Saturday, January 23, 2021

Epiphany 3


Jonah 3:1-5, 10
The God of 2nd Chances

Because of sin, we need another chance to obey God. Jonah was given this second opportunity. Who has not failed God like Jonah? In this second chance given to Jonah to proclaim the word of the Lord to a lost people we see we have a gracious God. As God gives us another chance to do better, it is incumbent upon us to give others who sin against us another chance to make good and to do better. A 2nd chance

I.        Reveals a God of mercy – Vs. 1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time

A.     Jonah didn’t necessarily have to be given a second chance.

1.      In most cases, the prophets were given only one chance and if they did not fulfill their duty there were harsh penalties. Abraham pleaded with God to save the city of Sodom. If the Lord could find just ten righteous persons the city would be spared.

Lot, Abraham’s nephew and his family were led out of danger and spared yet Lot’s wife turned back and in so doing was turned into a pillar of salt.

2.      The Lord wasn’t simply taking it out on His people the prophets – He wanted to drive home a specific point – namely that His Word meant something – that He was serious about dealing with His people – for this was the very reason why He sent the prophets to them in the first place.

B.     The fact that God dealt patiently with Jonah shows His mercy and compassion.

1.      It was His desire that these people would be saved. It was His desire that they would turn in repentance and live. It was His desire that they would turn from their wicked ways and acknowledge Him.

2.   To this day this is the desire of God. He desires that all men be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth – yet they must come under His terms and conditions.

The LORD will have mercy but there is one stipulation – men must acknowledge Him as Lord – at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.

C.     When the Lord deals with us – it may seem at the time to be punishment – but it is never to punish – His desire is that we turn to Him and live. His desire is to draw us to Himself –to have a deeper walk with us – to comfort us in our weaknesses.

The writer to the Hebrews put it this way - You see, this High Priest of ours isn’t a person who can’t feel any sympathy for us in our weakness because He has been tried and tested in every way, just as we are. But He never sinned!

Therefore we can come joyfully to the throne of our God whose heart is filled with love for those who don’t deserve it and there we will be given the mercy and love we don’t deserve to help us when we really need it.” –Julian Anderson translation Hebrews 4:15-18

Transition: The LORD desires to reveal His mercy. He also desires to restore people back into God’s favor.

II.     He restores a person in God’s favor – Vs. 2 Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

A.     In the case of the inhabitants of Nineveh it was to bring them to faith.

1.      The Lord did not destroy them but rather restored them.

2.      He sent His message to repent and in contrition and faith then turned from their evil ways and acknowledged Him alone.

B.    His mercies are new to us each day – “Today Thy mercy calls us to wash away our sin. However great our trespass whatever we have been. However long from mercy our hearts have turned away. Thy precious blood can cleans us and make us white today.

Transition: God desires to reveal His mercy. He desires to restore people back to Himself. This desire is for all people.

III.   Results in salvation for all – Vs. 5 The Ninevties believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth

A.     Notice what God’s Word did – It worked a miracle. Unbelievers were turned into faithful followers. A city set on destruction was spared. A people bent on total annihilation were given life – new life.

B.     This is your story for God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not counting our sins against us and He has given us this ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19

Our sins stand up to accuse us. Our deeds are deserving of punishment but God in Christ has taken our sins to the blood cross and absorbed them into His own body.

No wonder Isaiah looking into the future could only predict, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5

The story of Jonah is a story of the LORD’s mercy and grace. It’s a story of God desires to revel His mercy, His desires to restore people back to Himself. This desire is for all people.

Passive Sentences – 20%
Readability – 74.5%
Reading Level – 7.1
Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas Higher Things

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