Go…There? Pt. 3

God Always Responds To True Repentance With Forgiveness.

Tim Lundy
May 30, 2021    41m
Do you want to come back to God, but you feel like he won't forgive you? This message of hope, from the Book of Jonah, will remind you the God always responds to true repentance with forgiveness and mercy. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:00] Well, Venture, as we begin in Jonah chapter 3, it's a little bit like a Groundhog Day moment. And what I mean in that, I love Bill Murray movies and one of my favorites is Groundhog Day, it's not quite as good as What About Bob, but it's close. And in it, Murray plays this weatherman who's stuck reliving the same day, and he's up in Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day, and every day he wakes up in the same little bed and breakfast bed and the radio goes off and it is Sonny and Cher singing I Got You Babe, and he's kind of stuck in this loop until he gets it right. Now, I say that because Jonah's having his Groundhog Day moment. After all that he's experienced in chapters 1 and 2, where he's a message from God, run from God, swallowed by the fish, and now spit up on the shore. Chapter 3 begins, exactly where 1 was, almost in the exact same way. And in that moment, Jonah gets to relive again what gods called him to, and we get to see how he responds.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:33] If you've got your Bibles, or you can read along with me. Jonah 3 verse 1, it says, just like the beginning of this book, "Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time." And it's the same message, God hasn't wavered despite all Jonah has been through, it's not like God looks at him and says, OK, you've learned your lesson. No, God said I had a plan for you all along, and so I want you to actually do it. “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” Now, notice the difference, though, "So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD." And so, as you look at this, this first part of Jonah 3, there's really a message from God, the first one is to Jonah, the second one we're going to see is to Nineveh. And so as you look at this message to Jonah, it's pretty clear "Arise and go to Nineveh." Get up off the shore, go to five hundred and fifty miles to the northeast, go to that great city, this massive capital of the world, and take the message I've given you. And what we see, instead of him staying in a loop, Jonas learned his lesson and he goes, I mean, he immediately obeys.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:52] And just for a moment, I want to stop, because I think this is important for us. I think it's just important to recognize when you have a clear message from God, when God has told you something directly, maybe it's in his word, maybe it's in your life, but you know it's a clear message from God, you can learn a lot from Jonah in this. Here's the first thing I would say that we learn, don't wait to do what God has clearly called you to do, don't wait. Now, again, I know there are times where it's not always clear, you're trying to discern God's will in something that maybe is not explicit. I recognize those times, you want to spend it in prayer, you want to seek counsel. I'm not talking about those moments, I'm talking about those times that something in your life, maybe it's something you've gotten involved with, maybe it's a relationship you need to end, maybe it's somebody God's told you to forgive and you need to forgive them, maybe it's an addiction that's caught up with you, or you know you've crossed that line over and over again, something that you read in God's word and it's a clear command, and you know he's speaking to you. Listen to me, just do it, obey it. Don't keep putting it off, don't get caught in your own loop, you can create your own Groundhog Day where God has to keep teaching you a lesson.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:14] Jonah has been through enough that he learns, man, I'm just going to do it. And when I say that, because here's where I think we trap ourselves the most, we keep waiting for that moment when I really feel like it, when my feelings are telling me, yeah, that's what I should do. Here's what I'd say in this, don't wait until you want to. See, you always want your action to lead your feelings, especially when God's clear.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:41] We're going to see in this story, Joan is still at a place he doesn't really want to do this, he still doesn't like of Nineveh, he's still not really happy about it, and we'll deal with it next week, especially, it shows those emotions. But he's learned this, despite his feelings, he knows that God has said this clearly, and so he lets his actions lead his feelings instead of the other way around. And I say this because if you are a follower of Jesus, you're going to hit different points in life, whether it's something in his word where he tells you to do something, where he calls you to step out by faith. And it's easy to get real stuck when the clearest thing you can do in that moment, if God's made it clear, is obey.