“Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it…” Jonah 1:1, 2a “And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.” Jonah 3:1,2
The first time, the Lord said, “Go, and cry against it.” The second time, He said, “Go, and preach unto the City of Nineveh what I tell you.”
Listen carefully to the story. Jonah had been called by God to go cry against the sins of Nineveh. He refused to go. He went down toward Tarshish, caught a ship from Joppa for Tarshish, and went on his way. You recall there was a storm, and the storm caused the shipmates to cast lots to see whose fault it was. They cast lots and found it was Jonah’s fault. Jonah said, “Cast me off the ship.” And it was done. Jonah was cast into the sea, and a great fish prepared by God came and swallowed Jonah. Jonah was for three days and three nights in the belly of that fish. (I believe the story because I believe the Bible. You see, I don’t read the Bible, or read a portion of the Bible and then decide whether to believe it or not. I decide to believe the Bible and then I believe what I read.)
So, God prepared a great fish, and three days and three nights, Jonah was in the belly of the great fish. He repented, he prayed, and he was regurgitated from the fish. (Three days and three nights, Christ was in the heart of the earth.) If you want clear language, I could give it to you. Jonah was regurgitated. Nothing makes anybody sicker at his stomach than a backslidden preacher! Especially for a fish. The fish got sick and said, “This is not as good as I thought it was.” Then he vom—(I almost said it) regurgitated Jonah. The Lord came to Jonah a second time, and said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city and preach unto it the preaching I bid thee.” Jonah did.
Jonah went to Nineveh. He went up and down the streets of Nineveh and said, “Yes, forty days and Nineveh will be destroyed.” Jonah preached that Nineveh’s sins had come before God, and God was going to destroy Nineveh in forty days.
But, a wonderful thing happened. The greatest revival the world has ever seen, followed. How big was the city of Nineveh? Some folks think there were six hundred thousand people; some folks think there were two million people; some people estimate as high as ten million; I have no idea, but I rather think, personally, it was a million or more. Anyway, it was a big city.
In our language, the mayor got right with God. The city councilmen got right with God. The school board got right with God. The schoolteachers got right with God. They didn’t have to read Of Mice and Men or Catcher in the Rye in the school system anymore. They called off all the school dances. They wouldn’t let the people wear mini-skirts.
I was thinking this morning as I saw a girl walk in wearing a skirt, with a long blouse. I said, “Dear Lord, let the visitors think she’s a visitor. Let the folks who have traveled across the country, who see these people that show their thighs when they come to church, let the folks think they’re visitors.” In fact, I’d appreciate it if you folks who are visitors who come half-naked, were to write across your, well, write it across your legs, “I am a visitor.” At least, if you’re a member of the church and dress like that, at least write across yourself, “I know better.” I’d like for you to do that if you would, please. “I know better. My preacher does not believe in the way I dress.”
They have dress codes at Nineveh High School. They had such a revival. They couldn’t wear bell-bottomed trousers at Nineveh Junior High, and the Nineveh principal decided that they were going to have a dress code. Girls couldn’t wear mini-skirts, and boys had to get haircuts and shave off their stupid-looking mustaches, and long woolly sideburns, and beatnik kind of haircuts. They had a real revival at Nineveh. Such a revival that Brother Jonah didn’t have any sermons to preach for months. He had to start studying for his sermons. The town got converted. And the Bible says that the Lord decided not to destroy Nineveh after all.
Boy, you would think Jonah would be happy, wouldn’t you? Jonah was the fellow who had been preaching against the sins of Nineveh. Jonah had said, “Forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” But you know, the strangest thing happened. The Lord said, “Okay, I’m not going to destroy Nineveh.” Revival came. The blessings of God came. And God said, “I’m not going to destroy Nineveh.” And so Nineveh was not destroyed. You would think that Jonah would be the happiest fellow in town, wouldn’t you? But that’s not true. Jonah was a sulking bigot. He was disappointed.
He went outside the city and built himself a little booth. He said, “I’m going to dwell in my booth, and I’m going to see the city destroyed. I’m going to build me a place where I’ll be safe, and I’ll watch God destroy the city.”
