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Second Chances

Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A Recap

The Book of Jonah is not about a wayward prophet. It is not just a fishing tale. It is a beautiful story about the Unlimited Love of God.
What an incredible book that God has chosen to be part of His Bible.
In chapter 1, we see the consequences of disobedience. In chapter 2, we see the stinky prayers of a man from the crisis of being inside a fish. And now, in chapter 3, we see a second chance.
Aren’t you glad that our God is a God of second chances?
Listen to the word of God in
Jonah 3:1–10 NIV84
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

One of the Sweetest Phrases in all of the BIble

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.”
Have you ever wanted to have a do over? Jonah had rebelled and turned from God. In fact, he tried to go to the opposite direction of where he needed to go.
God could have said, “Are you going to get it right this time?”
He could have said, “Remember how stupid you were going the wrong way?”
He could have just had a heavenly chorus do the theme from JAWS.
He didn’t even say, “don’t you make me get that fish again!”
The Bible says,
Jonah 3:1–2 NIV84
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah 3:1 NIV84
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time:
Just the fact that God is telling Jonah again, “I have a job for you to do” is a statement in itself of the redemption of our God.
Matthew Henry said “God’s making use of us is the best evidence of His being at PEACE with us.”
God decides to use Jonah without bringing of the failures of the past. God wants you and me to be obedient. He is willing to go to great lengths to make us usable, in spite of our past.
Are you allowing God to use you? Are you saying yes to Him? What has He called you to do?

The Command Repeated

Jonah was called to to go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim the message that God gave him. Notice the word great. In just a few verses earlier, Nineveh is described as a city that “its wickedness has come up before God.” That description is not in this command.
The word great here means strong, wealthy, and important. Could it be that God saw the potential of this city by over looking its reputation? Just like you and me, God looks at our potential and provides us with great opportunity.
How are you doing that opportunity? You see, each one of us has been called by God to go make a difference in this world. He has a phenomenal opportunity for you and I to do! Are you allowing Him to show you what that is?

The Compliance Respected

Jonah 3:3 NIV84
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days.
No running this time. Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord. How many times have you heard the word of the Lord and disobeyed? Notice what happens when one chooses to obey the word of the Lord. Obedience leads to one being equipped, being put in the right place and the right time, and given the strength to carry out the compliance that has been assigned.
Nineveh was such a large city that it took three days to transverse it. Jonah was placed at the right starting point. He was equipped with the message to say, And, he was given strength to carry out the task and proclaim the word of the Lord.
Just like Jonah, you and I are placed in the right place. We are equipped with the message to share and in doing so, we will have the strength to carry out the assignment.
Why do you think that Nineveh was called an important city?
Nineveh was a city full of people created in the image of God and God has a concern for His people. Just like our fair city, Boone is full of people created in the image of God and He has a concern for them to come to a saving knowledge of Him and His love.
And just like Jonah, God wants to use you to share the message of Hope with those with whom you see every day. How are you doing with that?
Notice the use again of 3 days. Jonah spent 3 days preaching in the city of Nineveh. He walked across this city looking at people and proclaiming the redemptive word of the Lord. Jesus, the WORD himself, spent 3 days in a tomb to ultimately claim the redemptive word of the Lord.
That is why we will celebrate Easter in a few weeks!
Notice also that we learn from this passage that Jonah proclaimed
Jonah 3:4 NIV84
On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”
Jonah 3:
It is worth pointing out here that throughout the bible, the use of 40 days and nights is relevant to a period of testing.
Genesis 7:12 NIV84
And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
Exodus 24:18 NIV84
Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Exodus
1 Kings 19:8 NIV84
So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
Matthew 4:2 NIV84
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Matthew
Jonah preaches that impending doom and gloom are coming as the result of the judgement of God. His use of the word “overturn” is the same word used to describe what happened at Sodom and Gommorah. It was a horrible thought for the people.
God used the words of Jonah to convict the people of their sin. Notice what happens at the result of Jonah being obedient:
Repentance produces action. When you and I repent of the things that are opposite of what God has called us to do, we are going to turn from that 180 degrees and literally go in another direction. I have heard over and over these last few days of how people in our area have turned from their ways that were disobedient to God and have turned to Him.
Have you done that? Have you turned from a life of selfishness and turned to the Lord?
Jonah 3:5 NIV84
The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
By trusting God, there were actions that resulted. At that time, the true sign of repentance included fasting, method of prayer that we do do much in our modern times and perhaps we should. When was the last time you fasted to get a clear picture of what God has called you do do?
The Ninevites also put on a sackcloth. This was a thick coarse garment , normally made of goat’s hair that was very uncomfortable to wear. It symbolized the rejection of earthly comforts and pleasures. This was a big deal for the people of Nineveh.

Obedience Leads to Influence

Jonah 3:6-
Jonah 3:6–7 NIV84
When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.
When you are obedient to the Lord, your circle of influence grows and grows!
If Jonah being obedient to His God can influence a King, by golly our obedience can help influence our government. Are you living a life of influence in such a way that the government could issue decrees and proclamations that glorify our God?
If you are not, why? Are you scared?
Jonah 3:10 NIV84
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

Compassion Regained

When you are sorry for your mistakes, when you turn from your selfish ways and turn towards God, you can experience the Compassion of God. God is full of compassion for you and me. He cares for you, He cares for me.
Amos 7
His love is unlimited and phenomenal.
There is a song on Contemporary Christian Radio going around these days by Cory Asbury.
Amos 7:6 NIV84
So the Lord relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign Lord said.
"Reckless Love"
Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me You have been so, so good to me Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me You have been so, so kind to me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me You have been so, so good to me When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me You have been so, so kind to me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
There's no shadow You won't light up Mountain You won't climb up Coming after me There's no wall You won't kick down Lie You won't tear down Coming after me There's no shadow You won't light up Mountain You won't climb up Coming after me There's no wall You won't kick down Lie You won't tear down Coming after me There's no shadow You won't light up Mountain You won't climb up Coming after me There's no wall You won't kick down Lie You won't tear down Coming after me There's no shadow You won't light up Mountain You won't climb up Coming after me There's no wall You won't kick down Lie You won't tear down Coming after me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine And I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
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