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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#750. GOD’S CHARACTER DRIVES MISSION (14/2/23)


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. But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 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. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 3:10-4:3)

Summary: God’s character gives faith for mission.


You can watch this devotional at:

God’s character as compassionate and merciful caused Jonah to run away from God’s call to go to Nineveh. In chapter 4, it is revealed that one of the main motivations behind his refusal to go to Nineveh was that he knew that God was, ‘a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.’ Jonah runs away because he doesn’t want God to show mercy to Nineveh! Jonah’s attitude reveals that he, as yet, does not share God’s heart for the lost.


However, it’s important to notice that this same knowledge of God’s grace, compassion, patience and willingness to relent can also function to motivate us toward God’s mission. There is great power when a person or church’s heart for the lost aligns with God’s heart. Knowing God leads to compassion and faith for action.


Another example of how knowing God should motivate us to faith for mission, is what we read in The Great Commission. Jesus tells us:

‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”’ (Matthew 28:18-20)

I hope we can see that knowing that Jesus has ‘All authority in heaven and on earth’ should fill us with great confidence to seek to share the gospel with people.


RESPONSE - LET TRUTH ABOUT GOD FILL YOU WITH FAITH

God has revealed Himself in His word and in creation. Each time we read His word, let’s have eyes to see how He reveals Himself. Ask yourself, “What does this text reveal about God?” Then turn these truths into worship and prayer.

 

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

What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week?

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


ANGER AT GOD’S GOODNESS


Please read Jonah 3:10-4:4


MAIN IDEA: GOD’S GOODNESS TO OTHERS CAN CAUSE US TO BECOME BITTER


JONAH WAS ANGRY

We see this strange response from Jonah; he is angry when God has mercy upon Nineveh! Jonah is angry that they have responded to his preaching and that God had relented from judging them because of their belief and repentance.


WHY IS JONAH ANGRY?

Jonah is angry because he doesn’t believe that the Ninevites deserve God’s mercy. He’s angry with God because he believes that God should judge this wicked city. He’s angry because he may feel embarrassed that his word of judgment has not now come true. He’s angry because he’s a part of God’s chosen people and - wrongly - come to believe that others (gentiles) don’t warrant God’s mercy, he’s become racist!


WE CAN BECOME ANGRY

Jonah is in all of us. When God does or doesn’t do things as we believe He should, we can become angry with Him. Jonah is like the older brother in the parable of The Prodigal Son who is angry that his father celebrated the return of his sinful brother; likewise, we can become angry and judgemental when wicked people receive complete justification in Christ. We can become proud and disdainful if we are not careful to remember that, like Jonah, we have also run away from God in many ways!


LEARN TO APPLY GOD’S GRACE

We learn from Jonah that understanding Godʼs grace—and being changed by

it—always requires a long journey with successive stages. It cannot happen

in a single cathartic or catastrophic experience (like being swallowed by a

fish!). If we really want to reach others with the good news of Jesus, then we need to love those we want to reach. And to do that we really need to examine where our

true heart lies every day!


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Why was Jonah angry?

  • When are you tempted to get angry with God and how do you deal with this?

  • How do you seek to remember the gospel each day so as to remain merciful and humble?

  • 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 fill us with His resurrection power so as to be compassionate and courageous this week.

  • Let’s pray for Funky Monkeys this week.


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