Rick Warren - What to Do When You Get Another Chance
So if you'll take out your message notes inside your program, we're continuing our series on The Manifestation Of Your Life Mission. God has a mission for every life, God doesn't create anything without a purpose. And just as every plant, every rock, every animal has a purpose, if you're breathing, God has a purpose for your life. It's called Your Life Mission. You weren't put on this planet to live for yourself. No, no, no, you have a far bigger purpose in life than simply to make money, retire and die. You weren't put on this planet to take up space, to breathe, to use resources and die. God has a plan and a purpose, He has a life mission for your life. Now in this series we're using the life of a prophet in the Bible called Jonah. Small book, only four chapters and actually Jonah did the wrong thing, he ran from his life mission for much of his story. But he finally gets it right in the end, so we learn from both the right things he did but we also learn from the wrong things that he did.
Now on the screen, as we looked at each chapter, and this is Chapter 3 in this session, Chapter 1 we looked at Jonah rebelling and running from God and His Mission. If you missed that message, we talked about 10 truths you need to know about your life mission that we learn from the life of Jonah, and when you run from your life mission it always causes problems, it causes storms for other people. Then in Jonah, Chapter 2, we see Jonah repenting and returning to God and His Mission. And that's where he prays, he's swallowed by this large fish that God had made, taken to the bottom of the ocean, and in the bottom of the ocean he cries out to God. And we talked about what to do when life feels hopeless, when you've hit bottom.
Now, we come to Chapter 3, and in Jonah, Chapter 3, we see Jonah restarting and running with God on mission. And so now we're gonna look at what happens when you get a second chance. Now we ended the last chapter where this giant fish that God had custom made for Jonah, spits him up back out on the ocean, on the, on the beach, and Jonah, Chapter 3, verse 1 starts with one of most important verses in the Bible, and it says this. "Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time". Circle that, a second time. God is the God of second chances. God loves to give us second chances, third chances, fourth chances, he gives us many, many chances because of His grace and His mercy.
Now, after Jonah's rebellion, if you've been with me the first two weeks on this Message series, does Jonah deserve to get another chance? No way. If you were God, would you give Jonah another chance? Probably not. But God loves to give second chances. God delights in showing grace. God delights in showing mercy. In fact, I made a shortlist of people who God gave another chance. I could have spent this entire message just sharing with you the names of people in the Bible that God gave a second chance to, but let me just show you a representative shortlist of, you think, "Well, God would never give me a second chance".
Well, let me show you what he did do. Jacob cheated on his brother, cheated out of his, cheated his brother out of his family inheritance. God gave Jacob a second chance. Moses murdered a man. God gave Moses a second chance. Rahab was a prostitute. She gets a second chance and ends up being in the family tree of Jesus, God uses her. Samson wasted his talent and ended up in prison. God gave him a second chance. David committed adultery and had the husband of the woman he had an affair with murdered. God gives him a second chance. Peter denies Jesus Christ at His arrest right before the crucifixion. He's been with Jesus three and a half years and when they say, "Don't you know this guy?" goes, "I don't even know the guy"! Totally denies Jesus. Cops out at the last second. And then Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a hated, dishonest businessman. Nobody like Zachaeus and yet Jesus gave him a second chance.
Now God gives everybody chances over, and over, and over, and over. And that's what I want us to look at, what to do when you get a second chance from God. You know, I wanna start with a true confession. I hate golf. Okay, I really don't like it at all. I don't like it for two reasons. One, it takes too long. I don't have time to go spend hours and hours on it. And second and more important is, you can play it your entire life and never get any better at it. That is so frustrating that you play it, and play it, and play it, and you still just don't get any better. But my brother loved golf, and when my brother was alive, I loved to play golf with my brother, 'cause it was so much fun and it gave me a chance to be with him. The one thing I do love about golf, was a term that I learned in playing golf, and it's called a mulligan.
Now, if you don't know what a mulligan is, a mulligan is when you, you get another shot because you've made a poor one. And you take a stroke and the ball sucked. It was just terrible. And so you get a do over and it's not counted on your scorecard! I love this idea! It's called a mulligan. We oughta live in the mulligan's of God. The grace of God, when he gives us a chance to do over, to start over, to try again, to give it our best shot. And he just shows us mercy. He shows us grace. He's forgiving over and over, and over, and over, and over. And you say, "Well, that's not fair. It's not counted in a scorecard". Of course, that's not fair. It's called grace. It's called mercy.
Now, the mulligan verse of the Bible is in Proverbs, Chapter 28, verse 13, and that verse says this. "A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets," what? "Another chance". Circle that, he gets another chance. He gets a mulligan. This is amazing grace of God, that anybody who refuses to admit his mistakes, you're never gonna be successful. But if you confess and forsake them, you get another chance. Another mulligan verse in the Bible is the next verse on your outline, Lamentations, Chapter 3. And in Chapter 3, verse 22 and 23 of Lamentations, it says this. "The unfailing love of the Lord never ends"!
In other words, God's never gonna stop loving you. You can't make God stop loving you 'cause His love is based on who he is not what you do. "The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! It is His mercy that has kept us from complete destruction". We wouldn't be here if it weren't for his mercy. "His faithfulness is great and His mercies begin afresh," read it with me, "every new day". His mercies are new every new day and I want you to write this down. Every new day is another chance from God. You need to start looking at your life as every new day is another chance from God. God is giving you a second chance. A 100th chance, a one millionth chance. Every new day he's giving you another opportunity.
