The call of Jesus is a simple one. Jesus said come follow me and do what I tell you to do and if you do, you will proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth in the authority of His name, with power from on High and all who believe will have eternal life. The name of Jesus brings salvation. Joseph was told Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us).” To have this salvation, we must obey His words. Jesus said John 14:15 “If you love me keep my commands.” Jesus also said John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It is imperative that you make sure the words you believe have not been distorted by man. Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Jesus came and dwelt among us, showed us what to do and then gave us His words to follow. Not only do we have His words, Jesus left us the Spirit of truth to guide us in those words and give us understanding and power. John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
If we want to be part of such a great salvation and the power that goes with it, we must return to God’s words and live by them. We must believe and hold on to the correct teaching with everything we have. Millions have been deceived because they followed the wrong words about Jesus. There is only one way, one truth and one life. John 1:4 “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” As Jesus said to the Jews who believed, holding to His teaching makes them His disciples. If you do not hold to His teaching, you do not love God. This offer of salvation requires repentance and turning from your wicked ways. Matthew 4:17 “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 11:20 “Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.” Jesus said Luke 13:3 “unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Peter said Acts 3:17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people. 24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.””
Today I want to look at the book of Jonah. It is a short book, four chapters, so maybe take the time now to read it. (Jonah 1) In this book we see powerful repentance not only from the preacher but also those preached to. I want to look at three areas with the first being repentance, the second telling others to repent and then the third to accept the results of such a great salvation whoever they may be. First of all Jonah is called by God to preach repentance. Jonah 1:1 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” This was an evil city. Not only was it evil, later in Jonah God says Jonah 4:11 “the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Before Jonah preaches repentance to the Ninevites, he himself has to repent. When Jonah preached repentance, the Ninevites immediately repented. Jonah on the other hand did not listen to God and tried to flee and went in the opposite direction. While running away Jonah would gain a new understanding of the power of God. Instead of obeying, Jonah ran in the opposite direction. This was not a very good start to preaching repentance. Jonah boards a ship thinking he could hide from God but then God sends a storm that threatens to destroy the ship. Jonah then tells the men to throw him overboard and the storm would calm. At this point Jonah must have thought this would be the end but then Jonah 1:17 “the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
While in the fish, Jonah would bow before God and submit to Him. Jonah 2:1 “He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, Salvation comes from the Lord. 10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” Each of us needs to call out to God in desperation.
We also saw Peter have to come to terms with serving God. Matthew 26:31 “Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” 34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you. And all the other disciples said the same.” Unlike Jonah at first, Peter spoke as if he would stand firm but in the end he hid just like Jonah tried to do. Luke 22:61 “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” Matthew 26:75 “And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Later Jesus would tell Peter to feed His sheep and after Pentecost Peter would lead the disciples in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Another who had to come to a clearer understanding was Job. Unlike Peter and Jonah, he did not turn away but remained steadfast throughout his suffering. Even though Job never waivered, he even repented. He said, Job 42:5 “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” This is where we all have to be. We must repent as Job did. The message is clear and simple. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” John 1:12 “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
The message is still the same today as it was when Jonah was sent to Nineveh and when Peter preached to the Jews. When Jesus and the disciples preached repentance, there was a refusal by the Jews to believe. Jesus said to the Jews John 8:45 “Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” There were even disciples who did not believe. John 6:63 “The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them. 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” The words of truth go out and you either listen and repent or you turn away and reject His words. Today there is still a stubborn refusal to obey. The message is simple yet most refuse to listen and go their own ways.
Jonah was told at first Jonah 1:2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” After Jonah submitted, God told him a second time Jonah 3:2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you. 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Today that message falls on deaf ears. What if someone stood up in your town or city and said forty more days and this place will be overthrown? Would you listen? Today there is no fear of God in the land. Since there is no fear of God our enemies no longer fear the church. The Ninevites on the other hand feared God. Think back to when Jesus preached repentance. God dwelt among the people just as Isaiah said He would. Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” John 1:9 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Even in the presence of Jesus and all the miracles He preformed, people refused to listen. John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” To this day there is a stubborn refusal to believe.
This account of repentance in Nineveh is amazing. Jesus said Matthew 12:41 “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.” The astonishing part of this is how quickly they repented. Jonah’s obedience led to the salvation of this city. After Jonah preached Jonah 3:5 “The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”
God is still looking for everyone to repent. When Jesus sent out the disciples he Luke 9:1 “He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Jesus said that repentance would bring the kingdom near. Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” In Acts Paul said Acts 20:20 “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” Jesus told the seventy two He sent out, Luke 10:8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. 13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The message of repentance is foundational to the church doing as Jesus commanded us to do. 2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” The amazing part of Jonah’s preaching is that God even gave the Ninevites an opportunity to repent. We are not seeing that kind of power. Today the powerless church is mocked by our enemies for our powerlessness. Just as they mocked Jesus at His crucifixion, the church is still mocked. Mark 15:16 “The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.” 2 Peter 3:3 “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” Today’s church remains powerless and the enemy prevails against us because of our disobedience. satan is not afraid of the church as it stands now. What he is afraid of is a repentant church because the kingdom of God then comes near just as Jesus said it would. When the kingdom comes near, the church will Matthew 10:1 “drive out impure spirits and heal every disease and sickness.” Acts 8:7 “For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.”
