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March 6, 2020 1:00 am
Some of God’s servants have to go through the school of hard knocks before they learn to obey God from the heart. Jonah finally went to Nineveh, but still with a hard heart. He had no real concern for the people of a great pagan city.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
One reason for us. Some of God's servants have to go to the school of hard knocks before they learn God from the heart. Jonah finally went to Nineveh with a hard heart. He had no real concern of the great Megan sitting from the church in Chicago is running to win with Sir teaching helps us make it across the finish line looks. Eventually we each have to see the big picture big picture was a big city in desperate need of God. You know Dave absolutely Jonah had to see the big picture yet to see the big city. But even he could never have predicted that we would still be talking about him thousands of years later someday will meet him in heaven and I'll say Jonah just want you to know that I used your experience to preach to many people.
While we don't know exactly how that all is going to turn out. But this much I know that were living in a day of political wrangling.
Are you weary of it.
Let us remember that here in America we still have many opportunities to preach the gospel and we need to remember that the heart of our message always has to be the cross we have to live redemptive late. We have to be able to witness to all those who are on the political spectrum from the right to the left to the middle. I've written a book entitled Christians politics and the cross. I think it will help you think through God's real agenda would love to send you a copy for a gift of any amount. Here's what you do go to RTW offer.com go to RTW offer.com. The name of the book is Christians politics and the cross, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 and now we go to the pulpit of Moody church where we continue our study of Jonah a look into God's heart, but also a look into the human heart. You state it says in verse six. The word reached the king of Nineveh. We don't know whether or not this was like the mayor, whether or not it was the whole king of the Assyrian Empire and he arose from his throne removed his robe covered himself with sackcloth sat in ashes. Could you imagine Mary Daly going back to Grant Park, sitting in ashes and then getting the city of Chicago. A proclamation now.
I've been to many of these prayer breakfasts and so forth.
Where there is a proclamation from the president from the governor and from the mayor and if I may be a little bit facetious. It read something like this whereas prayer is not a bad idea, and whereas there is some religion in our previous history. And whereas we're into tolerance and whereas were relatively free country that we exhort anybody who wants to to say a prayer today like that notice.
This proclamation wow verse seven by the decree of the king and his nobles let neither man nor beast, heard, nor flock taste anything, let them not feed or drink water but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and let them callout mightily to God.
Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger so that we may not perish. Now there's a proclamation you know when God sends revival everybody's on the same level. The mayor, the king, those who are in positions of authority.
The president they all bow in the presence of God.
They all acknowledge their sinfulness and here we have this Universal Revival Taking Pl. in Nineveh and we read it and we say, could this really have happened.
I mean even even they put sackcloth on the animals. The animals were supposed to have repented. I member a dog in our neighborhood who should have repented and we had a cat or two that I tried to get to repent. Wasn't very successful. You know the difference between dog theology and Theology dog says you feed me. Therefore, you must be God. as you feed me. Therefore I am God is not true. You see these people realize that their sin was affecting even the animal kingdom, and the animals. I'm sure didn't know what was going on because they never understood Jonah they never understood the message but but they said we are so desperate that we are even putting sackcloth on animals and we're forcing them to fast so that we might turn to God. It's interesting that this is not recorded in any of the various animals of Assyrian history and so some people of said could this have happened. Maybe it was a temporary repentance. Maybe their repentance and when their fear ended. We don't know we don't know the depth of their repentance, though, as we'll see in a moment Jesus Christ did acknowledge this is a great moment in history but but the people repented and because they repented we read in verse 10, when God saw what they did, how they turn from Their Evil Way, God relented of the disaster that he said he would do to them and he did not. It which was exactly what Jonah thought might happen. How was God trying to get them to say yes by by dragging him to a place where he didn't want to be.
Maybe you're there today your vocation. Maybe your situation is exactly the place where you do not want to be and then secondly, God says I'm going to have you see something that you want to see you do not want to see the city repent because you're so full of resentful us. When God blesses those whom you think you should not bless.
And then God says I'm going to get you to say yes or at least work on you. By the way in which you feel that's really next times message but you'll notice in chapter 4 verse one it says, but it displeased Jonah exceedingly and he was angry.
Don't the Hebrew text says the Hebrew text says and it was easy hold to Jonah with a very great evil. That's the literal translation. He was very mean he was steam and he says that's just what I thought terrible thing happened. I preached and everybody repented what an awful thing and because they repented, you're not going to bring them the judgment that they so richly deserve. They deserve nothing but judgment and here you display nothing but grace.
What kind of a God.
Is this is that's what I know goes on to say that your compassionate and your loving and that's what I fear you know it's interesting in the text we find that the Ninevites they certainly repented God repented when it says in verse 19 when the Lord saw what they did, how they turn from their evil way, by the way when it says that they turn from their violence when the king says that the Hebrew word is en masse the probably recognize that as a terrorist group today will they turn from their terrorism and it says in verse 10, when God saw what they did, how they turn from Their Evil Way, God relented. The word actually is. He repented now that doesn't mean that God repents the way in which we repent what it means is that Jonah's message was a conditional message when he said yet 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown. He should've added unless you repent and so God says okay you are repenting.
