The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:32, NKJV)
God warned Nineveh through the preaching of Jonah, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4) Jesus validates Jonah and his work, as well as the repentance of Nineveh. He said “they repented at the preaching of Jonah”. This incident teaches us what the Son of God regards as genuine repentance. The people of Nineveh “believed God” when they heard God’s word and proclaimed a fast, indicative of contrite hearts over their sins (Jonah 3:5). Their king led them in acts of remorse over their sins, commanding them to “cry mightily to God” and to “let everyone turn from his evil”, thereby appealing to God’s mercy to relent and spare the city (Jonah 3:6-9). “Then God saw their works, that they turned form their evil way; and God relented…” (Jonah 3:10). Repenting of sin is not reporting one’s sin. Repentance is an action of faith, produced by godly sorrow. It is the change of heart that leads one to change his or her life conform to the will of God. The pertinent question is, will you repent at the preaching of the apostles and prophets of Jesus? If you will not repent, wrath is certain (Rom. 2:5). If you will repent, forgiveness is given (Acts 2:38). Will you be condemned by the men of Nineveh in the judgment, or will you stand with them?
1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1–3, NKJV)
It is false to conclude that a horrific death of suffering signifies that person was particularly evil. The Galileans murdered by Pilate were no worse sinners than others. Death comes to us all, and sometimes, in very tragic ways. A worse fate awaits every sinner who refuses to repent. Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others and comforting yourself in their suffering. All of us have sinned, and unless we repent we face a fate worse than physical suffering. Jesus described hell as a place where “their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mk. 9:47-48). Only with a change of heart (repentance) are we equipped to serve Christ. Without repentance, we perish.
Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established. (Proverbs 15:22, NKJV)
Just as there is safety in numbers when facing imminent danger, the wise person knows the value of seeking sound, godly advice when planning a course of action. Do you only seek for counselors who will justify what you have already decided to do? Or, do you find those who will give you a balanced assessment, grounded in truth and wisdom? The most important counsel to seek is God’s word and those who know it. Access this valuable resource. The counsel of godly men and women who know and live God’s word in invaluable as you plan your life. Godly counsel, anchored in God’s word, will equip you for success.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. (2 Corinthians 5:10–11, NKJV)
The future judgment of every human being will happen before Christ’s judgment seat. It will be a personal judgment. It will be a just judgment before Christ and rendered by Christ according to our lives on earth, whether our deeds were good or bad. The day of judgment ought to bring terror to the heart of every person who is not living in harmony with the will of God. Gospel preaching is about persuading sinners to come to Jesus Christ to be saved from sin and thus escape the terror of God’s judgment. Do you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God? If so, then be persuaded to trust Him enough to take Him at His word and do whatever His word says. You will stand before Him one day and tell Him either why you did, or why you did not follow Him. Are you ready for that day to come? Get ready now: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
1 An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes, when he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. 3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. 4 He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.” (Psalm 36:1–4, NKJV)
The sweet psalmist explains a fundamental problem of sinners and sin: they do not fear God. Reverence for God is as foreign to them as water in a desert. Those deceived in sin flatter themselves for their cunning while they are consumed by foolishness. Lies come easy because they do not “abhor evil” (verse 4). We cannot fully “cling to what is good” unless we correspondingly “abhor what is evil” (Rom. 12:9). And that begins with fearing God (Matt. 10:28). Failure to reverence God exalts man in his own eyes, producing contempt for what is good.
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them. (Proverbs 28:4, NKJV)
There is a battle raging between good and evil. The battle line of this war can be seen by how both good and evil people view God’s law. The wicked reject the rule of God’s law over their lives because they love iniquity. Therefore, the wicked praise others who join them in abandoning God’s law. Evil men will praise you when you join them in their evil. But, those who obey the law of God do not praise evil, they contend against it. Faithful Christians cannot remain silent in the face of evil. We must join Timothy and “wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience” (1 Tim. 1:18-19). The battle against sin must be fought and will be won by the power of the Lord’s strength (Eph. 6:10-17). Jesus fought the battle against evil. His apostles fought the battle against evil. Faithful Christians fight the same battle. The person who refuses to “contend earnestly for the faith” against sin is refusing to love the law of God and the soul of the person who sins against it. Truly, the person who refuses to contend against sinners will be praised by the wicked.
I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. (Romans 7:9, NKJV)
Babies are not born sinners; they are innocent before God. The Bible says “unless you are converted and become as little children you, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Sinners are converted from sin and death into newness of life, not the other way around. Therefore, we correctly conclude that children are innocent and not sinners before God. This is what Paul describes in today’s verse. When Paul was a child he was “alive”, that is, he was not dead in sin. He did not have a corrupt nature. When he grew to an age of moral capacity he became responsible to keep God’s commands, one of which said, “You shall not covet” (Rom. 7:7-8). But, when tempted, he yielded and committed sin, producing his spiritual death. He needed to be saved from his sins. Like Paul and everyone else, we are sinners by choice, not by physical birth. We can choose to be “born again” and be doing so, become as a little child – humble and free of sin.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8, NKJV)
Too often we have an attitude that says, “Here am I…send someone else!” Isaiah’s ready faith to volunteer to speak for God to His wayward people arouses our zeal to do the same. We must be ready and willing to accomplish God’s purposes. You can have this attitude in your marriage, devoting yourself to be a loving husband or a respectful wife. Like Isaiah, if you are sent to preach the word of God, do so with diligent, enduring faith. If you lead God’s people as an elder, faithfully attend to your stewardship to the glory of God. God wants willing servants. Devote yourself to greater zeal in the Lord’s service. Isaiah is a great example to follow.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NKJV)
The gospel message is the same for us all. Yet, how to most effectively convey the spiritual blessings of its message to others often depends on their specific spiritual needs. For example, the unruly Christian ought to be sternly warned of the spiritual danger that comes from being insubordinate to the will of Christ. Discouraged Christians, whose faith is undergoing particular stress, need the comfort that comes from the redemptive hope we have in Christ. Weak Christians need to be strengthened in their faith with good doses of God’s word coupled with mutual burden-sharing (Gal. 6:2). All need patience to grow and mature in Christ. Becomes aware of the spiritual needs of your brethren. Then, use the gospel to meet their needs and to advance their spiritual growth in Christ.
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. (Acts 10:1–2, NKJV)
Cornelius was a good man. He was a man of devotion, integrity, generosity and reverence. Yet, for all this, he was a man lost in sin. He needed to hear the gospel – words from the apostle Peter by which he and all his household would be saved (Acts 10:22; 11:14). His need for salvation illustrates an important lesson for all who wish to go to heaven: A good moral life does not save a sinner from his or her sins. Only the blood of Jesus does that (Eph. 1:7). Since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” we all need to be saved from our sin. A good moral life will not do that. Only Christ, through His gospel, saves sinners (Acts 4:12). The gospel that the apostles preached to everybody, including Cornelius, is summarized in this: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16; see Acts 10:43-48).