Sunday, September 6, 2020

Jonah And The Pagan Mariners

Jonah 1:1-6, “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and 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; and he lay, and was fast asleepSo the shipmaster came to him, and 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.

This is an amazing passage of Scripture. I am continually intrigued by the truths pulled out of the book of Jonah. What a beautiful and practical book of God's inspired Word. I find it amazing and frustrating, that God's man refused to take the Gospel to the pagans in Nineveh. Because Jonah ran from God, the Lord sent a storm. Jonah told the mariners aboard the ship what he had done, so they blamed him for their dire situation. Jonah asked the mariners to cast him into the sea, but they refused. Those unsaved pagan mariners cared more about Jonah's life than he did. Notice in the following three Bible verses that Jonah went “down.” Anytime that you refuse to do God's will, you're headed DOWN...
Jonah 1:3, “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 
Jonah 1:5, “Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and 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; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 
Jonah 2:6, “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
Ultimately, Jonah ended up down in the whale's belly for dinner. We know that it was a whale, not just a great fish, because the inspired New Testament calls it a whale (Matthew 12:40). 

Carefully notice in Jonah 1:1-6 how the pagan mariners attempted to deal with their difficult situation:
  1. THEY TRIED RELIGION - The mariners “cried every man unto his god” to try to save themselves. God made man religious, spiritual in nature. Pastor Charles Spurgeon rightly said: “Man is incurably religious.” The pagan mariners cried out in prayer to their pagan gods, while Jonah (God's man) was asleep down below. You couldn't make that stuff up! What a sight it must have been to behold. A deadly storm is upon them, because of Jonah's disobedience to God, and the pagan mariners are more alert and concerned than Jonah, who is sleeping down below. So often the heathen world cares more than God's children. We saw that last year when the communist Cuban government rejected a free shipment of 17,000 free New International Verizon (NIV) Bibles. The Cuban government said their country will only accept King James Bibles. I was so impressed by that! It is tragic when a communist nation has more sense than pastors all across America, shameful church leaders who use and support umpteen Bible revisions. We are so ungodly and foolish in the United States! God's people today are sleeping down in the sides of the ship! There are 1.6 billion Islamic Muslims in the world, who are devout in their prayer rituals, laying down their carpet while facing Mecca, Saudi Arabia, praying five times a day in coordination with the cycles of the moon. What a religion of bondage!
  2. THEY TRIED WORKS - The mariners “cast forth the wares” in an attempt to save themselves. I wish Christians today were as concerned as the pagans are! How much time do we spend in prayer for God to change things? Do we pray at all. I learned many years ago that I am not supposed to pray with my eyes open, looking for answers. That is why so many believers quit praying, because we don't see results. 2nd Corinthians 5:7, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” I am supposed to pray without ceasing, because the Bible commands us to in 1st Thessalonians 5:17. I have learned that God usually works behind the scenes in ways beyond our sight and understanding, to test our faith (Deuteronomy 8:3; Luke 18:8; Hebrews 11:6). When you cannot see the hand of God, trust the heart of God. I have learned not to watch for answers to my prayers, but to simply trust the Lord. Is that not exactly what we are taught in the Bible? Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. I have been praying for a wife for 10 years, and still waiting, but God is good and He knows what is best for me. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).
  3. THEY TRIED SEEKING FOR ANSWERS - The mariners said to Jonah, What meanest thou, O sleeper?” Look at all the questions they asked Jonah in verse 8, “Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?” They should not have had to ask Jonah all these questions—Jonah was asleep as a man of God, not being faithful to his calling. 1st Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1st Peter 4:16, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Jonah should have been soul-conscious of the Ninevites and the mariners. It is quite easy as believers to become so choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of this temporary world, that we forget about soulwinning (Luke 8:14-15). The pagan world are always seeking for answers, but Satan blinds them from THE TRUTH (2nd Corinthians 4:3-4). 2nd Timothy 3:7, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In this day and age people are seeking for answers! We have a responsibility to preach to them the truth of THE GOSPEL (Matthew 28:19-20).
The mariners tried religion, prayer, works and seeking answers, but they needed the truth. These men were willing to sacrifice everything they had to save Jonah's life, but Jonah didn't care about them. What a mess! The following popular Scripture passage is commonly misinterpreted. Sadly, even Dr. Steve Pettit (the new president of Bob Jones University since 2014), applied this passage to salvation, preaching a perverted gospel that requires surrendering all to Christ as “Lord to be saved. That is absolutely NOT what the Bible is teaching here...
Matthew 16:24-26, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Carefully notice that the Lord didn't say, “If any man will have eternal life.” Here's a helpful Scripture from John 12:26, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” Did you see that friend? Jesus said if any man will “SERVE ME,” not get saved. The dear Lord told us how to be saved in John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” Oh how simple are the Scriptures, if we don't listen to nincompoop neo-evangelical preachers and corrupted Calvinists!!! Jesus said if you desire to “SERVE ME,” then you must FOLLOW HIM! That is what Matthew 16:24-26 is about dear friend, serving the Lord, which will cost us everything! But the gift of eternal life is free. I am so sick and tired, and grieved in my soul, that most Baptist preachers today have it wrong!

