A Portrait of Surprising Repentance

Brent Aucoin May 8, 2016 Jonah 3:4-10

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Isaiah 66:13 - As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.

In Jonah 3:4-10 we can see six characteristics of more thorough repentance from a surprising group of people

Matthew 12:41 - The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

1) Believing God’s Word—about God and His kingship

Jonah 3:4-5a - Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Then the people of Nineveh believed in God…

What did the Ninevites believe?

a. There is a God

b. Who is able to bring about judgment

c. For the way I am living

d. And I have a window of grace to respond

2) Humbling yourself

Jonah 3:5b-6 - They called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.

a. Bowing under God’s sovereign rule over your life

b. Believing you deserve consequences not comforts

c. Believing you deserve destruction not delights

3) Seeking God urgently

a. Spiritual renewal is higher priority than your physical renewal—do not eat or drink a thing

b. Calling on God earnestly (lit. “in strength”)

4) Calling “sin” sin

Jonah 3:8 - …that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.

Biblical confession stemming from true repentance

a. Not “I was wrong but…”

b. Not “I didn’t mean it…”

c. Not even “I’m sorry.”

d. “But, I was wrong and I have sinned against God and you.” (cf. Daniel 9)

5) Turning from your current sinful ways of living

Jonah 3:8 - …that each may turn and from the violence which is in his hands.

Jonah 3:10 - When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way…

Proverbs 28:13 - He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

6) Embracing God’s “turning” from wrath to mercy

“’Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.’ When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented.”

Manuscript

I'm pastor Brent Aucoin and I'm normally I say when I come over here on the east side, I'm normally not over here, I'm normally over on the west side so it's good to see you easterners today. Thank you all of you for being here on mother's day. My mom, a widow listens to my sermons online when she knows I'm preaching and I just want to publicly thank my mom for her years of faithfulness and parenting me. Still sometimes parenting me and support of me. She now works tirelessly to take care of her own mother, my grandmother who just turned 97 yesterday. 97 years old. Thank you mom. I love you, if you are listening this morning. For our moms today we have chosen probably the most famous scriptural text on Mother’s day, ever written, Jonah chapter 3. The repentance of the most ruthless and violent people in the history of the world. For all of you ruthless and violent mothers, have I got this message for you.  Seriously we have so many faithful moms here in our midst.

Last Sunday in our church family night and I hope you come after those church family nights, they're a blessing but the baptismal waters were slashing back and forth as child after child was testifying to the faithfulness of their parents and particularly their moms as they led them to the Lord Jesus Christ in salvation. Also we do a practice expository preaching around here which means we walk our ways through the books of the bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse and the schedule for Jonah was planned last December and Jonah chapter 3 falls today. Let me set up the sermon from the beginning this morning for our moms here to process rightly.

My wife and I find ourselves in a very fascinating stage of life right now. Many of you, not all of you. Many of you have experienced it, it's the beginning of the empty nest syndrome. Me being a man I never realize that there was a mandated year long time of mourning before my children graduate. Each event that I might see your son attend is now the last one to be accompanying with sackcloth and ashes and tears. I didn't get the memo on that one. In fact I think I was experiencing the opposite. Yeah, this is the last time we're doing that. Sarcasm aside here. God has allowed me to see over this last year, the beauty of a mother's compassionate heart.

God seemingly has wired mothers and ladies in general in a very unique way. Often when God speaks of compassion, He draws from the earth-fully comparison of our mothers in a verse of like this. "As one who his mother comforts so will I comfort you, oh Jerusalem." God's comfort is compared to that of mother's Thank you mothers. While I see in my own wife how hard it is for children to be released by their mother to transition to the phase of life, I can imagine, only imagine, because I haven't experienced this. It's even harder if a mom is experiencing prodigal children, prodigal grandchild or prodigal spouse. That's even harder this day.

