Monthly Archives: March 2010

John 1:1-2 – The Word Was… – Part 1

John 1:1-2 – The Word Was…Part 1
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for John 1:1-2

It is rightly said that context is king when seeking to accurately understand Scripture.
• The first 13 verses of John can be seen as setting a context for us.
• John uses them to set the penultimate context for the Jesus he is about to reveal to us.
• John prefaces his eyewitness accounts of Jesus with a Jesus that is HUGE.
• And then he drops the ultimate “J-Bomb” in verse 14 – this Jesus became flesh!

So now we need dive in and seek to understand the gravity and importance of this context.

John 1:1–2 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
• “This Word who is God, is the very one of whom I have also said that he was in the beginning, and that he was with God” – paraphrase by D.A. Carson.

1) WHAT DOES JOHN MEAN BY “THE WORD” (LOGOS)?

Literally “logos is a collecting or collection both of things in the mind, and of words by which they are expressed. It therefore signifies both the outward form by which the inward thought is expressed, and the inward thought itself” – Marvin Vincent.

So in the incarnate person of Jesus we have the 2nd person of the triune God expressed as The Word.

D.A Carson, MacArthur & others advocate that John is linking Jesus to the role of God’s word in the OT:
• Word as Creation
  o Genesis 1:3 (ESV) — 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
  o Psalm 33:6 (ESV) — 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
• Word as Revelation
  o Isaiah 9:8 (ESV) — 8 The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel;
  o Amos 3:8 (ESV) — 8 The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?”
• Word as Law/10 Commandments
  o Exodus 24:3–4 (ESV) — 3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
• Word as Deliverance and Salvation
  o Isaiah 55:11 (ESV) — 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
  o Psalm 107:20 (ESV) — 20 He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
• Word as Coming
  o Isaiah 38:4 (ESV) — 4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah:
  o Jeremiah 1:4 (ESV) — 4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

John Piper’s insight into why John called Jesus the Word:
Hebrews 1:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
• “John calls Jesus the Word because he had come to see the words of Jesus as the truth of God and the person of Jesus as the truth of God in such a unified way that Jesus himself—in his coming, and working, and teaching, and dying and rising—was the final and decisive Message of God” – John Piper.
• Words of Jesus + Person of Jesus = Final and Decisive Message of God
• Therefore John called Jesus The Word.

Now understanding what John may have had in mind with LOGOS, what does John tell us about Him?

He paints numerous beautiful brush strokes to paint us an awesome picture.

2) THE WORD WAS IN THE BEGINNING

The Bible is in complete agreement with John on this point:
• Genesis 1:1 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
• John 8:58 (ESV) — 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.
• John 17:5 (ESV) — 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
• Colossians 1:17 (ESV) — 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
  o Held together via Divine Information: “Information, of course, is just another name for logos. All the information in the universe is, in the end, mediated through the divine Logos, who is before all things and by whom all things hold together” – William Dembski.
• Hebrews 1:10 (ESV) — 10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;
• 1 John 1:1 (ESV) — 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—


So what does it mean that the Word was in the beginning?

John is saying the following:
• Jesus WAS before His incarnation.
• Jesus WAS before creation.
• “The Logos [Word] did not then begin to be, but at that point at which all else began to be, He already was. In the beginning, place it where you may, the Word already existed. In other words, the Logos is before time, eternal” – Marcus Dods.

To understand the gravity of John’s statement, we need to think Psalms 8:3-4 & Hebrews 1:3 BIG:
Taking our cues from theses verses, let’s compare the Word and the universe.
• As large as the earth is, it is but a grain of sand in our galaxy.
  o 8,000 miles across vs. 100,000 light years across (1 light year is about 6 trillion miles).
• As large as our Milky Way galaxy is, it is but a grain of sand in the universe.
  o 100,000 light years across vs. 93 billion light years across
• And yet, as large as it is, our universe began to exist.

What does it mean to say that the universe began to exist?
• It is finite and exists within the confines of time and space
• It has a cause
• It was created
  o “So long as the universe had a beginning we could suppose it had a creator” – Stephen Hawking.
  o In fact, Fred Hoyle who postulated the Big Bang, dismissed it after he named it because of its implications – David Berlinski.

