Summary: God's great desire is not to bring judgment to people but for people to repent. God's great desires if for believers and non-believers alike to turn to Him.
Intro: In this third chapter of Jonah we see God’s great desire for people to turn toward Him. It doesn’t matter the depth of their sin or the degree of their violence.
What we discover in this chapter of Jonah is what John R Stott said, “The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.”
I. God’s persistent patience with His prophet
Why do we get second chances as God’s people?
A) In order to share God’s specific message
That specific message was designed for a specific place and people. God told Jonah, “Get up! Go to the city of Nineveh.” It reminds me of our commission Go and make disciples of all nations.” God has given us Church a general commission to make disciple of people of all ethnic groups. He has given us a more specific commission like Jonah’s to make disciples of the people of Carlisle. God tells us as you go about your normal day in Carlisle, make disciples.
What was the specific message? Judgment is coming. Today we don’t like to talk about sin, judgment or hell. The simple straight forward message of Jonah was unless your turn your lives over to Yahweh your city will be overturned and destroyed. The same is true today families, cities, businesses, countries are being overturned because they will not turn to God. Unless our government repents it will be destroyed. Unless our country repents it will be destroyed. We do not need cooperation between Democrats and republicans we need public repentance of all our political leaders.
B) In order to share God’s special mercy
Jonah was restored to fellowship in the presence of God as His prophet. The restoration did not remove his scars. God is gracious to restore anyone but he does not remove the scars of disobedience. In fact Jesus still carries the scars of our disobedience in Heaven. Revelation 5:5-6. It is the scars we carry that often give us the opportunity to share with others about God’s grace and mercy.
Jesus said that Jonah was a sign to the people of Nineveh. It was the scars he carried from his time in the big fish that marked Jonah and was used of God to make “The men of Nineveh believe in God.”
Jonah points to Jesus. Jesus was in the belly of the grave for three days and nights.
II. God’s powerful performance in the city
How do we see God’s power displayed?
A) The transformation of the prophet
Jonah 3:4 “So Jonah Got up and went according to the Lord’s command”
Do you really want to know when spiritual transformation is taking place in your life? When you do what the Lord commands. What was Jonah’s excuse for disobeying God? We have to look to chapter 4.
4.2 “He prayed to the Lord: “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to become angry, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from sending disaster.”