ. All who refuse to acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord will be condemned, matter of fact, if you have not believed, you stand condemned now and if you were to die in this condition, you would be eternally separated from God which is not good.

Peter said,  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance [2 Peter 3:9, NKJV]

Paul said,For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

I don’t know about you but I will take God’s word anytime over that of the Reforms or the hyper-calvinist. Listen folks, God loves YOU and He demonstrated this at Calvary.

BUT IF YOU DO NOT REPENT…You will perish

Story of the Prodigal Father. Some years ago {many} I got a call, I knew from the sound of the womans voice, something terrible had happened. I got to her house ASAP and it was a grusome scene. She was screaming in agony and her husband lay dead on the bed. He had already turned purple from a massive heart attack. He was not a believer, not was his parents. As a matter of fact, his father had lead a wicked life. Never once had he darkned the door of a church. Countless preachers had witnessed to him but he had never shown any signs of remorse, let alone repentance. When his boy [age 43] died suddenly with a heart attack, it shuck him up. I was there and saw it with my own eyes. When he got to his sons house, he would not go in: he fell to his knees and began praying…God don’t let my boy burn in hell. He prayed this same pray over and over until he was without voice. I was a young man then and I had never seen anything like it: I am old now and I never seen anything like it since. I pray I never will.

Folks, you do not want to die without Jesus and you do not want your family and friends to die without HIM either.


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