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Monday 18 September 2023

How We Know God Cares For Us


You can watch the video of this short message hereThis is an excerpt from a longer message that I will be sharing a bit later. 

One of the most important things that many Christians forget is that if we truly care about people then that means we will tell them the truth. Even if it is not popular and sometimes when it is not wanted. Because if you really care about someone or you really want to do good then you will warn someone of a present danger. God does this very same thing for us too:

The Warning (3:4) – Hence the warning. God told Jonah to go and preach to the Ninevehites whatever he told him to preach, now that Jonah is repentant and ready to obey, this is exactly what he does, finally. And this is what he proclaims: “4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” The shortest and most effective sermon ever. Really simple isn’t it. It is almost as succinct and means much the same thing as the old movie sidewalk prophet’s sign, “Repent, for the end is nigh!”

What a message, a short message, but what a message. Jonah warns the Ninevehites that destruction is coming. No big illustrations, no meandering, no side-issues, no pleading with them. Just a straight up warning about the coming wrath.

This is also how we know that God loved the Ninevehites: he really wanted to warn them about their coming destruction. This is the key linchpin to understanding this whole passage, this whole book. In reality, this is the key linchpin to understanding the word of God: God cares. God does not want people to perish, he does not want people to be destroyed. As God tells us in Ezekiel 18:32, “32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” The fact that God wants to warn the sinner shows that he cares.

Why do you warn someone about the danger that is coming? So that disaster will not happen. So that they can be rescued from it. Warning someone of danger can sometimes be the most obnoxious thing they experience from you, but it is often a necessary act of love. One that might even make them hate you.

This allows me to address a serious issue that many Christians face in the world today. Some Christians, and this is terrible, think that when you have a non-Christian friend who chooses a destructive way of life, or a dangerous path of life, that the best thing to do is just be nice to them and love them no matter what, and affirm them, no matter what. These Christians think this is loving.

The reason they think this is loving, is because the world’s definition of love is affirmation no matter what. In fact, the world will say that if you do not affirm their way of life, their every decision, their sexuality, their greed, their gluttony, their arrogance, their narcissism, their gender identity, or whatever, you are hateful, bigoted, or evil.  

But the truth is to affirm destructive behaviours is hateful. Because it helps move the person towards destruction. Would it have been loving for God to affirm the evil ways of the Ninevehites? No, because this would have guaranteed their destruction would come sooner.”

Are you willing to warn people of the danger that they are heading towards? Because this is a key part of truly loving as Christ would have us love. Don’t fall for the world’s definition of love, affirmation is not love, sometimes affirmation can be loving, but in the wrong situation, or towards the wrong behaviour, it can be devastating to be affirming. Love and truth are not opposites, they are fellows that must always accompany each other.


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