From the Pulpit of a Holiness Preacher
An email newsletter ministry of Richard D. Swift, publishing the sermons of Rev. Reed A. Swift (1899-1973), a holiness preacher
The following sermon was preached in the Free Methodist Church of the Yale, Ball, Buel, Michigan Circuit, Midlan Michigan, and Caro Michigan. At the top of the hand written sermon notes there is "Sixth Sermon in Yale, Ball, and Buel". This means it was preached there in 1929.
A brief outline is written on the inside of the front of an envelope. it is addressed to "Mr Reed Swift, Mary St., Yale Mich." It is post marked Sept 25 1929 and has a part of a two cent postage stamp.
Scripture lesson in Jonah. Whole book in study, at least.
Scholars [he means secular] explain that the story of Jonah came from a fable about Herione the daughter of Laomedan, King of Troy who had displeased Neptune, so she must be chained to a rock and await her fate of being devoured by a sea monster. While she was awaiting the greedy dog, Hercules stood nearby ready armed. When the sea monster came forth with open mouth, he jumped directly down his throat and began to cut him to pieces, and after three days of hacking his entrails, he came out with the loss of all his hair due to the extreme heat of the monster's stomach.
But there is an appeal made to the true history of Jonah by Jesus Himself, for He says: 1.That the Ninivites shall one day rise in judgement against the Jews and condemn them because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and the Jews would not hearken to Him who was greater than Jonah; and 2.When the Pharisees required a sign of Him to prove His mission, He said he would give them no other than that of the prophet jonah, that is of His resurrection which would complete His miracles and render the Jews inexcusable for their hardness of heart; 3.Also in Matthew 12:40, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
This proves to me: 1.There was such a person as Jonah. 2.He was swallowed by a sea monster, in whose belly he was miraculously preserved three days and three nights. 3.This same prophet preached to the Ninivites; and they repented, and turned from their sins under his ministry. These facts put an end to all mythical, allegorical, and hypothetical interpretations of thoses great facts.
Jonah's name signifies, "a dove". He was a chosen prophet of God and was commanded by Him to go to Nineveh and there proclaim that the cry of the inhabitants' sins came up to heaven, and they were threatened with approaching ruin. Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh.
Chapter I Jonah's Disobedience
"Because judgement against an evil work is not executed speedily, it is continually in the heart of man to do evil." So Jonah, instead of obeying God, thought God was merciful and thought he could flee away from the voice of God and go to Tarsus instead of Nineveh. Nineveh was a great and grand city as it remains today. It was thought to have had a population of 2,500,000 persons in all. It was an enemy of the Israelites, and Jonah was commanded, "Go to Nineveh and cry against it." Jonah thought God could and would get somebody else to take the message before He would destroy Nineveh, and he could go free. We can't run away from God. It is better to obey. Jonah took ship at Joppa. Storm sent in mercy. Jonah slept. The heathen prayed. Captain awoke Jonah and told him to pray. They cast lots and the guilt fell on Jonah.
V.8 "Tell us for whose cause this evil is upon us?"
V.9 Jonah was faithful and replied, "I fear the God of heaven who hath made the sea and the dry land.
V.10 They feared when he told them he was fleeing from God and refused to obey.
V.11 "What shall we do unto thee?" Humble heathen!
V.12 Jonah said, "I am the cause; throw me overboard."
V.13 They tried to land him but he was Jonah, and God didnot want them to land yet.
V.14 They called God to witness their reluctance and Jonah's command.
V.15 They cast him overboard. The sea calmed.
V.16 The heathen feared the Lord and offered sacrifice and made vows and perhaps became sincere converts.
V.17 The Lord prepared a fish to swallow Jonah, and he was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Chapter II Jonah Prayed
The best thing we can do when we are disobedient to God is to pray. If we would pray and obey sooner, often times it would save us much trouble. We may be praying under less favorable circumstances than we have now too. Jonah was inside of a big fish with sea weeds wrapped around his neck, and they were slimy, miserable felling things, I know. it was a miracle he could pray at all.
V.2 He says, "Out of the belly of hell I cried and He heard my voice." meaning a deep dark pit.
V.3 "All Thy billows and Thy waves passed over me."
V.4 "I am cast out of Thy sight. I will look again toward Thy holy Temple."
V.5 Hope almost gone as weeds were wrapped about his head. Jonah even made the fish sick and it ate sea weeds!
V.6 "I went to the bottom of the mountains."
V.7 "When my soul fainted, my prayer came in unto Thee."
V.9 "I will pay that that I have vowed."
V.10 "And then the Lord spake to the fish and it vomited jonah out on dry land."
Chapter III Second Commission
V.1 Same as at first- "And the Word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time."
V.2 "Go to Nineveh and preach what I bid thee."
V.3 Nineveh a great city. Three days journey or about sixty miles in circumfrence.
V.4 "Yet 40 days was the message" and "Nineveh shall be destroyed."
V.5-8 The people of Nineveh believed God and put on sackcloth and man and beast were covered and a fast was proclaimed.
V.9 "Who can tell if God will turn and repent?"
V.10 "And God saw their works and God repented." The Threatening was conditional.
Chapter IV Jonah's Displeasure at God's Mercy
Jonah dreaded to be a false prophet. It displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
V.2 "I know that thou art a Gracious God."
The gourd God prepared taught jonah patience and forgiving generosity.
Sermon ends here.
Spreading Scriptural Holiness,
Richard D. Swift