So then the big question is, if every day of my life is really another chance, it's fresh start, His mercies are new every morning, He's not going to run out of mercy. Then what should I do when God gives me another chance? Well, I'm glad you asked that question. Because in Chapter 3 of Jonah, Jonah does five things. When Jonah finally gets another chance, he gets a mulligan. He does five things. These are the five things you need to do when God gives you a second chance, which is every new morning of your life. He gives you a second chance, he gives us five specific things to do, all right? So let's get right into it.
Number one. When God gives me another chance, the first thing I need to do is this, live with profound gratitude. I need to live with profound gratitude. I need to wake up every day saying, "Thank you, God. Thank you that my heart is still beating. There's blood still pulsing through my veins. I'm breathing, I can see, I can hear. I can eat. I'm alive. Thank you, God, you have given me another chance. You've given me another opportunity. You've given me another moment of mercy and grace. Your mercies do every morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you"! You live with a profound sense, not of duty, but of gratitude. Of gratefulness, of thanksgiving. I'll never forget, probably 40 years ago, I said something to a guy, I said, "How are you doing"? And usually what people respond to that I don't even remember 'cause it's meaningless, "I'm doing fine," or whatever. But I asked this guy, and I've never forgot it in about 40 years, I said, "How you doing"? He said, "Better than I deserve to be doing".
And I thought, wow, couldn't we all say that one? Better than I deserve to be doing? Because it's all grace. If I got what I deserved, I wouldn't be here. Neither would you. It's all the grace of God. It's all a gift of God. Everything I have is a gift from God. He said, "Well, I worked for it". Where'd you get the ability to work? Where did you get your mind? Where did you get your body? Where'd you get your freedom? Where'd you get your brain? Everything you have is a gift from God. And it's all because of His grace. I didn't work for it. I didn't earn it. It's because I'm doing better than I deserve to be doing.
So the first thing you want to do when you get a second chance, and you know, you've gone through the bankruptcy, or you've gone through the divorce, or you've gone through the cancer, or you've gone through the scandal, or you've gone through the mess, or you've gone through the depression, or you've gone through 100,000 different problems, you got another chance. God gave you another chance. What do you do? The first thing you do is you start living with the profound sense of gratitude to God, for his goodness, for his grace, and you demonstrate how you are thankful to God for giving you another chance.
Now Jonah does this. In fact, he did it even before he gets out of the belly of that great fish while he's in the deep, deep part of the ocean. We looked at this in our last session in Jonah, Chapter 2, 9 and 10, the last verses we looked at in our last session, "Jonah told God," he's still in the middle of the problem, "'I will sing my thanksgiving to You, and I will sacrifice to You, and I'll do what I've promised You to do.' Why? 'Because salvation comes from You, Lord. Then God ordered the fish to spit up Jonah onto the beach, and it did.'" Now in that verse, again, we've covered this before, but I want to reinforce it, three ways you express deep gratitude to God. Write these down, three ways.
Number one, I sing my thanks to God. That's the first thing Jonah says, because I'm going to sing my thanksgiving to you. Singing is a spiritual act of being grateful to God. You don't have to be on key. You don't have to have the right note. You just make a joyful noise. Psalm 92, verses 1 and 2, says, "It's good to say thank you to the Lord. It's good to say thank you to the Lord and to sing praises to Him. Every morning tell Him, 'Thank you for your kindness!'" So every morning you get up and you start singing, "The hills are alive"! No, no, you just say, "Thank you God, thank you, really cool day. Glad, glad to be alive. My pulse is still going, thank you. I'm profoundly grateful for another chance, another opportunity, another day". I sing my thanks to God.
Number two, I give my offering in thanks to God. I realize that everything I have comes from God, and I give part of it back to Him as a symbol of gratitude going, "I realize it all comes from You". You don't really own anything. It wasn't yours before you were born, it's not gonna be yours after you die. You only get to use it. God owns everything in the world. He loans it to you for about an 80 year period. What you think you own is really on loan. You're just a steward. You're a manager. You don't really own anything. Because you didn't own it before you were born, you're not gonna own it after you die. You're not taking it to heaven. So it's all God's, but he loans it to you, and the Bible says that we give part of it back to Him, it's called tithing, as a result to say, "God, I just recognize it all comes from You. I wouldn't have any of this if it weren't for You".
Now the Bible says in Psalm 50, verse 23, God says, "The people who honor Me are those who bring Me an offering". Why? "To show thanks". God doesn't need your money. He doesn't need my money. God owns it all. So what does he want? He just wants your thanks, just wants your gratitude. He wants to demonstrate, a gift is a demonstration of gratitude. Says, "The people who honor Me are those who bring me an offering to show thanks. And I save those who obey Me". So I send my thanks to God, and I give my offering and thanks to God.
And the third thing I do is I commit my life to God's mission for me. I commit my life to God's mission for me. When God gives you another chance, he doesn't want you to go out and keep using it to live for yourself. He wants you to use it for his purpose. Romans, Chapter 6, verse 13, says this, "Give yourselves completely to God, every part of you, for you are back from death and you wanna be tools in the hands of God, to be used for His good purposes". So that's the first thing you wanna do when you've been given a second chance from God. You tell God, how grateful you are, "God, I'm alive! I made it through that crisis, that scandal, that problem, that sin, that relational hell, and I'm still here, and you've given me another chance, and I am so grateful, God, for your goodness". That's the first thing Jonah does.
