chapter number 1, this is a very famous story in the Bible, there's so much that we can learn from it. Beginning in verse number 1, the Bible reads, "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 has 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."
Let me start out just by telling you a little bit about who Jonah was, because Jonah is actually mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. You don't have to turn there, but in 2 Kings chapter 4 verse 25, the Bible reads, "He stored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of her servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher."
According to the Bible, Jonah was a prophet of the Lord who preached in the past and his pronouncements had come to pass. He was called the servant of the Lord. This man is a righteous man, he's a prophet of God, but at this point in his life, we see him be very disobedient to God, rebelling against God's commandment. He's in a backslidden condition, if you will, he's a backslidden Christian here, and really, what we see here is a man who has lost his first love, as the Bible says in Revelation chapter 2.
Because the Bible actually tells us a little bit later why it is that Jonah is fleeing from the presence of the Lord, and I'm going to get to that in a moment. First of all, it's silly to try to flee from the presence of the Lord when God is everywhere. Okay? Psalm 139 says, flip over, if you would, to Psalm 139 verse 7, and this is a scripture that Jonah would have been familiar with, being a prophet of God in Israel, the Psalms have already existed at that time or were being Psalm, and so he should have already known this, but it says in Psalm 139 verse 7, "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there e shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yeah, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
There's no way to get away from God. Right? In the beginning there in verse 7, it said, "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence," it says that Jonah was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, but God's presence is everywhere, there's no escape. Now, if you looked at a map, you'd see that Jonah is basically going the exact opposite direction that God told him to go. He's in Israel and he's told to go to Nineveh, which would be east, and instead, he goes west to Tarshish. Okay? He's doing the exact opposite of what God has told him to do.
To understand why it is that he's fleeing, flip over to Jonah chapter number 4. For those of you that know the story, we're going to get to it a little bit later. Jonah does eventually go to Nineveh and preach and the people end up responding to the preaching and getting right with God, and God does not destroy Nineveh. This makes Jonah very angry. It says in verse 1 of chapter 4, "But it displayed Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil."
Here, Jonah's angry because of the fact that God's not going to destroy the city. When you put all this together, what you see is that Jonah did not love these people at all in Nineveh. That's why he didn't go, because when he eventually goes after God forces him to go, and he preaches, and the people respond, they get right with God, and they end up being saved, Jonah's upset about that because he had no love for these people, he hated these people, and so, therefore, he didn't want to go there in the first place and preach to them.
What was the sin of Nineveh? Why was it that God's so upset? Because in chapter 1, He says in verse 2, in the latter part there, "For their wickedness is come up before me." Keep your finger in Jonah and just go a few pages to the right in your bible over to. Nahum is a book about another prophet who is later sent to Nineveh after Jonah. Nahum the prophet is preaching to the same city, so we can surmise that the sins are probably going to be the same or similar years later when God's angry again, but it says in verse number 1 of Nahum chapter 1, it says, "The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite."
Flip over to chapter 3 verse 1 in Nahum. It says, "Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;" so just to get an idea of what type of city this is, it was a bloody city where lies and robbery abounded. Okay? Now flip back to Jonah and look at Jonah chapter number 3. Because in Jonah chapter number 3, we get another view into what the problem with Nineveh was. It says in verse number 8, "But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yeah, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
In the book of Jonah itself, the sin is identified as violence. Okay? Then later in Nahum, it's described as a bloody city, lies, robbery. We're looking at lies, robbery, murder, and violence. It sounds like a pretty rough place to live. I mean, it's just a lot of crime that's going on in this city of Nineveh. Jonah doesn't want to go there, he doesn't want to preach these, he doesn't like these people. He believes that these people should just be destroyed. He doesn't care about them. He doesn't have love for them.
Now if you would, flip over to Revelation chapter number 2. Revelation chapter number 2. Because, remember, we're talking about a guy who's in a backslidden condition. This is a guy who, in the past, had been used by God to preach the word of God, and he served the Lord in the past, but now, all of a sudden, he doesn't want to do it, he's rebelling against God's commandment. Look what it says in Revelation chapter number 2 about the church at Ephesus. Verse number 1, "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil:" and that sounds like Jonah. This guy can't bear them which are evil.
It says, "And thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Here's a church that had lost their first love, and in order to get the first love back, he says, "Remember from whence thou art fallen, repent, and do the first works;"
What does he mean by "do the first works?" If you think about the works that God has called us to do as Christians, I think it's obvious what the first works are. That would be preaching the gospel to the lost. That would be getting the gospel to the unsaved. The reason I say that that would be the first works is that when Jesus first chose the disciples in the first place, I mean, when He walked by the Sea of Galilee and saw a man like Peter, James, Andrew, John, when He called them, He said to them, "Come after me and I will make you fishers of men." I mean, that was the first directive. You will be fishers of men.
Then the last thing He says, before He ascends up into heaven is, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" He said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." This is the preeminent command that Christ gave. It's the first thing He told the apostles when He calls them. It was the reason the apostles were even ordained in the first place. He ordained them that He might send them out two by two to preach the Gospel. Then it's the last thing He says before He ascends up into heaven. It's the first thing that's emphasized in the Acts of the Apostles.
