It Only Takes a Few Words
Click Here for Sermon
It only takes a few words to dramatically change someone's life.
Think about how these negative words would change the direction of your life:
"I just want to be friends."
"I want a divorce."
"You have 6 months to live."
Any of these words would sting. These things said to us would be extremely hurtful.
What if these positive words were said to you:
"Congratulations! You have been accepted into our program."
"I love you."
"Will you marry me?"
These positive words would change your life in a great way.
In the book of Jonah, God tells Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and give them a profound message: "40 more days and Nineveh will be overturned" (Jonah 3:4).
In the Hebrew text, this message was only 5 words. God wanted Jonah to give these few words to the Ninevites because if they did not repent of their murderous and wicked ways, He would wipe them off the face of the planet.
Adam Bradley describes these words given by Jonah as "amoebic in form and jurassic in size." Every word Jonah gave weighed a pound.
These few words were so weighty and Jurassic because they had eternal consequences tied to it. The news Jonah gave them was terrible. This terrible news would change their lives forever.
Jonah 3:5-9 describes how all the people of Nineveh from the least to the greatest, including the King himself, humbled themselves before God and repented of their sins. They showed great humility by wearing sackcloth (a thick coarse cloth made of goat's hair that symbolized mourning and grief over sin). They fasted and prayed to the Lord, pleading that He would forgive them of their sins.
God is a God full of compassion and mercy (Jonah 4:2), and He forgave the Ninevites.
Jonah 3:10 says:
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God relented of the disaster that He had said He would do to them, and He did not do it.
God used Jonah, a reluctant Prophet, to tell others the bad news. The bad news is that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and the wages of our sins is death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Every single one of us who has ever lived needs to hear how bad the bad news is to be able to comprehend how good the good news is. The fact that we are all sinners and deserve Hell for eternity is terrible news.
However, the gift of God is eternal life in Heaven (Romans 6:23). God has given us an incredible gift of grace by sending His Son, Jesus, from Heaven to come to earth, live perfectly, and die on a cross to pay for our punishment. Jesus did this so we could once again be reconciled back to God and have eternal life in Heaven. The way to get to Heaven is to admit you are a sinner and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:13). If you commit your life to submitting to Jesus as King, you will be rescued from Hell and live eternally with God in Heaven. That's the good news.
Because the people of Nineveh owned up to their sins and wicked ways and believed in the Lord, they are in Heaven as we speak (see Matthew 12:39-42).
These people are in Heaven because God used a few words to drive the point home.
Do you know someone who has not committed their life to Jesus? Please tell them these few words that will dramatically change their lives for all of eternity.