#733. THROW ME INTO THE SEA (20/1/23)
‘The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”’ (Jonah 1:11-12)
Summary: To see this world come to peace in Christ, we must be prepared to suffer like Christ.
You can watch this devotional at:
Over this week I hope that we are all convicted by a greater need to prayer and devotion to His mission to save the lost. I’m sure that it’s not just me who is mourning for my own lack of compassion, prayerfulness and activity in mission.
Our world is a storm, it is fallen, it needs an active church to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Our own nation is in a storm. Yes, we have economic woes. Most severely, we have fallen away from God. As a nation, we are throwing away our Christian inheritance. We are allowing the promotion of wickedness by wicked people. Do you see the storm of increased hatred for God’s truth that is spreading in this nation?
May this cause us to wake up and count the cost of following Jesus. Only as we humble ourselves, confess our need and seek a genuine work of the Spirit, will we see the revival we want to see but it starts in us!
Jonah came to a place of ‘Christ-like’ love. He tells them to “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” As Christ laid His life down to save us from the storm, so this world needs a church that loves enough to suffer for Christ. God wants to remove our selfishness, our fear, our comfort-seeking, our worldly ambitions to the point where we say, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” When we become so Christlike that we are ready to die for God, then we are truly ready to serve Him and this world! Unlike Jonah, we have the benefit of seeing how Jesus loved us on the cross. Initially, Jonah was not prepared to suffer for Nineveh because they were wicked, we understand how Jesus has loved us in our sin and it’s this kind of sacrificial life that the Spirit wants to produce in us.
‘To the degree you grasp what Jesus did for you, and rest in the salvation he bought for you, to that degree this pattern of substitutionary sacrifice and love will be reproduced in your relationships. And you will become the kind of person the world desperately needs.’ (Tim Keller, The Prodigal Prophet, Page 156)
RESPONSE - LOVE LIKE CHRIST
Let’s be prepared to be ‘thrown into the sea’ - to sacrifice ourselves so that others can come to know peace. Take a moment to meditate and pray that we would do as Jesus commanded us:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Don’t forget that this is the last week that people can sign up for Alpha on Tuesday evening (7:00-9:00).
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week?
3. RECAP OF SUNDAY’S MESSAGE - PLEASE SHARE IN YOUR GROUP
BIG IDEA: GOD SENDS A STORM TO WAKE UP THOSE WHO ARE SPIRITUALLY ASLEEP.
Please read Jonah 1:4-16
The story of Jonah serves as a reminder of the consequences of running away from God's call and becoming spiritually asleep. Jonah, a prophet of God, was called to go to Nineveh and help the people there, but he disobeyed and went in the opposite direction. He got on a ship and went below deck, where he fell into a deep sleep. God then sent a storm to bring Jonah to his senses and wake him up to his mission. The sailors on the ship cast lots to find out who was responsible for the storm, and the lot fell on Jonah. They asked him to tell them who he was and why he was causing the storm. Jonah replied that he was a Hebrew and worshiped the Lord, and that the storm was his fault. The sailors threw Jonah overboard, and the sea calmed down. The main idea of the story is that God uses storms as a way to wake up those who are spiritually asleep. It serves as a reminder to not run away from God and to always be active and prayerful in serving His mission.
On Sunday, we discussed the importance of SIV - a strategy of building relationships to bring others to Jesus. The three key elements of SIV include serving the real needs of others, investing time to deepen relationships, and inviting individuals into church community and events such as Alpha. By actively engaging in these actions, and through prayer, we trust that we will have opportunities to share the gospel and lead others to a deeper understanding and relationship with God through Christ. If you missed it, you might find it helpful to watch this interview with Jason together:
4. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
What are the things that make a Christian become spiritually asleep and lose a passion for God’s mission to see people become Christians?
Would you say that you were awake or sleepy in your love for God and His mission? Give reasons for your answer.
Why does God send the storm?
What are the ways that God uses to wake us up to a fresh love for Him and His mission?
How have you Served, Invested and Invited in your communities this week? (Let’s share about this again next week)
How have you got on with making a list and praying for your non-believing friends each day? (Let’s share about this again next week)
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 the Spirit would wake us up -revive us - with fresh love for Him and those to whom God has sent us.