Now by comparison, consider Jesus and what John is telling us about Him.
• If Jesus WAS in the beginning then He never began to exist.


What does it mean that Jesus never began to exist?
• He is eternal
• He has no cause
• He is uncreated
• He is outside of time and space

This is the first brush stroke of the context John is painting for us.
• Jesus Christ never began to exist.
• Jesus Christ is huge ontologically and epistemologically!
• In fact, Jesus is bigger than the universe!
• Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) — 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power

3) THE WORD WAS WITH GOD

The word “with” or Greek “pros” is very important.
• It is not the only Greek word for “with” and so was chosen for a specific purpose.
• D.A. Carson points out that “‘pros’ may mean ‘with’ only when a person is with a person, usually in some fairly intimate relationship.”
• Therefore, John is pointing out “that the ‘Word’ he is talking about is a person, with God and therefore distinguishable from God, and enjoying a personal relationship with him.
• So “with God” and “was God” are some of our source material for the Doctrine of the Trinity.

And it will come as no surprise that the NT is in agreement with John:
• John 16:28 (ESV) — 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
• John 17:5 (ESV) — 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
• 1 John 1:2 (ESV) — 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—

And just to be clear, the Doctrine of the Trinity states that God is?
• “one divine Essence yet three Persons or centers of consciousness” – John Piper.
• John is telling us here that Jesus is one of those persons.

So the second brush stroke of the context John is painting for us is:
• “two personal beings [God the Father & God the Son] facing one another and engaging in intelligent discourse” – W. Robert Cook.
• In other words, a picture of the first 2 persons of the Trinity.

In John all 3 persons of the Trinity make their appearance, for example:
• John 14:23–26 (ESV) — 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

In future lessons we will deal more with the Trinity and things like:
Why did the concept of the Trinity not become fully fleshed out as orthodox Christian doctrine until the 4th century (partly to combat a form of Arianism (AYBD))?
• Orthodox Trinitarian view of God vs. a Modalism view of God which states that God is one person manifesting Himself in different historical roles or modes.

Acts 28:11-30 – Persuade to Believe

Acts 28:11-30 – Persuade to Believe
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for Acts 28:11-30

The title is drawn from verses 23-27 where Paul reasoned and persuaded using the Law and the Prophets.

1) PAUL SOUGHT TO PERSUADE

Acts 28:23–24 (ESV) — 23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded [unfold, solve & explain] to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.

This is Paul’s sixth apologetic since chapter 22.
• He once again uses the Law and Prophets to make his case for the truth of Jesus Christ.
• Luke tells us Paul tries to “convince” or “persuade” them to believe in Jesus.
• Today, I want for us to figure out how it is possible to “persuade” someone to believe in Christ.

The Greek word for “convince” or “persuade” is peíthō.
to persuade another to receive a belief, meaning to convince – Strongs
to seek to win men – TDNT
• Translated in ESV as convince, confidence, trust, sure, obedience, rely, satisfy, persuade, follow

Persuasion was routinely Paul’s approach:
• Acts 17:4 (ESV) — 4 And some of them were PERSUADED and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great    many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.
• Acts 18:4 (ESV) — 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to PERSUADE Jews and Greeks.
• Acts 19:8 (ESV) — 8 And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and PERSUADING them about the kingdom of God.
• Acts 19:26 (ESV) — 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has PERSUADED and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.
• Acts 26:28 (ESV) — 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you PERSUADE me to be a Christian?”

Paul’s efforts to persuade are, like the rest of his life, worthy of our imitation.

In order to persuade, what is required of us?
• We must have belief.
• We must have understanding of God’s general and special revelation.
• We must have knowledge of God’s general and special revelation.
• To gain knowledge and understanding, WE MUST READ!

The Bible also gives us a caution concerning persuasion.

We can be persuaded in the wrong thing (words in CAPS are form of peíthō):
• Luke 18:9 (ESV) — 9 He also told this parable to some who TRUSTED in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:
• Romans 2:8 (ESV) — 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but OBEY unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
• Galatians 5:7–8 (ESV) — 7 You were running well. Who hindered you from OBEYING the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you.

