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Revival of a Nation / El Avivamiento de Una Nación

Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

What will save the United States?
Many people say having a conservative Republican in office will save our nation.
Others, say that having conservative judges on the Supreme Court will save our nation.
Many others would say that the salvation of our nation will only be accomplished when we have equality among all races and social classes.
The truth is, that none of this will save our nation.
Government cannot save our nation.
The Democratic or Republican party cannot save our nation.
No political part
Good morals cannot save our nation.
Higher education will not save our nation.
The only thing that can save our nation is a national revival. A revival is:
A movement of the Spirit of God upon sinners.
An act of God by which he brings people to the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A work of God where people, in great numbers, repent of their sins, renounce their sinful lives and make a decision to serve Christ.
The Church of Jesus Christ is in need of revival.
Every 10-15% of SBC churches are dying.
A large percentage of baptisms in SBC churches are rebaptisms because people say their first baptism did not count.
Many congregations are eager to organize potlucks but do not emphasize evangelistic outreach, church discipline, and solid biblical teaching.
As time goes on, Christianity is seen as a backwards religions, antiquated, and irrelevent.
Let us pray that God would pour out his Spirit upon our city and bring many people to faith in Jesus Christ. This is exactly what happened in Nineveh. Today we consider:
This is exactly what happened in Nineveh.
Jonah’s second chance.
Jonah’s message
The people’s response

I. Jonah’s second chance

I. La segunda oportunidad de Jonás

Jonah is finally on dry land.
He is covered in whale vomit.
He has repented before God because of his disobedience and is now in his way to Nineveh to fulfill the mission God entrusted to him.
He had renewed his vows before God - “What I have vowed I will make good” (2:9).
Jonah 3:1–2 NIV
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 3:1–2 NVI
La palabra del Señor vino por segunda vez a Jonás: «Anda, ve a la gran ciudad de Nínive y proclámale el mensaje que te voy a dar.»
Jonah 3:1-2
Notice how these words are pretty much the same as when God initially called Jonah.
The fact that God calls Jonah once more is a sign of God extending a second chance to Jonah.
God could have easily discarded Jonah. He could have easily left him to drown in the ocean.
After all, Jonah has rebelled against our Holy God. God did not need Jonah.
But God, who is great in love and mercy extends his grace to Jonah who has humbled himself before God.
Jonah 3:3 NIV
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it.
Jonah 3:3 NVI
Jonás se fue hacia Nínive, conforme al mandato del Señor. Ahora bien, Nínive era una ciudad grande y de mucha importancia.
Jonah is now following the Lord in obedience. We know he has experienced true repentance for he is now obeying what God has commanded.

II. Jonah’s message

II. El mensaje de Jonás

Jonah arrives in Nineveh.
The Bible describes Nineveh as a “very large city”. It was certainly an importance city for it was considered the capital of the Assyrian empire.
Later on we find out there were at least 120,000 people in Nineveh (4:11).
In 3:2 Jonah does not yet know the message that he is to proclaim.
We should at least give Jonah some credit. He did not know what God would have him say to the people and he still followed through.
In 3:4 Jonah has gone one day’s walk into the city and has started to proclaim the message God has given him.
Jonah 3:4 NIV
Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
Jonah 3:4 NVI
Jonás se fue internando en la ciudad, y la recorrió todo un día, mientras proclamaba: «¡Dentro de cuarenta días Nínive será destruida!»
Jonah 1:
Jonah is sent by God to preach a message of judgement - the city will be destroyed in 40 days.
Notice there is no message of grace.
There is no call to repentance.
This is simply a message of absolute judgement from God.
What would the people think?
How would they treat the prophet? Surely, he would tremble for we already know how wicked the Ninevites were.
We are told that they cut off peoples tongues as punishment.
They would also skin people alive.
Jonah was coming against a very violent and wicked people.
We should not be surprised at this message for it certainly is good and just for God to judge humanity.
Many times we forget how awful are sin is before God’s presence.
What kind of reaction should we expect from God when we are a people that kills babies in the womb, many others drink so much that they black out, others enslave their fellow man, we celebrate violence/gore/immorality in our entertainment?
If we were honest with ourselves - we would recognize that we all deserve to be judged by God and destroyed forever.
How would the Ninevites respond?