Here's my encouragement to you. If God's grace reaches to the most wicked Ninevite which are studying today, that prodigal child is certainly within the powers and the hands of our God as well. Mothers that’s the encouragement for you. I hope also that, mothers with your compassion it hurts you, you will pray fervently for any prodigals in your life, or just pray or all of us. All of us with your compassionate heart. The kind of things that we're talking about today in true repentance as we study. Here's what we're studying, A Portrait of Surprising Repentance.

Turn if you will into Jonah chapter 3 right now. Jonah chapter 3 page 657 in the Old Testament, the front section of the bible and it's here in front of you, 657. Our theme this year has been loving our world. Our current series is entitled, The Loveless Profits, from the book of Jonah. Jonah is a story about God's love going to the most wicked of people through a prophet who himself is the recipient or has been the recipient of God's love but he is struggling with remembering that he was once also the most wicked person and he needed God's love when he's struggling to extend that to his enemies. That's why we chose this loving our world theme in this particular series.

Specifically God commands Jonah to go do his job as a prophet and preach repentance to a group of people his country hates. Their enemies, the Ninevites. Story is not a fairy tale, it is real history and God's redemptive work occurs in real history in real time. Just as an example, I was in London about a year and a half ago and those were the actual gates of Nineveh during Jonah’s time. Jonah probably walked through those gates. Here are the lion statues from Nineveh with [inaudible 00:05:52] your son there acting like he's being eaten. One of their national symbols of Nineveh was a lion and God had predicted before Jonah had lived, that a lion would come and destroy Israel. They didn't know at that point in time that it was Nineveh, but after about 40 years after Jonah’s preaching time, another generation would rise up that was not repentant and this generation of Ninevites would destroy Israel. The lion did come and destroy Israel.

Well in order to have no part of the treachery of preaching repentance to those people, Jonah flees in the opposite direction running from God. When you run from God what happens? When you run from God and He's up and where do you go my friends? He's up, where do you go? You go down. Jonah goes down and he continues to go down. Jonah goes down onto a ship then he goes down into the belly of the ship. Then the ship goes down into the heart of the storm hurled upon them by God. Then God thinking ... Excuse me, Jonah thinking that he would solve the problem by attempting suicide rather than being a part of loving his enemies, he asked the sailors to hurl him down further to the bottom of the sea. But God and those are great words, but God intervenes.

Instead of dying at the bottom of the sea Jonah goes down to the belly of a whale which turns out to be his rescue fish. Jonah in the fish offers up a prayer and God brings Jonah back up. That’s not the way you want to come back up through vomit but God brings Jonah back up. Jonah however still has many lessons to learn both at how deep God's grace goes to reach at wicked people like the Ninevites and again we're all the Ninevites. Jonah also needs to learn what more thorough repentance looks like. Nothing could be more provoking than being out repented by your enemies.

Let's pick up the story in Jonah 2:10. Read with me now in your scriptures as I read from mine. Then the Lord commanded that ... I'm starting in Jonah 2:10. Then the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah up out on to the dry lands. Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time saying, "Arise go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you." Jonah rose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a 3 days' walk. That's an interesting phrase there. What I think it means is this; if Jonah was to go a preaching circuit around the city of Nineveh, it would take him three days in order to preach to all the people Nineveh. A big city.

Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk. On the first day, on the first day of his walk he cried out 8 words in English, 5 in Hebrew "Yet 40 days in Nineveh will be overthrown." Fascinating message just 8 words in English 5 words in Hebrew. 40 days and Nineveh will be overthrown. Don't you wish your pastor's messages were 8 words long? Don't you wish that? Here's what I promise you; if you respond like the Ninevites I will preach like Jonah, okay? If you respond like the Ninevites meaning they're going to repent quickly and thoroughly, I'll preach 8 words. Is that a deal? Just raise your hand if that's a deal. Since all of you have not risen your hand I’m preaching along. After 8 words of message then the people of Nineveh believed God. The word of God came to them and they what? They believed. Contrast with that with Jonah the first time. The word of God came to him and he fled.