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:32] You know, I was thinking about it in our life, one of those times that Lea and I experienced it the most, is our two oldest girls. They are our daughters now, but when they were teenagers, they were my brother's girls, they were nieces. And he was raising them alone, and his alcoholism had reached the point that we had a family crisis meeting because all of us realized he was not going to be able to take care of them, and their mother was not in the picture. And I still remember we were sitting around the room with my family, and we're kind of discussing somebody's got to do something right now of respite care for the girls, let's get them taken care of and then see if we can get him in treatment. And as we're looking around the room, I realized, you know, everybody in my family, we have the same goal, but nobody else there had the ability really at that point to do anything about it. My brother lived overseas, my mom didn't have the ability in it, and so we're really wrestling, OK, God, are you calling us to take in these girls? And we loved them, but we loved them as nieces, and they'd always lived in another state. And at that point in life, I mean, we had four small kids and one on the way, and I was leading a really large church, so life was busy, and we had a three-bedroom, two-bath house. So, we were feeling tight already, and this decision needed to be made in the next week or so because we had to figure out what the girls were going to do for school the next year.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:59] I remember, we asked a few people that they were praying about it, and I had some friends who came along, and it was almost kind of rescuer complex where they said, oh, this is so noble what you're doing, God will take care of all the problems, just trust him and do it. And that didn't feel quite right, I mean, if God's calling us to do it, but that doesn't mean all the problems go away. Then I had other friends that looked at us and said, look, whoa, this is going to be damaging to your kids, you've got to protect the home, and heard the truth and that as well, but I didn't know that that's what God was saying.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:34] And so, Lea and I, we went away that weekend, we went to a cabin, I had a friend that has a house on a lake, and we just prayed the weekend. And I, specifically, was asking her because she was the mom in the home, and these were my brother's girls, and this was really going to change our family, especially what she was doing. And at this point, we were only just praying about the next year, we didn't know all that God had in store beyond that. And as we were praying about it, you know, I asked her, I said, what do you think? And I remember she had been spending time in God's word, and she said, you know, this one verse just keeps coming back to me. In James 1, when James says, "This is pure and undefiled religion, this is what it means to really follow God; is that you take care of widows and orphans." And she goes, they're in our family, it's just hard for me to say that God's not saying, man, take care of these girls in this time. And so we made the decision and trusted God in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:42] And we came home, and I'll never forget our small group, we were in a small group, that's why I always encourage you if you're not in a small group or life group, man, these are the times you need people the most. We did Extreme Home Makeover in the Lundy House that weekend. I mean, we came in, we were painting bedrooms, we moved all the boys, we had a playroom, so we moved all the boys in the playroom. We had this little walk-in closet with the sloped ceiling, and that became the nursery. I mean, that was only space, so we created a nursery for this baby that was about to be born.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:10] And then we all began this journey together. And, you know, it was not just us, but these nieces coming in, there's a long journey for them, they left the home they were used to in the state they were used to, and we began life together. And we didn't realize that year my brother didn't get better, he died. And this went from respite care to a new relationship of life, that they were not nieces, they became our daughters. And there were hard parts along that journey, but, you know, when I look at it now and I really, I can't fathom life, here we are 14 years later, I can't fathom life without them. That they truly are our daughters, and their siblings love them as sisters. And you can't picture the Lundy family without them, and now their husbands and our grandchildren, and all that God blessed out of that.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:10] I don't say that because everybody's supposed to take that journey, that's what God had called us to. But I do say this, because when you come to those junctures, and he calls you to step out like that, you have a choice, am I going to respond out of fear and pull back, or when he has explicitly spoken and called, will I step out in faith, will I trust him in it? And I've got to believe somebody out here listening to this, you're one of those crossroads. Maybe it's by faith he's telling you, you've got to stop something because this is not good for your life. Maybe by faith, he's telling some of you very explicitly, man, you've got to step out and trust me because this is my call on your life. I would just encourage you in that, where he has led trust it, do it, and then let your actions then lead your feelings instead of the other way around.