So Nurturing our ability to persuade others with our belief, understanding & knowledge can also help us to:
• guard us from being wrongly persuaded ourselves
• enable us to exhort and correct those who are straying


2) WHO WAS PAUL TRYING TO PERSUADE?

Acts 28:25–27 (ESV) — 25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26 “ ‘Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. 27 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

It seems that Paul had a problem in that he was trying to persuade men who apparently couldn’t be persuaded.

The Bible also makes this point elsewhere:
• Ephesians 4:18 (ESV) — 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
• 2 Corinthians 3:14 (ESV) — 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.
• Romans 1:21 (ESV) — 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
• Matthew 13:13 (ESV) — 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
• Matthew 13:19 (ESV) — 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.

These verses tell us that the people Paul was trying to persuade were:
• darkened in understanding
• ignorant due to hard hearts
• minds are hardened
• futile in their thinking
• don’t hear and don’t understand the word

So what was Paul doing?

Did he believe he could convert them with his skills?
• Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.


Was he just wasting time sounding knowledgeable?
• 1 Corinthians 9:16 (ESV) — 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

So Paul was trying to persuade people who:
• Didn’t have the capacity to “hear” his apologetic
• Could only be saved by grace through faith, not intellectual assent to his arguments

Yet, we are told in verse 24 that though some did not believe there were those who were persuaded and believed.


How do we reconcile this dynamic between persuading and belief?

3) WHAT IS ESSENTIAL AND WHAT IS DESCISIVE – RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERSUADING AND BELIEF

So how do we reconcile the apparent contradiction between persuasion and faith?

We’ll let Paul do it for us.
• Ephesians 3:4 (ESV) — 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,
• 2 Timothy 2:7 (ESV) — 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
• Romans 1:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
• Romans 10:17 (ESV) — 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

From the above, we see a relationship between speaking (or writing) the truth or words of Christ and hearing, understanding and believing.

Or to put another way, Paul reveals that there can be a powerful dynamic between God (belief) and the spoken gospel (persuasion).
• “Word of Christ” is first and foremost the gospel – saving news of Jesus Christ.
     o But it is also the Law and the Prophets.
     o And from Romans 1:19-20, his eternal power and divine nature displayed in creation
     o And from Romans 2:15-16, law written on our hearts and conscience bearing witness
• Paul used all of these things to persuade.
• People can perceive, understand and hear our attempts at persuasion because God is using the “words of Christ” to bring men to saving faith in Christ Jesus.

In other words:
The Spirit of God condescends to use it [arguments plus the gospel] in bringing certain people to Himself – William Lane Craig.

Or the dynamic between persuasion and belief can be put this way:
• 1 Peter 1:23 (ESV) — 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
• 1 Peter 1:25 (ESV) — 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.


So the way God brings about the new birth in dead, unbelieving hearts is by the gospel, the good news – John Piper.

And how do people hear the gospel and the arguments for its truth?
• We have to persuasively speak it to them AND then God enables them to “hear” it.

So it is for all these reasons that persuasion and belief are bedfellows.

God’s role [belief & faith] in bringing about the new birth is decisive, and our role [reason & persuasion] in bringing about the new birth is essential – John Piper.
• Our role in speaking the gospel persuasively is essential and commanded by God.
• God’s role in using our words to bring someone to salvation is decisive.

John Piper sums it up as follows:
But the fact that you can’t make electricity or create light never stops you from flipping light switches. The fact that you can’t create fire in cylinders never stops you from turning the car key. So don’t let the fact that you can’t cause the new birth stop you from telling the gospel. That is how people are born again—through the living and abiding word, the good news of Jesus Christ – John Piper.

Peter & Paul, as revealed in the Book of Acts, never stopped seeking to persuade and speak the gospel.

So how many light switches are you flipping?
How many car keys are you turning?

Acts 28:1-10 – Natural Evil and a Superstition Problem

Acts 28:1-10 – Natural Evil and a Superstition Problem
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for Acts 28:1-10

1) PAUL A MURDERER?


You are a murderer:
Acts 28:4–5 (ESV) — 4 When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

  • Justice here refers to the god of Justice.
  • She “served in literature and art to inform Zeus of evils which humans do and to punish injustice” – TDNT.
  • The idea is that Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake to punish him for murder.
  • And why did they think he was a murderer? – because he was bitten by a snake.