The Ninevites called a fast and put on sack clothes from the greatest to the least of them, meaning all of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh he arose from his throne, laid aside is robe from him and covered himself with sack cloth and sat on ashes. That's curious. He issued a proclamation and he influenced everybody else as well. The king influenced everybody else in Nineveh by decree of the king and his nobles do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water, but both men and beast must be covered with sackcloth as if even the animals are repenting. Let man call on God earnestly which means with strength or intensity that each may turn, this is our Hebrew word for repent. Say repent with me, say repent, repentance from his wicked way. You notice the king calls it what it is; wicked. And from the violence which is in his hand. Notice the king recognizes what they are doing; violence.

The proclamation goes on to say this; who knows God may ... Say the word again, what's the word? What's the word? He says turn, that's our Hebrew word repent. Who knows God may repent and we understand God does not repent from sin. He is not the author of ... He is not the author of sin nor does he sin so that He can repent, but perhaps God may turn if we repent and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we may not perish. All of this seems to happen on day one of his preaching. It was a 3 days' journey across to preach. God's word spread like wildfire to these folks. When God saw their deeds that they turned ... Say the word again, what is that word? Repents, that's our word, from their wicked way then God relents it. This is not the same Hebrew word, this is a word that carries compassion and mercy of God.

He will turn because of His mercy and compassion of God of himself. He turns concerning the judgment or calamity, the oncoming fire and brimstone that He was going to unleash on Nineveh, He turned from that and He did not do it. Jonah 3:4-10 today we can see 6 characteristics. Not 8 words, 6 characteristics of more thorough repentance from a surprising group of people. Surprising group, mothers again. If you are struggling right now with I don't know how that prodigal son could ever turn well this is even more surprising than that one. There is your hope, there was your encouragements. As we launch into this discussion of repentance certainly one might wonder about the story of the Ninevites. Did they really repent? I mean is this a fairy tale? I’ve already answered that, it's not. But did they really repent? We don't have to wonder about that because somebody later on who was God said they repented.

In Matthew 12:41 Jesus Christ says this to His non repentant Pharisee friends. He says this, "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it because at the preaching of Jonah who had no real mercy for the Ninevites." I mean He wanted them to be destroyed by fire and brimstone. He wanted them to do that. They repented at Jonah’s ungracious preaching, but something greater than Jonah is ere standing in the midst of you. We're not just saying that God's judgment is coming, but the mercy of God is here in Jesus. Jesus understood this chapter of Jonah to represent repentance and the Ninevites repentance. Because Jesus understood it that way should we understand it that way too? Should we say yes? Say yes. Absolutely we should.

1) Believing God’s Word—about God and His kingship

Here's the first characteristic of true repentance. Believing God's word about God and His kingship. The first characteristics of a more thorough repentance, believing God's word about God and His kingship, this comes from the text that simply says, "Then Jonah began to walk through the city and yet forty and cried," the message, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown, then the people of Nineveh believed in God." What did the Ninevites believe? What was the content of his message? It was a very simple, 8 words. How complex could it be? 8 words. Here is what the message ... Here's what the message implied. Number one that there is a God. Number one there is a God who is able to bring about judgments for the way that I am living and right now if I am not dead yet, I have a window of opportunity to respond. Now a window of grace of opportunity to respond now. What happened here is Jonah preached a message that clearly had implications of coming judgments and the Ninevites believed that there was one Lord that they were accountable to who was able to bring them into judgments.

Let's stop and pause for just a moment about the simplicity of this. Let's not make belief in God's word some kind of a complicated thing that is fuzzy. In fact do you remember what the first words ... The first commandments? Not the first commandment but the first commandment to God's original people was something almost like this. Adam and eve do not eat the fruits because if you do, something's going to happen that is bad. What did the word of God at that point in time require Adam and eve to believe? Number one, there is one God that Adam was ... One Lord, one master, one king, and that that one king or master or Lord there is one and there is only one you answer to. Not your boss, not your friend, not your spouse, there is only one that you eternally answer to and you will answer to Him. Satan's original attack was on that simple message. "It's not true. That one Lord cannot bring about consequences. The day that you eat that you're not going to die."

