Jonah 1:1-17 A POP QUIZ FOR SLEEPING SAINTS
Intro: Ill. The background for the book, the call of Jonah and his attempt to out
maneuver God. Notice that he path was a downward one, v. 3. The path of
disobedience to God can only lead downward. It seems evident from v. 5 that Jonah
was the only true believer on board. As such, he had a responsibility to be a bright
light for God. Jonah isn’t shining though he is sleeping. While the storm is raging
all around, while the heathen mariners call out to their false gods, while every man
on board needed help from the true God, the only one who could have made a
difference was sound asleep. When the captain of the vessel locates the sleeping
prophet, he asks the first of a series of questions that Jonah had to face. As I read
this, it is clear to me, that conditions in our world are no different from those on
board that ship. The world is engulfed in a great storm, people are perishing and
looking for answers to life’s questions. They are looking for someone to point the
way. All he while, the church and church people are sound asleep. These sailors
gave Jonah a little pop quiz that we would do well to look at tonight. Let’s consider
these questions Jonah faced, and see that they are questions we face as believers also.
I want to preach on the subject of “A Pop Quiz For Sleeping Saints.”
I. v. 5-6 THEY QUESTIONED HIS PREOCCUPATION
A. Jonah was so caught up in his rebellion against God and in going his own way
that he was totally oblivious to the conditions around him. (Ill. The modern
church - we sleep while the world around us fights for its very life.)
B. Ill. The captain came and rebuked the prophet for his prayerlessness. (Ill. The
tragedy of a sleeping church in a dying world - Eze. 3:18.) (Ill. The shame of
the world’s rebuke!)
C. They world may not say it, or act like it, but they want a living, praying,
serving church. (Ill. Who they come to when trouble comes.) (Ill. It’s time to
wake up - Rom. 13:11-14)
II. v. 7-8 THEY QUESTIONED HIS PROFESSION
A. Ill. It must have been embarrassing for Jonah to declare himself to be a man of
God. (Ill. It is hard to stand when you’ve blown your testimony.)
B. As Christians, we must never allow ourselves to forget who we are and what
we have been called to be. (Ill. The Great Commission - Matt. 28:18-20; Acts
1:8) (Ill. The harvest is white - John 4:35-38)
C. Christian, what is your occupation? Are you on the job for Jesus?
III. v.8 THEY QUESTIONED HIS PEDIGREE
A. Jonah is asked about his origin, there is a threefold question.
B. Whence Comest Thou? How can a running, disobedient man say that he is
God’s man from God’s country? He can’t! Our disobedience and sin clouds
our testimony and causes our lips to be silent.
C. What Is Thy Country? Ill. Jonah was from the promised land. But, he didn’t
live like a worshipper of Jehovah God! Ill. We are literally from Heaven -
John 3:3; Phil. 3:20; Ill. Eph. 2:6. However, sin and slackness make it difficult
for a lost world to believe us!
D. Of What People Art Thou? Ill. Jonah was one of the chosen people of God.
Ill. The church is the redeemed people of God! People saved by grace, Heaven
bound, Hell proof, eternally saved and equipped with the truth and power of
God Almighty. Ill. Our activity ought to match our bloodline!
E. All these things are true of the Christian, but they are all hollow and empty to a
lost world that sees the church as self-absorbed, out of touch and irrelevant to
their world and problems.
F. The world has every right to question our reality when we do not live up to it!
IV. v.10 THEY QUESTIONED HIS PURPOSE
A. “Why have you done this?” - They seem amazed that anyone would act so
foolishly and claim to know God at the same time.
B. In truth, the world would prefer that we left them alone. There will come a
day, however, when they will point an accusing finger at us and demand to
know why we slept while they perished.
C. Ill. We need to take the Lord’s work very seriously, for a day is coming when
we will not be able to work - John 9:4; Eccl. 9:10.
D. Ill. We all ought to question our purpose. Why am I here? What am I really
doing for God? What do God want me to do? Why do I do what I do? What
do I not do that I need to do? All are powerful questions that demand and
deserve to be answered.
V. v. 11-17 THEY QUESTIONEDED HIS PUNISHMENT
A. “What shall we do with thee?” The answer they receive is the only one that
makes sense. “Cast away the disobedient saint.”
B. Ill. This is the modern world’s reaction to the church. This is our punishment,
they simply ignore us, or worse, they cast us off. (Ill. The modern world is
asking, “Where does the church fit in?”) Ill. This was not how it was during
the life of Christ - Ill. Mark 2:12; John 7:46; Matt. 9:33. They might not have
liked Him, but no one was able to ignore Him!
C. The reason? Everywhere Jesus went, He touched those around Him. His life,
because of His holiness, was a challenge to the sinner, a light to the seeker,
food to the hungry, forgiveness to the guilty, and life to the dead. Jesus made a
difference! That was Jonah’s responsibility to Nineveh and to the men on that
ship. It is our responsibility to the world around us today!
Conc: I didn’t like this little pop quiz very much! But, it does serve as a wake up
call to God’s children who desire to make a difference in their world. We need to be
awake, active and on deck letting our lights shine for the Glory of God. We can
either be like Jonah or like Jesus. I know who we are called to be like, but who are
we really closer to tonight?