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Summary: Three simple truths we learn from Jonah

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FRUIT OF FAITHFULNESS

John was born in London on July 24, 1725. His father was the captain of a merchant ship and his mother died of tuberculosis when he was young. In 1744 he was forced into military service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S. Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured, publicly flogged and demoted to common seaman. Finally at his own request he was exchanged into service on a slave ship, which took him to the coast of Sierra Leone. He became the servant of a slave trader and was brutally abused. Early in 1748 he was rescued and ultimately became captain of his own slave trade ship.

On May 10, 1748 he was traveling homeward in his ship the Greyhound when they encountered a violent storm. When all seemed lost and the ship was taking on water he cried out to God and exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” God spared his life. For the rest of his life he observed this day as the anniversary of his conversion, a day in which he subjected his will to a higher power. John Newton would later go on to write Amazing Grace. “Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” Eventually, John Newton left the slave trading business, and over a period of time, he became a minister. For the last 43 years of his life, he was a preacher in the Church of England. Right before he died, he said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”

The Bible and history is full of stories of how God used sinful imperfect people to bring about positive change and blessing in the world. We are continuing in our series in Jonah, an imperfect person who God used to save a city. Today we come to chapter 3

Jonah 3:1-10 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you. 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city--a visit required three days. 4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." 10 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.


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