Summary: God is always willing to give another chance, never sends judgement before warning, and expects us to heed His warnings.
Jonah’s Second Chance Jonah 3:1-5
INTRO.: Jonah was called to his task twice. The first time he ran away. The second time, he obeyed and went. Though we say "opportunity only knocks once" obligation may hammer again and again at our conscience.
Tell story of Jonah’s preaching. Jonah 3.
I. God is willing to give a second chance:
A. The Apostle Peter is a good example:
1. He denied Jesus three times. Luke 22:54-62
2. He lived three days in terrible guilt. Must have felt a little like Jonah in the fish’s belly.
3. Yet, Jesus forgave and reinstated him. John 21:15ff
B. God was not finished with Jonah:
1. Sometimes we give up on people. Not God!
2. ILLUS.: Harland Cary said, "I never give up on a person."
3. God didn’t give up on Jonah either.
C. God will give any of His children a second chance:
1. We can return to Him and be as useful and happy as at the first if we are sincere.
2. I Jn. 1:9 If we acknowledge our sin and repent, He will forgive aud use us.
3. Thank God for the words, "The word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time."
II. God always warns before He judges:
A. Again, Peter provides an example: Luke 22:31-34
1. Satan is lurking to tempt Peter with a sin of disastrous consequences.
2. He had Jesus’ prayers on his side. Powerful!
3. Peter could have heeded the warning, but didn’t. Too bad!
B. This has always been God’s way:
1. Warned Adam and Eve.
2. Warned people of Noah’s day.
3. Warned Pharaoh in Egypt.
4. Warned Belshazzer: handwriting on the wall
5. God wants His Church to warn the world today. Acts 17:30
6. He warned Nineveh through Jonah. He wants to save, not destroy :
C. God may be warning you to get right with Him:
1. Perhaps through a health problem.
2. Or sudden death of a friend. There’s no more powerful reminder of our mortality.
3. Some terrible problem in your life may be required to lead you to a closer walk with Him.
4. Perhaps He is warning you through the words of this message.
III. When we receive a warning from God, we need to heed it:
A. ILLUS.: the Hunter and the Lion.
1. Nineveh acted upon the belief they were getting a message from God and Jonah was his messenger.
2. They repented. here is no faith without repentance. No one not acting upon his faith should claim to really believe.
3. Repentance means a new way of thinking about God, self, sin
4. God has been warning for 2000 years through many messengers.
B. ILLUS.: Snake in roses.
1. When one comes face to face with the result of his sin, it is frightening to him.
2. The believer must run from sin.
3. He should not go where it is likely to be.
C. There are many warnings for Christians as well. Some examples from God’s Word:
1. The disasters which befell the ancient Israelites. I Cor. 10:6
2. A warning against drifting away. Heb. 2:1
3. A warning against deliberate sin. Heb. 10:26
CONC.: The great part of the story is the result the preaching of Jonah had. 3:10. Our God is gracious and willing to forgive if we truly repent and seek His forgiveness.
His grace is greater than our sin. He actually gave His Son to pay the penalty for our sin.
There is a second chance for all who seek it through faith and repentance. Heed God’s warning.
The Hunter and the Lion - from Many Sided Messages on the Book of Jonah by Neighbor. P. 165
There is a legend of a hunter who entered a forest in search of game. All the animals fled in fear except the lion, who shook his shaggy form and roared in defiance. The hunter let fly an arrow that struck the lion. The lion turned and ran away in terror. A fox met him and said, “do not be afraid of such a small wound.”
“But,” said the lion, “If the messenger the man sent forth is so fierce, what will it be to meet the man himself?”
The Snake in the Rose - from Many Sided Messages on the Book of Jonah by Neighbor. P. 167, 168
A lady reached into a rose bush to pick a particularly beautiful rose and a blacksnake suddenly wrapped itself around her arm. She was traumatized beyond all description. She could no longer even look at a snake dead or alive. She would never reach into a bush again. This is the way a sinner acts who truly repents of his sins. He thinks of sin as the snake that once coiled itself around him. He dreads it. He flees from it and the places it inhabits.