Jonah 4 – Running Ahead of God

Posted: January 31st, 2021 | Author: | Filed under: Sermons | Comments Off on Jonah 4 – Running Ahead of God

>Jonah 4: Running Ahead of God

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A Sermon by Dr. Bob Griffin, Teaching Elder at Sovereign Grace Church

I. DISCOURAGED CHRISTIANS
A. A FRUSTRATED BELIEVER

Jonah 4:1 But this greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry.
1. CHARACTERISTIC
2. CURE: PRIORITIES
Gal 6:2-9 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
(also Lk 10)

B. A WORRIED BELIEVER
Jonah 4:2 He prayed, “O Lord, isn’t this what I said when I was still in Israel? That is why I quickly fled to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and relenting sending disaster.
1. CHARACTERISTIC
2. CURE: REST
Rom 8:28-39 We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

C. A DEPRESSED BELIEVER
Jonah 4:3-4 Now, O Lord, just take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be so displeased?”

1. CHARACTERISTIC
2. CURE: HOPE
II Cor 4:7-11 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

II. DESPAIRING CHRISTIANS
A. A BITTER BELIEVER

Jonah 4:5-6 Jonah had left the city and sat to the east in of the city, making a shelter for himself there. He sat in its shade, till he should see what would become of the city.
Now the Lord God prepared a leafy plant to grow over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, relieving his discomfort. This made Jonah extremely happy regarding the plant.

1. CHARACTERISTIC
2. CURE: SATISFACTION
Phil 4:8-11 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
(also Heb 12:15)

B. A PROUD BELIEVER
Jonah 4:7-9 But the next morning, God prepared a worm that chewed the plant so that it withered away. And when the sun rose, God prepared a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint.
Jonah asked that he might just die, stating, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
But God reminded Jonah, “Is it right for you to be upset about the plant?”
He answered, “Yes, it is. I’m so irritated, I wish I were dead.”

1. CHARACTERISTIC
2. CURE: HUMILITY
I Pet 5:5-7 Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (also Jas 4:6-10)

C. AN INSENSITIVE BELIEVER
Jonah 4:10-11 And the Lord said, “You are concerned about the plant, though you didn’t work to make it grow. It sprang up in a night and died in a night. Should I not be concerned about the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”
1. CHARACTERISTIC
2. CURE: OTHERS
Phil 2:1-5a If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus

Poem by Charles Meigs (written 1901)

Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for – Others.

Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I do for You
Must needs be done for – Others.

And when my work on earth is done
And my new work in heaven’s begun
May I forget the crown I’ve won
While thinking still of – Others.

Others, Lord, yes others,
Let this my motto be:
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.


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