An Old-Time Preacher Hits Hard - Jonah's Sermon

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
Jonah's sermon was short; it only contained eight words. Hear what he said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Jonah 3:44And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. (Jonah 3:4). That was Jonah's message—a word of threatening judgment.
Have you noticed what effect these eight words from God had on the inhabitants of the great city? Did the Ninevites sit down and calculate what they could do before the day of overthrow should come? Did they say, "We have forty days before us yet; we will have our fling of sinning?" No! not one spoke in that way.
They believed God, and neither scoffed at the preaching, nor reckoned on these forty days of grace. They one and all of them repented. "So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them." Jonah 3:55So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. (Jonah 3:5).
You might have heard the king say, "What good will my kingly robe do, if in forty days I shall be in eternity?" He flung his robe aside. We read, "For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes." Jonah 3:66For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. (Jonah 3:6). What a wonderful sight! King and people are clothed in sackcloth, and sitting in ashes!
Sinner, have you laid aside your robe? Have you clothed yourself in moral sackcloth, and do you sit in the ashes of repentance? Hear what the Lord says, "The men of Nineveh shall rise up in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it." Luke 11:3232The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (Luke 11:32). Why? "For they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."
Yes, indeed a greater than Jonas was here! But have you repented? The Ninevites repented when they heard the prophet's words, and you have often heard the words of the Lord's ambassador, but have you repented?
Do you ask, "Must I repent in order to be saved?" Most certainly you must repent. You must acknowledge to God you are a guilty sinner. Repentance is humbling one's self before God. Repentance is the tear-drop in the eye of faith. You have sins, for you know you are a sinner. Do not think of others; think of no one but yourself.
Repentance is a blessed thing. The moment you repent, God rejoices. "Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth." Luke 15:77I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:7). The sinner who repents is awakened to see his real condition before God and heaven rejoices. It is the Spirit of God which works this repentance, and it is because the Word of God is believed and received into the heart.
Had you gone into Nineveh after the day of Jonah's preaching, you would have found no laughter there. Solemn anguish of soul was written on every face. What a thorough humbling before God that was! That is what you need, my friend. When a man judges himself, and believes that which God says is the truth regarding him, he repents. And I can tell you that the moment the sinner repents, God will save him.
God gave His Son to take the guilty sinner's place. Listen to the Savior's words, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:14, 1514And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14‑15). "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish." That is God's answer to all doubting and unbelief.
The gospel we preach tells more than Jonah's sermon did. It tells that Christ has come and done a work which enables God to bless everyone who comes to Him, having "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:2121Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21). When you believe what God says of you, you will have this repentance toward God, and when you simply trust Jesus, you have faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Listen to what the Word of God says to you: "Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" Rom. 2:44Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4). Oh, what an awful thing for a sinner to despise the goodness of God!
Come to Christ now. Salvation is sure, if you come now. Do you think you are too great a sinner to share the benefits of what Christ has done? Listen: "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22:1717And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17). Bow to God's invitation to believe, to rejoice, and to be saved.