Woops…maybe not:
Acts 28:6 (ESV) — 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

  • Evidently the following chain of logic was in play:
    • Ship Wreck + Poisonous Snake + Snake Bite + death = you are a murderer.
    • Ship Wreck + Poisonous Snake + Snake Bite + life = you are a god.

What are some present day examples of this logic at work?

  • Earthquake + Haiti + voodoo = God’s judgment
  • Hurricane Katrina + New Orleans + Mardi Gras = God’s judgment
  • Tsunami + Thailand + Pagan = God’s judgment

Our text from Acts and our present day examples raise an important question.
When natural evil wreaks havoc is it divine punishment for sin?
Jesus addresses this question, and as we will see, His answer may not be what we wanted to hear.

But first, we need to define Natural Evil.

What is Natural Evil?
Natural Evil is evil that occurs as a result of natural processes.
This is to distinguish it from Moral Evil which results from the actions of human-beings.

  • Natural Evil raises the following problem:
  • If God is all-good, he would destroy evil.
  • If God is all-powerful, he could destroy evil.
  • But evil is not destroyed.
  • Therefore, such a God (all-good and all-powerful) does not exist.

In our text from the Book of Acts, we find an example of an attempt to counter this argument.

  • Natural Evil exists because it is God’s judgment.
  • The victim of Natural Evil, in this case Paul, has brought it on himself.

It is not my aim here to grapple in depth with the philosophical arguments and implications of Natural Evil.

  • But, simply to understand what purpose it might serve.
  • Now, let’s turn to Jesus and see what he says.

The J-Bomb on Natural Evil:
Luke 13:4–5 (ESV) —4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

  • They wanted to know why “those 18” died in the tower collapse.
  • The implication here is, of course, that they died because they were the “worse offenders in Jerusalem”.
  • And so therefore their deaths were explained as judgment for their sins.

Jesus’ answer was as definitive as any he has given – NO.

  • They did not die because they were the “worse offenders”.
  • However, he never said why they died.

Let’s look at another example from Jesus.

John 9:1–7 (ESV) — 1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

  • They wanted to know why “a blind man from birth” was so cursed.
  • The implication here is, of course, that he was born blind because either he or is parents sinned.
  • And so therefore his blindness was explained as judgment of this sin.

Jesus’ answer here was also definitive – “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents”.

  • He was not born blind because of anyone’s sin.
  • Here Jesus does reveal the purpose of the man’s blindness.

So Jesus suggests to us two purposes for Natural Evil:
Repent” or “you will all likewise perish”.

  • Natural Evil (the 18 who died), at the very least, should serve to point us to our own sin and need for redemption.
  • Natural Evil, as a “wretched disfigurement” of Paradise, is a mirror to show us the “wretched disfigurement” and mortality of our physical body.
    • Just as the 10 commandments are a mirror to show us our moral depravity before God,
  • So as nature is cursed and needs redemption; our flesh is cursed and needs redemption.

That the works of God might be displayed in him.

  • Natural Evil (the blind man), was an occasion for God to glorify Himself.
  • And in the blind man’s case, Jesus literally glorified Himself as “the light of the world” by bringing light to the blind man’s optic nerves.
  • The works of God might be displayed in more than just physical healing.

In our discussion last week on Jonah and the U.S.S. Rebellion, which of the above are two reasons applicable and why?
Both are clearly in view.

  • Jonah 2:6–7 (ESV) — 6 …you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. 7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.
    • Jonah repented.
  • Jonah 1:16 (ESV) — 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.
    • God is glorified.

In Paul’s battle with Natural Evil (the storm, shipwreck and snake bite), which of the above two reasons are applicable and why?
God was clearly glorified Himself through Paul.

  • Acts 27:22–25 (ESV) — 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.
  • Acts 27:35–36 (ESV) — 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves.
  • Acts 28:8–9 (ESV) — 8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. 9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.

We should be careful in our public discourse:
John 7:24 (ESV) — 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.

Under the new covenant ushered in by Jesus, He gives no indication that we are to spend our time speculating whether or not a specific occurrence of Natural Evil is a specific act of judgment.

