Jonah (Part 4)

Chapter 3 vs. 1-4. Jonah 9-7-13 Page 6 A. Jonah's duty still awaited him. NOTE: 1. Rebellion against known duty does not excuse us from that duty nor from chastening but only from blessings. JAM 4:17 c/w LUK 12:47. 2. Punishment for rebellion against known duty does not excuse us from that duty. 3. Deliverance from punishment for rebellion against known duty does not excuse us from that duty. 4. If God be reconciled to the wayward who failed in duty and they, like Peter, be given a second chance, let them make the most of it. JOH 21:15-19. 5. Remember Paul's saying, “...necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1CO 9:16)! 6. That Jonah had been buried in baptism to rise to walk in newness of life (ROM 6:4) meant that he should do just that. A submitted, obedient life should follow baptism. B. With his commission refreshed, “...Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD...” (v. 3). 1. Before he was afflicted he went astray but afterward he kept the word. PSA 119:67. 2. His grievous chastening afterward produced the intended good fruit. HEB 12:11. C. It appears from LUK 11:29-30 that the Ninevites had knowledge of Jonah's experience. 1. He was a living witness of God's judgment, mercy, forgiveness and power to save. 2. Can you think of a better reason for repentance? ACT 17:30-31. 3. Jonah would have gone to preach with the power of an incredible historical event to back up his message. D. Mind that in his recommission, God told him “...go unto Nineveh and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee” (v. 3). 1. He had been told to cry against that city (JON 1:2); now he cried against that city (v. 4). The post-resurrection message was the same as the pre-resurrection message. c/w ACT 26:22-23. 2. God told him to “...preach unto it the preaching that I BID thee” (v. 2). a. He would have to trust in God to direct his speech in a potentially dangerous situation. c/w MAR 13:11. b. He must preach what God wanted him to preach. c/w MAT 28:20; 2CO 4:5; 2TI 4:2. 3. He thus cried, “...Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (v. 4). a. There was no specific call to repentance, only of impending judgment. But they figured out the rest. v. 10. b. The wise will take the threat of divine judgment to heart and repent. 4. NOTE: From the standpoint of naked human reasoning, the Ninevites might have on the 41st day concluded that they had just been conned. a. Maybe there never was any such judgment coming and their repentance had been brought about by a false fear. b. Mind, though, that the Ninevites: (1) had evidently been affected by Jonah's experience. LUK 11:30. (2) were a few thousand years closer to a divine judgment upon wickedness than the scoffers of the last days who reject the historicity of the Flood. 2PE 3:3-7. E. Though Nineveh's sins were great enough to warrant immediate judgment (JON 1:2 c/w GEN 19:13), God showed Himself to be “...a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger...” (JON 4:2). 1. They were given forty days. v. 4. 2. They could have all fled the city but they had sense enough to know that it was their sins Jonah 9-7-13 Page 7 that God wanted destroyed, not their city. And running to hide from God would be to acknowledge that He was God, and if He was truly God, what good would running and hiding do? 3. They thus concluded the best thing to do was repent, which God honored. This was their space of repentance. c/w REV 2:21. a. What Nineveh was given forty days to do after his resurrection, Israel was later given forty years to do after Christ's resurrection for the sake of the elect within it. 2PE 3:9. b. This space of repentance is nothing to trifle with for it is a time established by God and not always revealed. MAR 13:31-33. c. Mind that when Sodom and Gomorrah's sins had reached to heaven, they basically had NO time left for repentance and no mighty signs or works were provided for them to drive them to repentance. MAT 11:23. d. It behooves us therefore to repent promptly and beg mercy when we sin. HEB 3:7-15. vs. 5-10. A. The Ninevites, upon hearing Jonah, “...believed God...” (v. 5). 1. They did not receive Jonah's words as being merely the words of a man. c/w 1TH 2:13. 2. The receiving of a man of God declaring the word of God is receiving God. MAT 10:40. 3. By contrast, to reject such a messenger is to despise God. LUK 10:16. B. Their belief was proven valid by their works. v. 10 c/w JAM 2:18-20. C. Their works were summed up as repentance in MAT 12:41. 1. This shows that repentance is a work. c/w ACT 26:20. 2. Those who say that the new birth comes by keeping the commands of ACT 2:38 are thus plainly advocating a works-salvation scheme which is contrary to grace. ROM 11:6. a. Campbellites may argue that it is only man's natural works that are invalid for regeneration but doing God's works does procure regeneration. b. ROM 9:11 shows that all works, good or evil, are excluded in the election of grace. c. TIT 3:5 shows that regeneration is “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done...” D. Mark the characteristics of the Ninevites' works of repentance. 1. It was universal, “...from the greatest of them even to the least of them” (v. 5). Usually such godliness is foreign to the mighty, wealthy and noble. 1CO 1:26; JAM 2:5. 2. The king himself took no refuge in his power or riches (v. 6), and “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death” (PRO 11:4). 3. They proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth (and ashes in the king's case), tokens of humble repentance which were obviously genuine. 4. Even the beasts were made to fast in sackcloth and cry to God. vs. 7-8 c/w JOB 38:41; JOEL 1:18-20. 5. Most importantly, “...they turned from their evil way...” (v. 10). 6. Mind that there is no indication that they sacrificed any beasts to appease God. a. They only sacrificed their sins by repentance, a superior sacrifice. PSA 51:17. b. These penitent Gentiles thus practiced a N.T. form of sacrifice: the presentation of themselves as living sacrifices. ROM 12:1-2. E. Their repentance would stand as a condemnation of the Jews of Christ's generation. MAT 12:41. 1. They did not have Moses and the prophets (PSA 147:19-20) yet repented because of a disobedient prophet from Moses' people who had not actually died and risen again. Jonah 9-7-13 Page 8 2. But the Jews rejected an obedient prophet from their own country who did actually die and rise again, a greater than Jonas. They would not believe though one rose from the dead. LUK 16:31. 3. God saw the Ninevites' works of repentance and “...repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them...” (v. 10). 4. But God saw no such works of repentance in Jerusalem and therefore did not repent of the evil that He said would come upon them. LUK 19:41-44; 1TH 2:15-16.
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