Dig deeper into the message during the sermon, in your personal Bible study, or with your family or Community Group in application-driven discussion.
Today we arrive at chapter three of Jonah. It’s been called “the gospel of the second chance”. Of course, there’s no second chance for eternal salvation (Hebrews 9:27 and 2 Corinthians 6:2), but God does give us a second chance as far as our service to him is concerned—and that’s what we see in Jonah 3:1–2. There are many examples of second chances in the Bible. Let me just cite three.
Exhibit A: David Psalms 23, 32 and 51 were written after his adultery with Bashsheba and murder of Uriah. In spite of these sins, David was “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22) because he was as good at repenting as he was at sinning (2 Samuel 12).
Exhibit B: Peter Three times after Peter denied that he even knew Jesus (Luke 22:31-32), he went on to lead the early church and write two books of the New Testament.
Exhibit C: John Mark John Mark abandoned Paul on his first missionary journey, and so when Paul got ready to go on his second missionary journey, Paul refused to take him, even though Barnabas wanted to. Later, John Mark grew into a helpful partner in ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). And God chose him to write one of the Gospels!
Church, God is all about second chances! He will forgive any sin. But that is no guarantee that one will escape the consequences of his or her sin—just ask Moses (Numbers 20:9-12) and Abraham (Genesis 16:1-3; 21:9- 12). All of us have made unwise choices for which we would be deeply ashamed for others to know about. The bad news is, God already knows. But the good news is that he is a God of second chances!
Jonah chapter 3 reveals that God loves to use broken people who have failed. God commissioned Jonah twice. The two commissions are nearly identical, but the outcomes are opposites. Jonah’s first commission begins with disobedience and ends with obedience (1:2), but his second commission begins with obedience and it ends with disobedience (3:1-2). The one key difference is that Jonah’s second commission tells him precisely what he is to say—nothing more, nothing less. Here at TCC, we’re committed to exactly that: saying what God says. Many churches have abandoned biblical morality and accommodated themselves to our culture. This is especially true when it relates to sexuality and gender. Satan wants us to believe that we don’t need a Savior, because we are not sinners—we’re just “mistakers”. Our job is to speak God’s message; it’s not our concern whether people accept it (Ezekiel 2:7-8). Let God work in you, and then he’ll work though you.
Jonah’s response to God’s re-commissioning couldn’t have been more different (compare 1:3 to 3:1-3). Disobedience has been transformed into obedience. As Jonah walked through this great city, he delivered his brief but terrifying message, over and over again (v. 4), and just look at the results—a citywide revival, from the king on down (v. 5-10)! Salvation is a miracle—impossible for men to accomplish, but not for God (Matthew 19:26). God responds to the repentant heart; this was perhaps the greatest revival of all time. God has abundant mercy; he only asks that we repent of our sin and trust him to save us (James 4:8; John 1:12).
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- No matter how far you have strayed from God’s will, he stands ready to forgive and re-commission you.
- Allow God to minister to you so that he can minister through you. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you.
- Recognize that no one is so far from God that he can’t reach them. Our responsibility is to share the message. It is God’s responsibility to save.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)