But, the Lord didn’t destroy the city. And Jonah came to God, and said, “God, you told me you were going to destroy the city.” And the Lord said, “Well, Jonah, the city got right. The city repented. Everybody got right, and revival came, and the city repented.” And Jonah said, “But you made the biggest fool in town out of me. I’ve been going up and down the streets saying, ‘Forty days.’ Now, you wait until that fortieth day comes and the city is not destroyed. I won’t be considered a prophet. You made a fool out of me.” Jonah built himself a booth and lamented.
In fact, Jonah said, “I want to die.” “I want to die.” If I had been God, I would have said, “Yeah, I want to kill you, too.” But, the Lord didn’t. The Lord is merciful. Jonah said, “I want to die. If you don’t destroy the city, I don’t want to live, because I said you were going to destroy the city.” Jonah built himself a booth. The Lord prepared a gourd. This poisonous gourd came up over Jonah and provided shade for him.
Now, this is something you didn’t know, but I think Jonah was baldheaded. Now, I don’t know for sure, but I think he was. The reason is, I think he was a handsome man. I think all baldheaded men are handsome, and getting more handsome all the time. But, Jonah, I think, was baldheaded as Elijah was. The Lord prepared a gourd. The gourd came up over Jonah and provided shade for Jonah. The Lord was saying, “Jonah, I still love you in spit of the fact you’re not what you ought to be I still love you. In fact, Jonah, you said earlier that I was a merciful God: I’m merciful to you, but I’m merciful also to Nineveh.”
And then the Lord sent a worm. That’s the key. I’m preaching this morning on, “I Am a Worm.” (Now, no amens, please, or I’ll preach tonight on, “You’re A Worm Too.”) Anyway, I’m preaching on, “I Am A Worm.” The worm came and devoured the gourd.
God prepared the fish. God prepared the gourd. God prepared the worm. Later on, we will find that God prepared an east wind, also. God prepared a fish, a gourd, a worm, and an east wind.
But the worm came and destroyed the gourd overnight. Now Jonah’s shade is gone. Jonah has no protection. He has no shade. God gave him shade and then God wanted him to know Who provided his shade. God said, “Jonah, I’m giving you protection from the heat, but I want you to know who provided it.” Jonah was dwelling beneath the gourd, God sent the worm, and the worm devoured the gourd. And the Bible says Jonah said, “I want to die again.”
An east wind came, and it was so hot that Jonah said, “I’m just absolutely about to swelter. And the air conditioning’s not working too well. I’m about to swelter.” He said, “Lord, I want to die,” and he asked God again if he could die.
Now, here’s what I want you to know. Why did God send a worm? That word “worm” in the original language is translated two different ways in the Old Testament. Sometimes the word “worm” is translated “scarlet;” sometimes it’s “worm.”
In Isaiah 1:18 (Brother John read it to us a while ago), “Though your sins be as scarlet,” that’s the same word that’s used here for the word “worm.” The Bible says that God prepared a worm. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be like crimson…” The word “crimson” there is the word for “worm.” It could have been translated, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like a worm, they shall be as wool.” Or it could say, in Jonah 4:7, “That God prepared a scarlet,” or “God prepared a red,” or “God prepared a “crimson.” Now, sometimes the word in the Hebrew is translated “scarlet” or “crimson,” and sometimes it’s translated “worm.”
Let me give you an example. In Psalm 22, when Jesus was talking about the cross, the Psalmist was previewing the words that our Lord was going to use on the cross. When He said, “I am a worm,” that word is the same word that is used in Jonah 4:7. Jonah’s worm is the same word that’s used in Psalm 22:6 when our Lord says, “I am a worm.” It is the same word that is used in Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they should be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,” (the same word is used) “they shall be as wool.”
