28 June 2010

God Of Second Chances


 Jonah Chapter 3


DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU GOT SAVED BY GOD’S UNMERITED GRACE?

  • Can you recall that wonderful day?
  • Who was present?
  • What were you doing at the time?
  • How did you! Hear of God’s wonderful gift of salvation?
  • Who brought you the word of hope that led to your conversion?
THE REASON I ASK THESE QUESTIONS IS..........The Nation of Nineveh had about 600,000 people strong and pagan to core! I would like to think that they would be able to answer those same questions............. or be able to recall that wonderful day of grace if they were here to answer them today. This wasn't your normal or typical day................... and either was the day the Lord purchased you up from the pit of Hell? This is a day that the nation of Nineveh would be changed forever!! A nation transformed by the word of God. Do you realize that the Bible says the angels in Heaven rejoiced over the Nation of Nineveh...... and YOU! When you were saved by His sovereign grace! “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10. The power of God’s word leads to repentance, a transformed life and rest that you only can find in the Saviour. Howard Hendricks says “The Bible was written not to satisfy your curiosity but to help you conform to Christ's image. Not to make you a smarter sinner but to make you like the Saviour. Not to fill your head with a collection of biblical facts but to transform your life”.

1) THE MESSAGE OF GOD’S WORD LEADS TO REPENTANCE (V5-V7)

(Verse 4) “Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be (God’s longsuffering for this wicked nation) overthrown!" Jonah lifted up his voice like a trumpet that everyone might hear. “He called or cried out...” Basically Repent our be destroyed in 40 days. Their belief in the Lord began with hearing a message from the Lord by Jonah. Preaching the Gospel is the ordinary means of salvation. Faith in Christ is the result of hearing the word, the doctrine of God preached. God sends Jonah to proclaim His message of deliverance to this wicked nation that worshiped false idols like the fish god (half man half fish). The word of God, so powerful that it enters even to the deepest and most inward and secret parts of the heart, In this case the Ninevites. Fatally wounding the stubborn, and openly reviving the believers. The word of God leads to repentance.......Remember last week........(Prov 28:13) Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. The Ninevites saw their wickedness.......Their hearts were stirred with remorse............ a brokenness. Repentance begins with acknowledging your own sinfulness, confession to God of sins against Him. look at (Verse 5) "And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth (a display of grief), from the greatest of them to the least of them." Everyone REPENTED, all the way from greatest (the King) to even the smallest child.WAS THIS YOUR HEART THE DAY YOU WERE DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN? Did your heart cry out to Him for mercy and grace? Did you feel shame.....brokenness over your sin? When you read the word of God does it convict you? “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” Heb 4:12 D.L. Moody says “God has cast our confessed sins into the depths of the sea, and He's even put a 'No Fishing' sign over the spot”.

2) THE MESSAGE OF GOD’S WORD LEADS TO RENEWAL (V8-V9)

Renewal (means) "to make new" "the new man" (in contrast to the old unregenerate nature), which "is being renewed unto knowledge The Word of Truth. A changed nature which we get at the point of Salvation
(2Cor 5:17) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”. A new creation has................new affections, motives, thought life, a hope, a new life. The nation of Nineveh repented of there wickedness and believed the True Sovereign God! They were treated with the mercies of God and were brought into a proper fellowship with God. They were renewed, just like when we came to the Lord in repentance. We were forgiven and we became His “New Creations”. We were given a new nature by a Holy God......(Isa 45:22) "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. The Ninevites finally understood what it was like to fear the real God of the bible......we see the Ninevites doing this in (Verse 8) “but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands." Basically the King said!
1. Stop living reckless and wicked
2. Stop preying upon the heart of others
3. Stop your worship to pagan deities
4. Stop sacrificing your children
5. Stop everything and come to the True God for renewal of life.

Remember! There is no repentance whatsoever unless there is a change of life. True repentance is an inward thing which has its seat in the mind and heart. The change of life (your new nature) is the proof of the changed heart.We need to understand this nation stopped all there wicked and evil acts. There is over 600,000 people coming to God in repentance and begging for His mercy and forgiveness. Why did they change? (Verse 9) Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish." Relent (means) To become less intense, to soften in temper; to become more mild and tender; to feel compassion. [This is the usual sense of the word. God showed them mercy just as he showed you and me mercy! The Ninevites chose to come to the Lord in repentance and be renewed. Because they knew He was a mighty an awesome God!

1. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
2. The God who delivered the Israelites from Egypt
3. The God who allowed a fish to swallow and spit out Jonah onto dry land
4. The God who said “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"
5. The God of this universe who would have destroyed Nineveh just like He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

J. I. Packer says “Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God's holiness and sovereignty... acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours”. The Ninevites did just that as the King of this nation came to be renewed.

