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Jonah 3 Background: If you recall, God told Jonah to preach to the city of Nineveh in chapter one. God wanted the people of Nineveh to repent and change their ways. The people of Nineveh were known for their cruelty and idol worship. Even though they were sinners, God loved them and wanted them to be blessed rather than destroyed. That is why He told Jonah to go there and preach to them. However, rather than going there, Jonah ran away. Jonah hated the people of Nineveh since they were enemies of Jewish people. God disciplined Jonah by causing a big storm. Later on, the sailors on the boat threw Jonah into the sea. Jonah thought he was going to drown, but God had mercy on Him and sent a big fish to save his life by swallowing him. Jonah is thankful and inside the fish’s stomach, he worships God and promises to obey Him. Once he does that, God commands the fish to release Jonah. God tells Jonah to go and preach in the city of Nineveh. He gives Jonah a second chance. This time, Jonah obeys God. He goes and walks through the city, saying, “in 40 days, Nineveh will be destroyed.” He probably also told them that God was angry with them because of their violence and idol worship. Miraculously, the people of Nineveh believed God and repented. The king of Nineveh also repented and made public declaration that everyone in the city should humble themselves and repent by fasting, and praying. What caused the people of Nineveh to repent? Shortly before Nineveh went to the city, they had been lost battles with enemy nations. Also, they had experienced an earthquake and also a solar eclipse over the city. These events caused to people to be afraid and prepared their hearts to hear God’s Word. Problems in your life may be a way that God is trying to get your attention. What do we learn about God? 1. God does not want anyone to die. He is compassionate and gracious. 2. God calls you to repent so that you will be blessed. What is repentance? It’s turning away from sin and placing your trust in Christ. Believing in Jesus includes repenting. Believing in Jesus doesn’t only mean knowing that He exists. Demons know that He exists. Only believing God exists is not true faith. Believing that He exists and committing yourself to live according to His rules is faith. God called the people of Nineveh to repent because He didn’t want them to be destroyed. He wanted them to live and to know Him and to love Him. If they didn’t repent, they would have been destroyed. When God sees your repentant heart, He will bless you by giving you more a hatred of sin, by giving you more faith and more love for Him. Repentance is the key to joy and blessing. A man named Anibal murdered a drug dealer. He shot him in the street. A Christian visited Anibal in jail and told him about how Jesus died on the cross for his sins. He told him about heaven. He was asked if he wanted to go to heaven. Anibal said sure. He said, “I’ll become a Christian, but don’t expect me to change the way that I live.” He wanted to go to heaven. He wanted to be a Christian, but he didn’t want to repent. He didn’t want to change. Anibal’s prison was his pride. He refused to repent and that prevented him from becoming a Christian. Let me ask you a question: “do you want to change?” “Are you willing to repent?” The ability to repent is the most important ability in the world. It is more important than being able …. -to see.. blind people can still live and have a blessed life if you have this ability

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-to hear -to walk Deaf people can still live and have a blessed life if you have this ability Paralyzed people can still live and have a blessed life if you have this ability

-to eat Even if you can’t eat, you can be fed through your veins and still have blessed life if you have this ability -to pray Even if you can’t pray,

The ability to repent is the most important ability that you have. Why is it so important? Because if you don’t repent, you cannot become a Christian. If you don’t repent, you will spend eternity in hell. Suppose you are a Christian, but if you don’t repent, your faith will become weak, your heart will become hard and you will lose your joy. Jeffrey Dahmer: Dahmer was convicted of seventeen murders. Eleven corpses were found in his apartment. He cut off arms. He ate body parts. He kept skulls in his refrigerator. During his trial, he sat with no expression. He had no sign of remorse, no hint of regret. Months before an inmate murdered him, Jeffrey Dahmer became a Christian. Said he repented. Was sorry for what he did. Profoundly sorry. Said he put his faith in Christ. Was baptized. Started life over. Began reading Christian books and attending chapel. Sins washed. Soul cleansed. Past forgiven. How did God bless him? He forgave him and saved his soul. He also allowed him to be killed. Why was that a blessing for Jeffrey Dahlmer? He got a chance to go to heaven right away rather than spending his whole life in jail being beat up and raped. Application: 1. Put following God’s will as the number one priority in your life. When God spoke to Jonah and told him to preach in the city of Nineveh, Jonah went right away. He didn’t procrastinate. He didn’t meet his friends. He didn’t check his email. He didn’t get a haircut. Obeying God’s Word was his number one priority. Applying God’s Word was the number one priority in his life. When God, speaking through Jonah, told the people of Nineveh to repent, they repented right away. They didn’t say they would repent later on. Applying God’s Word (repenting) was the number one priority in their lives. When the king of Nineveh heard God’s Word, he repented right away. Applying God’s Word (repenting) was the number one priority in their lives. Matthew 6:33: but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well In this verse, God is making a promise. He is promising you that if you put the application of His Word as the number one priority in your life, then He will provide for all of your needs. You may be worried about lacking: friends, fun, money, clothes, academic success, a good wife, a good husband, etc.

