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Devotionals Jonah

The Good News and the Bad News

I am sure you been in or are in a Church where the Gospel takes center stage. Some people don’t like to hear the Gospel presented, although in different ways, week after week. They can’t understand that believers are motivated and spurred on to love Jesus more and more and serve Him better because of regular reminders as they hear the Gospel Message often. One of the greatest American pastors was Jonathan Edwards. On one occasion George Whitefield preached for him and records that as he preached the Gospel, Edwards sat in the front pew weeping as he heard the glorious message of free grace through Calvary. There are two aspects to the Gospel’s message …

(a) The Good News … and

(b) The Bad News.

Both ingredients are vital … leave one out means the Gospel Message has been tampered with! Jonah has arrived in Nineveh and immediately started doing what God wanted him to do … preach evangelistically!

Jnh 3:4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”

1) There was no wasting time. Jonah jumped in and started proclaiming God’s Message.

(1) One dictionary renders the word “proclaim” to mean … “trying to persuade people to accept something you believe in very strongly”.

(2) Another dictionary offers “to declare publicly, typically insistently, proudly or defiantly”.

(3) Biblically it would mean “to declare the Gospel publicly, insistently explaining what Jesus did, trying to persuade unbelievers to believe the Truth of the message”

Allow me to share a few randomly selected verses with you to press home the point of what proclaiming … and especially proclaiming the Gospel means. In the face of Peter and John being released from prison because of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus and being told by the Jewish Ruling Council (Sanhedrin):

Ac 4:18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

They went back to the believers, and

Ac 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Ac28:30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

They refused to be silent and through prayer were filled with the Spirit who enabled them to preach (spoke, preach or proclaim) the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Word of God) with freedom and without reserve (boldly, without hindrance). The purpose of such bold proclamation was as Paul writes:

Rom 15:15 I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel being proclaimed boldly like this has the intention of unbelievers hearing about God’s Rescue Plan and become “an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit”.

(i) That through repentance, turning from sin and turning to God people will become a gift (offering) of multitudes or nations for God that will be well received (acceptable) by Him because of their change from wicked idolatry to holiness in the Lord Jesus.

(ii) To achieve this, earnest, intentional pleading with God is required. Just because Jesus gave the Great Commission does not mean prayer-less evangelism. Sadly this is most of the Church today … prayer-less in evangelism and missions. One of the greatest evangelists and Church Planters acknowledged his need for prayer support:

Col 4:3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

(a) Pray for a Gospel door to be opened. Forward praying is key to conversions because in so doing we are asking God to prepare souls to be acceptable to hearing the Gospel and ready to believe it.

(b) Pray for the preaching. Preachers and evangelists are saved sinners with the potential of not ticking all the boxes as they prepare their message. “The Mystery of Christ” starts at a good creation, moving to the Garden where man sinned affecting all human life (inherit sinful disposition) resulting is rebelling against God, losing spiritual morality and innocence and becoming God’s enemy. God promised a Savior in Genesis 3:15 and throughout the Old Testament, progressively explains and promises who this one would be and what He would do until this is fulfilled when He Himself comes to earth as God Incarnate in Jesus Christ. The reason for this is that man as a sinner could not pay the required sin price to be set free because he is a sinner. Jesus models righteous living because He was sinless. The sinful human nature passed on from Adam was not in Him because He had no human father. He taught repentance and faith, was executed on the Cross at Calvary as an innocent man, was dead and buried and rose again on the third day. He substituted Himself in death for all believers as a full and final payment for sin and guilt. He substituted for all believers as He took back His life guaranteeing a resurrection from the dead and life in glory forever. Confession of sin, faith in God’s Rescue Plan (Jesus) and repentance unto God proving a changed heart, mind and life is required. Prayer is required to get the message’s ingredients right!

(c) Pray for clarity in preaching. Prayer is required for the preacher’s proclamation abilities. The message needs to be ordered, clear, understandable and believable! The reason for prayer as it relates to these three aspects is that the Gospel bullet has one target in the hearer … and this target is to hit the heart in such a manner that it affects the mind which causes the will to respond positively! Reflect backwards … Jonah prayed most intentionally about being restored … and he was. Then he was also sent to proclaim to an unbelieving city, the great City of Nineveh! We will see the result soon, but before we pray … what Jonah did is what the first disciples did. Their methodology was

(1) Prayer (Acts 1:14) and

(2) Proclamation (Acts 2:14-41).

Father, grant Your Church a passion to pray for the proclamation of the Gospel. May we Your people soak preachers in prayer so that You might anoint them with Holy Spirit power and boldness to proclaim the Gospel fearlessly. Amen.

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