When we look at the first works, it's pretty obvious what the most important works are, whether you mean first chronologically or first as in the most important or preeminent, the answer is the same, it's soul winning, it's preaching the Gospel the laws, it's evangelizing. The church at Ephesus had lost their first live. See, they didn't love people. They did not care about the laws and want to get them the gospel. He said, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;" See, by doing the first works, the first love would come back, He's saying. With Jonah, we see something very similar because if you go back in the book of Jonah, at the very beginning of the book, God tells Jonah in his backslidden, disobedient condition, He says, "Go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me."
Then, after he's swallowed by the whale and chastened and goes through all that, look at chapter 3. When God's ready to bring Jonah back around. When Jonah's got his heart right, what does He say in verse 1? "The word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time saying, Arise, go unot Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh." Here, we see that God brings him back full circle. Okay? He tells him, "Go to Nineveh and preach there." He's backslidden, he doesn't do it, so God has to bring chastening and punishment in his life. Once he's broken down and ready to obey God, He gets him back and says, "Okay, let's do the first works. Let's get you back to what you need to be doing, which is preaching the gospel to the lost."
When Christians are backslidden, because remember, Jonah is a backslidden preacher, he's a backslidden Christian, when they get backslidden, they lose their love for other people and they become very self-centered, and they don't care about and love the lost anymore. In fact, they can often have disdain for the lost. It reminds me of the soul-winning marathon that we just did a couple of days ago in Washington, D.C. Because we went to a place that was very much like Nineveh. Okay? I mean, you want to talk about a bloody city full of robbery and lies and murder and deceit, Washington, D.C. comes to mind. The thing about that is, and I'm not just talking about the politicians, we went to Southeast Washington, D.C. near the Maryland border, which is the worst part of D.C. for crime.
It's a place where it's a bloody place, it's a place of robbery, it's a place of lies, it's a place of deceit. While we were there, the window of our rental car was smashed out and things were stolen. It's place, and when the police showed up, they said, "Oh, this is nothing." That's literally what the police officer told upon me. He said, "Oh, this is nothing." He said, "You guys are lucky that this is all they did," or whatever. He said, "I've been here," He's like, "I live an hour away from here. I would never live in this city." He said. "I live an hour away and drive into work." He said, "That Panda Express that you just walked out of," he said, "Only three weeks ago, in the middle of the night, they just shattered the whole front window. They just threw something through the front window and just walked right in." He said, "I've had them try to stab me, shoot me," he's got the bulletproof vest on, he said, "There's no respect of human life here. People are constantly being robbed and killed." It's a bloody place, it's a bad place. It was like Nineveh.
It's just amazing how the city that runs our whole country is the most messed up city in America, pretty much, when you look at it, when you actually go there. I mean, it's a messed up place. This is right in the backyard of the government and, by the way, that ghetto is created by the government because of all the free handouts that they give people. This may not be popular preaching, but the Bible says that if a man would not work, neither should he eat, but we have a government that just gives handouts to lazy people who refuse to work, and then they raise children who grow up watching their parents not work, and then they grow up with this entitled attitude where they don't even feel bad stealing and breaking into things because they just probably thought that we were the privileged classes coming in there, and that they have a right to our stuff, to break our window and steal stuff because they're lazy, because they grow up with parents that don't work, and that whole idle area where there's not any business going on, and where people are lazy and just walking around, looking for trouble, up to no good, drunken, on drugs, just derelict.
Okay? I mean, it's created by a government that just keeps these people dependent and keeps them in that position and just gives them everything, instead of forcing them to work. By cutting off all the freebies that they're given. That's the true story, but you know what? At the same time, though, we got to be careful. Those of us that understand that and realize, hey, these people are lazy, these people are criminals, these people are refusing to work, these people are bad people because they had bad parents and the cycle just continues and so forth, but you know what? We need to not let that get to the point where we don't love these people to want to go give them the gospel, though, because they can be saved.
You know what? Just because we went to a place where there's a lot of crime, there's a lot of robbery, lies, deceit, we went to a bloody city, but we were able to get 89 people saved in a day-long soulwinning campaign with 60 people out there who had not lost the first love. 60 people out there who love the unlovable and would go in there to that area and reach out to the lost because, you know what? There are a lot of kids and teenagers there. You know what? If we don't reach them with the gospel, they're going to grow up to become the same kind of criminals and losers that their parents are. We need to go in there and get them the gospel and win the adults to Christ, and get them to see the error of their ways.
At least, if you have to live in such a slum and in such a hellhole of a place, at least if you could get saved, at least you'll go to heaven when you die. Right? Instead of just going from bad to worse. See, Jonah, he didn't see that. He looked at that ghetto, he looked at that bloody, deceitful, awful place, and he just didn't want to set foot in, he's nuts to these people. They deserve whatever they gave. Yeah, destroy that city. You know what? We need to realize that it's our job to go out and preach the gospel to the laws, to warn them, and not to just get to the point where we get so disillusioned and angry where we just are willing to just let the world go to hell.
You know what? I can't understand why there's so little soulwinning going on in America today, I don't know if part of it is that people are getting like Jonah, where they're just backslidden and they just care about themselves, and so they just don't love people anymore. I mean, I don't know about you, but a big reason why I go out there and go soulwinning is for the love of the people that I'm preaching to. Because the thing about it is that, yeah, God commands us to go soulwinning and Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments," and that should motivate us. I'll tell you what a real big motivator for me personally is the fact that people are going to hell and I love those people and I want to get them saved.
