[SW236] 06/17/2016 message notes by
Reverend/Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2016
What are the motives for not warning? And for warning? What are the consequences for not warning? And the results of warning?
This message came to me on Tuesday morning, after praying to the Lord. I had no agenda, just some scriptures I had on a list for upcoming messages. But none of them seemed like they were for this week’s message. So I asked the Lord and waited. Jonah came into my thoughts, and the Holy Spirit unfolded this message to me.
Text: Jonah 1:1-3 and forward
Nineveh was the greatest of the capitals of the Assyrian Empire with a population of possibly 600,000. It was in present day Iraq.
The Lord saw that the city was filled with exceedingly great wickedness/evil — idol worship, burning children as sacrifices to false gods, sexual sin, perversions of all kinds, and more.
The Lord commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and cry against (call out to, preach to) the city. He was to warn Nineveh of God’s imminent judgment of them.
But Jonah disobeyed and fled from the Lord! What follows can be applied to him, and applied to us today.
What is the motive for not warning?
— Do not warn because the people may turn away from their wickedness and the Lord will save them. Jonah did not want them to turn and be saved (see 4:2). He wanted God to judge them. He had no compassion toward them, so he fled.
What is the motive for warning?
— It is the same motive! When you warn, the people may turn away from their wickedness and the Lord will save them. You want them to turn and be saved! So you warn, because you do not want them to be judged and perish.
You have compassion toward them. That’s why you warn them. Do you see it?
What are the consequences of not warning?
— For Jonah’s disobedience by not warning, it was calamity and the peril of imminent death, knowing why.
— For the sailors, because of Jonah’s disobedience, it was calamity and the peril of imminent death, initially not knowing why.
— For Nineveh, it was imminent calamity and death, not knowing why because there was no warning from God.
What are the results of warning?
— The sailors were saved from death. They cast lots to determine that Jonah was the cause of the storm. He confessed that he was. Then he told them to throw him overboard so the sea would become calm. They hesitated because they were afraid to harm the prophet of God. But they finally threw him over, and the sea immediately was calm. Then they worshiped God.
— Jonah was saved from death. He repented to God in the belly of the fish, promising to go to Nineveh. Then the Lord commanded the fish to vomit him up on dry land. He was saved from death because he repented and promised to obey God.
— Nineveh was saved from death. Jonah warned the people of Nineveh. Three days were needed to travel the entire area of the city. But after just one day of warning, Nineveh’s king commanded the entire city, even its animals, to fast and wear sackcloth, as a sign of repentance toward God. They were saved because they believed God and repented.
Jonah was greatly displeased (4:1). He knew the Lord would hear and see their repentance. He knew that the Lord was gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness. That’s why he ran.
But God rebuked Jonah. Do you have a good reason to be angry? Jonah waited to see if Nineveh might still be destroyed. He hoped they wouldn’t repent. He was still angry.
In the Lord’s final rebuke of Jonah after Nineveh was saved, He said this:
— Shouldn’t I have compassion on the foolish who do not know the difference between their right and left hand?
The Lord called Jonah out for his lack of compassion, first in not warning, and then hoping that the city and its people would still be destroyed after he warned them.
This is the compassion of God — He doesn’t desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
If you do not warn, the unrighteous will perish. Beloved, Ezekiel 33:8 is still true in the New Testament. Paul warned the Ephesians, in Acts 20:26, so he was innocent of their blood. Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with God’s own compassion!
The great day of God’s judgment is coming (Revelation 20:11ff). Should we not have compassion and warn? There are so many who will be judged unless they repent, and warning causes repentance.
If you have the Lord’s compassion for them, you will preach, proclaim, and cry out to them.
Romans 10:13-14 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
But remember as you preach that such were some of you, before you were saved, so you will be humble in warning them.
Ephesians 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
1Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Such were some of you! What a good word! You were that, but then the Lord washed, sanctified and justified you. Will He not do the same if people turn when you warn them?
Do not flee, but do as the Lord commands you. If you have fled from His command to warn the lost because you want them to perish, repent most heartily and ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit so you have His compassion the lost.
If you have fled from His command because of public opinion, or because you think it is more compassionate to love those who are doomed, repent and do what pleases God. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit so you have His compassion, not the human version, toward the lost.