The word is used other times, too. It is used concerning Rahab’s thread. Don’t you recall in the Bible when the spies came to Jericho and Rahab kept them safely, they said, “If you’ll provide safety for us, we’ll see to it that when the city is destroyed you and your household will be spared.” They said, “Now, look. When the armies come to Jericho, you hang a scarlet thread out of your window.” Did you know that the scarlet thread came from dye that was made from a red worm? It is the same word, that scarlet thread. It could say, “That worm thread” or “That red worm thread.” That “scarlet thread” came from the same “worm” that ate Jonah’s gourd. The same “worm”: our Lord said, “I am a worm.” The same “worm”: Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet…they be red like crimson.” The same word. That thread dropped from the window of Rahab outside the walls of Jericho was the same word “worm,” “red worm.” The same “worm” of Jonah and the “worm” of our Lord who said, “I am a worm.”
Now, when the High Priest wore his garments, some were red. The word “red,” or the word that described the color of the garment, is the same word that is mentioned in Jonah as “worm,” and in Psalm as a worm, and Isaiah 1:18 as “scarlet.” In the tabernacle, the veil for example, was of red, blue, purple: red representing the man part of Christ; blue representing the God part of Christ; and purple, a combination of red and blue, represented that He was the God-man. The red in the tabernacle furnishings is the same “red”; it was made of dye from this worm.
Now, what am I talking about? “I am a worm,” so says Jesus. (Now, follow me carefully.) Jonah had made himself a booth. He head made himself a covering, and the gourd came up over him, and God said, “I’m going to devour your covering. I’m going to devour your own protection. I’m going to send a worm.” What kind of worm? The same “worm” that our Lord called Himself. The same “worm” that made the scarlet thread outside the walls of Jericho in Rahab’s day. And God said, “I’m going to send a worm to devour your manmade covering to show you that your protection is not manmade. It is not a gourd, nor is it a booth that covers you; it is the worm. The scarlet worm.” That “worm” typifies the Lord Jesus Christ who Himself said He was that same kind of worm. That same worm.
God is showing us once and for all that salvation is not manmade covering: it is God’s provisions. When Jesus said, in Psalm 22, beginning with those words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” the Lord, I think, in summarizing the entire Psalm said, “Here’s what I am on the cross. Here’s what I am becoming on the cross. I’m becoming a worm.” What does it mean? It means that Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary was a red worm from Whose veins would flow His own precious blood, Who alone can cover man’s sins, Who alone can provide protection for man. This old sin-cursed, benighted world today, this old world, full of apostasy and false religion, anti-God-ism, and anti-Bible-ism, and heathenism, is trying to make its own covering. Somewhere this morning, somebody was confirmed in a church. That person thinks that is going to cover him from his sins. Not on your life. God’s worm is the covering for sin. The scarlet. The red. The crimson. God’s provision.
Many of you have heard me tell this story, but I was reminded this last month about it. I was in a certain city preaching, and a fellow came to me and said, “Mrs. Walker told me to tell you ‘hello’.” Well, I know a thousand Mrs. Walkers! I said, “Which Mrs. Walker?” He said, “She lives in Shreveport, Louisiana.” “Yes,” he said, “I was out soul winning, knocked on a door. A little lady came to the door. I said, ‘I’m so and so. Pastor of a certain church. I want to know where you go to church.'” She said, “I go to a certain Baptist Church.” He said, “Are you saved?” She said, “Yes, I’ve been saved now for over twenty years.” And he said, “I wanted to ask her when, how did you get saved?” She said, “In the upstairs apartment. A garage apartment. A preacher came by in Marshall, Texas, over twenty years ago, and led to me Jesus Christ.” The fellow said, “A preacher out soul winning?” (You know, it’s strange nowadays.) He said, “Who was it?” And she said, “His name was Jack Hyles.” The fellow said, “Why, sure, I’ve heard of Brother Hyles. I’ve heard him preach around the country. Sure.” And so the other day, he drove to Columbus, Ohio, and said, “Mrs. Walker said to tell you ‘hello’.”
There’s a sweet (funny) story that I’ve told our people numbers of times behind that. And I thought about the story a couple of weeks ago in Columbus, Ohio.