Folks the simplicity of the word of God is amazing. God is your one Lord and He will call you into accounts. The moment that you and I believe this, is what the bible would call also the fear of the Lord. Which is the beginning of all good things for you, where you get yourself under the one Lord. How many? Say, one. When you get yourselves under one Lord and believe that you are accountable to him. Think about Jonah for just a moment. In chapter 1 even though Jonah said, "I fear the Lord," remember that in Jonah chapter 1 if you've been with us in our series he says, "I'm a Hebrew of Hebrews," when the sailors asked, "Who are you and why is this calamity coming upon us?" Jonah says, "I'm a Hebrew of Hebrews and I fear the Lord like really.

Jonah did not functionally believe that. He believed in the beginning that he would not be held accountable by God and he attempted to flee from the accountability of God. All along the way his accountability, he went down on the ship and the ship went down into the storm. God brought the storm and the storm got raging more and more and then he tried to flee more and God brought the fish. He would be held accountable. He could not escape it even though he thought he could.

His lack of functional fear of God became the source of all things unprofitable for him. In fact the sailor's response in chapter 1, and the Ninevites responses here indicating contrast to Jonah’s response proper fear of God. They all bowed under the sovereignty of God and believed in the one God that held them accountable when the word of God was preached to them. Mothers, let me talk to you for first I can ... Mothers if you pray earnestly and fervently this, pray for all of us not just the prodigals in your compassion pray this; that we would believe that there is one God who is our master alone and that we are accountable to Him, that is the fear of the Lord. Pray for your children, pray for yourself, pray for your spouse, pray for those in your influence to have a proper fear of the Lord. That is the starting place of change and repentance.

Some of you may be here today and just are coming because your mom wanted you to come, you don't normally go to church. Maybe you're just here because your mom asked you to come with me on mother's day. A great bait and switch, she may have known what I was going to preach to you today. All right, let me talk to you. Or any of you who have prodigal heart attitudes. Do you know that the reason that you are acting like a prodigal in the area of your life, you don't believe that God is Lord of your life. You don't believe that God is Lord of your marriage. You don't believe that God is Lord as your role of a husband. You don't believe that God is Lord of the way that you play around with immorality. You don't believe that God is the one Lord of the way that you handle relationships. You don't believe that God is the one Lord of your money. You believe you are and have the right to do with what you want to with all those things and therefore you don't believe that at the end of that path you will be accountable for the way that you are functioning.

You don't believe that at the end of the path of not loving your wife is heartache. You don't believe that at the end of the path the pornography is destruction. You don't believe that at the end of the path of consumer, material lifestyle when just living for possession is not satisfaction but discontentment. You don't believe that at the end of the path of your pride is humiliation. You don't believe it at the end of the path of your chaotic outburst of anger is broken relationships all around you. Right now the word of God is saying, "I am the Lord who created you and you will answer to me," will you believe that that will be the start of your repentance. Today even the Ninevites, the wicked Ninevites are saying to all of us, "We did it will you?" That's the beginning of the repentance.

 

2) Humbling yourself

The second characteristic of repentance is this; humbling yourself. That comes from the text in this way, Jonah 3. They called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat on ashes. Hey Brent if I didn't see humility in there explain? Okay, I will. There is much here that is strange to us. Sackcloth, sitting in ashes, but I do believe that we can get the imagery here that God is attempting to convey to us. Let's zero in on the actions of the king for just a moment.

When you picture a king normally, where do you picture him? Where do you normally picture him when you picture a king? On a throne, in a palace, high and lofty right? Jeff is nodding his head, yes. So that must be right if Jeff is nodding his head. Amen somebody said that. You appreciate Jeff [inaudible 00:23:02] Notice, when the word of God comes to the king Just like the word of God came to Jonah. The king arose, just like Jonah arose, however, the difference is, the king bowed down, Jonah fled. The king bowed down low in the presence of God. You see that.

