Jonah 3 | Deep Deliverance - Deeper Mercy

June 4, 2017 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: JONAH | Deeper Mercy

Topic: Old Testament Passage: Jonah 3

Christopher Rich – June 4, 2017
Jonah | Deeper Mercy
Deep Deliverance – Deeper Mercy | Jonah 3  
Introduction | Recap
Good Morning! Welcome to Damascus Road Church where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we are going to look at God’s  Deeper Mercy from the Book of Jonah. In Jonah, we see a distant foreign city of sin condemned to destruction. A well-known, but self-righteous, prosperity preacher from a religious culture that has chosen self-rule and short-term security over long-term faithfulness and flourishing. A bold mission given and fearfully avoided. Savvy sailors and a sudden storm. The preacher swallowed and saved by a great fish sent from a greater God.
The book of Jonah opens like the bible with God speaking life and purpose into man. Man rejecting God’s word and purpose actively walking away from what God has called him to do seeking to move away from the presence of the Lord. This Deep Disobedience leads to Deep Distress as God shows His mercy in not allowing Jonah to continue to flee without experiencing the simple truth that sin hurts and sin has consequences. A divinely guided storm has come to the boat Jonah is on and eventually Jonah is sacrificed by the sailors throw into the sea. Jonah, like Jesus in the tomb after His sacrifice on the cross, is buried in the belly of a fish for three days. A prayer of deep devotion (if not deep repentance) by Jonah with a great confession of God’s sovereignty over saving people and Jonah is spared from death and given new life. But this new life has a renewal of the same mission Jonah was given before he rejected God’s word.
PART I | Saved to be Sent | v1-4
Jonah 3:1-5 | Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth.4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
Delivered safely on dry land, Jonah is commissioned by God a second time. God speaks again, very similar to his first commission. The self-imposed trail of Jonah’s disobedience and hard heartedness has been used by God to produce a broken and soft heart. God has done a work in Jonah to prepare him for the mission he is sending him on. He says again “Arise, go to Nineveh” Just as God in Christ send sent the church on mission to the world to tell the same story that has been true from the beginning of a Good God who saves his people. The mission hasn’t been fulfilled, Nineveh is still under judgement there are people’s lives and souls in peril. Incomplete, the mission hasn’t changed, the only thing that has changed is Jonah.
Gal 2:20 | I have been crucified with Christ it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.
Jonah has walked in sin, experienced God mighty power, been shown Deeper Mercy even taken down into the depths of the belly of the fish, and is sent out. He now has the ability to walk in obedience and yet is still not yet perfect (which we’ll see next week). God can use now him for fruitful ministry. Now there is Jonah who is ready to obey, (if even begrudgingly) If you are in Christ you are a missionary. You have been saved for a purpose. God could have ended this story at Chapter two. God speaks, Jonah disobeys, storm comes, Jonah is saved by God’s divine providence. The end. This is where most people who claim to be Christians end their story. I am sinner. God saved me in Jesus. The end. The mission from the beginning has been to glorify God the Creator and enjoy Him and His world. That mission has not been fulfilled so the mission hasn’t changed. The mission has only been repeated. Ignored by the rebellious, it is given anew to the saved. If you are saved by Jesus, you are sent by Jesus on His mission.  You have been saved to go and proclaim the Gospel of the God who saves sinner through the work of Jesus in their place.
Where have you believe wrongly the Gospel that saves you doesn’t also send you? Why don’t we do this?
We don’t believe the Gospel has power or we worry people will think we are weird. We talk about our evangelism (sharing the Gospel) in our EQUIP Cohort and we say “Don’t be weird.” And there is truth to that which impacts how we engage others with the Gospel. Yet we can never forget the Gospel is weird to a world that doesn’t know it or care about it. We worship a God who represented His Kingdom perfectly, preached perfectly, healed people, and performed miracles. How did people respond? Crucifixion.
I Cor 1:18 | For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
We don’t share the Gospel because we want people to like us more than we want them to know the love us God in Christ. Truth be told we know we’re just like Jonah and maybe even some people wish to be on mission but most of the time we really just want people to like us. Sometimes that is a heck of a lot easier when you don’t mention Jesus. We don’t want to be mocked or rejected by telling people about our God and King who was mocked and rejected in our place so we could be saved and sent to tell others..
We forget we are sent to deliver a message not produce results. Back in Chapter 2 Jonah prays “Salvation Belongs to the Lord. Yet we know God blesses our obedience. God didn’t tell Jonah Go and save Nineveh, Go and make them all repent, Go and just love on them through social justice and form a new society. He didn’t put ANY of that on Jonah. He simply told him to share His word to people who need to hear it.
We don’t think what God did for us is that great.  We can have a low view of the Gospel and our own sin we so we don’t think God saving us is that big a deal. Jonah a prophet who was before the king surely one fall and he should be quickly restored. The truth is we just don’t take sin that seriously. We can only be effective and faithful missionaries when we have been broken first and understand the depths of God’s mercy for us. 
