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A Sinner's Prayer / La Oración de Un Pecador

Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Sin separates us from God.
The Bible declares that all men have sinned and their relationship with the Creator has been broken.
Many people think that God forgives men out of the goodness of his heart.
Many people do not think much of their sin. They worship a made up god. They worship a god of their own imagination.
They do not worship the biblical God.
Sin is serious because ultimately it is an offense against a holy God. Forgiveness may only be recieved on the basis of Jesus’ death on the cross:
We must believe he died in our place.
We must believe he died for our sins.
We must confess that we have sinned against God. We have broken God’s law. This is true repentance and confession of sin.
As we come to chapter 2 in the book of Jonah we see the prophet, in the belly of the whale, confessing his sin before God. We consider:
Sin separates us from God
Sin exposes us to God’s judgement
God forgives a repentant sinner

I. Sin separates us from God

I. El pecado nos separa de Dios

Jonah has been thrown overboard into the ocean. He has been running away from God.
We now see him “inside the fish” (in the belly of the whale), 2:2.
Jonah was sent to Nineveh and yet he disobeyed and traveled southwest to the coast of Spain. He was fleeing from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah was doing the impossible - trying to flee from an omnipresent God.
Notice Jonah’s distress:
Jonah 2:1 NIV
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.
Jonah 2:1
Jonah 2:2 NIV
He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
Jonah 2:2 NVI
Dijo: «En mi angustia clamé al Señor, y él me respondió. Desde las entrañas del sepulcro pedí auxilio, y tú escuchaste mi clamor.
Jonah is in the belly of the whale and he likens it to “the realm of the dead”. He feels as if he is in a tomb.
He has been fleeing from the fountain of life and blessing and now feels as if he’s at the point of death.
We can see him struggling in the midst of the ocean/seaweed.
Jonah 2:5–6 NIV
The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.
Jonah 2:5–6 NVI
Las aguas me llegaban hasta el cuello, lo profundo del océano me envolvía; las algas se me enredaban en la cabeza, arrastrándome a los cimientos de las montañas. Me tragó la tierra, y para siempre sus cerrojos se cerraron tras de mí. Pero tú, Señor, Dios mío, me rescataste de la fosa.
Notice how he describes the waves of the ocean drowning him.
Jonah is tangled in the seaweed.
He feels as if the waters are enclosing him and will surely drown him.
Jonah has sinned against God. He his rebellion, his sin, his disobedience has brought him to experience separation from God.
Sin always has consequences.
Sin causes us to be separated from God.
Jonah feels as if he has been expelled from the very presence of God, never to see the house of the Lord once more.
Jonah 2:4 NIV
I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’
Jonah 2:4 NVI
Y pensé: “He sido expulsado de tu presencia. ¿Cómo volveré a contemplar tu santo templo?”
Is it not interesting that many people once they have fallen into sin, the first thing they do is stop coming to church?
They are like Adam and Eve in the garden when they hid from the presence of God after they had sinned.
We hide because of the shame that overcomes us when we’ve sinned agains the Lord.
Let us never forget that sin also affects a believer’s relationship with God. Surely, a true believer cannot loose his salvation - however, would a true believer be in continuous rebellion against God?
Would a true child of God walk according to his own thinking instead of walking according to the will of God?
We must continually come before the throne of God to confess our sins. We sin in though, deed, and word.
The Lord’s Prayer - which is the model prayer Jesus taught his disciples teaches us to pray:
Luke 11:4 NIV
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’ ”
Luke 11:4 NVI
Perdónanos nuestros pecados, porque también nosotros perdonamos a todos los que nos ofenden. Y no nos metas en tentación.”
Sin is always crouching at our door waiting for the slightest opportunity to trap us!
Be aware of those things that tempt you. Ask God to fill you with his Spirit so that you may be strong in the day of temptation.
Jonah is drowning, he is desperate, he is agonizing over his sin.