The king having recognized and believed there is one Lord whom he answers to, he bows down underneath that king. Also note the people's and the king's action of taking off their garments and putting on sack cloth. Like what is that? Well, I don't think any of you has recently purchased burlap underwear. Have you? Any of you who have? One, maybe, two. No I'm just kidding. I am just kidding with you. Burlap underwear would be the height of discomfort. What is the picture here? What is the picture here? The picture of humbly acknowledging what I deserve. Not comfort, but consequences. Not comfort, but consequences

What about sitting in ashes? Owning the fact that I deserve the fire of destruction not sitting in the delights of my palace. Humbling yourself and repentance means this. Bowing down under the one sovereign Lord. His words comes and you are accountable to Him. Bowing underneath Him, getting yourself low. Number two, believing you deserve consequences not comforts. That is so foreign to us in our materialistic society. Believing you deserve destruction and not delights. In all my years of counselling I understand this because it is true of my heart as well. In my own sinful disposition we struggle with accepting the consequences of our actions and believing that we deserve consequences. Folks, you cannot be saved without believing that you deserve help. If you do not believe that you deserve eternal destruction then why on earth are you calling out for mercy?

One of the tasks of humility and repentance is how individuals react to consequences needed out to their own actions. Do you act in appeals, defenses, chafing underneath the consequences? Simply resisting bad mouthing that people who are dispensing the consequences, or I am willing to receive whatever are the consequences and I understand that I deserve them. I deserve this and most likely more. I do not believe that we have ever had anybody probably say those kinds of things. I deserve what you are dishing out. I deserve the consequences. When is the last time you had a politician say I deserve the consequences of my actions? Normally the apology goes something like this, and all of us tend to do this. "Forgive me if I have done something wrong." As if it is in question or not. There was only one cry in the face of judgment and it's not I am not wrong and I don't deserve this but I do deserve consequences and I do deserve destruction and I don’t deserve comforts. The only way out is me calling to the one Lord and asking for mercy and grace.

3) Seeking God urgently

The third characteristic of a more thorough repentance is this, seeking God urgently. This is captured in the text when the king declares, you guys are not going to eat today. You are not going to drink water today. Not even the animals because there is something more important than your physical renewal today. I know that food gives you nourishment and strength. I know that water gives you sustenance, but there is something more important than that today. Spiritual renewal is of a higher priority than your physical renewal. The king saw the urgency of the situation and properly made a priority decision. This is more important than anything you got going today. You are eating and drinking for mothers' day. You got a good plan for mothers' day meal. Folks if they were sent today. If you are here for your mother, but you are also a prodigal child there was something more important before you. Eat that grilled out hamburger, there was something more important than that. Making things right and seeking God.

B: Calling on God earnestly. They said pray in strength. This is what the king said. Pray in strength. The king called on the people to pray earnestly which in the Hebrew simply means with strength, like a strong man, with intensity. Unfortunately, here is what we do in strength. We earnestly blame shift in strength. We earnestly involve ourselves in self-pity. We earnestly rush the lives in strength, and we earnestly, beautifully, creatively make all kinds of excuses.

The heart of repentance is one who earnestly prays and seeks God's priorities. These qualities of repentance are fairly rare. As you begin to look at them, who really does these kinds of things anymore. Well that is our problem. Calling sin, sin. Number four. The qualities of repentance.

4) Calling “sin” sin

Number four. Calling sin, sin. Where is that in the text? Notice in Jonah 3:8 that each may turn from His ... From what way? His accidental way. His accidental way. Is that what it says? Does it say accidental way? His wicked way. The king surprisingly called what they were doing in their violence. This is the Hebrew word for evil. The King used the biblical word for evil to describe his and their people's own actions and the word for evil is plastered over all the king's proclamation and sent out to 120000 people. What we have done is say the word evil. Say it; evil.