“That word can only come with power to our hearers when it has come with power to our own hearts.”
 – John Owen.
When we let the truth of the Gospel of God’s Deep Deliverance in Jesus sink deeply into our hearts then we are able to be empowered to go and share that Gospel with others. As we go and tell, we remember:
The Gospel is simple and clear.  The great city, under greater judgement, is finally given the message God gave to Jonah to deliver, “Wrath is coming in forty days.” This is a bad sermon, we would never preach this! Ya’ll are gunna burn! Yet it’s a lot like John the Baptist. Repent the kingdom is here. Jonah has experienced firsthand how disobedience leads to distress. He was likely passionate because God’s work in his life was recent and real. He was clear and concise. He didn’t try to dress it up or soften the blow. Nothing less than repentance from sin of following themselves to following the God of the Bible Jesus. Saves. Sinners.  Not, you need to have your theological positions on parenting, the end times, pedo-communion all worked out. Jesus died in your place so you can live a new life with him and for him now and forever. 
The Gospel is urgent. This isn’t a well I hope you might consider this for a while and maybe later in life after you’ve pursued everything else you might give Jesus a try. This is you have one life, every breath and heart beat you have a gift from God to be used for His Glory and our Joy. The reason the Gospel is urgent is because there is judgement and God is just. So, it is an insufficient gospel to say God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life if it doesn’t also include the gospel truth of the necessity for salvation. Because the Gospel is urgent is always disruptive to those who are unaware of it’s importance.
The Gospel is RELEVENT.. God sends his people on Mission to people who don’t know they need to be saved. This is a great big city filled with people who need to know about the God who made them. The morning before Jonah’s arrival there wasn’t a bunch of people saying, “you know Nineveh, the gods we worship the sexuality we practice, the wars we wage, the consumption we engage with, I bet all that we think is perfectly fine right and good is really an affront to the one Creator God who made us. I bet we were really made for a purpose that is not about us but is really about glorifying, enjoying, and worshiping our Creator. I hope someone comes alone and completely challenges our worldview and lets us know that because of sin we are born from iniquity and children of wrath.” No! Most were perfectly content with the path they were on and the community they were a part of. Yet the fact remains that we read back in chapter 1 that their evil was evident to God. They were already under judgement. Wow, that sounds really mean for God to judge a people without tell them, that’s like being under double secret probation. Only we see God’s mercy for Nineveh in that he did not leave them uniformed. He sent Jonah.  We can look at our culture and society now as a democracy and see that much of what we know is contrary to the God of the Bible and what he’s called all people to, has been created and chosen by a will of the people, voting with their votes, time, affection and dollars. And yet I believe we are living and ripe and fertile mission field where many even in main stream culture are crying out for meaning purpose and response to the world of sin they find themselves in. It is God’s Deeper Mercy that he doesn’t let people be content with anything less than life, joy, and flourishing that comes from Him and Him alone.
“We live in hope of deliverance from the darkness that surrounds us.” – Paul McCartney
We know God is merciful and loves us because He sent Jesus on a mission of mercy. We who claim to know Jesus can know that God loves our city and region because he’s saved us and sent us here. We only tell. God’s word does not return void. How do they respond? I believe this is the greatest miracle in Jonah.
Part II | Deep Deliverance | v5-9
Jonah 3:5-9 | 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
The people believe in God. They righty don’t give the credit to Jonah. They see past Jonah as the messenger to see the message he is delivering is from God. Jonah doesn’t get the credit. This leads to individual conviction. Pagan people respond with belief in the Creator, more over their belief lead to deep devotion. Rich, poor, great, and not so great alike begin to fast and grieve. A city cannot be converted until an individual is. Person after person, they hear of the Good God’s judgement and grieve.
The Gospel can save anyone so we proclaim it to everyone. It says the greatest and the least. So while in no way do I bemoan and even at times intentionally target people and say we’re a church called to reach “This type of person” we don’t limit God on who He wants the gospel proclaimed to. Jonah was sent to Nineveh not the “poor and marginalized” or “the rich and powerful” In the same way Jesus mission, and the mission He sends His people isn’t to just a certain type of person but to all people.
Who have you believed is beyond God’s deeper mercy? When have you assumed you weren’t called to reach certain people. Who has God put in your life? That is who you have been called to reach.
The Gospel is sufficient. God’s word is sufficient because God’s word is powerful. So we are to be Bold. We know it works. Why? Because we see what it did in Nineveh. Sure, that’s a bit encouraging. Jonah simply told people what God said to tell them. This seems surprising! Why? Because we think too small.
Romans 1:16 | For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Maybe some of you want to see a whole city converted. We have something greater. We have one man, who is God’s Son Jesus, who died on a cross and rose again. He tells a few of His gathered disciples to Go and make disciples and a group of 120 is filled with the Holy Spirit, begins preaching a few thousand get saved and Trust Jesus and they keep going on mission for the last 2,000 years and now there has been a few billion people who have or do trust Jesus and there are churches full of disciples on mission in places all over the planet. And we still want to see results. Would I love to see our whole city and county repent and trust Jesus? Absolutely! Does that seem overwhelming for me/us? Yes! But it is not too great for our God who has sent His people to share His word. Let’s not get bogged down about saving our city and start praying, speaking, and actively sharing the gospel with the people God has already placed in your life.