  • The Book of Job also makes this clear.
  • This is not to say that it isn’t or can’t be, however, but that the Natural Evil event’s purpose is not dependent on this knowledge.

What harm can come by speculating on Natural Evil and judgment?

  • We disobey the leading of Jesus Christ’s example.
  • The focus becomes what we claim to know instead of what we are (in need of repentance) or who God is (the one to be glorified).
  • To misdirect the focus is to misstep and “judge by appearances”.
  • To judge Natural Evil with “right judgment” is to follow Jesus’ lead.

Acts 27 – A Tale of Two Journeys (Jonah & Paul)

Acts 27 – A Tale of Two Journeys
Diving Deeper Lesson Outline for Acts 27

In trying to find a lesson in chapter 27, I became fascinated from what could be learned by comparing and contrasting Jonah’s and Paul’s shipboard journeys.

So to that end, I have done something I have never done, which is cover an entire chapter in one lesson.

1) JONAH AND PAUL – WE HAVE A CHOICE TO MAKE

God’s Call – Proclaim God’s word to the Gentiles:
Jonah 1:2 (ESV) — 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”

  • God called Jonah to Nineveh to proclaim the word of God.

Acts 23:11 (ESV) — 11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”

  • God called Paul to Rome to proclaim the word of God.

Their Responses – Quite Different from one another:
Jonah 1:3a (ESV) — 3a But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

  • Jonah rebelled and fled.
  • His heart was hardened towards the Gentiles.
  • He did not want them to be spared from God’s wrath.

Acts 25:11 (ESV) — 11 If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”

  • Paul had already fully submitted to God’s will time and time again.
  • And here he did what he could to grease the skids.
  • He used the Roman legal system to appeal his way to Rome.

How do we account for the difference between Paul and Jonah?

  • Paul’s will was aligned with God’s and Jonah’s was not.
  • Paul used to despise the Gentiles like Jonah, but what happened to account for the change in his life?

Their transportation – Coincidentally the Same BUT Different:
Jonah 1:3b (ESV) — 3b He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

  • Jonah went the opposite direction, literally, that God wanted him to go.
  • And in so doing, Jonah boarded the U.S.S. Rebellion.
  • Jonah was alone.

Acts 27:2 (ESV) — 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.

  • Paul went the exact direction God wanted him to go.
  • And in so doing, Paul boarded the U.S.S. Submission.
  • Paul had 2 dear friends with him – Luke & Aristarchus
    • Acts 19:29 (ESV) — 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel.

How is rebellion from God lonelier that submission to God?
The words of David:

  • Psalm 22:1 (ESV) — 1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

The words of Jesus:

  • Mark 15:34 (ESV) — 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Forsake – to leave in the lurch, forsake, desert, abandon (Zhodiahtes)
When we rebel and give way to sin, we, like David and Jesus (who bore our sins) feel alone.

Storms Came to both the Rebellion and the Submission:
Jonah 1:4 (ESV) — 4 But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.

  • The creator of nature unleashed an unexpected storm upon Jonah’s ship.
  • God was credited for causing the storm directly.

Acts 27:13–15 (ESV) — 13 Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. 14 But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. 15 And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.

  • A powerful northeaster overtook them and blew them off course.
  • Interestingly, this storm was not a surprise and it could have been avoided altogether had they listened to Paul.

The storm Jonah faced was clearly an act of judgment by God on Jonah.

  • However, Paul was being obedient and we have no indication his storm was an act of judgment.
  • Yet, keeping in mind that Paul would soon be martyred, was it fair that he should face yet another hardship?
    • Job 38:4–11 (ESV) — 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, 9 when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, 11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

God, as he makes clear to Job, is sovereign and though that can be emotionally satisfying in answering the question, it often fails to satisfy our intellectual cravings; it is just too easy.

Oh would it be that we were so submitted to God that His sovereignty as a reason for His actions would be enough to satisfy on all levels!

  • Job 42:2–6 (ESV) — 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

POI – God gave warning of the storm on the USS submission but it was not heeded.
Acts 27:9–12 (ESV) — 9 …Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

  • Interesting that God issued no warning for the U.S.S. Rebellion that we know of.
  • Perhaps when in rebellion, we can’t hear God’s warnings?
  • Or perhaps his discipline serves as our warning?

