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God’s Love For All People (Jonah 4:11)

Sermon on 12 Jun 2022 by Ps Justin


Introduction


Today we will cover the sixth instalment of the twelve minor prophets – the book of Jonah. From this book, you will see God’s great love for all people. The key message of the twelve minor prophets is judgement, instruction from God, and repentance for the hope of salvation. The emphasis is on sin, punishment and restoration.


As Christians, we are born again. We have God’s nature in us. We have to renew our minds to change our behaviour, because temptation is real. If we sin, we have to confess our sin. God is so compassionate. He will forgive you if you turn away from your sinful ways. We need to seek His face, be humble and He will restore us.


Message


But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not laboured, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” - Jonah 4:10-11


We see the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the righteousness, judgment and mercy of God, and the sovereignty of God over the nations. Because of His mercy, we are able to continue to draw near and confess to Him.


Jonah is the only Old Testament prophet who did not prophesize to the people of Israel or Judah. He was sent only to the city of Nineveh to prophesize. Nineveh is the capital of Assyria, the biggest enemy of Israel. God called Jonah to address the wickedness of Nineveh, but Jonah ran away from God. God created a strong wind to rock the ship that Jonah was on. Jonah was thrown into the sea, but God was in control. He prepared a giant fish to swallow Jonah to preserve His life. Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish, as Jesus spent three days and nights in the heart of the earth. Jonah is typical of the saviour prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:39-41). When we read the book of Jonah, we can see Jesus Christ.


But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.” – Matthew 12:39


There are four chapters in the book of Jonah. Chapter 1 tells us about the disobeying prophet Jonah who ran away from God. Chapter 2 tells us about Jonah praying, running towards God. Chapter 3 shows us the preaching prophet, who obeyed God and fulfilled what God called him to do. Chapter 4 shows us how Jonah ran ahead of God. He was angry with the city of Nineveh who repented, and Jonah was then corrected by God.


When God calls, which way would you run? Let us continue to run towards God, to run with God. Never run ahead of God.


Lesson 1: We can run away from God, but we cannot hide from God.

Disobedience can cause sinners to suffer. Disobedience will always lead us downwards in every step – down to Joppa (Jonah 1:3), down to a ship going to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3), down into the lowest part of the ship (Jonah 1:5), and down into the mooring of the mountain (Jonah 2:6). Disobedience brings us down physically and spiritually. The only way up is to obey and do the will of God.


In order to run away from God, Jonah paid the fare for the ship (Jonah 1:3). One will pay a price to move outside the will of God. However, when God calls you, He will provide. He will enable you to do His will. He is looking for your willing heart.


Lesson 2: Disobedience in a child of God is more serious in God’s eyes than the sins of unbelievers.

God caused a storm in Jonah 1:4. The sailors panicked and prayed to their own gods. They also told Jonah to pray. Jonah admitted that he ran away from his God and that the only way to stop the storm was to throw him overboard.


“You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” – Amos 3:2


Lesson 3: God is waiting to give us another chance.

When Jonah prayed and ran towards God, God gave him a second chance to preach to Nineveh. Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time (Jonah 3:1).


And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” – Jonah 3:4


Despite their wickedness, Nineveh repented straightaway once they heard the message. God forgives. His name is “I AM”, not “I was” or “I will be”. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). His mercy endures forever. True repentance brings God’s forgiveness (Jonah 3:5-10). God returned and saved Nineveh from perishing. Isaiah 55:6-7 tells us about God pardoning us with His abundant pardon. God’s love for all people transcends cultural backgrounds, races, or denominations.


Lesson 4: God’s tremendous compassion for lost souls.

God sent His Son to the world not to condemn, but to save the world. God’s grace is unlike Jonah, because of his own selfishness, restrained God’s mercy on the people of Nineveh (Jonah 4:1). We see the contrast between God’s loving kindness and Jonah’s displeasure (Jonah 4:2). Jonah’s anger was an unrighteousness behaviour.


So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. – Jonah 4:2


God has a missionary heart and will forgive if we repent (Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 2:4; John 3:17; Romans 3:29). God wants us, His people, to proclaim His love in words and actions to the whole world (Jonah 4:11).


Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, - Romans 3:29


And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” – Jonah 4:11


Closing


Because of His mercy, we are not consumed. Let us align our hearts to understand God’s word and to do God’s will. We want to always run towards God, with God, and for God.









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