Truly repentant people call sin what it is. In contrast, along with resisting consequences. Probably the most telling sign of a heart that is not repentant is they will not say I was wrong. This is practiced today. Say I was wrong. I am not sure what you are wrong about today. Was that so painful? Was it so painful? Guys, ladies, children, I was wrong. More often than not we are wrong.

I know there are a lot of people striving to carry out this qualities of repentance here in this church or otherwise this church wouldn’t be where it is by the grace of God and by your true repentance, but husbands, children, as we are talking about our mums today, when was the last time you said I was wrong. Not I was wrong, but mommy you can agree with me. Not, I didn't mean it. Folks when we do our actions, our actions come from our hearts, and when we do our actions we mean it. When I spoke unkindly to you, I meant what I said, because it comes from my heart. The words I didn't mean it are a lie.

When I do stuff, and then I say I didn't mean it is trying to cover your actions with something but is not true repentance. Not I didn't mean it, not even I am sorry, because sorry could be for all kinds of different things. I was wrong. I have sinned against God and you. Truly repentant hearts call it like God calls it. Examine your words to see if they minimize what God maximizes, and He maximizes sin. Examine your words to see if they obscure what God makes crystal clear. We obscure it with all these excuses, but God makes it crystal clear and if you agree with God about your sin there is true repentance. Listen now to pastor Joe Wright. This is not the Joe Wright's [inaudible 00:32:46] who works in our school with the fine arts department. Pastor Joe Wright's 1996 ... What is this? 20 years old now. I doubt you'll find this on the internet now, but 20 years ago when I kept this prayer because I always thought it was a crystal clear confession.

Listen to this, and I want you to think about why is this so powerful. He prayed this at the opening session of the Kansas State senate. He was never invited back after this. He says this, "Heavenly father we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance. We know your words as well on those who call on evil good, but that is exactly what we have done. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word and called it pluralism. We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have neglected the needy and the poor and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have short abortionists and called it justifiable." The door swings both ways on that one. "We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it political survey.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. We have ridiculed the time and the values of our fathers and called it enlightenment. Search us oh God and know our hearts, see is there is any offensive ways in us." Why does that prayer cut to the soul and why was he not invited back? Because he said what God says. Now it is probably one level of boldness to go to the Kansas State senate and do this, but do you do this on your own personal hearts? It takes another level of boldness and humility to say that's me. It may be fine to stand up and preach it to those wicked people out there, but do you preach it to your own Ninevite heart. Mine too.

Mothers in your great compassion, please urgently call on God for us to say it like God says its.

5) Turning from your current sinful ways of living

Fifth ... True repentance involves turning from your current sinful ways of living. The king says this, "That each may turn from the violence which is in his hands." Symbolic, metaphoric for their actions, their behavior. The king ordered their actions, what they do with their hands to change. The text makes sure that we don't miss this. When God saw their deeds, their actions, that they turn from their way then he relented. When is the violent Ninevite no longer a violent Ninevite? When he stops being violent and becomes kind. When is a thief no longer a thief? Your answer may be, when he stops stealing. No, it is not that.

When is a thief no longer a thief? When he does something different with his hands. Instead of stealing he works hard and he gives. That is when he is repentant. When is a liar no longer a liar? When he does something different with his tongue. When he stops lying and tells the truth regularly. When is a really rebellious child repentant? When he starts obeying. When is an angry husband repentant? When he stops demanding his way and turns to prefer others. When does a selfish Christian become repentant? When he learns to laugh even his enemies. True repentance will result in your change in actions.

6) Embracing God’s “turning” from wrath to mercy

Finally in our last point. True repentance involves embracing God's turning. Embracing God's turning from wrath to mercy. That is the end of Jonah chapter 3 when God saw their deeds and they turned from their wicked ways. God's wrath turned aside and mercy came. Friends today it is very surprising that we can learn about repentance from the most wicked of people, the Ninevites. According to Jesus, this generation of Ninevites did repent. However, it would seem like their repentance was not ultimately lasting. There is another generation that followed them. That rose up and returned to their wicked ways, and then became the destroyer of Israel later on. The concept of complete, lasting repentance seems to be elusive. These qualities of repentance seem to require something beyond our own capacity to achieve.