The main problem is not the world refusing to repent; it is the church who refuses to listen. Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 65:1 “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ 2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations— 3 a people who continually provoke me to my very face.” When the church listens and repents, then the church can go to the ends of the earth and proclaim the true gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Like Jonah, the church has been called to preach the gospel. The simple message of repentance is still the same; repent so the kingdom of God will come near. We have been called to make disciples but unfortunately most are making the wrong disciples. You have to ask what have you been saved into? Whose disciple are you? All kinds of people are going to the ends of the earth or teaching right where they are and leading millions astray by teaching other gospels. Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” 2 Peter 2:19 “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” This has been happening for generations and people are dying not knowing the truth. They have gone to church their whole lives only to find out they are at the wrong gate or will be told I don’t know you. You do not want to die and then find out you have been deceived. Check now and test the spirits. 1 John 4:1
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Today the call to repent is still the same. 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” The church has always proclaimed the great commission; accept it has been a powerless one. They have proclaimed a powerless gospel, which is no gospel at all as Paul said in Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all.” The great commission is Matthew 28:18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The problem is there is no difference between Matthew and Mark but you would never know it looking at the church as the Mark passage has been neglected. The church does not include the power part even though it is understood in Matthew. Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” As Mark said Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”
This call to repentance should look the same today but like Jonah the church must turn around and repent and turn from their wicked ways and obey the command of the Lord. The message is still the same. Romans 10:14 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” 19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” 20 And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” 21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Today even the Gentiles refuse to listen and repent, all the while believing with all their heart that God’s wrath will not fall on them because they go to church. Yes God is merciful but He is a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24 “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” The Ninevites repented because they feared God and they repented immediately. Look how long the church has gone in their own ways and it is only getting worse. The good news is that the promise of the kingdom coming near is still available to us. Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
Our only hope is to listen and change our ways. Jonah thought he could hide from God but found out that was not the case. Most in the church today who call themselves Christians are far from it and refuse to turn from their manmade ways yet believe unto death their way is the right way. Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death.” The church is in ruins and desolation is everywhere. False teachers continue to distort the word of God and millions are and continue to fall for it. Prayers go unanswered just as Isaiah said they would. Isaiah 1:2 “Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. 7 Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers. 8 Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege. 9 Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!” Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short no one would survive.”
Even though this is how it is in the church today, God is merciful to those who would turn from their wicked ways. It is important to understand it is the church who first needs to hear the call to repent if we want the world to repent. Isaiah goes on to say Isaiah 1:16 “Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Once Jonah had turned back to God he went to a people who definitely did not deserve the grace of God though as soon as he spoke the people feared God and repented. He said Jonah 3:4 “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God.” The word of the Lord has been so distorted and there is so much deception today that most in the church doesn’t know they should be fearful of God and so they do not repent. Unlike the Ninevites who believed God’s word, the church doesn’t believe what is written before us in scripture. Even though hell is very clearly described in scripture, most in the church do not believe that God would actually send people to hell for not believing. If the church truly did believe Jesus when he said in Revelation 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches, ”there would be repentance for fear of being spewed out of His mouth.
Paul said to Timothy 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Paul was not a perpetual sinner as many believe he was. He was radically changed but when he talks of being the worst sinner it is because of His life before. He persecuted the church with great zeal and even stood by when Stephen was stoned to death. 1 Corinthians 15:9 “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
We see another example of someone who would be considered the worst of all sinners and that was King Manasseh. 2 Chronicles 33:1 “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. 7 He took the image he had made and put it in God’s temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. 8 I will not again make the feet of the Israelites leave the land I assigned to your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them concerning all the laws, decrees and regulations given through Moses.” 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” This was the leader of God’s people. Here we see that it could be said that Manasseh was even worse than the Ninevites. He and the people refused to listen. Again it is important to understand that God will allow the enemy into our lives until we return to Him and this is what happened to Manasseh. 2 Kings 21:10 “The Lord said through his servants the prophets: 11 “Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols. 12 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 13 I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and give them into the hands of enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their enemies; 15 they have done evil in my eyes and have aroused my anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until this day.” Finally Manasseh repented. 2 Chronicles 33:10 “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.”
We have a choice just as the Ninevites had. We can choose to believe God at His word and live or refuse and continue to live our lives for ourselves. The church can continue in its deception and delusion 2 Thessalonians 2:12 “so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness,” or John 1:12 “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Zephaniah also describes the church today. Zephaniah 1:1 “Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! 2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. 3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. 4 Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law. 5 The Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame. 6 “I have destroyed nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are laid waste; they are deserted and empty. 7 Of Jerusalem I thought, ‘Surely you will fear me and accept correction!’ Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did. 8 Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them— all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.”