I mean, the love of Christ should constrain us, the Bible says, to go out and preach the gospel. If our gospel be hid, it's hid to them that are lost, whom the God of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not. We should care about other people, and not just have this attitude, "Well, I'm saved, I'm comfortable, I'm happy." No. We need to start looking out there and see a whole world of people that need Jesus, that need the gospel, and care about those people enough to go bring it to them and not be a self-centered, self-absorbed Jonah that's just worried about his own comfort and safety, but rather, we would see the lost and want to get them saved and love people.
Why is it that most of the churches in Phoenix, Arizona, that are independent fundamental Baptist churches don't do soulwinning anymore? Many that have been soulwinning churches in the past are now scaling back their soulwinning to twice a month, once a month. Look, we don't need less soulwinning, we need more soulwinning, and these churches are just going through the motions now where they go out for one hour, twice a month, just to go through the motions or it just becomes a visitation or just a handing out of flyers. They've lost the first love, they need to do the first works.
Look, if you care about somebody, you don't want them to go to hell, and the best thing you can do for that person is to give them the gospel that they might be saved. Too many churches are looking at the Nineveh neighborhood and saying, "I don't want to enter that neighborhood. If they do knock doors on their little token twice a month, one hour excursion, they're going to some gated community, or they're going to just the nice areas. Look. I believe in going to the nice areas just because I believe in going everywhere, but listen, we'll go to the nice area once, and we go the bad area five times around here. We've knocked every low-income type area anywhere near our church four, five, six times. Why? Because the gospel needs to be preached to the poor, the Bible says.
You say, "Well, but a lot of them are poor because they're lazy and because they're criminals and because they're drug addicted. So what? Preach the gospel to the poor. Look, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. In due time, Christ died for the ungodly. Okay? We need to be careful that we don't get so angry. For example, we had a soulwinning campaign to the Muslims where we went to Dearborn, Michigan, a few months ago, and then there were people who said, "Well, I just can't be a part of this because I just hate Muslims so much. I just can't stand them and I don't want to do this." Whoa, what is wrong with you? Look, Islam is a wicked religion but hold on a second, let's get the gospel to the Muslims, let's preach the gospel to every creature.
Yes, some of them are going to be a jerk and not want to hear it, but you know what? We're out there for that one that does want to hear it, and for the people that do have a heart that's tender to the gospel. Here, Jonah, he preaches to Nineveh and a bunch of people get saved, and that the whole city turns unto God. It's actually one of the most remarkable events in the whole Bible of people getting right with God. I mean, if you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, Jonah preaching to Nineveh is one of the greatest, just mass turnings to the Lord of anywhere in scripture. He didn't want to go do it, and then when it happened, he didn't even appreciate it, he didn't even understand it because he's so backslidden.
Let's go through this story together. In chapter 1, the Lord tells him to go to Nineveh, he flees to Tarshish. He gets in a ship going the exact opposite direction, he paid the fare thereof, went down into it to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Some of the symbolism in that verse there, he paid the fare thereof. There's always a price that you pay when you disobey God, when you rebel against the Lord. You end up paying the price. It says he went down into the ship. You're always going downhill when you're rebelling against what God has commanded you to do.
Look at verse 4. "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 asleep." This is more evidence of Jonah just not caring about anyone but himself. I mean, here he's on a ship with people that make their money by transporting merchandise. They're in danger of their lives but not only that, they're throwing all the merchandise overboard, making their whole trip in vain. They're losing a whole bunch of money. They're throwing the wares over the ship, everybody's helping, everybody's pitching in, they're grabbing the ropes, they're hoisting the sails, whatever sailors do, and everybody's doing the best they can.
Jonah just finds a comfortable place down in the bottom of the ship and he's just fast asleep, doesn't care about the people in Nineveh, doesn't care about the other people on the ship. He's just down there in the bottom fast sleep. If you would, flip over to Isaiah chapter 56. Isaiah chapter 56, and there's a scripture here about preachers and it talks about preachers who are fast asleep. I think that this is applicable of Jonah. Look at Isaiah chapter number 56, verse number 10. The Bible says, "His watchmen are blind." Now, watchmen in the Bible is a job that is often something where God will liken a preacher unto a watchman.
The watchman is the guy who stands on the wall, everybody's asleep, and he watches for an enemy, and if there's an enemy coming, he sounds the alarm so that the city can prepare their defenses. God told Ezekiel that he had sent him a watchman, and that he needed to warn the people of Israel. He needed to warn the wicked to turn from their evil ways. Preachers are watchmen that are supposed to warn you about the consequences of wickedness and to warn you about coming judgment from God. First of all, to warn the lost about hell, and also to warn the saved about God's chastisement and punishment that He'll bring upon his people if they disobey him.
It says here, "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark." Now dumb here is meant in the sense of a dumb man is someone who can't speak. You hear the term deaf and dumb. He's saying, "These are dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. They are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds." By the way, shepherds is synonymous with pastors. "They are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."