II. Sin exposes us to God’s judgement

II. El pecado nos expone al juicio de Dios

Notice how Jonah recognizes God’s hand in the middle of his circumstances:
Jonah 2:3 NIV
You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
Jonah 2:3 NVI
A lo profundo me arrojaste, al corazón mismo de los mares; las corrientes me envolvían, todas tus ondas y tus olas pasaban sobre mí.
Jonah recognizes that God himself has hurled him into the sea.
Jonah recognizes this is all God’s doing.
After all, it is God who brought the storm upon the sea.
It is God who made the lots come upon Jonah when the ship crew was trying to figure out who was responsible.
It is God who calmed the sea once Jonah was thrown overboard.
This is all God’s doing.
God is responsible for pouring his judgement upon sinful man.
God is a God of judgement. Let us never forget he will judge ever evil deed. No sin will go unpunished.
God will punish with everlasting punishment all those who refuse to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
However, God’s treatment of his rebellious children (believers) is not the same as his judgement of the wicked.
God does not condemn us.
However, God will discipline his children.
God disciplined the people of Israel by allowing them to be conquered by the Babylonians, by the Medes and Persians, by the Assyrians.
Surely, God will also discipline New Testament believers when we have fallen into sin. However, this is corrective discipline such that we will come to our senses and seek God.
Hebrews 12:6–7 NIV
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
Hebrews 12:6–7 NVI
porque el Señor disciplina a los que ama, y azota a todo el que recibe como hijo.» Lo que soportan es para su disciplina, pues Dios los está tratando como a hijos. ¿Qué hijo hay a quien el padre no disciplina?

III. God forgives a repentant sinner

III. Dios perdona al pecador arrepentido

How will God respond to Jonah? Will God leave him to perish in the middle of the sea?
Notice how Jonah since 2:1 is praying knowing that he will be heard.
Jonah knows God will listen to a penitent sinner’s prayer.
Although Jonah has offended God he knows enough about God’s word to understand God hears those who confess their sin!
Proverbs 28:13 NIV
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Proverbs 28:13 NVI
Quien encubre su pecado jamás prospera; quien lo confiesa y lo deja, halla perdón.
Notice how in verse 6 Jonah feels that he is at the bottom of the ocean floor. He feels as if he will surely die and yet God hears his prayer.
Jonah 2:6 NIV
To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.
Jonah 2:6 NVI
arrastrándome a los cimientos de las montañas. Me tragó la tierra, y para siempre sus cerrojos se cerraron tras de mí. Pero tú, Señor, Dios mío, me rescataste de la fosa.
Jonah is confident that his prayer has come before the presence of God. At the moment, when Jonah felt he would die his prayer was heard.
Jonah 2:7–9 NIV
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ ”
Jonah 2:7–9 NVI
»Al sentir que se me iba la vida, me acordé del Señor, y mi oración llegó hasta ti, hasta tu santo templo. »Los que siguen a ídolos vanos abandonan el amor de Dios. Yo, en cambio, te ofreceré sacrificios y cánticos de gratitud. Cumpliré las promesas que te hice. ¡La salvación viene del Señor
Jonah 2:
In this prayer, Jonah:
Recognizes that God is not like the idols. God surely is a loving God to those who confess their sin before him. Idols will do neither good or evil to us for they are nothing.
Jonah confesses his sin, knowing how much he depends on him.
Jonah renews his vows and promises to make good on his promises.
A truly repentant person can be confident he has recieved forgiveness from God.
We believe we are forgiven by faith, solely because of Jesus Christ and his work on the cross.
We believe Jesus Christ’s blood is sufficient to cleanse us from all our sin.
Because we are forgiven we will continue to worship God. We will seek his presence.
Because we are forgiven we vow to walk in obedience to his word.
Those who neither worship God or walk in obedience to God’d word have not known forgiveness. They are only deceiving themselves.
Why do men resist seeking God’s forgiveness?
They do not realize the seriousness of their sin.
They do not really believe in God’s justice.
Their pride.
Notice, how ultimately God is the one who saves. Surely, Jonah experienced God’s salvation when he was called by God.
Surely he experienced how many people’s hearts were changed through his preaching.
Surely, he saw how the ship crew came to believe in the God of Israel. They too offered sacrifices to God and made vows of obedience.
Surely, he has now seen once again God’s salvation in his life. He was a prodigal son, who was severely disciplined by God and brought back into communion with God.
Ultimately, it is God who grants faith, who grants repentance, he is the one who works in the heart of man so that men may came and bow before him.

Conclusion

The Lord answered Jonah’s prayer. Jonah was humbled by God and brought him to repentance.
God has forgiven Jonah and allowed him to be spared.
Jonah 2:10 NIV
And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Jonah 2:10 NVI
Entonces el Señor dio una orden y el pez vomitó a Jonás en tierra firme.
God has shown grace and mercy to his prophet. He did not allow the prophet to die at sea. Once again, the prophet is on dry land to fulfill the vow he has made.
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