Changing God’s Mind

changing God's mind

Changing God’s Mind  (Jonah chapter 3:1-10)

Jonah review:

– Jonah Chapter 1: Comfort makes us complacent.

– Jonah is a prophet to Israel, and well liked for his messages of their prosperity.

– God gave Jonah a mission, but he ran from it, then chose to drown instead of be obedient.

– Jonah had a rebellious and sinful heart, but God showed him mercy anyway.

– Jonah Chapter 2: Discomfort makes us move.

– If you are living in disobedience, you are not being blessed because of it, you are experiencing God’s grace despite it.

– From the belly of a great fish, at the bottom of the ocean, Jonah finally repents.

– When you cry out to God, even when you have no other choice, God still hears you.

Lessons from Jonah chapter 3:

  1. Thank God for second chances. (read Jonah 3:1-4)

– Jonah had become comfortable, and wasn’t ready to obey God. His priorities were wrong.

– His testimony could end up being, “the guy who brought salvation to an entire city”, but all he can’t think about is his anger and hurt.

– He hated Nineveh because they were his enemy and caused Israel harm in the past.

– This mission makes him look bad in front of his friends.

– Pastor Shelly posted quote from Jesus Calling“The major problem with letting others define you is that it borders on idolatry. Your concern to please others dampens your desire to please Me (God), your creator.”

– Jonah’s heart is in rebellion, but God saves him anyway!

– 1 John 1:9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 

– Jonah repented, and the evidence is that his behavior changed.

– This time he obeys completely, verse 4, “On the day [he] entered the city, he shouted…”

– The most amazing thing about the gospel is that we don’t deserve it; God’s unconditional love.

– God’s love IS unconditional. We were chosen before time began, because…. GOD!

– Romans 5:8But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (My dad’s favorite verse.)

– Salvation, however, requires your belief and repentance.

  1. True repentance means stepping down from YOUR throne. (read Jonah 3:5-9)

– “The people of Nineveh believed God’s message…”

– One of their sworn enemies just came to town saying that his God will destroy them.

– Faced with the worst possible news, they chose to repent instead of rebel. (In the same circumstance Jonah didn’t do that.)

– With no evidence supporting this claim, they believed by faith. (No armies, just God’s rep.)

– Hebrews 11:6And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

– “(The King) stepped down from his throne…”

– The key element in repentance is humility.

– After believing, the king put his pride aside, took a posture of humbleness, and submitted to God.

– He took off his royal robes, and put on sackcloth and ashes. They ALL did!

– Sackcloth and ashes are a common symbol of grieving, anguish, humility, repentance.

– When the choice is laid before us, (once enemies of God), will we step down from OUR throne?

– God spoke to you, and you believed Him, but did you humble YOURSELF before Him?

– Example: we are saved but make no sacrifice, or accept any inconvenience. (Give no time, change no social beliefs, take no real action. Dress the same, talk the same, live the same.)

– Have we stepped down from OUR throne to sit at the feet of HIS throne, or not?!

– James 4:6And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”

– Nineveh repented!

– Repentance is an action, not just words. They took action!

– They did not simply “cry out” to God. Their lives changed!

– They went from prideful, violent, pagan dog sinners; to humble, repentant, and submissive.

– Example: If there was person known for idolatry, greed, anger, sexual sin, and abusive behavior. When asked if they had ever repented said that “they have nothing to repent for”. Would you believe that they are saved??? NO. There is no evidence!

– How can you have a relationship with the Almighty Creator of the universe, Savior of Mankind, and it NOT be evident in your actions.

– Your behavior will always Trump your words, and others will never believe you!

– It doesn’t make cents until you have change.

  1. God “changed His mind”. (read Jonah 3:10)

– God doesn’t really change His mind:

– God already knows what the future holds. There’s 2 options, and we get to pick which one.

– Each choice has a predetermined outcome. If Nineveh had chosen to reject God’s message, then they would have been destroyed. (God is not a liar.)

– God’s character includes the possibility of mercy. Apparently, even Nineveh knew that!

* The thin line between God’s punishment and God’s forgiveness is your repentance. *

– Nineveh displays true repentance:

– They humbled themselves and believed, even with no promised hope of reward/salvation.

– God’s desire to show mercy is so great that even His enemies know about it, and hope for it.

– True repentance changes YOUR outcome.

– Above all, this teaches us about who God is:

– Psalms 86:5 (NKJV), For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

– Remember 2 Peter 3:9b“He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

– God’s expectations and desires are clear. Now it is your turn to act.

– Maybe you are like Nineveh, only knowing about God, but not knowing Him personally?

– Today is your day! Believe His words. Repent of your sin. Be saved from destruction!

– Maybe you are like Jonah, you know God, but your actions have become a little selfish and prideful?

– Today is your day! Believe His words. Repent of your sin. Be saved from destruction!

– 2 Corinthians 6:2For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

– prayer –

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