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:16] Now as he does this, notice for Jonah, he's got an explicit message through Jonah to the people of Nineveh. And so look at the second part of this, "Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ journey in breadth." So if you took the outskirts of it to walk that city took three days, so that's a massive city at this time. And Jonah began to go into the city, and he goes on a day's journey. Now, I told you, Jonah, doesn't have the best attitude, so he doesn't exactly kill himself, to go around the whole city is three days, he puts in one day. And from what I can tell, he only preaches one message, "He called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:02] And so, if you look at it on the slide, the message to Nineveh is, 40 days until Nineveh will be overthrown. Again, I told you, Jonah didn't really kill himself with this sermon. He kind of goes out there and says, hey, I'm just going to let you guys know what's coming. And here's what's coming, you’ve got 40 days or you're going to be overthrown. Now, you look at that and it sounds very ominous, but it's interesting to me this word overthrown, it's actually hapak in the Hebrew. It has one of two meanings, and so this message from Jonah really points to the fact there's one of two outcomes for this city. That if you look at it, the two outcomes based on the same message, the first one is, the first meeting is hapak could mean turnover or destroy. So one of the outcomes could be, hey, in 40 days, God's going to destroy the city. It's the exact same word that was used when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, so it's that same kind of judgment that the wickedness of this city has reached a point that God's going to destroy it. But you know, the fascinating part, there's another meaning for hapak, it doesn't always have to mean to destroy or to overthrow, it also could mean to turn around or to change, so there's this opportunity that's there. He speaks one message, 40 days, and something's going to happen here. Either this city, because of its wickedness, is going to face judgment. or, and here's the fascinating part, this city could actually be changed, something could happen here, there actually could be transformation.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:50] It's interesting, and I think it speaks to the unique message that God offers us, that of ourselves we really can't come to. You know, it's interesting to me, over the years, I have seen more than my share of kind of science fiction, especially superhero movies. With a household full of teenagers, we have seen a lot of superhero movies. And you'll see a common theme with the villains in these movies, that they often are speaking to the fact that they're trying to do something to deal with the fact that humanity's destroying the planet.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:27] And you see it in all different movies, The Matrix, do you remember The Matrix when the computers have taken over. And in their rationality, the computers look at it, and I remember that one part when Agent Smith looks at Neo and he says humanity is a virus, you're a plague, and we're the cure, and here's how we're going to cure you, we just need to wipe you out, because of your fallenness, because of what you've done.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:54] I think of the Batman trilogy, do you remember that the League of Shadows, that Batman is against these villains in the movies. And the League of Shadows said this, we've got to destroy Gotham, we've got to destroy people. When humanity's evil reaches a point, the only thing you can do is just wipe them out, and that's what we're here for.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:12] Or the Marvel movies, The Age of Ultron, same thing, Ultron is going to wipe out humanity. Why? Because humanity is destroying the planet. Maybe the granddaddy of them all, Thanos, what does Thanos say? There are just too many people, it's run amuck. And so, you know, he's just going to wipe out half of, not just humanity on this planet, on every planet in the Marvel Universe.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:34] Now, again, I point this out, you go, Tim, those are all fictional movies. But it speaks to this, as they look at it, they're pointing out a real fact, humanity is fallen, we do create the problem. And their only solution for it is, well, we just need to wipe it out, it's only judgment. And the superheroes, as great as they are when they save the day, they stop the judgment. You know, what's interesting, in all those movies, they really didn't change the people, there's just a stopping of judgment without transformation. And there's a part of us, I think even the reason these stories come up like this, is we wrestle with this. What do you do with the fallen world? What do you do with evil that's out there? You can't just dismiss it, I mean, you see it, there's a part of all of us that go, yeah, there should be justice. And yet, what do you do with justice if you can't change yourself?

Tim Lundy: [00:16:38] You know, Robert Coles, he's a famous psychiatrist, and he gave a lecture at Harvard, to a class at Harvard. And listen as he describes it, he said, "A highly regarded psychiatrist came to me, and he told me about his despair. He said I've been doing therapy with a man for 15 years, he is as angry, as self-centered, and as mean as he was the first day he walked in my office, the only difference is that now he knows why he is so angry at me." And here's what he meant as he went on, he said that the psychiatrist could provide his client with insight as to how his childhood emotional wounding had affected his adult dysfunction, he had this insight of why he was the way he was, but the man still hadn't changed. Coles asked this question, "Could we conclude that what this man needed wasn't just information, but transformation? But is transformation possible for human beings?" It's a profound question. The reality is, we live in the information age, but is it really changing lives? We live with the reality of we see injustice around us, we see things that are wrong, we see things about our planet that we go, man, we want to cure it, we want to see that it's better. But is that possible without change?