I had won Mrs. Walker to Christ. She was twenty-one years of age. A lovely little lady. Married. Had a child. One day she got sick. Sick unto death. They thought she wouldn’t live. They had to have blood for her. They had to have blood. So they called people and tried to find blood. The folks went down and had their blood all checked, and nobody’s blood would do for her. And finally, they called the church. They said, “Reverend Hyles, could you help us get some blood?” (Well, immediately I thought of others. You know, I always think of others. Lord, you know I believe in “others!”) I started calling church members, and everybody I called that could go down to the hospital went.
The hospital called and said, “We haven’t found any blood that will do.” They said, “Do you have anybody else?” We only had thirty-five to forty members, and nobody’s blood would do. They said, “Can you find anybody else?” I said, “Man, I’ve wracked my brain. I can’t find anybody else.” And the nurse said, “Have you had your checked?” I said, “What?” And the nurse said, “Have you had yours checked?” And I said, “Well, I’m busy.” (If I’m not, I’m going to get busy!) Anyway, I went down to the hospital, and the lady checked my blood.
All that time I prayed for Mrs. Walker to get well and prayed that my blood wouldn’t do! And so they came back and said, “Reverend Hyles, we have some good news for you.” I said, “Oh, great.” They said, “Your blood is exactly right.” I said, “Wonderful. Wonderful. That’s tremendous.”
So they took me down and wrapped a big something around my arm here. They gave me some smelling salts, and they took my blood. It went out, and out, and out, and out. They gave me some tomato juice. (Looked like I was drinking what I had just given!) Then they took the blood to her and I asked, “Could I go watch her get the blood?” I went upstairs in the room when they gave her the blood. She was unconscious. They gave her the blood, and of course, the color came back into her cheeks and so forth. As the blood went in, she began to wake up a little bit. She asked the doctor, “Doctor, did you find the blood?” The doctor said, “Yes, we found the blood.” She said, “Where did you find it?” The doctor said, “It’s Brother Hyles’.” Boy, you talk about lighting up. She looked up and smiled and said, “Doctor, I know I will go to Heaven now, because I’ve got Brother Hyles’ blood in me.” (She, of course, was already saved. I had already led her to Christ.)
That was the lady this preacher had seen. I saw him in Columbus, Ohio. He had been out soul winning in Shreveport, Louisiana, over twenty years after that, and he said, “Mrs. Walker said to tell you ‘hello.’ She is still faithful and active in the Lord’s work.”
I thought about that concerning this sermon. You see, the gourd wouldn’t do. The booth wouldn’t do. The only thing God was saying was, “Jonah, you can’t make your own covering. You can’t make your own protection. You can’t cover your own sin. You can’t cover yourself from God. The only thing that can do it is that blood red worm will call Himself on the cross.”
Let me say this morning: I don’t care what kind of covering for your salvation you are making. It won’t do. It is going to take the Lord Jesus Christ and His precious blood. Nobody else’s blood. And let me say, my precious friend, as far as covering your sins is concerned, as far as your standing before God is concerned, your confirmation won’t do it. Your Lord’s Supper won’t do it. Your sacrament won’t do it. Your confession won’t do it. Your good life won’t do it. Your church membership won’t do it. Your baptism won’t do it. Your baby sprinkling won’t do it. Your sprinkling won’t do it. Your turning over a new leaf won’t do it.
Those are all simply manmade booths and gourds. God is saying once and for all to Jonah, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Not of manmade methods. Not of manmade churches. Not of ritual. Not of ordinances. Salvation is of the Lord.
I was paying respects, and do quite often, to our neighbors across the street who are only a block away: the All Saints Church. This is the All Saints Church here. All our people are saved or saints. I pay my respects because of the way they open the basement of their building to hippies. They had a bunch of marijuana, LSD-smoking hippies with their guitars and long beards and long hair. Turning it into a hippie joint down the street. I preach to them about their carnivals and gambling. If the law says it is wrong to gamble, it is wrong for a church to have bingo. And I’ve made, in my own timid way, a few comments about that.
