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The Baptist Faith & Message

Vitae nam quo quis perspiciatis vel earum numquam voluptatum quod? Sponsor Now. Register Now. These sailors were impressed with God's hand at work in stilling the storm after they dumped Jonah overboard. So, they "feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows" Jonah It's hard to know their level of understanding. We can not assume that they had arrived at the same understanding of God as we have. Yet, after having been disappointed by a man who clearly knew what God was up to, these sailors are deeply impressed by His God.

While the story's focus quickly returns to Jonah, the brief appearance of these sailors highlights the missionary character of God. This little episode reiterates God's desire to draw all nations to Himself. Some Christians view religion as something exclusively cultural.

They think the various religions have evolved to fit different cultures. Such a feeling isn't something new born of 21st century pluralistic tolerance.

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Seven Factors Hindering Evangelism in Churches

Throughout Old Testament times, many Israelites felt that Yahweh belonged to Israel in a special way. The Holy Spirit is using Jonah's story to refute that belief.


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The fish was swallowing Jonah even as the grateful sailors offered sacrifice to Yahweh. What a dramatic picture! The pagan sailors who had not known Yahweh, gratefully acknowledge His deliverance.


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  • At that same time, Jonah, who had believed in God all along, sank below the waves, apparently going to his death. Just before the sailors threw Jonah overboard he told them they were dealing with the Creator of the universe and not a mere tribal deity.

    more on this story

    Earlier, however, such a limited tribal deity seems to have been in Jonah's mind. When he headed for that ship at Joppa, Jonah was running -- or at least he thought he was -- away from God's presence. Jonah was apparently thinking that no god Yahweh included had much power outside the country that worshiped him or her or it. As Jonah would soon be reminded, however, God has cosmic sovereignty.

    His reign was not limited to the Temple area in Jerusalem or even to the borders of the Promised Land.

    4 Practices of a Great Commission Church

    He is far more than a tribal god. The people on that Tarshish-bound ship believed in lots of limited tribal gods. When the shipmaster awoke Jonah, he begged him: "Call on your God" Jonah The captain was not trying to figure out if there was one true God or many. He just wanted to be sure every possible deity was being called on. Sadly, Jonah failed to tell that ship captain that the Israelites' God was not a limited tribal deity.

    Taking Jesus Seriously: The Command to Baptize

    The truth began to come out a bit when Jonah admitted to the sailors that he was running from God Jonah Then, as we've mentioned, in his prayer from inside the fish, Jonah says that what many people worship are actually false deities Jonah From the outset, God's purpose in sending Jonah to Nineveh was redemptive. Why else would He send a prophet there? Jonah didn't need to be in Nineveh to predict its downfall. That message could have been given in his home town. Other prophets had already given such long-distance predictions concerning heathen nations and cities.

    Had the Lord permitted Jonah to speak about Nineveh from Palestine, Jonah probably would not have rebelled like he did. It was hearing that he had to go to Nineveh that ignited Jonah's rebellious spirit. Jonah sensed, as he intimated, that warning of God's judgment would open the door to the Ninevites' repentance. Jonah hated those Ninevites. So he refused to go Jonah One of the Jewish special holidays is called Yom Kipper. Each year during Yom Kipper celebrations the book of Jonah is read aloud in Jewish synagogues. Despite hearing Jonah's story over and over again, the Jews have missed the boat along with Jonah.

    Jonah's story heaps ridicule on nationalistic exclusivism. No nation has a corner on God. Therefore, we do not hold up Christ as the one and only mediator between God and human beings out of a sense of religious superiority.

    We proclaim "there is no other name" because it is so. That's why God has to be so missionary in His character. There is no other way of salvation. Cartoon character Dennis the Menace was talking one day to Joey as they walked away from a neighbor's house. As the neighbor lady -- Mrs. Wilson -- watches them walk away, both boys are munching on a cookie. Dennis turns to his friend and says: "Mrs.

    Wilson gives you a cookie not because you're good, but because she's good. Don't the words which the cartoonist put into the mouth of Dennis the Menace make good theology? Little Dennis' evaluation of Mrs. Wilson illustrates how God deals with us.

    Sermon: "Disciples" from the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19

    God doesn't bless us because we're good. He does so because He's good.

    Forget Mensa! All Hail the Low IQ

    That's a lesson from Jonah's story. Jonah knew that "salvation comes from the Lord" Jonah It is grace -- God's grace -- that saves us. Our Protestant heritage emphasizes that we are saved by faith and not by good works. It is by the grace of this missionary God that salvation is offered to us. God doesn't act unfairly. The truth is, judgment has already been passed on all the human race.

    Our individualistic age misses the implications of the solidarity or unity of the human race. We draw back from joining Isaiah in crying out that we are part of "a people of unclean lips" Isaiah We Westerners heavily emphasize individualism while overlooking collective responsibility.