Tim Lundy: [00:18:15] And then when you take a holy God who is right, who is powerful, and he looks at it and you see this vivid representation because Nineveh represented about as evil a city as you could get, as you go through the history of it, all the things that they would do. There's not a person listening to this, if you read through it, that you wouldn't look at it and go, yeah, that's an evil place. And Jonah comes forward to this evil cit and he says, hey, one of two things are going to happen because God is about to move here. He's either going to judge this because His Holiness can't let this kind of evil keep going, or maybe, just maybe, something even more radical is going to happen, he's going to change this place, depending on your response.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:08] Look at the response of Nineveh, this is an unbelievable story. This miracle is greater than the one with fish, I know we get caught up with the fish, this is actually the greater miracle here. Look at it, "And the people of Nineveh believed God." Not just any God, they believe Jonah's God. They believed the God, even though they were a people that had all their gods, they especially worshipped, in one of the greatest ironies, do you know the God they worshipped the most was Dagon, the Fish God. And so God sends this messenger who had just been in the belly of a fish for three days, and he says, no, I've got a message for you about the real God, and they believed him. "They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes." And so you see this amazing movement of God.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:11] Look at the first thing that you see in this, there's an immediate response from the people up to the king. Now, this is amazing because especially in the world at that time, nothing changed unless it started with the king down, it was very hierarchical. And so the king was the representative before God, sometimes the kings thought of themselves as gods. And there's no movement across the people unless the king acts first. But remember when Jesus says, my kingdom breaks out, it's different than the world kingdom, it’s not a top down kingdom, It's a bottom up kingdom And the least of these become the first. And so that's one of the signs that you see, man, God is moving here, he's moving among the people to the point that it reaches the king.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:58] And then look what the king does in response to that, "The king issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything." He calls for everybody to fast, to stop eating, "Let them not feed or drink water, 8but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God." Sackcloth, you put that on as a sign of submission, a sign of humility. And so he says, take off your fine clothes, like he had done, and put on sackcloth.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:36] He says, "Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands." That is one of the key reasons God was about to judge the city, they were such a violent people, and so the king says we have to stop this. And then I like this line, he says, "Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” Notice, he says, we're not doing this because we're going to manipulate him, we're not doing this because he's obligated to save us, he says we're doing this and who knows, maybe will be rescued.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:17] Here's what you see on this, and look at this, the statement of the king, it shows the marks of true repentance, it really shows the marks. What should you look for in true repentance? Look at the first one, humility. He got off his throne, he put on the sackcloth, he did it first, he sat in ashes. They sat in ashes as a sign to show that what we've done in life is wrong, I'm mourning here. A second thing you see in this is urgency, you don't wait around, they immediately issued a decree, they say we've got to act on this. The third thing he does is obedience, he says it's not just saying we're sorry, it's not just doing these actions, we need to stop doing what we've been doing, we have to stop the violence. And then the final mark you see of it is submission. Submission, he's not doing all this so that he can look at God and say, see, we did all this, now you have to forgive us. He does all of it, and then he submits, and he says, who knows if God will forgive? He's not obligated to forgive us, but we're hoping that he will.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:29] And I want to encourage you, because, you know, we use this word repentance, you'll hear preachers say it, what does it really mean to repent? And we live in a culture where people throw out sorry so quickly, maybe you've had that, where somebody hurt you and they kind of go, oh I'm sorry. They just kind of issue an apology, and it's just like that's supposed to cover everything, I've said those two words in it. Maybe you're at a place in life for God's convicting you? Here's what repentance looks like. Man, are you willing to humble yourself, or do you always have to stay in control? Notice, the king didn't stay on his throne, the king didn't stay in his position of power, he humbled himself. Are you willing to act with some urgency, or do you keep putting it off? I'll get to it, God will forgive me for now. Are you willing to obey? To actually do what he's telling you to do, not just say the words I'm sorry, but actually deal with it in your behavior. Are you willing to submit? To truly turn to God and recognize God, I'm putting myself in your hands, I'm trusting you, I'm not calling the shots anymore, I don't get to do this and manipulate you, I'm willing to submit. See, this is what repentance looks like.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:55] And then, look how God responds to it, look in verse 10, "When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it." Here's what you know to be true, and you can see it in this next point, and I hope you hold to this. God always responds to true repentance with forgiveness. He always does because it's part of his character. He always responds to repentance that way, and you can trust it. In the same way, that out of his holiness, he has to respond towards sin with judgment. His character demands that, it's also true in the same way, his character of love always responds with forgiveness when people repent. That's why John tells us, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just." See, it's his character to always forgive our sins.