Now here's the second thing Jonah does. And here's what you need to do when you're given a second chance, which is literally every day of your life. Number two, make my mission, my top priority. Make my mission, my top priority. When God gives me another chance, maybe I've really messed it up. I've really just blown it. But whatever God wants me to do with the rest of my life, that's what I'm going to focus on now. After I've been given a second chance, it's not the time to keep on doing the wrong stuff. It's not the time to keep on doing what I've been doing, being selfish, thinking about me, thinking about what I want, what I need, and then only and not even thinking about God my life. No, no, this is not the time to keep living the way I want.
Now, I make the focus, if God's given me a second chance, if I'm still alive, He didn't put me here to continue living selfishly. He's given me another chance to live for Him. He's given me another chance to make my life mission, the mission he has for my life, my top priority. 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 6, verse 1 says this, "Do not let the grace that you received from God be for nothing"! God has shown you mercy. God has shown you grace. God has let you off the hook so many times. He's forgotten sins, He's forgiven sins. God has let you off the hook so many times, do not let the grace of God be for nothing. Like I'm just gonna abuse it. I'm going to take it for granted. I'm going to give you living to be a selfish clod. No, no.
Now I focus my mission. I focus on my life mission as my top priority. You know, the harder you've fallen, the more you've fallen, the more you understand gratefulness, and actually the more you are committed to your mission. You know who Paul the Apostle is in the Bible? But he wasn't always some great Christian saint. You know what Paul was before God got ahold of him? He was a religious terrorist. He went around killing Christians. That was his job. He traveled around the Middle East, literally murdering, killing Christians. And he thought that was his duty. That he was such a zealot that Christians should be all wiped out, and he was a religious terrorist.
And one day, while he's going to the city of Damascus, to kill a bunch of Christians there in Syria, he has an encounter with Jesus Christ, the risen Christ. And Jesus shows up on the road to Damascus says, "Saul, why are you persecuting me"? And he goes, "Who are you Lord"? He goes, "I'm Jesus"! And he falls to his knees and he says, "My Lord and my God," and he makes a 180 degree turn. And now he's becomes the apostle of love. And he's given a second chance after murdering a lot of people. And here's what he says in Acts, Chapter 20, verse 24, Paul says, "I don't care about my own life," not anymore. "The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me". And what was that work? "To tell people the good news, about God's grace". About God's mercy, about his willingness to give us another chance.
Now, this is the second thing that happens to Jonah. First Jonah says, I'm going to live in a sense of profound gratitude. And I'm going to be grateful to God every day of my life for another chance. But in Jonah Chapter 3, verse 1 and 2, it says this, "Then the Lord spoke to Jonah again". Okay, here is you get the second chance. And he says, "Go to that great city, Nineveh and warn them of their doom, as I told you". Now circle, the word warn, we're gonna come back to that in a minute. Says, "I want you to go to the great city of Nineveh and warn them of their doom, as I told you before".
Now, this is the exact same wording as in Chapter 1. His mission has not changed. Jonah has gone through an awful lot of problems since Chapter 1. He's been running from God. He's been through all kinds of problems. he's been in the shipwreck, a storm, he's been thrown overboard, he's been swallowed by great fish. He's had all kinds of bad stuff happen in his life. But when he's given a second chance, God says, by the way, the mission hasn't changed. It's the exact same thing I told you to do. It's what I made you to do. It's what I created you do. It's what I decided you would do with your life before you were born. Your mission has not changed. No matter what you've been through, no matter how many problems you've had, how much stress you've gone through, how many losses you've had, how many sins you've committed, hadn't done one thing to change your life mission.
What God created you for, what he designed you for, is still in full force. I want you to write this down in your outline. Circumstances may change me, but they never change my mission. Circumstances may change me, but they never change my mission. I may go through all kinds of breaking situations where I am broken financially, or I'm broken spiritually, or I'm broken emotionally, or my relationships are a mess and they're all broken, or my body is broken by a disease. I can have all kinds of circumstances and yes, they will change me, but they never change my life mission. Everything you've gone through in life has changed you. None of it has changed the mission that God made you for before you were born, he decided that you would do. Nothing has changed that.
I said in our last session, "There is no plan B for your life". I don't care what's happened to you. There's no plan B for your life, you're still on Plan A, in fact, before you were born, when God decided what he wanted you to do with your life, whether you did it or not, is your choice. And that's a big mistake to not do what you were created to do. But before you were even born, he decided that he already knew all the stupid things you do, all the dumb decisions you'd make, all the things you'd commit, all of the problems you'd face. All of the losses you'd have. He factored it all in. He factored it all in. Your life mission has not changed from the moment you were conceived in your mother's womb. And so Jonah's going, "Okay, I'm going to get on track and I'm going to make my mission my top priority". God has no plan B, you're, remember this verse? I showed it to you last week.
The Bible says in Romans, 11:29, "God's gifts," God gives you gifts, "and his call," God has called you to do some things with your life. "God's gifts and his call are irrevocable". No sin you commit can change God's call or God's gifts in your life. You still have the same gifts, and you still have the same call in your life. Let me show it to you, the same verse and other translations. In the Living Bible. "God's gifts and His call can never be withdrawn; He will never go back on His promises"! That's why when God had a call for Moses, yeah, Moses went out and murdered a guy. It did not change his call. Here's another verse in Romans, 11:29, in God's Word translation. "God never changes His mind when He gives someone gifts or when He calls someone". So it is in still full force. So I live with profound gratitude, when I know I've given been given a second chance, and I get on gear, and I start using my life for what I was supposed to use it for in the first place.
