On Mission In Anderson & Beyond
North Anderson Baptist Church
Sunday, September 17th
Locations & Times
  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, USA
    Sunday 10:00 AM
As we wrap up our study of the book of Jonah, let's summarize what we've studied up until this point:

God had called His prophet to go to the pagan city of Nineveh and proclaim coming judgment so that the people would repent.
Jonah goes prodigal, and boards a ship going in the opposite direction.
Like He does all prodigals, the Lord loves the Prodigal Prophet and knows how to get them home, so He sends a storm, Jonah is cast overboard, and is swallowed by a great fish.
From the smelly stomach cavity of a great fish, Jonah owns his sinful rebellion and is contrite. The Lord shows compassion and mercy to Jonah and commands to fish to deposit him on dry land.
He lands on the shore and makes his way into the wicked city of Nineveh, proclaiming Gods message: Judgement is coming! Repent before it's too late!

The Ninevites immediately respond to the message, proclaim a national fast, the mourn over their sin and turn from it.

The last verse we read Jonah 3:10 “God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways—so God relented from the disaster he had threatened them with. And he did not do it”

Yet the story doesn’t end with the Ninevites repenting and escaping the wrath of the Lord.

Jonah 4:1 “Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious”


He tells us in Jonah 4:2 “He prayed to the Lord, “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and one who relents from sending disaster.”

While it’s fair for us to think that there were likely multiple reasons as to why Jonah refused to follow the Lords call to preach in Nineveh in chapter one, the honestly found in his prayer here in chapter 4 reveals the primary reason why he hopped aboard a ship heading to Tarshish.

Jonah didn’t want the Ninevites to be spared. He wanted the wrath of God to fall on every man, women, boy and girl there. The Ninevites were the enemies of Judah. They acted in wicked ways. They were on the other team and Jonah loathed the possibility that they could be shown mercy. He hated them and wanted God to do the same.


While Nineveh is certainly a historical city where this incredible story really did take place, it's not just that. Nineveh is not just a place. It’s a symbol.

Nineveh is a symbol for all who don’t know the Lord. For the world. A symbol of all who’ve not come into a saving relationship with Christ.

Nineveh was symbolized by the Jewish leaders who falsely accused Jesus and demanded His death, the Roman soldiers who drove nails into His hands and feet and the crowd at the foot of the cross mocking and ridiculing Him.
It's symbolized by those who threw stones at the young deacon named Stephen, those who beat Peter and John, those who terrorized the early church and sent them running for their lives.

Nineveh can also be an-ex husband or ex-wife, an adversary at work or school. It can be a person or a party that see’s political problems and solutions in the opposite way that you do.

Nineveh can be symbolized by the Muslim lady at who was behind you in line at Publix last week, the abortion advocate group picketing the state capital, the addict who is in rehab for the 15th time, the deadbeat dad, the greedy, the sexually immoral, the power hungry, gang members.

Nineveh is a symbol of this world.

And you can know that you’ve created a god in your own image if that god hates Nineveh as much as you do.

Itt is true that the wages of sin are death, and that God will judge in righteousness all who have not believed upon Jesus for eternal life. It’s certainly true that without repentance, His just wrath will fall upon every unbeliever.

And yet, it is equally true that the Lord will show grace and compassion upon every Ninevite who repents of their sin and calls upon the name of Jesus (2 Peter 3:19, John 3:16)

God desires Nineveh and every person or group that is symbolized by it to repent and believe the Gospel. He desires to spare Nineveh.


“We are Gods chosen few, all others be damned / There’s no place in Heaven for you, lest it be crammed” - Jonathan Swift

Jonah 4:3 “And now, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah was thrilled with mercy when he received it but he couldn’t handle it falling upon Nineveh

He simply can’t live with the fact that God would show mercy to anyone he deemed unworthy of receiving it. Jonah was more passionate about seeing Gods wrath fall upon Nineveh than he was about His mercy falling upon them.

If we're more concerned about the destruction of my enemies than Iwe are their deliverance, there’s a deep seeded spiritual issue going on.

Jonah had called on the mercy of God, had received it, and had enjoyed it when he was its recipient but when the same God shows the same mercy to Nineveh, it disgusted him.