3) THE MESSAGE OF GOD'S WORD LEADS TO REVIVAL (v10)

WHAT IS REVIVAL? An increase hunger for a delight in God’s Word (Ps 119: 107) “I am severely afflicted; give me life, O LORD, according to Your Word!.” It involves a disdain for sin and renewed desire for obedience to God (Ps 119:37) “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways.” Brings increased commitment and interest in personal prayer. (Ps 80:18) “Then we shall not turn back from You; give us life, and we will call upon Your Name!” It’s God gladly at the center of my Life, experienced and enjoyed (Lam 3:24) “The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him."  It’s getting back on the right path again (1John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

REVIVAL IS NOT! An emotional extravagance where people are caught up in the moment and fall down out of control. It’s not a long line of anxious sinners waiting for a turn at the microphone to reveal their most secret sinful something. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says “Does it grieve you my friends, that the name of God is being taken in vain and desecrated? Does it grieve you that we are living in a godless age... But, we are living in such an age and the main reason we should be praying about revival is that we are anxious to see God's name vindicated and His glory manifested. We should be anxious to see something happening that will arrest the nations, all the peoples, and cause them to stop and to think again”. This is what happened to Nineveh. A wickedest of all nations repenting as God's name vindicated and His glory was manifested. REVIVAL BEGINS HERE. The greatest revival in all of History........The Nation of Nineveh

SOME OTHER EXAMPLES OF REVIVALS THROUGH-OUT THE AGES:

1. The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) the beginning of the church.

2. The Corinthian church (2 Cor 7: 8-9) many came to the Lord in genuine sorrow for there wickedness.

3. Jonathan Edwards and “The First Great Awakening” (1734) A village mourned over the death of 2 young people, and over a period of 6 months half the village was converted by the Power of God. From there Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley the church grew rapidly in new England between 1740 and 1742 with more than 300,000 new and revived Christians turning to the Lord in faith and repentance. One Historian called this time “The most glorious and extensive revival our country has ever known”.

4. Clean Hands and Pure Hearts Revival in Scotland (1949) began with 2 ladies praying for their own lives and in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland. One morning a young man read the scriptures (Ps 24:3-5) “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of His salvation.” After he read he asked the question? Are my hands clean Lord, is my heart pure? He and his fellow intercessors fell on their faces in the barn, and their lives were revived as they got their hands and hearts clean before the Lord. By Sunday the next week the whole island was filled with God consciousness. And Churches were filled to overflowing getting right with God.

5. Nineveh a nation once known for their wickedness........ humbled themselves from the greatest to the least. Repented and believed in God. (Verse 10) When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. We as Christians get to see firsthand of what true revival is......600,000 souls turning from their wickedness and believing God. God had compassion for them for they were genuine and truly believed the message (Luke 15:18-20)  is a prime example of God's compassion for lost sinners "And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." This is what the Lord does to every single person that cries out to Him....He runs and embraces you and me.......(V20) “had compassion” We serve a God who is full of compassion for this lost sinners. God had pity for this nation! Why? Because they needed a Savior! For without one they are destined to spend eternity in Hell. The Lord sends true revival, which comes to the humble and contrite (broken-hearted for sin; deeply affected with grief and sorrow for having offended God. Even in all Israel’s sin and backsliding, God’s grace will prevail. Even in all Nineveh’s wickedness, God’s grace will prevail. Even in our sinful and disobedient behaviour, God’s grace will prevail. (2Pet 3:9) "The Lord is not slack (not lazy, doesn’t delay) concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (Matt 9:36) "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." This is the same God who was moved with compassion for this nation, a Nation of wickedness “...scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd”.

The Power of God’s Word is transforming to those who listen! A message that leads to Repentance......A message that leads to Renewal........A message that leads to Revival. ALWAYS REMEMBER TRUE BIBLICAL REVIVAL BEGINS WITH

1. FAITHFUL PREACHING AND FAITHFUL HEARING OF GOD’S WORD. Jonah preached what the God gave him to say: (verse 4) “Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"
2. BELIEF IN GOD. The Ninevites did more than just hear Jonah, as soon as they heard they responded by believing God (trusting the One true God). (Verse 5) And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
3. WE (THE PEOPLE) NEED TO TAKE ACTION, THERE IS NO TRUE BELIEF WITHOUT SOME CORRESPONDING ACTION BY THE SOUL THAT HAS JUST BEEN CHANGED BY FAITH. The Book of Hebrews speaks of many actions by faithful followers in chapter 11.
4. TURNING FROM A SPECIFIC SIN. The Ninevites turned from the sin that was most characteristic of them “VIOLENCE” (verse 8) but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.

Steve Lawson says “ if churches today are to see more people come to Christ, then more BIBLICAL PREACHING is needed, not less. God has always been pleased to use the foolishness of preaching His word to bring about the conversion of lost sinners. He did so in Jonah’s day and He will do so now IF CHURCHES will return to solid, straightforward biblical preaching”. (Rom 10:17) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. REMEMBER WHAT I SAID EARLIER....(Luke 15:10) Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

1. Would you like to see a revival in the church of Jesus Christ?
2. Do you sincerely desire revival within yourself (because it starts individually?)
3. Are you constantly on your knees praying to a Holy God to revive this nation we live in?
4. Is serious bible study and prayer a priority in your life?
5. Are my hands clean Lord, is my heart pure?

Only you can answer those questions!

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