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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1058. True listening leads to repentance (17/5/24)

This week, in our devotionals, we are focussing on Luke 11:29-32. Today, we reflect on how listening to Jesus leads to a lifestyle of repentance. 

The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here.  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.’ (Luke 11:31-32) 

Lesson: Those who listen to Christ will repent on a daily basis as they hear Him and realign themselves to His will. 


You can listen to this devotional at:



How do we know if we are truly listening to Jesus? It’s not enough to go to church and hear sermons. It’s not enough to study our Bibles. God warns us that faith without response is not true faith and that even demons have faith: 

‘But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.’ (James 2:18-19) 

We know that we have a good heart and are listening to Jesus if we listen to Him and respond, often through repentance. This is why we are to pray, daily, ‘Forgive us our sins’ (Luke 11:4). 


What is repentance?

Repentance (metanoéō) is to change our thinking leading to a change of lifestyle or attitude. It’s not feeling sorry for our mistakes and even crying over them.  It’s not confessing our sin and praying about it.  It’s not talking about our failures like many do in this culture of cultivating sympathy through our failures. Repentance is about change. 

‘Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.’ (J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God)

In our reading, Jesus refers to Jonah. In the life of Jonah we see that although he knew God, he ran away from Him and his call to go and preach to Nineveh. However, through God’s mercy and discipline, he is brought to a place of repentance, which is summarised as obedience:

‘Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.’ (Jonah 3:1-3) 

Jonah’s personal revival and repentance leads to repentance and revival in Nineveh. In response to Jonah’s preaching, we read about their dramatic change of mind and life: 

‘Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”  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 3:8-10)

If we want to see a move of God (revival) in our community and nation, it must start with God reviving us, and this starts with conviction of sin and repentance. Spurgeon wrote: 

‘A true revival is to be looked for in the church of God…revival begins with the church and spills over into the world…it always begins by getting Christians right first…this can be very painful.’

Response

As we listen to Christ in our personal devotions and as we meet with the church, we are to be growing in holiness of life and attitude. I hope we can see from today’s text, how important repentance is to Jesus. Like ‘The Queen of the South’ are we making every effort to come and listen to Jesus? Like the people of Nineveh, are we also repenting when Jesus speaks? May what we read in Psalm 119, be true of each of us:

‘I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.’ (Psalms 119:59)

Those who listen to Christ will repent on a daily basis as they hear Him and realign themselves to His will.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


This week is ‘SIV’ Week. During our time together, let’s give more focus to how we are bringing our community to Jesus through Serving, inVesting and inViting.


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals, which are accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday, based upon Jesus’ teaching  from Luke 11:29-32. Here, in response to opposition and requests for Jesus to prove Himself by given them more signs, He responds by telling them that they will be given the ‘sign of Jonah’. 


Please read Luke 11:29-32, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What is meant by ‘The sign of Jonah’ (See also Matthew 12:39-41)?

  • We are to continue to share about ‘the sign of Jonah’ with our community; why should this be the focal point when sharing our faith (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)?

  • Why does Jesus use the response of ‘The Queen of the South (Sheba)’ and that of the Ninevites in order to shame the religious leaders, whom He terms ‘This wicked generation’? 

  • Jesus shows how the Queen of Sheba and the those of Nineveh respond to the words of Solomon and Jonah. Jesus then compares Himself to these characters as ‘something greater…is here’. Through this, how does Jesus expect us to respond to His Word? 

  • SIV - What three different responses to God do we get in this passage, and what does this say about how people will respond to us?

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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