It raises the question, "Is there true repentance out there that ushers an everlasting righteousness?" Even the end of the book of Jonah leaves us with the question. Jonah, after all your sin do you have a right to be angry that I have compassion on the most wicked people? Why are you angry? Will you repent of that?" The end of the Old Testament also leaves us with the question. When mankind is real, truly repents. Turn with me on our closing moments to Mathew chapter 3. Mathew chapter 3. That is actually on page 2 on the back section of your Bible in the New Testament. Mathew chapter 3. Look at Mathew chapter 3:1. I want to develop with you in the closing moments here something that is hard to understand. Maybe with our talk on repentance we can understand it a bit more.

Mathew chapter 3:1 Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Chapter verse 5, Then Jerusalem was going out to him and all Judea and the district all around the Jordan as they were being baptized by him. The other gospels call this a baptism clearly of repentance. This is a baptism of repentance. Now look at verse 13, then Jesus arrived in Galilee at the Jordan coming to John to be baptized by him. Jesus undergoing a baptism of repentance? No way! Say no way. John the Baptist recognizes the absurdity of this because Jesus is sinless. What does Jesus have to turn from? He doesn't. Well, look at verse 14. John tries to prevent him saying, "I have need to be baptized by you, but you come to me." But Jesus says John show out, show out. Permit it this time for me to fulfill all righteousness. He was the representative of Israel. The representative of mankind, and what does mankind need to do? What does mankind need to do? Repent.

As the second Adam, Jesus Christ undergoes the baptism of repentance even though he did not need to repent. He is identifying with sinners. Jesus manifests the qualities of repentance though having never sinned. Jesus manifested the perfect belief in God's word. Jesus in a greater way than the king of Nineveh left his throne and humbled himself. Jesus in a greater way than the king of Nineveh clothed himself with consequences on the cross that we deserved instead of the comforts of his palace in heaven. Do you see it? Jesus in a greater way than the king of Nineveh set in destruction of God's wrath instead of the delight of His father's house. Jesus in a greater way than the king of Nineveh made the dealing with our sin, not His sin His highest priority. Jesus in a greater way than the king of Nineveh always called sin, sin and He came to turn mankind to an everlasting way of righteousness in Him.

Jesus in the baptism of repentance identifies Himself with sinners, not because he is a sinner but because he is providing the basis for the wrath of God to be turned from you to Him. Mothers, pray that for your prodigals. Folks you are accountable to God. God's judgment is coming. If you do not know God, there is one repentance that you need to have right now. Turning to Jesus Christ. Acknowledging that you deserve the full force of God's wrath and cry out for the mercy of the one who manifested the quality of repentance on your behalf to turn and revert the wrath of God from you.

Those who are saved here today after experiencing God's forgiveness. The kinds of true repentance and the heart attitudes manifested in Jesus Christ our savior are now available to you by the indwelling spirit to enable you to believe God's word. To enable you to humble yourself. To enable you to seek God first among everything else. To enable you to call sin what it is. Enable you to live in righteousness now, true repentance, and experiencing the mercy of God. Moms, please pray for us in this kind of way and this is what we manifest. Let us pray. "Our father thank you for the lessons this morning here on Jonah. Thank you for how they even point to our savior. May this mother's day be different for use because we believe your word, in Christ's name. Amen.

Brent Aucoin

M.S. - Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Central Baptist Seminary
Th.M. - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Ph.D. - Baptist Bible Seminary

Pastor Brent Aucoin and his wife, Janet, came on staff in July of 1998.  Pastor Aucoin serves as overseer of Faith Seminary and Soul Care Ministries at Faith Church.

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