What do we see about these shepherds here, these pastors, these watchmen that are asleep on the job? They are like dumb dogs that can't bark. You see, one of the major purposes for having a dog is that he will be a watchdog. I have a dog for one reason, because it is a watchdog. We had people that were trying to break into our house and we tried a whole bunch of different things, and we still were having problems with crime, and so we ended up getting a dog, and then we never had a problem again. Because our dog is a watchdog. When you go to a high crime area, everybody has a dog because that's their protection.
In fact, we were just soulwinning in Washington, D.C., the very first door we walked up to knock, just a pit bull came running at us, and it was chained to a bicycle, but it just dragged the bicycle with us. The bicycle just slowed it down enough to where we could get away from it, but where it could get us if we stuck around. Okay. Because it was a bad area so they've got the dog there. The watchdog. He's saying, "Look, a dumb dog that can't bark." A dog that just wants to lay around, sleep, a greedy dog that wants to eat and drink but not do its work. Its work is to be the watchdog, and it's not doing that job.
This is a preacher who won't warn people. He'll never preach about hell, he'll never preach about the judgment and the wrath that God brings upon a sinful nation or a sinful church or sinful people. These type of warnings never come out of his mouth. Why? Because he's just a greedy dog that just wants to just take up as much wealth and financial gain as he can, and he knows that what sells is that which is positive. The positive preaching sells. Joel Osteen sells. These prosperity type preachers, that's what sells. They make all kinds of money, they're multimillionaires, and they don't want to preach the warning type sermon. They don't want to preach negative. They're dumb dogs that can't bark, but they love sleep, they love wine, they love nice things, they're greedy, and this is what a wicked preacher is like according to the Bible.
Today, we have far too much of this positive-only garbage, and listen, it's garbage, it's lies. See, the true story is that the path to God's blessing through the door of obedience. See, the true story is that broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it, and there are a whole lot of people today that are on their way to hell, and they need to be warned about that. The preachers don't want to talk about hell.
Then, even amongst God's people, there's a warning that needs to sound forth where the Bible says, "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulteres God will judge." There's a warning that needs to go forth that, "Wom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receveiveth." In this story about Jonah, we see a man being severely punished by God, a believer, a saved man, but he's severely punished by God for disobeying, and we need watchmen today, we need preachers that will warn people about the consequences of sin.
So many people today are forsaking churches that preach hard on sin, and they want to go hear the smooth things and they want to go hear the positive-only preaching, they want to go down to dumb dog Baptist and listen to some guy just that will come and lick their hand and wag his tail, but doesn't warn them about the criminal that's going to come and kill them all. That's what's going on today in our world. Beware of the positive-only message. It sounds good. When you hear this real encouraging, uplifting preaching, oh, it makes you feel so good. You know what? We need preaching that will call us to a change, that will call us to repentance, and will actually, where we walk out and we make changes in our life. That's the kind of preaching we need, not the kind of preaching where we just come in, we're comfortable, we enjoy it, it makes us feel good.
The Bible says here that these dumb dogs, He says they're sleeping, they're loving to slumber, and so that's pictured by Jonah, isn't it? Where Jonah is just asleep and he's supposed to be a preacher, he's supposed to be warning people. He's supposed to warn this gigantic city of Nineveh about their impending doom, and he's just sleeping like a baby. Why? Because he doesn't care. Why? Because he loves one person himself right now. He doesn't care about the Ninevites, doesn't care about the people on the ship.
It says in verse number 6 of Jonah 1, "So 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. And they said every one to his fellow, Come and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah." Here's basically what they're doing. They're wondering why is this happening to us? This horrible turn of events. They say, "Let's cast lots." Casting lots is basically just a random game of chance, in a sense. It would be like, for example, if we took a bunch of straws and we cut one shorter than the rest, and we have everybody draw straws, and whoever gets the short straw.
Or if we put names into a hat and shuffled up the hat and reached in and pulled out a name. That's basically what they're doing here. They're basically just saying, "Let's figure out who's guilty here." Okay? As it were, they throw all the names into the hat, whatever they do, however they casted lots, and they pull out and it's Jonah. Then the say to him, 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're trying to figure out what have you done to bring this upon us? It says in verse number 9, "And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why has to thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the prescribe of the Lord, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? For the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you."
We see Jonathan here, he's not a guy who's just rotten to the core, he's not a horrible person. Remember, this guy was a great preacher in the past. It's just that he's backslidden right now. At least, he has enough care, finally, once they pull him out and confront him, and he's confronted with this sin, and he realized that God's punishing him for his sin, then he at least has the decency to say, "Okay, throw me overboard. Instead of us all dying in this horrible storm, just take me up and cast me forth into the sea. Throw me overboard and everything will be fine."
The people in the ship, they feel bad for him. They don't want to just hurl him overboard. It says in 13, "Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, has to done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows."
If you were in their position, you'd fear the Lord exceedingly, too. I mean, think about this. You're in this horrible storm, you're about to die, here's this backslidden preacher, he admits to you, "Look, I fled from the Lord, I'm disobedient, that's why this is happening." They throw him overboard, and it's just over. He hits the water and, all of a sudden, the sea is a great calm. I mean, that would be pretty scary to be involved. I mean, you're going to fear the Lord at that point. They're making all kinds of vows.