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:58] And guys, when you look at a story like Nineveh, you look at a people like that, if God can forgive them for the atrocities they did, for the people they had slaughtered, for the cultures they had destroyed, for the evil they were responsible for...Do you know why God can forgive them, do you know why he can move in this way and do that? I'll tell you why he can do that, that he's able to extend this grace because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, it's because of what Jesus did. Now, maybe you look at that and you go, wait a second, Tim, aren't we talking about like seven to eight hundred years before Jesus ever shows up on the scene? How does the sacrifice of Jesus extend to them? And that's the beauty, if you look in the story of the Bible, that in all of these stories of what we call the Old Testament before Jesus came, people were forgiven over and over again. And the reason they were forgiven is because God knew what Christ would do on the cross. Romans 3 says it this way, he said, "God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair." And notice, he says, "When he held back and did not punish those who send in times past." So this line is talking about people like the Ninevites, man, they were sinners back there, why didn't God punish them? Because he knew that Jesus was coming, and he knew their expression of faith, their submission, was pointing toward Jesus, even if they didn't even know who Jesus was. In times past, he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. So God included the Ninevites in the same way that he included us under the forgiveness of what Christ did on the cross. "God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus." And so God is always fair and just, and he always responds to sin. He either is going to respond in judgment out of his holiness, or he's going to respond and forgiveness out of his love, based on their response to the truth that he's revealed. And for the Ninevites it was just one little, short message, but a whole city was changed.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:45] You know, when you read through the history of the Assyrian people, we've talked a lot about it, you read through them in the Old Testament, they're one of Israel's greatest enemies. Ultimately, the Assyrian people will come and take Israel and destroy the northern tribe of Israel, the ten tribes with it. And you can look at it, and we kind of always cast them as the bad guy in these stories. but then you see a story like this where God is totally changing the whole capital city. You know the fascinating thing to me, is if you look at the history of the Assyrian people to this present day, especially in the time when Christ came, of the many people in the Middle East, the Assyrian people are people that turned to Christ. They have an unbelievable history of following Christ, even in persecution.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:39] In fact, I wanted you to hear, not me talk about it, but one of the families connected to the Venture body, Vladimir Moghaddasi. And he is a leader, and his son Ryan is one of our musicians on the team, but he also is an elder in the Assyrian church. And we've got a connection to the Assyrian church here, and so we asked him to just give a little bit of history of how God has worked in the Assyrian people. Because I think it illustrates well what we're talking about, this kind of forgiveness and this kind of work that only God can do.

Vladimir Moghaddasi: [00:30:19] My name is Vladimir Moghaddasi, I am an Assyrian born in Iran, and my wife and I actually moved to this country in 1991. As an Assyrian, I want to give a little bit of history. As you know, the Book of Jonah is very clear that Assyrian Gentiles. So God's people, like Jonah, who didn't want to actually help us believe in Christ and God at that time, he declined to go to Nineveh, but God miraculously put him in front of Nineveh. He preached to Nineveh that you have to repent, and what happened is as a nation our king actually took his clothes off and repented, the whole nation repented. People might miss the fact that, as a Gentile, we were the first people in the nation who after Jews preached to us, basically, we got to know God, which is very important.

Vladimir Moghaddasi: [00:31:26] Then, after our empire actually fall in 600 B.C., we've got to go to New Testament now, if you read the Book of Acts, it's clear that the Jews from Mesopotamia because they were exiled, they actually heard the word. They went back to Mesopotamia, the place that he used to live, they preached the gospel in Assyrian, in the city of Edessa, which currently is in Turkey. We actually believed in the word of God, we believed in those messages, and we became the follower of Christ. The good news is that we didn't stay there. If you read the history, Assyrian's moving on the Silk Road, they went to China, to Korea, to India, as of today, we have Church of the East in India.

Vladimir Moghaddasi: [00:32:20] In the 20th century, actually, they found, in Peking China, they found a monument from that era. Unfortunately, in fourteen hundred Moghul and Tamerlan, they attacked and massacred a lot of Assyrians, basically. And after that, gradually, the church lost its interaction with the Church with the West. And as of today, I can tell you that the persecution the last five hundred years has been continued. The recent one that everybody remembers, the church persecution, the Assyrian Christian persecution, under ISIS in Iraq and Syria. That tells me that the Word of God is still alive, Jesus said that they persecuted me, so they will persecute you. Our people have been persecuted, and my prayer is that the church, especially in the West, you know that a lot of time we have this complacency of feeling comfortable, we don't talk about the persecuted a church in the Middle East. But I suggest that we do that, we talk about it, and we pray for people. And if there is an opportunity for anybody to help them, I would like to see the help of the church go to Christians in the Middle East in the name of Christ, because I know that will give them hope. It will give them a reminder that Christians have not forgotten those brothers and sisters, even though they might be speaking a different language.