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Jonah 3 1 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. Matthew 6:25-33 25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[2] ? 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

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2. Repent and encourage others to repent. a. Jonah’s example Jonah repented and then encouraged the people of Nineveh to repent. What was the result? The people of Nineveh and the king of Nineveh repented. 3:5–9 fast … sackcloth … ashes: These are expressions of mourning and lamentation (2 Kin. 19:1; 2 Chr. 20:3; Is. 58:5–9; Jer. 36:6–9; Joel 1:13, 14; 2:12–18). The nationwide fast decreed by the king of Nineveh was a remarkable display of humility before the Lord. The decree shows that the king well understood the nature of genuine repentance. Not only was every man, woman, and child, and even their animals, forbidden to eat, or even to drink water (v. 7), but they were exhorted to turn from evil and violence (3:8). Thus the fast was not merely an external show of piety, but an opportunity for a heartfelt change of attitude and behavior.1 Repentance is the key to faith and receiving grace. Grudem writes, "Scripture puts repentance and faith together as different aspects of the one act of coming to Christ for salvation." It’s not a separate act. It’s a simultaneous thing. "It is not that a person first turns from sin and next trusts in Christ, or first trusts in Christ and then turns from sin, but rather that both occur at the same time. When we turn to Christ for salvation from our sins, we are simultaneously turning away from the sins that we are asking Christ to save us from. If that were not true, our turning to Christ could hardly be turning to Him or trusting in Him. Each day there should be heartfelt repentance for sins that we have committed, and faith in Christ to provide for our needs and to empower us to live the Christian life." It is to be so until we die. Psalm 51 says, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." God is always pleased with genuine sacrifice. Genuine sacrifices are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. He is pleased when we live in this world with a broken and contrite heart. He takes it as a sacrifice. He’s pleased with your contrite hearts. What is grace? It’s hatred of sin as well as hunger and love for the Lord rising up in me. Illn of repentance: Stephen Hah b. The king of Nineveh’s example The king of Nineveh also repented and encouraged the people to repent as well. He poured out His burning anger on Jesus so that I could live forever in heaven with Him How gracious God is to give us another opportunity after we have failed Him (Ps. 103:8–14)! God is as much concerned about the worker as He is the work. He could have sent somebody else to preach to Nineveh, but Jonah would have missed out on the lessons he needed to learn. God wants to work in us as well as through us.

1Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson's new illustrated Bible commentary (Jon 3:5-9). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

