Sunday School Material 5-21-17: Forgiving Love

(Jonah 3; 5/21/17)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jonah shares the message of God with the people, they repent, and God shows compassion. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to share God’s word, repent when we are wrong, and trust God to be compassionate towards us.

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Read Jonah 3:1-4
I. Repeating the Commission.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah again. Jonah is to go to Nineveh and tell them the message of the Lord. Jonah goes and tells the people that in 40 days, the city will be over thrown.

Applications –
- God’s word to us.
Notice in vs. 1 that the word of the Lord came to Jonah again. First, we should be glad that the Lord sends His word to us in a way a that we can understand it. Some people do not have the Bible in a language that they can understand.

Second, we should thank God for sending His word again. Even when we ignored His word or disobeyed His word the last time, God often gives us another chance.

Let’s live like we appreciate God sending His word to us again. This calls for obedience, joy, and confidence in the Bible being the word of the Lord.

- Proclaiming God’s message.
Notice in vss. 2, 4 that Jonah proclaimed the message given to Him by the Lord. First, we should make sure that we are sharing the message of the Lord and not just what seems right to us. The best way to know God and His will is to prayerfully study and obey His word, the Bible.

Second, included in the word of the Lord is not only blessings for obedience, but there is also punishment for disobedience. We don’t like to talk about punishment, but it is a part of God’s message.

Let’s work on faithfully sharing the message of the Lord. We should be well versed in sharing how to be saved, the call to be a saved disciple, and the principles for the church.

- Obedient in big cities. Notice in vs. 3 that Jonah was obedient to the Lord’s call, even in the large city. There are some people who do alright, as long as things are small and predictable.

However, when things seem a little overwhelming and unpredictable, we can get a little off course. Let’s work on being obedient to the Lord, in small and large situations.

Read Jonah 3:5-9
II. Reactions to the Message.
The people believed God. From the King down to the people, the people fasted and turned to God. There is a decree issued for the people to seek God’s compassion.

Applications –
- Believing God.
Notice in vs. 5 that the people believed God. Without this foundational step, there will be no sustained living by God’s will. Hebrews 11:6 talks about how without faith it is impossible to please God.

The real measure of living faith is that we obey God’s word. Faith without works is dead. Let’s live like we believe that God is real and that there are blessings tied to obedience and punishment tied to disobedience.

- Fasting and wardrobes. Notice in vss. 5-9 that the people were fasting and wearing sack cloths. They were called to repent and urgently call on God. The leaders and followers were all called to demonstrated real repentance. The real key to repentance is obeying the Lord.

If fasting and changing our wardrobes help us obey God then we should do it. However, if fasting and changing our wardrobe doesn’t help us obey God then there is no power in the fasting and sack clothes by themselves.

Let’s work on really obeying God, instead of being distracted by things like fasting and wardrobe selection.

Read Jonah 3:10
III. Response by God.
God saw what was going on. He saw their turning from evil. God did not send the destruction that was planned.

Applications –
- God’s response.
Notice in vs. 10 that God showed compassion on the repentant. Let’s live like we believe that God responds to repentance. This is a matter of obeying God, not just saying the right things or looking a part. We can start with basics like studying, serving, and giving.

But it should grow to the point that we are obeying God’s word in every area of our lives.

Conclusion: Let’s work on sharing God’s word, repenting when we are wrong, and trusting God to be compassionate towards us. God has much for those who obey His will.

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