Because of God’s great compassion we have hope of life once again and then we can be the church we were supposed to be in the first place and go out in power, bringing salvation to the ends of the earth. Zephaniah goes to say, Zephaniah 3:9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10 From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. 11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12 But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord. 13 They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.” 14 Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. 16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. 17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” 18 “I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you. 19 At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. 20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.”
Jesus said Mark 1:15 “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus Luke 24:45 “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” If the church would repent and turn from its wicked ways, we would once again see the church doing as it was supposed to do. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” The church was to continue in this power but due to its disobedience, became powerless against our enemies and the abomination that causes desolation was set up against us. Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” The church no longer could defeat their enemies. That will all change when the church turns from its wickedness and the end is poured out on our enemies.
When the Ninevites heard the word of the Lord they repented. Jonah 3:5 “A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” We also see this directive in Joel. Joel 1:13 “Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. 15 Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. 16 Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes— joy and gladness from the house of our God? 17 The seeds are shriveled beneath the clods. The storehouses are in ruins, the granaries have been broken down, for the grain has dried up. 18 How the cattle moan! The herds mill about because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep are suffering. 19 To you, Lord, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. 20 Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness.” Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God. 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. 16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. 17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?”
We then see the Lord’s answer to those who would repent. Joel 2:18 “Then the Lord was jealous for his land and took pity on his people. 19 The Lord replied to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations. 20 “I will drive the northern horde far from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land; its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise.” Surely he has done great things! 21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things! 22 Do not be afraid, you wild animals, for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. 23 Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. 24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. 25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. 27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. 28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.” The Spirit of God was supposed to be poured out on all people and everyone who called on the name of the Lord would be saved just like the Ninevites were saved when they repented.
God wants to restore all the years the locusts have eaten. God wants to pour out so much blessing we will not have room for it. Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. (not just money but our lives) 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.” This is what God wants to do for us if we would turn from our wicked ways and follow wholeheartedly.
If the church would return to its first love, we would see God move in power once again. The church at Ephesus was told in Revelation 2:4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” The church today is so far from the truth and our enemies prevail against us due to our disobedience. There is no power to defeat our enemies and the church lies desolate but there is hope that once again the church will rise up in power and proclaim the true gospel of Jesus Christ in the authority of Jesus name and with power from on High. We then will go to the ends of the earth and do as Jesus did because we did as He said to do. People will call on the name of the Lord and be saved. The message will once again go into the world. Jesus prayed for us and those who would listen. John 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” As of now the church is not one and the world does not know the truth, therefore not being set free. When the church once again follows God’s word, the world will see amazing things just as it saw with Jesus and His disciples. People from everywhere and from all walks of life will be saved. Like Nineveh, Manasseh and even Paul, there will be salvation for all no matter how evil they were. None of us deserve such a great salvation but God is merciful.
When God allowed Nineveh to be saved, Jonah wasn’t happy about it. Jonah 3:10 “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” Jonah then complains to God and we see why Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh in the first place. Jonah 4:4 “But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live. 4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
This may be hard to understand but there will be those that many will not think are worthy of God’s salvation. Matthew 20:8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 21:28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”
Yes there will be people saved on their death beds and people saved who lived an evil life. Paul said to Timothy 1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” Today we are missing the convicting power of the Holy Spirit because there is no fear of God. Most who call themselves Christians feel safe and secure in their doctrines and theology. I would say that most have no idea what it really means to be a Christian nor do they know who God is. They also have no idea of the power that is available to all who would believe. Today the church is filled with people “who cannot tell their right hand from their left.” Most are easily deceived because they do not fear God. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” That time has been here for generations. They will look for someone to itch their ears and they will find them. Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” To turn and repent means to turn from everything they have been taught. If you have been raised in a denomination and think you are a Catholic Christian or Protestant Christian, an independent or any other, think again. Jesus said John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He also said “12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”
The plan for the church was that God would dwell among us. God would not dwell in a building built with human hands but would now live in each of us. Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.” 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” Ephesians 2:9 “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Don’t be like Jonah or Peter who turned away. Jesus said to Peter Matthew 16:17 “Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” Even though Peter said Jesus was the Messiah Son of God, he would deny Jesus three times later and turned away just like Jonah did. Yes Peter did become a Rock and preached the gospel fearlessly and people listened and repented. Luke 11:32 “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.” Don’t join with those who are condemned for their unbelief. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” We have been given a promise and that promise will be fulfilled because God promised David there would always be a remnant. I share this verse again to give us hope. Peter said Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” With your actions are you yelling crucify Him, crucify Him or are you shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Jerusalem now represents the church. Jesus said Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Repent and the Kingdom of God will come near! Will you say Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord like the Ninevites and repent so that you will hear, Matthew 25:34 “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Or will you hear “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” There are only two options for eternity; 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Psalm 95:1 “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 3 For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice, 8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. 10 For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.” Hebrews 3:12 “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”