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TRUTH WITH CONSEQUENCES Empty TRUTH WITH CONSEQUENCES

Post  Admin on Fri 17 Sep 2010, 12:29 pm

TRUTH WITH CONSEQUENCES*
*By Jim Roberts*
*Assistant Pastor of Peace Church Indiahoma, Oklahoma*

Jonah is a great example of a man who was caught between his religion
and the truth of Gods word. When God told Jonah to preach to the people
of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, he had to decide whether
to follow the call of God or follow the corrupt Jewish culture in which
he lived. Jonah must have heard that the King of Assyria was extending
his borders toward Israel, and being a prophet, he may have known that
the Assyrian Empire would in a couple of hundred years destroy the
nation of Israel. In Jonahs eyes and the eyes of his fellow countrymen,
preaching to Nineveh could have been seen as an act of treason. Jonah
thought he would rather die.
He bought a ticket to board a ship headed for the end of the known
world. Along the way, Jonah was thrown overboard and ended up in the
belly of a fish. After God miraculously saved Jonah from the belly of
the fish, Jonah finally agreed to preach to Nineveh. After the city
repented, Jonah went to the east side of the city even though Israel was
to the west. Maybe Jonah did not want to go home. What if his fellow
citizens heard about his ministry to Nineveh? Maybe he thought he would
not be the most popular prophet in Israel.
The first lesson for us is that we must be careful about putting our
patriotism above the Word of God. Jonahs fellow countrymen would have
considered him a hero if he had been willing to die rather than save
Nineveh. But Jonah was willing, after some not-so-gentle persuasion from
God, to be a hero for the cause of Christ. Not only did he bring the
entire city of Nineveh to its knees before God, but his experience in
the belly of the fish became the greatest picture in all of the Bible of
the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The Lord Jesus said to
the Pharisees of His day:
An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will
be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was
three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the
Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The
men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and
condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed
a greater than Jonah is here. (Matt. 12:39-41)
The second lesson for us is that we must be careful about valuing our
religion above the word of God. The religion of the Old Covenant Jews
taught hatred for all Gentiles, but God not only saved the Gentiles of
Nineveh from physical destruction, He saved them for all of eternity.
Jesus said that those Ninevites will one day rise up in judgment against
the Jews who rejected the Lord Jesus, and we can safely conclude that
they will rise up in judgment against the Jews of Jonahs day as well.
The Jews of Jonahs day and the Jews of Jesus day were victims of their
own religion. Their religion made the false assumption that God hated
certain people as much as they did. If they had known Gods Word, they
would have known about Gods love for the Gentile nations. They would
have known that God intended for the nation of Israel to be a testimony
to the nations concerning Gods love and grace.
The Jews of Jonahs day were destroyed by the Assyrians, and the Jews of
Jesus day were destroyed by the Romans, but there is a greater judgment
that is yet to come. It is a judgment which will bring eternal
separation from God to those who refuse to believe what God has said in
His word. If you do not know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior,
believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.

Hold the world at bay. Live in many moments of rest. May the peace of
God go before you, leading you into each day. For whenever we look up
into the face of our Father, whenever we quiet our spirit to hear His
voice, we have found divine peace this crazy world can never take away.
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