The other day I heard of some property that was for sale down there, and we checked to see if we could buy it. The fellow who operates the place down there said, “I’d rather tear it down than sell it to Hyles.” (Now, if he wants it torn down, I’d be glad to do it for him.) Now, what is he saying (I’ll tell you what because, brother, these are manmade gourds, manmade booths)? “Come and confess to me, I’ll absolve your sins. Come and take our sacrament. That will take care of your sins.” All of those things—sacraments and absolutions and penance and confession and confirmation and all of it—are simply a manmade system of a world’s desire to cover her own sins. Nobody or nothing can cover your sins apart from the precious blood of Him, Who on the cross said, “I am a worm.” It is His blood that eats the gourd and destroys the gourd and makes the provisions for man’s sins.
Now, there are three things I think God is saying here. In the first place, God is saying that only a worm can save a nation. Only a worm can save a nation. God said, “Jonah, the city of Nineveh is going to be spared, but it’s the worm that does it.” And God is saying, “That worm represents My own dear Son Who some day will bear the sins of the world. He, Who will do no sin, will become sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
That worm that was all night eating that gourd was simply saying to Jonah, “Jonah, your manmade methods won’t save Nineveh. It’s only God Who can save a nation. It’s only Christ Who can save a nation. It’s only the blood that can save a nation—this red scarlet blood of this worm. This red worm, if you please, from whom was taken dye for the priests garments; from which was taken the dye for the tabernacle coverings; from which was taken the dye for Rahab’s scarlet thread. This worm, this blood-red worm, representing Jesus, Who is to say, ‘I am that blood-red worm.’ This is the only way Nineveh can be spared.”
There’s a lot wrong with our country. A lot wrong with it. I’m going to say a few things about it tonight. I think there’s nothing quite so sickening to me as to hear a fellow who shaves with a pair of tweezers who thinks he can run the country. There’s nothing quite so sickening to me as to hear a fellow whose rich parents are financing his flight through some wicked university, who has never held a job for a day, who’s never ridden a bicycle straight, never done a single thing, never worked a day’s work, never earned a day’s wages, never held down a job, who, all of the sudden, thinks that his little benighted mind is what the world needs and he’s like the bantam rooster who crows in the morning thinking the sun comes up to hear him crow.
One of the things wrong with this nation, now, and I’ll say it tonight, is we, who have had some experience, have sat back and let a bunch of beardless young men and mini-skirted young ladies make us think they are smarter than we are; think that they know things that we don’t know. The honest, simple truth is we have folks in this house this morning who are sixty, sixty-five, seventy, or seventy-five years of age, who didn’t even get through the fourth grade, but have more sense than a lot of these D.D.s, PhDs, B.A.s, and M.A.s. The poor folks here have enough sense to bathe!
I saw an advertisement at Bob Jones University the other day that I thought was fabulous. They had a beautiful, beautiful advertisement, and then they put on the advertisement a statement that is not like Bob Jones, but it tickled me to death. It said, “Come to the University…” It had a bunch of hippies pictured in one corner and a picture of Bob Jones in another corner, with nice, well-dressed kids, with haircuts and baths and so forth. On the bottom, it finished, “Come to the university where you don’t get fleas.” I said, “Glory to God! ‘Come to the University where you don’t get fleas.'”
What’s the answer for America? The blood of Christ. “Jonah, that gourd won’t do. Jonah, that booth won’t do. I’m going to send this worm to let you know that Nineveh is being spared. Why? Because of the blood of an innocent substitute,” pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ.
But there’s something else. I’ll just say this very quickly in passing. That worm can save not only a nation, but that worm can also save selfishness. There is no way in this world that a selfish person can ever defeat his selfishness, apart from that worm. Jonah had cried, “Forty days, Nineveh shall be destroyed.” What did Jonah do? He went outside the city and built himself a refuge of safety and sat down to watch the city be destroyed. Complete selfishness. There is nothing quite so sickening as one who has come at the end of “Selfishness Road.”