You know what vows are, right? It's when you promise, "I'm never going to do." They're telling, "God, I'm never going to do this again. I'm going to go to church every Sunday from now on." Whatever the vows they're making, but they're pretty serious about getting right with God. It says in verse 17, "Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." This story about Jonah being swallowed by a whale, some people will scoff at this story, these pseudoscience kind of people, and the people who are so smart in their own minds, they've professed themselves to be wise and they've become fools.
They say, "Oh, it's impossible for a whale to swallow a human being. I mean, this story is just ridiculous." Now look, this story is not symbolic, it's not just a parable here. This is a real life story. First of all, it's about a real person that's mentioned elsewhere in the Bible, and number two, Jesus mentions this story as really happening. Okay? This is a true story. I've heard Jews that supposedly are Old Testament Jews, they scoff at this story and say, "Oh, that could never happen." What they're forgetting is that clearly says right there in verse 17 that, "The Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah."
Looking at the whale species that we know and saying, "Well, this particular whale couldn't have swallowed him," is ridiculous because this one that's been prepared by the Lord. Obviously, this thing is ready to handle swallowing a human being because God prepared it for that exact purpose. A lot of people don't realize how big whales are, because when we think of a whale, we're thinking Shamu. We're thinking, basically, an orca, a killer whale, right? Because if we go to Sea World, that's the whale that they're going to have, a killer whale, but this is one of the very small whales.
You see, there are great, big, gigantic whales that cannot be kept in captivity, that you can only see out in the ocean, blue whales, sperm whales, right whales. These whales are literally longer than this building. I mean, think about how long this building is right now, picture a whale that's longer than this whole building. That is how big blue whales are. Blue whales are the largest animal on this planet.
We have a lot of people in this auditorium right now. Okay. You could easily fit a person inside of a blue whale, especially if God had prepared it that way. I mean, you could fit a lot of backslidden preachers into a blue whale. Don't you wish a whale would just swallow Joel Osteen? [inaudible 00:35:42] Joel Osteen is not even saved, so Joel Osteen is not Jonah. He's going to be swallowed up by the pit of hell. Anyway, all these ... How about all these guys who are canceling soulwinning? Scaling it back, "Hey, let's do it once a month and let's just do a doorhanger, the ones who are actually saved but they just don't care." I don't think a whale is going to swallow them in Arizona, but God needs to send something to wake these guys up.
The thing is that he was swallowed by a whale. Now if you think about how bad this was, just to give you an idea of how bad it was to be living inside this whale for three days and three nights, is that it's compared unto hell. It's used as a picture of hell, and it actually provides a pretty good picture of hell because of the fact that hell is a place of darkness, and I'm sure it was pretty dark inside the whale's belly, and also the burning would be the main thing about hell. Being inside of a stomach of anything is probably going to be a burning situation because what's inside of our stomachs as human beings? Stomach acid, right? There's got to be some kind of an acidic substance in there to digest whatever is in there.
He's in there in total darkness, he's obviously in a very uncomfortable situation, it's probably burning and irritating his skin being inside the whale's belly for three days and three nights of torture. I mean, that's a serious chastening. That's a serious chastisement to basically be tortured in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights. That's what Jonah went through.
Jonah chapter 2 is Jonah's prayer from inside the whale's belly, and this kind of gives us some insight to this. It says in verse 1, Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billow sand thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head." Think about the seawood and everything that this whale has been eating is all wrapped around his head.
"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. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land."
Of course, the word of the Lord comes to him the second time and tells him to go preach to Nineveh, the preaching that God would bid him. Now, if you would, keep your finger in Jonah and flip over to Matthew chapter number 12. Matthew chapter number 12. Look at Matthew chapter 12 and let's start reading in verse number 40 of Matthew 12, first book of the New Testament, Matthew 12:40 says this, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Now here's the thing about the heart of the earth. The word core actually is just French for heart. A lot of our English words come from French because the French invaded England and changed our language about 1,000 years ago.
Core is synonymous with the heart. You think of an artichoke heart being at its core. Okay? The core of the earth is literally just a fancy word for the heart of the earth. Okay? The heart is, of course, a sphere, and it is filled with fire and brimstone. If you go to school and they show you a cross-section of the earth, you have this little thin layer of the crust. The crust is only one to ten miles thick, and then under the crust, you have this huge area known as the mantle, and then the core, and it's all fire, brimstone, it's sulfur that's down there. I mean, when we see the volcano erupt, we see some of that magma, as they call it, that lava, coming out, and we can see what's inside of earth.
Now, it's amazing to me how it doesn't strike people as weird. Unsaved people, unbelievers, people who don't believe the Bible, that it just doesn't strike them as weird that the earth is just solid fire and brimstone, and we're just on this little thin layer of crust on the outside. They never stop and think about that. Then people will scoff when you talk to them about hell being a real place. Hello. The whole earth is filled with fire and brimstone, the Bible talks about people going down into hell. In fact, there's even a place where God performs a miracle where Korah, Dathan, and Abiram are standing against Moses, and God says He's going to do a new thing where he opens up the earth and they fall down alive straight into hell. Okay.
