Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Jonah II- Sermon Notes

Jonah 3:1-10
Sermon Notes
God Repents
July 5, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         The title of this sermon is God Repents. That title might shock you. How can God repent? One can only repent of sins and God has not sinned. That is true. But the core of the word repent is turn around. And God is able to turn around even if He has not sinned.
         God turned Jonah around and then God turned around.

         Jonah 2:1   Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,  2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 
3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 
This is similar to Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Jesus quotes this Psalm while He is on the cross. He is not merely crying out in lament. He is doing that but He is also quoting Scripture to teach us. It is no coincidence that this Jonah echoes Psalm 22 and that Jesus quotes it on the cross.
Jonah was cast into the sea. He called out to God as if he was lost but he was not lost. God looked upon him with favor and talked to the fish to vomit Jonah out on dry land.
The earth held Jesus in its grasp but He was not utterly forsaken. The Earth delivered Jesus up when the Lord spoke to the stone and rolled it away.

4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 
Jonah’s language is similar. I am cast out of thy sight. But he encourages himself that God can reach him even here in the depths of Sheol.

5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.  6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. 
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.  8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.  9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Jonah repents of his running. He will turn and pay homage to his Lord. He has vowed to speak the words of God and he will now do so.

2:10  And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
God speaks fishese. These really are key passages of Scripture for us. If you would be embarrassed by Scripture, these verses might be tops on your list. Own Jonah. God speaks to fish.

Jonah 3:1   And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 
What a gracious God we serve! God spoke to Jonah and Jonah ran. Many of us would be done with such a herald. Our spokesman won’t speak. Time to fine another spokesman. But God is gracious and long suffering with Jonah. He speaks to him a second time.

2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 
Jonah, now that you have died and risen again, will you do what I tell you? Yes.

3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.
Jonah now rises and does the Lord’s will. Yes, a bit reluctantly but he  does it!

Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.  4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
Nineveh was a large city. It was going to take Jonah three days to walk through it proclaiming his message of repentance. However, the Lord prepared the Ninevites. In one day a revival starts!
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
The text tells us that the Ninevites believe God. They did not merely believe Jonah. They recognized that Jonah spoke for God. The message rang true. They must have known that they were very wicked. They had created a magnificent city and could have responded in continued pride. They could have either laughed Jonah to scorn or set upon him violently. They do neither. They call for repentance.

 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
The king of Nineveh may have been scared of enemies and ready for repentance. But the only indication we get in the text is that he fears God and knows that judgment against Nineveh would be just. His reaction is quite astonishing.
We should not be afraid to speak the truth to a perishing populace. Some will laugh us to scorn. Some might set upon us violently. But God will have prepared some to know their sinfulness and God’s justice and be ready to repent.

7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 
The king calls a fast of food and water.

8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 
It is not merely a fast of food and water. The king wants his citizens to fast from their sins. V. 8 Turn every one from his evil way and the violence that is in their hands.

9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 
Who can tell if God will turn and repent? I will tell you who can tell. Jonah can. He knew it because he knew God. And so can all of God’s ministers and saints. Our God is a consuming fire. He purges the dross. He will present His bride without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. There is a lake of fire and destruction awaits for all those who steadfastly refuse the kindness of God in Christ. God’s fierce anger will lash out at sin.
But where there is sin, there is more grace. Our God is holy. And our God is kind and merciful. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. God knows our frame. He knows that we were born in sin and struggle against sin. He knows that sin will overtake us and lead us down, down, down into the depths of the sea.
But God also hears our cry. He is not deaf to His loved ones. He is not deaf to the voice of repentance. He is not deaf to those who are down on their faces. He reaches to the lowest depths. He calls out to us in our tombs of death clothes. And He delivers!

Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Listen to the rest of Psalm 22
Psa. 22:22   I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.  23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 
24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.  25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 
28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.  29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.  31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
         If God saved Jesus and brought him up, if God saved Jonah and brought him up, if God spared Nineveh and did not destroy them, so, too, can God save our country. So, too, can God rescue you, your marriage, your children. 
         God is slow to anger and quick to forgive. Turn around. He is waiting.

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