I will not bring the calamity that I promised you, because it was a conditional message but isn't it interesting that the Ninevites they repent and God even has a form of quote repentance.
But the one man who will not repent who will not bring himself to the end of self interest and self advantage and self protection is Jonah and he remains stubborn there some lessons. I think that this passage of Scripture teaches us first of all, our attitude should follow our obedience.
It was good that Jonah went. It was much better that he go to Nineveh than that he stay home.
We can be assured of that was good that Jonah went, but his heart wasn't there. He said like the little boy who is told to sit in the corner, he said, I'm sitting down but in my heart. I'm standing up other words, if this is what I have to do this as well do it but I will grin and I will bear it and I will consider it my duty because after all, God can do such things as create fish and put me in difficult circumstances. So here I am, but his heart was out of sync with God, my wife and I have done a number of occasions been in Weimar, the seat of the great German enlightenment and there is a statue of get you have to know how to say that word of get to in Weimar and in that statute. Data is looking at the University, but his feet are taking him to the tavern. Part of Dutch's problem was, he could never quite decide where his loyalties were in that case, his feet were going to his real loyalty, namely the tavern, but in the very same way. It's possible for us to serve God and we say yes I'm serving God out of obedience. If this is what God wants. If this is what he has for me.
I will do it, but your heart is out of sync with God because you have not been willing to embrace God's will as something good and perfect and acceptable and you chafe against it and you find against it and God says I want you to say yes, let's consider right this morning. Here there many of you who are listening to this message, you are in the Right Pl., God wanted you in the sanctuary today, but I need to ask is your heart right with God.
It's possible you see for you to be in the right place geographically and your heart be out of sync with the Almighty Jesus spoke of the Pharisees. He says that they honor me with their lips. There saying the right thing. They come to the right temple. They then bring the right gifts, but their hearts are somewhere else their affections lie elsewhere and what God is trying to say to us today is don't you understand that I want your heart and your vocation and my calling to line while this self protection.
The self serving rebellion. So that's the first lesson. The second lesson is that God is bigger than our expectations. He's bigger than our expectations. Who would've ever expected that Nineveh would repent. Who would've ever believed that that there is this city that would turn to God just because they heard a message of judgment.
No one would've ever predicted that Nineveh was going to have this awesome revival day and Jonah was full of deep resentment because of it. Let me ask you this question. Are you resentful because God is generous. Are you resentful because God sometimes blesses your enemies, and God keeps blessing them and giving them health and giving them money and and God just seems to be lavishing upon them and and here you are. You're trying to serve God and look at what other people have and and why does God have all of this disparity in terms of the way in which he runs his world and down deep inside you are resentful because God is merciful and compassionate and patient with people that you and I know he ought to just wipe out right. Let me ask you something. Did Jonah need more grace than the people of Nineveh at the end of the day. No, because not a one of us deserve what God gives us the reason that we compare ourselves with others and think, well, you know we are worthy of grace did you know that that's an oxymoron. Nobody is worthy of grace. If you're worthy of it.
If Grace is the unworthy who come before God is those who have absolutely no claim whatsoever on their maker. Those who bring nothing to the table except their great need coming in humility and brokenness to receive it is they who receive mercy is not the people who deserve anything that receive it.
And so what you see here in the text is that God is bigger than our expectation there people that perhaps you know whom you've given up on you no longer pray for them. You no longer believe that God can do anything in their lives.
But you don't know I think of what the king said, who knows God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger so that we may not perish. Who knows what God may do with those who are wicked. Who knows what God may do with those of us who think were not wicked, and who deserve something. Who knows what God may do. He is bigger than our own expectations, there's a final lesson and that is that we are responsible for our own repentance were responsible for own repentance. Jesus had a divine commentary on this event. He said this in Matthew chapter 12 verse 41 the men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here where to read the passage we discover that Jesus uses the word greater three times. He certainly is greater than Jonah's message is much greater than that of Jonah the people of Nineveh heard only a message of judgment and if you want to know something of what that judgment eventually became. You should read the book of Nahum because that shows that eventually God didn't judge Nineveh over 100 years later because they went back to their violent ways and so Jesus Christ message is greater than that of Jonah, Jesus preached a message of love and compassion. He said I came not to condemn the world, but that the world through me might be saved. It's a message of love. It's a message of grace. It's a message of the wonderful inclusion to those who humble themselves to come in to receive it. The city of Nineveh will rise up and condemn the city of Chicago. Someday the city of Chicago is had the opportunity to believe in Jesus you can buy Bibles no matter what translation they are. You can buy Bibles in any one of the bookstores in the city of Chicago.