Hell is a real place, and keep in mind, the Bible was written long before science had mapped out the fact that the globe is filled with fire, it has a core, and all this stuff. They didn't really know that, but God knew it. The Bible is always scientifically accurate. Okay. To tell us that the earth is filled with fire and that the earth has a heart that has a place at the center, and that place is hell. Now, notice the similarity here because in Matthew chapter 12 verse 40, it says, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Flip over, if you would, to Acts chapter 2. Acts chapter 2. Keep your finger there in Jonah with your left hand but go to Acts chapter 2, because in Acts chapter 2, there's a quote given from Psalm chapter 16. In Acts chapter 2, the Bible says in verse 25, Acts 2:25, "For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption."
What we have here is in Psalm 16, David is speaking and saying, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." What the Bible is saying is that David was not talking about himself, but that David, "seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption." You see, often in the book of Psalms, David is speaking in the first person, but it's actually prophesies about Jesus. It's not really about him, he's talking about Jesus. For example, when David says, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It's not really David who was was forsaken of the Lord, but rather, it's a prophesy about Jesus being forsaken of the Lord.
When David talks about being betrayed by his friend who dips his hand in the dish with him, when David talks about having his hands and his feet pierced in Psalm 22, those aren't really things that happened to David. Those are all prophesies about Jesus. Here's the thing, Jonah is also prophesying about Jesus in the book of Jonah chapter 2. Because as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so would Jesus be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Now look, if you would, at Jonah chapter number 2. It says, "Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly." What I want you to understand is that some of the things that he says here are literally about himself, and then some of the things he says are prophesies about Jesus, just like when we're reading Psalms or when we're reading Isaiah and he talks about them plucking the beard from his cheeks and everything. He's not really talking about himself, he's talking about Jesus. That's why when the Ethiopian eunuch is reading the book of Isaiah, the eunuch asks Philip, he says, "Is the prophet speaking about himself or is he speaking about some other man?" Of course, he was speaking about some other man, Jesus.
Look what Jonah prays out of the fish's belly. Verse 2, "And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice." Now stop right there. Is Jonah really in hell? No. Jonah is in the whale's belly for three days and three nights, but who is going to the heart of the earth for three days and three nights? Who's going to be in hell for three days and three nights? Jesus. That's what it's about. He says, "Out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me."
Now the part about the waves and the billows passing over him, is that Jonah or Jesus? That's Jonah. I mean, he's got waves and billows going over his head. "Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head." This is all Jonah, literally, in the waves, in the sea, with the seaweed and so forth, but then look what it says next.
"I went down to the bottoms of the mountains;" that can't really be said of Jonah. "The earth with her bars was about me for ever:" that can't really be said of Jonah, either. He doesn't have the earth around him forever with their bars. He's not going down to the bottoms of the mountains. It says, "Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God." Notice the same word corruption there where it said, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
It says, "When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land." Here we see that Jonah is talking about his literal circumstance, he's been punished, he's suffering, he's got seaweed wrapped around his head, he's inside the whale's belly, he doesn't know if he's going to get out, he's begging God for mercy.
Then we also see a foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrenction. The Bible says, "As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Acts 2:31 of David, "This spake he of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption." See, there are many people today who do not believe that Jesus went to hell for three days and three nights. They think that Jesus went to heaven or paradise or a different place. They don't believe that He went to hell for three days and three nights, but here's the thing. In order to believe that Jesus did not go to hell for three days and three nights, you basically have to say that the Bible that I'm holding in my hand is wrong.
Because the King James Bible says that he was in hell for three days and three nights. Now the modern bibles have taken this out. If you want to go get an NIV and believe the NIV and put your faith in the NIV, and then you say, "Well, I don't think Jesus went to hell for three days and three nights," that would actually make sense because the NIV changes all the scriptures about Jesus going to hell, it changes all of them, and takes out that doctrine. If you're going to claim to believe that the King James Bible is the word of God and not just the King James Bible, how about other bibles that led up to it? Translated by Tyndale and others that say that Jesus was in hell for three days and three nights.
By the way, you say, "Well, go back the Greek." Yeah, if you go back to the Greek, it's the same word that's used in eight other places in the New Testament, and it's always hell. Luke 16, He's in hell, He lifts up His eyes being in torment. Yes, same word. This word, the NIV will translate this word differently in Acts 2 than it translates it anywhere else. Just to eliminate this idea that Jesus Christ was in hell for three days and three nights. People have a problem with this doctrine, but here's the thing, it's biblical. The Bible says that Jesus, before He ascended up into heaven, that He first descended into the lowest parts of the earth.
The Bible says that Jesus was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. That's just not referring to the tomb, because the tomb is on the surface of the earth. Six feet under isn't the heart of the earth. The heart of the earth will be the center of the earth, and Jesus' soul was in hell for three days and three nights. His body was in the tomb, His soul was in the hell for three days and three nights. Three days later, he rose again.
There are two aspects to the resurrection of the Christ, because the Bible says, "This spake ye of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption." Basically, there's the aspect of His soul not being left in hell, but coming out of hell, and then there's the aspect of His Body resurrecting. Because when Jesus rose, He showed them the holes in His hands. It was a bodily resurrection, not just a spiritual resurrection, so it had two components.
