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Jonah 3:1-10

The God of the Second Chance

  • Samuel Wilson
  • Weekend Messages
  • August 20, 2017

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture
The God of the Second Chance

Jonah 3:1-10

Intro: Second chances.

We all appreciate a second chance, an opportunity to correct an error, or mistake. Seemingly, we live in a society that loves baseball and the adherence to “three strikes, you’re out!” In other situations, it is “One strike and you’re out!”

Thankfully, we serve a God of second chances. A God who sees beyond our errors, our mistakes, and our shortcomings. Our God contends to bring us to a place of mercy and restoration, even after we have turned our backs on Him.

Backstory: Jonah 1 and 2

Jonah is finally brought to solid ground. He is brought back to solid ground so that he can head to the place God had previously called him. And in Jonah chapter three, the Lord confirms is plan and calling, by calling him again, a second time.

Read Jonah 3:1-10

The Lord had brought Jonah back and pointed him to the place he was calling him. Jonah had delayed, taken a detour in trying to find his way around the mission he was supposed to be on. While Jonah had attempted to run away, God was patient.

I. He Won’t Give Up on You

  • The word of the Lord came again to Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city.”
  • This is virtually the same language from Jonah chapter one, only this time, Jonah agrees to head to Nineveh.
  • Jonah had run away and was now back on track. The Lord had not given up on him and was not going to give up on him. Here we see a second chance for Jonah to fulfill the calling of the Lord.
  • Throughout scripture, we see our Lord giving second chances. He doesn’t just give second chances; however, he gives third, fourth and fifth chances.

Illus. Jesus’ call on Peter, the failure and the restoration.

  • Though Peter denied Jesus, Jesus’ heart was restoration, He didn’t give up.
  • It was important Peter understood that when Jesus first met Peter and told him to leave his nets, He meant it. Jesus essentially said to Peter, “if you love me, don’t go back to fishing, care for those I love, I am not giving up on you.”

Is. 41:9, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts and said to you, ‘you are my servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.’ 

  • Likewise, in the life of Jonah, the Lord confirms that he was the prophet chosen for this mission. God did not give up on him.
  • If you have turned away, it is important for you to know this morning that the Lord hasn’t given up on you. He is the God of second and third and fourth chances.
  • It is also important to understand that God has a heart for others to be restored as well.

A. He won’t give up on others

  • For us as Christians, it is crucial that we understand God’s heart for the lost, even those we disagree with.
Matthew 5:44, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
  • Reconciliation is important, making a friend out of an enemy. Often when we don’t like what someone has done, we set aside our love for another.
  • The call of Christ is to love others, even when we don’t like what they are doing.
  • The Lord loved us when we were unlovable, and when emotion wells up and is fueled by the actions of another, we can so easily depart from who we are called to be.
  • God pursued me in love when I turned away, when I was far from who He wanted me to be. This is true of you and this true for me.
  • Jonah was needing to head to Nineveh where the people had turned away from God and given themselves over to wickedness.

Illus. Recorded historical records from King of Assyria.

  • Jonah did not want to see the Ninevites restored. They were evil, they were oppressive, they persecuted his people.
  • For us who are Christian, we can’t pick and choose, or take on Christianity situationally. The Lord doesn’t give up on us, and he doesn’t give up on those you disagree with. Pray for those who persecute you.

Illus. You sure you would want to be seen with someone like me?

  • I just wanted him to know that I was praying for him. Despite where he was at, what his thoughts were of me or what I stand for, I would be praying and would love to talk.

Romans 12:18, If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

  • In order to do this well, we can’t run from the very place and people the Lord has called us to influence. He calls us the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

B. Don’t give up on Him

  • God held on to Jonah as he got onto the ship, He didn’t let go. He held on. In the depths of the sea, he made a way and held on. Now Jonah, heading to Nineveh, would need to hold on to God.
  • God won’t give up on you, but an important question to ask this morning is, have you given up on Him?
  • Here Jonah was placed back on solid ground, receiving mercy from the Lord, he would again have a decision to make.

Matthew 18:23-35 The decision of an unmerciful servant.

  • Jonah 3:3 reads, “Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord.”
  • Jonah wanted a full measure of God’s wrath poured out on Nineveh. Yet, he would be used as God’s mouthpiece for mercy.

Illus. Group grading by agreement.

  • The city of Nineveh was three days walk, meaning in order to walk through the city it would take three day. The city and district of Nineveh, is known to be 30 to 60 miles across.
  • Jonah walked through the city proclaiming the word God gave. 
II. There is Power in the Word He Gives
  • The Lord told Jonah to proclaim the proclamation He would give him. It appears that what he was told to say was, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
  • Upon hearing this word from Jonah the prophet, the Ninevites believed in God.
  • Not only did they believe in God, they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least.
  • The word even reached the King of Nineveh and he laid down his robe and, covered himself in sackcloth and sat on ashes.
  • He then issued a decree: no man, beast, herd or flock would taste a thing. Rather, both man and beast were to be covered in sackcloth, all men were to turn from their wicked way and toward God.

App., Sackcloth and ashes were used in the Old Testament as a symbol of humility, mourning, and/or repentance. Sackcloth was course material usually made of black goat’s hair (quite uncomfortable). The ashes signified desolation and ruin.

  • In the case of the Ninevites. This was not a meaningless show, it signified the position of their heart in light of Jonah’s message.
  • In turning to God, their hope was that the Lord would relent and turn from His anger. That Nineveh would not be destroyed.

Jeremiah 18:7-8 At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it;if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.

  • While walking through the city, Jonah didn’t give compelling arguments as to why what they were doing was wrong. He didn’t yell at them with disgust. He spoke the word God had given him.
  • It was simple, it was short, and it was from the Lord.

Isaiah 55:11, My word, which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

  • After wrestling with the Lord’s will, Jonah proclaims this word, and the Lord does what only He can do. He restores.
  • There is power in the word God gives, in your life and in the lives of others. If you are at a place in your life this morning where you have run away, please know, the Lord wants to restore, there is a purpose in His word over your life.

A. Respond to Him

  • Jonah responded to the Lord by going, and Nineveh responded to the message Jonah proclaimed.
  • The Lord had a great deal of work to do in Jonah’s heart in order for him to respond this way.
  • In studying ancient near eastern history, we also know that Nineveh was readied to receive the message. God was working on the Ninevites as well.

Illus. Nineveh had a backstory.
  • These factors seemingly played a role in Nineveh turning from their ways, and toward God.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

  • When proclaim the word God has given us, it will succeed in the matter for which He sent it.

Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.

  • When you are in a situation whereby you don’t have the words, in conversations with friends, neighbors and co-workers and you feel you don’t know what to say, or how to say it. Know that there is power in the word He gives and has given.

Illus. Responding to God.

B. You will see His mercy

  • After the city of Nineveh turned away from evil and toward God, they saw His mercy. Jonah saw it as well.
  • It was not the end of the story for Jonah, or the Ninevites, there would be more to cover and more mountains to climb.
  • But here, we see revival break out in this great city of over 120,000 people. There was not a city as large as Nineveh in Israel at that time, and by responding to the Lord, Jonah sees the mercy of God.
  • This picture is indicative of the gospel message. As we turn away from sin, and toward Jesus, He restores.
  • Did Nineveh deserve grace and mercy? No. After running from God, did Jonah? No. This is the same position we find ourselves in before the Lord, but, He is the God of second chances. 

Jonah 3:1-10       NASB

1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you." 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was Lit a great city to Godan exceedingly great city, a three days' walk. 4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."
5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. 6 When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
 
7 He issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. 8 But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9 Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish." 10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

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