East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
724-981-4223
office@eastsidechurchsharon.org
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July 21, 2013
"Jonah's Song"
Jonah 2:1-9

Intro : Jonah series reminds us what church is to be, do. Review: God calls Jonah to cry out against Nineveh; (motivated by God's mercy, we call people to repent.) Jonah ran away; (guard our hearts from sin.) God sends storm, sailors scared, Jonah sleeping; (wake up to powerlessness of world under God's judgment.) Sailors ask Jonah questions; (listening is most effective strategy for witnessing.) Jonah tossed into sea, swallowed by fish; (Jesus' cross was necessary for God to forgive sinners.) Now, Ch. 2: Don't focus on fish! Jonah's longest speech; a glimpse into his soul. Reveals a crucial element lacking in many: thanksgiving! (Read Romans 1:21.) How do we cultivate thankfulness?

The Ticking Clock! (Read Jonah 2:1.) Don't know how long Jonah may have hovered in unconscious state in fish's belly before he realized he was alive. Wonder if fish's movement began to form a rhythm, tempo in his mind. Jonah crafted melody, lyrics, a song. Worked on it, set it aside, worked on it. Nothing but time on his hands! Does God have a reason for allowing difficulty to swallow His people? When we encounter painful times of waiting, how should we respond? Wonder why God has set you aside, slowed you down? He's allowing you time to think, ponder, cultivate a heart of thankfulness. Giving thanks to God takes time, becausec it takes time to see how great His grace truly is!

The Powerful Salvation! (Read Jonah 2:2-7.) Describes Jonah's desperate situation! Vs. 3-4; battered by waves, Jonah realizes certainty of death! No reason to hope for rescue. Vs. 4 may be better interpreted, "How will I look again...?" Jonah, trying to escape God, now sees his foolishness, wants relationship with God. Despairs of that happening! Even worse, sinking, swallowed by death itself! (vs. 5-6a) As he passes out, remembers God, offers a feeble prayer. That prayer rose from the depths to the heights: throne room of God Almighty! Many never make it past vs. 2 in their thinking. "I called, and God answered me" (Jonah's summary of what happened.) True. But v. 6b, then v. 7! What happened before Jonah called? God had already begun to save Jonah; Jonah had already been swallowed by the fish! Gratitude springs from remembering your true situation: How damned you were, how safe you are now in Christ! (Read Ephesians 2:1-5.) When you see how great God's grace is, you can't help but give Him thanks!

The Puny Alternatives! (Read Jonah 2:8.) Jonah reflects on the foolishness, danger of missing God's grace by clinging to idols. (Lit. "empty nothings!") Not just statues. Other deities, religions! Meddlesome: Idols are anything you trust more than God! Yourself! Strength, experience, intellect, reputation, possessions, education, control, accomplishments, family, church membership, righteousness. Confronted by death, God's judgment, how will these help you? Empty nothings! When you see how powerful God's grace is, compared to the idols' emptiness, you can't help but give Him thanks!

The Undeserved Grace! (Read Jonah 2:9.) Emotion of gratitude is not enough! Thanksgiving involves follow through; (vs. 9a) ongoing worship, from your heart, through your actions! Jonah promises ongoing worship because he has experienced the certainty, joy, assurance of salvation! (v. 9b.) Very Important Question : At what point in this song does Jonah begin to deserve God's salvation? Scholars debate whether Jonah actually wrote this song. Say: Song indicates Jonah was converted/repented, but his actions in ch. 4 disprove this! Missing the point! Obedience to God does not qualify you for God's grace! (Repeat.) Already seen, God saved Jonah in the middle of Jonah's rebellion... before Jonah prayed his thanksgiving song...even though God knew Jonah was still going to get mad, pout about Nineveh...even though God knew Jonah's behavior was not going to be perfect! This is God's amazing grace: God saves us even though we don't deserve it...even though we will never deserve it. Why? Because salvation does not come from us. "Salvation comes from the Lord." When you see how great God's grace is, you can't help but give Him thanks!

Application : Where do you find yourself?

  • Waiting on God's timing?
  • Feeling cut off from God, hopeless, despairing?
  • Having trouble letting go of idols?
  • Still trying to earn God's grace?
Take time to look at the awesome power of God's grace, His tender-hearted willingness to hear the feeblest prayer of the most desperate sinners. Let go of your idols and your need to impress Him. When you see how great God's grace is, you can't help but give Him thanks! Give thanks to God for His astounding grace!

Next Time : When God forgives us, does He remove all the consequences of our sinful choices? Why or why not? If you had a chance to live life over again, what would you do differently?



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