Now go to Psalm 16, if you would. Psalm 16, this is the scripture that Acts is quoting and saying this is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Psalm 16, the Bible says this, in verse number 8, "I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
Verse 9 says, "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For," for means because. "Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Why is His heart glad? Why is his glory rejoicing? Why does His flesh also rest in hope? Because He's not going to be left in hell. Okay? Because some people will try to say, "Well, hell here, it's not really hell, it's like a good side of hell. It's paradise in the center of the earth, even though the Bible always talks about paradise being up." They say, "Oh, it's the good side." Here's the thing about that. Okay? If it's such a good place, why is He so anxious to get out of there? Why is He saying, "Hey, the only reason I have hope is because I'm getting out of here."
Okay. Look, the word hell is used 54 times in the Bible, it's always a bad place. Now where people get confused is because Jesus told the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." What they're forgetting is the fact that God is everywhere, God is omnipresent. The thief went to be with the Lord in heaven, and obviously, Jesus said, "I and my Father are one." Yeah, the thief went to paradise that day and he's with the Lord, but Jesus, the Son of God, descended into hell for three days and three nights. That's what the Bible says, and He rose again from the dead, His soul came out of hell, His body came out of the tomb, and so on and so forth.
Now, this doctrine is very clearly taught in the Bible because Jesus said in Revelation 1, He said, "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Now, if Jesus said that he was dead for three days and three nights, and that he has the keys of hell and of death, that's what it means by the fact that He led captivity captive, also, because he was captive in hell, and then He took hell captive. Okay? He has the keys of hell and of death.
Think about this. There was a time when the Sadducees came to Jesus, and they don't believe in the resurrection of the dead. They say unto Jesus, "Well, this weird story about a woman who had seven husbands, some weird hypothetical." Jesus turns it around on them and says, "Well, here's proof that the dead rise again." He said that when Moses met God at the burning bush, God said, "I'm the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," and it said, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Think about this, I want you to follow me. I know I'm not trying to be complicated, I'm trying to make it simple.
Jesus said of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that they were not dead, but that they were living. He said, "God is not the God of the dead but of the living. He's the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Not only that, but Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." They said, "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?" He said, "Before Abraham was, I am." He said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and was glad." He said, "Abraham is alive. Isaac is alive. Jacob is alive." Here's my question. Where were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when Jesus said that? They're in heaven, right?
Now, some people would say, "Oh, it was different. They were in paradise." Okay. They're in paradise. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are in paradise, and were they alive or dead? Okay. What was Jesus for three days and three nights, alive or dead? How could Jesus be in heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Okay? How could He be in a paradise that contains Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and when the Bible says He was dead for three days and three nights? No. The place of death is hell. In fact, hell is referred to as death. That's why the Bible says "Death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them." Death is a place. Hell is referred to in Ezekiel as death, okay, and in other places.
Not only that, but the lake of fire is known as the second death. The first death is the current hell in the center of the earth, and then there's the second death, lake of fire out of darkness. The bottom line is that Jesus Christ, when He died on the cross, was literally dead for three days and three nights, which is what's so amazing about the resurrection of Christ that His soul was not left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption. You see, there were other dead bodies that had been raised, but they weren't people whose soul had gone into hell, and they weren't raised up from that, were they? No.
Jesus Christ, and you say, "Why would Jesus go to hell?" People freak out about this. "Jesus going to hell, what in the world?" Hold on a second. He took upon Him the sins of the whole world. The Bible says, "He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." It makes perfect sense that when He's on the cross saying, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" When He became sin for us, that His soul then went to hell and paid the price for sin, and then he rose against triumphant over hell, triumphant over death, and having paid our sins for us and having created a new way of salvation through faith in His blood, through the veil that is to say His flesh, and so on and so forth.
Again, people struggle with this doctrine and people will even say, "Oh, Pastor Ericsson is a heretic for teaching this." You know what? This has been the traditional belief of Christianity until the 1800s. Period. This is what all branches of Christianity have believed and taught that I've ever seen. Any research that I've done, this was just considered a basic doctrine of the faith, but it's in the 1800s that you had the textual criticism and the changing of the Bible.
See, if you were reading a King James Bible, you'd walk away, "Well, it says He went to hell for three day and three nights, case closed." Go through it to John chapter 3 quickly, John chapter 3. If you're reading King James, it's case closed. He went to hell for three days and three nights. If you're reading a Tyndale bible, case closed. You got the Bishops' Bible, case closed. With these new versions now that take this out and say, "Oh, instead of being now left in hell, he's now left in the grave." Is what the changes add to. Then that's where confusion comes in starting in the 1800s with this whole doctrine.
Look, if you would, at John chapter 3, verse 13. The Bible reads, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." Okay. Here's Jesus talking to Nicodemus on this earth, right? Nicodemus is looking at Jesus, and Jesus says, "The Son of man is in heaven." That's what I'm saying about the fact that there's an omnipresence there, where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, where Jesus could be talking to Nicodemus and still say, "He's in heaven." That's why he can say to the thief on the cross, "You'll be with me in paradise," when He was actually going to hell to pay for His sins for three days and three nights. Okay.
