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Jonah and the Word of the Lord

By Joe Boot/ May 18, 2014

Series  Jonah and the Word of the Lord

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Covenant

Scripture  Jonah 1:1; 1 Kings 8:22-61

Jonah was called out with a purpose to bring the message of mercy and judgment to the nations.

Sermon Notes:

  1. Jonah foreshadows the gospel in going down into death and bringing resurrection life to the nations.
  2. As with all Scripture, we are to read Jonah with the person and redemptive work of Christ at the centre.
  3. Jonah means dove, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
  4. The account of Jonah offends people who reject the total government of God over all of history, for it is God who ordains the storm, its calming, and the great fish.
  5. People are willing to believe any freakish story, so long as it does not involve the providential rule of God. 
  6. Jonah was a historical prophet in Israel, known to the book’s audience (cf. 2 Kings 14:25; Luke 11:32).
  7. Jonah was reluctant to obey the Word of the Lord because of the terrible cruelty of Assyria toward God’s people.
  8. To understand Jonah, we must understand the theological background of God’s covenant. 
  9. A covenant is a binding commitment with divine sanctions.
  10. The backdrop of Jonah is God’s promise that all nations would be blessed by the seed of Abraham (Genesis 12).
  11. Israel was a theocratic kingdom: it was ruled by God Himself, by His law.
  12. The whole nation of Israel was to be a kingdom of priests ministering unto the world (Exodus 19:3-6).
  13. This calling was both the privilege of Israel and the burden (responsibility) of Israel.  
  14. Theocracy implies a mission for God’s people:  obedience to His commands and unswerving trust in Him.
  15. Israel was to set an example for the nations (1 Kings 8).
  16. The city centre reflects what is worshiped (f. Num. 2:1-34).
  17. The church cathedral was long at the centre of Toronto.
  18. Everywhere Jesus is preached and obeyed a theocracy is developed, where Christ is the temple centre (Rev. 21:3).
  19. In the new Zion, the will and purposes of God are obeyed.
  20. Jonah is called from being a minister of the true centre, Zion, to minister to a false centre and enemy, Nineveh.
  21. OT prophetic ministry often brought God’s blessing to the Gentiles and judgment upon covenant breaking Israel.
  22. The book of Jonah is about mercy upon Jonah, the sailors, Nineveh, and Israel itself.  
  23. Jonah was called out with a purpose toward the nations.
  24. God’s servants were often marked with a sense of destiny: Moses, Joshua, Esther, Nehemiah, Daniel, Stephen, Paul.
  25. Past privilege and blessing magnify our shame if we rebel against God’s calling and destiny for our lives.
  26. Ask God to revive your calling and destiny as a royal priest, and press through all the difficulties.
  27. Repentance and blessing will come to the city only as we obey our calling to proclaim the word of the Lord.
  28. We are to accept our privilege and our burden, proclaiming the message of mercy and judgment to the nations.

Application Questions

  1. What was the historical context of Jonah?
  2. What is the real source of offense in the book of Jonah?
  3. What responsibility is attached to our privilege as God’s covenant people?
  4. What are practical ways to bring God’s mercy and justice to the nations?
  5. How can we be empowered to fearlessly deliver an unpalatable message to our city and nation?
  6. Are we like Jonah, fleeing from the presence of the Lord?
  7. What is your sense of destiny for God’s kingdom work?

Sermon Notes