That's the second thing. Here's the third thing you do, that Jonah did. Don't delay, obey today. Okay, don't delay, obey today. When God gives you a second chance this is no time for procrastination. Well, I think I will do what God made me to do, but I'm gonna have a little bit more fun with my life first. I think I'm going to do what God wants me to do but I've got to make a bunch of money first, or I've got to get married first, or I got to get through school first. All right. This is not a time to procrastinate, on your life mission. When you're given a second chance, you go at it immediately. You don't delay, you obey today. It's time to get going. In verse 3, Jonah, Chapter 3, here's the third thing Jonah did, "This time", now he gets the second message, Go and do what I told you to do in the first place. "Jonah immediately," immediately, don't delay, "headed to Nineveh," it's a big city, "in obedience to the word of the Lord".
I bet you he ran. I think when that great fish spit him up on the beach, he probably hit the ground running. And he's probably Usain Bolt you know, he's running all the way to Nineveh, which is 550 miles from the coastline of Israel. It's in, where Iraq is today. It's up where, near where Mosul is in Iraq. And and he probably ran. Would you? If God had given you a second chance like Jonah, don't you think you probably say I'm gonna get with whatever God told me to do the first place. I spent enough time going the wrong direction with my life.
Now I'm gonna make up for some time, and I'm gonna go fast in the right direction. I want you to write this down in your outline. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Delayed obedience, is disobedience. Any parent knows this. If a dad tells his son, "Son, I want you to go take the garbage out right now". And he says, "Well, I will dad, if I get to it next week". "I want you to go clean up your stuff in the garage". "I will in a coupla days". Or, "I need you to, I need you to come help". Mom says to one of the kids, "I need you to come help wash the dishes". "Well I will in two days".
Delayed obedience is disobedience. When God tells you to do something he expects you to do it now, not later. Not to give him some excuse. So you don't delay, you obey today. What has God told you to do? And you're still dragging your feet. I mean, you know, you're supposed to be doing it, but you're still dragging your feet. For instance, we know that God wants every one of us to give some part of our life in sacrificial service. Where we're not paid to do it. We're just helping other people out of the goodness of our heart. We're volunteering to serve, it's called Your Ministry. And God says, "I want everybody". And you know that, but you're not volunteering anywhere. You're not, all your time is based on you, is built on you. There's no place where you're doing something totally unselfish for other people.
You know, that God says I want you to be like me, I want you to learn to be a servant. I want you to learn to serve. You know, God says give the first part of your income back to me as a sign of your things. You don't do it. I know and I'm just not doing it. Someone you know, God says, when you like Jesus, when he's 30 years old as an adult, he's baptized. We're not talking about his dedication as a baby. When Jesus is 30 years old, he goes out in public as an adult makes his public profession of faith. Have you done that? Have you done that as an adult? You know, Jesus said to do it, he commanded it. Be baptized like he did. He wouldn't have done it unless he wanted you to do it. He modeled it as a 30 year old.
Some of you haven't done that yet. What is it that you're putting off, that God tells you to do, you're still dragging your feet? You know, if you're a businessman, you really need to read the book of Proverbs and study, 'cause it has all of the principles for successful business in spades. It's an unbelievable book. You could build your business, multinational corporation, on the principles in God's word in the book of Proverbs. One of the principles in the book of Proverbs says, "When you know something's not right," like in your business, "you fix it immediately". And he says, "If you've gotten into a bad financial commitment, get out of it quickly".
You don't procrastinate, he says do it now. Let me just show it to you. Here on the screen the Bible says in Proverbs, 6, 3 and 4, "Get out of it as quickly as you possibly can! Swallow your pride. Go and humbly beg to cancel the deal. Don't put it off. do it now! And don't rest until you do"! That's pretty clear. It's saying you don't procrastinate. If you made a bad financial decision, get out of it immediately! But God's not saying think about it and do it maybe in a coupla years. He says get out of it right now. And he goes, if you're wise you do it. If you don't do it, it's foolish. But a lot of times God gives us commands and we go, "Well, I'll think about that for a while". No. We need to don't delay, obey today.
Now here's the fourth thing that Jonah does. This one takes a little time to explain, but it's real important. When God gives me another chance. I'm gonna live with profound gratitude. I'm gonna make my mission my number one priority. I'm going to not delay I'm gonna obey today. Number four, accept my responsibility to warn others. Accept my responsibility to warn others. Now, let me explain this. This is not your whole life mission, but it is part of it. It was certainly part of Jonah's life mission. And if you are a follower of Christ, there are gonna be some times in your life when you are called on to warn some people, out of love. Jonah, Chapter 3, verse 3. This time Jonah immediately headed to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. And then in Jonah, the rest of it says, "Now the city of Nineveh," Jonah, 3:3 and 4, "Now the city of Nineveh was so big that it took three days to walk around it. But after walking a day, Jonah warned the people".