You got to understand that we can't just pick and choose scriptures in the Bible, we have to put them all together and understand the totality of what's scripture is teaching. You can't just ignore the part about Jesus going to hell because it's there. It's taught very clearly, and Jonah is a beautiful picture of that. Okay. I mean, where's Jonah? In a place of suffering for three days and three nights. People will try to say, "Oh, well you're saying that the devil tortured him." No, the devil is not in hell, that's just more false doctrine. The devil's going to go to hell eventually, but right now, the Bible says the devil walks upon the earth, walking about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
This whole porky pig thing where the devil is down in hell like, ahaha. No. The devil doesn't rule hell, God rules in hell. God created hell. When the devil eventually goes to hell, he's not going to be ruling, he's going to be tortured. He's going to be not someone, he's not going to be ruling and reigning and so forth. Let's finish up here in Jonah chapter 2 quickly. After we see Jonah go through this ordeal, obviously, Jonah did not literally go to hell because no Christian can ever go to hell. No saved person will ever go to hell, but he's picturing Jesus here, so that's why he uses the term hell.
He is going through a hellish ordeal, as we would use that term loosely just to say, he's going through something that's similar to hell in the sense that it's dark, and he's in a lot of pain, but the good news is that it ends because after three days, the Bible says in verse 10, "The Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth," and so on and so forth.
It's a success. All the people believed God, they turned to God, et cetera. You can imagine Jonah probably looked pretty bad after being in that whale's. I mean, you know his preaching must have been intense. I mean, think about how you would preach. You know that the reason you went into that whale's belly was because of disobeying God's call to preach, and you've been tortured for three days and three nights. I'm sure his skin was all messed up from being in there, all the burning and all just the torment that he went through in there, the seaweeds wrapped around his head. He gets out of there, I don't think that he stopped to pass go or to collect $200. You know what I mean? I think he just went straight to Nineveh because he doesn't want to mess around and God to punish him anymore.
I mean, he just heads directly to Nineveh, and you know he preached hard. Because, I mean, he's running scared. I mean, God has shown him the error of his way. He goes there and he preaches, and God uses him in an amazing way, where the people just respond to his preaching. Okay? Notice, he's preaching hard. He's preaching negative, he's preaching. I mean, he's not preaching, "Let me share with you your best life now. Let me share with you how wonderful the love of God is." I mean, he's warning people. "You guys are going to be destroyed." I mean, he preached a hard sermon.
People respond to it. Why? Because people respond to hard preaching, it works. It gets the job done. The people turn to the Lord. Of course, Jonah is upset about it because of the fact that even though he's been punished, he did what was right only because he was punished, he still doesn't have the first love. He still doesn't care about the Ninevites. The only reason he went and preached is because he's scared.
Let me just leave you ... We're out of time, but let me just leave you with one last thought about this story. Sometimes our heart's not in the right place as Christians. Right? We get backslidden, our heart isn't right, we lose the first love. There are going to be times when we all get there. Okay? There was a time when Ezekiel was told to preach, and it says, "He went in bitterness," and he preached anyway. He did what he was supposed to do, but there are times when we're not going to feel excited about winning the lost and where we don't have the first love. I think one great thing that we can learn from Jonah is that if we go and do it anyway, if we do what's right, whatever the motive, whatever the reason, God can still use to get people saved.
I can think of a lot of times when I didn't feel like going out soulwinning, and I had a bad attitude going into it, and I showed up soulwinning,a need I had a bad attitude, my heart wasn't in it, but you know why I went? Because I knew it was the right thing to do, and I knew I needed to just keep going out there, keep doing it. If I'm feeling backslidden, the last thing I should do is quit doing the first works. Keep going soulwinning.
Sometimes, you drag yourself to church, don't you? I mean, if people would be honest in here, there are times when you drag yourself to church. You'd over the next feel like going to church. You drag yourself through Bible reading. You drag yourself through soulwinning. That's not ideal because we should be serving the Lord with gladness of heart and be rejoicing. Here's the moral of the story. You know what? If you have to drag yourself through it, you could still be used by God, and people can still be saved.
I can remember sometimes going out soulwinning with a bad attitude and in a bad mood, and my heart wasn't in it, and getting people saved. A lot of times, that will lift your spirits anyway, and make you feel good. The bottom line is that we don't want to get backslidden like Jonah, where we stop carrying about people. Let's keep our hearts tender to realize that the lost out there matter, and that they're human beings and we need to care about them and get them the gospel, and even if we go through times when our heart is not right, though, we need to just drag ourselves out there and do it anyway, and be a Jonah.
Look, if you don't, God's going to punish you, it's true. If God punished Jonah, and let's say you decide, "Well, I'm going to just quit soulwinning. I'm sick of soulwinning. These bunch of derelicts in the ghetto, nuts to them." You know what? You get to that point, God's going to send a whale to come swallow you. Not literally, but He's going to send something. Right? To chasten you because the Bible says, "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." There's a couple of good reasons to go out there and give the gospel to people. Number one, so that God doesn't punish you. Number two, because you love people. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank You so much, Lord, for the story and all that we can learn from it, Lord. Please help us not to get backslidden, help us not to lose our first love, Lord, help us to care about other people. Help us not to just sleep in the bottom of the ship while everybody's going to hell, but help us to get a heart for other people, to get a heart for soulwinning, to get a heart for preaching the gospel, Lord, and help us not to be scared of hard preaching, Lord, and scared of the warning message and seeking out the dumb dog pastor. Lord. Rather, help us to embrace hard preaching and embrace your chastening and understand that we need to grow and become a better Christian. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.