My daughter, Becky, and I were out visiting on Thanksgiving Day. We bought some little potted plants, and we were going to all the shut-ins we could. We left at about 10:30 and made the rounds. We gave each one a potted plant and visited for a little while. We’d go to one place and there would be somebody really sweet and loving and grateful. One man wanted to give us something, and oh, how happy he was to see us. We’d go to somebody that was cynical, “Well, we hadn’t had enough visits lately from the staff. And we’re just not appreciated anymore.” And so forth.
And Becky got to talking about it. “Dad, these older people are different. They’re different. Some are so sweet and grateful and appreciative, and some are so cynical and bitter.” And I said, “Becky, the difference is a life of unselfishness or a life of selfishness. That’s the difference. Some people live for others. Some people live for self. Now they have come to the end of the trail. Now they’ve got four walls and that’s all. They live inside those four walls, and now they have to live with the memory of the past. Some live with memories of lives and unselfish service for others, and some live with memory of selfish lives thinking of only me and my.” I said, “That’s the difference.”
God comes to Jonah and says, “Jonah, the secret of unselfishness is that worm. It’s that worm. You built your own booth. Yeah, you’ve got a gourd over you. Yeah. And now you want to watch the city be destroyed. Yeah.” Jonah was willing to see the whole city destroyed. He wanted it and said, “I’ll take care of me.” The only way in the world you can overcome selfishness is through the red worm, the Lord Jesus Christ. But I hasten to say that that worm can save a nation. That worm can save selfishness. That worm can save the soul. Your booth won’t do. Your gourd won’t do. It’s that worm.
The day before, Jonah had a booth over him and had a gourd over him, but that night as Jonah slept, a red worm came. That worm began to eat his way through the gourd. The next morning, the sun came up, and the heat of the eastern sun began to beat on Jonah’s “bald head.” And Jonah said, “I’ll tell you, it is so hot that I wish I could die.” And God was saying to Jonah, and He was saying to you and me, “The only salvation there is in this world is the salvation brought by that worm—that worm about whom the Bible speaks when Jesus said, ‘I am a worm.'”
Now, let me just say very quickly. Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like a red worm, they shall be as wool.” Why? Because Jesus is that red worm. Christ came from Heaven and took upon Himself our own likeness and bore our sins in His body upon the tree. He became a red worm for us. He bore our sins. He bore in his body your sin, my sin. He became our substitute. And now the Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the hope for your scarlet and crimson sin.”
In another story we are told about Rahab, that wicked, wicked lady who sold her body. It was her job to go out and greet the wicked soldiers who came in. She said, “I’ll sell my body for a bit of money, you wicked men who…” But Rahab protected the spies, and she got saved. And Joshua said, “Put the thread, but make it a scarlet thread.” Why? Because that scarlet came from the blood of that worm. And Christ is that worm. When Rahab put that scarlet thread down outside the Jericho walls and the armies approaching saw that red, they said, “Don’t touch that house. Why? Because that house is covered with the red from ‘the worm.'”
Are you covered this morning with the red from The Worm? Have you been born again? Have you, by faith, turned to Jesus Christ? What are you trusting to take you to Heaven this morning?
Rahab was not saved because she was good or because she wasn’t good. Rahab was not saved because she was religious, because she was not religious. Rahab was not saved because she joined the church, because she did not belong to a church. Rahab was not saved because she was baptized, because she hadn’t been baptized. She was saved because she had the scarlet thread covering her.
You are saved only if you have the scarlet red of the Lord Jesus Christ, that worm from whose veins there came the blood that washes the sins of man away.
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! Precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
I got a card this week saying that one of our ladies was in the hospital. She is deaf. She has cancer and can’t live long. In fact, I think they took her to the hospital to die. She is up in years. As I read the card, my mind wondered back to one afternoon on a Friday or Saturday when I was out soul winning.
I went by a house out on the south side of Hammond, a little lady came to the door, and a very, very interesting thing followed. I said, “How do you do? I’m Jack Hyles, Pastor of First Baptist Church. I’ve come to talk to you about Jesus.” The little lady said, “Oh, don’t mention that Name. We’re orthodox Jews.” I said, “Which name, Jack Hyles or Jesus?” (And some places in town you can’t mention either one.) I said, “Which name?” And she said, “The last one. We’re orthodox Jews.” She said, “We don’t mention that Name in our house.”