Circle that word warned again, we're gonna come back to that. Jonah warned people. Nineveh, I've told you this before, was the most powerful and the biggest city in the world at this time. Assyria is the predominant Empire in the known world. And the capital of Assyria is Nineveh. It's a huge city with big boulevards, and temples, and waters, and parks, and pools, and all kinds of wide boulevards, and it was a huge, huge city. It's the biggest city in the world. And as a result, it's very prideful. And he says, "When Jonah gets there, it takes about three days to walk around it". That's because there were other cities around Nineveh, kind of like LA is not just one city, it's a metropolitan area of a lot of other cities. And all of those cities together would take you a long time to walk around. And he says, "I want you to go and warn them". And it says, "After a day of walking, Jonah warned people".
Now, what is a warning? Because if this is part of your life mission, then you need to know how to do a warning. A warning is cautionary advice about a danger, a trap, or a problem. That's a warning. When I give cautionary advice about a danger, or a trap, or a warning, or a problem. Now God built into your body, warning systems. And there are certain things that when your body is not healthy, you get a fever, your blood pressure goes up. They're are all kinds of signs that doctors take, you, there are warning signs in your body that things are out of whack. But we often don't even pay attention to our own bodies. We don't listen to what God tells us. We don't listen to what our bodies tell us. We push ourselves too far, too hard. We don't get enough sleep, and on and on and on. So God has to bring people in our lives. To warn us, because we're not smart enough many times to listen to God's warning, or even to listen to the warnings of our own body, or our own conscience. So God has to bring more people in our lives to warn us.
You know, as I've traveled all around the world, I have a hobby. One of my hobbies is collecting stupid warning signs. I thought this might be an appropriate time to show you some of my collection, okay, from around the world. So let me just show you a few of these. Here's one as a warning sign, keep your hands out of the machinery. Look at that. That looks, that's almost comical, like your fingers are getting smashed. I didn't, I wasn't afraid of that. I just laughed at it when I saw it. Because it looks like you're getting all smashed up. Here's another one. If the door does not open, do not enter. That's a very good warning, okay, we're very, that's profound.
Here's another one. Caution, be aware that the balcony is not on the ground floor. Yeah, so if you lean over, you might fall further than you thought 'cause the balcony's not on the ground floor. Okay, that's kind of obvious. This is funny. I think I took this in Australia. It was a trampoline place. Oh no, it was in England because it's pounds. And then it says, "Warning barbed wire in use". I mean, who's gonna go on a trampoline that if you jumped too high you run into the barbed wire? Somebody who hates kids, I guess. Right here, I love this one. "Big scary laser. Do not look into beam with remaining eye".
Okay, all right, somebody had a sense of humor. All right, big scary laser. This was in Houston. No drowning. This is on a seawall. I'm going yeah, okay, I'll make sure of that, because you told me I won't do it now. All right, no drowning. I mean, it makes ya. "Warning, these peanuts may contain peanuts, or peanut by-products. So eat at your own risk. Enjoy" I mean, really, I like this one. "No Trespassing. Violators will be shot, survivors will be shot again". Okay, so we're not always really smart when we get these warning signs.
Here's another one. Oh, this you've seen this on the road to Phoenix. "State prison next exit. Do not pick up hitch hikers". I pass that 100 times when I used to go to Kay's parents and Phoenix, so I shot that picture one day. State prison next exit, don't pick up hitchhikers. All right, here's another one. Now this was in Australia. These toilets. "If the towel dispenser is empty, please use your clothes". What? What? Oh, really? I just go to this, it says, "Thank you, the management". Yeah, well thank me, right. I'm gonna go out with, well my clothes. Oh, this was a really good one. You may be at risk for throat cancer if, and it has three things.
Number two is have a throat or mouth. Okay, so if you don't have a throat or mouth, don't worry about this, you will not have throat cancer if you don't have a throat or a mouth, all right? Now, oh, "Please be safe. Do not stand sit, climb, or lean on the fences. If you fall, animals could eat you and that might make them sick. Thank you". Yeah, oh and this, I got this one in England. "Touching wires causes instant death $200 fine". As if death is not enough. I want to scare you with the $200 fine, okay. Newcastle. Oh, this is good. The dog, "Danger, the dog has a gun and refuses to take his medication". And then this was one of my favorite. "Unattended children will be given an energy drink and taught to swear". So, we have all these warning signs in the world because we're not really good at paying attention to warnings. And yet God wants us to humbly accept warnings from other people, and humbly and lovingly offer them to people in love. So this is what the fourth thing that Jonah has to do. After walking a day into the city of Nineveh, Jonah warned the people.
Now, this mission of warning, warning people, is a ministry of every follower of Jesus Christ. And you've probably never been taught this, okay? They're, warning shows that you love God, when you want love, warn other people. It also shows that you love other people. If you knew that a bridge was out, and I'm speeding down the country road at 50 miles an hour, and you don't tell me that the bridge is out. Is that loving? No, no, it's actually hateful. It means you don't love me. If you truly love me, you're going to tell me, "Hey, Rick, the bridge is out at the end of this road". If I walk up to the cliff and I'm about to fall off, and you go, "Rick, you might wanna step back a little bit, that's, the ground is unstable there".
