Moore Church of God

Moore Church of God - 701 S Eastern Ave - Sunday 9:30am & 6:00pm; Wednesday 7:00pm

Message of Judgment, message of mercy

Bro. David Chancellor
1/16/2011 6:00 PM

Jonah 1:1-3

 

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

 

God called Jonah and gave him a message to deliver to Nineveh. Jonah ran away. This records the life of the preacher that ran off. Jonah had a very interesting perspective while he was in the fish. He wanted out. He prayed inside the fish.

 

Jonah 2:1-9

 

Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

 

This was Jonah’s prayer inside the fish. He realized this could be the end. Instead of running from God, he turned to God. No matter where you go or what you do, God is still there. Jonah found out he couldn’t run away from God. God was merciful to Jonah; "And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land." Jonah came out a little different, but he still didn’t entirely understand God’s purpose. He did understand that he needed to go preach. There was a great revival, but Jonah wasn’t happy about it.

 

Jonah 3:10; 4:1-5

 

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

 

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

 

Jonah went and carried the message that Nineveh would be overthrown in 40 days. The people repented and prayed, and God had mercy on them. Jonah was displeased. He sat down to watch and see what happened. He was watching for the destruction of Nineveh.

Some people like "judgment preaching." Do they really want to preach destruction and see it happen? That’s strange. What do we want in "judgment preaching"?

 

Jonah wanted to see judgment meted out. This is why he ran; he knew God would be merciful. God’s judgment needs to be pronounced, but the goal is to prepare people’s hearts for God’s mercy. Why tell people judgment is coming if they can’t change? Judgment is sent to warn. God wants good things for you. He wants people to avoid a bad outcome at the judgment. We want judgment preaching that brings about the mercy of God.

 

Jonah 4:10-11

 

Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

 

Jonah wanted judgment put on people who had no clue. The judgment was sent to warn them and show them what was good. People need to know the end is ahead, but mercy is to be had.

 

In the fish, Jonah asked for mercy in the face of judgment for himself, but asked judgment to be poured out on these. The message of judgment should always be accompanied by the message of mercy. Warning of disaster comes to help avert it.

 

God is gracious and merciful and slow to anger. See that in comparison to what his judgment would be if there is no repentance.

 

God is able to use whatever tools are available to turn people to him. In the face of his judgment there is mercy in Jesus. Without Jesus, none of us would have the means to escape God’s judgment.

 

James 2:12-13

 

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

 

Live as those that will be judged by the law of liberty. The law of Moses offered no excuse for ignorance. "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy…" God will have mercy on the merciful. We need to watch our attitudes toward others. The judgment we put on others come back on us. "…and mercy rejoiceth against judgment." This is where rejoicing is found. When we turn to God, the judgment is there, but we don’t have to meet it. We want hearts right with God. "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off" – Romans 11:22. In God’s mercy, we find his goodness and rejoice in it. Take heed when judgment is declared and you fall short, and get it right.

 

Jesus came to deliver God’s message of mercy, grace and goodness to us. This brings real meaning to the judgment message. He sent it as a warning with the message of mercy.

 

Romans 3:23-26

 

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

 

We all need the warning that comes from God, but the message didn’t stop there. We can be justified through faith in Jesus. "…to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Because God showed mercy to us, our sins can be washed away. God is righteous "that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."

 

God isn’t like Jonah. He will be just. There is a price to pay when you do wrong, but he provided a way for justice to be served while mercy is offered. Jesus paid the penalty for sin. If you continue in sin, disaster is ahead… but it doesn’t have to end that way. Turn to God. God wants people to be saved.

 

Jonah was upset with God when he should have rejoiced in the mercy of God. Rejoice in God’s mercy.

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