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  • Matt Beaney

#726. PREACH AGAINST IT (11/1/23)


‘The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.’ (Jonah 1:1-3)

Summary: The gospel message convicts of sin in order to save.


You can watch this devotional at:

I can shy away from sharing the whole gospel with people. I can so value people’s respect that I fail to share that they are sinners in need of salvation. We all struggle with this I’m sure


Being sent to "preach against" Nineveh may seem negative at first glance, but it is actually a sign of God's love and desire for change. By confronting the wickedness of Nineveh, God shows that He has not given up on them and wants a better future for them. Just as a diagnosis from a doctor, even if it is serious, can be a kindness because it allows for healing, being convicted of our sin and spiritual condition is necessary for us if we are to have a restored relationship with God. In other words, acknowledging and addressing our faults is an important step towards spiritual healing and growth.


We see an example of this when Peter preaches ‘against’ the people of his day:

‘With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’(Acts 2:40 )

God sends all of us to share the gospel message. The gospel message begins with and negative - we are all sinners! And the cross of Christ is the way that we can be healed of our sin. The gospel begins with the truth that we are separated from God and under His wrath. Paul writes of this gospel:

‘For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.’ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Jesus spoke of the convicting role of the Spirit:

‘When he comes, he will prove [convict] the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.’ (John 16:8-11)

Effective evangelism or witnessing should involve presenting the problem of sin and the solution of salvation through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. It's important to do this with sensitivity and cultural awareness, rather than a formulaic or mechanical approach. Our motivation for sharing the gospel should be love, which was God’s motive for sending Jonah to preach to Nineveh.


RESPONSE

Let’s Celebrate the full gospel so as to share the full gospel with others. It is essential that we have personally received and are rejoicing in the gospel every day. Have we experienced both the Spirit’s conviction of sin and His assurance of justification in Christ? Being thankful for our salvation every day will make us ready to share the gospel with others, including the truth that all people are sinners in need of forgiveness through Jesus.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. NOTICES

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

2. ICEBREAKER

Share your ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ from the Christmas and New Year season.

3. RECAP OF SUNDAY’S MESSAGE - PLEASE SHARE IN YOUR GROUP


WHICH WAY AM I RUNNING?

On Sunday we began our series is the book of Jonah which we’ve entitled ‘I AM JONAH’. The Subtitle of this series is ‘Learning to run toward rather than run away from God's mission’. Through this book, God wants to re-commission us for His mission to bring the gospel to our communities - our ‘Nineveh’s’. He wants to put His Spirit in us so that we don’t run away but run toward His mission.


‘The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.’ (Jonah 1:1-3)

BIG IDEA: God calls all of us to His mission. We have to choose whether to run toward or run away from God’s call.


On Sunday, we talked about SIV: Serve, invest and invite is a simple strategy of building relational bridges in order to bring our friends to Jesus. We serve real needs, we invest time to deepen relationships with people and invite them into church community and events such as alpha. We love to invite people to come to know God through the gospel but this will usually occur after we have invested in a relationship. You might find it helpful to watch this interview with Brenda together:


4. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • What are the various communities, outside the church, that God has put you into?

  • Do you find yourself running away or running toward sharing your faith with people? Please give reasons and examples for your response.

  • Why do you think Jonah ran away from God call?

  • How do you Serve, Invest and Invite in your communities?

  • How will the power of the Holy Spirit help us in our mission? (See Acts 1:8)

  • Let’s now pray for specific people that God has put on your heart and in your life.

  • Let’s pray for each other that, by the Spirit’s empowering, unlike Jonah, we would run toward God’s commission to share our faith and the gospel with those in our lives.

  • This week, lets each make a list of non-believing friends and pray for them daily.

  • Next week, come ready to share how God has used us to Serve, Invest and Invite.




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