That's an act of love. Warning is an act of love. Not an act of arrogance, not an act of hypocrisy, not an act of superiority, not an act of self righteousness. Warning is an act of love. And God doesn't tell Jonah, he doesn't say I want you to go move into the city of Nineveh and be a good example. We'd all like that one. I want you to move to this wicked city and just be a good example. You don't say anything, just be a good example. He doesn't tell him that. Part of Jonah's life mission is you're gonna go to the city and you're gonna warn 'em. You're gonna warn 'em. It's part of your Christian responsibility. I actually looked this up, and the New Testament has over 100 examples and verses on the ministry or the responsibility of you and me warning other people that we love. Has anybody ever told you that? That that's part of your job of following Christ is to warn other people, just like Jonah was told by God to warn.
Paul in Acts, Chapter 20, verse 31, says this. "For three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day," notice, "with tears". Now why would he warn you with tears? 'Cause he because he cares about 'em. You warn because you care. You warn because you love. You warn people because you, you care about them. Now, in Jonah, Chapter 3, verse 4, second half, it says this, "So Jonah warned the people," here's the warning. "In 40 days Nineveh will be destroyed"! Oh, that's a great positive message. In 40 days the world, the Jenna will be destroyed. Is this going to be a welcome message? No. Is this going to make Jonah popular? No. Is this how you attract social media friends? No. Now I want you to notice Jonah gets this all wrong. Jonah shows no compassion at all. He doesn't have any care for the people of Nineveh.
In fact, he doesn't want to be there. We already know that. He hates these people. He's racially prejudiced against them. They are the enemy. He's politically on the opposite side of them. And he's being told to go to his political opponents and tell 'em and warn 'em about God. And he doesn't want to warn 'em. And when he goes to city of Nineveh, he announces that he does the minimum possible. I mean, he announces it in the matter of fact tone, he's as brief as possible. In fact sermon is only seven words. Some of you would like a seven word sermon. He only has seven words. "In 40 days Nineveh will be destroyed". That's it. There's no compassion, there's no love. It's just, that's about the minimum, minimum you can do. And yet God still used it. He had the wrong motivation. He had no love.
Jonah, this is very, very different from the most prophets, because most prophets when they warned people, they give these passionate speeches, and they're long and they're impassioned, and they're warning and they're pleading and Jonah just walks in and said he goes, "You guys are gonna die, bye"! That's all he says. He doesn't care two bits about this nation or these people. You guys are gonna die, bye, while I go to the sky, you're going to fry, you know? And this is very, very different.
Now, what is Jonah doing? Well, it's as if he's saying to God, there God, I did it. Okay, are you happy now? Okay, I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to go to these people. I don't like these people. But I told 'em what you said. He said the minimum, he said it with no love. He goes, there, are you happy now? He gets it all wrong. And yet still God used him. Now why was Jonah so short, and so passionless, and so unloving in sharing his warning? Because he knew something that you need to know. I want you to write this down. When God gives a warning, write this down. When God gives a warning, it's a good sign. When God gives a warning, it's not a negative sign. It's a good sign because it means He wants to give you another chance. If God doesn't wanna give you another chance, he doesn't give you a warning. If God gives you a warning, it means he's going to cut you some slack and give you another chance. It's a good sign.
People think warnings are negative. They're actually an example or an illustration or an expression of love. Because you don't, "I'm warning you". And so you won't go through all this pain. You won't go through all these problems. Now, I'm not going to ask for confession, or to raise your hand. But I wonder how many of you have been driving down the street or the freeway one day and you saw a red light in the back of your window? Okay? And you pull over and the officer comes up and says, "May I see your driver's license"? And you're nervous, and then you fumble around and try to give an explanation why you're going 90 miles an hour, or whatever, and you give this explanation. And then you hear the sweetest words. When the officer said, "Well, today, I'm just going to give you a..."? Warning.
When somebody says, I'm going to just give you, are you happy or sad? You're happy. Why? Because you're not going to be judged. You're not going to jail. You're not paying the fine. You don't get the Ticket. The warning is actually good news. "I'm just gonna let you off with a warning". When God says to Jonah I want you to go in and warn 'em that I'm about to destroy the city, He's saying I really don't want to destroy the city. If He wanted to he wouldn't warn 'em. Does this make sense? It's a good positive thing. Because when you, I'm happy when I get a warning. It means I'm not going to pay the fine. I'm not gonna serve the time. I'm not gonna whatever. Because it's just a warning.
Now, you need to realize, that if you've had your last chance, you're not gonna get a warning. You're not gonna get any more warnings if you've used up your last chance. There's not gonna be any more warnings. But the point is, let me make the point. There's gonna be times in your life when you see friends that you love, or family members, or co-workers that you care about, and you see them about to walk off a cliff and lose everything because of a dumb decision. Part of your life mission is to warn them. To warn them, and if you don't, you don't love them. Because love warns. Now, when does God expect you to warn people that you love? When? Well, I went through those over 100 verses in the New Testament this week, and I made a list of all things you're supposed to warn people about, don't have time for that. But let me just summarize it in two categories, write these down. When am I supposed to warn people that I love?
Number one, when they're not thinking wisely, and number two, when they're not acting wisely. I'm supposed to warn the people I care about when they're not thinking wisely, or when they're not acting wisely. Now, this is not your whole life message, but it is a part of it. Just as warning was a part of Jonah's life message. I'm supposed to warn people when they're not thinking wisely, or when they're not acting wisely.