Human Efforts to Save Were Not Enough:
Jonah 1:5-7 (ESV) — 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.

  • The crew fought for their lives and Jonah slept!
  • How is it that he slept? (On Paul’s boat they couldn’t even eat.)
    • I think, in forsaking God, he became desperately apathetic and just didn’t care?

Acts 27:16–20 (ESV) — 16 Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. 17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along. 18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19 And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

  • The crew did all that they could do and yet all hope was lost.

We should do all we can.

  • And with regards to the U.S.S. Submission, they did all they could and God used it to bring them to Malta.

Jonah’s Rebellion/Sin Found Him Out – Paul’s Submission Vindicated Him:
Jonah 1:8–10 (ESV) — 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

  • The crew rightly blamed Jonah, not God, for their circumstances.

Acts 27:21 (ESV) — 21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.
Acts 27:43 (ESV) — 43 But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land,

  • He made his point and had thus established his wisdom and knowledge.
  • Now they would listen to him and benefit from his God granted wisdom and protection.

We can take something important away from the above.

  • In our rebellion, God can choose to discipline us.
  • In our submission, God can choose to sustain us.
  • In both, God will find a way to glorify Himself.

The next topic details this process of glorification perfectly.

How God Delivered and Brought Glory to Himself:
Jonah 1:11–16 (ESV) — 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the LORD, “O LORD, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

  • Jonah, having been found out, spoke God’s word – “hurl me into the sea…the sea will quiet down.”
  • In other words, lose Jonah and save your lives.
  • Jonah was tossed overboard, the storm stopped and the crew feared the Lord and so He was glorified.

Acts 27:22-26 & 34–38 (ESV) — 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.” 34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.

  • Paul, having been uplifted in stature by God, had a vision and spoke God’s word of promise.
  • Paul’s words – “no loss among you”… ”stood before me an angel of God”… “not a hair is to perish”
  • Paul’s presence preserved everyone’s’ lives.
  • The crew and those aboard were all encouraged and God was glorified.

3 Principals to Take Away:

First Principle

  • And so it seems that in our rebellion we are part of the problem.
    • Jonah the prophet, in his rebellion, brought the wrath of God to bear on the U.S.S. Rebellion.
  • And in submission to God we can be part of the solution.
    • Paul the prisoner became the leader and deliverer of all those on the U.S.S. Submission.

Second Principle

  • And in our rebellion against God, we can bring others down with us and have a negative impact.
    • A direct result of Jonah’s rebellion was the partial destruction of the ship he was on.
    • This would have hindered the crews ability to make a living until repairs were made.
  • But in our submission to God, we can encourage them and have a positive impact.
    • The destruction of Paul’s ship was a result of failing to heed his warnings.
    • But in spite of the loss of the ship, Paul brought hope and assurance that all lives would be spared.

Third Principle

  • God will glorify Himself in our rebellion through disciplining us.
    • The crew of Jonah’s ship worshiped God and saw His power first hand.
    • God brought this to bear in unison with his disciplining of Jonah.
  • He will glorify Himself in our submission by challenging us.
    • Though faced with yet another hardship, Paul again put his trust and faith in God and God saw fit to vindicate Paul and deliver every life.

What ship are you on – USS Rebellion or USS Submission?

  • Luke has clearly taught us that you can’t know that by whether there is a storm or not.
  • But, it appears you are on the USS Submission if you seek out, know and “hear” God’s word.
  • And, if in the midst of the storm, you have peace and godly companionship.
  • But, if you are in loneliness and despair or, in your apathy, you just don’t care that the ship is going down, you are surely on the U.S.S. Rebellion.
    • Jonah 2:3–4 (ESV) — 3 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight…’ 

We asked earlier how Jonah could sleep during the storm.
We also need to ask ourselves if we are asleep in our rebellion and apathy?

  • If we are not leading our wives by example in our walk with Christ
  • If we are not teaching our children by example that Christ is the most important thing in life
  • If we are neglecting our duties as Christian men in our Church and communities
  • Then we are asleep in the storm.