Summary: Can God still use you in spite of your past failures? This message examines Jonah’s usefulness in spite of his past, God’s mercy in light of Nineveh’s repentance and the influence of obedience.

Jonah 3:1 (NLT)

Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time:

Not Disqualified

• Jonah was invited to participate in God’s work

– Even though he had run

– Even though he had been disobedient

• Serving God is not based on our past achievements or failures

– Based on God’s grace

– Our repentance

– Our willingness to obey

Jonah 3:2 (NLT)

"Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message of judgment I have given you."

Delivering God’s Message

• Jonah was called to preach a specific message

– God’s message...not Jonah’s

• The message was judgment

– Not easy to preach

– Not popular

• The truth is not always popular

Jonah 3:3 (NLT)

This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.

A “God-Sized” Task

• The walls of the city of Nineveh would have held a population of approximately 175,000 people

– How would one man reach that many people?

• It would take 3 days to see the entire city

– Where would he even begin?

Jonah 3:4 (NLT)

On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: "Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!"

Nobody is Excluded

• Jonah proclaimed God’s message

– With boldness

– With passion

• Jonah was not audience selective

– Everyone he encountered heard

– No one was left out

• God’s message is for all people

Jonah 3:5 (NLT)

The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they decided to go without food and wear sackcloth to show their sorrow.

Ready to Receive

• The people of Nineveh were receptive to Jonah’s message and responded

– The timing of the message was perfect

– The hearts of the people were ready

• God is constantly preparing the hearts of people

– When we proclaim God’s message, we have to trust that the timing is right

Jonah 3:6-8 (NLT)

When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in sackcloth and sat on a heap of ashes. [7] Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: "No one, not even the animals, may eat or drink anything at all. [8] Everyone is required to wear sackcloth and pray earnestly to God. Everyone must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence.

People of Influence

• Jonah’s message reached the King

– His heart was stirred

– He influenced his leaders

– The city was called to repentance

• God may use you to reach those who will reach multitudes

– Never view your calling as insignificant or futile

Jonah 3:9 (NLT)

Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will have pity on us and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us."

The Hope of Repentance

• The “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a)

– Sin comes with a price

– Repentance is the only hope

• Acknowledgment of sin

• Turning from sin towards God

Jonah 3:10 (NLT)

When God saw that they had put a stop to their evil ways, he had mercy on them and didn’t carry out the destruction he had threatened.

God is Merciful

• God is not out for revenge

– He seeks repentance and correction

• God promised mercy to any nation that would repent

Jeremiah 18:7-8

Jeremiah 18:7-8 (NLT)

If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, [8] but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned.

Key Truths

• God can use you in spite of your past failures

• Your faithfulness to God’s call will impact people, who in turn impact the lives of others

• Just as God forgave Jonah and the people of Nineveh, He will forgive you

**Powerpoint available on request

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