Now, just in case you think I'm making too big a deal about this, let me take you to another guy. Another prophet named Ezekiel. Not the football player, but here's what the Bible says about Ezekiel. Ezekiel 33, 1 to 9. "The Lord said to Ezekiel, 'Ezekiel warn your people by saying this, someday, I the Lord, may send an enemy to invade your country. And I suppose you, and suppose you people choose someone to stand watch and sound a warning when the enemy is seen coming.'" Okay? "Now, if you ignore the warning and you're killed in battle, it'll be your own fault because you could have escaped if you'd just paid attention," in other words to the warning. "But suppose the person given the mission of watching and warning fails to sound the warning signal".
In that case, he says, "Then I, the Lord will hold that person responsible for the death of those people. Now Ezekiel, I have appointed you to stand and warn, to stand, watch and warn the people of your nation. So listen to what I say, and then warn them for me". And here's what God says, "When I warn people, that they'll die if they keep sinning against me, you gotta warn them to turn from their sinful ways. But if you fail to warn them, then I'll hold you responsible for their death. On the other hand, if you do warn them, and they ignore you, they'll die because of their sins, but you will be innocent". Wow.
Now that whole passage makes me ask myself and ask you two questions. Have you ever warned anybody about anything? Spiritual? Have you ever warned anybody about a spiritual or a moral danger? Or were you more interested in being popular than helping them? Were you more afraid of their disapproval than you were in love with God and love them enough to tell them the truth? You're about to walk off a cliff. We live in a nation that is crumbling, that the culture is falling apart. And if believers in Christ don't speak up, who's gonna do it? Here's the other question. Who is God gonna hold you responsible for one day because you said nothing, and let them destroy their lives? You just let 'em walk off the cliff. and you said nothing. This is important. This is not your whole life mission but it is one facet, one factor in it. Now there's one more thing that Jonah did, and this is a positive.
So here's the number five, okay? If I know God's given me a second chance that every day is a second chance, then I'm going to live my life with profound gratitude. I'm going to focus my life on God, not myself, and I'm on making my mission a priority, not everything else I was living for. I'm not going to delay I'm gonna obey today. And I'm going to accept my responsibilities. Sometimes I have to warn people I love because I love them. And I do it in love and I accept warnings in humility. Here's the fifth thing. When God gives me another chance, expect God to use me. This is good news. I expect God to use me. See, God doesn't keep you alive for you to live for yourself. He keeps you alive because he wants you, to use you. God doesn't keep you alive, he doesn't give you another chance, just so you can retire and do nothing. No, God keeps you alive because he has a plan, and a life vision that's still in operation, whether you've done anything about it or not up to this point.
And he's saying, I want to use you. When God keeps you alive, it means God's not through with you. God is not finished with you. God has a plan, God wants to use you. You say, "Rick, you don't know what I've been through". Doesn't matter. God only uses imperfect, broken people. If God only used perfect people, nothing would get done. 'Cause there are no perfect people. God only uses ordinary, broken, imperfect people, like me. I'm an ordinary, broken, imperfect person, and God uses me. And God says I'm using you as an ordinary, imperfect, broken person. See, one of the problems, a common mistake, is we turn these people into the, in the Bible, into like, superheroes. There are no superheroes in the Bible. They're all just ordinary people, ordinary women, ordinary men, like you and me. Jonah's an ordinary guy. He doesn't wanna do what God says to do. God gives him a turnaround. He goes and does what God tells him to do. He didn't even do it correctly, not even with the right attitude. But God still uses it.
And this is, you see, expect God to use you is the fifth thing. This is why Jonah was in such a sour mood. Because he knew that God was gonna use him and he didn't wanna be used. He's going, I don't want these people to have a spiritual revival. I don't want these people to repent. I don't like these people. I'm prejudiced against them. They're not my political background. They're my enemy. And you're telling me go and warn 'em, which means you don't really wanna do this. And, 'cause if you wanted to you wouldn't even warn 'em. And second, if you're telling me go warn 'em, then you're, they're gonna to listen to my warning, and they're gonna actually get forgiven. That sucks. And that's why he's got this sour mood 'cause he doesn't want any of this. He knows what God's gonna do. Now, what happens next is flat out miracle because the city responds to Jonah's seven word sermon. That's all it is. Seven word sermon. In 40 days, Nineveh will be destroyed. Wow, what a sermon. And it is the biggest spiritual revival in history, the largest city in the world, turns to God.
Look up here on the screen. Here's what it says. "The Ninevites believed God, and they humble themselves, putting on sackcloth," What's sackcloth? It's cloth they make sacks out of. Burlap, it's burlap. They put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least as a symbol of their humility. "And when the news reached the king of Nineveh," this is the head of the Assyrian Empire, "he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with burlap sack cloth, and even the king sat down in the dust! Then the King proclaimed a public fast". And he says, "No human or animals to eat or drink anything! Let each of us and even our animals be covered with sackcloth. Then let us all pray urgently to God, and let us turn from our evil ways, and let us stop all our violence! Who knows? God may yet relent with compassion, and turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish". Folks, that is a greater miracle than a fish swallowing Jonah. The king of Assyria, of the Empire, and the entire city of the largest city in the world, turning to God in humility. That's a bigger miracle right there.
And I want you to notice I went through that pretty quickly, five things that they did, because these five things that they did are the pathway to personal revival and national revival and we need both of them in our world today. Here's what here's what they did. Number one, they humbled themselves. Number two, they fasted, okay? They proclaimed a public fast. Number three, they prayed urgently, okay? They prayed urgently, okay. Number four, they turned from evil, and all the bad things they were doing. And number five, they said, let's stop all violence.