When Jonah told the Lord that he was “greatly displeased” that He’d withheld wrath from the city, the original Hebrew literally translates it – “Great evil”. Think of that: The Lord shows this act of great grace, Jonah considers a great evil.

How could he say this?

Put simply: Jonah thought he was deserving of Gods mercy…but Nineveh wasn’t. If we’re not extraordinarily careful, our own hearts are given over to the same mindset.

Jesus knew this about us.
Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other, because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Mercy – is not getting what we do deserve.

Nineveh, Jonah, you and I: deserve wrath. We deserve judgment. All of us.
When God shows mercy: He doesn’t give us what we do deserve.

When we love the idea of Gods mercy so long as it is given to ourselves and the people that we think are deserving of it, there’s a problem…because none of us are actually deserving.


When the Lord wants a person to look at their own hearts, He ask them a question? He’s God. He knows all. He's not asking for information that He isn't privy to.

When God ask a question, it forces the person to deal honestly with their own heart.

In Genesis 3, after mankind had sinned: Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? What is this you have done? After Cain killed his own brother in Genesis 4: Where is Abel? What did you do? To Judas Iscariot in the Garden of Gethsemane – Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?

Jonah 4:4 “The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

I believe that the Lord is trying to show Jonah that the problem here is twofold:
a. He has no heart for the people of Nineveh
b. He can’t stomach a God who does

If the Lord were to have asked Jonah, “Hey, what’s the problem here?”
I don’t think Jonah would have come out and said either of those two things. I believe he’d have stated emphatically – The problem is Nineveh, Lord. It’s them!

NO DOUBT, they’d acted in truly despicable, wicked, vile ways….yet they moment they heard Gods message, they believed it and turned from their sin.

The great problem of the book of Jonah wasn’t the pagans as much as it was the Prophet himself!

Far too often, we identify the culprit of the issues that plague this world as THEM and rarely ourselves.

We're quick to say, that the problem is the republicans, democrats, 3rd Party candidates and those who vote for them.
The problem is young people have no respect or the old who are stubborn and stuck in their ways.
We announce that the problem is culture, society, schools, the internet, this group or that group, on and on...

Maybe the great moral slide that our own nation is seeing has as much to do with the saints within the walls of the church as it does the sinners outside of them.

Maybe the great problem isn’t so much that the unbelieving world is sprinting towards a cliffs edge, but rather that the believing world doesn’t care enough to warn them.

Maybe the issue is not so much the sinner wallowing in their filth but the saints who won’t touch them for fear of getting dirty.

When the problem is always THEM and never us, there’s an issue.

TO WRAP UP JONAHS STORY: The Lord teaches him a valuable lesson that we’d all be wise to pay attention to.

Jonah leaves and goes to the east side of the Nineveh and takes a seat. He wants a front row seat to watch what happens to the city.
I believe he’s hoping against hope that the Lord will change His mind and wipe it out.

Jonah 4:6-8 “Then the Lord God appointed a plant, and it grew over Jonah to provide shade for his head to rescue him from his trouble. Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant. When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered. As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head so much that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live”

The same God who appointed a storm to get the prodigal prophet’s attention and a great fish to get him back on course…appoints a plant to grow and provide refreshing shade and then a worm to eat that shade away. As Jonah sits there in the unwavering middle eastern sun, the Lord hits him with another question:

Jonah 4:9 “God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “Yes, it’s right!” he replied. “I’m angry enough to die!”

Check out the last words of this book -

Jonah 4:10-11 “The Lord said, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. So may I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than a hundred twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?”

In essence, the Lord says to Jonah, you loved this plant, this temporary treasure, this thing that was here one moment and gone the next.

AND YOU SAY I AM WRONG to love these people. People that I have created in my own image and likeness? People that I breathed life into and will exist eternally?

That’s where this book ends. We don’t know if Jonah got the message.

We don’t know with certainty if he repented of his sin and foolishness.
According to Jewish tradition, he fell on his face and made a statement later quoted in Daniel 9:9, “Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God, though we have rebelled against him”

We hope that’s the case, but we can’t know for sure how Jonah responded to the Word of the Lord.

What we can know is how we respond to His Word. How will we respond today?

Are You Ready To Take Your Next Step?