Let me take you through an interesting Bible study comparing how two evangelists, one under LAW and the other under GRACE, reacted to God’s commandment to evangelize and how the ‘people’ reacted to their messages! Are you ready?
In this part we shall be examining the evangelist under LAW and how his ministry went. This first evangelist is named JONAH! Hmm…
‘Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.’ (Jonah 1:1-2)
Hmm… This was before Jesus died!
Under Law: the wickedness of people ‘come up’ before God.
But under Grace: the Bible says God…
‘…hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.’ (2cor 5:18-19)
Hmm… While the word of evangelism for Jonah under Law was a word of judgment… our word of evangelism in this new dispensation of Grace is the word of RECONCILIATION! Now let us go ahead with our analysis of Jonah’s evangelical ministry. What was Jonah’s reaction to the instruction of God?
‘But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD….’ (Jonah 1:3)
Hmm… Many people think Jonah ran away from this ‘call’ because he was afraid! Lol…! Jonah was not afraid of going to Nineveh neither was he actually deliberately ‘disobedient’! In fact, when he was trying all he could to ‘escape’ from God. He ran into a ship, hid himself at the basement. A great storm arose, troubled the people in the ship so much that they got to know that the calamity was on them because of Jonah! When they approached Jonah to tell them what was going on, Jonah said these words:
‘…Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.’ (Jonah 1:12)
Wow! Jonah preferred DYING to going to preach to the people of Nineveh! Definitely, he wasn’t afraid to do what God asked him to do! There was a particular reason why he wouldn’t want to go! Keep following the story! When he finally went to preach at Nineveh (after spending 3days and 3nights in the belly of a fish),….he said to the people of Nineveh:
‘…Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’ (Jonah 3:4)
Wow! Jonah spelled out 40DAYS for the people to repent! Whether it was God that told him to say so or not, we were not told…but he used his prophetic mandate to put a time limit on their repentance! Hmm….what could be going on? Why would Jonah not want to go in the first place? And why is Jonah so harsh and rash on the people now that he finally went? Keep following and you will soon discover the answer! Now let us see the response of the people to the preaching of Jonah:
‘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 3:5)
Hmm….’Proclaimed a fast’ in order to seek God’s mercy! It’s so funny some preachers today use this text to tell believers to FAST in order to obtain God’s mercy! That is ABSOLUTELY wrong! I will explain why it shouldn’t be so in the Part 2 of this series. Let’s go on.
So, the people eventually repented and God’s anger was turned away from them! Oh Hallelujah! What should be the reaction of Evangelist Jonah when he saw that the people repented? Hmm…
‘But it DISPLEASED Jonah EXCEEDINGLY, and he was very ANGRY….’ (Jonah 4:1)
Wow! Now we are about to see the very reason why Jonah preferred to die in the SEA than to preach at Nineveh! He was not happy that God restrained his judgment because of the people’s repentance! Hear his words:
‘…for I knew that thou art a GRACIOUS God, and MERCIFUL, SLOW to anger, and of GREAT KINDNESS, and repentest thee of the evil… Therefore now, O LORD, TAKE, I beseech thee, MY LIFE from me; for it is better for me to die than to live’! (Jonah 4:1-3)
Wow! Jonah was not happy that God is GRACIOUS!!! That was the reason he wouldn’t go in the first place! Many preachers today are JONAH-PREACHERS! They hate to hear the word ‘GRACE’! They prefer to teach about judgment and HELL from morning to night! But if they hear you talk about GRACE… they get very furious!
Don’t be a JONAH-BELIEVER! Don’t be judgment minded! Be GRACE minded! God is NOT a wicked God….and He has made salvation EASY for ANYBODY who would simply BELIEVE in the DEATH and RESURRECTION of His Son for their sins! Hmm…
But there is more to this Jonah story! Read the Part 2 of this series as we consider how Jonah ended his ministry and how God carries out evangelism under GRACE today!
Remember: don’t be a JONAH-BELIEVER! If God can save you, then even the worst sinner today can be SAVED!
Let me say that again! If God can save you, then even the worst sinner today can be SAVED! You are NOT better than any of them!Don’t ‘dislike’ the GRACIOUS aspect of God!God is so Gracious that sin no longer stops the flow of His GRACE!
‘…where sin abounds, Grace MUCH MORE abounds’! (Romans 5:20)
Hmm… Don’t be a JONAH-BELIEVER! Else you will be categorised among those whom Jesus referred to when He said:
‘…the publicans and the harlots GO INTO THE KINGDOM before you’! (Matthew 21:31)
Remain under Grace.