I don’t know why—because I had never done anything like this before—but before I knew it, I said, “Oh, that’s all right. I’m half Jew myself.” She sat up straight and said, “You’re what?” I said, “I’m half Jew myself.” She said, “Is that a fact? You’re half Jew?” She said, “Your accent doesn’t sound like you’re half Jew.” I said, “Well, the other half is Texan, and that’s why my accent is like it is.” She said, “Your other half?” I said, “Yes, but don’t worry about the other half either, it hasn’t always been that way.” I said, “I was born not a half Jew. When I was eleven, I became half Jew.” She said, “What?” I said, “Yes, madam. But don’t worry about that, because any day now I’m going to become all Jew.” She said, “I’m a little confused. I can’t understand you. You were born all gentile, became half a Jew when you were eleven, and intend to become all Jew any day now.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “That’s what I came for, to tell you.” And I told her how that I was born in sin, but I was saved when I was eleven and became half Jew, and how that any day Jesus was going to come, that I was going to drop this robe of flesh, and rise, and seize the everlasting prize, and that I was going to become all Jew and be like Christ.” She said, “That’s so interesting.” I said, “Thank you.” And I told her about Christ, and she was saved. I mean, right there on the spot. Married lady. She was saved. I told her about Jesus.
Then I told her, “I came by to see Mrs. _____” and I called her name. She said, “Well, you can’t talk to her. She’s my mother. She’s deaf. She’s a Jew, too. She just came last Sunday because it was the only place she could go and be with any deaf people.” (There’s a First Baptist Church deaf class.) I said, “Where is your mother?” She called her mother in, and I said, “Would you tell your mother what I just told you with my lips, and tell her that you got saved?” She reached over and began to talk to her mother in the Sign Language. She won her. In less than ten minutes after I had won her to Christ, she had won her aged mother to Christ. The next Sunday both of them were baptized right here in the baptistry.
Now, that’s the answer. Your need is faith in the blood of Christ. God is saying to Jonah, “Jonah, we won’t save Nineveh by your gourd or by your booth. We will only save Nineveh by the blood of a worm. A red worm.” He’s saying, “We’ll only save individuals by the blood of Him who two thousand years ago, and hundreds of years after Jonah, would hang on the cross between Heaven and earth and would say, ‘I am The Worm.'” This is not just an ordinary worm. This is God’s Son. This is the Son of God. This is preincarnate, preexistent God himself. This is God in the flesh. This is the Darling of Heaven. This is God’s only begotten. This is the perfect, sinless, Lamb of God Who says, “I am a worm.” Why? He was willing to become a worm, and That Worm was squeezed on the cross, and from the veins of that worm came the blood-red substance of which our Lord speaks when He says, “Without the shedding of blood is no remission of sin.” Hebrews 9:22.
Have you come to the place where you trusted The Worm? Or are you trusting a gourd? That won’t do. You’re trusting a booth. That won’t do. That won’t save you. It’s just The Worm. It’s just The Worm. When you come to the place in your life where you say, “Dear Lord, I know that Jesus became flesh for me. I know that on the cross He became sin for me.” You may or may not say a worm. You may say He was a goat. You may say He became sin. You may say He bore your sins. You may say He suffered for your sin. You may say He became your sin. How you put it doesn’t matter as long as you know that He became a worm bearing your sins. And you say, “Dear Jesus, today I don’t trust the church. I just trust what you did on the cross. I don’t trust denominations. I don’t trust the confessions. I don’t trust the ritual. I don’t trust the ordinance. I don’t trust the sacrament. I don’t trust the Pope. I don’t trust the priest. I don’t trust the rabbi. I don’t trust the Eucharist. I don’t trust the Lord’s Supper. I don’t trust the baptism. I simply trust Him Who was God’s only Son who fellowshipped with the Father, was administered to by Heavenly angels, Who laid aside His robes of royalty and became sinful flesh and was willing to even say, ‘I am a Worm.’ That you through faith and his blood might be saved.”
Let us pray.