The true story of Jonah is quite amazing. These pagan men, who knew not the Lord, valued Jonah's life. Yet, Jonah, who did know the Lord, wanted Nineveh utterly consumed and destroyed (Jonah 4:1-5). My favorite verse in Jonah is in Jonah 3:1, “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,We serve an awesome God of second chances. Amen! The Word of God came unto Jonah THE SECOND TIME!!! I love that. I receive many emails from people who feel like they are not saved because of sin in their life. Good night folks, we all have sin in our lives. The reason why people doubt is because they are ignorant of the Gospel. They are focusing on their own righteousness (or lack thereof), when they should be only focusing on the cross of Calvary, and the precious blood that Jesus sprinkled on the heavenly Mercy Seat (Hebrews 9:12, 22-24; 12:24). Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” Colossians 1:14, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

I have a hard time being spiritual, because I am in physical bodily pain all the time. My neck feels like there's a toothache in the bony area in back 24/7, every day of the year. I have endured this horrible affliction since 2004. I have exhausted all conventional medical therapies, and undergone two major neck surgeries, all to no avail. I battle pain related depression daily. I don't feel like going anywhere, nor doing anything, and I desperately desire a wife for companionship, but the first two things I mentioned stifle my ambition to pursue any type of social life. I live with depression! But my God is faithful. I have a bless wonderful inspired Book called the King James Bible, that contains 7,487 promises from God to man!!! Amen!

God always honors sacrifice. Noah sacrificed his dignity for 120 years, as multiples of people scoffed, laughed and ridiculed him day after day, week and week, month after month, year after year, for 120 years as he preached the Gospel. No one listened! I once tried to calculate how many humans were alive at the time of the flood, which occurred (amazingly mentioned on Wikipedia) at roughly 2348 BC. Or, 1,656 years after creation! I could be totally wrong, but I exponentially figured there must have been about 100,000,000 people on earth. If you double a penny every day for 30 days, you'll have over $1,000,000! 

Having said that, when Noah boarded the ark and God Himself shut the door, only Noah's wife, three sons, and their wives were on the ark (8 people total). Wow! Jesus foretold that in the last days that things would return as it was in Noah's day (Matthew 24:37-39). With all the counterfeit Bibles, Lordship Salvation heresy, and religious fraud in the world today, it wouldn't surprise me if anyone is saved when Christ returns. What saith the Scripture? Luke 18:8, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Lordship Salvation, Calvinism and turning from your sins to be saved are not the Gospel, they are Satanic false religion!

The story of Jonah and the mariners have much to teach us. When the deadly storm came, they emptied the ship of everything they could find. They were trying to save Jonah's life. These were good men, but lost! Don't miss that. The people in Matthew 7:21-23 were good people. They did many wonderful works the Bible says. They even did them all in Jesus' name. These were not mean people, they were good sinners. They called Jesus' LORD, LORD. Yet, the Lord Himself called them workers of iniquity, because they wen't about to establish their own righteousness, like Dr. Steve Pettit and Bob Jones University are sinfully doing, instead of submitting entirely to the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:3-4; Philippians 3:9). 

Like the pagan mariners, we've got too much stuff in the boat folks! Our churches are loaded down with junk theology and the unbiblical traditions of men. Pacific Garden Mission's popular Unshackled radio program has become a spiritual minefield of explosive heresy! I am not the bad guy, I am simply preaching THE TRUTH! I love you enough dear reader to tell you THE TRUTH! The Bible very plainly teaches us how to be saved in the Gospel of John (John 20:31). Oh how this lost and dying world needs the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jonah had the answers, but he ran from God. Jonah was asleep down in the sides of the ship. 1st Corinthians 15:34, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”

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