Go Fish #4 – The Reluctant Revivalist

Go Fish!
The Reluctant Revivalist
Message #4
Jonah 3:1-10
Intro:
– Last week we looked at message #3 in our series “Go Fish!” The title of that message was Missing the Boat. Here is a quick review of the principles that we found:
(1) Disobedience brings trouble (1-2)
(2) God will discipline us for disobeying (3)
(3) God followers must trust in Him (4)
(4) Disobedience will bring distress (5)
(5) Disobedience will bring dark times (6)
(6) In our darkest moments we must cry out to God (7)
(7) God’s people must obey (8-9)
(8) God’s rescue (10)
– This morning we are going on to message #4 in the “Go Fish!” series. The title of this morning’s message is The Reluctant Revivalist. In the history of mankind there have been some incredible spiritual revivals. When I say revival I mean that there was very little or no spiritual life in existence and then the Spirit of God brought life to a group of people. There are well-known evangelists/revivalists in our country today, which include, Billy & Franklin Graham, Luis Palau; and men of the past, which include D.L. Moody, and Billy Sunday. These men really desired to go to all people groups in the world and share God’s message of warning.
– As we think of Jonah, he seems at least in regard to this destination to be the least willing to share God’s message of warning. So let’s jump in to the Text.

I) The Call and Response – a sequel (1-4)
– God wants you to fulfill His mission (1-2)
* proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you (2)
~ a prophet was the bearer of a message from God, not primarily a foreteller of coming events
– Obey God’s commands (3)
* Jonah arose and went to Nineveh
~ he went reluctantly because we will find out that he still wants the Ninevites destroyed
~ an exceedingly great city
> 120,000 inhabitants – 4:11
> between 8 miles and 60 miles in circumference
– Declare God’s message (4)
* he cried out and said…
~ Jonah does what God told him to do, he warns the Ninevites of the coming judgment

II) A Change of Heart (5-9)
– Sometimes people turn from their sin (5)
* the people of Nineveh believed in God
~ a fast and sackcloth
> customary signs of humbling oneself in repentance
~ this may mean that they genuinely turned to God, it may not. At the very least they took the warning seriously and acted accordingly
– Mourning over sin is not a bad thing to do (6)
* the king…covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes
~ the king of Nineveh = the king of Assyria
~ the king realized that his earthly power could do nothing to stop the God of Israel from destroying them, so he mourns over their sin
– When God warns of judgment, you had better take it seriously (7-8a)
* no man, beast, herd, or flock can eat or drink water (7)
* both man and beat must be covered with sackcloth (8a)
~ inclusion of the animals was unusual and expressed the urgency with which the Ninevites sought the mercy of God
– Ask God to change people’s hearts so that they will not be judged (8b)
* call on God earnestly that each may turn
~ from his wicked way
~ from the violence in his hands
– If people turn from their sin, God might be merciful and not judge them (9)
* God often responds in mercy to man’s repentance by canceling threatened punishment

III) A Reprieve (10)
– Turning from sin is not evidenced in words spoken by themselves, but accompanied by changed actions (10)
* God is merciful because of their repentance and doesn’t judge Nineveh

Conclusion:
– Here is a quick review of the principles that we saw in the passage this morning:
(1) God wants you to fulfill His mission (1-2)
(2) Obey God’s commands (3)
(3) Declare God’s message (4)
(4) Sometimes people turn from their sin (5)
(5) Mourning over sin is not a bad thing to do (6)
(6) When God warns of judgment, you had better take it seriously (7-8a)
(7) Ask God to change people’s hearts so that they will not be judged (8b)
(8) If people turn from their sin, God might be merciful and not judge them (9)
(9) Turning from sin is not evidenced in words spoken by themselves, but accompanied by changed actions (10)
– We saw Jonah finally making it to Nineveh. He gave what might have been his most lackluster message ever, and his worst nightmare came true! The people of Nineveh turned from their evil and God spared them. In Jonah’s mind this is the absolute worst thing that could have happened. His warning was taken seriously and the people were saved from judgment. Do you know of a group of people that need to be warned about a judgment that is coming?
– Next week we are going to take a look at message #5 in our series “Go Fish!” which is entitled The Selfish Servant. This will be the final message in our “Go Fish!’ series.

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