Cecil Hutson Sermon Archive
August 4, 2002 PM
INTRO: Although the little book of Jonah has the prophet Jonah as its central character, the sailors of chapter 1 and the Ninevites of chapter 3 cannot be overlooked for the lessons they teach. The verse we have selected as our text is the last notice of the sailors who played such an important part in the arrest of Jonah. And what a wonderful verse it is! It is surely the climax of a progress toward belief which may have begun when Jonah identified himself in v.9. Without speculation we can say that these men were changed! They were not the same men who had set sail from Joppa.
I. THEY HAD SEEN CONVINCING THINGS
A. What were they?
1. storm of immense magnitude identified with sin - v.4
2. prophet of God admitting guilt accepting a tragic fate - v.12
3. sea immediately calm following a prescribed course of action - v.15
4. and v. 16 begins, Then ... the impact of these things combined to impress them with fact of God
B. And what may people today see to impress them?
1. the marvelous, natural world Rom 1:20
2. the church in action ... caring, unified, upholding the gospel Acts 2:46,47a
3. individually, Christians committed to moral, ethical, spiritual standards ... unwavering in faith - Mt 5:13-16
4. people will be impressed by such ... and drawn
II. THEY FEARED THE LORD EXCEEDINGLY
A. What might this have meant?
1. meant they saw contrast between their gods and the God
2. may have meant genuine concern for their sin, etc.
3. may well have had to do in part with fright
4. and it could certainly express devotion, reverence!
B. Proper fear of Lord is so correct, wholesome
1. Deut 4:9,10 Israel was to learn to fear God
2. 2 Sam 23:3 and Neh 5:9 indicate this fear is not an emotion ... rather, it is an attitude which pervades ones life and behavior
3. 1 Pet 3:2 joins manner of life to reverence for God
4. fear God, and keep His commandments Eccl 12:13 ... the attitude and the expression of it
III. THEY OFFERED A SACRIFICE
A. The offering of sacrifice was a familiar thing
1. for pagans appeasing gods was often the reason
2. sacrifices expressed devotion
3. and sacrifices were expressions of thanksgiving
4. but listen: Jer 6:20 ... the mere offering of sacrifice is of no benefit note Ps 40:6-8
B. What sacrifice does the Lord desire of us?
1. Rom 12:1 offering of self all else follows naturally
2. Phil 4:18 our giving to support preaching is sacrifice
3. Heb 13:15,16 our worship and our giving for those who need sacrifice
4. but our sacrifices must issue from hearts devoted and attuned to God
IV. THEY MADE VOWS
A. They intended their change to be long termed!
1. so many conversions are short lived
2. but these sailors are determined that their belief in God and loyalty to Him will be more than passing fancy
3. a vow was a matter taken seriously by ancients!
B. Are our vows to God etched deeply upon our hearts?
1. Ill live for Him Who died for me
2. what do you think right now of your vows of relationship to God?
3. note Eccl 5:4,5 ... interesting?
CLOSE: History leaves the sailors right there on the calm seas. Wed like to know more. Wed like to hear their recounting to friends and families the experiences they had. Yet, they have set for us this marvelous and timeless example.
Cecil A. Hutson
04 August 2002
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)