III. The people’s response

III. La respuesta de la gente

We are not left to wonder about their response.
Jonah 3:5 NIV
The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
Jonah 3:5 NVI
Y los ninivitas le creyeron a Dios, proclamaron ayuno y, desde el mayor hasta el menor, se vistieron de luto en señal de arrepentimiento.
Simply put, “The Ninevites believed God”. This phrase in the original does not only mean that they believed God’s message but that they actually believed in God.
For many years they had worshipped Dagon (an image with the head of a man and the body of a fish) but were now confronted with the reality of God’s judgement and they turned to God.
They proclaimed a fast. All people fasted. They abstained from food and put on sackcloth.
Both young and old fasted.
Sackcloth was a garment made out of goat hair. It was a very uncomfortable garment that was worn in times of tragedy, grief, and hardship.
People were practically in a state of mourning over their sin.
Repe
God’s Spirit was moving in Nineveh. God was melting those hardened hearts.
God’s Spirit moved even upon Nineveh’s king.
Jonah 3:6
Jonah 3:6 NIV
When Jonah’s warning 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.
Jonah 3:6 NVI
Cuando el rey de Nínive se enteró del mensaje, se levantó de su trono, se quitó su manto real, hizo duelo y se cubrió de ceniza.
The king is also confronted with Jonah’s message. He hearts the warning of the coming destructions and responds the same as the rest of the population.
We see the king take of his royal garments and sit down in the dust.
He too is mourning for their wickedness. The head of the kingdom has been brought down low.
Not only does the king break down because of their sin but he issues a national proclamation:
Jonah 3:7–9 NIV
This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals 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.”
Jonah 3:
Jonah 3:7–9 NVI
Luego mandó que se pregonara en Nínive: «Por decreto del rey y de su corte: »Ninguna persona o animal, ni ganado lanar o vacuno, probará alimento alguno, ni tampoco pastará ni beberá agua. Al contrario, el rey ordena que toda persona, junto con sus animales, haga duelo y clame a Dios con todas sus fuerzas. Ordena así mismo que cada uno se convierta de su mal camino y de sus hechos violentos. ¡Quién sabe! Tal vez Dios cambie de parecer, y aplaque el ardor de su ira, y no perezcamos.»
Jonah 3:7–9 NVI
Luego mandó que se pregonara en Nínive: «Por decreto del rey y de su corte: »Ninguna persona o animal, ni ganado lanar o vacuno, probará alimento alguno, ni tampoco pastará ni beberá agua. Al contrario, el rey ordena que toda persona, junto con sus animales, haga duelo y clame a Dios con todas sus fuerzas. Ordena así mismo que cada uno se convierta de su mal camino y de sus hechos violentos. ¡Quién sabe! Tal vez Dios cambie de parecer, y aplaque el ardor de su ira, y no perezcamos.»
The king has commanded that young and old, humans and livestock - together fast before the presence of God.
He calls the people to call upon God. Fasting would not be sufficient. Anyone can fast. Anyone can go through the motions of a religious ritual.
Many people pray a rosary.
Others, get on their knees and crawl to a shrine.
Many others give much of their income to the church.
Others come and present themselves for baptism.
Many others pray for hours and hours.
Simply going through the motions will not bring you closer to God.
Fulfilling a religious ritual does not bring upon God’s blessing.
The king commands people to call upon God.
This implies a change of heart.
This implies repentance.
This speaks to being truly sorry for your sin.
He calls them to forsake their “evil ways and their violence”. The king was very wise, for he knew true repentance requires that we abandon our sin.
The drunkard most abandon the bottle, the adulterer must abandon his lovers, the thief must steal no more…otherwise, we are just fooling ourselves and are not any closer to being forgiven by God.
Jonah 3:9 NIV
Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
Notice how the king issues this proclamation without any certainty that God will relent from his judgement. The king is acting in faith. He has no guarantee that God will relent from destroying Nineveh.
Jonah 3:9 NVI
¡Quién sabe! Tal vez Dios cambie de parecer, y aplaque el ardor de su ira, y no perezcamos.»
Notice how the king issues this proclamation without any certainty that God will relent from his judgement. The king is acting in faith. He has no guarantee that God will relent from destroying Nineveh.
The truth of the matter is that God did show mercy and compassion to the people of Nineveh.
Jonah 3:10 NIV
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 3:10 NVI
Al ver Dios lo que hicieron, es decir, que se habían convertido de su mal camino, cambió de parecer y no llevó a cabo la destrucción que les había anunciado.
God saw their sincerity.
He saw their hearts truly willing to abandon their sin.
He saw how their hearts had responded in repentance and now God in turn does not destroy the people as he had announced.
So what was the message of destruction all about? Was it simply a scare tactic?
Absolutely not!
God surely will destroy those who do not repent.
God will in the end condemn those who turn away from him.
However, the bible teaches us that if anyone turns to him in repentance and faith he is willing and able to forgive.
Let us pray that we will see a movement of God:
That all who come Sunday after Sunday will truly repent and experience salvation.
That our nation will come to know the God of the Gospel.
That those in high office will bow their knees before the Lord Jesus Christ and lead the nation in repentance before God.
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