You can turn on radio and you can hear messages, you can turn on television. Then, sometimes even there hear the gospel if you're listening to the right person and and you can seek God we have churches that are open then and in Nineveh they didn't have any of that. The city of Nineveh responded to only one preacher, the city of Chicago has heard dozens of preachers and has dozens of churches and day with greater opportunity have not repented.
I think that Jesus would say that the people of Nineveh shall rise up and condemn this city because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold a greater time with greater opportunities and greater grace is here, but I'm speaking to you.
Who knows how many people there are here today who have never personally received Jesus Christ as Savior you never responded to the Jesus who is much greater than Jonah you never opened your life to him and said, Lord Jesus, I want you to to be my Savior and I trust you as my righteousness and I'm trusting you for my forgiveness. I mean, personally, not just generally but but personally to know him on that kind of a level and to respond to him.
You know the Bible says, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation because we live in a day when God's arms are open to everybody and you have not fallen so far, but that God can receive you if the Ninevites were received by God. After all, despite their violence and their wickedness and their huge sins. They were received, how much more under this era of grace in Jesus can we all be received, perhaps, than men of Nineveh shall rise up and condemn you someday because they repented and the day of judgment, but possibly you haven't, so I have to ask you as I conclude has God brought you the point you're willing to say yes. I say that to those of you who do not know Christ as Savior, but as well as to those of you who do what what what what is there that holds you from finally giving up the fight and the manipulation and the criticism of God to finally say okay God it's over. Let's pray our father, we want to thank you for this story. A story that reveals the human heart, a story that is such a beautiful contrast between your compassion and one man's petty anger at your will and purpose teach us from it. Oh God, we pray today and may your grace be evident in on the lives of all who would repent and all who would submit an old who would be broken in your presence and say yes Lord, now you talk to God. If these talk to you.
You talk to him to. What is it that you need to say to him today. Father do not deal with us at this moment is a church deal with us as individuals. At this moment were not thinking of the city were thinking of ourselves grant all God that sense of submission and yield in this to your matchless undeserved grace. In Jesus name, amen.
Well, my friend, this is Pastor Luther and I do have to ask you where are you on your spiritual journey.
If you said yes to God. If you yielded to him. Have you received Christ as Savior or are you still running just like Jonah did initially, all of us need to submit. We need to come with brokenness and understand the fact that God is interested in our lives and doing his will.
I believe that this sermon series can be a great blessing to you as you listen to it again and again. Share it with your friends for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. The name of the series is brokenness how God gets us to say yes. Let me quickly give you the info how you can connect with us, you can go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for this sermon series and I believe that it will be a repeated blessing to you is time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor looks or a question about the Bible or the Christian life as you will know Pastor Luther, there's a wide gulf between two viewpoints on how to interpret some key doctrines in the Bible.
Although there is some common ground. There is still no way to reconcile these schools of thought Beverly wonders which side you take when she writes, what are your beliefs on Calvinism and would you consider your self a Calvinist or Beverly, as you know you've asked a question that has far-reaching implications. So let me give a general answer and then I may even get a little bit more specific. First of all I don't like the label of Calvinism.
If you say that you're a Calvinist in the minds of many people. That means that you agree with everything that Calvin wrote I don't think that Calvin was perfect. I think he taught some things that are wrong. For example, he taught infant baptism and we here at the Moody church are convinced that the New Testament teaches believers baptism. That's one difference. Also, Calvin lived at a time when none heretics were put to death, and the city Council in Switzerland and Geneva decided that they would burn surveyed us at the stake hand. Even though Calvin spent a great deal of time with Servetus trying to convince him to believe in the full deity of Jesus Christ. In the end I think Calvin did agree that they should be done. One day I was in Geneva where this happened and there was a sign that said that Calvin was the son of his times and that's saying it very very well when it comes to the issue of God's sovereignty in salvation.
I do believe that Calvin was right, that God does choose and elect people to eternal life.
Once they are saved. God keeps them all the way to heaven. When Jesus Christ gave the illustration of the good Shepherd. I'm sure that no good Shepherd begins with 100 sheep in the morning and comes back with 95 in the evening and so from the standpoint of God's sovereignty.
Yes, now that leads to other questions that are beyond the scope of this broadcast but I hope that you rejoice in the fact that you are saved today because God worked in your heart, and brought you to saving faith. It's a miracle it's a sovereign miracle except that believe it and invite others also to trust Christ as Savior, God bless you keep thinking about these great matters and I know you will thank you Beverly and thank you Pastor Luther if you'd like to hear your question answered. Go to our firstname.lastname@example.org and click on ask Pastor Luther or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Jonah finally obeyed God no joy in the revival. Following his preaching in his self focus kept him from seeing the big picture. Instead, he sat down asking God he might die for the party in the on our next running to win. Dr. Luther continues to series on brokenness how God gets us to say yes will turn to Jonah chapter for a message on death self-justification for Dr. Erwin looked certain this is going to win is sponsored by the Moody church