Substitution

Jonah: Lesson 4

The Futility of Works

Jonah 1:12-18

In a previous message we learned that the only way the storm that threatened the sailors could be calmed was for Jonah to be cast overboard. There was no other way, no other alternative. In the same way, there is no salvation apart from the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but proud and stubborn humanity is slow to believe God’s Word. Instead they seek to save themselves through their own efforts and works. Most men and women will exhaust their own devices until they are utterly lost, and then will accept God’s remedy for sin.

“When you have tried everything, read the instructions.”

This principle is illustrated in our narrative. There were at least two things the sailors tried before they would submit to God’s command to throw Jonah overboard. The first attempt to save themselves is found in Jonah 1:5, “They cast forth their wares.” They thought that by getting rid of their cargo they could survive the storm. Their efforts were of no avail.

Similarly, many people today try to reform. They stop lying, stealing, swearing, killing, and lusting. This is the way of religion – live a decent life, join the church, etc. [Describe at this point, reformation - Use the example that can be seen through the evil spirit cast out, who later returns and brings six others (Matthew 12:43-45).]

Jonah: Lesson 3

The Casting of Lots (Jonah 1:7)

The sailors were at their wits end. They did not know what to do. They recognized that this storm was supernatural. They recognized that it was a judgment from God for some crime. The only way they could think of how to identify the culprit was to cast lots among themselves.

In the Old Testament, many people frequently resorted to the casting of lots in order to ascertain the will of God. Examples can be seen in the following: Achan, David as king, the way Joshua divided the land by lot, the duties of the priests and how they were determined by lot, and the way singers were chosen by lot. God gave Israel a method of determining His will since they had incomplete revelation. It was called the Urim and Thummin. These were two stones that were kept in the pocket of the High Priest’s breastplate.

It is generally agreed that these two stones were colored black and white. When the will of God was to be sought, the High Priest would reach into this pouch to ascertain God’s will by picking out one of these stones, either the Urim or the Thummin. It is thought that the white meant “Yes,” and the black, “No.” Is this how we have to ascertain God’s will today? The answer is, emphatically, NO! We have the full revelation of the will of God. Because that which is perfect has come, we have no more need for additional revelation, like signs and wonders, miracles and dreams, and visions and tongues. We have no need for Urim and Thummin. We now have the will of God from the Word of God.

Chapter 3: Substitution

The word I now desire to bring before you is one that is not actually in the Bible. It is the word “substitution.” Although it is not in the Bible, it stands for a great truth that runs through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. That is, the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ in infinite grace took the place of poor, lost, guilty sinners, and made it possible for a holy God to reach out in mercy and save all who would come to Him in the name of His beloved Son.

I do not have one particular text in mind, but I have been thinking of five different passages in the New Testament where we get the same expression—He “gave himself”; and I want you to think with me of these scriptures. The One who gave Himself was our Lord Jesus Christ, and I should like you to notice what it was for which He gave Himself.

In the Epistle to the Galatians, chapter 2 and verse 20, the apostle Paul writes:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Note the individuality of it. Paul, who had been a bitter persecutor of the people of God, who had been an enemy of the Cross of Christ, one day had his eyes opened, and he suddenly realized that the One who died on that cross went there for him, that He had taken his place, that it was love that led Him to go to that shameful death. From that moment the heart of Saul of Tarsus went out in ador- ing gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ, and until the very end of his days he found his greatest joy in trying to give some evidence, by a life of service, of his love for the One who had thus loved him.

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