Would that change our society if we did those things? Hello! I mean, just just imagine, for 50 years, Nineveh has been the world's largest city and they're so proud. Then why in the world did they respond to a seven word sermon and everybody turns to God, instantly? That's an incredible miracle. Why did, why were they so receptive, even though Jonah's message was unloving and short? Because God had prepared their heart. And how had God prepared their heart? The way he prepares every heart, through pain, through pain. Now, you wouldn't know this, but the largest city in the world turns to God because they'd had pain in just a few years before that. You have to know a little bit about archeology and ancient history to know this.
So let me read this to ya. See when this happens, when Jonah is going there, the Assyrian Empire had been dominant for hundreds and hundreds of years. It's like the British Empire, the Roman Empire, the American Empire, okay. But now they're in decline, the Empire's in decline and they're losing battles against the Medes and the Persians, which is Iraq and Iran. And they had domestic riots inside the city going on at this time. In 765 BC, they had a seven year famine. This is right when Jonah is in the time. 765 that it began a seven year famine. 763 BC there was a total eclipse of the sun. We actually even know is on June 15th. And that scared the entire ancient world, because that was like a prophecy of like, doom is coming. In 762, Nineveh had a massive earthquake, it sits on a fault and they had a massive earthquake in the city. In 761, the Tigris River which is right by Nineveh flooded the city. So they've had a total eclipse, floods, enemies, riots, fires, earthquakes. These disasters happen right before Jonah has arrived, God is preparing their hearts.
And Jonah 3:10 says this, "When God saw what they did, and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion," duh! That's what he wanted to do. "And He did not do what He had warned He would do". Because of this revival, the Assyrian Empire's demise, the destruction of the Assyrian Empire was postponed 100 years. And Nineveh was not destroyed until about 612 AD by the Medes and the Persians, it went for another hundred years. Does this remind you of a culture that's been dominant, seems to be decaying, and if they had a revival God might give them another hundred years? Nineveh finally fell in 612 AD. This revival, where an entire city comes to God was so famous in the ancient world. I mean, everybody knew this. This is not just in the Bible. Everybody knew this story of Jonah and Nineveh.
In fact, 1,200 years later, Mohammed tells the story of Jonah, and the revival in Nineveh and writes it in the Quran, the Muslim book. You didn't know that. The story of Jonah and the fish and the revival of Nineveh, it's not just in the Bible. It's in the Quran. Because everybody in the ancient world knew this for hundreds and hundreds of years. Nothing had ever happened like it. He was just an ordinary guy who says, "Okay, I'll do it". And he didn't even do it very well. What would happen if a city like L.A. or Berlin, or Buenos Aires, or Manila, or Hong Kong, did the five things that the people in Nineveh did? We'd have revival. We would have revival. In this story, both Jonah and the entire city, get a second chance.
Now, the fact that you're still alive, let's get back to you. The fact that you're still alive means God is still giving you a second chance. Okay? But you have to pay attention to his warnings. You have to pay attention to his warnings, and then do these five things. Last verse on the screen. Hebrews, Chapter 3, "Warn each other every day". It's my job to warn you. It's your job to warn me, and it's our job to warn each other. "Warn each other every day, because it's still today". In other words, we don't know about tomorrow, but we're still here today, so we're going to warn each other today. We can't work on tomorrow. It's not here. "Warn each other every day, because it's still called today, and so that your heart isn't hardened against God by the sin's deceit. We will share in all that belongs to Christ", that's good news, "if we hold firmly till the end. So if you hear God's voice today, listen and don't be stubborn".
So listen, I want you to listen to me. 'Cause I love you. If you wake up tomorrow morning, which I assume you will, but it's just an assumption. If you wake up tomorrow morning, you realize that every new day is another chance that God has given you and you need to do these five things that Jonah did. Start thanking God at the beginning of the day. Thank you God for another day. I'm breathing. I'm alive. I have a pulse. You've given me air. Thank God everyday, start living your life with profound gratitude. Number two, make your life mission the top priority of your life. Not making money, not anything else. Number three, don't delay, obey today. Whatever you've been putting off, stop it. Number four, accept your responsibility to warn other people that you love when you need to. Don't let them just walk off the cliff. And number five, expect God to use you 'cause that's why you're still here. Let's bow our heads.
Father, I want to thank you that your mercy is new every day. Because we all need second chances. I sure do. Help us to remember that every moment of our lives is another chance from you. Help us not to waste it. Help us to humbly accept warnings from other people who love us. And help us to love other people enough and care about them to lovingly warn them. Father, every one of us have had that stubborn pride. But we can all hear you clearly right now. So we're saying we want to be the kind of people that you want us to be.
Now you pray:
God, help me to be more grateful to live with an attitude of gratitude. Profound gratitude for each new day that you give me a chance. I wanna make my life mission, your top priority. And the stuff I've been delaying on I'm not gonna postpone it, procrastinate anymore. Help me to care and love people more than I love their approval. And when I need to warn somebody in love, give me the courage to do that. Because I don't want their life on my responsibility. And most of all, Lord, help me to expect you to use me. Because that's why I'm here. I'm not here to live for me. But for you, Jesus Christ, I want you to be the manager of my life, from here on out, and I wanna follow you. In your name I pray. Amen.