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How gracious God is to lost sinners! Why would a holy God give the vicious Ninevites an opportunity to repent? Because He is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9) but “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim. 2:4). Do you have a burden to share the gospel with a lost world that does not deserve to be saved? Remember, somebody shared it with you! humbling themselves before God, confessing their sins with prayer, and turning from sin, are means of escaping wrath and obtaining mercy. Let even the brute creatures' cries and moans for want of food remind their owners to cry to God. In prayer we must cry mightily, with fixedness of thought, firmness of faith, and devout affections. It concerns us in prayer to stir up all that is within us. It is not enough to fast for sin, but we must fast from sin; and, in order to the success of our prayers, we must no more regard iniquity in our hearts, Ps 66:18. God sees who turn from their evil ways, and who do not. Thus he spared Nineveh. We read of no sacrifices offered to God to make atonement for sin; but a broken and a contrite heart, such as the Ninevites then had, he will not despise. He is patient with our mistakes. He is longsuffering with our stumbles. He doesn’t get angry at our questions. He doesn’t turn away when we struggle. But when we repeatedly reject his message, when we are insensitive to his pleadings, when he changes the world to get our attention and we still don’t listen, he honors our request and leaves us alone. 2 d killed a man—a “neighborhood punk,” as Anibal called him, a restless teenager who sold marijuana to the kids on the street and made a nuisance of himself with his mouth. One night the drug dealer had used his mouth one time too many and Anibal had decided to silence it. He’d left the crowded bar where the two of them had been arguing, gone home, taken a pistol out of a drawer, and walked back to the bar. Anibal had entered and called the boy’s name. The drug dealer had turned around in time to take a bullet in the heart. Anibal was guilty. Period. His only hope was that the judge would agree that he had done society a favor by getting rid of a neighborhood problem. He would be sentenced within the month. I came to know Anibal through a Christian friend, Daniel. Anibal had lifted weights at Daniel’s gym. Daniel had given Anibal a Bible and had visited him several times. This time Daniel took me with him to tell Anibal about Jesus. Our study centered on the cross. We talked about guilt. We talked about forgiveness. The eyes of the murderer softened at the thought that the one who knows him best loves him most. His heart was touched as we discussed heaven, a hope that no executioner could take from him. But as we began to discuss conversion, Anibal’s face began to harden. The head that had leaned toward me in interest now straightened in caution. Anibal didn’t like my statement that the first step in coming to God is an admission of guilt. He was uneasy with words like “I’ve been wrong” and “forgive me.” Saying “I’m sorry” was out of character for him. He had never backed down before any man, and he wasn’t about to do it now—even if the man were God. In one final effort to pierce his pride, I asked him, “Don’t you want to go to heaven?” “Sure,” he grunted. “Are you ready?” Earlier he might have boasted yes, but now he’d heard too many verses from the Bible. He knew better.

2Lucado, M. (1992). And the angels were silent (Page 78). Portland, Or.: Multnomah.

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He stared at the concrete floor for a long time, meditating on the question. For a moment I thought his stony heart was cracking. For a second, it appeared that burly Anibal would for the first time admit his failures. But I was wrong. The eyes that lifted to meet mine weren’t tear-filled; they were angry. They weren’t the eyes of a repentant prodigal; they were the eyes of an angry prisoner. “All right,” he shrugged. “I’ll become one of your Christians. But don’t expect me to change the way I live.” The conditional answer left my mouth bitter. “You don’t draw up the rules,” I told him. “It’s not a contract that you negotiate before you sign. It’s a gift—an undeserved gift! But to receive it, you have to admit that you need it.” “OK.” He ran his thick fingers through his hair and stood up. “But don’t expect to see me at church on Sundays.” I sighed. How many knocks in the head does a guy need before he’ll ask for help? As I watched Anibal pace back and forth in the tiny cell, I realized that his true prison was not made of bricks and mortar, but of pride. He was twice imprisoned. Once because of murder, and once because of stubbornness. Once by his country, and once by himself.
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What do you think is the most important ability in the whole world?

When you repent, God blesses you. Illn of repentance: Sandy coming home Application: 1. Do what God tells you to do rather than procrastinating.

3Lucado, M. (1996). The applause of heaven (Page 51). Dallas [Tex.: Word Pub.

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Worship songs: Come home running For example, suppose I have a sinful habit of materialism. I want more money. I want a nicer car. I want a bigger home. I want a better stereo system. I want a faster computer. I get joy out of getting more stuff. I spend a lot of my time looking at magazines and catalogs because it feeds my desire for more stuff. My desire to have more stuff is greater than my desire for God. What would repentance look like for me? 1. Repenting would mean confessing my sins to God. 2. 3. Repenting would mean asking God to change my desires…..asking Him to give me more passion for Him and less passion for things. Repenting would also mean changing my behavior. Ie: not buying anything that I don’t need Not replacing things that I have Replacing the time I spend looking at catalogs and magazines with prayer, Bible reading, and worship

When God saw how the people of Nineveh changed their minds and lives, He changed His mind about destroying the city.