Even the Government repents! The gospel comes down from the King of Heaven to a servant who proclaims it to all people and so many individuals are repenting and trusting God even the King of Nineveh cannot ignore it. The king of Nineveh issues a legal decree calling everyone to join in acts of humble repentance petitioning God for mercy from His judgement. It is a moving response displaying their grief over their sin.
The truth has been preached, belief has set in and now belief turns into action. Things start by people hearing clear preaching. Hearing leads to believing but does not end there. What you believe shapes who you are and who you are changes what you do. They now believe in a God who is greater than them so the absolute most natural response to reevaluate your own self-importance. So their actions are humbling. There is no room for pride. The king got off his throne and took off his signs of status because he now knew there was another king greater he was accountable to who had judged him rightly. Pride is replaced with humility. With what privilege and authority he had, he directed it to humble service and praise of the God of the Bible. Where do you need to turn what you believe into action?
They repent of specific sin- They don’t simply go from their pantheon of false gods to just merely pledging allegiance to the God of the Bible (thou it is nothing less than that.) They also rightly recognize their worship for false Gods’ has led to false ways of being. They know they cannot merely change what they say without also changing what they do. Nineveh as the Assyrian capitol is the epicenter of terror, violence. It’s recorded they would carry the bodies of enemies leaders into the city as trophies. The King would take the head of a conquer king into his royal banquets and place it on a poll as a center piece of the party. As he is issuing this decree he may be in his royal hall thinking about the last victory party.
There is corporate repentance. At a certain point individual turns to corporate. At some point new belief has to transition to new action.  What might a declaration from our government of worship and repentance look like? Let us as a nation who aborts 3,000 children per day turn from the violence of our hands. Let us a nation created by waves of immigrants be gracious to the sojourners among us. Let us as Christians in America who have been called to make disciples of all nations and know all people are image bears of God repent of our nationalism when it’s clouded our primary citizenship of Kingdom of Heaven. You think.
Jonah didn’t say God has given you judgment because of sin but now he forgives you so keep on sinning and being just as wicked as you’ve always been. That is not good news for anyone. What specific sin are you convicted of that you need to repent of? What might a declaration look like for you?
In verse 9 they say “Who knows?” There is doubt or even just a bit of immaturity in their faith. Like the sailors in chapter one there is this “well I hope this works.” Our faith in the Gospel is not so unsure. We know God saves sinners. We know this because while we were yet sinners Christ Died for us.
PART III | Deeper Mercy For Nineveh and for us | v10
10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Through their repentance, Nineveh experiences Deep Deliverance from the judgement and wrath of God they have rightly earned for their sin. Even with their repentance, God would still be just to enact His wrath but instead shows theses penitent sinners Deeper Mercy.
God Relents of disaster. Our God’s desire is repentance and restoration. In Psalm 51, in confessing sin, David says “a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” God sees and knows the repentance of Nineveh and stays His judgement and relents His wrath against them. They will not perish as previously believed. Jonah’s message of judgement leads to peace between God and the people Jonah was sent to. How could this be? Is God a softy? By no means. He has wrath stored up for proud, violent, wicked, evil Nineveh.  But that is not what exists anymore. That Nineveh is gone. It doesn’t exist anymore.
2 Cor 5:17 | Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Nineveh was changed by God’s word. God doesn’t bring wrath to Nineveh because there is a new Nineveh created by His proclaimed word leading to conviction of sin, contrition, and repentance of people living new lives no longer following themselves but the God who made them. God didn’t change His mind “well I was gunna smoke them but they seem really sad about it so….oh ok you’re good.” God didn’t change His mind, He used His word to change Nineveh’s heart. Nineveh was overthrown. Deep Deliverance come when we have been overthrown by God’s word.  God’s Gospel is about turning what is dead into life. This is the promise of the Gospel we give God our sin he takes it on the cross and gives us new life in Him.
Who are you? Do you need to be on mission and actually walk in obedience knowing you’ve been saved for a purpose? Do you need to be overthrown?  Because Jesus is on the throne we can arise off our ours. You respond humbly by acknowledging your need for God’s Deeper Mercy. You cry out to Jesus KNOWING He relents where there is repentance. You don’t respond with sackcloth and ashes but by being Baptized saying the old me who lived for me is dead and buried like Jesus was and a new me is alive on mission as Jesus is.  Because Jesus is sent to save us we can be sent to save those who don’t yet know Him. Because Jesus mission was effective we can go on mission knowing many will be saved. Because Jesus has been humbled in our place and bared the wrath we deserve we can humble ourselves knowing God will relent, when we repent and Trust Jesus.