Vladimir Moghaddasi: [00:33:58] And the last thing that I want to share is this, I don't know if people have read that the Old Testament is not all Hebrews, there are sections and passages in Bible, especially in the Old Testament in like Psalm 19, or other places, that used Aramaic, this is the language that Jesus spoke. And our dialect today for those who speak Assyrian is basically a new version of the Syriac dialect, which goes back to Aramaic. So, we are descendants of those people, we believe in Christ, we have different denominations like Church of the East, Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, but also we have Evangelical and Protestant Christian all over the world. Thank you.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:44] Isn't that a great story, isn't that great just to hear how God has worked in a people. Then we read about the Assyrians, and then to see how faithful they have been, and how God's work through them.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:59] Guys, as I read through this story, not only throughout history, but especially back in Jonah's time, here's the last point that stands out for me. This story shows that no person, people, or place, is beyond the mercy of God. There's not a person walking on the planet, there's not a people group out there, there's not a place on the planet that is beyond God's mercy and his ability to turn hearts and to change lives. See, that's the difference-maker, he actually transforms people. And it's not through information, it's not through superheroes, it's through one person, it's through Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:46] And so for all the people who live before Christ came, like the Ninevites, their expression of faith, God was able to look at that and go, yeah, I can change you because of what Jesus will do. For all of us who've lived since that time, man, God is able to forgive us because of what Christ did do on the cross? So the question is, do you believe that today? Do you believe if he could change a city like Nineveh, could he actually change the Bay Area? I'll be honest, I think sometimes we lose faith in that, we look at the Bay Area, we look at the changing culture around us, and it's kind of easy to go well, we're just Christians, we're trying to survive here. And we lose faith, we lose the kind of belief that if God could transform Nineveh, couldn't do it here in the Bay, couldn't he do it in my neighborhood and your neighborhood, my workplace, your workplace.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:45] That is one of the reasons we're asking everybody this summer to do the block parties. We're asking you to host, in your neighborhood, in your apartment complex, wherever you are, just a party that would just get your neighbors together, that you can start building a relationship with them. Guys, there's no one on your street that is beyond the mercy of God, but they may not know that if we don't take that message to them. And so we're not asking too much, I mean, we're just asking you to host a party. We’re not asking you do like Jonah, you don't have to walk up and down your street and go, hey, 40 days, and then everybody's going to be under judgment. We're not doing a turn and burn and all that, we're just saying, hey, take a first step, and tell people who you are. Introduce them to you with the goal that may be through that relationship, you'd have the opportunity to introduce them to Christ. Do we really believe this area can be changed by God?

Tim Lundy: [00:37:46] And maybe some of you, you need to hear today, when I say that there's no person this beyond God's mercy, that includes you. Because some of you think you're too far gone, you've done too much, that the mercy of God may extend to a lot of people, but your life really couldn't change. And you need to hear me, that's not true. The same God who loved the Ninevites, no matter what they had done, and he sent a message to them, is the same God that sending this message to you. Because Jesus died on the cross, because he paid for it all, because we have a God who every time we truly repent, we bring that to him, he loves to forgive, it's his very character to forgive, that God is extending it to you. So I would encourage you, don't read this story about what he used to do long ago, this is a story about what he still does today. Man, I'm praying he does it across the Bay Area, I'm praying he does it in my world, my neighborhood. And I'm praying today, that you experience it in your life, because you've turned to Jesus in repentance. And you tell God, I need that, I need the forgiveness, I want to humble myself, I want a life of obedience in you, and so I submit to you today and receive what only Jesus can give. Don't exclude yourself from the mercy that God loves to give. And for all of us, don't exclude anyone you see around you from that same mercy, he may want to give it to them through you.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:51] Let's pray. Father, I thank you, I thank you for how you change lives, you change a whole city like Nineveh. Lord, I thank you that you were kind enough to change my life and give me that mercy. Lord, I pray for anybody here today, they feel like they're beyond it, they've done too much, that's a lie, you know it's a lie, and so I pray today they would trust you, they would believe you, they would receive from you what only Christ can give. And Lord, I pray for all of us that we never lose those eyes of faith, of believing that you can change our world too, you can change the Bay Area. And so I continue to pray, maybe through block parties, through new relationships, as we go into this post covid world, could your church be the people that as we go out, we have one message, and that message is the good news that Jesus changes lives. And we pray this in his name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032